Category Archives: Series

Prototype

Finished Prototype by M.D. Waters.  I received a copy from the publisher on Edelweiss.  (Spoilers for its predecessor, Archetype, in this review.)

Summary (from Goodreads):

The stunning debut that began with Archetype— and has readers buzzing—concludes in Prototype, when a woman’s dual pasts lock onto a collision course, threatening her present and future.

Emma looks forward to the day when she can let go of her past—both of them. After more than a year on the run, with clues to her parents’ whereabouts within her grasp, she may finally find a place to settle down. Start a new life. Maybe even create new memories with a new family.

But the past rises to haunt her and to make sure there’s nowhere on the planet she can hide. Declan Burke wants his wife back, and with a little manipulation and a lot of reward money, he’s got the entire world on his side. Except for the one man she dreads confronting the most: Noah Tucker.

Emma returns to face what she’s done but finds that the past isn’t the problem. It’s the present—and the future it represents. Noah has moved on and another woman is raising their daughter.

In the shocking conclusion to M.D. Waters’s spectacular debut, Emma battles for her life and her freedom, tearing down walls and ripping off masks to reveal the truth. She’s decided to play their game and prove she isn’t the woman they thought she was. Even if it means she winds up dead. Or worse, reborn.”

I can’t even adequately express how much I loved this book and its predecessor, Archetype.  And I am very, very sad that the series is only two books, because I will miss Emma and Noah very, very much.

I read these two books almost back to back (thank you, Penguin!) and I recommend that very highly.  It was so fantastic to see and be able to really appreciate the growth of Emma’s character.

She went from a timid person to an actual warrior.  (The timidity is understandable, because she had no memories—can you imagine having to figure out everything about yourself?  Let alone learning that the person you were trusting to help you navigate everything was a liar and creep?)

And oh, Noah.  I loved Noah.  I pictured him as kind of a Michael Biehn-type, circa original Terminator.  And I love his relationship with Emma.  Those two are absolutely perfect together, and the love they have for each other is completely swoon-worthy.

I hope M.D. Waters continues to be this prolific, because I already need many more books from her.  Preferably within a month or two.  That’s doable, right?

Highly recommended.

One More Night

Finished One More Night by Lauren Blakely.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Your presence is requested for another installment in the tale of Julia and Clay, two red-hot lovers. Come inside their world of passion and suspense once more for a deliciously erotic and heart-poundingly dangerous story of pearls, handcuffs, thieves, mobsters, poker and pleasure in the city of sin…

Happy endings don’t come easily. They’re hard-won and Clay Nichols is going to have to keep earning his…
Now living together in New York with her debt safely paid off, sexy bartender Julia Bell and hot-as-hell entertainment lawyer Clay thought their future was clear sailing.
But life doesn’t work that way and the fiery lovers run into a slew of new challenges as Clay tries to put a ring on it. Trouble looms in every corner–trouble from clients, trouble with timing, and, most of all, trouble from her past returns on their trip to Vegas. A dangerous man who knows much more about Julia than he should surfaces in Sin City where they’re supposed to be enjoying a weekend getaway. Following her in the casino, watching her every move at the pool, targeting her as she plays poker.
Too bad Clay is called away repeatedly, leaving Julia alone in a sprawling hotel full of dark corners, back rooms, and unsavory characters. Can Clay save her from danger one more time, and then finally get down on one knee? Or will he be too late for the woman he adores?
Read on in ONE MORE NIGHT, a novel in the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Seductive Nights series packed with more sex, more dirty talk and more danger. And per your request, the recipe for Julia’s award-winning cocktail, the Purple Snow Globe, has finally been revealed in this ebook!”

This was slightly different in tone than the earlier two Clay and Julia books.  They’re already much darker than most of her other books, but this is the darkest yet.  As the synopsis states, there’s a sense of danger all through this book, and while we know it’s coming, we don’t know who the danger is.

But while there are a lot of tense moments, there’s also a lot of the romance (and steamy scenes) we’ve come to expect from Clay and Julia (and from Lauren Blakely’s books in general).

I’m hoping for more Clay and Julia, but I also can’t wait for every other book she writes.  I love that she’s very prolific.

Highly recommended.

License to Spill

Finished License to Spill by Lisi Harrison.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Three girls, two guys, five secret journals.

The five most popular students at Noble High have secrets to hide; secrets they wrote down in their journals. Now one of their own exposes the private entries…

When our parents were growing up they were encouraged to make mistakes. That’s how they learned. But us? Our mistakes go viral. There is no delete button on the Internet. What kind of future do we have if we can’t escape our embarrassing pasts? I must come off as quite the hypocrite; complaining about our overexposed lives in a book of secret journals I have leaked. But these pages hold proof of how this pressure affects the “best” of us… so until the heat’s turned down, keep reading.“

This book is over the top fun.

I do wish that I had re-read The Pretenders before starting this, because I had problems remembering everyone and their storylines.  But I quickly fell back into this, and it was just what I needed.  (It’s not a must-read, but if you’re in the mood for something light, this may just be the book and series for you.)

Like before, I had definite preferences for some storylines.  I don’t remember liking Jagger very much in The Pretenders, but I liked him a lot more this time around.  I loved Sheridan and her overfondness for drama, movies and journal entries that read like scripts.

And I especially love Vanessa, who has footnotes in her journal entries.  I don’t know why but that always amuses me.

The Hound at the Gate cover reveal

The Hound at the Gate is by Darby Karchut.

Hound

The cover is by Lisa Amowitz.

Jacket copy:

Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.

Especially for one young apprentice.

At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.

As he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.

It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that Finn’s blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan.

https://www.facebook.com/darby.karchut

http://spencerhillmiddlegrade.com/

The Beast of Seabourne Cover Reveal

BeastofSeabournefinishWITHEARS

The Beast of Seabourne is the sequel to The Obsidian Pebble.  It’s by Rhys A. Jones and is out in October.

Jacket copy:

“Oz Chambers has a wonderful secret; the obsidian pebble, gifted to him by his dead father, is an artefact of astonishing power. The sort of power that makes the year eight science project a hands-down walkover thanks to the the pebble’s genius avatar, Soph.

But, there are sinister forces abroad who will do just about anything to get their hands on the pebble, and when fellow pupils start being attacked,  Oz finds himself in very hot water.  Soon Oz and his friends, Ruff and Ellie, are caught up in a centuries old mystery involving a missing ring, lava toothpaste and a murderous monster known as the Beast of Seabourne.”

I am beyond excited to read these books and I love the cover.

Sloppy Firsts

Finished Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment–from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.”

I first read this book when I was in college.  I immediately fell in love with Jessica Darling (so much so that I bought each sequel on their respective release dates and read them immediately and I’ve even read the MG prequel and am excited to read that book’s sequel as soon as I can).

But let’s start discussing Sloppy Firsts, shall we?  This is the book that introduces us to Jessica Darling, her parents and sister (wedding obsessed like the family in Sixteen Candles, one of Jessica’s beloved “new classics”), her best friend Hope, her current “friends,” who she has dubbed the “Clueless Crew” and possibly best of all Marcus Flutie.

This book is technically marketed as adult fiction, probably because when it was released, there really wasn’t a thriving YA market like there is today.  (Which is just as well; when it was released, I wouldn’t have read it if it were marketed as YA.)

I feel like there are two things people discuss with this book.  The first, of course, is Jessica and Marcus Flutie.  (Oh God, it’s highly possible that this is my literal favorite fictional relationship ever—more than Anna and Etienne, more than anything from Sarah Dessen, more than anything).

But the second—and this is even better than Jess and Marcus—is Jessica herself.  She’s got this very unique, very funny, VERY sarcastic voice.  (Probably her closest comparison is to Olive from the movie Easy A and maybe a dash of Veronica from Heathers, but with a healthier love life.)

Bottom line, though—this book is perfect.  If you’ve ever felt like you’re in the wrong place or the wrong era, this book  is for you.  If you’ve ever felt even remotely like an outsider or misunderstood, this book is for you.  (So basically if you’ve ever been a teenage girl—or are one now—this book is for you.)

Highly, highly, highly recommended.

Antitype

Finished Antitype by M.D. Waters.  This novella is a prequel to Archetype and Prototype.

Summary (from Amazon):

“Before Emma appears in their lives, two men face four months that will change their lives forever. One has dreams outside Richmond and away from his family business. The other wants to make the business his only focus. In one summer, outside forces drive them both to make brash and irrevocable decisions that will render them at once supremely powerful yet emotionally vulnerable. How can these peers with identical pasts, as well as seemingly identical futures, reach a threshold where only one escapes with his integrity intact?”

The first thing you should know is that this is told from Declan and Noah’s respective perspectives and that we only see Emma at the very end.  If you’re expecting to learn more about her relationships with either, you’re going to be a little disappointed.

Instead, this novella helps us learn more about Declan and Noah.  Because we only know them from Emma’s perspective (and because so much of Archetype is confusing and Emma doesn’t really remember either of them all that well), this is a very valuable thing.

I am definitely Team Noah, but I appreciated getting to see a better side of Declan.  And it was interesting to see exactly how each person became the way they were.  (When we met them in Archetype, they were pretty well established, personality-wise.)

I hope there will be another book set in this world, and even more hopeful that it will be released soon.  I really love these characters and books.

Highly recommended.  (And for those of you who haven’t read Prototype—sorry to rub it in—this will definitely help fill the void.  If you haven’t read Archetype, change that immediately.)

End Times

Finished End Times by Anna Schumacher.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Carbon County, Wyoming is like a current running through Daphne’s heart.

When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.

Daphne landed in Carbon County for a reason. She only has to read the signs—and believe.”

I enjoyed this book, but it’s definitely setting things up for the rest of the series.  It’s not that this book is boring (it isn’t) but it seemed like its primary purpose was to make sure to (a) introduce the characters and situation and (b) make sure that book 2 would start off like a rocket.  (Mission accomplished; I cannot wait for book two.)

I loved the premise of this story, too.  I don’t believe t hat we’re in the final days (which people have been predicting since about 20 minutes after Jesus left) but this book absolutely gave me the creeps.

Absolutely a fun read and I’m very excited for the sequel.

All Lined Up

Finished All Lined Up by Cora Carmack.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.”

I think this is my favorite of Cora Carmack’s books.

As you know, I’m not a sports fan (and football is my least favorite sport anyway) but this isn’t really about football.  (Or, more accurately, it’s about football in the same way that Bull Durham is about baseball—football is all over it, but it’s still about so much more than that.)

I absolutely adore Dallas.  She’s smart and funny and determined to have a career as a dancer, even though her dad is not at all convinced that it’s feasible.  And I loved Carson, who has put all his hope for the future into football.  (Football will lead to a scholarship, which will lead to a good college education.  And he has to excel at football, because otherwise, he can only afford to be at Rusk for another two semesters.)

And, because this is a Cora Carmack novel, Dallas and Carson together are much better than Dallas and Carson apart.  I love the way that these characters manage to complement each other in ways where their individual flaws are sort of mitigated by the other person’s strength.  (Does that make sense?)

This is the first book in a series but I believe that it’ll be like her first books where a supporting character in one book will have a starring role in the next.

Highly recommended and I can’t wait to go back to Rusk for book 2.

The One

Finished The One by Kiera Cass.

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers’ hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey… Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.”

I absolutely love this series and I’m sad to see it end.

My favorite part about this book in particular is the fact that it didn’t really focus on the love triangle the way the other two books did.  In this book, America starts to realize the actual impact that she could have and starts to trust herself and her instincts more.  I love that.

Of course, her relationship with Maxon matters (and incidentally, I was SO TEAM MAXON) but she also develops a really close relationship with the remaining girls.  I love that this became really important to her, because it definitely could’ve gone the other way where the only thing that mattered to any of them was the guy.  (Or, I guess, The Guy.)

I’m excited to see whatever Kiera Cass writes next.

Highly recommended.