The Society


I received this book from Netgalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC in exchange for an honest review.

This is a revenge plot.  That much is clear from the very beginning and you won’t forget it for even a solitary chapter.  Sam had it all; a well-to-do upbringing, a posh private school education and  the sort of best friend that ensures social standing.  That all changes when said best friend, Jessica, betrays her.  Now her father is in prison, her mother  has passed her off on an aunt who seems more and more out of it these days and now she really only has one friend (Jeremy).

How do you explain the culmination of years of torment?  Everyone has a breaking point, and I’d reached mine.

This is her senior year and she has vowed to make Jessica and her cronies pay.  She meets a mysterious bad-boy in the process and begins to lose herself in him and her plot.  Trinity Academy has “The Society”, its little version of Skull and Bones and Sam has her own little initiates to exact her revenge…will she succeed?

It took me a really long time to read this, mostly because it was so predictable.  I just couldn’t quite get into it.  As for the writing, it was sound, just nothing special.  I did appreciate the Author’s Note about bullying at the end.  Bullying in schools is a real problem, one we as a society should take seriously.  As a first grade teacher I show zero tolerance for it, and I hope we all do our parts.

Two Stars.

Expected Publication: May 3, 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


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

Hellraisers (The Devil’s Engine #1)


I received this book from Netgalley and Farror, Straus and Giroux (BYR) in exchange for an honest review.

After six weeks of radio silence (you can blame regular exams+finals week for my first graders for that) I have to say, this one was different.

Marlow Green is a kid on the tail end of his last chance.  He’s expelled from school almost as often as he changes his clothes.  The world is out to get him, everything is out of his control.

Charlie was right.  For someone who couldn’t jog ten paces without reaching for his inhaler, Marlow did a hell of a lot of running.  Not sprinting, not jogging, not running a marathon.  No, his kind of running was the other kind.  He never ran toward anything, he ran away from everything.”

Enter the action-a secret group of hellraisers, literally.  A society dedicated to fighting off demons and sending them back below.  There is a machine, actually there are two.  These mysterious engines offer ultimate power and united they will bring hell on earth.

It was human nature to avoid evil, a warning signal in the blood and right now that warning was blaring like a siren.

Marlow may not be much out in the world but as a hellraising Engineer he finds his place in it.  With Pan, Herc, the lawyers, an enigmatic boss and a motley crew of brethren Marlow takes on evil and all hell follows, literally (St. Patrick’s Church in New York is leveled).

Death was stalking him, hovering over his shoulder, just out of sight.  And death was the least of his worries, too.  Because where he was going the fires burned way hotter than this.

I found this book to be quite interesting.  While a bit slow at times, I kept on reading it in spurts as time permitted.  The last part (it was written in three) was the most fast-paced and interesting but the overall plot kept me coming back for more.  I look forward to what our ragged cast of heroes do in the next installment.  Fire and brimstone can’t win, right?

Four stars.

Publication Date: December 1, 2015

The Lost Girl (Fear Street)


I received this ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

Fear Street, the series of my childhood.  How could I turn down the chance to read and review the latest installment?!  R.L. Stine continues to prove he’s still got “it” and it isn’t going anywhere. Now that I’m no longer eight years old I breezed through this in under two hours, telling myself just one more chapter the entire way.  I absolutely loved it.

Michael Frost is your average high school senior in the suburb known as Shadyside.

Everyone in Shadyside knew about the Fear Mansion, which was owned by the weird family the street was named after.

Even after all this time just the mere reference to the Fear’s gives me the willies.  Michael is living an uneventful life.  He’s got great parents, friends and is on his way to Duke University in the fall.  Enter a beautiful yet odd new girl in town and some strange happenings and you have just another day in Shadyside.

Will Michael and his friends be yet more names added to the long list of Feat Street victims?  Buy the book and find out.

Run, I told myself.  Turn around and run.

Five Stars.

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Hard To Fight


I received this ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

Once again I’m late (19 days post publication) with this review!  Over the summer I blamed my travels but this time I blame moving to Kurdistan two weeks ago.  The expat life is no joke.  I digress.

This book is exactly what it looks like; this is a formulaic bad boy meets good girl love story.  Raide Knox is definitely the kind of bad boy I can get behind, even if I found the heroine (Gracie) a little annoying at times.  Raide is a bad boy with a mission, on a path of revenge destined for sure destruction.  Gracie is a bounty hunter who spends far too much time worrying about how no one takes her seriously…I wouldn’t take her seriously either, she whines too much!  When she goes after Raide, Gracie finds that her first big take down is anything but easy. This is a cute little read, especially if you don’t mind a little smut.  Expect a HEA, even if it was a little too tidy.

Three stars.

Perfect Betrayal

perfect betrayal

I received this ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

This is Season Vining’s third book, and my third ARC, and I think it’s safe to say the writing is sound.  Mix an unlikely couple, a dramatic event and expect a HEA.

Levi is a young maintenance man from a solidly blue collar background.  Taylor is the spoiled daughter of a millionaire.  The two cross paths and hearts.

She refused to believe that nothing good could stay.  If that was the case, then what the hell was life all about?  What was the purpose of finding happiness only to know it’ll be ripped from you?  After surviving childhood and adolescence, Taylor was holding out for something better.  And she was willing to fight for it.

Is Levi the diamond in the rough he appears to be?  Is Taylor as vapid as she does?

Read and find out.  You won’t find anything inventive but you will find a story that can keep you occupied during a camping trip.  I’ll definitely take any ARC with Season’s name on it.

Three stars.



I received this book from Random House Publishing Group – Del Rey Spectra in exchange for an honest review.

I started this book a few weeks ago, then life happened.  My sister had a baby, then she got sick and so between hospital time and the general stuff I do when I’m visiting home after a year overseas I got bogged down.  Enter a week out in the woods camping and I picked this back up.  I immediately regretted not powering through it.  What a read it was!

Scott Sigler is an author who had been unknown to me until I read this book.  I have quickly begun to think of him as some kind of literary sleeping giant.  I went in with no idea what this book was about, having read no reviews, nothing.  I was STILL shocked.  This book is almost impossible to review.  Impossible because at the end the author included a note asking readers to keep the plot to ourselves.  I can’t even really share my thoughts without betraying the plot.

A girl wakes up in a coffin.  She remembers nothing, not even her name.  Her mind is a sieve, memories just scraps of images and voices she can’t place.

I don’t remember who I am or what I was, but in my heart I know nothing I did before could possibly make me feel this alive.

She’s not alone.  Things are not alright.  She needs to do something…

That voice in my head stirs, the one that says crying doesn’t fix anything, the one that told me to always attack.  It’s a man’s voice, swirling up from somewhere in my hidden memories.  It says, choices have consequences.  The voice is right.

Read this book.  Tell your friends to read this book.

4 stars.

As Night Falls

as night falls

Once again I am seriously late (over two weeks after publication) with this review.  I came home from my year in China last month and have been a combination of busy and lazy since.  It took me over a month to finish this gem.  Apologies to the publisher!

I received this ARC from Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.

GPS, satellites.  People could watch things from the sky, or from the objects small enough to fit in a pocket.  Their possessions.  Their children.  Themselves.

Sandy leads an idyllic life; gorgeous new home on a beautiful piece of land, a career as a therapist, dutiful and hardworking husband and intelligent and pretty daughter.  At first glance there is little worthy of a second glance.  This all changes when two strangers are blown in with a snowstorm.  These men are dangerous, posing a threat to the very carefully crafted life Sandy has built for herself.  Can she outsmart the men on the run?  Does she want to?

Therapists didn’t use physical means to encourage people.  They had other techniques.

I really enjoyed this one.  It was very slow at first but after the first 20% or so I was drawn in.  I pored over it on a flight, highlighting interesting sentences and pondering Milchman’s writing style.  I don’t often read suspense and I’m even less often unaware of what’s happening as late as I was with this one.  I definitely plan to go back and read her previous novels.  I took something away from this one, sometimes what’s buried is more dangerous than we think.

The knowledge, putrid and buried for so long, was somehow liberating.  It was like the moment you finally allowed yourself to be sick, then lay back afterward, panting and sweaty and emptied.

Four stars.

The Field Trip

The Field Trip

I snagged this ARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book was described as “An adventure mixed with a touch of fantasy.  Add a twist of love.” on the author’s website and I think this holds true.  The Field Trip was a breezy read, something I would recommend on a plane ride or commute to work.

Ross-our protagonist-is a Botany professor preparing for a research trip that will take him away from home for several weeks.  He’s a bit socially awkward (in an almost cliché manner, he is a 30-something professor after all) and very pleased at his change of luck with women when one of his attractive female students takes an interest in him.  She is not what she seems and Ross realizes that rather quickly.  Being a bumbling, socially awkward sort, far too much time is devoted to his inner turmoil about the relationship before he sets off on his trip.  Long story short, Ross meets a strange woman and has an almost inescapable desire to help her do…whatever she urgently needs to do, no explanations offered.  Ross the awkward professor becomes Ross the chivalrous hero.  Insert shady happenings in the scenic woods, a strange pet and a dash of…

her presence had a magnetic pull so powerful that releasing her was as incomprehensible at that moment as not breathing.

I enjoyed this story for what it was, though the plot is thin enough at times to fall right through it to the conclusion.  I’m not complaining, sometimes I enjoy a short, obvious read.  I will definitely read R.A. Andrade’s next release.

Three stars.