Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo

review-cover-cloud cuckooTitle: Cloud Cuckoo [The Never Dawn 2]

Author: R.E. Palmer

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Following their shock discovery, Noah and Rebekah reluctantly return to the lower levels of The Ark. Isolated and apart once more, Noah struggles to remember what happened at the surface and suspects Mother has altered his memory.

But Noah’s attempts to unite the workers to rebel are halted when Mother begins The Purge. Her cruel, relentless trials bring Noah to breaking point as he fights to survive when faced by his worst fears. Forced to accept Mother’s terms after a month in Re-Education, Noah finally learns the truth about his people’s past that leave him determined to defeat her once and for all.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Cloud Cuckoo by R. E. Palmer was a great addition to the Never Dawn trilogy. Often after a good book, subsequent books in the series don’t always live up to the quality or the hype of the first book, but in this case, that definitely wasn’t true. My daughter and I read this book together and often found ourselves reading for several hours at a time, often into the wee hours of the morning. We were sucked into Noah’s world.

Technically speaking, much like the first book, I was given a copy that had quite a few typos/errors in it, but again, these didn’t bother me. None of the errors were jarring or subtracted from the story in any way. The writing was clean, concise, and easy to follow, and the story moved at a good pace. It was constructed in such a way that by the end of every chapter, I couldn’t keep myself from continuing on into the next chapter. I was drawn in.

Much like the previous book, the characters were a delight and the world building was expansive and well constructed. One of my favorite parts of this particular book, however, was the change in scenery for Noah. We got to see new parts of the ship. We got to spend more time with characters we hadn’t previously gotten to. There were the same old mysteries, but also a lot of new ones as Noah found out more and more about his world and the people in it.

Overall, I loved this book. I love this series, and my daughter would easily say the same. R.E. Palmer has become one of my new favorite authors. If you enjoy YA or dystopian stories, I would highly recommend you pick up this series and give it a try. You will not regret it. I am so excited to see what the third book has in store for us when it’s released!

Book Review: Moonlight

review-cover-moonlightTitle: Moonlight [Moonkind Series 2]

Author: Ines Johnson

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Werewolves, Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

You can never go home again…

Viviane Veracruz is on her way home from university with a degree in one hand…and a baby in her belly. Desperate to escape the judgement of her family, she accepts a sexy stranger’s offer to pose as the father for a few days. The plan is for him to run off leaving her family none the wiser. But the longer Pierce Alcede stays, the more she can’t let him go.

Home is where the heart is…

Pierce Alcede has finally come to terms with the fact that he is a lone wolf, prone to roam the wilderness alone and never settle down with a family of his own. When he meets a pregnant woman in need, he thinks nothing of stepping in to take the brunt of her family’s ire. But somewhere between working on the Veracruz Ranch by day and climbing into Viviane’s bed at night, Pierce forgets to run away.
Can a woman searching for a place to belong find a home with a man who lives to roam?

Moonlight is the second in a paranormal romance series full of alpha men and the strong, capable women that bend them to their knees. If you like a touch of magic in your romance novels, then you’ll love the witches, fairies, and wolves in the dystopian world of the moonkind.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Moonlight by Ines Johnson was nothing like I expected. I’ve read many werewolf themed books over the years, but this one genuinely surprised me. It was interesting to see a plot where werewolves not only had a new lore behind them but to also have werewolves generally accepted in everyday life by humans. It was something I’ve seen done in many vampire novels, but not in one about werewolves.

The main Couple, Pierce, and Viviane were endearing, steamy, and unsure in their budding relationship, and I thoroughly enjoyed both characters immensely.

Editing wise, I ran into one or two typos, but nothing so obvious as to pull me out of the narrative. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet werewolf romance with some pretty unique characters and lore.

Book Review: Ignition

review-cover-ignitionTitle: Ignition [The Escaping Demons Saga 2]

Author: Stacy McWilliams

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Life has never been easy for Jasmine Johnstone, but failing for Nathan Stevenson brings a whole new level of difficulty. Since she arrived at his home he’s blown hot and cold with her, turned against her and revealed a deadly threat. He is sworn to kill her, and fights against his love for her more than ever, but he knows he can’t live without her.

As they run from monsters, and each other, can their love survive?

Time begins to run out and with new friends and enemies in the strangest places, will they learn who to trust in time?

With their love stronger than ever, but forces pulling them apart, is love enough to keep them together or will Nathan’s parents succeed in pulling them apart?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This book was a mess. Yes, a mess—and I’m being generous. I had some hopes after the first book that maybe this book would be better. Maybe the author would explain things, maybe Nate would somehow beautifully and tragically save Jasmine as to redeem their relationship in some matter. Anything… but what I got was an even bigger tangle of absurdity than with the first book.

The book was littered with typos. Missing words, improper grammar, misspellings, omitted words, even lack of clarifying punctuation. There were too many mistakes for a book that had a professional editor. On the plus side, the writing, for the most part, remained clear despite these problems and flowed along reasonably well.

My biggest problem with this book was the egregious amount of plot holes, obvious plot devices, contradictory phrases, and just the plain absurdity of what the characters were saying, doing, or thinking at any time. I literally broke down into hysterical laughter after about the 15th time the male demon love interest, Nate, shed a tear and Jasmine noted that she’d never seen him break down and cry before. REALLY? I cracked up laughing and exclaimed “Where have you been? He never stops crying!” Nate was constantly sobbing, breaking down into tears, or shedding a tear over everything. Their relationship was in a never ending loop that went something like this: “Baby, I love you more than anything, more than my life!” “I hate you. I never loved you.” “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, I was protecting you! I love you! Please forgive me!” repeat ad infinitum. I lost track of how many times this cycle of love/hate repeated itself, but it was painfully predictable.

Also painfully predictable, was the number of times Jasmine tripped, fell into something, or got a head injury. The girl should have serious brain damage. More worrisome perhaps, was the author’s penchant for softening the blow of all the tensest moments by going meta and explaining what was about to happen. “I didn’t know then that…” became a common theme.

As the book wore on the writing got more and more absurd. Bits of information were thrown in to move the plot along that reasonably, the main character should have never known. She somehow learned magic and how to identify wild herbs out of nowhere when it was needed, even though she’d been orphaned and in the foster care system since she was little. When she needed to drive, it mentioned that she had taken a few driving lessons a few months before. When? When did this happen? She’d been living in the demon household for over a year at that point, and I really can’t imagine that they let her out to take driving lessons. She suddenly identified a witch trap even though until that moment, witches had never been mentioned in the books. She identified an obscure Japanese mythological creature by name even though she didn’t know they existed until that moment. It never ended. Things kept getting introduced into the story, and suddenly Jasmine knew what they were or how to deal with them “although she didn’t know how she knew”—and that was the best explanation we got.

At one point, we were even introduced to the fact that Jasmine had a little brother and sister… (which were never mentioned in the first book), that she somehow forgot existed. Soak that in.

Frankly, the book was badly written and a bit ridiculous. The romance between the two main characters was abusive—full of lies and physical abuse—and every opportunity Jasmine had to get away, she quickly went back on before the page was even over. She was constantly playing the victim, and it got to be both irritating, and after awhile, sickening to read. I honestly don’t understand how this book got so many 4 and 5-star reviews because it’s probably one of the most infuriating and repetitive books I’ve ever read. This is not something I would recommend. Period.

Book Review: Nothing But Trouble

review-cover-nothing but troubleTitle: Nothing But Trouble [A Saratoga Falls Love Story 2]

Author: Lindsey Pogue

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Holiday (Christmas)

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Most small towns have stories and their fair share of secrets. Saratoga Falls is no exception—my family is no exception.

Six months ago, my life was simple. I went to work and to my brother’s hockey games; I made sure my dad’s diet consisted of more than crap food and that the house didn’t smell entirely like a jockstrap. But one cool, miserable morning, a stranger walked into my life. It’s surprising what a pair of piercing, judgmental blue eyes will do to a girl who’s all but sworn away from men. But that wasn’t the only curveball. Whatever happened to living in blissful ignorance? Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, you realize just how clueless you really are.

I was wrong . . . about everything.

The first time Colton Hayes meets Mac, half-naked and swearing at him, he knows she’s nothing but trouble. But despite their efforts to dislike one another, Colton and Mac are more alike than they think—stubborn, scarred, and full of surprises. This is a story about first loves and second chances, about the power of friendship and seeing life outside the shadows of your past. Join Sam, Reilly, Nick and the Carmichael crew in this heartwarming story of life unexpected. Nothing But Trouble is Mac and Colton’s story.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Nothing But Trouble by Lindsey Pogue was yet another solid romance, and a sweet Christmas read. Colton and Mac weren’t your normal romance couple—almost having switched the tradition romance roles, with Mac being the dirty-mouthed, outgoing tomboy, and Colton being the quiet, more reserved single-parent. Their relationship was fraught with numerous misunderstandings and deeper past prejudices, and it led to a sometimes awkward and off-kilter relationship as they worked to sort things out.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. There were less than a handful of typos, and nothing I found jarring enough to pull me out of the text. The characters were at times sweet, funny, infuriatingly stubborn, and silly, and I enjoyed their odd dynamic. My only true complaint as that the first half of the book was rather slow—but that may be in part due to the fact that I’m in a bit of a time crunch to finish up some books/reviews before the new year, so I’m not comfortable laying all the blame on the writing.

I think if you’re looking for a sweet holiday read, this may be the perfect book for you to pick up in between the chaos of the holiday season.

Book Review: Samantha

review-cover-samanthaTitle: Samantha [Barrett 2]

Author: Andrea Kane

Genre: Historical, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

A spin-off from Kane’s novel My Heart’s Desire, Samantha is a spellbinding tale set in early 19th-century England about a young lady whose romantic fancies are about to come true, once she learns she can trust the man of her dreams. This bestselling author has thrilled her rapidly growing audience with Echoes in the Mist, Masque of Betrayal, Dream Castle, and other novels.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

After reading the first two books in the Barrett family saga, I can honestly say that I’m a huge fan of Andrea Kane’s writing, and more importantly, her heroines.

Samantha was a spunky, headstrong young woman who didn’t allow society (or her family) dictate how she lived her life. As one of the characters said, she is a tempest. I absolutely adored her as the main character

Likewise, the brooding hero, Remington, was a notorious rake, but also a highly devoted man who fought for his country at the expense of his reputation. Together, the two main characters pursued each other throughout the story like a passionate dance.

The story was funny, filled with endearing moments, and passionate encounters. I loved every moment of it! The writing was clear, easy to read, and lacked any obvious technical errors.

If you enjoy historical romances filled with colorful characters, you’ll be sure to love this!

Book Review: Love Beyond Reason

cover-review-love beyond reasonTitle: Love Beyond Reason [Morna’s Legacy 2]

Author: Bethany Claire

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Time Travel, Historical

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It all started with a spell.

Arran Conall lives with the consequences of his foolishness daily, his mistakes guiding him into darkness. He had no way to know that his beloved would fall prey to the ancient magic that awaited Blaire on the day he’d sent her away to marry his brother. Now, the only woman to ever give pause to his philandering ways lives centuries ahead of him, out of reach while still holding on to his heart. Now, he must try to live a life without her and marries another to save the lass from a greedy suitor who only wants to lay title to her father’s territory.

His love for Blaire haunts him. With every breath, he prays only one thing “” that she will be able to feel his love for her across the chasms of time.

Born in the seventeenth century, Blaire MacChristy lives each day trying to adjust to the challenges of modern-day life. Magic brought her here, but heartbreak keeps her from using the magic to travel back to her home. When visitors from her past arrive asking her to return to the life she’d known before, Blaire takes a chance on love. Once home, she is shocked to learn that the man she loves has married another. Will fate find a way to mend their broken hearts by bringing them together once again? Even if it does, will they be able to stop the darkness that is coming for them both?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Ah, yet another addition to the Morna’s Legacy series. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to discover that the second book in the series revolved around Arran and Blaire, and their complicated and often tragic love story. I fell in love with the two characters during the first installment to the series and was excited to delve into their story.

Technically speaking, the story was well written. The narrative moved along at a steady pace, was easy to read, and engaging. There weren’t any noticeable typo’s or punctuation problems, nor any awkward sentences or grammatical foibles to stumble over. I was sucked into the story right away and felt compelled to find out what would happen to the characters as I read. I couldn’t have asked for more!

Like the first book, however, the story wasn’t without it’s problems. Though a little slower paced that the first book, the plot was far more complicated. Problems seemed to be thrown at the various characters right and left—dire problems that should not have easily been overcome… unfortunately, they were usually fixed with little trouble. Many of the issues that arose for the characters were resolved almost before they knew about the problems to begin with, or very easily thereafter. It seemed like fate and luck were on their side, and because of it, it was hard to believe that there was any real danger of the characters not getting their happy ending. I really wished that the tension had been dragged out a little more, and the almost insurmountable problems hadn’t been so easily solved.

I can’t complain too much, though. Despite the all-too-easy way the plot was handled, I did enjoy the story. The characters have evolved and begun to develop more since the first book in the series, and the author stayed true to their voices. Overall, I’m glad I picked up the book. Despite it’s negatives, I feel the positives far outshine them. I’m interested to see how the series progresses in the next few books.

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!