Awakening (Stories of Singularity 5) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

AWAKENING (Stories of Singularity 5) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Awakening

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 2, 2017

Sister Amara prays she won’t be the last of the twelve sisters to reach her awakening—after all, the salvation of their Masters depends on them. But with the interrogations growing more deadly, being last may be best… especially when you’ve been created to touch the face of God.

Awakening is a standalone novella that provides a glimpse into a dark corner of the Singularity novel series.

The Stories of Singularity can be read independently from the Singularity novel series.

READING ORDER
Singularity Series
The Legacy Human (Book 1)
The Duality Bridge (Book 2)
The Stories of Singularity #1-4 (Novella Box Set)
The Illusory Prophet (Book 3)

Stories of Singularity
(novellas)
Restore (Story 1)
Containment (Story 2)
Defiance (Story 3)
Augment (Story 4)
Awakening (Story 5)

•••••••

REVIEW: AWAKENING is the fifth novella in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult Stories of Singularity dystopian, sci-fic series- a companion series to Quinn’s Singularity Series. AWAKENING can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

BACKGROUND: The ‘Singularity’ resulted in most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended-part man/part machine but the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind. The Singularity series looks at the struggle between the Ascended and everyone else.

Told from first person point of view (Sister Amara) AWAKENING follows Sister Amara as she ‘awakens’ to the world around her. A combination of artificial intelligence and cloistered humanoids ‘created to touch the face of God’, Sister Amara and eleven other ‘clones’ just like her are in a constant state of hyper vigilance as each approaches the famed ‘awakening’. But as the ‘experiment’s continue each sister will inevitably fail to reach her potential, and the people in charge will do anything to avoid an experimental disaster. Sister Amara is one of the few who will reach her potential (and beyond), and with it will gain her freedom from the onslaught of constant pain and strive for perfection.

AWAKENING is an intriguing look at the world of Singularity. An interesting and powerful concept born of the mind of Susan Kaye Quinn that focuses on humanity’s desire to live forever.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill – a Review

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill – a Review

 

Ever the HuntedAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

 

Review:

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill is the first book in her new Clash of Kingdoms series.  This is a fantasy novel with wonderful world-building by Summerill.  In this world there are two factions that are at war with each other.  The story revolves around our heroine, Britta, whom we meet at the start.  She lives alone after the death of her father, who was murdered.  He was an elite bounty hunter for the King of Malam. Britta knows that soon her home will be confiscated, and she will have nowhere to go.  Desperate for food, she enters the Ever Woods to hunt prey, and after she succeeds, she is captured by the Kings guards.  To save her own life, she makes a deal with the King’s Regent to help three guards track down the murderer of her father.  The problem…..the man they say who killed her father was his former apprentice and her childhood crushe…Cohen McKay.

In any new fantasy world, things do start off slow, as the author will show us the world we are now in.  The two factions are Malem, which is governed by the King and the Channelers,  who have magic and powers, but are prosecuted by those from Malem. Summerill does a good job creating a nice flow, as we learn about the two kingdoms, but the storyline is still very much centered on Britta.  

As one of the best trackers, Britta and the three guards (Captain Omar, Leif and Tomas) follow the trail that she finds to bring them closer to Cohen.  In a short period, Britta will come face to face with Cohen, and realize that he is innocent of the murder charges.  Together they escape the guards and try to find the real murderer.  What follows is an exciting, action filled and intense story that will bring both heroes to the brink of death.  Along the way, there are many twists and turns, as well as betrayals that put them further in danger.  Britta will learn more about her life that her father hid from her, and meet someone who will tell her the truth of her past, and how to use her ability.  Most of all, this is a sweet romance between Britta and Cohen, that was wonderfully written by Summerill.  What starts out as a childhood friendship, family dynamics and hidden feelings becomes a love that was so nice to watch grow.

As I have noted in previous fantasy first books, the key to a successful start of a series is to have good characters that you care about.   In Ever the Hunted, we not only have Britta, a wonderful heroine, who has just begun to harness her powers; Cohen, a great hero, who loves Britta with all his heart; and some other truly great characters; Leif, one of the good guards; Enat, a Channeler, who is more than a teacher to Britta; and even Captain Omar, who was cold and unforgiving early on.  

This turned out to be a very nice fast paced story line, well written by Summerrill, with great characters and  many surprises along the way.  Ever the Hunted is wonderful start to a new series, which I recommend that you read. I look forward to the next book in the Clash of the Kingdoms series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir – a Review

The Girl in the Picture  by Alexandra Monir – a Review

 

The Girl in the PictureAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
Nicole Morgan has been labeled many things — the geeky music girl, the shy sidekick to Miss Popularity, and the girl with the scar. Now only one name haunts her through the halls of Oyster Bay Prep.

The Girl in the Picture.

After high school heartthrob Chace Porter is found dead in the woods near the school, the police are in search of the girl whose picture with Chace is the only clue found amongst his personal belongings. A girl who no one knew was even close to Chace–and whose dormmate, Lana Rivera, was Chace’s girlfriend.

Nicole is that girl and now she’s the primary suspect in his murder.

But what really happened that night? Were Nicole and Chace dating behind Lana’s back; were he and Lana over? Could either of them have killed him?

Told in alternating points of view, that of our suspect, Nicole Morgan, and her former best friend and roommate, Lana Rivera, readers will piece together the story of a starcrossed love, a fractured friendship–and what really happened the night Chace was killed.

 

Review:

The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir is a standalone YA mystery suspense novel.  This story is told in two pov’s, Nicole and Lana; with some from the boy in the middle, Chace, which will cover a year.  The story actually begins in current time, with the news of Chace’s murder. A picture is revealed, with Nicole and Chace together, and everyone is on Lana’s side as she was the one they felt was betrayed.  Hence the title, The Girl in the Picture.

In various snippets, where we go back and forth between the past and the present, we get to meet Nicole, the new girl at school, who is training to be an elite violinist and meets her roommate, Lana, who is Miss Popularity.  Nicole is quiet and sweet, while Lana is her opposite.  Lana, because of Nicole’s bright future, decides to accept her as a friend.

It is Lana, who will meet the new boy, Chace, and flirt with him to start a relationship. Nicole helps Lana, and is supportive of her dating Chace.  Along the way, Chace, who loves Nicole’s music, begins to fall hard for her.  Nicole, at first has no intention of getting in the middle, for fear of losing her friend.  Chace is persistent and Nicole finds herself falling for him.

In current time, Nicole is the main suspect, as everyone is willing to condemn her, including her now fierce enemy, Lana.  We also learn along the way, who was responsible for the terrible scar Nicole suffered.  This is a real murder mystery, which has us concentrating on any clues that will tell us who killed Chace.  We know Nicole is not the real culprit, but who is? I felt sorry for Nicole, as she truly did not want to fall for Chace, and wanted to tell Lana the truth.  In a major twist, the answers will be discovered that was a surprise, not to mention who was able to discover the truth.

To tell too much more would be spoilers.  What follows is a very nicely done mystery revolving around the two narrators of the story, with the unusual voice of Chace in the background.  Everything in the past, is laid out nicely, which leads to the present and the resolution.  It was very well written by Monir.  If you enjoy a YA themed background, with a murder mystery, you need to read this book.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1) by P.C. Cast-a review

MOON CHOSEN (Tales of a New World #1) by PC Cast-a review

Moon Chosen

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About the book: Release Date October 18, 2016

Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

••••••••••

REVIEW: MOON CHOSEN is the first installment in PC Cast’s young adult (YA) TALES OF a NEW WORLD post-apocalyptic/dystopian fantasy series focusing on a new world years after ‘our’ Earth has been destroyed.

Told from several third person points of view MOON CHOSEN follows three characters with intersecting paths. Mari is our heroine-our young woman caught between Clans as she is neither an Earth Walker like her mother, or a Companion like her late father. Nik is a young man who finds himself drawn to our story line heroine; and Dead Eye, who believes himself to be a god amongst man.

MOON CHOSEN, like PC & Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, focuses on gods and goddesses, connections to the Earth, Wind, Moon and Fire, and magic that can be called forth from the elements. As the introductory story line MOON CHOSEN is an extremely long story –over 600 pages- and is awash in a copious amount of world building that focuses or is dependent upon the character development to tell the story. There is an inordinate amount of what can only be described as filler ( and redundancy) that made for a slow build to the story line premise. The author favors long descriptions and prose but in the end, sometimes too much is too much.

The numerous story line characters are divided into three main Clans and Tribes-Earth Walkers (including the Moon Woman), Skin Walkers and Tribe of the Trees (Companions) or combinations thereof, with numerous secondary traits, identities, rituals and powers. There is plenty of discrimination, prejudice and preconceived notions, and an ill-gotten history between the different clans.

PC Cast’s MOON CHOSEN can be a confusing story line as the author divides the attention between three main characters and the paths they have chosen. Most of the action takes place in the final 100 pages or so of the book.

I loved the author’s Parthelon Series (aka Divine Series); struggled with the House of Night YA series co-authored with her daughter Kristin; and have reservations about continuing on the present course with the current series. PC has a more mature writing style than Kristin and it is evident in the story line structure, text and world building but the vast amount of ‘info dumping’ is overwhelming and takes away from the story line premise-the author is building towards the second installment but tends to meander in too many directions.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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The Illusory Prophet (Singularity #3) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

THE ILLUSORY PROPHET (Singularity #3) by Susan Kaye Quinn-a review

Singularity 1-3

(The Legacy Human / The Duality Bridge -Singularity #1 & #2-reviews)

The Illusory Prophet

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 13, 2016

What if you could paint with reality?

Elijah Brighton can bring a girl back from the dead, travel outside his body, and absorb a lifetime of memories from anyone he touches in the fugue state. Everyone seems to think he’s the prophet they’re waiting for… including the girl he’s falling in love with. The truth is, the fugue is bleeding over into reality, bringing his sketches to life and haunting him with visions of a girl in metal armor. She stabs him with her blade and denounces him as any prophet worth the name—and it’s not like he disagrees.

People who change the world generally aren’t losing their minds.

He just wants to hide out in his tent and kiss Kamali, but a vision of his death and an attack on the Human Resistance Movement convince him something bigger is coming. Maybe Augustus—the power-mad ascender he barely defeated. Maybe the Makers, a tinkering cult with their own kind of ascendance. But when his best friend Cyrus disappears, questions of destiny and prophethood will have to wait—because the fugue is always showing a version of the truth, and Eli must discover that truth before his terrifying visions become reality.

The Illusory Prophet is the third book in the Singularity series. This young adult science fiction series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: THE ILLUSORY PROPHET is the third full length installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult (YA) SINGULARITY sci-fi/ dystopian series focusing on the merging of mind, body and soul with the technology of the future.

BACKGROUND: The ‘Singularity’ resulted in most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended-part man/part machine but the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind. The Singularity series looks at the struggle between the Ascended and everyone else.

Told from first person point of view –seventeen year old Elijah Brighton -THE ILLUSORY PROPHET is the continuing story of man versus the hybrid machine known as The Ascended. As the face of The Resistance Elijah’s presence is both a curse and a blessing- our hero has the ability to bring the recently deceased back to life; travel outside of his body; and absorb the memories of those he touches while in the ‘fugue’-all of which are a threat to those battling for command and control. Elijah’s trips into the ‘fugue’ find our hero straddling between the body, mind and soul but it is Elijah’s growing abilities that threaten to destroy any semblance of peace when he is targeted for destruction.

Susan Kaye Quinn merges spirituality and God with a transcendental philosophy of abstract beliefs and the battle for power and control. The premise focuses on a belief system wherein all that is human is found in the souls of mankind, and with it the possibility that the Ascended have lost their souls when they opted for immortality and life ever after. The connection between body, mind and soul is a constant theme throughout the series. The search for the truth finds our hero battling for survival and the lives of the people he loves.

The Singularity Series blends the familiarity of The Hunger Games and Divergent with Star Trek nanobyte technology ala The Borg, and an artificial intelligence of the collective mind. The cult-like factions of the Resistance battle one another for dominance but are at a distinct disadvantage as the Ascended continue to prevail. Elijah Brighton is thought to be the ONE-the savior foretold to deliver mankind from the destructive nature of the Ascended.

Susan Kaye Quinn’s SINGULARITY series is brilliant in its inception; a post-apocalyptic ‘movie’ for the mind where technology, omnipotence and the battle for control is a threat to the survival of man in the future. The writing is flawless; the author’s imagination is intelligent and inventive; the premise is dramatic, energetic and wondrous.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

The Legacy HumanTHE LEGACY HUMAN
(Singularity #1)
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: young adult, sci-fi, speculative fiction

ebook copy 99¢: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

About the book: Release Date March 2, 2015

Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE LEGACY HUMAN is the first installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult, Singularity Dystopian, Sci-Fi series that looks at the merging of technology with the body, mind and soul. Following the ‘Singularity’ that resulted in the most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended, the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind.

The storyline follows seventeen year old Elijah Brighton who desperately wants to Ascend. An artistically gifted young man whose Ascended ‘patron’ Lenora knows there is more to Eli than a canvas and paint but Elijah’s talent comes at a price. When Lenora’s second (lover) Marcus offers to ‘sponsor’ Elijah for the Legacy Creative Olympics, Elijah jumps at the chance to become one of the Ascended in order to keep his ailing mother alive. With life ever lasting and access to all knowledge the ultimate prize, the Ascended are both revered and despised by the human population. To become one of the Ascended, technology must marry the body, mind and soul-but what becomes of the soul when your humanity is stripped away? To be Ascended means to become part of the whole; your choices are no longer your own.

THE LEGACY HUMAN parallels some of the premise and many of the scenarios found in Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Young men and women, under the age of eighteen must compete against one another to become one of the Ascended. If they win, their families and friends will benefit from the Ascended privileges but there is also the probability that they will never make it out alive. Sides are formed; allegiances sworn; a revolution is on the horizon. The Resistance is waiting for Elijah’s next move.

The world building is amazingly detailed, well organized and revealed as the storyline develops; the characters are colorful, eclectic and unique. Susan’s imagination knows no boundary.

Susan Kaye Quinn looks at the philosophical and theological questions: Does mankind really have a soul? To become one of the Ascended do we lose the freedom to think; to love; to believe in a higher power? If you had the choice to become one of the Ascended, would you risk your soul for everlasting life?

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

__________________

The Duality BridgeTHE DUALITY BRIDGE
(Singularity #2)
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: young adult, sci-fi, speculative fiction

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

About the book: Release Date August 15, 2015

What does it mean to be human?

Elijah Brighton is the face of the Human Resistance Movement. He’s the Olympic-level painter who refused an offer of immortality from the ascenders—the human/machine hybrids who run the world—in solidarity with the legacy humans who will never get a chance to live forever.

Too bad it’s all a complicated web of lies.

Worse, Eli’s not even entirely human. Few know about the ascenders’ genetic experiments that left him… different. Fewer know about the unearthly fugue state that creates his transcendent art—as well as a bridge that lets him speak to the dead. But the Resistance is the one place he can hide from the ascender who knows everything the fugue can do. Because if Marcus finds him, he’ll either use Eli for his own nefarious purposes… or destroy him once and for all.

The Duality Bridge is the second book in the Singularity series and the sequel to The Legacy Human. This thrilling new young adult science fiction series explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE DUALITY BRIDGE is the second installment in Susan Kaye Quinn’s young adult, sci-fi Singularity dystopian series focusing on the merging of mind, body and soul with the technology of the future.

BACKGROUND: The ‘Singularity’ resulted in most of the world’s population transforming themselves into a hybrid known as the Ascended, the few remaining humans become what is known as the Legacy-the true descendants of humankind.

Told from first person point of view –seventeen year old Elijah Brighton-THE DUALITY BRIDGE is the continuing struggles of man versus hybrid machines, and the battle for control of the power and the collective mind. Our hero Elijah is more than just the face of the Human Resistance Movement, he is believed to be the ONE sent to save the world, but Elijah is more than the sum of his mother’s DNA-Elijah is a genetic experiment whose powers are slowly being revealed.

THE DUALITY BRIDGE is a storyline awash in familiar sci-fi and dystopian scenarios found in The Hunger Games, Divergent, and a little bit of the Matrix and Star Trek cyborg nanobyte technology. But THE DUALITY BRIDGE also takes a close look a God and spirituality; a system of belief wherein the sum of all that is human is found in the souls of mankind, and with it the possibility that the ascended have lost their souls when they opted for immortality and life ever after. There are definitive cult-like scenarios both in and out of the collective mind; and the promise of forever for those who worship at the altar of the ascended.

THE DUALITY BRIDGE has a large ensemble cast of characters that continuously loop between reality and the fugue. The premise is a study in philosophical, psychological and transcendental assumptions, knowledge and understanding-even the Dhali Lama pontificates about man, technology and the otherness.

The world building is a movie set for the mind. Elijah Brighton is the BRIDGE-the Duality-the ONE-foretold to be the savior of the world-Susan Kaye Quinn’s mind knows no boundary as it takes the reader into a future where man is no longer in control.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Just Friends (Just Friends #1) by Monica Murphy-Review & Book Tour

JUST FRIENDS (Just Friends #1) by Monica Murphy

Just Friends Banner

JUST FRIENDS
Just Friends #1
by Monica Murphy
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Genre: young adult

Just Friends

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /ibooks

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2cu3XZM

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 13, 2016

It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

•••••••

REVIEW: JUST FRIENDS is the first installment in Monica Murphy’s contemporary, young adult JUST FRIENDS romance series focusing on a group of friends whose relationships and friendships spiral out of control as they are about to start their final year of high school.

NOTE: I want to add that the author/publisher have labelled JUST FRIENDS a new adult story line but all of the characters are under 18 years of age, still in high school, and all of the $ex and romance are implied or fade to black,  therefore a label of Young Adult seems more appropriate.

Told from first person point of view (Olivia Hudson) JUST FRIENDS looks at the fall out between high school seniors Olivia, Emily and Dustin when jealousy, betrayal, secrets and lies destroy a life time of friendship when newcomer Ryan Bennett begins to push his way into the threesomes lives. The competition between girls for attention, and the thrill and fear of going ‘all the way’ heighten the insecurities and selfishness when our heroine Olivia refocuses her attention on the new boy in town, while the boy she left behind pines on the sidelines hoping for a second chance.

JUST FRIENDS is a well written but frustrating and aggravating YA story line with ALL of the earmarks that come with the genre: the requisite love triangle or quadrangle, jealousy, envy, mean girls, the popular crowd, selfish attitudes, drinking and drug experimentation, and of course the oblivious, absent or controlling parents. As I have said in a previous article, the three way and sometimes four way love interests are heartbreaking, angst-ridden, gut wrenching and occasionally annoying and condescending. And in many of the cases, the heroine is in love with both man-boys (or more in some cases) and vice-versa. Such is the case with JUST FRIENDS where our leading heroine –Olivia Hudson-falls for Ryan Bennett while still harboring feelings for her best friend Dustin.

Throughout the story we discover that while Olivia spent the summer at her father’s home, her besties Dustin and Em took their relationship to a physical level, not only rocking the trio’s friendship but pushing Olivia towards the new boy in town. Dustin claims to love and want Olivia but Olivia is too hurt to see beyond her best friend’s betrayals. And of course, new boy looks like he is playing the field and begins to pit Emily and Olivia, among others, against one another.

All of the major story line characters are not very likeable-Olivia, Dustin, Emily and Ryan. I could not find one redeeming quality that would make me feel sympathy for the emotional breakdowns or loss of friendship because at every opportunity someone is hooking up with someone else fearing a lifetime of loneliness or missing out on the popular party; back stabbing and social media exposure adds insult to injury as the friendships implode. The one saving grace is Dustin, who at this point is willing to walk away to allow the girl that he loves to figure out who and what she needs. The circle of friends ebbs and flows as relationship histories take center stage with all of the high school drama of battered emotions and destructive friends. And through it all, Olivia claims to be ‘just friends’ whenever the question about her relationships arise.

To be honest, I had stopped reading young adult story lines for the very reasons I listed above as my anxiety level builds with each consecutive story. The drama is over the top, the angst and tears are explosive, the friendships suffer from jealousy and perceived betrayal. Monica Murphy does an amazing job drawing the reader back into the world of teenage, high school drama but I am one of those readers who had enough back in the day –I was totally exhausted before the final cliff hanger.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Just Friends Teaser

About The author

Monica MurphyNew York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.

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My Bad Boy Summer by Ann Herrick – a Review

My Bad Boy Summer by Ann Herrick – a Review

 

My Bad Boy SummerAmazon

Description:
Will Nolan give up his bad-boy ways for Vija?

17-year-old Vija Skalbe wants to be an all-American girl—no matter how hard her parents try to impose their strict Latvian standards on her. She feels unsure of herself with one foot in each country.

Then Nolan, a folksinger, steals her heart at a coffeehouse. When Nolan stops at their table, it’s Vija’s friend, Caprice, who does all the talking. But it is Vija who gets his phone number—and later the back seat of his motorcycle. Soon she is cruising from one adventure to another, dizzy with joy, her new-found freedom and the excitement of being with the kind of guy who is a challenge.

However, when her father has a heart attack, Vija must take over running the family lawn-care business. She feels overwhelmed until sweet brainiac Joel volunteers to help. He shares the workload and lifts her spirits with his humor. But it is Nolan who fills her heart.

It doesn’t matter that Nolan wants everything his way. Or that he’s constantly eyeing other girls. Or that he can be pouty and punitive. Or that he says she’s seeing things all wrong. Until it does matter. But Vija’s in so deep. Will he change? Will she deal with Nolan’s controlling tactics, or is she too far under his spell?

Review:

My Bad Boy Summer by Ann Herrick follows teenager Vija Skalbe through her first true romance.  The year is 1959 and school has just ended for the summer.  Vija emigrated from Latvia to the United States when she was eleven.  Now seventeen – all she really wants is to have a typical American teenage summer.  Her first Friday night of summer vacation and she finds herself at The Exit – a local coffee shop that features music on Friday nights.  Vija’s best friend Caprice has brought her here for a night out of fun and possibly meeting guys.  And even though Vija knows her strict parents wouldn’t be happy that this is where she has found herself on a Friday night – she resigns herself to enjoy the night.  That’s when she meets local folksinger – Nolan Shar.  And while Caprice has her eyes set on bad boy Nolan – he seems to take an interest in Vija, much to Caprice’s chagrin.  Nolan gives Vija his phone number telling her to call if she feels like talking.  And what begins after is a whirlwind summer romance, fraught with lies, complexities, and teen angst.  Vija has exactly what she has wanted, a boyfriend to spend time with.  But as time goes on – she begins to contemplate why it is that she hasn’t told her family about him?  And what will happen when she does? 

I fell for Vija from the first page. She was relatable with real life issues.  Her parents are strict and exactly as I would picture parents being in 1959. She is complex, hard working, and not one to disappoint her parents.  She doesn’t refuse to babysit for a family friend, even though she wants to.  She doesn’t say no to helping her father with his yard-care business, although she would much rather be at the beach.  She is a dutiful daughter and not afraid of hard work.  But when Nolan comes along she begins to tell lies.  Lies to where she was, who she was with and what she was doing.  She knows, although she doesn’t quite admit it until later on – that her parents will not approve of Nolan Shar.  And with just reason.

I knew I was not going to like Nolan from their first phone conversation.  And it quickly went down hill from there.  His attitude towards Vija was ridiculous.  And while she was pining for her first love (we have all been there) he was treating her horrendously.  His criticism of her every time they were together – grated on me and infuriated me. And his constant dismissing of her feelings truly angered me.   I wanted to like him – I wanted to turn a page and have him have some redeeming quality that proved he deserved Vija.  But it never happened.   And although I know it was her first love and she was deeply immersed – I wanted her to see what a total ass this guy was. Because I get it – he was the quintessential bad boy – he lived by his own rules and no one tells him what to do.  She found it appealing – at some point we all have.  But I could not bring myself to like him – not one bit.  BUT, it was refreshing to see a real life, true to realism relationship.  With all that goes along with getting to know a significant other and what you are willing to change about yourself for another person.

Then “Joel the Genius” saunters onto the scene.  And I knew the moment I met him, that he was the one.  He is the one to show Vija how she is supposed to be treated.  He is the one that will show her the respect she deserves.  And although they have been friends for quite some time – eventually she would get past the fact that he was the smart kid she called for math help.  She would eventually see him for what he truly is and the man he is becoming.  And the more time she spent with Joel the less time I wanted to read about Nolan.  And Vija found that to be true too.  The more time she spent with Noel the less she thought about Nolan.  Will she be able to walk away from Nolan and find happiness with Joel?

I wanted Vija to be happy, I wanted her to have everything that she deserves. And as the story unfolds you realize that just like with everything – no one can tell you who to care about or who to fall in love with.  Each person has to walk that discovery on their own.  And Vija does just that.  This is her story to discovering who she is and what she wants, and if she is willing to sacrifice her beliefs or not.  

The story is thought provoking and should be a must read for all teenage girls.  We have all put up with things in relationships that we shouldn’t have and for way too long.  But she is young and first love is the hardest.  And even though the years are far apart (1959 vs. today) the story still holds true,  that even though the package is nice and pretty on the outside and quite tempting  – what’s inside isn’t always what its cracked up to be.

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Author

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Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

 

InvisionAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
***Please note if you haven’t read Instinct, there could be spoilers in the synopsis below.

One boy . . .Many demons.

Think there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders? Nick Gautier was born to bring about the end of the world . . . it’s not easy being the heir of a demon overlord.

But Nick is determined to thwart his destiny and get into a good college. To be more than his genetics and prophecy foretell. No one is ever going to tell this stubborn Cajun who and what he really is. Or how to live his life.

Not even the Fates of the Universe. But now that he and his team of ancient gods and demons have claimed the Eye of Ananke and he sees the missteps of the future, he has to battle the demons within that are far deadlier and more treacherous than any he’s battled before. All the while his arch nemesis is back and determined to reclaim his place as the harbinger for Armageddon. Even if it means killing Nick and barbecuing everyone he loves to do so.

 


Review:

OMG, my head is spinning, don’t know which way is up or down, I feel like I’m on some funky acid trip right now.  That is the only way I can sum up Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon for you. It’s a wild, crazy, information overload adventure filled with our favourite characters and Kenyon’s overly imaginative mind.  My note taking skills were seriously put to task in this one.  In true Kenyon fashion she continues her CON series by answering questions from the past book, creating new questions and dropping bombs on us we don’t see coming. These bombs leave our head spinning, jaw hanging open, and in the words of Achmed the Dead Terrorist yelling out Holy Crap!!!  I don’t know how many times I said that, along with my other favourites I tend to shout out; ‘No way!, Oh come on, seriously???? I thought my jaw was going to come unhinged by books end from all the shock factor she generates in Invision.  However, as much as Kenyon drove me crazy and made me feel like this book should’ve been longer for all the information she tossed my way, I did love this addition to her CON series.  There was never a dull moment in this one. 

Speaking of which, the information comes at us fast and furious and there really are moments when you will find yourself re-reading a paragraph or page 2 or 3 times to make sure you read that right. The bombs Kenyon drops on us are mind-boggling and you’ll just have to read this one to find out what they are, because as you all know I don’t like to spoil plot lines and those types of reveals.  I prefer to let you experience those reveals as I did, and enjoy Kenyon’s gift for wowing the audience.  Some of these bomb drops include;

-learning more about Cherise and Kody and just what they mean to Nick and his Malachai
-the reveal of Xev and Caleb’s dad and their connection to Nick, yes Xev and Caleb are half siblings
-the reveal of who Jared’s parents are and his connection to Nick
-the reveal of Xev’s mom
-we finally learn just who and what Verlyn is
-Nick’s connection to M’adoc the Dream warrior, and what it would mean should Nick fall before having a son
-Apollymi’s brother is…thus connecting her to her Nick as well

These reveals left me shocked and sputtering and needing to remember to breath!!!!  One event Kenyon finally explains and I don’t feel I’m spoiling anything for you if I tell is how the first Malachai – Monakribos came into existence.  It’s no wonder the Malachai is one pissed off preternatural being.  Monakribos was in love with Rhubati, but he was tricked into killing her by Grimm and Laguerre because they drugged him.  Once the drugs wore off, he saw what he’d done and went crazy, took her blood and painted the Malachai symbols on his body and using magic damned all the world and everyone in it to hell until they fixed the wrong done to him.  Hell I’d be pissed too if that was done to me, and you can’t help but feel for the guy and see where he’s coming from.  We also learn that from Rhubati’s death Bathymaas springs forth from her body at the moment, but is a shell of Rhubati because she’s missing her heart.  It’s not until Bethany is reborn from Bathymaas, and Styxx falls in love with her giving her back her heart that Rhubati is finally complete. So this is why Kody has felt connected to Nick from the very beginning of the series.

We also learn more about the Eye of Ananke and just what it does.  It shows you the ‘why of the matter or person’ and it can’t lie or distort the truth.  What you see has either happened or will come into being.  Thanks to the eye Nick keeps having these visions of events past(Monakribos/Rhubati), and events to come.  With events to come Kenyon launches us into the far future where we meet everyone’s grown kids; Kyrian’s, Nick’s, Simi’s, etc, all doing battle against the Malachai Ciprian.  Ciprian has freed Noir and Azuza by opening the Gates to Azmodea, and we also learn that Simi’s son Lucien is in love with Nick’s daughter Charity, but never find out who the father of Simi’s kids are because Kody says it would’ve altered the future if Nick had learned that tidbit.  Now I really want to know that answer, but in true Kenyon form she doesn’t speak of it again, arrrrr, so frustrating!!!!  I guess we just keep reading the series.  By books end another bombshell is dropped as we learn Ciprian is Nick’s kid as well, but I was completely stunned and pissed off by the reveal of his mother.  There’s no way Nick would get together with this female if she were the last female standing.  I’m thinking he had to have been tricked like Monakribos was before becoming the Malachai.  I really wish the next book were released already. Why must Kenyon make me wait another year to find out more about this reveal and everything else she dropped on my head in Invision.  

Oops, before I forget, one little tidbit we find out that is funny, but answers a few questions about our zombie hunting fave Bubba, his dad is actually a former Hellchaser, but that part of Bubba’s blood is dormant and his father never told him about it, but feels guilty because one of his dad’s enemies is the one responsible for Bubba’s wife and son’s death.  His dad feels guilty over it and keeps a close watch on his son now.  No wonder Nick and Bubba hit it off so well and why Bubba is attracted to Nick’s mom.  Yes, once again the plot thickens.  No wonder the guy is a little cooky, but we love him all the same.  That part of the book had me howling with laughter along with many others parts of Invision.

As I said at the beginning of my review, I felt like I was on some crazy acid trip by the time I was finished this one.  Invision is everything you come to expect from a Kenyon novel; well developed characters you can’t help but come to love, humour and sarcasm in bundles, twists and turns you never see coming, and reveals about characters that leave you stunned speechless, or yelling like a loon at you Kobo e-reader. I don’t know how Kenyon plans to pull everything together past, present and future by the time this series ends, and we get Nick’s adult DH book, but one thing we can count on, we’ll be in for a wild ride to get there. For all you Menyon and CON fans out there Invision is a must read and great installment to the series.

Until next time my fellow Menyon fans, happy reading, and I’m off to try and find my  zen again, LOL!!!

Reviewed by Marcie

 

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