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Karsyn's Kickass Jocoserious, Kooky, Jannock book blog: Bunch of Mini Reviews

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bunch of Mini Reviews

Me, behind on NetGalley Reviews? Never! :)


Well, thanks to the new NetGalley Challenge at NBRC, I have a reason to get caught up! I have read, but not reviewed, 6 books recently, plus enjoyed a Artistic Nude book as well. The time has come to get caught up on reviewing the books that I have read.

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Book ~ No Coming Back by Keith Houghton
Release Date ~ October 6, 2015
Completed ~ Dec 12, 2015
STARS ~ 3.5 stars (rounded down to 3 for GR)
PAGES ~ 274 page Kindle book

Eighteen years ago, Jenna Luckman disappeared, presumed murdered. Her boyfriend, Jake Olson, hasn’t been home since. Now he’s coming back to find her killer.

Since he last set foot in Harper, Minnesota, Jake’s whole life has changed beyond recognition, but the place seems just as he left it. Small-town politics and gossip rule, and his return is big news.

When a body is discovered at the frozen Hangman Falls, Jake is beset by a snowstorm of anger and revenge. Hounded by grudges and feared by the townsfolk, Jake is determined to uncover the truth behind his girlfriend’s disappearance. But he still has enemies in town and they have other plans for him.

Betrayed at every turn and unsure whom to trust, Jake’s quest for the truth rekindles old rivalries and rouses ghosts that should never have been disturbed. He wants above all to find the peace of mind that has so long eluded him. But no man can escape his past.

I LOVE Houghton's Gabe Quinn series, so when I saw this was coming out, of course I was going to give it a try. While is was good, it definitely wasn't as enjoyable as the other series that I like so much. I DID like the book, and I thought the story was actually pretty great, it was the characters that I couldn't get behind at all. They were flat and lifeless to me, and I found myself really not caring how the story ended up because I didn't really care about any of them at all.

It's a shame really because the story was attention grabbing and there were a lot of good moments in the story itself. The story actually managed to surprise me, and it's rare that that happens. I was torn through the book on not liking the characters, but enjoying the story for the most part. Maybe we just weren't supposed to like them?

Overall, it was a good, but not great, book. But I enjoy his other books a ton so I take a chance and I'd recommend this one to people who are looking for an offbeat atypical thriller.

Setting = B
Plot = B
Conflict = B
Characters = C-
Theme = B+

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Book ~ No One Knows by J.T. Ellison
Release Date ~ March 22, 2016
Completed ~ Mar 2, 2016
STARS ~ 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 for GR)
PAGES ~ 384 page Kindle

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

I'm also a J.T. Ellison fan. Between her Taylor Jackson, Sam Owens and FBI series with Catherine Coulter, I've read just about everything she has written. While not my favorite book of hers, I did enjoy this one a lot. It was quite different. My biggest fault with this one was the characters again, but most were ok. I did like Aubrey most of the time and was on her side, especially against her bitch of a former mother-in-law who I hate the most, but we were definitely supposed to hate her.

The book was fast paced and moved right along and kept me interested throughout. I saw a few of the things coming a mile away but there were still a few things that threw me for a loop. Somethings were definitely not what they seemed.

It was a really good thriller, kept me guessing for the most part with fairly likable characters during the story. I wasn't completely thrilled with the very end. Would have liked it if the other path had been taken (just to not spoil anything), it makes sense if you read it).

Setting = B
Plot = A
Conflict = A
Characters = B
Theme = A

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Book ~ The Final Seven (Lightkeepers 01) by Erica Spindler
Release Date ~ February 11, 2016
Completed ~ Dec 29, 2016
STARS ~ 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 on GR)
PAGES ~ 322 Kindle

The first Saturday in July. . .
A missing coed . . .
The number seven carved into her door . . .
The countdown has begun.
New Orleans Detective Micki Dee Dare is a seasoned, no-nonsense cop. She doesn't need a partner, especially not Zach “Hollywood” Harris, an irreverent charmer, fresh out of an experimental FBI program. And her assignment — keep him alive while he fights crime using the special skills he brings to the table — is not what she signed up for. But the die has been cast and there's nothing she can do about it.
Micki soon realizes there's more to her partner than meets the eye—and more at stake than catching bad guys and closing cases. There’s a new kind of evil at work the Crescent City, more cunning, more powerful than any she’s ever encountered. And she and Zach may be the only ones who can stop it.
As another coed goes missing and the darkness closes in, Micki must face a terrifying truth: this time she might not make it. This time the evil they’re facing might destroy them all . . .
Full of surprise twists and unexpected turns, The Final Seven is a heart-pounding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

When I first got this book off NetGalley, there wasn't a lot of info on it, and I didn't realize it was paranormal. I have read Spindler before and thought it sounded good and thought it really wasn't what I was expecting, I did enjoy it.

The story started off kind of slow for me, I really didn't get into it for a bit. Micki was all about worrying how much of a "pretty boy" Zach was and Zach was hiding too many secrets. I really started enjoying the book more when Micki learned most of the truth of what was going on, which was around 60% into it. I'm not big on liars, or withholding info, so I didn't like some parts at first, but overall it was pretty good.

The characters were likable, they weren't my favorite characters ever, but they were interesting and you wanted to care what was happening to them. It was quite a good book, if you enjoy paranormal at all. I will probably continue with the series to see what happens next.

Setting = A
Plot = A
Conflict = A
Characters = B+
Theme = A

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Book ~ Built to Last by Aurora Rey
Release Date ~ April 12, 2016
Completed ~ Apr 1, 2016
STARS ~ 4 stars
PAGES ~ 283 Kindle

Olivia Bennett is on the tenure track at Cornell University, the resident expert on Southern women writers.

After moving to upstate New York from Atlanta, she falls in love with and purchases an old, run-down farmhouse. The only catch: she know s nothing about renovating a house, taking care of land, or snow .

Joss Bauer is a New York native who grew up in her family’s construction business. She has a soft spot for old houses, but no patience for overpaid debutantes who want to play at country living.

When Olivia hires Joss to do the renovations on her new home, the sparks fly, in more ways than one. It turns out both women have a lot to learn about life, love, and the meaning of home. But when a scandal threatens Olivia’s professional reputation, it puts her priorities and her new found love on the line.

I haven't read much enjoyable Lesbian Fiction, so I had been looking for some. This fit the bill! I actually LOVED the story, it was really cute and I almost rated it a 5, but the ladies drove me nuts at different times!

I don't expect characters to be perfect, but I like them to be consistent, at least when they are grown adults. At first, I didn't really like Joss at all, I thought she was stuck up and looked down at everyone and didn't know how to have fun at all. Olivia on the other hand was playful and fun and I really liked her personality. The story was so cute and I liked how they got to know each other.

But then, they totally swapped personalities. Joss is all of a sudden had a great personality and I was rooting for her when Olivia became such a bitch. I understand she was going through some rough stuff, but she didn't need to be so bitchy to the one person who was trying to help her out, and putting up with her! Story wise, I do wish there was more of a resolution to what happened.

Overall, I really loved the story and I liked the characters even though they both got on my nerves. I love the different things they did with the house and watching it transform, like they did. Very enjoyable!

Setting = A+
Plot = A+
Conflict = A
Characters = B+
Theme = A

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Book ~ Targeted (Callahan & McLane 04) by Kendra Elliot
Expected publication ~ June 7, 2016
Completed ~ Apr 13, 2016
STARS ~ 4 stars
PAGES ~ 353 Kindle

All Detective Mason Callahan wanted was a quiet fishing trip with the guys—a chance to get away and unwind before Halloween.

Until he finds the body of his boss, Denny Schefte, near their remote Oregon cabin. Now all he wants is to catch the sadist who slit Denny’s throat and covered his face with a mask. Mason was the last person to see him alive and will stop at nothing to find his friend’s murderer.

When the FBI learns of the mask left at the scene, they realize they have a serial killer on their hands—one who is targeting cops. They assign the case to Special Agent Ava McLane, despite her engagement to Mason. Barely recovered from her own nearly fatal injury and her sister’s attempted suicide, Ava hopes she is ready to chase another killer.

But as she delves into the increasingly disturbing case, the killer may be closer than expected—dangerously close.

The 4th book in this series by Kendra Elliot, a new-ish author who I've enjoyed just about every book of. Targeted was another great book in the series and I actually enjoyed it better than the 3rd one.

My only issue with this series is Ava's sister. I don't like her, at all. In the last book she was a big part of the book, a big part of the awfulness, and I didn't enjoy it. This one, she's not in it as much, but is still mentioned more than I would like. I really would love the series more if Ava would just wash her hands of her, it would make me respect her more.

The story was great and the killings were wild. No one could figure out what was going on and I was stumped too! I thought I guessed what was going on early on, but I didn't, so that was really good. It's just a really good series with great characters (minus the sister). I recommend this book and series to fans of Romantic Suspense, who enjoy their characters in law enforcement chasing after the bad guys! :)

Setting = A
Plot = A
Conflict = A+
Characters = A
Theme = A+

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Book ~ Tag, You're Dead by J.C. Lane
Expected publication ~ July 5, 2016
Completed ~ Apr 14, 2016
STARS ~ 5 stars
PAGES ~ unknown (over 200)

Six young people play a dangerous Game of Tag in public, chasing through the crowds, streets, and buildings of Chicago. This secret, one-of-a-kind, wildly expensive Game offers a macabre twist to the childhood version if you get Tagged, you get Dead. Three "Its" have their reasons for buying a place in the Game.

Surgically enhanced Brandy is obsessed with destroying a naturally beautiful girl. Untalented Robert covets his target's position as superstar of the basketball team. Brainiac Charles craves a battle against an intellectual equal. Given their elite social status, they reject any possible downside to the contest. Each expects the satisfaction of killing their prey, then walking away. Hand-picked innocents play as Runners, under threat to their loved ones should they refuse to participate: lovely, small-town Laura; celebrated athlete Tyrese; and Amanda, gamer extraordinaire. Alone, hunted by their adversary, each feels a single hope to survive.

Technological wizardry controls the Game. As soon as Runners receive the Go signal on smartwatches locked to their wrists, the Game rockets them through the city, from the El to Michigan Avenue to the Lincoln Park Zoo. There is no time to rest. Every thirty minutes the Runner s location is transmitted to the It, which steadily diminishes the Runner s chance of ever reaching Home Base alive. The Game will not end until someone is Tagged, so the Runners must choose how to play. Will they accept death? Murder their Its? Or find a way to use individual strengths to stop the Game before anyone dies?"

A game of tag being played throughout Chicago. I LOVED this book! It was my kind of book, a game being played out with deadly consequences! It was very fast paced and kept me interested from start to finish. I disliked the players I was supposed to dislike, rooted for the players I was supposed to root for and wasn't sure about a few! I loved the personalities of all of them, they were so different and played the game differently.

The way the book was divided up between the different characters was a little awkward at times, but I think it was just a formatting issue of an ARC and hopefully it'll be fixed up before the release date, other than that, I had no complaints about this book. The characters were great, the story was great and the ending was satisfying! I'd recommend this book for any fans of reality tv, because though it wasn't broadcast as such, that's what it felt like. The cat and mouse game around Chicago was a ton of fun and I only put this book down because I was so tired late at night, otherwise I would have read it all in one sitting.

Great great book!! LOVED it!!

Setting = A
Plot = A+
Conflict = A+
Characters = A
Theme = A+

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Karsyn! So glad you enjoyed the book. :)