Friday, September 30, 2016

Another Post-apocalyptic Effort, Aveline, Fails to Wow (Review)

Seventeen year old assassin-in-training, Aveline, is ready to die rather than submit to her fate working in a brothel to repay her late father’s debts. On the night she tries to end her life, a stranger stops her and offers a proposition: a clean slate, in exchange for her agreement to become the guardian of a young woman she has never met. Leery of the assignment and the man behind it, Aveline has no other option but to accept the deal.

Aveline’s suspicion that something is off about the arrangement magnifies when she meets her new ward, Tiana Hanover, the daughter of the most powerful man in Lost Vegas. Expecting a pampered princess with an attitude, Aveline is surprised to discover Tiana is little more than a slave – and harboring a secret the wealthy Hanover’s cannot risk being revealed in two months, on Tiana’s eighteenth birthday. 

Determined to keep the Hanover girl alive, Aveline must learn how to protect Tiana from the other Hanover’s or wind up dead alongside her ward.

Lost Vegas Series #1
Lizzy Ford
Pub Date: 9/19/16
Publisher: Captured Press
Genre: YA

If the name Lizzy Ford is familiar, you may have read one of her forty-plus YA or adult romance novels. Even in my time as a book reviewer I have seen her many books released, but have not yet had a chance to read her stories, until now.

Aveline is the first in a new post-apocalyptic series set in a changed Las Vegas. Aveline has just lost her father and in the emotional aftermath, she must decide whether she will let fate take its course and end up in a brothel, or take on an assignment from a shady character. The assignment puts her directly in the presence of the most powerful family, the Hanovers, who are hiding a treacherous secret. The premise of the story sounds extremely interesting, but I dare say the execution leaves me a little disappointed. 

The novel is novella length, so this series may be considered more of a mini-series. I believe the shortness of the story contributes to the rushed pace and the inability to sufficiently connect with pertinent characters. It was also hard to settle into this fantasy version of America because there just wasn't enough world building. At the conclusion, I felt relieved that I would not have to labor through a full length novel and not very surprised that there was little to draw me back into the series. I don't mind suspense, but when I finish the book with no answers to any of the questions raised, I'm not inclined to continue the series. The characters, especially Aveline, were underdeveloped and all seemed to be on the same level of basic. They all just sort of played a small part of an unknown story without commanding or engaging the readers to their cause. I think the story would have been fine if focused on one character perspective.

Aveline has all the right elements for an exciting story, but it doesn't come together seamlessly.

*eGalley provided in exchange for an honest review*

Previous Review: Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bring Out the Hot Cocoa and Blankets; There's Snowfall on Haven Point! (Review)

There's no place like Haven Point for the holidays, where the snow conspires to bring two wary hearts together for a Christmas to remember.

It's been two rough years since Andrea Montgomery lost her husband, and all she wants is for her children to enjoy their first Christmas in Haven Point. But then Andie's friend asks a favor—to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who's recovering from a hit and run. Andie will do anything for Wyn, even park her own misgivings to check on her grouchy, wounded bear of a brother.

Marshall hates feeling defenseless and resents the protective impulses that Andie brings out in him. But when a blizzard forces them together for the holidays, something in Marshall begins to thaw. Andie's gentle nature is a salve, and her kids' excitement for the holidays makes him forget why he never wanted a family. If only he and Andie can admit what they really want—each other—their Christmas wishes might come true after all.
Snowfall on Haven Point
Haven Point Series #5
RaeAnne Thayne
Pub. Date: 9/27/16
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Romance

'Tis the season for sipping hot cocoa and snuggling next to a warm fire. Add to that the next chapter of RaeAnne Thane's Haven Point Series, Snowfall on Haven Point, and you have yourself a very cozy evening!

Snowfall on Haven Point is the right novel to kick off the cool season. Readers head to a wintry Haven Point to dig a little deeper into the lives of Andrea Montgomery and Sheriff Marshall Bailey. Though these characters were introduced in the previous novel Riverbend Road, it's not strictly necessary to read it if you have not been following the series. From the summary I thought this story would have a touch of Beauty falling in love with Beast, but the initial characterizations change over the course of the story. It describes what happens when certain circumstances may cause us to become open to new possibilities.

Andrea and Marshall clash from the beginning which makes the story a refreshing respite from many 'love at first sight' plots. Their connection is forged over time and understanding. The issues between them are immense and unexpected, half the story is just getting them to admit their true feelings. They're both stubborn with their feelings toward one another, but when it comes to Andrea's children love comes easily. Despite their harsh start, this story has a gentle vibe. No doubt the cute little kids putting smiles on everyone's faces has a little something to do with it! When life gets tough or takes a turn for the worst for our hero and heroine, something or someone provides an uplifting hand.

Snowfall on Haven Point is complex enough to show that most of the other characters have a story, one that has either been told in a previous novel or is soon to come. It makes for an interesting read, always looking to see how characters connect to one another. Faithful followers of this sweet romantic series will be curious to see who will next shake up the tight-knit community of Haven Point.

*eGAlley provided in exchange for an honest review*

Previous Review: The Girl From the Sea by Shalini Boland

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Along Came Love

"Waiting on" Wednesday, or WOW, is a meme created by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Join in the discussion to see what upcoming releases we're currently buzzing about.

I've always had a hard time finding multicultural novels that appeal to me or are from an author with a well established reputation. I'm so happy I stumbled upon this soon to be released romance! Along Came Love looks like a fun, light-hearted romance that will be sure to brighten up anyone's dreary day.

When a silly, impulsive decision lands free-spirited India Shaw behind bars in San Francisco, she has no choice but to call the only person she knows in the unfamiliar city—the very man she abandoned after a steamy two-day fling. The fact that she’s pregnant with his child is something she’d rather not divulge.

Tech executive Michael Black never thought he’d hear from the quirky beauty after she left his bed four months ago, much less be called upon to post bail. He’s got his hands full with a corporate merger that could make or break his career, but his honorable nature—and an overwhelming need to see her again—means he can’t just leave her in jail. And when India reveals the truth about her pregnancy, Mike insists she stay with him until the baby is born.

India doesn’t want to depend on him for anything, but their constant proximity stirs up feelings she can’t ignore. She’s never desired a family before and she knows a future with Mike isn’t possible . . . but then along came love to shake up all her plans.

ALONG CAME LOVE by Tracey Livesay releases from Avon Impulse October 2016!
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What are you waiting on this week?

Previous Review: The Girl From the Sea by Shalini Boland

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Shalini Boland Ventures into Mystery with The Girl From the Sea (Review)

A chilling suspense story of wounded hearts and dark secrets.

Washed up on the beach, she can’t remember who she is. She can’t even remember her name. Turns out, she has an idyllic life – friends and family eager to fill in the blanks. 

But why are they lying to her? What don’t they want her to remember? 

When you don't even know who you are, how do you know who to trust?
Pub. Date: June 9, 2016
Publisher: Adrenalin Books
Genre: Mystery

In the praise surrounding Shalini Boland's latest novel, The Girl From the Sea, readers are promised a 'gripping pyschological thriller', a 'chilling suspense story'. On the other hand, what readers receive is a simple mystery that explores the life of a young, rich woman who suffers from amnesia.

When I decided to read this story I was intrigued by the plot and hoping for something similar to Jenny Milchman's Cover of Snow, which was an edgy mystery with many layers. As the mystery thickened the characters continued to develop and the connections between characters became evident throughout the story telling. The Girl From the Sea has so much potential but the mystery does not deepen throughout the story and it is very one-dimensional. It's these kinds of stories that don't have to be rushed, they deserve an intricate plot with loops and twists. Surprise and subterfuge are traits of a mystery that is not found here. It was almost as if nothing concrete actually happens in the story right up until the ending, or turning point, but the turning point comes way too late.

Even though there isn't anything in the story that directly points fingers at anyone for possibly trying to harm Mia, it becomes obvious quickly. She doesn't go looking for clues like a detective, but throughout the story she comes across information that tells readers about the people she came into contact with on a regular basis and about what kind of person she might be. Learning about the people she knew before losing her memory leads to a predictable conclusion.

The Girl From the Sea was an easy read, which is not what I would say to describe a story that is supposed to be gripping. It's not scary, doesn't make you want to read it with the lights on, and it doesn't take you on a wild ride. I would like to read more from Shalini Boland because I feel she can give her stories more depth, but this one just doesn't take it to the right level.

*eARC provided in exchange for honest review*

Monday, September 12, 2016

Shannon Greenland Brings It With Another Teen Hit! (Review)

Use cash and keep moving.

After I ran away from home, these were the two rules that dictated my life. Scoring a job as a roadie fit perfectly for what I needed. Traveling, cash, and life out of the spotlight. But when my path collides with West, the lead singer of Bus Stop, I can’t seem to stay out of his spotlight—especially since we’ll be touring together for an entire year.

West is determined to break down my walls. He won’t give up. And little by little they come crumbling. But if he knew what lurked behind them, he wouldn’t be so eager to get rid of them.

The more time we spend together, the more the lines of our friendship become blurred. He makes me dream of things I never thought possible. But while our friendship has been evolving into a romance, my secrets have been closing in. And just when I’ve decided to reveal my past to West, I’m confronted by it. The cost of my freedom could ruin the life of the guy I love...
Shadow of a Girl
Shannon Greenland
Pub. Date: September 19, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Cheers to Entangled Teen for publishing a story from one of my top favorite authors, Shannon Greenland! I jumped at the chance to read Shadow of a Girl because past experience reading The Specialists series and The Summer my Life Began demanded that I not miss out on this opportunity.

Shadow of a Girl is exactly the teen drama I expected it to be, but the nature of this story takes readers to a different level. Shannon Greenland creates strong female leads who appear innocent, or naive, yet take the story by storm with fierce determination. Eve is no exception as she fights against the currents of a miserable life to emerge happy and whole. She runs from a violent upbringing and lives the life of a hardworking roadie, keeping her head down while staying under the radar. Starting a romance with West Wolff, lead singer of Bus Stop, is just the kind of distraction she needs but doesn't want to risk. The risk becomes even more real as Eve's past catches up to her and threatens the new life she built for herself.

I appreciate the fast moving pace of the story. It jumps off immediately and the nature of Eve's plight is a constant reminder as she moves from city to city. There aren't any unnecessary lulls in the story and all attention is focused on Eve and West. Their relationship is partially a driving force because within it we see Eve grow and use the happiness she feels to overcome the fears that are keeping her down. While the story was sweet at the right moments it still seemed to not balance enough. While past Shannon Greenland novels have been more on the light hearted side, I did expect this one to be similar with a little edge. The premise of the story, and the moments Eve becomes paralyzed by fear, led me to believe the novel would delve a little deeper into her upbringing and focus on the chilling thrill of escaping or enduring of that life. Some of those scenes felt glossed over while our attention was brought back to the romance. In other words, a simple solution to a big problem. Sadly, the story just didn't grip me past the romance and that would've made this even more of a stand out.

Not every story can be perfect, but then again, when we're reading for a quick escape we don't always expect perfection. I still definitely enjoyed Shadow of a Girl, and encourage Shannon Greenland fans to pick it up and not miss out on her latest gem!

*eGalley provided in exchange for an honest review*

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