Guest Review: Chasing Destiny by Megan Erickson

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Chasing Destiny: by Megan Erickson
Series: Silver Tip Pack #2
Release Date: July 21st, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

four-stars

 

I really liked this second book in the Silver Tip Pack series. This one had a different feel to it than book one but was just as good.

This story focuses on Bay who is Dare’s brother. He’s the wise cracking and good natured one in their family but he’s struggling at the beginning of this story. Bay is grieving his second loss of Nash and he’s feeling restless. His were wants him to leave and look for something but he’s not sure what it is. As a result he offers to visit another pack to see if they can set up a trade pact. What Bay finds there turns his world upside down.

This story was more fast-paced and full of action than Daring Fate was. This one kept me on the edge of my seat from almost the beginning of the story. Bay and his pack mates are fighting other pack members as well as the zombie weres. (Can I just take a minute to tell you how much I love the fact that there are zombie werewolves in this series? Zombie! Werewolves!) All kinds of things happen and there are some shocking surprises.

The love story was also good. I love a good second chance story. I also love a good hurt/comfort story. Combine them together and I’m in reader bliss. Bay and Nash are just wonderful together and Bay is full of swoon worthy moments. Some of the stuff he says… *dreamy sigh*. These two are not fated mates as the couple in book one were, but they know they’re meant to be mates and their romance development was lovely.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this series other than the writer is not releasing them fast enough for me. This one hasn’t even been released and I’m already itching to get my hands on the third one. Looks like we know who the next book will be about but I’m not going to tell you. It’s going to be a big surprise.

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About Megan Erickson

Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She’s still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet… maybe because she never got there.

Standalone Sunday (5/28/17): The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. 

BLURB:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently watching the made-for-tv series on Hulu because my husband listened to this audiobook narrated by Claire Danes.

I chose this book because I’ve been captivated by this intense dystopian series and its been hard trying to avoid spoilers from the Love of my Life who is so eager to share his book knowledge.   We have this same issue (him attempting to share spoilers) with The Walking Dead and the Game of Thrones tv shows. The GoT is series I’ve vowed that I will not start the audiobooks until the author finishes the series. I’m not convinced there will be an end to the series due to author’s snail paced writing schedule.

Anyway, the Handmaid’s Tale is painful as a woman to watch as the women were reduced to homemakers and breeders. I’m afraid to see the season finale next week, but I will start the audiobook then.

Have you read or listened to this book? Are you watching the Hulu original series? What do/did you think about it?

Withered + Sere by TJ Klune

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

o-withered-sere (1)Withered + Sere by TJ Klune
Series: Immemorial Year
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Pages: 280 • Format: eARC
Published By: DSP Publications
Purchase Links:
DSP • Amazon • ARe

Once upon a time, humanity could no longer contain the rage that swelled within, and the world ended in a wave of fire.

One hundred years later, in the wasteland formerly known as America, a broken man who goes only by the name of Cavalo survives. Purposefully cutting himself off from what remains of civilization, Cavalo resides in the crumbling ruins of the North Idaho Correctional Institution. A mutt called Bad Dog and a robot on the verge of insanity comprise his only companions. Cavalo himself is deteriorating, his memories rising like ghosts and haunting the prison cells.

It’s not until he makes the dangerous choice of crossing into the irradiated Deadlands that Cavalo comes into contact with a mute psychopath, one who belongs to the murderous group of people known as the Dead Rabbits. Taking the man prisoner, Cavalo is forced not only to face the horrors of his past, but the ramifications of the choices made for his stark present. And it is in the prisoner that he will find a possible future where redemption is but a glimmer that darkly shines.

The world has died.

This is the story of its remains.

three-stars

So here’s the thing, everyone knows I’m a TJ Klune fan. I love his work. How To Be A Normal Person has bumped itself up to my favorite book by him. I don’t even know how that happened. Otter is still one of my favorite people in the world. He exists and I won’t stop searching until I found him. When I saw the blurb and cover for this I was immediately hooked. The cover is so beautiful. I couldn’t quite guess what the title meant. I had to think could T.J. pull off a dark novel? I mean he’s known for taking us apart with his emotional reads, and he’s down right hilarious with the sputtering characters. I didn’t know if he could right my kind of Dark. TO me Dark is the end of despair and humanity. It’s when there’s nothing else to live for, and all you got is yourself and maybe a select person that you care enough about for them not to die. I enjoyed the premise of the story, and Bad Dog and S.I.R.S are good characters. I loved them. I loved the opposite of every Dystopian story I read about the Dead Rabbits.

TJ’s world that he build was destroyed almost hundreds of years ago. I loved the opening sequence on how the world ended. As usual he’s very spot on with his words. He’s able to bring you into the scene like you are there. Years later and the world is a gray land with little to no sun. Everyone is trying to survive. We have our Hero Cavalo. He’s the main focus in the book. Him along with Bad Dog (a dog which only he communicates with) are traipsing through the world at their own pace. So many things happened in the story that I enjoyed and other things that I felt didn’t fit into the world. I will say reading about Cavalo and trying to gauge his lunacy or the past and present was a headache.It made me feel like I was on a tidal wave and couldn’t get off. I never really adapted to him. I understand all his shortcomings and why he was the way he is, but he didn’t work for me. It should be warned that this is not a romance story. I knew it going in and I’m okay with it. I can see how it’s set up for book two. There is definitely a cliffhanger at the end. I liked this book, and it wasn’t what I was expecting but hopefully book two leads into the gory stuff for me.

About TJ Klune

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

Claimed (Outlaws #1) by Elle Kennedy

Claimed (Outlaws #1) by Elle KennedySeries: Outlaws #1
on 2015-10-06
Pages: 368
AmazonB&NNarrator: C. S. E. Cooney
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
After a devastating war decimated most of the world, Hudson Lane has only known the oppressive life under her own father’s tyranny. She finally escapes, branding herself an outlaw and hunted by the Enforcers. Her best chance at survival is Connor Mackenzie, an aggressively sensual fugitive who opens her eyes to the wicked possibilities of a world without rules.

As the leader of a band of outlaw fighters, Connor can’t resist the beautiful stranger who asks for his protection. Despite his reservations, he agrees to introduce her to a whole new way of life. But when Connor discovers Hudson’s connection to the enemies of liberty, he wonders how far he can trust the woman who has abandoned all inhibitions to challenge every forbidden desire.
three-stars

Claimed has a really interesting plot. Unfortunately it is buried under pages and pages of sex.
threesome photo:  Threesome2.jpg

The World is now ruled by a Global council after being ravaged by war. The council has a team of “Enforcers” that maintain order and rule. Population is control and breeding is prohibited unless permission is granted by the GC. Most females are sterilized when they become adults unless one is born into a protected class.
Hudson Lane is the daughter of an Enforcer and when her father forms a marriage contract for her to marry another enforcer, Hudson flees her home. She searches for Outlaws, a band of rebels who refuse to be governed by the General Counsel “GC”.
When Hudson comes upon Connor MacKenzie and his group of Outlaws, Hudson bargains for their protection. She will hunt, fight, clean and do any assigned tasks, as long as they allow her to hide out in the rebel community. Connor is on a mission to find Dominik, the leader of the Enforcer who murdered his wife and community. So Hudson decides to hide her connection to Dominik.

In this rebel community, Hudson finds freedom both from her family’s expectations as well as in her sexual desires. Connor’s touch makes Hudson burn and they embark on an intense physical relationship with includes Connor’s friend Ryland.
threesome photo: threesome threesomevamps.jpg
The only problem is that Connor is hunting Dominik, the leader of the Enforcers, and Hudson knows it’s just a matter of time before Connor and Dominik come face to face, and her secret will be revealed. The agreed upon “just sex” relationship has become more for both Hudson and Connor, but will it survive Hudson’s lies?

This story could have been really special but it was completely overshadowed by copious amount of sex by Hudson and company. I liked Hudson, she was strong, resourceful, well trained and up front about her sexual desires. I had no problem with her going for what she wanted. Connor was a well trained alpha male, who was so focused on revenged that he glossed over the inconsistencies in Hudson’s story. I liked them together but the oppressive regime by the GC and their enforcers wasn’t developed enough to satisfied my piqued curiosity. Also, the character development was rather weak in this story as the characters ended up being cliche and one-dimensional.

I have read the Off-Campus series as well as the Killer Instinct series by Elle Kennedy and so I know this author is a really good writer. This particular book failed to meet the quality that I have come to associate with her work. I hope that book 2 will focus on the world more and character building. There is a good story here, it just has to be brought to the forefront.

*Special thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook, which was given in exchange for an honest review.

About Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

Blood Sky (After Trilogy #4) by Traci L. Slatton

Blood Sky (After Trilogy #4) by Traci L. SlattonSeries: After Trilogy #4
on August 24th 2015
Pages: 213 pages
Amazon
In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test… Deep in the badlands of Outpost City, in the Dark Horse saloon, a poker game is being played. The stakes are life and death—for the world.

What can Emma afford to lose? Will she gamble on herself, or on Arthur?

Will love find a way when the apocalypse closes in? A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…
four-stars

In Book 4, Emma still hasn’t resolved her relationships with Arthur and Haywood. While it’s clear that both want her, Haywood is adamant that Emma must take him and the kids as a packaged deal. If she chooses Arthur, Haywood will not allow her access to their children.

With her personal life in turmoil, Emma is still focused on finding a way to defeat the mists and this mission must involve Arthur somehow. Arthur is convinced that with the mad Russian Aleskei’s help, they can eradicate the mists. Then Arthur learns that someone else has the power to control the mists, and Arthur’s commitment to extinguishing his creation is cast in doubt.
Some are convinced that Arthur just wants to be in control of the mists again because he expressed hope that the mists can still be used as they were originally intended when he created them. Some in the camp believe that Arthur truly wants to terminate the mists. Emma is caught in the middle and it calls to question their love. Emma and Arthur share a unique connection so she has special insight to his desires. Will Emma join the camp that want to keep Arthur from implementing his plan with the mists, or will she trust him to put an end to the mists as he promised?

I am torn about how I feel about this one. While I love the author’s story telling and writing style, this one had a darker/depressing feel like book 3. Book 1 & 2 had passion, excitement, love and a hopefulness. This last book felt so divisive and like the series is at a crossroad. I like Emma, but she often finds herself biting off more than she can chew. When she gets herself into these jams, people are sacrificed to save her. I know she means well, but she isn’t GI Jane. In fact, I have more trust and confidence in Laurette. Laurette has a better handle on her emotions, abilities and people in general. I wasn’t comfortable with Emma making such monumental decisions by herself. I was also uncomfortable with her decisions and actions regarding Arthur because her feelings for Arthur was one of the things I considered a constant in this series. Emma and Arthur apart doesn’t work for me. I don’t care for the misunderstanding and third party opinions–Emma and Arthur was weak without each other, Emma in particular.

The conflict between Arthur and Emma took away from the story. Maybe Aleskei is using his mind-control on Emma and implanting suggestions in those around her influencing her in ways she doesn’t know. Aleskei has constantly worked to undermine Arthur from book 1. Emma, in turn, has done things to Arthur that would be hard to forgive and she made 2 in this particular installment. Arthur must really love her to continue coming for her even after her abandonment and lies. There was a movement towards the showdown with the mists, but I really need Emma to make her choice and stick with it.

I do realize that this was a bridge book, but I would like some answers and resolution to stuff, as opposed to more questions. I am afraid that when we do get the resolution, the magic that Emma and Arthur found would be sacrificed. I find that ending intolerable. This series is just as much about the mists as it is about Emma and Arthur.

**A review copy of this book was provided by the author in champagne for an honest review**

Who Knows the Storm (The Vigilante, Book 1) by Tere Michaels

Who Knows the Storm  (The Vigilante, Book 1) by Tere MichaelsSeries: The Vigilante
on October 17, 2014
Pages: 240
Amazon
The Vigilante: Book One In a dystopian near future, New York City has become the epicenter of decadence—gambling, the flesh trade, a playground for the wealthy. And underneath? Crime, fueled by “Dead Bolt,” a destructive designer drug. This New City is where Nox Boyet leads a double life. At night, he is the Vigilante, struggling to keep the streets safe for citizens abandoned by the corrupt government and police. During the day, he works in construction and does his best to raise his adopted teenaged son, Sam. A mysterious letter addressed to Sam brings Nox in direct contact with “model” Cade Creel, a high-end prostitute working at the Iron Butterfly Casino. Suspicion gives way to an intense attraction as dark figures from Nox’s past and the mysterious peddlers of Dead Bolt begin to descend—and put all their lives in danger. When things spin out of control, Cade is the only person Nox can trust to help him save Sam.
three-stars

Faith, Love and Devotion is one of my favorite series and so I was really excited to see this new dystopian series by Tere Michaels. But this one was much harder to get into and it lacked the emotional intensity that I was expecting.

In this story, New York City was decimated by a natural disaster, and the citizens that survived were displaced from their prior lives. Of course, all the crooks took advantage of confusion to establish a stronghold—kind of like Gotham pre-Bruce Wayne.
Sixteen year old Nox Boyet parents “died” during the mayhem, and he almost lost his life to a person hunting his family. But in his place, Nox was reborn as father to Sam, construction worker by day and a vigilante trying to rid the city of the vermin at night. The crime lords were flooding the city with a new designer drug called Dead Bolt and so they were either hooking people on drugs, encouraging people to gamble at the new casinos or work in sex industry.

One day, a famous model arrives at Nox and Sam’s doorstep with a letter for Sam claiming to know the whereabouts of Sam’s biological parents. Cade Creel, model to most, was really a high priced rent boy who worked at the Iron Butterfly Casino. Cade claimed no actual knowledge of contents of the letter, but Nox decided to follow him back to his workplace to find out who was targeting his son. That began Nox’s tap dance around Cade and the beginning of what would unfold as a relationship. It also marked the unraveling of Nox’s past and who was after him and Sam.

I have to admit that this story lacked emotional depth for me. It definitely had the lawlessness of a destroyed society, but it lacked hope of a community trying to rebuild itself. It was dark and gritty from page one, and it remained that way to the end of the book 1. I also never felt the chemistry between connection with Nox and Cade. The only real connection I felt was between Sam and Cade, a sort of camaraderie. I was confused for most of the story and was trying to figure out where it was headed. At the end of book 1, I didn’t feel settled. I know it’s a book 1 and thus the story continues, but I still wanted to feel some measure of resolution of this leg of the journey. Everything is still hanging up in the air and I guess book 2 will address the mystery of the characters past in more detail.

This book didn’t quite meet my expectations, but I will read book 2 to allow the author to continue building the characters and the world. Do not go into this book expecting an epic, emotional love story, you will be disappointed. I am hoping that this book was the birth of new heroes to stand up for community against the corruption laden police force. Sort of like the beginning of Batman in Gotham, I expect to see Nox, Caden and Sam being partners in the vigilante movement.

 

*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the reading copy.

Beyond the Night, Envy Chronicles Book 1 by Colleen Gleason, Joss Ware

Beyond the Night, Envy Chronicles Book 1 by Colleen Gleason, Joss WareSeries: Envy Chronicles #1
on January 12, 2010
Pages: 398
AmazonNarrator: Sebastian Fields
A man with no future . . .

When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"—he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past . . .

Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger.

Beyond desire.

Dystopian novels are tough ones for me. Their subject matter lends them more towards the horror trope in my opinion, so it’s usually the romance that keeps me interested. The romance was there but I didn’t connect with the main characters Elliott Drake and Jade Redfern.

I will say the narrator Sebastian Fields did a good job, but I found the plot to be a tad dry. Elliott and a group of guys survived 50 years in a cave when an apocalyptic event occurred. Various survivors now exhibit a supernatural power and Elliott, who was a doctor prior to his hibernation, inherited a healing power. Jade had been hiding after being a prison by some creatures but she has joined the resistance to fight off the alien creatures who have set up camp on earth.

Elliott and Jade kind of had insta-love but I found it okay as the world had changed and everyone needed comfort and the peace that comes from having a partner. But they had a constant tug of war as they were establishing their power dynamic and they were both pretty stubborn. I found the book to be slow but I realize the author was engaged in world and character building. So I expect book 2 to be faster paced. All in all, it was a good beginning to the series.

 

Review: Through the Ever Sky (Under the Never Sky, Book 2) by Veronica Rossi

Review: Through the Ever Sky (Under the Never Sky, Book 2) by Veronica RossiSeries: Under the Never Sky #2
on January 8th, 2013
Pages: 341 pages
AmazonNarrator: Michael Goldstrom
It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death.

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first. Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night? In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable
four-stars

It was as good as book 1.
This book starts with Aria and Perry reuniting after both had significant changes in their personal circumstances. Aria was being blackmailed to find the Still Blue in exchange for Talon’s safety and Perri was now Blood Lord of the Tides, a whole new world of responsibilites.
The dilemma was how to present Aria to the Tides. She was still considered a dweller and/mole and the Tides are still smarting from the news of the experiments. So Perry and Aria decide to hide their relationship, and introduce Aria as “an Ally” in the quest to find the Still Blue.

It was rough for both Aria and Perry to adjust in the camp, and the camp was hostile to Aria. However, Aria had grown as a young lady and as a warrior. She was more confident and decisive. she also had a very tight relationship/friendship with Roar, and that was very key to her ability to get through the tumultous stay at the Tide camp.

We got to know a little bit more about Cinder and we also got to see a little of Liv. I must admit that I wasn’t pleased with how the situation with Liv went down at all. But every great story requires a great sacrifice, so I will let the author guide me on that one.

The plot moved at a good pace, lots of action and advancement. I am glad that Perry and Aria finally saw that light and agreed to be open and honest about their relationship. Now the focus should be on escaping the Aether and keeping everyone safe. I look forward to book 3.

{Review} Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by @aimee_carter

Pawn
The Blackcoat Rebellion
Aimee Carter
Young Adult Dystopian
Harlequin Teen
November 26, 2013
Hardcover & eBook
296
ARC Provided by Harlequin Teen in Exchange for an Honest Review

YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

My Review:

It is so rare to find a gem in a genre that is becoming littered with so many of the same kind of story but Ms. Carter was able to accomplish this and Pawn was such a breath of fresh air that I couldn’t put the book down for one second. I found myself sneaking and reading while at work and in class. The character development in this book was awesome and the plot was amazing. I haven’t read a book with so much betrayal, lies, and backstabbing going on that I couldn’t tell up from down at times or Friends from Foes.

Kitty is by far my favorite YA heroine this year. She is smart, snarky, loving, and will lay herself over train tracks to save those that she love. She was very easy to relate to because at one time or another we have all felt the way she did. Lennox was amazing and I really enjoyed how he developed as a character, he was a take charge character that only wanted what was best for the people. Benjy on the other hand fell flat to me and it was a little saddening since this is the love interest in he book. I really can’t picture him and Kitty together.

The plot in this book was amazing. I love a book that jumps right into the action and gives you snippets of backstory without being bogged down with First Book Syndrome (FBS). I am extremely excited to continue this series because I have to know what happens with all the lying and deceit that is going on and is it going to pay off and how many more lives will be lost in the end. The world that was created was amazing and it seemed more realistic than any other dystopian that I picked up because I can actually see this happening in the future because technically we are almost there.

Thanks Ms. Carter and Harlequin Teen for giving me an opportunity to read such a wonderful book.