The Steamborn Trilogy by Eric R. Asher ~ #audiobook #bookreview

January 19, 2018



Title: The Steamborn Trilogy
Series: Steamborn, Books 1-3  
Author: Eric R. Asher
Release Date: October 4, 2017
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld 
Length: 27 hrs and 27 mins

Source: Audiobook copy for review  

Purchase: Audible | Amazon | B&N 

My Rating: 








Steamborn (Book 1)


Jacob, a tinker's apprentice, has never backed down from an adventure, but when a swarm of Deadlands creatures shatters the peace of Ancora, he'll face trials the likes of which he has never imagined. Forced out of the Lowlands, Jacob and his friends seek shelter behind the towering walls of the Highlands, only to uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Steamforged (Book 2)


There are old wounds in the forgotten places of the world, and some are soaked in blood.

Jacob and his allies flee into the Deadlands after the fall of Ancora. Charles, the enigmatic smith, hopes to find answers in the desert city of Bollwerk that could prevent a war.

Their enemies are many, and here Jacob will learn the cost of life in the Deadlands.

Steamsworn (Book 3)


The world dies in war only to be reborn. It is the way of things, and always will be.

Forged in the Deadlands crucible, and armed with the knowledge of their true enemy, Jacob, Alice, and their allies bring the fight back to Ancora. The wounds cut deep in their darkest hour, but in the end, vengeance will light their path.



NOTE: For my review, I'll first discuss the narration of the entire trilogy, then go into more detail with each novel. 

Narration for the Steamborn Trilogy

The narrator, Saskia Maarleveld, did an amazing job voicing all of the different characters. She has a lovely and pleasant voice to listen to, and her accent is fab! I was impressed with her ability to differentiate the characters so cleanly to where I never had to wonder who was speaking. I'm interested in hearing her also narrate other novels.    

Steamborn (Book 1)


In Steamborn, we're introduced to Jacob, a teenage boy and resident of the city of Ancora who often finds himself in trouble. He's brilliant with gadgets and inventions as an apprentice to his mentor, Charles. While Jacob does have both of his parents, Charles is still like a father figure to him, and I loved their interactions. He is impressed by Jacob's devotion to their inventions and encourages his thoughts and ideas. 

Jacob's friend, Alice, is straight-laced and a rule follower but extremely caring and loyal. I loved their close friendship and the way it blossomed over the course of the story. 

While Steamborn does start a bit slowly, it soon picks up its pace and has a lot going for it. There's giant bugs, steampunk gadgets that are easy to imagine and understand, the struggle between the rich and the poor, and a mystery Jacob discovers about the city he's lived in for his entire life. An excellent start to an excellent trilogy!


Steamforged (Book 2)


Steamforged gives us a look into the world outside of the city of Ancora and into the Deadlands and the city of Bollwerk. Jacob, Alice, Charles and Samuel (a spider knight) travel across the Deadlands to Bollwerk, and new characters are introduced. My favorite new character was Mary, who's not only a strong and independent woman but also an airship captain (go Mary!). I loved her!   

While Steamborn was more introductory, Steamforged brings much needed action and suspense to the trilogy. I looked forward to experiencing the places and people which were talked about in the first book.   

There's tension and I love delving into the differences between the poor and the rich because a lot of those parts of the story seem to parallel what's going on in the real world. I think there's a message in this story about the lengths the rich will go to in order to protect themselves no matter the heavy cost the poor ends up paying. Steamforged gave me a lot to think about with terrific characters and stellar writing. I loved it!  

Steamsworn (Book 3)


Man, Steamsworn hit me hard right in the feels! Asher upped the ante with for his characters with this last installment in the Steamborn trilogy. The book was action packed from beginning to end, and there were moments where I think my heart stopped from being kept in suspense. My emotions were all over the place, and I couldn't believe how much was happening. It wasn't overwhelming at all, so don't worry about that. 

Steamsworn means so much to me because I love the characters fiercely. I feel their feelings and know their thoughts. They've become like real people to me with their hopes and fears. 

This last installment in the trilogy was satisfying, and while I'll miss the characters and their passion to fight for what's right, I'm happy with the way it ended.   


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The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 3:47 PM | Please comment!

January 18, 2018 



Title: The End of the World Running Club
Author: Adrian J. Walker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 
Release date: September 5, 2017
Source: Borrowed from the library 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 


My Rating: 




Synopsis


Perfect for fans of The Martian, this powerful post-apocalyptic thriller pits reluctant father Edgar Hill in a race against time to get back to his wife and children. When the sky begins to fall and he finds himself alone, his best hope is to run – or risk losing what he loves forever.


When the world ends and you find yourself forsaken, every second counts. No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. Stranded on the other side of the country from his wife and children, Ed must push himself across a devastated wasteland to get back to them. With the clock ticking and hundreds of miles between them, his best hope is to run -- or risk losing what he loves forever.



The premise of The End of the World Running Club intrigued me, but the characters annoyed me, especially the main character, Edgar (Ed). 

Ed is married with two young children, and he has to be the whiniest character I've ever encountered, and I've read a ton of books over my lifetime so far so that's saying something. I'm a wife and mom, and I totally get that sometimes it can be a monotonous life with the routine of going to work everyday and coming home. HOWEVER, Ed was disgusting with his pathetic worldview, and I genuinely hope he's the exception and not the rule. 

Once the action began with Ed hurrying his family into the cellar with some supplies he threw together at the last minute, I was horrified. I felt every ounce of anxiety, tension and panic that Ed felt when he knew shit was about to hit the fan. It took my breath away. 

But once that was done, I ended up slogging my way through the rest of the book. It was long, and there were many details that were unnecessary in my opinion. 

As you can tell, I hated Ed and never warmed up to him, not even when he makes a transition from a complete douche to  slightly becoming a better person. I just didn't care for him or about him at all. 

The group of people with whom Ed finds himself consisted of vastly different personalities coming together to survive and get to Ed's family and the hope of a better place with food, water and medicine. I loved Harvey, and Bryce grew on me quite a bit. I never liked Richard and didn't care if anything happened to him. Grimes was the only female, and she was okay but kind of bland. 

Ed and his group meet various people on their journey with some who were helpful and others who were downright cruel and dangerous. That's one of the themes of The End of the World Running Club - if you manage to survive the cataclysmic event that triggered the apocalypse, then you not only have to worry about basic human needs but also running into violent survivors who would do anything to stay alive, include killing you for your supplies. You don't know who you can trust. 

Overall I thought the quality of writing was good with the exception of needless tiny details where no action took place. I don't think Ed was meant to be a likable character, so I wasn't upset about hating him. The running included in this story made it a bit more interesting. All in all, I wouldn't highly recommend this book, but if you are interested in a post-apocalyptic story with adult characters, you might want to give this one a try.  


Quotes I Liked  

In the end, I thought, this is how we all end up: running alone through our own wilderness, the landscape of disjointed events that form our lives, with nobody to make sense of it but ourselves. The road is ours, and ours alone. 
You don't run thirty miles; you run a single step many times over. That's all running is; that's all anything is. If there's somewhere you need to be, somewhere you need to get to, or if you need to change or move away from where or what you are, then that's all it takes. A hundred thousand simple decisions, each one made correctly. You don't have to think about the distance or the destination or about how far you've come or how far you have to go. You just have to think about what's in front of you and how you're going to move it behind you.

Thanks for visiting me here at Donnie Darko Girl! 


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Living Out Loud by Staci Hart ~ #coverreveal

~Jennifer~ | 12:00 PM | Please comment!

January 18, 2018

The wait is over! We have our first stunning Staci Hart cover for 2018. It is beautiful! I cannot wait to get my hands on LIVING OUT LOUD! Check out more about this upcoming release below!






Title: Living Out Loud
Author: Staci Hart
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Cover Design: QukiryBird Design 




Synopsis 


When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list.

Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.

See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check.
Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check.
Stand in the middle of Times Square: Check.
Get a job at Wasted Words: Check.

Two things not on her list: Greg Brandon and Will Bailey. And just like that, she finds herself caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules.

List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart.

Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops.

*Standalone contemporary romance Inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.*


About the Author


Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Author Links





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Sins of the Heart (Otherkin #1) by Eve Silver ~ #bookreview @NetGalley @Eve_Silver

~Jennifer~ | 12:30 AM | | 4 Comments

December 12, 2017



Title: Sins of the Heart
Series: Otherkin #1
Author: Eve Silver
Publication Date: March 4, 2017
Publisher: Romance Beckons  
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Purchase: Amazon | B&N



My Rating:  







Synopsis


Dagan Krayl, the Underworld's most powerful soul reaper, is the demigod son of the evil god Sutekh. He's on a mission to find his murdered brother's remains and resurrect him, but resurrection means that the secrets carried into death would be released and, with them, a war that could end gods and mankind alike.

Roxy Tam is searching for the same thing, but for completely different reasons. She means to make certain that the remains don’t fall into Sutekh’s hands, and that the soul reapers do not reanimate their fallen comrade. As a Daughter of Aset, Roxy is tasked with the protection of the human race, and if that means thwarting an all powerful soul reaper and making certain his dead brother stays dead, so be it. But when Roxy sees Dagan face-to-face, she realizes that she has met him once before—a meeting that changed her life forever.

Neither Dagan nor Roxy expects to join forces for the sake of mankind. Or to have their loyalties tested as they struggle against treachery, betrayal and the potent desire that threatens to consume them both.




Sins of the Heart kicks off an awesome series about soul reapers, demigods, and gods. Roxy and Dagan had a back-and-forth thing that had me reeling and rooting for them at the same time.    

While I wasn't drawn into the story immediately, I eventually did get into it and think I might have been preoccupied. I'm not sure why I wasn't into it immediately - the beginning might have moved a little slowly for me. Some scenes were a bit lengthy.  

As it went on, I ended up liking it more. The characters are interesting, especially Roxy and Dagan. They are HOT together! Their love is forbidden, which just makes them even hotter and fun to read about. They also have opposite goals which was what brought them into orbit in the first place, and that makes their situation even more complicated. I thought it was genius to have their goals pitted against one another to up the ante.  

After finishing Sins of the Heart, I immediately bought Sins of the Daughter and am looking forward to reading the rest of this series! Plus, Eve Silver has written other series I'm ready to dive into.   

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#CoverReveal : Alien Minds by Christina Bauer ~ #Giveaway

December 11, 2017



Alien Minds
Christina Bauer
(Dimension Drift, #1)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: November 27th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Meimi Archer is living the perfect life. Too bad it isn’t hers.

On my seventeenth birthday, I wake up in the hospital to find I just survived a sketchy but terrible accident. My parents stand by my bedside—both are beautiful, wealthy, and super-nice. They tell me that once I leave the hospital, I’ll attend the prestigious ECHO Academy, where I’ll churn out equations for the government along with my mega-smart peers.

So, I’m living the perfect life.

Then why does everything feel all wrong?

My parents, my house and even ECHO Academy…none of it fits. Plus, what’s up with Thorne, my brooding yet yummy classmate who keeps telling me I need to remember my true past, which seems to have included a lot of us kissing? That’s one thing I’d really like to remember, except for the fact that I’m pretty sure Thorne is hiding a ton of nasty secrets of his own, including the fact that he may not be from this world. But considering how my own past seems alien to me, it’s not like I can judge. Plus, Thorne has dimples. That’s a problem.

And worst of all, why does it feel so yucky to work on these calculations for the government? It’s all supposed to be part of ECHO, but my heart tells me that I’m helping something truly terrible come to pass. Thorne seems to think that kissing him again will release my real memories.

Maybe it’s time to pucker up.




Author Bio:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.


Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.


Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!


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The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody ~ #BlogTour #review & #giveaway

December 1, 2017



Hey guys! Welcome to my stop on the Chaos of Standing Still Blog Tour organized by the Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours. I have a review and giveaway for you, so stay tuned!  



Title: The Chaos of Standing Still
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 28th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Copy for review 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | iTunes | Kobo | IndieBound  


Synopsis


Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel from the author of Boys of Summer.

Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year.

She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died.

But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her.

And his name is Xander.

When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head.

Ryn can’t move on.

But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start.

As moving as it is funny, The Chaos of Standing Still is a heartwarming story about the earth-shattering challenges life throws at us—and the unexpected strangers who help us along the way.



The Chaos of Standing Still was amazing! Jessica Brody took the topics of grief and survivor's guilt and hit the nail on the head with them. I was brought into the story quickly and flew through the pages. Ryn was an easy character for me to identify with as I deal with these heavy issues as well.  

Ryn's anxiety and depression stemming from the intense grief and guilt she's dealing with hit me like a punch to the gut. I felt the suffocation she felt, I felt the desperation to know why some people live while others die, and I felt the emptiness a death leaves behind. These things jumped off the page and landed in my head and my heart, and they were emotions I strongly shared with Ryn. 

Airports have always fascinated me and have been a source of inspiration for me. I love wondering where people have come from and where they're going next. This was the perfect setting for a book that takes place within 24 hours, and it also allowed for interesting characters for the reader to meet. 
  
Sometimes it's as though the stars align and you meet someone by chance who is cool and funny and good for you to be around, especially when you're in a crappy situation like Ryn was being stranded at an airport in a blizzard. So I really liked Xander, and the conversations between them made me laugh quite a bit. They're realistic together, and Xander is just a funny cool guy. 

I wasn't too sold on Ryn's best friend, Lottie, but the character didn't take away from my enjoyment of this story.

The Chaos of Standing Still is the first book I've read by Jessica Brody, and I'm looking forward to reading her other books. She's gained a new fan! 

My Rating 




About the Author




Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

Since then, Jessica has sold over twelve novels for teens, tweens, and adults including 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, The Karma Club, My Life Undecided, and the three books in the Unremembered trilogy, the first of which is currently in development as a major motion picture by the producers of The Vampire Academy, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, and Slumdog Millionaire. In 2016, she will release two new contemporary novels, A Week of Mondays (August) and Boys of Summer (April), and in 2017, her debut middle grade novel entitled, Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, will hit bookstore shelves.

Jessica also writes books for the Descendants: “School of Secrets” series, based on the hit Disney Channel Original movie, Descendants!

Jessica’s books are published and translated in over twenty foreign countries. (Click here for a full list of foreign sales and publishers.) She currently splits her time between California and Colorado.

Author Links









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Wolves and Roses by Christina Bauer ~ Blog Tour: #bookreview #giveaway @CB_Bauer

November 17, 2017



Hey there and welcome to my stop on the Wolves and Roses Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. I have a review and giveaway for you, so read on! 



Title: Wolves and Roses
Genre: YA Paranormal 
Release Date: October 31st 2017
Publisher: Monster House Books
Format: Audiobook 

Purchase: Amazon | Audible | B&N | Kobo | iBooks


My Rating:     








Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Bryar Rose has a problem. She’s descended from one of the three magical races—shifters, fairies, or witches. That makes her one of the Magicorum, and Magicorum always follow a fairy tale life template. In Bryar’s case, that template should be Sleeping Beauty.

“Should” being the key word.

Trouble is, Bryar is nowhere near the sleeping beauty life template. Not even close. She doesn’t like birds or woodland creatures. She can’t sing. And she certainly can’t stand Prince Philpot, the so-called “His Highness of Hedge Funds” that her aunties want her to marry. Even worse, Bryar’s having recurring dreams of a bad boy hottie and is obsessed with finding papyri from ancient Egypt. What’s up with that? 

All Bryar wants is to attend a regular high school with normal humans and forget all about shifters, fairies, witches, and the curse that Colonel Mallory the Magnificent placed on her. And she might be able to do just that--if only she can just keep her head down until her eighteenth birthday when the spell that’s ruined her life goes buh-bye.

But that plan gets turned upside down when Bryar Rose meets Knox, the bad boy who’s literally from her dreams.
Knox is a powerful werewolf, and his presence in her life changes everything, and not just because he makes her knees turn into Jell-O. If Bryar can’t figure out who—or what—she really is, it might cost both her and Knox their lives… as well as jeopardize the very nature of magic itself.



Wolves and Roses is a well plotted read, and one I enjoyed for the most part. I really liked the set up with Bryar Rose being unhappy with her fairy tale template as Sleeping Beauty and the close friendship she has with Ella, whose template is Cinderella. The rebel in Bryar is fitting since who would want to be told how to live her life? I understood where she was coming from. 

I thought this take on fairy tales was brilliant and enjoyed Bryar's snark. It was interesting to see how Bryar Rose could have a different perspective than she does in the traditional Sleeping Beauty stories. It was also interesting that these three particular magical races - fairies, shifters and witches - were included. I haven't read too many books with just these three supernatural races; many books include other races like vampires and zombies.   

The situations and narrow escapes Bryar and Ella get themselves into were entertaining. It's also great to see a strong friendship between two teenage girls. They had a great back and forth between their characters that often had me laughing.   

I wasn't a huge fan of Knox. The biggest reason I didn't like him was his constant and repeated references to "his inner wolf." It was distracting and unnecessary.   

The narrator is also the author of this book, and unfortunately it didn't work for me in this case. I think I would have been able to give the story at least another star if I had read the eBook version. There were difficulties with knowing which character was speaking at times because the voices weren't different enough. There were also moments that the reading felt bland. 

That being said, the story is good, and I'd read the next installment although in the eBook format rather than the audiobook format. 


About the Author 



Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. It is now available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press. 

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

Author Links



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