College Survival Guide: You U by Rachael L. Thompson

Summary:

Perfect for Soon-To-Be Students, Current Students, & Parents

This semi-autobiographical book is filled with stories, advice, and lessons on how to avoid the top mistakes in college and set yourself up for success. Learn everything your school counselors, advisors, and parents do not tell you about college. Know which majors are regretted most by graduates and which ones lead to greatest success and satisfaction. Get advice on what you can do that will set you apart from 99% of your peers. And because we cannot talk about college without mentioning the party scene, get practical advice on topics your parents do not want to talk to you about.

The author bases all information on her personal experience, experiences of friends and family, and statistics from national collegiate studies. The conversational style talks to students, not at them, and shares both funny and scary true stories to illustrate lessons.

“I am sharing EVERYTHING I wish I knew when I was in school.”

Overall:

This semi-autobiographical details tips and pointers on how to survive college and come out the other side with a degree and a meaningful career path. I was actually impressed with the list of topic covered by the author. Having graduated with multiple higher education degrees in the last decade, I can attest I experiences and saw others suffer from many of the pitfalls pointed out in this read. The author has it right, it is perfect for students (current and soon to be) and there are pieces in there that parents could impart on their children. I wasn’t a fan of the thinly veiled curse words, but was overall impressed with the execution.

Rating

4 Stars

It was a pretty comprehensive coverage of college related subject matter. I felt that much of this was more of a healthy approach to life – not just school. I would have preferred if it had stayed more focused on school (especially near the end).

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Burner (Affinity Series, #1) by J.S. Lenore

Summary:

Homicide detective Kim Phillips isn’t like the other officers of the Chicago Police Department. She’s quiet, isolated, and she can speak with the dead. Born with the ability to see into and interact with the afterlife, she is a Burner: a person tasked with hunting down dangerous spirits and sending them to the other side.

When Kim exorcises the ghost of a young girl, she’s dragged into a new and unsettling case, one where people like Kim are being killed. The only problem? There’s no connection between the victims, and no proof that they were murdered in the first place. Kim has to catch the killer before he finds his last victim and unleashes an unknown evil on the world.

Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is a dark exploration of how life and death are only separated by a single breath and how even those with power can be powerless.

Characters

Kim is a bit of a mess, but in a charming way. Her stubborn, almost self destructive drive to make things right and do them her way, is perfectly balanced by Priya. Priya is a bonded ghost (like a supernatural partner) and a sweetie! Cross is a very distinct character and I loved him almost more than Kim. The author created wonderfully diverse characters that, despite their flaws, were easy to love and even relate to.

Plot

The author built a complex world with lots of mediums and types of mediums that is pretty easy to follow. It is confusing a few times in the first few chapters but I got into the grove. Found out there is a glossary in the back that confirmed everything I had figured out, I’d recommend taking a peak there first.

There is a complex detective story that was decent. I figured it out pretty quickly but mostly enjoyed the journey and the action. Boy was there a ton of great action! I also liked the building romance between her and her new human partner…you’ll see how cute they are and I hope to see more of them!

Overall

Wonderfully written. I loved the way the author started the book – right into the action. Besides some repeated paragraphs in the earlier chapters, it was nearly flawless. I wasn’t sure what the point of the random pictures were throughout the book and actually though they could all go because they were distracting.

Relate-able characters, great plot, easy to follow world in an urban setting, and a great balance of romance and action. The ghost scenes were awesome! I wasn’t bored and every word was written with economy. I was very impressed all the way around. I kept wanting to read what was happening next!

Rating

5 stars

I loved this book. I was initially drawn to it because it said it was like the Dresden Series – and it was in many ways – but there were a lot of unique factors that just had that edge. For sure will be looking for more from this author in the future! If you love ghost/supernatural detective stories this is a must read!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Lover in Hell: A Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal Romance by Dia Cole

Summary:

Ever since the Z-virus wiped out humanity, Eden spends her days rescuing animals from the undead and her nights avoiding Mike—the sexy alpha male soldier who wants to claim her for his own. He’s too intense, dominating, and overprotective—everything Eden doesn’t want in a man. Even worse, his smoldering gaze weakens her resolve to swear off men forever. But when a routine supply run goes horribly wrong, the unthinkable happens—Eden becomes infected. Now, trapped for the night with Mike, and with only twenty-four hours left to live, Eden must decide if she wants to die a virgin or experience mind-blowing passion in the arms of a man who would follow her to hell.

Overall:

This is a short story but the plot felt all romance. There are times I almost wanted to roll my eyes, but never quite did – this book walks that line. Eden is almost silly in her love of animals but actually in makes sense. In desperate times, it could see someone wanting to hold onto their humanity when the world goes to Hell. Mike was very much a strong male who wanted to continually protect Eden.

The writing style is interesting and very easy to read. I actually really enjoyed the author’s writing style. The zombies are creepy and the author does a great job weaving them in as a subplot. This book did leave me wanting…but almost too much. It just sort of ends abruptly, which felt like – ‘okay the romance is done…story over.’ That being said there were lots of hints of other issues that could be explored in a sequel (I won’t name them, but there were at least three that I found).

Rating

4 Stars

Easy to read in one sitting with action and steamy scenes…I only wish it hadn’t ended so abruptly.

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review. **As a complete side note…I don’t really like the cover…**

Legacy by Wilde Blue Sky

Summary

Why is Michael Holsmann, a right-wing thug, searching the German countryside for details of a flight that left Berlin on the 28th April 1945? Why are the neo-Nazis so interested in a struggling penniless artist called Peter Fritch? Read this tale of identity and betrayal to find out.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Characters

Michael is a single-minded jerk. Peter a spineless outcast. Most of the characters felt a little flat at first…mostly because they are described to you and not well rounded. That is until I started thinking of this more of a historical alternative, written in a more factual tone. My favorite character was Ola, because she was the catalyst and for other reasons that I can’t detail without giving the plot away.

Plot

I decided to try something different and boy is this different but also interesting. It is really important to remember this is a work of fiction. I don’t want to give too much away, but the entire premise is fascinating. I appreciated the way the author portrayed the characters, and built up the tension. I’m a pretty open minded person so the entire context, while could offend some, really was just showing that a certain way of thinking was self destructive and what can happen after a power is ousted.

Overall

The writing is dry, but consistently so. The characters took a while to form but they felt distinct after a while. A little over the top in their speech at time. My biggest problem was everyone seemed to talk out loud to themselves. Once or twice, okay, but there were more than 5 times that characters talked to themselves.

I also wasn’t sure the point of the last chapter. I would have preferred it if was just left off, like a mystery, but the last chapter sort of tied it up in a too perfect bow. That being said, the concepts and idealist views were well captured. I followed the logic, and illogical portions, of the characters beliefs. I could easily see it being a nod to what happens in other areas around the world – the old way doesn’t let go so easily. From segregation to political parties, change may come but not everyone changes. It is slow and it is hard. I appreciated that aspect of this story, it reminded me of this very idea.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded up)

It makes you think, what if? I always appreciate a story that makes you wonder. However, I struggled with some of the scenes and the writing was very textbook (informative, but flat). If you like alternative histories or even a ‘what if’ theory, this is a great read.

I received a copy in exchange of a honest review.

Hart of His (Cale & Mickey #2) by Annie Arcane

Summary

Moving in with Mickey Hart has taught me a few lessons.

523 square feet is really f*cking small. Sharing a bathroom is the worst idea ever when you’re a damn paraplegic. Never lie, no matter what. And one more thing…

I’m madly in love with this girl.

Warning: Strong language, mature content, drama, and angst included. Shirt sold separately.

This novella is an adult contemporary romance featuring a disabled hero who (still) happens to be a rich and sexy alpha male with a potty mouth.

Cale and Mickey: Book 2 of 4

Characters

It has been a while since I read the first book and it was nice to see Mickey and Cale again. They are very awesome flawed characters. Stubborn but sweet. Stupid but witty. Even with a second book, the characters stayed true to what I remembered about them and it was like meeting up with old friends and having them tell me what has been going on lately. I was also happy to see Cale’s brother has a few snippets in there too! Gotta love those sibling quibbles.

Plot

After the events of book 1, Cale and Mickey have moved in together. Life goes on but not without some bumps. That is what this book is all about: Bumps. Cale is still a butt-head and Mickey is still nearly unflappable. This is really about Cale coming to terms with what he wants for him and Mickey. He wants things a very specific way but Mickey isn’t going to just let him have his way – because, as previously stated, he is a butt-head.

Overall

The plot was a little jerky. I didn’t always follow what was happening from one chapter to another. At one point I was so confused that I went back and had to reread the end and the beginning – and I still wasn’t sure. Despite a few head scratches, the characters were wonderfully written. I found myself chuckling more than once. One of the many reasons why I finishing reading this is in just two days – most could probably do it in one.

Rating

4 Stars

This is a solid 4 stars. If you read the first book –  you will certainly enjoy the second one. If you haven’t read the first one but like the idea of this novella – go back – the first book was great!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Loved by a Killer by C.F. Rabbiosi

Summary

Raina loved performing upon the London stage, but one night she found herself dancing for only HIM. She froze, and looked to the balcony where the gaslights flickered dimly over his shadowy form. If only she had known that this beautiful monster would soon rip her away from everything in the world SHE EVER LOVED, perhaps she wouldn’t have lingered so long.

Lord Marcus Loxley loved being a blood thirsty predator, but one night his gallivanting brought him to his knees in front of HER. If only he had known what would happen when she danced, that she would remind him of someone who was everything in the world HE EVER LOVED, perhaps he would have turned away.

As he drags her deeper and deeper into his depraved world of torture and violence, she begins fighting her own darkness that threatens to consume her everyday. And oh, how it begs to be released. And though she knows it’s wrong, she desires her captor anyway.

Until she begins falling for someone else…

Meanwhile, prostitutes are being butchered in the streets and she begins to fear: Is her dark lover, the one she is bound to, The Ripper?

With an accurate account of the creepy, gaslit times of London and real Jack the Ripper crime scenes, LOVED BY A KILLER is an exciting read from start to finish. Warning: Hot sexual content and graphic gore. Language.

Characters

There are really two main characters: Raina and Marcus. Marcus is exactly what he is, without remorse, though he does try to change. He is a very depraved individual but that is somewhat to be expected from a very old vampire. I appreciated the complexity of the characters. Raina at times felt like a leaf on the wind. Being pulled this way and that until closer to the end where she takes a stab at making her own happiness.

There were lots of other POVs throughout the book, which was very confusing sometimes because they just changed suddenly. It was very confusing at times because I’d think I was following one character but then suddenly it is another character’s POV. The worse was between Marcus and Raina.

Plot

This book is filled with fascinating plot lines. The big problem was there were too many of them – which I normally like but not all of them felt necessary in this instance. They might be necessary later in the series but some of them wrapped up and kind of felt like they didn’t fit the rest of the story. That being said there were some awesomely described macabre scenes that were super epic. There is the main plot of Marcus wanting to possess Raina, Jack the Ripper, and all of his past coming back to haunt him.

Furthermore there were historical inaccuracies and verbiage that took me out of the era of the book. A ripe example is near the end she takes off her dress by using a zipper. Problem is the zipper wasn’t used widely in clothes until after the 1900s, but Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888.

Overall

I wasn’t sure if I liked this book. I really liked Raina and I was sucked in at the beginning but my interest quickly waned. This was partially because I found myself disliking both Marcus and Raina (although I warmed up to her closer to the end but never fully liked her again). I also felt some of the gore and scenes were unnecessary – like repeatedly making a point that was well done the first time. In the end the middle part of the book felt long. However, the sudden and unexpected change at the end was very rewarding.

Rating

3 Stars

Loved the beginning and loved the ending, but struggled through the middle. This book has a lot to offer, but needs some work and is not for the faint of heart. This is dark, but entertaining.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Themis by Paul Weil

**Cannot standalone**

Summary:

SARAH CASTLE is a young celebrity reporter from London who stumbles upon the mystery of twelve extraordinary teenagers. One of them is HENRY BAXTER, an eighteen year-old unknown runner who just won The London Marathon. She accepts a position as the public relations chief for their new charity—THE THEMIS FOUNDATION. Sarah experiences events that can only be described as supernatural; including a cottage that appears normal from the outside, but is infinitely large inside with doors that open all over the world. However, Sarah’s proximity to this extraordinary family might just get her killed. In THEMIS, Sarah discovers the family she desperately wants, a love she didn’t expect, and herself at the center of events that will change the destiny for all of humanity. Themis is the first part of a five book series that will take the reader on an adventure into ancient mythology, a fantastic mystery, and deep inside the most unusual family on Earth.

Characters
Sarah Castle is the main character…or at least I think she is supposed to be. There are so many characters, which normally I like, but I struggled with Themis because the back of the book only really talks about Sarah but she is almost non-existent in the second half of the book. Really there are twelve ‘main’ characters with other critical characters like Titus. The biggest problem I had was I didn’t really connect with any of the characters enough to be invested…which made them all a little flat.

The switching characters messed with me a few times because of some unexpected POV shifts where I wasn’t sure who was actually the main character in that chapter. Also there is this part where Sarah falls and I just went ‘are you serious right now?’ because it was painfully predictable and made me dislike Sarah a little…in many ways she never rebounded from that.

Plot

Absolutely loved the multi-faceted plot. I was curious where the story was going to go because of all the pieces and I could easily see some of the future threads. I could easily see this being made into a TV series and I’d totally watch it. The first book was chock full of plot threads that I found absolutely fascinating. It is a really slow read in a few parts but I actually enjoyed the depth most of the time. A downside is the action scenes left me scratching my head a few times –  some of the movements happening in the matter of seconds seemed excessively fast. Also some of the scenes seemed over the top (the gore and sequences).

Overall

I enjoyed the writing but there were some noticeable editing errors – particularly in the second half of the novel. I also found myself somewhat bored during some parts because the writing was too drawn out and excessive but this was due to my inability to connect with the characters and not the writing or the plot. That being said the settings were brilliantly executed and even with the shifting places the reader gets to visit were painted in such a way that I could easily envision them. The complex plot was fascinating, but some of the action was jarring and not fleshed out.

My favorite part of the book was how the author could drop hints about what was coming and really get me interested in what was going to come next with the story. Overall the real issue of the book for me was the lack of cohesion of the individual character plots and the underdeveloped characters that all of a sudden became really important near the end, but were a footnote in the first half of the book. It really left me scratching my head.

***SPOILER***

Don’t read this unless you want a spoiler, but I felt that there were some clear threads with the Terminator movie. Now that can be a good thing or a bad things but the main character being a Sarah really reminded me of Sarah Connor and not just her name. There were a lot of facts that fit into that similar plot thread that I quickly figured out where this whole thing was going to go by the end of the book, especially after she ‘connected’ with the reluctant leader. I say this hoping that Sarah Castle becomes as awesome as Sarah Connor did, either way it struck a cord with me.

***SPOILER OVER***

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

I really want to give this 4 stars, but between the flaws and the fact that I think I would only recommend this to a select few people, I’m stuck at 3 stars. To give it that extra edge though, I’m going to add the 0.5 because I actually would consider reading the second book. In the end a highly complex but enjoyable plot with characters I struggled to connect with.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Small side note only for this blog but I really dislike the cover of this book – I feel like it doesn’t capture what this book is about at all and undervalues how good it is.