The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate

The-Magnificent-Flying-Baron-Estate-Cover.jpgI received this ARC from Netgalley and Amberjack Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This is a middle-grade book intended for kids 9-12, but when I saw the cute cover and description I couldn’t resist.  This is an old western meets a bedtime story.  1891,  Waldo ‘W.B.’ Baron is living with his cooky mad-scientists parents in the Arizona territory.  He’s more interested in reading western gunslinger novels than science but when his parents turn their house into a flying ship for a contest, his life changes a bit!

But on that very morning, when I looked out my bedroom window, I did not see the quiet desert or the hills that lead to Pitchfork.  In fact, I saw nothing but blue.  Blue and more blue, surrounding a lot of bluish blue with bluey blueness…the Baron Estate was floating in the sky like a hot air balloon.

With his weird Aunt Dorca, a friend named Shorty and a strange woman on a bicycle the plot goes from strange to stranger!  This is a story about adventure, family and acceptance.  Although I don’t think the writing was much to write home about, the plot was quirky and I could see the appeal to the demographic.

And, well… I wanted you to know that just because your family doesn’t understand and appreciate you, that doesn’t mean that nobody will ever understand and appreciate you. You might not have found where you belong yet, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t belong somewhere.

I would definitely buy this for my seven year old niece, it would be a whimsical read-along story, for sure.  The corny jokes and the strange plot holes wouldn’t bother her a bit.

Sometimes life is even better than a strange dream.

Three stars.

Expected Publication Date: May 16, 2017

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The Nightwalker

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This wasn’t an ARC.  For once this was a random library website find that sounded interesting enough for me to read for fun!

I’ve had a fascination with sleepwalking ever since I was first prescribed Ambien for insomnia when I lived in Korea, right after university.  I wasn’t sleeping and it caused a host of other problems.  As I read about the side effects online I was most terrified of the idea of sleepwalking and living a second life I was unaware of, so to speak.

It’s happening again.

This is where we find Leon.  As a child he suffered a loss and develops a problem with sleepwalking.  He remembers nothing when he awakes but it’s a big enough problem that those around him feel afraid.  Eventually with the help of a therapist he is cured, or is he?  Fast forward to his late 20s and he thinks he’s doing it again.  This time his wife is missing and he’s convinced that he did something to facilitate her absence, in his sleep state.

As he continues to lose sleep, hours of his life, and potentially his hold on reality, Leon races to discover the truth. With a camera strapped to his head, a therapist on the line and his childhood friend in play, it will all be resolved, right?

This was a fast-paced page turner, a true thriller.  Once I got beyond the general introductions and got to the heart of the tale I was hooked.  I was just as concerned, horrified and determined as Leon.  I particularly enjoyed some of the flashbacks to previous points in his life as they served to help better understand his character.  I will definitely read some more of Fitzek’s work whenever I’m in the mood for suspense.  This sort of book would be excellent for breaking up the drudgery that is a long trip.

Somewhere in the world.

In a town you know.

Maybe even in your neighbourhood.

4 stars.

**This was translated from German and the movie rights have already been optioned.

Release Date: February 7, 2017 (USA)

72 Hours

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72 Hours

I received this ARC courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.  Shoutout to Publicist Brittani Hilles for indulging my fondness for Bella Jewel yet again!

Lara is heartbroken, reeling from a recent breakup she didn’t see coming and a loss she may never recover from.  She has gone from a no nonsense, no sugar coating, speak her mind sort of woman to a shell of her former self in the last few months.

Noah is her devastatingly handsome ex, the cause of her despair.

When they are both kidnapped and dumped in the woods together as part of some sort of warped game on the part of a clearly deranged capturer, will they be able to put all their feelings aside to survive?

72 hours.  They have a 72 hour head start before his wicked games begin.  Can the ghost of a woman and the man she despises survive what’s to come?

WOW!  This was an edge of your seat, page turner!  I started it right before bed (immediately after finishing my previous read) thinking I’d read a chapter or two to give me a general idea and get back to it today.  Well, I woke up early and rather than get a few more hours of sleep on my relaxed  late-start workday I decided to get up and keep reading!

I read, a lot.  I’ve read about serial killers, I’ve read good thrillers and romantic suspense, but that’s all it was … fiction.  It’s created to entertain an active mind.  It’s no more than a creative author putting words onto paper.  Those things don’t actually happen.  I know the world is a vile and hideous place at times, but this …no.

I found Lara a bit one dimensional at times but I tried to temper it by remembering all she had gone through prior to the start of the book.  Noah appealed to my fondness for bad boy types.  That said, I found the one chapter written from Noah’s perspective to be more distracting than anything else.  I’m all about shifts but for only a single chapter it was a bit odd.  All things said, it was a fun and quick read.

If you are keen on a bit of suspense with a bit of suspension of disbelief,  without too much head scratching- Ms. Jewel is your girl.  This one did not disappoint!

*Fair warning, there is a bit of smut.  There are also a few issues with language consistency (the author isn’t American and some of the choices in vocabulary will stand out if you have a keen eye).

4 Stars

Publication Date: April 4, 2017 

Click on the link at the top of the review if you want to snag it from Amazon.

 

Gilded Cage

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I received this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review, which I am a couple of weeks late getting out!

There are two types of people in Britain (and the world); those with skill, the Equals, and those with none, Commoners.  Skill equals power, over nature and society.

Government is not what defines us, Chancellor. Nor is power.  Not wealth.  Skill is what defines us…

Ten years.  All Commoners are required to do ten years slavedays.  Ten years of serving the Equals as a slave.  Abi is lucky, she and her family will complete their decade on the estate of the most powerful Equal family.  She thought so anyway, until her younger brother Luke is sent to a slavetown instead.  The slavetown are factory neighborhoods, six day workweeks under brutal conditions.

Things aren’t what they seem.  The Equals aren’t known to be benevolent but are they entirely evil?  Will Abi and Luke do their time or will they dismantle the very foundations of Equal rule?

Your allies aren’t always who you think they are, Miss Matravers.  And neither are your enemies.

This book is in no way reinventing the wheel. The troupe isn’t new but it is interesting.  I’m keen on extraordinary powers and dystopia, this fits the bill.  I will definitely read the next book in the series.

Three stars.

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

 

Deliver Her

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I received this book from Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately I got this galley nearly a week after publication, so I didn’t have the time to get the book read and reviewed before publication.

Meg is a suburban mom dealing with suburban problems: a separation from her husband, a stressful job and the increasingly alarming behavior of her sixteen year old daughter, Alex.  Alex has been in a downward spiral since the death of her best friend and Meg is at the end of her rope.

They didn’t need another tragedy.

Unable to get her husband, Jacob, on board with the boarding school for troubled teens she has selected, she finds another way.  A “transporter” named Carl will take Alex to the school, to her fresh start.  It was a simple days journey, until it wasn’t.  Now Alex is missing.  Can they find her before the New England winter claims her?

Alex began to understand the miserable consequences of a bad decision.

This was an interesting read.  I liked the concept but found it very slow for my taste.  With the ever changing point of view I found that it dragged along too often.  Donovan is clearly a good writer, this one was just a bit off the mark for me.

Two stars.

Publication Date: May 1, 2016

True Born (True Born Triology #1)

true-born-epubI received this ARC from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

In this Dystopian society the plague is back with a vengeance and shows no signs of disappearing naturally or being cured. Dominion City is the last stronghold of Nor-Am, the center of what was once a powerful nation.  Life is all about survival for most, though for Lucy and Margot Fox, the twin daughters of one of Dominion’s most powerful men life goes on much the same as before.

By your eighteenth  birthday you’re supposed to know.  They’re supposed to tell you.  Splicer.  True Born.  Laster.

.The Lasters are living on borrowed time, just waiting for the plague to take them.  The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that involve splicing their DNA to stay a step ahead of the disease.  The True Borns are born resistant, with mutated genes that channel primitive changes in their DNA, from before we evolved into Homo Sapiens.

All that separates us, that poor woman and me, is an accident of birth.

As the Fox sisters approach their big reveal party their world is cast into chaos.  The Laster population is not just quietly dying out, they are making their presence know.  The True Born population their Splicer circle despises is suddenly on the scene, saving them from they don’t know what.  Nothing is as it seems, as it has always been.

…they’d let us die without ever telling us the truth.  Or, they would dangle it over our heads to force us into compliance.

 Lasters die, Splicers play God to save themselves and the True Borns are mutant shape-shifter freaks.  Right?  Suddenly Lucy isn’t so sure and she’ll do what it takes to keep her sister safe.  Dominion City isn’t what it seems.

Three Stars.

Expected Publication: May 3, 2016

Tell the Wind and Fire

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I received this ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group/Clarion Books in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book at a villa overlooking the Caspian Sea and I think that definitely set the mood that had me powering through this in a day.

With the discovery of light magic and that only some can wield it, New York City is split in two, Light New York and Dark New York.  Lucie was born in the dark, the daughter of a light magician father and mother from a family that uses dark magic.  Dark magic is evil, a necessary evil, or so they say.  After her life is completely upended, Lucie is accepted into the upper echelon of Light New York-but it comes with a price.

Once you lose something, it tends to stay gone.  This is especially true with chances.

The only thing that makes sense to Lucie in this new world is Ethan, her love for him and him for her sustains her as she remains haunted by the dark.

Maybe that is the only thing I have ever learned about love: love is when you save someone no matter what the cost.

When Ethan’s actions lead her back into the dark, Lucie must once again become the golden thread that lights his way back.  With dark magicians thirsty for blood, doppelgangers and an elite ruling council that controls everything, she can only hope her light is strong enough.

The only choice in the Light City or the Dark, was to be twisted or to break.

I enjoyed the book for what it was, but a more detailed review would betray the plot as the world-building was not quite as intricate as some of Brennan’s earlier work. I’m definitely a fan but this one didn’t quite reach the level of The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy for me.  About 25% of the way through I could see quite clearly how it would end, which would have been a disappointment had I really stopped to think about it.  As it stands I liked the book but I didn’t love it.

Three stars.

Expected Publication: April 5, 2016