Book Review: Last Alpha

cover-review-last alphaTitle: Last Alpha

Author: Ruby Fielding

Genre: Romance, Suspense, Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves

Rating: 3 (2.5) Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

He never wanted to fall in love. She never planned to let him. Jenny Layne has made a career out of investigating werewolf reports, but every case has only confirmed that shapeshifters are the stuff of legend or madness. Until now. Lured to a remote Scottish estate to meet a researcher working on the science behind the werewolf phenomenon, Jenny finds steadily mounting evidence that something strange is running wild in the hills.

Billy Stewart has traveled the world in pursuit of stories of shapeshifters and other strange phenomena, but the last thing he ever expected to find was love. Billy is not a man who falls easily, but when he does, it is a force of nature. When he meets Jenny he knows immediately that she is his soulmate, but Jenny is not so sure. Are his intense feelings for her just some kind of insanity, or is Jenny turning him away because that’s exactly what she always does when a guy gets interested?

By turns passionate romance and gripping paranormal thriller, Last Alphatells the story of two people whose paths collide with earth-shattering consequences. As love boils over and the dark secrets buried away in Jenny and Billy’s past rise to the surface, a night of murder raises the stakes yet higher.

And as she fights for her own survival, Jenny must face perhaps the biggest question of them all. In matters of life, death and love, can Beauty ever really hope to tame the Beast?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I wanted so very badly to like this book. Parts of it, I found exceptionally well written… and other parts, lacked. As far as the technical side of the writing went, it was nearly flawless. I spotted less than a handful of noticeable errors throughout the text. For the most part, the writing was spot on. There wasn’t an overabundance of awkward sentences, misspelled words, or formatting errors.

The plot was interesting and packed full of suspense. It was obvious that the author put a lot of thought into the details of the plot and the character development. The world building was spot on… I found it fascinating. The problem is… I was also bored. The pacing of the story dragged on at a pace that made it hard to keep my interest. The tension was missing for me, and the romance, with the exception of some pretty steamy  sex scenes, was lukewarm. The characters barely knew each other and fell in love at a pace that seemed unrealistic given the obstacles to their relationship.

Overall, the book was a bit of a mixed bag. I loved the characters, the suspense, and the mystery. I loved the world building, the detail, plot, and setting… I just wasn’t enthralled by the writing. This didn’t feel like a romance. It felt like a dark suspense/mystery with a side element of romance thrown in as an afterthought—and that’s wonderful if that’s what you want to read, but it’s not what the book promised. I ended up giving this book  3 stars. I didn’t really like it, and, to be honest, I could have put it down several times and been okay with that decision. It wasn’t an awful book, it just wasn’t what I thought I was getting, and in the end, it just wasn’t to my tastes.

If you’re a fan of dark, suspenseful paranormal plots, you’re probably going to like this book. If you’re looking for a paranormal romance though, you may not enjoy this book as much as you were expecting.

Book Review: Defiance

cover-review-defianceTitle: Defiance [Significance 3]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the third installment of the Significance series, we begin with Maggie and Caleb in the clutches of a new enemy; the Virtuoso council. Not only do they have to deal with the consequences of taking the lives of the Watsons and the council attempting to take Maggie away to keep their precious Visionary safe, but they must deal with Marla as well. All are determined to undermine, control and use Caleb and Maggie’s rare gifts for their own uses, some wish to destroy them entirely. Then Maggie’s father and Bish are threatened but the council forbids the presence of humans. Peter and the family fight and stand beside them every step of the way to save Maggie’s father, to keep Caleb and Maggie together when the corrupted council is so set on keeping them apart and to stop Marla and whatever she has up her sleeve. Then Maggie has the shock of her life when she discovers something about her real father. It may change everything for everyone. Stay tuned as the story continues.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Defiance, by Shelly Crane, was a great addition to the Significance series. While the first book lacked a lot of tension and drama between Caleb and Maggie, the further I’ve gotten into the series, the more tension seems to arise—and I love it! What started as an instant love relationship between two teenagers has become a full on, real relationship, complete with all the messes that seem to inherently stem from them.

As with the previous books, I found that Caleb and Maggie made a fantastic couple. Their relationship isn’t perfect—they still fight and have doubts despite the paranormal aspect of their bond, but regardless all the drama, it is easy to tell that they belong with one another. It was nice to see a couple that fits so perfectly together.

As far as the technical aspect of the book went… well, I’ll be honest: the editing left something to be desired. The book contained multiple misspelled words, missing words, punctuation mistakes, and other typos. That being said, the typos were relatively small, and, for the most part, not jarring to the story. Otherwise, both the narrative and the dialog were well put together, flowed at a decent paste, and were easy to understand.  The writing wasn’t bad… it just needed to be cleaned up.

I think my favorite part of the book though, was watching Maggie come into her powers as the Visionary. Throughout this series, Maggie’s been pushed and pulled through her new life as Caleb’s significant other. From the very beginning, she’s accepted who she’s meant to be and didn’t put up much of a fight. It was nice to see that change as the story wore on. Yes, she did step up and take over the role she was supposed to play… but she did it her way, and she didn’t let anyone tell her what to do. I enjoyed watching her finally step up and stand up for herself, as well as for the rest of the Aces.

Overall, I loved the book. It was a solid edition to the Significance series, and I’m glad I read it. I’m excited to move further into this series. If you like paranormal YA romances, you’ll probably enjoy this series. If the first book doesn’t grab you, give the second or third  try.

Temporary Hiatus

Le sigh. I don’t want to go on hiatus, but it seems I have been given little choice. My brand new computer has been having various problems since I bought it—it seemed to have had the worst quality check person ever in existence.

My husband and I bought ours at the same time, from the same company… his came in perfect working order and has no problems… mine on the other hand… well, has lots of them. It came straight out of the box with the DVD drive and card reader out of place, and not working. Windows was glitched and not installed correctly, and now it seems that my hard drive is dying. I’ve had numerous blue screens of death over the last few days, and it’s gotten to the point where I can hardly even keep my computer on and working long enough to leave this message. So, we’re planning on shipping it back (under warranty) to the place we bought it from in the hopes they’ll replace the failing pieces and get it back to me. Unfortunately, that may be in a few weeks.

So for now, I’m on hiatus. I won’t be able to update my blog until my computer is shipped back. Meanwhile, I’ll hover over an old fashioned notebook and work on my writing, and try not to die of boredom. I hope to be back to writing reviews shortly. I hope to see you all very soon!

Book Review: Accordance

cover-review-accordanceTitle: Accordance [Significance 2]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the sequel, Maggie learns much more about all the strange things that happened to her, and has to face new ones. She rebels against it, but ultimately, must face it for her new families sake and maybe even her life. Bish went from being her biggest supporter to her biggest pain in the butt and Kyle’s intentions to attract her interest may not be so innocent. Caleb and Maggie face many new obstacles together and fight to work through them but will one that should be a good thing be too much for Maggie to handle?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

After quickly reading through the first book in the Significance series, I went ahead and picked up the second, Accordance, right away. I was a little worried going into this story that I wouldn’t like it as much as the first book; it’s pretty common for series to go through the second book slump, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Like Significance, Accordance was well written. There were quite a few typos in my copy of the book, which was unfortunate, but other than one or two stumbles where a letter or word was left out, most of the errors were tiny and didn’t jar me out of the reading. The narrative was decently paced, easy to follow and engaging. I was sucked into the story right away and sped through to the end of the book in just a few hours.

Luckily, where the first book failed in the series, Accordance excelled. The story was rife with tension, both between the rather large cast of characters, the different families of the Aces, and more importantly, between Caleb and Maggie. Things certainly weren’t easy for the couple, and Marcus, Bish, and Kyle once again didn’t make things any easier.

I was glad to see the changes to Maggie and Caleb as they started to come into their powers, and even more so to see some of the other characters start to find their Imprints. My only problem was with the exceedingly slow pace at which Maggie figured things out. I’d guessed at the outcomes of some of the relationships and uses of their powers long before Maggie caught on, and it felt a little like I was waiting for her to catch up throughout the book.

Still, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Now that the Instant-Love aspect of Maggie and Caleb’s story was a book behind me, I was able to sink into their relationship a little easier, and of course it was nice to see that they were beginning to run into obstacles with their relationship. If you liked the first book in the series, or you’re a fan of heavily romance-influenced paranormal YA stories, you’ll probably love this book. It isn’t going to be for everyone, but personally, I can’t wait to continue on with the series!

Book Review: Significance

cover-review-significanceTitle: Significance [Significance 1]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 4 Star (4.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Maggie is a seventeen year old girl who’s had a bad year. Her mom left, her dad is depressed, she’s graduating, barely, and her boyfriend of almost three years dumped her for a college football scholarship. Lately she thinks life is all about hanging on by a thread and is gripping tight with everything she has.

Then she meets Caleb.

She saves his life and instantly knows there’s something about him that’s intriguing but she is supposed to be on her way to a date with his cousin. But things change when they touch, sparks ignite. Literally. They imprint with each other and she sees their future life together flash before her eyes. She learns that not only is she his soul mate, and can feel his heartbeat in her chest, but there is a whole other world of people with gifts and abilities that she never knew existed. She herself is experiencing supernatural changes unlike anything she’s ever felt before and she needs the touch of his skin to survive. Now, not only has her dad come out of his depression to be a father again, and a pain as well, but Caleb’s enemies know he’s imprinted and are after Maggie to stop them both from gaining their abilities and take her from him. Can Caleb save her or will they be forced to live without each other after just finding one another?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I wanted so badly to give this book five stars. In fact, I very nearly did. I picked up Significance by Shelly Crane on a whim…. several months ago—but I never read it. I thought it looked cute, and it was free on Amazon, and I thought, “Why not?” I set it aside, and never went back to it—because let’s face it, my TBR pile is huge. Then, I came across a BookTube review of the series, heard that it was good, and thought, “You know what? I’ll give it a try.” I wasn’t disappointed.

The writing was nearly flawless. though I’m sure there was a typo somewhere (there always is), I can’t remember any. The text moved along at a nice pace. It was well structured, grammatically correct and punctuated (okay, I just remembered a typo) decently. I got sucked into the story from the very first page, and I hardly wanted to put the book down. In fact, I forgot to do anything but read until well into the wee hours of the morning (okay, so it was almost breakfast by the time I set it down). I absolutely loved it.

The characters were heartwarmingly endearing, fun, and funny. I adored Caleb and Maggie as a couple; they were undeniably perfect for each other. In equal parts, I was irritated with Kyle, Bish, and Marcus most of all. There was some definite tension between the couple and the other characters of the book, and at times it was frustrating to watch the story unfold for Maggie. The girl didn’t seem to catch a break.

Here’s where things got tricky (and why this lost a star for me). The love between Caleb and Maggie was the very definition of Instant-Love. Literally, they were madly in love after the very first five minutes of meeting each other. It’s not a huge problem for me, but I know that for a lot of readers, this is going to make them cringe. On one hand, the instant love was well explained.. that’s just how these soul mates/aces work. I understand that… but I’ll admit, it was really cheesy. I think I would have swallowed it a little better, except there was very little tension between the couple. I understand—again, they’re soul mates… there are paranormal forces at work that make them never want to be a part. I seriously get it—but I think I needed there to be tension between them anyway. Maggie was thrown into an impossible situation. She was just learning about these paranormal beings, finding out she was going to become one of them, basically betrayed by her own body to crave this guy she’s never met.. and she’s hopelessly naïve about real relationships. It felt like there should have been more doubt, more fight… and there wasn’t. As adorable as they were, their relationship was a little too easy.

I also had a problem with the end. It felt like the end came out of nowhere. One second a new chapter and location had been revealed, and then BAM, the story ends mid-action. I hadn’t expected that. I wish the chapter had gone on for a little longer, and I wish some of the things that had been interrupted in that chapter had been finished before moving on to the next book. It wasn’t a big drawback for me, but it did bother me.

Overall, the book was great. I loved the characters, the romance, the plot, the world building… but I recognize that this isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re not a huge fan of romance, you’ll probably be annoyed at this book. The romance is everything to this book, and it gets pretty cheesy and squee-worthy. If you’re more into the paranormal aspect of the story, the romance is probably going to bother you. If, however, you are like me, and a true romance reader at heart.. you’ll probably appreciate this book a lot more. The book isn’t perfect, and it isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes, but if you like YA Romance with some paranormal thrown in, give this a chance. It’s a solid read. I will definitely be heading on into the rest of the series.

Free Fiction Friday #52

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #52! For those of you who are new to this blog or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays, every Friday (okay, almost every Friday—I try), I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre and on sale for less than $5. I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars with over 40+ reviews and 100 pages minimum if I can (it isn’t always possible)—so that you can get a list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things than post, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Time Travel!

Note: I apologize for the lack of FFF’s in the past few weekends. It’s been really busy around here with the holidays, family travel, and way too much ARK, and I fell behind. I’ll try to be a little more consistent in the upcoming weeks.

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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Book Review: Trusting Liam

cover-review-trusting liamTitle: Trusting Liam [Taking Chances 2]

Author: Molly McAdams

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When Kennedy Ryan moves to California, she never expects to come face to face with Liam Taylor—the intriguing man who has haunted her thoughts for a year. A man who led her to breaking every one of her rules for a single night of passion that ended up meaning more than it was ever supposed to. Accustomed to disastrous experiences with men, Kennedy shields herself before he can break down more of the carefully built control she’s clung to for the last four years. But every time she seems Liam, she feels her resolve weakening.

Liam Taylor has been asked to help socialize his boss’s nieces. But what he thinks sounds more like a babysitting job ends up leading him to the only girl who ever slipped away before morning—a girl he thought he’d never find again. And now that she’s within reach, Liam’s determined to never let her go.

But when a secret from her past tests their relationship, will they be able to cling to the trust Liam has worked so hard to build?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Trusting Liam by Molly McAdams was a solid, contemporary romance. On the technical side of things, the writing was clear, easy to follow, paced well, and I didn’t notice more than a typo or two—neither of which were jarring to the story. The copy I read was an ARC, but even then, it was nearly flawlessly put together.

The characters were great. I loved that the main couple wasn’t your average clean cute couple. They had piercings, tattoos, complicated families and past histories. Kennedy was  stubborn, a bit goofy, and confident. Liam was charming, sweet, and endearing. Together they made an adorable couple that I just couldn’t get enough of. Their romance was equal parts adorable and steamy, with just a hint of cheesiness thrown in to keep things light hearted.

The plot itself was interesting, but maybe a little more downplayed that I would have liked. When the story started and I realized that Kennedy and her sister Kira were basically getting death threats from the Juarez gang, I assumed that there was going to be a pretty solid foundation of suspense and thrills in the story—and that isn’t what I got. Sure, the suspense was mentioned, but it remained rather forgotten through most of the book and was solved rather anti-climactically.

Other than a few eye-roll-worthy cheesy moments, there’s not many negative things I can point out about the story. So why did I give this four stars instead of five? Because there wasn’t anything spectacular about it either. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good, solid romance… but it didn’t rock my socks. I had no problem putting the book down—it didn’t draw me in—but by the same token, I did enjoy the story. Would I read this again? Probably if I didn’t have anything else drawing my attention. Would I recommend it? Sure. It was a good book.