ARC Review: The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt

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Original Title: The Tide of War

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Riptide Publishing (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 371

First Sentence: And what if you don’t make it back next time?

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

My thoughts:

This was a really good book. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and it was pretty hard to put down. The plot did have some things that were slightly weird, mostly because they weren’t really explained, but I still enjoyed it.

Both Kyle and Andrei were interesting characters. They were different but with some similarities. They were both fiercly loyal to their partners and families, and would give anything to defend their country. Because of that fierce loyalty and love they had for their partners at the beginning of the book I was a bit worried about how they were supposed to end up together (oh yeah, this is ultimately a m/m romance). But it worked out pretty well and it was believable.

The plot was really interesting and I enjoyed how the focus was actually more on the world in the book and what was going on, not necessarily the relationship between Kyle and Andrei. Instead we got a lot of the background for why the world looked like it did, and also the relationship between the original couples, and between military officers and their subordinates. It was really good and gave the book depth.

What it did not do was properly explain some of the things that are revealed later on in the book, which made events seem a little weird and unnecessary. But it does seem like this book is the first of a trilogy or possibly a series, so it might be explained later on.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

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ARC Review: Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

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Original Title: 2016

Year Published: Dog Horn

Published by:  (an arc was kindly provided via the author in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 284

First Sentence: Inside her first clubhouse, Lacy Dawn glanced over fifth grade spelling words for tomorrow’s quiz at school.

Goodreads Rating: 1/5

Plot:
Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

My thoughts:

I did not enjoy this book. I powered through the whole thing but cannot say that it was an enjoyable read. Was it badly written? No, absolutely not. In fact, it was pretty well written. It was content I had issues with.

Some of the themes were a little too on the nose and just didn’t sit right with me. You have discussions of domestic abuse, sexual assault of young children and issues with alcohol/drug addictions. I suppose this is the way Eggleton wanted to depict the small backwater town he chose as the backdrop for this story, but it was handled quite nonchalantly. I don’t think those are topics you can ever gloss over, instead they should always be handled with certain care. Does this mean that the author doesn’t care about those topics? No, it’s actually the complete opposite.

In fact, accordig to his Goodreads profile: Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known locally for his nonfiction: investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997; nationally distributed models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions; research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family; and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency in West Virginia. Dozens of his works have been archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.  Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from a mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns.  Author proceeds from Eggleton’s Lacy Dawn Adventures project have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write adult literary science fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

And yes, Lacy Dawn takes power over her situation. Fair enough. I still could not enjoy this book, it was just too far out of my comfort zone that I spent most of the read cringing.

I will say that it is clearly stated in the blurb on Goodreads that this book is not for the easily offended or the faint of heart. However, I’m not easily offended and still struggled immensely with this book. It might have been an attempt at satire, but in that case it completely missed the mark. Sci-fi? Yes, but weird sci-fi. At least weird from the way I look at the sci-fi genre (and yes, I’m well aware that sci-fi can be extremely weird).

Do I recommend it? 

No, not really. However, just because it wasn’t my cup of tea it doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

ARC Review: Salem’s Vengeance by Aaron Galvin(Vengeance Trilogy #1)

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Original Title: Salem’s Vengeance

Year Published: 2014

Published by: Aames & Abernathy  (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 252

First Sentence: My freedom comes with the moonlight.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kelly never expected to meet the Devil’s daughter. She only sought innocent dancing in the moonlight, not a coven entranced by their dark priestess. When her friends partake of a powder meant to conjure spirits – and the results go horribly awry – Sarah is forced to make a choice. To keep their secret risks her own damnation, but to condemn them may invoke the accusing remnants of Salem to rise again.

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting story. I think the story of Salem and it’s so-called witches is just as fascinating as it is horrible. This story does not excuse the witch trials, instead, it is based on a type of revenge.

Sarah is our main character, and she loves to go dancing in the forest in the moonlight. For her it is not about being a witch, instead, it’s women expressing their youth and joy for life. At home, she is suppressed because of the time the story is set in and dancing in the middle of the night is a type of freedom for her. I loved how strong she was as a character despite being terrified of what was happening around her. She chose to see the good in people and proved that she was a good person through her actions.

The plot was really interesting with several twists and turns. I would never have guessed who the actual villain was and it definitely came as a surprise. Or maybe I’m just that stupid 😛 It was a fun and entertaining take on the whole Salem trials, although not historically correct (obviously).

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

ARC Review: Nocturna by Ashley Elliot

31551085Original Title: Nocturna

Year Published: Today, 1/12-2016. If you are interested it is available on Amazon.

Published by: Self-published (an arc was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 394

First Sentence: “Terror spiked in my veins as arms wrapped around me, caging me, stopping me from escaping.”

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

A kingdom inhabited by creatures of myth, Nocturna has existed since before the dawn of history.

Valon Wess is unaware of this world like the rest of the humans on Earth. At least, he was until he’s kidnapped, joining Di and other humans on their unwilling way to Nocturna.

Valon becomes the Dragon King Alexei’s first male concubine in a nation where humans are slaves. With his arrival bringing many changes to this monstrous society, Valon must learn to accept his position in this strange, ancient country as well as deal with his blossoming love for a man of a different species.

My thoughts:

This was a really enjoyable read. It does give you the feeling of being a little too much like a fanfic at the start but that quickly changes and becomes an overall great read. It has several twists and turns, some obvious and some that you absolutely do not see coming.

Valon was a great main character. I absolutely adored him and his wit. He was a nice and easily likable character, and I enjoyed reading the book from his point of view. He has plenty of attitude and sass without being too much, which was perfect. Sure, he does go from being badass to a whimpering little boy at times, but he is a teenage boys so that might no be that unrealistic.

Alexei was amazing and I loved seeing his character change and evolve. Starting off as a cold ruler and turning into a man you might actually like. I won’t say anything more, because spoilers. Just know that you will want to slap him at the start and then do anything to protect him at the end. I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Valon and Alexei as well, it felt really realistic (within the world) and progressed at a pretty natural pace.

There is a whole ensemble of minor characters, ranging from people you will adore to people you want to strangle with your own two hands. With these characters, you will get several intriguing and interesting relationships, several which will tug at your heartstrings.

The plot was fun and entertaining. There were some parts that could have been better developed, some world building could have been better laid out, but overall the book is grand with a good tempo and pretty good writing. A little bit of warning should be added here. We are talking about a character that is kidnapped and the forced to become a concubine to the king of the world to which he is brought. However, there is no non-consensual sex in this, just one kiss that is taken without consent. But still, if this is a sticking point with you, then take this into consideration.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

ARC Review: Dead Girl Running by Ann M. Noser (The New Order #1)

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Original Title: Dead Girl Running

Year Published: 2015

Published by: Curiosity Quills Press (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 225

First Sentence: “Prejudice, greed and an overemphasis on self-worth led early, unenlightened American Administrations to engage in Aggressive Warfare Tactics with other similarly misguided nations.

Goodreads Rating: 3/5

Plot:

Eight years ago, SILVIA WOOD’s father died in an industrial accident. After suffering through years of Psychotherapy Services and Mandated Medications for depression and multiple suicide attempts, she longs to work in Botanical Sciences. When the Occupation Exam determines she must work in Mortuary Sciences instead, she wonders if the New Order assigned her to the morgue to push her over the edge.

To appease her disappointed mother, Silvia enters the Race for Citizen Glory, in an attempt to stand out in the crowd of Equals. After she begins training with “golden boy” LIAM HARMAN, she discovers he also lost his father in the same accident that ruined her childhood. Then Silvia meets and falls for Liam’s older cousin, whose paranoid intensity makes her question what really happened to her father. As the race nears, Silvia realizes that she’s not only running for glory, she’s running for her life.

My thoughts:

I thought this book sounded so great when I requested this arc on Netgalley. However, it was not entirely what I expected. The plot took a really long time to really get anywhere which sadly enough made it quite boring.

Silvia, our main character, was a mix of cool and annoying. However, she was mostly enjoyable and I did ultimately genuinely like her. The little kinks of her personality that I did not like I think was down to poor editing.

Liam was pretty awesome though. I loved how he took Silvia under his wings and just decided that he was going to help make her a winner. What made the relationship between Silvia and Liam great is that it isn’t romantic. It is a boy and a girl being friends, although they could have become a non-platonic relationship.

And it is the relationships between Silvia and the other characters that actually makes this book good. Here we find several little gems that make the not so good parts of this book bearable.

The plot itself has its moments. The idea of running a race in order to gain some wealth and other perks was quite fun, but the way it was written made the storyline quite flat. It could have been more developed and given a better suited intrigue than what it actually had.

Do I recommend it? 

Sure, why not.

ARC Review: Duce by Kai Tyler (World’s End #2)

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Original Title: Duce

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Smashwords Edition (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 165

First Sentence: “One thing stood worse than the p-taff sound of a bullet as it fired from a hand gun.

Goodreads Rating: 2/5

Plot:

One mafia boss.
One rival’s son.
One deadly setup.

Parties and orgies… those are the only things Carlos Carmichael wants to do. It’s the only way he knows to deal with his life as the son of a notorious cartel boss. He’ll get whatever he wants by any means necessary.

Until he tangles with a man who plays by totally different rules.

Dante Orsino has been raised in the old ways of honor, loyalty and respect of the business. His role as mafia underboss is more than just a job. It also makes him an heir to one of the biggest families in the Southern Territories.

When Carlos meets Dante and plays a silly game, their weekend tryst sparks a deadly cartel war.

For Dante there’s no other life except—the life. And he wants Carlos in his. But in the New World, a gay man is a dead man. Can he find a way to keep everything he loves and stay alive?

In a new world gone mad, even the good guys are bad. Welcome to the World’s End series.

My thoughts:

I was well and truly disappointed when reading this book. The blurb made it sound so very promising, like the gay mafia version of Romeo and Juliet, but the actual book was just disappointing.

The characters weren’t well written at all and didn’t feel realistic. I could not connect with any of them and was just extremely uninterested in them and what happened to them.

The plot was just weird and not that well developed nor well written. Perhaps it was a subgenre of fiction that did not suit me, but I just did not like this book at all. I still give it a 2 of 5 because it does have promise and others might like it.

Do I recommend it? 

Nope, sorry.

ARC Review: Snowcroft Safehouse by Christi Snow (Snowcroft Men #2)

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Original Title: Snowcroft Safehouse

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Season Publishing (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 235

First Sentence: “‘Four more hours and we’ll be out of fucking Jersey‘ ”

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

A year ago Declan Jasper was entertaining sold-out arena crowds as the lead singer of Black Rainbows. But that came to an explosive end when the band got caught up in a criminal cover-up, one that ended with the entire band dead. At least that’s what everyone is supposed to think.

Now, Dex is hiding in plain sight, working as the school band director in a sleepy little mountain resort town while under the protection of a hard-nosed FBI agent. Instead of eyeliner and black leather, he now wears glasses and corduroy. Instead of having sexy coeds—both male and female—throw themselves into his bed, he’s dealing with teenage angst and grumpy parents.

At the top of his troubles list is Kelsey Walker, a junior high bundle of rare musical talent in the form of one confused, messed-up adolescent. Dex figures the problem comes from her broken home and wants to help. But when he meets her father, sexy bar-owner, Jack Walker, he realizes that instead of helping he’s probably just bringing more trouble and danger to their door.

Dex has to stay alive until the trial to bring his bandmates’ murderers to justice, but can he do that if it means sacrificing his own happily ever after?

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. It was so much fun from start to finish. The pages just flew by and the plot was really interesting. So glad I got a review copy of it to read.

Dex was a great main character. What I actually find slightly hard to believe is that a human being can change his personality so easily, even if his life depended on it. I don’t think it would matter that you had been given months of training, your personality is your personality. And the fact that he didn’t slip even once was unrealistic. But overlooking that, I really liked Dex.

Jack is such a cutie. I absolutely adored him from the first moment. I loved his interactions with Dex and also his interactions with his daughter. It was super cute and just made him so extremely likeable.

The plot is both complex and easy to follow. It has several twists and turns and they were so interesting and so much fun. The writing was pretty straight forward which worked very well for this book. Really enjoyed it.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.