Hunting November (Killing November #2) by Adriana Mather #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Surviving a few weeks at the world’s most lethal boarding school was one thing. But now comes the real test: Can November Adley find her missing father before her enemies find her? Subterfuge is the name of the game in this thrilling sequel to Killing November, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch.

After surviving a crash course in espionage at the mysterious Academy Absconditi, November has only one purpose: finding her missing father. Along with fellow student (and heartthrob) Ash, November follows the clues that her father left, embarking on the deadliest treasure hunt of her life. The first clue is in her hometown, where old friends beckon and unexpected enemies lurk around every corner. The second clue is in Europe, where revelations about her family’s history will plunge her into an international web of deception, lies, and intrigue. The third clue is deep in enemy territory, surrounded by the most skilled assassins and master strategists, and where everyone wants her and her father dead. Can one girl with limited training infiltrate a centuries-old organization that is powerful enough to topple empires? November only knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to save her father . . . or die trying. 

Killing November was one of my best reads last year – high stakes, untrustworthy characters, a school for assassins.  The year waiting for this sequel was a long one.

This book picks up right where the other left off.  November and Ash leave the school in search of her father, who’s left complex clues for her in different locations across the country.  Talk about tense situations – death could literally be waiting for them around every corner, and some of the people they come across would just as soon slit their throats rather than speak to them.

Pacing may leave you breathless, and the action is almost nonstop.  But not everything is serious – some lighter, humorous moments are sprinkled throughout the story along with romantic elements.  Twists and surprises abound, and the big reveal near the end left me gaping.  I absolutely didn’t see it coming.

This series is incredibly addictive with ultra-high stakes, a complex plot, and untrustworthy characters that worm their way into your heart.  I get the feeling this is a duology, but I’d sure love another book.  Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

The Disasters by M.K. England #bookreview #scifi #YA

Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.

But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.

On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.

They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.

I’m a sucker for a diverse group of unlikely heroes, and when they’re thrown into space it’s a nearly irresistible read.

I listened to this audiobook during a long drive, and for the most part, it held my interest.  Nax’s voice is a highlight of the book, and his internal monologues had me laughing several times.  Being in the middle of a bi-love triangle makes for some pretty awkward moments for him.  The rest of the crew is also engaging.  Tossing them into a nearly immediate life or death situation inspires pretty quick bonding, and trust soon follows.

From the tagline, I expected more humorous moments.  For me, Nax joining up with other “washouts” indicates they’re misfits or also have a history of making poor life decisions, but all these characters are highly skilled and close to prodigies.  The focus of the story slants more toward political conspiracies and the group trying to save the day – nothing wrong wrong with that, but the description is a little misleading.

The Disasters has some great characterization and lots of action, but the pace moves a little slow for my taste.  Still, a solid read.

 

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff #bookreview #YA #scifi

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Occasionally, I’ll pick up a book and know within the first several pages that I’m in for a five star read.  Aurora Rising is one of those books.

These characters.  I fell for them hard, and the banter between them is hilarious.  All are so fully-developed and relatable, and with seven different POVs, that’s a tremendous feat to accomplish.  So many POVs may throw off some readers, but each voice is distinctive, and I knew exactly who was speaking.  And such fantastic character diversity (and I don’t mean humans and aliens).

Talk about no-win situations – these authors throw their characters into several, and you’re just sure there’s no way they’ll survive – and then things happen that I won’t give away, but trust me, you’ll be surprised at the originality and creativity.  The last 15% of this book really put me through the wringer – hidden secrets, big emotions, high-stakes danger.  Make sure to carve out a good hour or so when you won’t be disturbed.

Even with all the action, death-defying moments, and a tension-filled heist, Aurora Rising leans heavily on themes of family, friendship, faith, and finding your crew.  It’s an unusual, but charismatic mix of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Breakfast Club, and Six of Crows, and a novel you won’t want to miss.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Voyage of the Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #pirates #TuesdayBookblog

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride. 

I’ve read several books by C.S. Boyack, and by now, I’ve come to expect wildly inventive world-building, charming characters, and a thrilling adventure.  This book definitely didn’t alter those expectations.

Where can I find me some root monsters?  I’d love to have a bushel of my own.  These guys made me laugh out loud so many times, I lost count.  They’re quite the little scoundrels, and a valuable addition to the crew.  Speaking of the crew, they’re a diverse, boisterous crowd with varied backgrounds, and kind of a family of their own making.  Everyone brings a special skill to the table.  And they’re pirates!  Who doesn’t love a good pirate tale?

If you’re looking for adventure on the high seas, quirky characters, a hint of magic, and a touch of romance, Voyage of the Lanternfish fits the bill quite nicely.

 

Surface Tension by Mike Mullin #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training on his bike, Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital.

A terrorist leader’s teenage daughter, Betsy, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible witness. When Jake’s mother blames his head injury for his tales of attempted murder, he has to rely on his girlfriend, Laurissa, to help him escape the killers and the law enforcement agents convinced that Jake himself had a role in the crash. – Goodreads.com

Trust me when I say this – don’t blink or you’ll miss some things while reading this book.  It moves that fast.  Surface Tension is a thrilling ride with a chilling premise – it could potentially happen.

Because Jake happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses something he shouldn’t, his whole life, and the lives of his loved ones, change in an instant.  He finds himself in dire, nearly impossible situations, many of them life-threatening, but trust me, this kid is smart and resilient.  And his girlfriend, Laurissa, is brave, tenacious, and someone you want on your side.  She’s definitely a keeper.

Told from a dual POV (Jake and Betsy), this book deals with real world issues of terrorism and hate groups and, along with Jake, the reader will question who’s trustworthy.  An action-packed, twisty thriller, this is easily a crossover novel I’d recommend to both YA and adult readers.  This book is scheduled for publication May 8th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.

 

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.

 

Indie Author Friday: D.L. Robinson #IndieAuthor #romance

Welcome D.L. Robinson to Indie Author Friday!  With five young children, I can’t imagine how she has time to write, but in the questions below, she reveals her methods for working it in.  And I think I’m going to need her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

In just a few short days Loriel has major concerns about her new job. First thought to be a dream career, she realizes the job she had so anticipated has placed a target on her back, and she will be lucky to come out unscathed. Without the help of Givanni, her boss’s nephew and the CEO at Shellbrook, her fate would have been sealed a few times over. But his world, though frightening, brings with it breathtaking sights, adoring family, and stronger feelings than Loriel wants to admit. And although making it out alive had seemed impossible, it becomes desperately more important to make it out together.

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

I have been given a lot of advice over the last year since I published Storm Front, but there are a few things that have become very helpful! I’ll pass those along… the first is to write at the edges of the day. Writing is usually an extra goal – added onto a full time job or a family… or both! But it can be done in small amounts of time. Just keep those ideas building and write them down in hyper speed when you get the chance! Another tip is to cut to the chase. While this depends on your individual prose and the type of novel or literature you’re writing, you don’t want to over-word things. Keep it moving. Finally, don’t give up! There are a lot of successful authors out there, and some that you’ve never even heard of! There’s room for you, so keep going.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

Enrica for sure! She is beautiful and hostile and utterly above this inferior world (at least in her mind), so yeah, we would have trouble getting along LOL.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I think after writing Storm Front, and continuing to work on the sequel, I have tried to have more specific goals and milestones for my characters – more of a plan! For me, to write the entire thing down on a nice little outline would pretty much kill the desire to write. But, there are definitely advantages to having at least your next few steps sketched out. I always know the beginning and ending right off the bat, but defining a few pivotal moments in between is also important.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

Homemade chocolate chip cookies – I can (and sometimes DO) make them every day! And the reason is easy… I have the best recipe on this planet. Mmmmm…

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

Unusual? I’m not sure if it’s unusual, but I teach a Zumba class a few times a week. It’s free and moms come exercise while kids play – lots of fun! I also love running, and have done a half dozen half marathons. Swimming, hiking, biking, camping, you name it – I probably like it.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I watched some Scandinavian cooking show where they made ice cream by dragging it in a sealed metal bucket behind a horse and sleigh through the snow! Perfectly churned and it looked amazing – I want some right NOW!

Author Bio

Born and raised in California, Diana developed an early love for the coastline, mountain ranges, and desert in between. Her grade school years were spent in a chaos of paper and pencils, writing stories and poems, oftentimes scattered around the sunny white farmhouse she called home. Trading flip flops for cowboy boots, she now resides in rural Idaho with her husband Joseph and five young children.

Buy Links

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=storm+front+dl+Robinson

Blackrosewriting.com: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/storm-front?rq=storm%20front

Paperback and eBooks available!

Social Media Links

Instagram: @dlrobinsonauthor
Website: www.dlrobinsonauthor.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/stormfrontdlrobinson/

 

 

Re-Launch of My GRL by John W. Howell #thriller #action #99cents

If you missed My GRL the first time around, now’s your chance to begin this suspenseful, thrilling series – and you won’t have to wait impatiently for the sequels, because they’ve already been released!

Announcing the re-launch of My GRL

My GRL

The cover is new and the book edited once again to enhance the experience. What is really nice is the price has been cut for the introduction. You can buy the kindle version for a special introduction price of

$0.99

Here’s the blurb.

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission. Amazon for the kindle version

Here is the link to Amazon for the Kindle version

Here is the link to Amazon for the Paper version

Check them out and read the first few pages on Amazon.

Also, you can check out John Cannon’s other two adventures, as well as, the new My GRL at John W. Howell’s Author Page

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Author Bio

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Indie Author Friday – Nabila Fairuz #IndieAuthors #YoungAdult

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Who doesn’t love a good pirate story, right?  Today’s featured indie author is Nabila Fairuz with her book, The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar.

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The youngest of three siblings, Shelly’s childhood tragically ended when her family disappeared under cryptic circumstances. Shelly and her sister embark on an epic journey to find them, only to face more hardship.

Witnessing the death of her only sister hardened Shelly more, and she was left with facing the bleak reality of continuing the mission alone. It affected her deeper than she imagined, and fueled her every move. It made her become the pirate captain whose name would eventually be feared everywhere. She gathered a crew and despite all odds always managed to come unscathed from any of her crazy exploits.

Along the way, she bumps into her brother who is now charged with arresting her, reconciles with her father who is hiding his own secrets, and frees her mother from the clutches of a power hungry Admiral of the English Navy. Will the fearless Captain Shelly Manhar manage to evade the hangman’s noose, or be forever lost in Davy Jones’ Locker?

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

The most constructive criticism that I received in my writing career was given to me by my publicist, and it goes (more or less) as follows: “Get a better editor.”

Needless to say, editing is not one of my stronger points and I need ALL the help that I can get.

What do you wish you’d known before you were published?

I’d wish I’d known what a tremendous amount of marketing I’d have to do. Writing the book is probably only a quarter of the actual work. Getting it recognized by people takes up about 80 percent of the time, and even then, it seems to me that it is never enough! I wish I had known that sooner.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to never give up. I can’t tell you the number of times I had come so close to giving up writing and not finishing my manuscript. Now that I actually hold my book in my hands, I bask in the pure joy of my creation. I just wish I had not been so negative about my writing in the early stages.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

Firefly, and the movie sequel of the series, Serenity. I can watch that series over and over.

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

“Noot, noot, amigos!”

(I am guilty of occasionally enjoying watching Pingu. There, I said it.)

 How would your best friend describe you?

Makes really horrible and lame puns. Beware.

Author Bio

Nabila Fairuz is an upcoming writer making a debut in the world of fiction. Born innabila Dhaka, Bangladesh, she moved to Ottawa, Canada in 2009. Nabila has a deep passion for reading, and this habit was developed at a very early age. It grew in her an intense urge to venture into the field of writing. She has written a number of poems, stories and articles, and maintains her blog, My Own Little Corner, to keep her writing habits going strong.

Social Media
Blog: http://nabila-fairuz.blogspot.ca/
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/nabilafairuz56508/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/N_FairuzR
Instagram: n_fairuzr

Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Captain-Shelly-Manhar/dp/1612967655/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476037530&sr=8-1&keywords=nabila+fairuz

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-chronicles-of-captain-shelly-manhar-nabila-fairuz/1124683838?ean=9781612967653

 

 

 

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive 28374370dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.

But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.

As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other? – Goodreads.com

I had such fun reading this book.  My oldest son turned me into a dinosaur nerd when he was around 5 years old (he carried plastic dinosaurs with him wherever we went), so I loved the adventure and wonder of discovering new dinosaur breeds and fossils in this novel.

The two MCs, Samuel and Rachel, are nearly polar opposites in personality – him being more rash and impulsive, and Rachel the more practical and balanced type.  But they share a deep love of paleontology and their personalities play off each other quite well.  At times, they also display more maturity than their competitor fathers and it makes for some humorous situations.  While the reader knows a romance between them is a given, I appreciated that the author gave each of them their own character arcs apart from the romance, which made it a more interesting read for me.

I enjoyed everything about this book – the paleontology, feuding fathers, wild west setting with Native Americans, and the determination of a young woman to follow her own dreams during a time period where it was unheard of for women to have dreams other than marriage and children.  Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a well-paced adventure, humor, and a dash of romance thrown in.  This book is scheduled for publication September 20, 2016.

Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.