Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Disillusioned (Swept Away, #2) by J.S. Cooper

    Title: Disillusioned (Swept Away Book 2)
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
    Series: Swept Away
    Format: Paperback; 288 pages
    Publisher: Gallery Books (March 17, 2015)
    ISBN-10: 147679099X
    ISBN-13: 978-1476790992
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.

Bianca secretly investigated the death of her mother for several months before she was kidnapped. One second she was sitting at the bar waiting for her best friend to reappear from the restroom and the next she was waking up in the trunk of a car wondering what in the world is going on. But she's wasn't alone. Jakob, a young man she briefly met at a coffee shop earlier that day was in the trunk with her. She thought he was an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person, but she soon found out she'd been tricked. He was the one who masterminded her kidnapping. The one who might hold the answers she was looking for.

Caught in an intricate web of deceit, lies, and secrets she's unsure who to trust. With billions of dollars at stake, loyalty can be bought at the drop of a hat and lives, including her own, could be lost without a second thought. Can she figure out what's going before it's too late?  For nothing is as it seems and she's no longer disillusioned.
Another riveting, roller coaster ride of a story from Ms. Cooper and I confess to being more confused than ever. Gah! I so love this story. Yes, I'm confused in a good way. If the ending of this series doesn't deliver the ending I'm expecting (and by that I mean another suspenseful nail biter with a satisfying ending)  I think I'll end up crying. I don't think I've ever said that about a series before. Hey, no pressure Ms. Cooper--well, not much. Ha!

In this, the second book of the series, Bianca is wising up and learning fast. She's still torn about her feelings and attraction to Jakob, but she's being more cautious. There are so many twists and turns in this one that I thought I might get whiplash, but managed to refrain from needing any first aide.*smirk* What I truly love trying to do while reading this book is to see if I can predict the twists before they happen. Some I can, while others I'm completely oblivious to until they occur. I'm finding this series to be so much fun.

Overall, I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. J.S. Cooper masterfully spins a tale full of mystery, suspense, and some down right hot romance that left me wanting the next book yesterday so there would be no interruption in the reading. Definitely a series I HIGHLY recommend. I also have to thank this author for managing to get me out of my reading slump. I've been having trouble getting into books for the last two months and this is the first one that totally enthralled me. For that reason alone I couldn't help but give this book a 5 rose rating. So thanks J.S. for getting my reading back on track. I absolutely am enjoying the ride.

Order of the Series:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Release Day Review of Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2) by Rachel Hartman

    Title: Shadow Scale (Seraphina)
    Classification: Young Adult; 12+
    Grade Level: 7 and up
    Lexile Measure: 0780 (What's this?)
    Genre: Fantasy
    Series: Seraphina
    Format: Hardcover; 608 pages
    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 10, 2015)
    ISBN-10: 0375866574
    ISBN-13: 978-0375866579
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher.

In a world where dragons and humans once lived segregated but in fragile sort of peace, a young half breed who, by all accounts, never should have been born may be the missing link that connects them all...

Seraphina thought she was the only one of her kind--a half dragon/half human called an ityasaari. She, however, was wrong. One of the few who understands both dragon and human reasoning, she unwittingly got herself mixed up in her country's, Goredd, politics. With civil war breaking out among the dragons as to whether they should once again conquer humans or maintain the peace between humans and dragons, it won't be long before war finds its way to Goredd. On a mission to find others like herself, those who were once scorned and hunted, ironically, may be the only ones who can save both dragons and humanity. Could Seraphina be the one to tear down the barriers between the two species?
This was the second and, sadly, final book to the Seraphina story. According Ms. Hartman, however, there will be more stories to come that will be set in this world. With any luck, this won't be the last we hear of Seraphina and her motley crew. While this book wraps things up fairly nicely, I'd like to see a little more of her. *crosses fingers* If you haven't read the first book, I encourage you to do so. While this book recounts a nice portion of what happened in Seraphina, there are some details and events I wouldn't want you to miss that aren't included in this one.

In Shadow Scale, we get to see more of the lands surrounding Goredd as Seraphina sets out on a mission to find and bring together the other half dragons that fill her mental garden. While some will be willing to help protect the kingdom from being razed to the ground, some might not be so willing to protect a country where half breeds are said to be abominations. As with many quests, collecting her fellow half breeds will have its complications.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed the rich world building and the characters who seemed to come to life on the pages. There were a lot of twists and turns, and I was happy to learn the story behind the grotesque that was banished from Seraphina's garden. While at times the story seemed to lag, I was always entertained. I will confess, however, to being a little disappointed about the way Ms. Hartman resolved the love triangle. I kind of wish she'd wrapped it up differently. Other than that, I loved the finale and look forward to reading more books set in this world.

Order of the series:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Early Review of Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop

    Title: Vision In Silver: A Novel of the Others
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
    Series: A Novel of the Others (Book 3)
    Hardcover: 416 pages
    Publisher: Roc (March 3, 2015)
    ISBN-10: 045146527X
    ISBN-13: 978-0451465276
    Author's Website:
    Notes: Received an eARC loan from the publisher. Contains some gruesome and disturbing moments.
Warning: This review contains spoilers for 'Written in Red' and 'Murder of Crows' so if you haven't read the first books, you may wish to look at my review of 'Written in Red' instead:

Can one person make a difference?

Meg Corbyn is shaking things up in Thaisia. When she first appeared in the Lakeside Courtyard no one, not even her, could have predicted the impact she'd have on the Others. Attempting to escape her captors, she sought sanctuary in the most unlikely of places--one of the Other's Courtyards. Being a blood prophet she is considered a hot commodity. The abuse these women with visions of the future have suffered at the hands of the people who were supposed to help and protect them is unconscionable. For her to seek out the help of the Others testifies to just how desperate she was. For the Others are a dangerous species who can shift into human form, but are far from human. She and her fellow blood prophets were trained by their captors to be frightened of them. Yet they have a very clear sense of right and wrong and they see what was done to the blood prophets as wrong. With various powers and abilities, they are not a group to be messed with. Only a select group of humans who hold special skills of their own have ever been asked to live among the Others, but things are about to change.

As the fanatical group Human's First and Last (HFL) begins to spread their influence and venomous talk throughout the continent, tensions between the Others and humans begin to rise. Hatred is growing and violence is erupting between the two species. When Meg's latest vision reveals dark events, it becomes clear a war is about to be waged. Will this mark the end of the coexistence of humans and Others in Thaisia? For even if humans have forgotten, the Others are the true owners of all the land in Thaisia, and they protect what's theirs. They will show no mercy.
This was another great installment of The Others series. I love the world building Ms. Bishop incorporated into this one which is easy to relate to yet very different from our own world. If you haven't read the previous books, I recommend you do. You won't want to miss the progression of the relationship between Meg and Simon. Plus, I love how Meg quickly wins everyone over in the first book and stimulates relationships between the Others and a small group of humans who respect and understand the power the Others hold over them.

Meg is a Blood Prophet, aka cassandra sangue. When her blood is exposed to the elements, whether accidentally through wounds or scrapes or via controlled cuts, she predicts the future. If she speaks a prophecy out loud, she experiences a feeling of euphoria which blocks out all memories of the prediction. If she keeps a prophecy to herself, she'll remember but experience excruciating pain. It is through these blood prophecies that she, and other cassandra sangue, can make predictions of all kinds which can be used to protect those they care for or create a profit for those who wish to exploit their gift. While the prophecies can be vague, they are always reliable.

Cassandra sangue are not like most humans in that they never truly lose their childlike nature. This quality appeals to the Others because they hold no malice. Blood prophets hate big changes and too much stimuli can upset them and cause them an unbearable amount of stress. For some reason Meg seems to deal with change better than most. It is the hope of the Others that she can help the other cassandra sangue transition into the real world now that the Others have started freeing them. Besides cassandra sangue's blood being a significant element in their predictions, it has a narcotic like affect on the Others when ingested which can cause them to become violent. So the Others need to be careful around their blood.

What I love about this series is seeing the cautious steps being taken towards forging new friendships and relationships and coming to understand someone who isn't exactly like you. It's a concept that has been used in many stories, but I never seem to tire of it. I also love, as I mentioned before, the relationship between Simon and Meg. I am patiently waiting to see these two become a couple and while we see the writing on the wall, and things are definitely heading that way, Meg and Simon have yet to. I kind of like this slow approach to the romance. If they do become a couple, they'll have a lot to overcome. It somehow seems right that they should proceed slowly and with caution, but I admit to wanting something to happen between these two soon.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. If you loved the first two books, you'll definitely love this one as well. I was practically glued to my kindle as I consumed the story. I love how we're starting to get a better look, although not a complete one, at both the HFL and Thaisia. I wonder who the HFL leader really is and what this group has up their sleeve? I can't wait to find out, and I'm hoping the next book will expand beyond Thaisia. So much happened in this one and yet we still have so much to learn. I'm definitely hooked and enjoying the wild ride. I HIGHLY recommend this series. Just be warned, there are some gruesome and disturbing moments in these books and they are not for the faint of heart. 

Order of The Others series:
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