250 Word review: How Beauty Met the Beast (Jax Garren)

250 Word Review: How Beauty Met the Beast (Jax Garren) Goodreads | Amazon

Summary (From Goodreads.com)
The Beast

Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley “Hauk” Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He’s starting to lose hope…and then he sees her.

The Beauty

Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn’t see. After she’s kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.

Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?

Title: How Beauty Met the Beast
Author: Jax Garren
Length: 152 pages
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Series? YesTales of the Underlight #1

Plot: ★★
Characters: ★★★
Readability: ★★★
Overall: ★★★

My opinion:
Jolie Benoit (heiress, grad student, burlesque dancer) meets Hauk (ex-Army, agent of the Underlight) in a somewhat unbelievable sexual encounter where she never sees his face.  Afterwards, she is nearly kidnapped, but saved by Hauk (who she doesn’t recognise) and drawn into a fantasy world of magic and rebellion.

I’ll admit, the sex scene was a little too strange for me, but Jolie came across well throughout the rest of the book – saucy and down to earth.

Hauk was by far the best character, and Jolie’s very realistic reaction to his burns, as well as her determination not to be bothered by them, was fantastic.  Jax Garren didn’t shy away from Jolie’s awkwardness, or Hauk’s insecurities, and it’s a refreshing change.

The world building was okay; I felt I could visualise settings fine, though the relationships between the warring factions was a little vague for me, probably due to limited word count.

My biggest flaw with this book was the ending.  By that, I mean the fact there wasn’t one!  It seems like a lot of readers (like me) hadn’t realised this is actually only part one of three, and so the happy ending you’re waiting for never comes!

One minor point: although I can definitely see the Beauty & the Beast similarities, Hauk is a fabulous character, not at all rude or arrogant!

Buy it? I’d get it on a deal personally
In a nutshell: I liked it, but I’d have preferred the three books in one!

Other Reviews of How Beauty Met The Beast: Butterfly-o-Meter books | Under The Covers | Flashlight Commentary

250 Word review: Scent of Magic (Healer #2)

250 Word Review: Scent of Magic (Maria V. Snyder) Goodreads | Amazon

Summary (From Goodreads.com)
Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again.

Title: Scent of Magic
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Length: 400 pages
Source: ARC from Netgalley

Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

My opinion:
First, I have to confess: although I love Maria V. Snyder’s books, Touch of Power (the first book in this series), didn’t wow me.  I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from Scent of Magic.  However, Scent of Magic had me hooked instantly, and I devoured it in a day.

Chapters alternate between Avry and Kerrick’s point of view, which meant I just didn’t want to put the book down.  In some books, alternating chapters mean the mini-cliffhanger endings of one character wear off a bit by the time you get back to their POV, but I found the chapters in this quick enough that it wasn’t an issue.

The detail in this is extraordinary – Snyder’s world building is always amazing, and this book was definitely no exception.  However, the characters were what made this book – Tohon is a fabulous villain, made all the more compelling since he can be so charming! Avry really came into her own in this book, and I found her more likable than in Touch of Power.  Belen and the other supporting characters are fantastic, though there’s less humourous bickering than in Touch of Power, which is a little disappointing.  All in all, a fantastic book, more like the excellent Study & Glass trilogies.

Warning: There’s a big cliffhanger ending – prepare for an agonising wait for Taste of Death!

Buy it? Definitely!
In a nutshell: Redeemed the series for me – can’t wait for book 3.

Other Reviews of Scent of Magic: A Book Obsession | The Ink Gobbler | YA Novelties

250 Word review: Confessions of an Angry Girl, Louise Rozett

250 Word Review:  Confessions of an Angry Girl (Louise Rozett) Goodreads | Amazon

Summary (From Goodreads.com)
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…

1. I’m livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I’m allowed to be irate, don’t you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and “seeing red” means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don’t know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)

Title: Confessions of an Angry Girl
Author: Louise Rozett
Length: 272 Pages
Source: ARC from Netgalley

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★

My opinion:
Confessions of an Angry Girl follows Rose Zarelli as she navigates through the minefield of high school after the death of her father.  Rose’s family is broken by her dad’s death – her mother has retreated into herself, and her brother Peter has moved off to college.  This leaves Rose alone to deal with her grief, her anger, and the drama of high school.

I found Rose a great character throughout most of the book, though occasionally she descended into more of an angsty girl than an angry one, and sometimes her behaviour made me want to shake her (particularly regarding Robert).

I loved the writing style, and the chapter headings.  Rozett’s portrayal of the dilemmas and choices of those teenage years was absolutely fantastic.

Rose’s emotions are perfectly conveyed, so even when I was frustrated with her, I wanted things to work out for her.  Robert was a great character, and Regina was a fantastically evil and terrifying – I quickly learned to hate her.  At first I found Jamie more irritating than intriguing but the romance grabbed my attention at the end.

I’m not convinced about a series since Rose definitely got annoying at times, but I definitely want to know what happens next!  I happily devoured this in a couple of days, and all in all it wasn’t bad, just not really my thing.

Buy it? A library book for me.
In a nutshell: It didn’t wow me, but I still want to read book 2…

Other reviews of Confessions of an Angry Girl: My Library in The Making | Mostly YA Book Obsessed | 2 Geek Girls Review Books

250 Word review: The Future we left behind (AKA 1.4)

250 Word Review: The Future We Left Behind (Mike A. Lancaster) Goodreads | Amazon

Summary (From Goodreads.com)
Thousands of years in the future the divide between humanity and technology has become nearly unrecognizable. Each thought, each action is logged, coded, backed up. Data is as easily exchanged through the fiber-optic-like cables that extend from fingertips as it might be through ordinary conversation. It’s a brave new world: A world that the Straker Tapes say is a result of many human “upgrades.” But no one is sure whether the Straker Tapes are a work of fiction or an eerie peek into an unimaginable past.

Nearly sixteen-year-old Peter Vincent has been raised to believe that everything that the backward Strakerites cling to is insane–an utter waste of time and potential. Since his father is David Vincent, genius inventor of the artificial bees that saved the world’s crops and prevented massive famine, how could Peter believe anything else?

But when Peter meets Alpha, a Strakerite his own age, suddenly the theories about society-upgrades don’t sound quite so crazy, especially when she shows him evidence that another upgrade is imminent. And worse, there may be a conspiracy by the leaders of the establishment to cover it up. A conspiracy spearheaded by Peter’s own father.

Gripping and full of unexpected twists, The Future We Left Behind takes the unsettling questions raised in Human.4, and flips them entirely. What if we knew that the very way we live was about to be changed in an instant, and we could stop it? And what if everything we are sure we know is entirely wrong?

Title: The Future We left behind
Author: Mike A. Lancaster
Length: 384 Pages
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Series? YesPoint 4 #2, preceded by 0.4

Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

My opinion:
1.4 follows 1000 years after the events of 0.4, when the Straker tapes were recorded. Dominated by The Link, which functions inside people’s heads to connect them, get news and change outfits, this world scoffs at the Straker tapes; considering them a myth. We follow Peter, the son of a famous anti-Straker scientist, and Alpha, the new girl at college who turns out to be a Strakerite.

Whilst Kyle and his friends coped with the aftermath of an upgrade in 0.4, Peter and Alpha are facing the possibility that one is about to happen. Alpha shows Peter evidence of an upcoming human upgrade, hoping he can suspend the skepticism drilled into him by his father, and work with her to find a way to prevent it.

I really liked Peter’s character; the thoughtful nerd who can laugh at himself for downloading Link upgrades that make him feel like he’s in a game. I truly felt for him as he discovers his memories don’t quite add up, and his thoughts aren’t as private as they should be. However, the rest of the characters were a little disappointing. Alpha was okay, but for me, the ‘villains’ of the book just weren’t quite there, they felt two-dimensional.

The plot was gripping, and the book was good overall, I just felt it didn’t live up to the fantastic 0.4.

Buy it? Probably a borrow for me.
In a nutshell: Good enough to make me desperate for book 3.

Other Reviews of The Future We Left Behind: The Cheap Reader | In Case of Survival | Cherie Reads

250 Word review: Twelve Months, Steven Manchester

250 Word Review: Twelve Months (Steven Manchester) Goodreads | Amazon

Summary (From Goodreads.com)
Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.

A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TWELVE MONTHS is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.

Title: Twelve months
Author: Steven Manchester
Length: 324 Pages
Source: Review copy from the author

Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Readability: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

My opinion:
This novel is what I expected from The Fault in Our Stars; it’s a beautiful, heartrending read that lingers with you afterwards.
Emotional, inspiring and beautifully written, Twelve Months begins with Don’s diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer. The novel follows Don as he sets off to fulfil his Top 5 fantasies, spend time with his family, and enjoy his remaining time to its fullest.

The characters in Twelve Months, particularly Don’s wife and grandkids, are wonderful and amazingly lifelike.  The whole book, in fact, reads almost like a memoir rather than fiction, and you can almost feel Don growing as a person throughout the novel. From scenes that made me giggle out loud to heartbreaking ones that made me cry, once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down.

I did find Don a little too perfect at times, but he also reminded me of my Grandad – there are real people that inspiring, I’m just not one of them!

I also worried towards the end of the novel when Don started contemplating his faith – for me, religion in fiction tends to be an instant turn-off. However, it was pretty minimal and perfectly fitted in with both the plot and Don’s character.

The incredible characters and Don’s heart-warming desire to “Leave more than you can take” will have you reassessing your priorities, and inspire you to be the best person you can be.

Buy it? Definitely.
In a nutshell: An inspiring, thought-provoking, beautiful read.

Other Reviews of Twelve Months: A Book of A Different Color | Turning the Pages | Kim the Bookworm
Check out: Steven’s Writing Process | An interview with Steven Manchester