Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: Damaged Like Us

Damaged Like Us Damaged Like Us by Krista Ritchie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The twins do it again. Just when I didn't think the Addicted series characters could get any better Becca and Krista Ritchie give us Damaged Like Us. This is a spin off series from the original Addicted series and it pick up with the Hale, Cobalt, and Meadows kids as adults. This first book centers on everyone's favorite adorable kid Maximoff Hale. If you read the Addicted Series you'll remember Maximoff as the Batman loving, water addicted swimmer, adorable little kid and big brother to the Hale kids, Luna, Xander, and Kinney. At the end of the Addicted series it's mentioned that Maximoff Hale is a loving, kind, loyal and responsible little boy who is constantly taking on more than he should to the chagrin of his parents especially his father Loren Hale. Not much has changed in the Damaged Like Us series for Maximoff Hale except we find out in this book that he's come out as bi-sexual. The entire world is focused on him and his actions and Maximoff Hale is VERY aware of that, allowing public opinion to dictate his actions to a large extent. Maximoff a.k.a Moffy to his friends and family is still struggling to get the world to see that Loren Hale is his biological father and he takes great pains to distance himself from his Uncle Ryke whom he bears a marked physical resemblance to.
In this new series Moffy and Jane are the closest and best-est of friends not just because they're cousins but because the intense scrutiny in their lives has made it impossible for them to trust anyone outside of the immediate family. Later the media will twist this relationship, as they are known to do, anytime these families get together, or hell just exist.
The  story begins with Moffy getting a new bodyguard one he doesn't want. Enter Farrow Keene 27 year old bodyguard to Lily Hale now being transferred to Moffy's detail. There's a complicated relationship already in place between Moffy and Farrow that highlights the fact that these two have known each other since they were kids as Farrow's father was and still is the families concierge doctor.
Here's what these two authors do so well. They take a volatile subject, addiction, alternate lifestyle, paparazzi, family dynamics and they make these characters who deal with, experience, and live through these situations believable, relatable, and above all HUMAN.
We see Moffy struggle to deal with the insensitivity and hostility that comes with being born into a famous family. We see his kindness in spite of or maybe because of all of that. We see him as a person with flaws but who struggles every day to navigate the treacherous waters of his life under the intense eye of the media and we see him (for the most part) succeed. The best part, the very best part in my not so humble opinion is seeing him learn to trust enough to fall in love. To LOVE to open himself to that vulnerability and we get to see him be loved in turn.
I can't tell you what these books have meant to me. As the child of an alcoholic parent it was validation to read the Addicted Series and to know, to feel, to UNDERSTAND exactly what Loren Hale dealt with in his own home with his own alcoholic father. As a woman it was vindication to watch Lily Hale overcome an addiction that society would turn into something awful and filthy. To see her strength in overcoming that. Maximoff Hale's story only further cements why these books have gathered such a huge following. Why we as readers have fallen in love with these people. Becca and Krista Richie give real emotions, real stories, real situations that many of us are either dealing with now or have dealt with in the past. These books are like literary therapy. They show us the light at the end of very dark tunnels and they give us the courage and the fortitude to keep going.
Becca and Krista always approach these topics with sensitivity and tolerance allowing us to explore our own morality and sexual identity in a safe and positive way.
If you read nothing else this year you have to read Damaged Like Us.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Damaged Like Us Pre-Release Party Give Away

Today we're excited to be a part of the Fizzle Force "Damaged Like Us" Pre-Release Party!!! As part of a collection of online book bloggers and fangirls of the dynamic twin duo's writing The Book Whisperers will be raffling off a Kindle eCopy of Damaged Like Us. To enter just head over and join the Fizzle Force Pre-Release Party post your answer in the comments section below. We're picking, not one, but TWO winners for this special occasion.

Fizzle Force Facebook Page

For those not familiar with the dynamic twin writing duo Krista and Becca Ritchie are the authors of the "Addicted to You" the book series that follows Loren Hale and Lilly Calloway on their journey to find sobriety, strength, family, and love. It's a very powerful and realistic look at addiction, societies double standards, and the power of media both social and on air.

If you haven't read the Addicted Series we here at The Book Whisperers highly recommend you pick it up. Damaged Like Us follows the children of the original characters and as such may be hard to follow for those that haven't read the original series.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Review of Talk British to Me

Talk British to Me by Robin Bielman

Thank you to Entangled and Netgalley for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Teague is working in a coffee shop  a little worried about money when she stumbles into a job as assistant. She meets Mateo by accident when she literally drops hot wings on him. Mateo has a bit of a secret, he is Bennett, The Dating Guy, and he has a contract with the radio station that says no relationships.

He has never had a problem with that until he meets Teague. He does stay upfront with her and say that he doesn't want a relationship with her, but he can't stop thinking about her. Teague can't stop thinking about him, but when she finds out he is the son of her boss, the reasons they can't do anything keep stacking up.

They spend more and more time together trying to maintain that they are just friends, but things are spiraling out of control. Mateo has to figure out if he loves his job more or if Teague is the one for him.

This was a super cute and fun read! I literally couldn't stop reading it, and I loved that they didn't hop in bed and fall in love and then struggle. Like they didn't hop in bed, struggled not to have a relationship, then sort of had one and then he messed it up. It worked though, I really like them as a couple and as characters in general.

Since this is the beginning of the series I hope to see them again!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Sacrificial Muse

Sacrificial Muse Sacrificial Muse by Maegan Beaumont
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sabrina Vaughn Series is AMAZING!! As a long time lover of murder mysteries and thrillers this book covers all the best elements of that genre and then it goes a step farther and gives us believable and four dimensional characters. I absolutely loved this book when I checked it out from the library unsuspecting and unknowing it was the second book in the series. From page one I was captivated by the dark feel of this story. Sabrina Vaughn is a character you can empathize and sympathize with. She's a young woman who has endured so much at such a young age and she's used that personal tragedy to forge herself into a formidable Homicide Detective. She has that Eve Dallas feel from J.D. Robbs futuristic detective series but Sabrina's Meagan Beaumont's world is a much darker place to be.

I suggest reading this book with the lights ON!

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Review: Mace

Mace Mace by Claire Donovan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I never thought I'd say this..but I couldn't finish this book because the content was so beyond twisted that it crossed the boundary into evil for me. I've read some seriously messed up stuff. Studying abnormal psychology for fun in college kind of messed up stuff and I couldn't finish this book. There's just something about incest even if only implied incest that makes me sick. I also didn't like the male character him being a pimp and the way he treated women including his step sister was just twisted and wrong. I couldn't buy him as a loving son when he treats women that way..I just no, that was too unbelievable for me. I found the female character to be weak, needy, and lacking in self-esteem ripe for her step brother to abuse. I'm not saying the book was poorly written just that I myself don't find any reading pleasure in those kinds of situations.

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Review: Beautiful Liar

Beautiful Liar Beautiful Liar by Signy Cullen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beautiful Liar by Signy Cullen

Full disclosure I am friends with this authors older sister however; I do not actually know, nor have I ever met the author herself. This review was requested by said friend and I agreed to give it a fair and unbiased review.

I read this authors first book "Farther Side of Away" back in 2013 I believe, may have been 2014 and I was not overly impressed. That story was a bit disorganized and difficult to follow so it was with some trepidation that I picked up Beautiful Liar. I could not have been more surprised when I began reading and realized that THIS book was far and away better than her first one. As a reader and a review it's not uncommon to see this with new writers. Like any other craft it takes time and experience to hone the craft. If you, like me, read this authors first book and took a pass at this one I encourage you to back track. Beautiful Liar was a well researched, well thought out book. It was nothing like Farther Side of Away and a lot of the issues I had with that book were resolved in this one.
Beautiful Liar begins with a jail break and the law enforcement officials who track the escaped convicts. Enter Noah a U.S. Marshal. Whatever you thought a U.S. Marshal was like Noah is none of those things. He reads as a young hot dogger, and he mentions he sometimes wishes he lived at home with his parents still. He likes the excitement of the job but not so much the "boring" parts as he deems them. If you're an older reader you may not like Noah at first, you may in fact prefer Deputy U. S. Marshal Tim Noonan, the "team captain" if you will of the U.S. Marshals. He is older and more seasoned on the job but if that's not your aesthetic there's Marshal Thomas Carol described as an older deputy dressed in typical tan suit, mismatched tie, and a full beard. Now that's what I think of when I hear the world U.S. Marshal...I blame all those old westerns my dad used to make me watch. If you like wise-cracking law enforcement types there's Deputy Marshal Philip Mills who likes to make all the "kiddie" jokes he can toward Marshal Noah. The feeling you get when you're reading about these Marshals is that this is a typical give and take between a tight knit team. The relationships between the Marshals reads like a family and anyone whose ever been in the military, or married into it, or any branch of law enforcement would understand the bonds that exist among these personality types. That comradery, loyalty, duty, and honor that binds them all together. In essence that feeling of Family that's unique to these types of people. The author has a firm grasp on those dynamics and that comes across to the reader.
I felt that the author gave a bit too much information at the beginning about Noah. For instance I didn't think it was necessary to tell me that he went into the Marshals right out of college. She could have just said "at 26 Noah was the rookie" and I think we would have all got it. If it added to the story then I could see using it but it just sort of feels like word filler to me and as a reader I've always felt a bit insulted by that kind of thing from an author. The other thing that unnecessary information does is it makes Noah come off as inept. I don't think the U.S. Marshals would have recruited him out of the University if he were stupid but the way she writes his inner monologues about his looks makes him appear to be shy, inept, and bumbling. Like a Deputy Doo-Right instead of an intelligent, yet unseasoned U.S. Marshal. So that was a downside for me in this book. I had to work a bit harder to get over that initial introduction to this character.
Enter the CIA I'm not going to go over too much about this I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I will say this..the female CIA agent comes across as unbelievable. I think she was a good liar, I didn't find her believable as an agent. She came across more as a parody of herself and I couldn't take her seriously in the story. She was good for some unintended comic relief though.
All in all the story itself was good. I liked it. I liked reading it. I'm a total sucker for crime thrillers, who dun its, escaped convicts and shady government ops. This book hits a lot of those notes that makes that genre fun to read. I'm hopeful and optimistic that this author will continue to hone her craft and improve as writer. I look forward to reading the second book in the Beautiful Liar series and this new author grow into her craft.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review of The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano

Thank you to Negalley and Disney-Hyperion for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Tori has recently moved to Maryland, her family has inherited a plot of land and house just in the nick of time. Since Tori's dad died they have lost everything and had no choice but to move from DC to this small town in Maryland. Even though she finds it strange that they have a random plot of land in the middle of the Slaughter family farm.

Tori also cuts, but her mom knows about that so when she heads out to the old dead tree to cut herself she doesn't think anything of it until she finds a boy later. Nathaniel Bishop tells her that he was hanged from that tree and that Emmaline must have brought him back.

When Matilda the old lady that lives near them tells her that Emmaline brought him back, Tori knows something deeper and darker is going on. Will Slaughter has gone missing, and Tori keeps finding Alister Slaughter on their property. She knows they are looking for something, and it has something to do with why they inherited the property.

Sins of the past are coming to light, and Tori is falling for a boy who has long been dead. Will she be able to set him free? Will she be able to find the proof she needs in order to save her family?

I have read all of Elle's books so when I saw this it was an automatic request! While I didn't love it as much as her other books, I soon found myself sucked into the mystery and wondering what was going to happen. I love Tori, despite all that tries to break her and her cutting she still gets up and tries again and again.

I also loved the Gothic southern feel to the book. Buried secrets are some of my favorite things to read about and this did not disappoint, especially since it brought up indentured servants a part of our history that we really don't spend a lot of time focusing on. I have to say that I hated that it ended, I wanted more and I want to read more about Tori, but alas this is a standalone so I have to just be happy with what I have. 

Review of Julia Defiant by Catherine Egan

Julia Defiant by Catherine Egan

Thanks to Netgalley and Knopf Books for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Julia and the gang are back, although there are some new characters and new location. Wyn is still on the outs with Julia, but he is hanging around. Julia is searching for Ko Dan in order to get the book out of Theo.

Unfortunately assassins are after them because they want Theo and Julia trying to keep ahead of them. Also there has been changes with her ability to vanish, now she seems to disappear completely and appear in a hellish world in which the creatures seem to recognize her.

What does this mean? Will she be able to find Ko Dan? Will she be able to save Theo?

I was a bit disappointed in this one, I don't know if it was the length of time between reading the first one and reading this one or just the change in location, but I couldn't connect with the characters this time around. I couldn't remember who half of them were to be honest. I really enjoyed the first one, but this didn't appeal to me as much.

It dragged on without too much happening and was kind of confusing at points. Sigh I wanted to love this as much as the first one, but Julia has some bad luck in the romance department, in fact I feel like the love interests could have just been left out. I did love her relationship with Theo. That was the highlight of the book, but I did get a bit of the mother vibe from that.

There is supposed to be a book 3 so I will be interested to see how she ties this all up.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kiss Me Kill You by Larissa C. Hardesty

Kiss Me Kill You by Larissa C. Hardesty

Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled Teen for a copy of this eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Emily is a romantic at heart and her best friend Lilly is pushing her to start dating. So when she works up the nerve to ask Paul out she is humiliated and embarrassed when he says no. Paul didn't say no because he doesn't want too, Paul has a secret. He is Emily's watcher and he knows what she is, even if she doesn't.

Things are changing for Emily, no one has noticed her until but when Jake the hottest guy in school asks her out she knows she can't say no. When he kisses her, he ends up passing out and Emily is confused. When Lily tells her that they are Succubi and they feed on men, Emily thinks she is just playing with her. However, when her mom freaks out on her about Jake, Emily thinks they have all gone crazy.

Plus there is this thing with Paul, he is who she really wants and he doesn't seem to affected when she kisses him. True love isn't for Succubi though, Emily finds out that Paul is her watcher and her mom and everyone is being threatened if she doesn't comply with what the Powers want.

This is was a cute easy read, and I felt for Emily she wasn't raised to understand any of that world despite the fact that her best friend, her mother and her best friend's mother are Succubi. I think anyone would have a hard time coming to terms with having to turn in souls to the Powers.

I did like Emily and Paul, but they were a little too much back and forth and all over the place for me to really love them. However, I love that he seemed to embrace how she felt even though he was raised differently than her and he knew what they had to do. In the end he really did have her back. I kind of feel like that ending was a little to much of a cliffhanger for my tastes especially it appears to be a standalone. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Review of Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine

Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine

Thank you to Entangled Teen and Netgalley for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review.

Gris has come to the small town of Hidden Creek to hunt fiends. He is a watcher and he also shape shifts into a gargoyle. Piper's dog has been killed when she decides to investigate the new renters at the farm near them. When Gris hears about Piper's dog he decides to help her.

Gris is also trying to figure out why this town is so haunted by fiends, after facing nine of them at the old mill. The deeper he gets into the investigation the weirder things become. He is finding curse bags, and unearthed grave of a watcher. Plus the jealousy of his cousin, it seems like he will never get to the bottom of what is going on in Hidden Creek.

The closer he becomes to Piper, the more he starts to fall for her, but she is in danger. There are curse bags in her rooms, and the fiends are drawn to her. Will he be able to figure out what is going on? Will he be able to save Piper?

I haven't read that many books pertaining to gargoyles. This was a interesting twist and I enjoyed the mystery as well the paranormal aspect of it all. Piper was interesting and sort of dark with her OCD and self-harm, which also explains why the fiends were so drawn to her. I liked the fact that Gris wasn't necessarily trying to change her, but work with her and I love how she figured him out so quickly and could see the truth.

This was quick, interesting read and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Review of House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

I won a copy of the ARC from a Goodread Giveway.

Louisa is running from some local townspeople one day when a strange woman offers to help, in fact, she offers her a position at Coldthistle House. While en route there Louisa and the old woman meet Lee and his uncle, who just happens to be heading to the stay at the same place as boarders.

Once at Coldthistle House, Louisa jumps into work and meets her co-workers, but it is only once she meets Mr. Morningside that she realizes that there is something strange about this place and it's owner. Her real shock comes when she meets Mary, and she looks just like her imaginary friend Maggie when she was a child. But then one night she is drawn from her room and finds a strange book that attacks her.

Once Mr.Morningside hears about this he explains that she is meant to be apart of this house because normally the book would kill anyone it touches. It also apparently lures all the boarders to the house as well, but not for the same purpose. It sits in judgment of the those who stay at the house, in fact, the boarders are evil people who just keep getting away with the things they are doing. Louisa knows that Lee isn't like that other and she works hard to try and figure out what is really going on with him and his uncle so that she can save his life.

I have read most of Roux's work, starting with the Asylum which is also a sort of gothic horror story. I really love her work. She draws you in and spins a tale that you can't help but enjoy. I thought maybe at first there would be like a Jane Eyre vibe, but I wasn't expecting this at all. Loved every minute of it, I couldn't stop reading this.

I am also very thankful that it is the start to a new series, I can't wait to see where Roux's goes with the next book!