Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau #bookreviews #TuesdayBookBlog #YA

A congressman’s daughter who has to be perfect. A star quarterback with a secret. A guy who’s tired of being ignored. A clarinet player who’s done trying to fit in. An orphaned rebel who wants to teach someone a lesson. A guy who wants people to see him, not his religion.

They couldn’t be more different, but before the morning’s over, they’ll all be trapped in a school that’s been rocked by a bombing. When they hear that someone inside is the bomber, they’ll also be looking to one another for answers. – Goodreads.com

More than anything, this book challenges the reader to avoid stereotypes and assumptions about the situations of others.  It’s timely, thought-provoking, and will stay with you long after finishing.

At first glance, this group of high school teens appear to be a Breakfast Club assortment.  Or are they?  As the story progresses, it’s revealed each is dealing with their own issues to include racism, homosexuality, religious discrimination, bullying, and suicide.  The interactions between Rashid and Tad are especially compelling.  With the exception of Frankie and Kaitlyn, the character development is incredible – the teens are real, relatable, and flawed.  For me, Frankie comes across as a little too stereotypical, and very little information about Kaitlyn is given.

All have motivations for planting the bombs, and determining the identity of the bomber may force the reader to face their own stereotypes and prejudices.  You may surprise yourself.  These teens experience a horrific situation, and I appreciated that the author didn’t create a tidy ending solving all their problems.

A quick, action-packed, and stimulating read, Time Bomb is so much more than teenagers fighting for their lives.  This is easily a cross-over and something I’d highly recommend for book clubs.  Time Bomb is scheduled for publication March 13th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

 

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When We Finally Kiss Goodnight by Staci Troilo #bookreview #romance

Chloe Upshaw suffers from what she calls the trifecta of awful—unfulfilling job, disappointed family, bad luck with love. Just before Christmas, she travels to Pittsburgh hoping to land a job that will change her career. But not only is she in stiff competition for the position, she angers her mother by rejecting her matchmaking efforts and not going home. Worse, she runs into the guy who got away—and this time, no matter how many lies she tells to protect her heart, she leaves herself vulnerable to hurt.

Britt Garris’ callous and careless behavior in college cost him his dream girl. When fate crosses their paths ten years later, he thinks it’s serendipity. And he launches into one deception after another to win her back, including an auspicious trip for the two archaeologists to Gettysburg. Britt plays on Chloe’s love of history to spend time with her. He doesn’t count on the local lore and legend predicting their future—a future his duplicity puts at risk.

When their lies finally crumble, their budding relationship is threatened. Their dishonesties and disillusions may be impossible to overcome. But maybe the magic of the season can make their dreams come true. – Goodreads.com

I don’t read a lot of romance, but sometimes you just crave a Christmas read to cozy up with during cold weather, and being familiar with Pittsburgh (where I discovered the awesome cheesy goodness of white pizza for the first time), this story appealed to me.

This is a quick read with some humorous conflict between the characters.  I especially enjoyed the interactions between Chloe and her mother.  Whose mother hasn’t meddled in their love life/career choice at times?  And if you’re reading this during cold weather, certain sections may just warm you up a little.

Romance fans will enjoy this novella and root for the characters to get their happily ever after.

 

Ghosts of Manor House by Matt Powers #bookreview #RBRT #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Edmund and Mary Wilder are very much in love. But the death of their young son, Tommy, has shattered their family. Edmund is determined to bring them back together, drawing on the only bit of strength he has left—his love for Mary and their daughter, Stephanie. But Mary sinks deeper into depression while little Stephanie’s anger grows. Edmund flounders in his attempts to rescue his family from the brink of collapse and doesn’t know where to turn.

Then Mary receives an invitation for the family to become guests at Manor House, a seemingly quaint Bed and Breakfast. This, she assures her husband, is the answer to all their troubles.

Edmund arrives ahead of his family to spend a couple days working on his long-delayed novel. But his growing curiosity about the old house leads Edmund to an encounter that will change him forever.

What will you sacrifice for love?

An old fashioned psychological thriller with a nod to Stephen King, Manor House will keep you guessing and compel you to turn the page to the very end.

A mother will sacrifice anything for her children. A husband will risk everything to save his wife. Manor House will take them all. – Goodreads.com

Give me a book featuring an eerie house and I’m a happy reader.  Ghosts of Manor House appealed to me based on the title alone.

The author does a wonderful job at conveying the emotions of grieving parents who’ve lost a child – my heart broke for them.  I also liked how the gruesome history of the tree was established in the prologue and gives a foundation for the mysterious happenings.  Once the family arrives at the house, you just know nothing good is going to happen.

After the first few chapters, there’s a sudden shift and for a while, it allows the reader to feel disoriented along with Edmund.  It’s easy to predict the path this story will take, but there are some tense, chilling moments along the way.

The book contains some formatting errors here and there, with two different characters speaking and the dialogue on the same line (which can be a little confusing), and sentences split between paragraphs.  Occasionally, the dialogue is somewhat repetitious.

This book doesn’t contain gore – it’s more atmospheric, with almost a gothic feel, so if you’re not a horror fan, don’t let that deter you from reading.  Although a quick read, Ghosts of Manor House contains powerful, heavy emotions and is a haunting, grim tale.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Fourth Dimension by Eric Walters #bookreview #postapocalyptic

In a world with no power, chaos soon descends. A powerful look at the disintegration of society in the wake of a massive and mysterious outage that has knocked out all modern amenities.

Fifteen-year-old Emma has moved house with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother. It’s a brand-new condo building, which explains the semi-regular power outages, as workers complete the units around them. So Emma isn’t particularly concerned when the latest blackout hits just as they are preparing to leave town on a long weekend camping trip. But then the car won’t start, and their cellphones appear dead — and all the cars outside their building seem to be stalled in a long traffic jam …

In the midst of what appears to be a massive power outage, with their camping gear packed and ready, Emma and her family canoe over to the islands, just offshore, to wait it out. But while they land on an isolated island, with a relatively hidden site, they are far from safe, as people become increasingly desperate to find food and shelter. And as the days pass, and the power remains out, the threat of violence becomes all too real. – Goodreads.com

This book begins with a lot of potential.  The family dynamics between Emma, her mother, and her brother are realistic and amusing, and the imagery is vivid.  Once the power goes out, the situation deteriorates rapidly, and as an ER nurse and former Marine, Emma’s mother is well-trained to handle their situation.  She’s a force to be reckoned with.

Shortly after, the story loses its luster.  Everything that happens – the people they meet and their occupations, the supplies they come across – is just a little too convenient and unrealistic.  The plot becomes somewhat repetitive and I skimmed through several pages toward the end.  Which I’m not sure it was.  The closer I got to the end, it became clear nothing would be resolved.  Maybe there’s a sequel?

Although an intriguing concept, this book fell flat for me, but other post-apocalyptic fans may feel differently.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

 

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James #bookreview #YA #dystopian #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

A corrupted city. A dark dream of power.

Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own.

New alliances and old feuds will remake the nation, leaving Abi and Luke questioning everything – and everyone – they know. And as Silyen Jardine hungers for the forgotten Skill of the legendary Wonder King, the country’s darkest hour approaches. Freedom and knowledge both come at a cost. So who will pay the price?  – Goodreads.com

The first book in this series was high on my list of favorite YA reads last year, and Tarnished City is quite possibly even better.

This is a darker, grittier read and the world-building continues to be phenomenal.  Every character is so well-drawn – the depth is exceptional.  Be prepared – deaths, betrayals, and surprises abound, and my jaw drops to page number ratio was exceedingly high.

As with the first novel, many of these characters aren’t what they initially seem, but Silyen continues to intrigue me the most.  I feel like there’s a clue right in front of me, but he remains an enigma.

Such a complex storyline – politics, rebellion, power struggles – a YA read that doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of its audience.  Highly recommend!  Tarnished City is scheduled for publication February 5th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.

Murder at the Bijou: Three Ingredients 1 by Teagan Riordain Geneviene #TuesdayBookBlog #CozyMystery

Long ago I developed a writing exercise. I would ask friends to give me three completely random things. Then I would write until I had mentioned all the things. I brought that exercise to my blog, but I had the readers send me their things. I let the random things drive every detail of a serial story, setting, plot, and characters. That resulted in The Three Things Serial Story, which gave birth to this culinary mystery. However, this time the “things” are food related — or ingredients.

As with the first serial, Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I is a spontaneously written, pantser story. I let the “ingredients” readers sent each week drive every aspect of a new serial story. This is the “bookized” version of that serial.

This time the Jazz Age setting is Savannah, Georgia where our flapper, Pip is “sentenced” to live with her grandmother and learn to cook. Pip gets caught up in a layered mystery that includes bootleggers, G-men, and the varied challenges of being a young woman in changing times. She meets new friends including some animal characters.

If you have not read The Three Things Serial Story, be warned. This adventure contains a bit of a spoiler, but does not go into detail about it.

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

If you’re a frequent visitor to Teagan’s blog, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Paisley Idelle Peabody, better known as Pip, and her determination to be a level-headed modern woman.  A flapper.  Pip leads quite an adventurous life, and in this book stumbles upon a murder.  The supporting characters are colorful and entertaining, and Granny Phanny is a force to be reckoned with.

I’m fascinated by the author’s ability to take three randomly suggested items by fans and build a story around them.  As my son would say, “What sort of black magic is this?”  What a talent she possesses.

I curled up with this book on a cold day peppered with snow flurries, hot chocolate on the table beside me – a perfect read for that kind of day.  Fun, amusing, unique – you can’t go wrong with this book.

Mass Hysteria by Michael Patrick Hicks #bookreviews #horror #thriller @MikeH5856

It came from space…

Something virulent. Something evil. Something new. And it is infecting the town of Falls Breath.

Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy.

As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.

…and it is spreading.

Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of mass hysteria.

To survive, humanity will have to fight tooth and nail. – Goodreads.com

Wow.  This was brutal, gory, shocking.  In all fairness, the author warned me it might be more than I was expecting – and admittedly it was.  But as a horror fan, I couldn’t look away.

Maybe I’m unnaturally twisted, but scenes involving adult human deaths don’t really bother me – make them as grisly as you like.  Same with The Walking Dead. But.  Involve animals or children, and I’m inclined to skim through those parts.  Considering pets and wildlife are rabid and attacking – I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.  You’ve been warned.

I’ve read several other books by this author, and he has a knack for creating kick-ass female characters.  They play the hand they’re dealt, and play it so very well.  No curling into the fetal position and accepting their fate.

Because of the graphic nature of this book, I’d only recommend it to die-hard horror fans.  And for those die-hard fans – you’re in for a treat.

I received a copy of this book from the author.