Thursday, August 20, 2015

Firefly (Ice Born: Book One) by P.M. Pevato

Book received in exchange for an honest review.

Most residents of the quiet alpine town of Snow Valley would scoff at the idea of witches in their midst, yet a deadly war rages beneath the surface as witch hunters stalk the local coven.
The hunted—a coven of teen witches just emerging into their full talents
The hunters—a family of immortal witch hunters assigned to assimilate, infiltrate, and eliminate the coven.
Teenage witch Emeranne Goode, or Ems, has a recurring dream in which she follows her beloved fireflies as they shimmer and dance toward the forest. She finds a boy, lying on the ground but sees only his gray eyes glowing a silvery sheen at night.
Witch hunter Bennett Bassett remembers nothing of his mortal life. Torn between his human values, buried deep within, and his heartless duties as a witch hunter, Bennett and his family hold the fate of the Snow Valley Coven in t
heir hands.
Ems and Bennett’s growing affection for one another is doomed from the start: she is the hunted and he is the hunter. Can they survive impossible odds and opposing forces, forces determined to keep them apart?
In the tiny alpine Village of Snow Valley, the dark forest holds many secrets, secrets of unsolved murders and shocking betrayals.
The first book in an exciting series, Secrets of Snow Valley, Firefly peels away the layers of secrets hidden within the sleepy little alpine valley to reveal the dark histories and solve the even darker mysteries that lie beneath the surface and pit the coven and their protectors against the witch hunters.

Pic and description from
My Review

 What I Liked:
Emeranne: She is a great lead character.  Just the right amount of snarky and sweet and I love that.  I can't stand characters that are too much one way or the other.  If they are too sweet it isn't realistic enough, because honestly is there any girl out there that is just overly sweet all of the time?  Then if they are too snarky they are just bratty and I want to smack them.  Unfortunately I know girls like this and no one wants to be around them so why would anyone want to read about them.  With Emeranne you get a character that feels real.

Not So Much:
Bennett:  I almost put Bennett under the 'liked' section.  Let me explain.  Bennett is a sweet character.  He has this boy-next-door feel which is charming and lovable.  That is the problem.  While I do love the boy-next-door character, Bennett is definitely not supposed to be that way.  He has an awful past where he has murdered people because that is what his kind are supposed to do.  I feel like he character would have been a bit better if he had a bit more of the 'bad boy trying to go good' feel.
Depth: This book seemed a bit rushed and to me it often felt like the story was skimmed over in many places.  If you like to read books that are shorter without a lot of meat to the story then this is a fun read.  I just prefer a little more when I read.  This is definitely not a knock on the author!  Tons of people love novellas and shorter novels.  This is just my preference. 
Too much witchcraft: I don't usually have an issue with magic, witchcraft, etc, as long as it is more of a....pretend magic story, like Harry Potter.  In this book the kids in the coven use spirit boards and in depth rituals.  This was just a bit much for me.  Again just personal opinion.

Parent's Guide:
This book is great for teens if you don't have issues with witchcraft as a theme.  There is no swearing or adult content.

My Rating

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Witches Protection Program by Micheal Phillip Cash

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review

Wes Rockville, a disgraced law enforcement agent, is given one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he's reassigned to a 232 year old secret government organization. The Witches Protection Program. His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar Cosmetics company’s diabolical plan of using witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in both witches and himself. Filled with adventure, suspense and a rousing good time, Michael Phillip Cash creates a tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern day New York City.

Pic and description from

My Review

What I Loved: 
Amazing story concept:  Such a unique story idea! I almost didn't ask to review the book because I am not into cop stories.  Don't think I am horribly sexist but most cop books are geared to men.  This book is not a traditional crime book with cops, guns and bad guys.  While it does have those things the author tossed witches in to the mix.  I loved it!
Morgan:  She is a great female lead.  A mirror opposite of the main villain in the story; sweet and kind but also spunky.  Her whole world is turned upside down and she stays strong and meets the craziness of her life head on. 
The villains:  Wow!  This author has written some great villains.  Not sure what to think that they are all women though (just kidding!).  If you love a good villain like I do you will love the ones in this book.
Wes:  Great male lead!  He is cute but not cocky, which I love because I can't stand the male characters that are good looking and completely stuck on themselves.  He had problems growing up and since most of us didn't have a perfect childhood he is totally relatable.
Not So Much:
Too short:  The only thing I disliked about this book is that it was too short!  I would have loved to see a little more story development.  I love being able to get in to the character's heads just a little more.
Parent Guide:
This book is appropriate for high school and older.  There is one female character that makes a pass at another female character, but it isn't overtly sexual.  There is a little swearing but amazingly no sex.  Hooray!  Not an easy thing to find anymore so kudos to the author.

My Rating

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Remember by Shannon Dermott

ARC Review

When sixteen year old Charlize finds herself unmistakably lost in the forest with no memory how she got there, it was easy for her to assume the angel face boy who saves her was there to. But little did she know that couldn’t be further from the truth.

With a brush of death, she finds new reasons to live after the unexplained death of her father. Her only regret in last three years was letting the one boy she could have loved get away.

Plunged into a world not of her making, there are those that will hunt her, a foe that calls her Little Queen, and her torn heart. Most of all, she will have to remember and face her memories if she is to survive.

My Review

What I Loved: 
The guys:  Remember the whole book boyfriend thing I talked about?  This book has two!  Peter is the dark, mysterious bad boy.  Tattoos and piercings but an amazingly sweet guy underneath it all.  Then there is Adam.  The best friend, loyal and all-American guy.  Both of these guys are great and Charlie has to choose between them.  Not an easy decision when one of them will end up hurt and half her heart will be broken.
Charlize (Charlie):  Love this girl!  She was raised to be tough and independent and to stand on her own two feet.  These are the kinds of girls I love to see as the lead characters in books.  I am a firm believer that while dreaming about Prince Charming is great, our girls should be taught to be like Charlie and not be waiting around for a guy to come and save them.
Mystery:  The author does a great job of having just enough mystery in the story to keep you hooked.  It drives me crazy when authors build so much mystery in to the story and then give nothing away.  Luckily, in this book you get enough clues and answers that you won't go completely batty.

Not So Much:
Twilight-esque:  This part is a bit of a spoiler so be warned.  Charlie is caught between two guys; one a vampire, one a shifter.  While it is a completely different story it still resembles Twilight. Although, in the author's defense there are only so many options when writing about a paranormal love triangle.  I just got a little bored with all the vampire/shifter books that rode the coattails of Twilight.
Editing!:  So...My daughter calls me a Grammar Nazi and I have to say it is a bit true.  Because of that I try to be a bit lenient about editing when I read books.  This book just had so many issues it almost appeared as if it had never been edited.  It drove me a bit crazy and I probably wouldn't have read the entire book if the story hadn't been so great.

Parent Guide:
This book is appropriate for high school and older. I would not recommend it to kids younger than that.  Take in to account that it does contain vampires and shifters, so there is some death.  Most is a direct result of keeping Charlie safe but it may still be disturbing for younger readers.  There is also some talk about sex.  Nothing graphic or nearly as bad as the things I hear in the hallways of my kids' schools but still there.

My Rating

The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy

ARC Review 
Publication date: August 15, 2015
 16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

Description and book pic from Goodreads

My Review

What I Loved: 
Aurora:  She is a great character.  I love that the author makes her so realistic.  Many times in books authors will make teen characters a little over the top; either super complacent (which teens just aren't) or so bratty you can't stand them (which luckily most aren't).  Aurora is just the right mix, a little snarky and head-strong but an overall good kid.
Rafe:  So many readers of the female persuasion are completely captivated by what we refer to as our 'book boyfriends'.  There is just something girls love about great male characters that sweep the female lead off their feet and Rafe is a great example of this. A man of mystery, amazing fighter and totally committed to Aurora.  If only it were that simple!  Not giving anything away though so read the book!

Not So Much:
Harry Potter: So I know that the plot line is completely different from Harry Potter but I just couldn't help but get that same sort of vibe when Aurora enrolls in the magic school.  It could be that I would feel the same way about any book featuring a magic school since I loved all the Harry Potter books.  Who knows?
More depth:  The plot is great and the writer is amazing but I wished that there had been a little more depth to the story.  It almost had more of a novella or serial feel (which for the record I do not enjoy) instead of a novel.  The author skimmed over so much potential story, especially with Aurora's time at school.  I like to really get in to the character's heads and understand the reasons behind what they do in the story and I just didn't get that in this book. 

Parent Guide:
This book is great for middle school ages and up.  No swearing or adult themes.  It is a typical story of good versus evil and the evil queen uses dark magic so that may need to be taken in to consideration as I know there are some parents that do not allow their kids to read about magic.

My Rating

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ignited (Unclaimed #2) by Laurie Wetzel

ARC Review
Expected publication date: August 3rd 2015

After surviving an attack from a demon that killed her friend, Maddy Page thought the worst was over.
It’s not.
Word is spreading through the supernatural world about Maddy, the mortal girl with rare gifts. Some want to use her powers; others want to destroy her. One wants to protect her—her boyfriend, an angel named MJ.
MJ knows that the demon that attacked Maddy was sent to collect her by someone very powerful. Someone he has tried and failed to stop before. MJ can’t beat him, but he will do whatever it takes to keep Maddy safe, even if it means turning his back on his own kind. 

Picture and book description from
My Review

What I Loved: 
Justin:  He is an horrible character that was introduced in the Unclaimed.  He was kind of creepy and disturbing in the first book but it this book he literally mad my skin crawl.  In Ignited he is truly evil and stalks Maddy through the whole book.  He believes that he loves her but it is just obsession and she just can't find a way to get away from him.  Absolutely one of the best book villains I have come across.
Mystery:  I had a ton of questions at the end of book one and was hoping that I would be able to get some answers in book two.  Didn't happen. In fact I think I have more questions now.  It certainly makes me anxious to get my hand on the next book.  The author did a great job of giving just enough info to get you hooked in to the story while holding out important info to insure readers will want the next book.
Maddy: When I reviewed the first book I complained that Maddy was too whiny and self-loathing, and boy was she!  In this book  she was so much better about not hating on herself and not nearly so whiny.  Thank heavens!  I actually really like Maddy in this book.  Her life is crazy but she is starting to remember the person she used to be and not let her circumstances send her in to self doubt and insecurities. I am hoping that she will eventually go back to the self confident, kick-butt girl she used to be!
Not So Much:
?:  So this was hard.  I didn't absolutely love this book but I really can't say why.  The only thing I can think of is that maybe it is because of how dependent Maddy is on MJ.  It is great how much they love each other but Maddy seriously needs him touching her to feel complete.  I get that it is an important part of the story line but I wish it wasn't quite so extreme.   While I am far from a feminist, I also don't like girls getting the message that they cannot be complete without a guy in their lives.  Girls need to be told they are enough on their own.  Maybe I just couldn't get passed this enough to rate it higher.

Parent Guide:
The book by default could be considered disturbing by some parents since it is about angles and demons.  That said there are only a few things parents should be aware of.  I already mentioned the first thing above.  The scene containing the murder is disturbing but not graphic.  There is also a scene in which a demon is compelling a human to do something they would never do normally.  There is also possession, not The Exorcist type of possession but where a spirit takes over a body to experience life.  The spirit doesn't do anything bad but it is still possession.

My Rating


Monday, June 29, 2015

Unclaimed by Laurie Wetzel

Abandoned by her birth parents and ignored by her adoptive family, Maddy Page believes she is unlovable. She only allows herself to dream of falling in love. That changes when she meets MJ; handsome and kind, MJ penetrates Maddy's defenses. Maddy soon finds herself confiding in MJ like she has with no one else, revealing secrets even her closest friends don't know. He makes her feel safe--a feeling she's never experienced except in her dreams.

When Maddy witnesses MJ disappear and reappear in thin air, she realizes she might have been wrong about him. He could be dangerous--maybe even a killer. Determined to uncover the truth of who--or what--MJ is, Maddy ignores her instinct to run. But she soon realizes that getting close to MJ could cost more than a broken heart--it could cost Maddy her soul.

Book picture and description from

My Review

   I know this may come as a shock but this review is for a book that I actually purchased.  I know the other reviews here have been for books I was given to review.  It may seem that I only read these free books but the truth is that I read a ton of books that I purchase myself but because they are mostly mass market books I haven't bothered to review them.  I have decided to add reviews for all of the books that I read, partly in hopes that I can share other wonderful books with you but also because I am finding that I have read so many books I don't always remember the particulars of those books unless they are exceptional and I would like to be able to look back at what I have read and remember more than I would on my own.
   I actually bought this book because I signed up to read the second book in this series and found that there was just too much I was missing to really lose myself in the story.  This first book was a fun read.  The story isn't too unique. There are several books, especially lately, that fall in to the paranormal romance genre. Vampire, werewolves, angles.  There is only so much an author can do to make the story unique when writing in this genre. That being said I have to admit that I am a sucker for these stories and even though this story isn't unique it is still a great read.
   I loved most of the characters.  They were very relatable.  My favorite is definitely MJ.  What girl isn't a sucker for an amazing guy?  Especially one that always knows the right things to say and continually saves the love of his life.  Despite liking the characters I did have a bit of a hard time dealing with Maddy.  She is always down on herself and always thinks the worst.  I understand teen angst, I really do, but hers was a bit over the top. She finds a great guy...she hates on herself, she finds out she is special...she hates on herself, etc.  The only time she isn't hating on herself is when she is physically touching MJ because he has the power to fill her with peace, but the second he lets go the self hate begins again.  While I get the need for it as part of the plot (don't want to give away too much) but I just wish that Maddy wasn't so negative.  Maybe once I read book two I will understand a little better and it won't bug me as much.
   The author does a great job with building the mystery around Maddy.  She has several protectors that keep an eye on her and try to hide her from both Heaven and Hell.  Both sides would love to control her powers.  What are you supposed to do when both sides will do her harm?  I love that the side that is supposed to be inherently good isn't able to be trusted.  After all Lucifer began in Heaven only to fall because of his desires.  What is to stop others from following in his footsteps?  Luckily Maddy is unknowingly surrounded by beings trying to protect her, even if they aren't traditionally the 'good guys'.   The problem is that there are always questions surrounding the motives of these protectors.  Hopefully they are just wanting to be there for Maddy and hopefully the second book will answers these and many other questions.
My Rating

   I would have rated this a 5 if not for Maddy's over-the-top self hatred.

Parents Guide:  There is a small bit of swearing but nothing bad.  The book does have some disturbing scenes related to the demon that is after Maddy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, this breathtaking story of love and loss is guaranteed to break your heart and sweep you off your feet.

When high school senior Kelsey's identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn't know about the tragedy is Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can't bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister.

As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can't deny that she's falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn't want.

Picture and  description from

My Review
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
  I wasn't sure what to think when I began reading this book.  I thought the description sounded very intriguing but I really have a hard time with lying.  I don't like liars and so I really wasn't sure how I would respond to this book.  That being said I tried to go in to the book without any biases. 
  Right from the beginning I fell in love with the characters in this book.  It starts by showing the dynamics between twin sisters, Kelsey and Michelle.  While they may be eerily identical they could not be more different in every other way.  Kelsey is popular, a phenomenal dancer and in to all things social.  Michelle is an artist, in to the environment and not in to the social scene at all.  The two sisters definitely have a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship.  Then suddenly Michelle is gone and Kelsey's whole world is turned upside down.
   The author nails Kelsey's grief spot on.  You can feel her horror, guilt and sorrow at loosing half of herself and her identity.  Most of us have lost someone in our own lives but I cannot imagine how it would feel to lose a twin.  The ties between twins are so much most entwined than those of us that are not twins can only imagine.  The author does such a good job at portraying Kelsey's grief that I actually felt my heart breaking in some points in the book.  Be forewarned will need tissues while reading this book!
    After losing her sister Kelsey makes a huge mistake.  When she connects with Michelle's boyfriend, who is a soldier serving in Afghanistan, she decides to pretend to be Michelle.  Why would she do this?  Her reason is noble.  Peter is struggling as a new soldier in a war zone.  We have all heard of the horrors and stress that our soldiers face while in Afghanistan.  While Kelsey is talking to Peter on Skype she sees he is haunted, and when he tells her that she (Michelle) is the only thing that keeps him going Kelsey can't bring herself to tell him that Michelle is dead.  I would probably have done the same thing.  Our soldiers need something to hope for to keep them going and Peter needed Michelle.  That being said, Kelsey takes it a bit too far when for months she keeps up the lie.  She even travels over seas to join him on leave and never tells him the truth.  Kelsey comes to realize that she needs Peter as much as he needs her.
   So what happens when Peter finally finds out the truth?  You will have to read the book to find out! I hope you will love it as much as I did!

 My Rating

I'm Back!

So I took a long break from blogging.  That doesn't mean that I stopped reading (heaven forbid!) but just that life got in the way.  With kids and work and a hubby, all of which I love, life is a bit crazy and some things get pushed to the side.  Now that school is out for the summer I am hoping that I can get back in to the swing of blogging.  I really do love books and I love sharing my thoughts on them. In real life I am pretty shy and don't talk to a ton of people so even if no one reads this blog it is cathartic for me.  I have always been better at expressing myself in writing than in every day conversation.  Hopefully someone out there in the ether of the internet will gain something from my blogging and find at least a few new books or authors to fall in love with.