Aug 31, 2015

Court of Nightfall (Nightfall Chronicles 1)

Court of Nightfall book cover

by Karpov Kinrade
book review rating 4 out of 5

ONE LATE NIGHT, or you could say very early morning, I was perusing through Kindle Unlimited and came across Court of Nightfall (The Nightfall Chronicles 1). The narrator of the synopsis was hypnotic. She sounded so powerful, so haunting, so…promising.

You think you know what is right and what is wrong? Then tell me if this man should die. He is my enemy. He is to be my end.

He is the one I love.

The man asks for my surrender. He asks for peace. He is too late. The girl he knew is gone, and death is in her place. I am Nightfall, and this is my story. You think you know it?

Think again.

I knew then that I had to know her story.

Her name is Scarlett Night. Born colorblind, Scarlett has never used that as a crutch to prevent her from pursuing her dream of becoming a pilot. She works hard for what she wants – there is no one more dedicated. This makes her very relatable and likeable. Everything changes when an avenging angel descends upon her family, and she discovers that her “normal” parents are anything but. Her life is upended. She seeks comfort in the one person who has always been there for her and the one she secretly loves – Jaxton Lux. But, she soon finds out that he may be her greatest threat of all.

Scarlett is a heroine born from extreme pressure, but out of that pressure emerges a diamond of unparalleled brilliance. She seeks to defend the weak and give voice to the repress. Seeing her blossom into a young woman who overcomes hardships by doing what is right as oppose to what is easy, while still finding love and friendship in the process, makes Court of Nightfall one of the best coming-of-age stories.

However, I mean no disrespect to the dynamic husband (Dmytry Karpov) and wife (Kimberly Kinrade) team under the pen name Karpov Kinrade, I struggle to rate this book higher than 4 because of the errors I found. “There re only three ranks above him in the world…” is one of myriad errors I encountered. Otherwise, I absolutely enjoyed everything else!  

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Aug 24, 2015

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared book cover

by Jonas Jonasson
book review rating 4 out of 5

I TOOK TO this story like a leaf to the sky, leisurely floating in whatever direction the wind took. I was swept along with centenarian Allan Karlsson in The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson, from the moment he spontaneously escapes from the Old Folk’s Home a day before his 100th birthday celebration; and embarks on an adventurous and amusing journey involving a petty thief, the eternal student, the Beauty and her elephant, the gangster boss, a Chief Inspector, a couple of dead bodies, and a suitcase stuff with $50 million.

This would seem like an epic adventure for anyone. Except, it isn’t for Allan. “Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in [altering] them.” With such luck that bordered on the absurd, he marginally survives these dangerous historical events, giving him a backstory that is larger-than-life.

It wasn’t by design but rather life’s obligations that kept me from writing a review shortly after finishing this book. I’m glad for that because the little delay gave me an opportunity to reflect upon and appreciate the mastery of Mr. Jonasson’s writing even more. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is hilarious but not in an obvious and laugh-until-your-belly-aches kind of way. Rather, it is funny in a subtle and smart way.  While the events are wildly inventive and not too realistic, I enjoyed it nonetheless for its enduring charm and silly comedic relief. After all, it’s not everyday that I read about a character that resembles my late grandfather – funny, kind, worldly – who could never turn down a glass of…rice wine. Well, it could have very well been vodka, too.

Miss you. Love you.

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Aug 17, 2015

Yield the Night (Steel and Stone 3)

Yield the Night book cover

by Annette Marie
book review rating 4 out of 5

TAP. TAP. TAP. My mint-colored nails are tapping against the back of my Kindle. I’m looking at my reading progress for Yield the Night (Steel and Stone 3) by Annette Marie – 26% completed, a quarter of the book in – and I’m starting to loose interest. It seems like I’ve already read this: Piper is taken by the Gaians and Mona wants her to help them rid Earth of daemons with the promise of unlocking her magic. That was part of the premise in Steel and Stone 1, yes? I’m growing concerned that this would fall into the “filler” book category leaving me with no other choice but an unfavorable critical review for the lack of a new development. 

To my chagrin, if the present version of me could travel back in time, she would be wagging her mint-colored nails at the past version of me and saying, “Oh ye of little faith.” Ms. Marie has my sincerest apologies for doubting her because this story is no doubt one of her best books, yet. 

Against Piper's will, the Gaians unlock her magic and all her fears come crashing - she will die if it's not resealed. More than ever, she needs Ash's help, and in a heartbeat he (and of course the sultry Lyre) answers her call. In a race against time, they must find a cure before it’s too late thus starting a chain of life and death events that held me unmoved in my seat. For in the later half of the story is a revelation so great, it shatters any and all doubts that I had during the earlier chapters. I asked for a new development and she gave me a unicorn!

Now I tap, tap, tap because I have to wait until October to find out what happens to Piper and Ash in Reap the Nights (Steel and Stone 4). If only the current version of me could travel to the future version of me. Sigh.

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Aug 10, 2015

Bind the Soul (Steel and Stone 2)

Bind the Soul book cover

by Annette Marie
book review rating 4 out of 5

WITH THE SCANDAL of the Sahar Stone behind her and her innocence proven, Piper has never been more terrified. For unknowingly, she used the power of the Sahar Stone – the only person to have done so in over 500 years. This news rocks the daemon world and Piper finds herself the target of her worst nightmare in Bind the Soul (Steel and Stone 2) by Annette Marie.

Samael, head warlord of the Underworld, kidnaps Piper. His light cruelty brings an emotional denseness to this story. He breaks her physically and mentally until the only emotions left in Piper are fear and desperation. I love her character even more because despite her own precarious situation, she never looses sight of her own motives – she’s really biding her time to escape and search for a certain draconian.

Ash is missing. Wherever he is, he’s in trouble. And regardless of how he may have betrayed Piper, he’s also the one person who almost died saving her. Now she must save him, or die trying. But with every step closer to finding Ash, she unravels the truth behind his mysterious and misunderstood exterior. The walls she resurrected around her heart crumbles piece by piece, as she slips further and further into his dangerous world – a world she may never be able to return from.

Bind the Soul is an action-packed and emotional-charged sequel with a bittersweet ending. Yes, the bad guys were barely held at bay; but it didn’t quite feel like a victory for the good guys either…not where the heart is concerned, anyways. The story ends on a surprisingly sweet and sentimental promise no doubt to be fulfilled in Yield the Night (Steel and Stone 3). I’m looking forward to it.

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Aug 5, 2015

Silver Linings (Rose Harbor 4)

Silver Linings book cover

by Debbie Macomber
book review rating 3 out of 5

THIS REVIEW FOR the Silver Linings (Rose Harbor 4), by Debbie Macomber, marks a major milestone. It’s an ARC – the very first one at FLYLeF! I cannot express how excited I am. I don’t care that I won it in a giveaway; I don’t care that I wasn’t personally handpicked by Ms. Macomber herself. I. Shamelessly. Don’t. Care. I feel as though I’m finally with the cool kids gaining access to read manuscripts before they are released to the public. YAY!

Now on to the part about why you’re really here – the review!

To my pleasant surprise, the Silver Linings is a heartwarming story about forgiveness and healing. It is uplifting and will leave you feeling warmed and comforted.

Innkeeper Jo Marie Rose has always been fond of her handyman, Mark Taylor, but in a platonic way – or so she thought. When he reveals that he is in love with her, she comes to realize that he means more to her than she’s willing to admit. As she struggles with her newfound feelings, she welcomes two visitors. Coco Crenshaw and Katie Gilroy are in Cedar Grove to attend their 10-year high school reunion hoping to confront old ghosts and find closure.

There are several reasons why I didn’t rate this book higher. 1) Jo Marie’s story is told in her own voice. Whereas Coco and Katie’s vignettes are in third person. This was distracting and the transitions were jarring. 2) The story centers mostly on the events at the high school reunion with too much immature high school-like dramas. 3) Coco’s confrontation with her ghost was short-lived and anticlimatic. And, her encounter with an old crush immediately following her “healing” was a little too picture perfect.

Despite these things, I couldn’t put the book down. And now I know why. Somehow and somewhere, Katie wiggled her way into my heart and I couldn’t help but adore her warmth, depth, and sacrifice. Oh, you are tricky Ms. Macomber, but in a good way.

Katie’s story is my silver lining. She came to the reunion with her heart in her hands to find forgiveness from the one person she’s ever truly loved – James Harper. Ms. Macomber could not have written a character more perfect and sweet than James. Now 10 years later, Katie needs to let him know why she broke his heart. She needs him to understand. She needs his forgiveness. Can the boy she loved, and still loves, forgive her?

…of all the girls in school, he’d chosen her. He’d loved her – deeply, profoundly loved her – more than anyone before.

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Aug 3, 2015

Chase the Dark (Steel and Stone 1)

Chase the Dark book cover

by Annette Marie
book review rating 4 out of 5

CHASE THE DARK, by Annette Marie, is a very promising start to the Steel and Stone series – a young adult contemporary fantasy. It’s a light and fun read. But where it lacks in heftiness, it more than makes up with the intriguing characters and their nearly impossible undertakings.

Meet Piperel Griffiths – half human, half daemon – a haeman. All Piper ever wanted was to become a Consul, a keeper of peace between humans and daemons. Life as the daughter of the powerful Head Consul was surprisingly uneventful: school, training, and homework. That is until the “sinfully irresistible” Lyre, the “enigmatic and lethal” Ash, and the destructive Sahar Stone converge in an explosive way snapping her out of her reverie. Framed for stealing the Stone, she runs for her life with only Lyre and Ash to aid her. She embarks on a deadly quest to clear her name and quite possibly loose her heart.

Chase the Dark definitely tilts the scale more towards contemporary fantasy than paranormal romance...for now. But, romance fans will be rewarded with their patience as a delicious love story slowly unravels. It’s not instantaneous and wild, but rather slow and sweet – like unexpectedly falling in love with your best friend.

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