Christmas Awards 2011

Sunday, 25 September 2016

They All Fall Down

They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire

Publisher: Delacorte Press

October 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74271-9

Pages: 339

Contemporary Young Adult Suspense, Romantic Elements

Vienna, Pennsylvania 

Kenzie Summerall somehow was voted onto the list of hottest girls in school and when she lands at number five her average life suddenly becomes amazing. With new friends surrounding her, doors to the best parties are now open to her and the cutest jock in school is after her.

That is the power of the list. Your life changes if you are on it.

One by one though the girls on the list have started to die. Is it a curse or a coincidence? Or is the list in the hands of a killer.

Kenzie’s time is running out but before her number is up she is determined to uncover the deadly secret of the list.

This is story that is full of twists and turns and will have readers hoping there will be more books with Kenzie and her friends it in. The action is none stop and keeps going until the very end of the book. The characters drive this story forward at a pace that makes the reader’s head spin and begging for more. This is one story that stands out from other young adult books and will have reader of all ages eagerly devouring it to find out what happens next.

I give this one 5 red roses


Secret Heart of Lacie Blade

Secret Heart of Lacie Blade by Diane J. Reed

Publisher: Bandits Ranch Books, LLC

August 2016

ISBN: 978-1-941752-09-8

Pages: 52

Contemporary Romance

Bender Lake

This isn’t just the PTA it is the Gangsta PTA.

Lacie Blade knows she is hardly mother of the year especially after her release from prison on a bad rap. All she wants is to go home and hug her beloved son Winchester. Lacie decides that she needs to convince the handsome principal to take Winchester back when he is expelled from school for fighting kids that teased him about his “con” mother. And to do that she needs to become the president of the PTA and to fundraise more money than the school has ever seen.

Luckily Lacie knows all about the skeletons in her neighbors’ closets and the bodies at the bottom of Bender Lake. With a little magical help from her fortune-telling friend, Granny Tinker, Lacie uses every trick in the book to blackmail and spy her way into providing the textbooks and computers that the school so desperately needs. The jaded principal soon discovers that Lacie has a heart far bigger than her rap sheet even if it is hidden. She might also just be the best thing that happened to him not to mention Bender Lake Elementary school.

This is a sweet novella that is a fast read but will also have readers wanting to check out the rest of the books in the series. Readers can easily read this story and follow it very well even if they haven’t read the other book in the series. The characters are interesting and make for a fun read.

I give this one 4 red roses


On The Prowl

On The Prowl by Cynthia Eden

Publisher: Cynthia Eden

September 2016

Pages: 204

Contemporary Paranormal Romance

Florida Keys

Rose Kinley never intended to be one of the most feared creatures walking the earth. She was once human that fell in love with a mysterious stranger. She lost her humanity and died only to come back as a vampire when she got caught in a paranormal war.

Rose now has a choice. She can try and continue to be the good girl or she can let her darkness out to play. It just might finally be time for her step into the dark.

Julian Craig is a panther shifter that is on a mission. He needs to protect Rose at all costs. He literally made a deal with the devil so that Rose could have a second chance as a vampire since it was his fault that she lost her human life.

Julian knows that he needs to let his beast out if he is to have any chance for protecting the only woman that ever touched his battered soul when Rose is targeted by a paranormal collector. Julian is more than ready to show the world just what kind of monster he truly is even if Rose is afraid of the darkness she carries. Julian isn’t afraid of the dark and the monsters that wait in the shadows will bow to him.

This is the next book in a series that proves yet again what an amazing writer this author is. The characters are intriguing and move the story at an extremely fast pace. It will also have readers wanting the next book in the series like right now. While this is the second book in the series and can be read as a standalone readers will find it much better if they read the books in order. This is must read for readers that love paranormal romances.

I give this one 5 red roses


The Darkest Lie

The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn

Publisher: Kensington

July 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4967-0358-3

Pages: 287

Contemporary Young Adult Romantic Suspense

Lakewood, Kansas

Cecelia Brooks and her mom shared everything from jokes and clothes to coded messages. At least that is what CeCe thought until six months ago. That was when CeCe’s mom killed herself after there were accusations of her mom having sex with a student. Since then CeCe has been the subject of taunts and whispers. With the start of her senior year at high school CeCe is trying to fly under the radar especially as she is dealing with a grieving and distracted father and the social nightmare that is her life now. Instead she is now volunteering at the schools crisis hotline. The same one that her mother worked.

CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death resurface as she counsels troubled strangers. She starts to piece together fragments clues with the help of new student, Sam who is also a newspaper intern. Clues point to a twisted secret that is at the heart of the community. Suddenly finding the truth isn’t just about restoring her mother’s reputation but about saving lives including CeCe’s own.

This is book full of suspense that takes the reader on a roller coaster ride that doesn’t stop until the very last page. The twists and turns in the story will have readers guessing until the very end as to just what is happening and who might be doing what. The characters are well written and move the story along at a very fast pace that never leaves the reader behind. It makes for a very fast read.

I give this one 5 red roses


The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker

The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

September 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-08886-4

Pages: 320

Contemporary Young Adult

Ashland, Tennessee

Luke Grayson moves to rural Tennessee to live with his Baptist pastor father when he is kicked out of his private DC school and as far as he is concerned his life might as well be over. His stepmother is none too pleased to have him not to mention she is completely soulless. Luke’s bad boy status is also not doing him any favors with either the local police chief or his new principal. Grant Parker is the local golden boy that has a violent streak and Luke is proving to be an easy target for him. Especially as Grant has the community of Ashland under his thumb and Luke directly in his crosshairs.

Luke suddenly replaces Grant at the top of the social pyramid when things go topsy-turvy with one freak accident. Now the social outcast is the hero in just a matter of twenty-four hours. This is a welcome change for the students that lived in fear of Grant. There is a price though for Luke’s newfound fame. Luke is the only one that knows the truth about what really happened to Grant Parker and the longer he keeps living the lie the more Grant-like he becomes.

This is another excellent book by this author that writes stories that really make the reader think. The characters is this one are engrossing and make for an unforgettable book that really makes readers see things from different perspectives and see how the social aspect of high school works from the different groups of students. This is an interesting story that opens up readers eyes as they see things through the eyes of different clicks of students.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses


This is Where It Ends

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

January 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-2246-8

Pages: 285

Contemporary Young Adult

Opportunity, Alabama

At 10:00 am the principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech encouraging the student body to excel and achieve and also welcoming them to a new semester.

The students get up to leave the auditorium to go to their next class at 10:02 am.

At 10:03 am the auditorium doors won’t open.

Suddenly at 10:05 am someone starts shooting.

Over the next fifty-four harrowing minutes terror reigns when one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This is a story that is very well told and gives different views from different students and how they manage to both deal with what is going on and their fight to survive. It pulls the reader in as they read what is happening minute by minute. This is story that will stay with readers long after they finish the book because of the impact it makes on them. It will also have readers wanting to read more from this author. This story has some unforgettable characters in it.

I give this one 5 red roses


City of the Lost

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Random House

May 2016

ISBN: 978-0-345-81561-3

Pages: 468

Contemporary Suspense, Romantic Elements

Yukon Territory

Casey Duncan is a detective that is both talented and young. She also killed a man once and got away with it. Though that isn’t the reason she needs to find a refuge. Diana is her best friend and Casey has been hiding her from an abusive ex but now he has found Diana again. In Diana’s support group she has heard of a mythical town that she knows she will be safe in because they take people like her that are escaping from all that threatens them if she can only find it. It turns out the town actually exists and is called Rockton. The town council will accept Diana but only if Casey goes too.

The laconic town sheriff is completely capable of sobering up drunks and dispensing his own frontier justice, but now the town is being rocked by a series of brutal murders. Suddenly the question is what is happening? Is it the town of Rockton turning on itself or is the victims’ pasts catching up with them. Whichever it is it is threatening the survival of the town. The sheriff hates to rely on anyone but himself but he needs the help that Casey can offer.

What started out as a sacrifice that Casey is willing to make for her best friend shows her that she just might need the town of Rockton as much as it needs her.

This is an amazing start to a series that will have readers wanting the next book right now. The characters are intriguing and move the story along at warp speed. Just as readers think they know what is going on in the town of Rockton a twist is thrown in and will have them wondering if they know what is going on in the town at all. This story keeps the reader guessing until the very last page. It will be interesting to see where the series takes the reader. For those that enjoy thrillers this is definitely a book to check out.

I give this one 5 red roses


Monday, 5 September 2016

Mad for the Plaid

Mad for the Plaid by Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Pocket Books

August 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8601-8

Pages: 368

Historical Romance

Scottish Highlands

Prince Nikolai Romanovin is furious when his beloved grandmother is abducted on her visit to an old friend in the Scottish Highlands. Nik plans to quietly rescue his grandmother so that he can avoid an international incident. His plan to do that is to slip into enemy territory disguised as a groom. When he falls under the cool gray gaze of the laird’s daughter his plans go awry. She instantly realizes he is not who he is pretending to be.

Lady Ailsa Mackenzie has more than her share of wits even if she may be plain of looks. She demands to assist in the rescue for the honor of her clan. Together Nik and Ailsa must free his grandmother from danger. At the same time they must face the growing demands of their own unruly hearts.

This is another great book in a series that has proven to be fun and interesting and that is full of some great characters. The book takes the reader on a wonderful adventure that they will be sorry to reach the end of. This is just another book from an author that proves to be able to write engrossing and fun books that never let the reader down. It will also have readers looking forward to the next series from this author. It also proves to be a very fast read as the reader keeps turning pages to see what will happen to Nik and Ailsa next.

I give this one 5 red roses


Playing Fast

Playing Fast by Melanie Scott

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

September 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07721-9

Pages: 320

Contemporary Romance

Sarasota Springs

Finn Castro is a baseball bad-boy that ends up raising one eyebrow too many and the Saints send him down to the minors. If he wants his major-league dreams he is going to have to earn them with the Sarasota Springs Preachers. Cleaning up his act isn’t going to be easy especially as he has never claimed to be a man of the cloth. It is going to be harder still with the stunning Eva Harlowe at the heart of the team’s administration.

Eva knows having a crush on Finn Castro is the same as wishing for an eighth day of the week and just as sensible. Seeing Finn is person with all his muscles and just as gorgeous up close and personal melts her resolve. She is planning on leaving baseball at the end of the season and a hot fling would be a fantasy home run. When the no-strings sex starts feeling more like a perfect partnership, Finn and Eva are going to have to figure out if they are going to choose the love of the game or a real life together.

This is part of a series but can easily be read as a standalone. The book is interesting and the plot and characters pull the reader in and will have them turning the pages just to see how things turn out for Finn and Eva. It will also have readers wanting to check out the other books in the series so that they can learn more about the world that they are set in and to learn more about all the different characters that make up that world. This is a fun book to read and readers will enjoy the characters.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses


Dragon Marked

Dragon Marked by Jaymin Eve

Publisher: Skyscape

November 2015

ISBN: 978-1503949782

Pages: 256

Contemporary Paranormal Suspense, Romantic elements

Stratford, Connecticut

Jessa Lebron is a wolf shifter with razor-sharp senses. She can perceive the slightest change in the air. Her lupine instincts go into overdrive right before her mother returns. A mother that abandoned her years ago. A mother that returns to the pack bearing secrets that change everything.

The biggest secret being that Jessa is dragon marked and it is a designation that places her in grave danger. Dragon marked are destined to resurrect the dragon king, a fearsome ancient warmonger. Dragon marked must be eliminated.

Soon Jessa finds herself locked up in Vanguard. Vanguard is the notorious paranormal prison that houses criminal feys, magic users and vampires. Luckily she is not alone there. Her best friend and a dragon shifter, Braxton Compass has her back. Braxton and Jess must find a way to free themselves and also the rest of the dragon marked. Can her pack mates help her stop the dragon king before his deadly return?

This is start of a trilogy that takes off from the very beginning and doesn’t stop until the end of the book and will have readers wanting to read the rest of the trilogy to find out just how everything turns out. With humor and action this book doesn’t stop at all. Readers will find that this ends up being a very fast read as they won’t want to put it down for any reason. The characters pull the reader in so completely they will wish they could find the town and meet all the different character that reside there. It will also have readers wanting to read the series that is tied to this trilogy.

I give this one 5 red roses


The Testing

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

June 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-95910-8

Pages: 325

Dystopian futuristic Young Adult

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That is what they say isn’t it? But when they may be one and the same how close is too close?

Much of the planet was left a charred wasteland with the Seven Stages War. The future is supposed to belong to the next generation’s chosen few. The ones who will rebuild it. First though the candidates must pass The Testing if they want to enter this elite group. It is their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is chosen as a Testing candidate and is honored to be one. She is also eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and a future leader of the United Commonwealth. Her father’s advice on the eve of her departure hints at a darker side of her upcoming studies. Trust no one.

She can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance though, surely. Tomas seems to care more about her with each and every grueling and deadly day of The Testing. Cia must choose love without truth or life without trust if she is to survive.

This is a book that takes a genre and twists it into its very one genre. The characters are interesting and make for a story that will keep the reader guessing just who is who and who can Cia trust. The twists and turns the story takes will keep readers on their toes as they try to figure out what will happen next and just how it will turn out. It will also have readers eagerly reaching for the other two books in the trilogy so they can find out just where the books will ultimately end up and how they will get there. While this trilogy might sound like some other books this one truly does stand on its own and makes for an engrossing read.

I give this one 5 red roses


How to Hang a Witch

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

July 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53947-9

Pages: 355

Contemporary Young Adult

Salem, Massachusetts

Sixteen-year-old Samantha Mather is new to Salem, Massachusetts which also happens to be the site of the infamous Witch Trials. Being recently transplanted from New York City, Sam isn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is a descendant of Cotton Mather who was one of the men responsible for the Trials. And almost immediately Sam becomes the enemy of a group of girls that call themselves The Descendants. No need to guess who their ancestors were.

Sam also finds herself face to face with a real, live (though technically dead) ghost as if dealing with everything else wasn’t enough. The ghost is handsome and also angry that Sam keeps touching his stuff.

Sam soon finds out she is at the center of a centuries-old curse that is affecting everyone with ties to the Trials. Sam needs to work with The Descendants and come to terms with the ghost if she is going to have a chance at stopping the deadly cycle that has been going on since the first alleged witch that was hanged. Salem should have learned its lesson if any town should have learned from the past. Though it seems history may be about to repeat itself.

This is a book that takes several different topics and ties them all together to make for a story that proves to be an amazing read. The reader will find themselves turning the pages just to see what will happen next and just where this one will end up at. The way history is brought to life through the incidents that are happening in contemporary Salem prove to be fascinating and makes for a story that is very hard to put down. It will also have readers hoping to read more from this author as she writes a book that is unforgettable.

I give this one 5 red roses


I am Number Four

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Publisher: HarperCollins

Reissue: August 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202624-8

Pages: 440

Contemporary Sci-fi, Young Adult

John Smith and his guardian Henri seem to be living a normal life in Paradise, Ohio and John seems to be an ordinary teenager. John is most definitely not an ordinary teenager and keeping a low profile is essential for him. He is on the run and is an alien from the planet Lorien. Aliens that are evil and from the planet Mogadore, destroyed his world and are now hunting anyone that escaped.

There were nine Loric children that come to Earth to hide until they grew up and developed their Legacies. The powers that would help them fight back, survive and save Earth. Three are now dead. John is Number Four and knows he is next.

This is a story that is full of action and adventure and makes for a very fast read. It will also have readers checking out the other books in the series to learn more about this world and those that live in it. Reading how John fights to stay alive makes for an amazing read and will have readers hoping for more about him in the other books. It will also have readers hoping for a good ending at the end of the series. The book is full twists and turns and definitely takes readers on a roller coast ride that is unforgettable.

I give this one 5 red roses


Disappearance at Devil's Rock

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay

Publisher: William Morrow

June 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-236326-8

Pages: 327

Contemporary Suspense

Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every parent fears late one summer night: Tommy, her thirteen-year-old son vanished without a trace in the woods of the state park that is nearby.

Elizabeth and her eleven-year-old daughter, Kate struggle to understand and comprehend Tommy’s disappearance as the search isn’t yielding any answers for them. Their sorrow is compounded by both anger and frustration and making them feel both alone and helpless. The local police nor the state police have been able to uncover any leads. Josh and Luis, are friends of Tommy and also the last to see him before he vanished. They may also not be telling the whole truth about the night they were in Borderland State Park where they said they were hanging out at a landmark they renamed Devil’s Rock.

Elizabeth is completely unprepared when a series of strange events follow as she is living in all-too-real nightmare. Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadowy figure that seems to be peering through their windows in the dead of night and if that wasn’t bad enough Elizabeth is convinced the wraithlike apparition she saw is of Tommy that materialized in her bedroom. Suddenly random pages torn from Tommy’s journals start to mysteriously appear. The entries also reveal a teenager that is introverted and obsessed with the phantasmagoric. One that is also obsessed with the father he lost, a father that was killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier. Tommy is also completely fascinated with the folktale that involves the devil and the woods of Borderland and the coming zombie “pocketclips” and a horrific incident that Tommy is convinced connects them all.

As the search continues and grows more desperate the implications of what happened become more ominous and sinister and no one is prepared for the shocking truth of what exactly happened that night at Devil’s Rock.

This is a story that stays with the reader long after they are finished. As each chapter unfolds new details in the lives of the characters it brings to vivid life the nightmare of what a parent and family faces when a child disappears. The book also takes the reader on a roller coaster of a ride that is full of twists and turns and will have readers scrambling to figure out just what really happened the night Tommy vanished. The twist ending is one that readers will never see coming.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses


The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press

October 2008, Reissue: September 2014

ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1

Pages: 374

Dystopian Young Adult

 In what is now ruins but used to be known as North America is a new nation called Panem. It is a shining Capital with twelve outlying districts surrounding it. Being both harsh and cruel the districts are kept in line by being forced to send one boy and one girl from each district that are aged between twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games. Shown on live TV it is a fight to the death.

Katniss Everdeen is sixteen-years-old and lives with her mother and younger sister. When she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games she regards it as a death sentence. For Katniss though survival has become second nature as she has come close to death before. She becomes a contender without really meaning to. She is going to have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love if she is to win.

This is a book that pulls the reader in and takes them on an unbelievable adventure. It proves hard to put down once started and shows just why it was made into a movie. It also proves to be an unforgettable book with characters that stay with the reader long after they finish the story. With every word read the story and characters come to life for the reader and giving the reader a glimpse of the action and circumstances as they unfold throughout the book. It will also have readers wanting to read the other books in the series to find out the ultimate outcome for the characters and just what will happen next. This is a book for readers of all ages.

I give this one 5 red roses