Monday, March 30, 2015

Lois Lane : A Real Work of Art

Lois Lane : A Real Work of Art
by Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane starts at a new school and is forced to take an art class.

But this future intrepid reporter notices something strange about the teacher and she's determined to make sure he doesn't get away with anything.

Final thoughts: Billed as a teaser short story, it's more like a chapter from the middle. We're dropped into the middle and there isn't much development. That being said, it does make me want to read the full novel when it comes out. And my hubby, a comic fan, says it's pretty spot on for Lois Lane.

Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dark Debt

Dark Debt
by Chloe Neill

After a year as a vampire, Merit finally feels like she knows who she is and what she's meant to be. She is Sentinel of the Cadogan House, lover of the Master of Cadogan, and one of the most famous vampires in Chicago.

When a human is nearly murdered by vampires in front of at least a hundred witnesses, Merit and Ethan are forced into the politics and financial desperation of another vampire House. At the same time, a vampire from Ethan's past comes back into his world and threatens to take everything Ethan has built up over time.

The timing is more than a little suspicious and there's a definite urgency to stop the vampire and the organized crime group that's holding the House financially hostage.

Final thoughts: Okay. I really like Merit and Ethan, but this story is beginning to drag. It's now been eleven books spanning about a year of Merit's life as a vampire and I'm getting tired of the soap opera quality. There's still the prophecy about a child and we're nowhere near that, apparently. Can we please get to the end already? Neill needs to remember Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time series. Having one book that only covers three days is just pushing things too far for too long. Let's get this thing moving.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Southern Fried Wiccan

Southern Fried Wiccan
by S.P. Sipal

Priscilla is a military brat who has been bounced around from one base to another all around the world. When her father takes a one year tour at a base where family is prohibited, Cilla and her mother move to her mother's home town. As they are finding their footing, and Cilla's mother is finding her place in the business world, Cilla and her younger brother often must stay with her grandmother, who is Southern Baptist through and through.

Once moved in, Cilla starts school at The Pond, a local charter school located in the remnants of a mini-mall. There, Cilla meets all the stereotypes she's grown to know in every school she's ever attended. The one difference is that one person knows Cilla's true beliefs and is more than willing to help her find her true calling.

In all her travels, no religion has ever spoken to Cilla like Wiccan, and no person has ever truly understood that more than Val. Val leads her to Mother Faith and the rest of her coven where Cilla finally feels like she's found her place. 

Unfortunately, her very religious grandmother is sure to not take it well when she finds out her granddaughter is a witch.

Final thoughts: While not anti-Christian, this is definitely PRO-Wiccan. There is page after page of people talking about this religion, almost preaching it, to the point of boredom. There really isn't a plot at all, more like a series of events in between all the teaching and preaching. I wanted to like Cilla and wanted to care, but it just became too much. In addition, Cilla kept saying and thinking "Like", as if she was a Valley Girl in the 80's. I work with teens every day; they don't say that anymore. Most of the teen dialogue was just poorly written. I may recommend this for teens trying to figure out their own beliefs, but only for the Wiccan aspect, not for the story itself. Note: while wands and spells are discussed, there is no magic portrayed in this book.

Rating: 2/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


by Betsy Schow

Dorothea is trapped in her Emerald Palace, never to be free to walk the realm, just because of a stupid curse put on her great-grandmother by a young witch who didn't even know to curse someone correctly. She literally can't even walk out of the doors of the palace, since they close automatically if she even gets near them.

When Prince Kato shows up and states that he has to marry Dorothea in order to save the realm, that's just too much for Dot to handle. She's really tired of people telling her what to do.

She wishes on a star and everything goes nuts.

Magical rules are breaking left and right. Dot's parents disappear, leaving only their crowns spinning on the floor. Beauty turns into a beast, complete with golden gown. And Kato turns into a baby chimera.

With only the help of a few words from the Green Witch, a kleptomaniac assistant, a pair of Han Christian Louboutin heels, and a very hungry, very quickly growing chimera prince, Dot must travel the realms to find out how to cure magic, while running from the very angry Grey Witch who is intent on killing her.

She had better come up with a plan soon or everything will be forever pixed.

Final thoughts: Cute idea, but it gets bogged down in its own cleverness. There are constant references to fairy tales, as well as a few non-fairy tales (Quasimodo, for instance). Most of the characters are references to L. Frank Baum's Oz creations. There are some inconsistencies like needing wisps to light the ball, as there is no electricity, but they do have magically powered vacuum cleaners (upgrades from brooms). There are also a few typos, as well as formatting issues when downloaded to the Kindle that included having the first letter of the first word of each chapter cut off the word and then placed somewhere in the middle of the second line. Most of that is easily fixed, though. Each chapter seems to be its own cliffhanger and there's an epilogue that sets up a sequel, but I'm not sure I want to read it since it really takes a lot of effort to deal with all the clever references and creature names that fill the pages. The plot definitely has good moments and I really grew to like Dot by the end, but I'm just not able to rave about this one. Decent read. Cotton candy.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, March 20, 2015


by Patty Blount

Best friends Meg and Bailey have known each other since kindergarten. They've always had each other's backs, kept each other's secrets, and been there for each other.

But boys always cause problems.

Meg won't deal with her attraction to Chase, no matter how much Bailey pushes her in that direction.

Bailey won't face the fact that her online crush, who she's never met in person, may not be who she think he is, despite Meg's warnings.

Now the two start battling online with cyberbully posts that each one will come to regret and it's not sure if either one will win.

Final thoughts: Messy book that has a good message hidden in its bland pages. We're told Meg and Bailey are best friends but they are extremely petty and mean to each other over the tiniest things. Bailey whines and whines and whines about how much she's done for Meg, even though we never see it. Meg is in serious need of therapy about what happened with her father when she was a child. Neither behaves like they are 17. Heck! Bailey is even catfished by her own ex-boyfriend as revenge for something that could have been easily remedied, and yet she thinks she still loves him and wants to try again?!?! Chase is so up and down, totally accepting and then completely angry, and then totally loving again, that it's hard to believe he can truly care so much for someone who is constantly running hot and cold with him, as well. The end is a mess and was just extremely frustrating.
However, there's still that good hidden message to think about. There are still very good lessons about cyberbullying, posting before you think about the consequences, and the dangers of online relationships that really shouldn't be counted out. Too bad the rest of the story was just so bad.

Rating: 2/5

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Paper or Plastic

Paper or Plastic
by Vivi Barnes

It's not like Alexis needed the lipstick. Heck! She didn't even like the color! She only did it because she was bored and her friend convinced her to do it.

But while her friend gets off with a warning (lawyer fathers are great!), Lex is forced by her mother to take the manager's offer to work off her crime. So now Lexi must spend two of her summer months at SmartMart (a cross between Walmart and Target). This means dealing with extreme couponers, rude customers, angry coworkers, and Code B's. 

It also means that she's working under a new supervisor, Noah Grayson, and that make Lex very conflicted. She hates Noah for what he did to her friend two years before, but she loves Noah for the kind hearted person he is now.

Add to all of this her overbearing mother, her sister's pageant dreams, her grandmother's advancing alzheimer's, and the possible risks to her softball dreams, and Lex's summer will be anything but normal.

Final thoughts: This is a fun read while in the middle of it, but it begs questions once done. Many of the characters seem very one-dimensional with little depth. We only read about one bad of each type and then never see them again so the extreme coupon lady is there only once. The coworker who hates her is never explained. And her softball hopes are barely mentioned after the first couple of chapters. Additionally, there's an almost literal deus ex machina at the end that solves the main conflict, though there are other problems that are never discussed again, leading me to think there may be a sequel. 
Cotton candy. Don't think too hard.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, March 13, 2015

The List

The List
by Siobhan Vivian

Every year, right before Homecoming, The List is posted.

It's highly anticipated and its rulings are law.

Eight girls will be on The List.

Eight girls will have their lives completely changed.

Four of the girls will become the most popular girls in school.

Four of the girls will be shunned.

Four are given the title of Prettiest.

Four are given the label of Ugliest.

No matter which girl gets named, all eyes will watch.

All students will judge.

All decisions are final.

Final thoughts: Interesting story based off of something Vivian had once read and completely believable in this day and age. Burn books have been around for decades. Even Facebook started off as a rating system for college girls. So this book is definitely based in reality. Unfortunately, because there are so many characters to look in on, there are just too many ideas and views to try and follow. Add to that the very real drama of some of the stories, including the anorexic girl struggling with her own view of herself, and the home schooled girl trying just a little too hard to fit in, and it's just really difficult to figure out how to feel about the book as a whole. Additionally, the ending is disappointing, since it seems to leave most of the stories unfinished. After completing this, I felt like there should be a sequel out there somewhere, but there just doesn't seem to be one. I wanted to love this, but it didn't seem to love me back. However, the realism within the pages makes it worth a look.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Red Queen

The Red Queen
by Victoria Aveyard

Many years ago, mutations happened that changed the blood of people. Those whose blood changed to silver became more powerful than anyone could ever have imagined. Suddenly, the Silvers could manipulate the world with abilities to force thoughts, move mountains, rain fire, and so much more.

Those whose blood stayed red were left behind and forced to take on the menial tasks that the Silvers refuse to do.

Now it's the Reds vs. the Silvers and the Silvers are winning.

After a chance encounter, Mare Barrow is hired to work at the palace. A palace filled with Silvers. And these Silvers are there for the selection of the next queen.

The Prince is eligible for marriage and he needs the strongest Silver to be his future queen.

During the competition for the Prince, something goes horribly wrong and Mare is put into a position she never could have dreamed of.

Her blood is Red.

Her power is Silver.

Now Mare must pretend to be something she's not and she must decide what is more important: her life or her people's freedom.

Final thoughts: The Hunger Games meets X-Men and it's fantastic! It's not perfect and there are a few off moments, but I like the overall effect. This book had some moments where I could predict plot points, but rather than be disappointed by the prediction coming true, I celebrated. My only real complaint is that Mare is gullible. Really, really gullible. Otherwise, it's a good story and there are some amazing high points. I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

Rating: 4/5


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