Calling

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Calling by C.S. Johnson, Narrated by Nicholas Santasier

Rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 2 stars

 

I was given a copy of Calling in audio format in exchange for my honest review.

Calling is the second installment in the Starlight Chronicles. It continues to follow Dinger as he decides to “quit” being a starlight defender.  Being a defender became too much for him. He struggles with balancing a new girlfriend, school, swimming, his friends, and even his mom trying to sue Starry Night and Wingdinger on behalf of the city. As events unfold, Dinger slowly starts regretting his decision. Some of his cockiness starts to dissipate, even though he is still highly arrogant. I look forward to his continued growth in becoming an actual likable character. Even though I do not currently like him, his character traits are vital to the story so it works out and continues to be enjoyable. I really liked that this story took to the theme of what happens when people become jealous and the monsters they become. I am curious if Dinger has always been so narcissistic or at what point did it happen in his life where he felt so entitled.

I reviewed book one from an ebook format. This is the first book in the series I have reviewed as the audio version. I do not like the narrator. His voices all sound the same so sometimes it is hard to know who is talking. Also, the editing on this audio was not the greatest. There were several parts where the narrator stopped reading and picked up again, like he had lost his place. He also stumbled on a couple of sentences/words. I would listen to the story in parts, because it takes a little while to get used to the narration style. I will continue to review the books in this series for the audio format, but I can’t guarantee I will continue to listen to the narrator in future books. I feel I am being over generous for the narrator’s rating. I hope as he gets more comfortable in the story line, it becomes better. But also, in his defense, the editing is the fault of whomever is in charge for cutting out those bits and pieces where there are pauses or mistakes that are supposed to help the story flow smoothly. That is why I gave the generous 2. I can’t fault someone for making a mistake in the narration, when whomever edits is supposed to cut those parts out.

Even though I enjoyed the books, I think the narrator may be a miss for some people. That is why I give a narrator rating as well. The story was great, fast paced, never dull, and action packed. It is uniquely original in a sea full of the same styles of stories.

I look forward to watching the chemistry between Starry Night and Wingdinger unfold. I have my guesses of who Starry Night is, and am anxiously waiting until her identity is revealed. I have a sneaky suspicion that Dinger is not going to be too thrilled. I wont give away who I think it is, because I think readers and listeners should make their guesses themselves, because it is highly entertaining!! I also hope that there is more development in the Seven Deadly Sinisters and Orpheus. They are very intriguing and I look forward to learning more of their back story (hopefully) throughout the series.

 

 

Geekerella

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Geekerella is a modern-day Cinderella fairytale featuring Danielle, or Ella, who resides with her “stepmonster” and evil twin step-sisters. This book has everything from teen heart throbs, bloggers, CONS, witchy evil characters who are mean, and moments that touch the reader’s heart.

The great thing about this book is the total geekiness/fandom the story provides. First, it is a retelling of Cinderella. Ella does everything in the house, while trying to retain memories of her deceased parents. Ella tries to actively keep their memory alive, while the Stepmonster tries desperately to squash it out of Ella like some fly buzzing around a summer cake. Second, it has a mysterious budding friendship between Ella and THE Darien Freeman, who in this story, is kind of a big deal. Ella cannot stand that Mr. Heartthrob with insured abs is cast as the lead character in Starfield, Carmindor. She rants and raves about it on her blog…needless to say…Darien actually texts Ella thinking she is her father and the two have a budding friendship, with developing feelings. And the kicker… he has no clue she is THE Reblegunner blogger squashing his name in this role, and she has no clue he is Darien Freeman.

Of course, there are twists, and turns, and Ella goes to the ball, and then is grounded until death. But the adventures are fun and it turns into being a cute story that leaves the reader with feelings of joy and delight.

This story is an easy read, the whole book flew by pretty quickly. I like when books are just easy. Having said that, I wish there were a bit more challenges for Ella to overcome. Sure, glass slippers, and hopelessly devoted Carmindors are searching the States for Ella to confess their young love to, but I wish some of the interactions between “Stepmonster”, Catherine, and Ella were more indicative of the crap relationship enslaving Ella. Sure, Catherine is a witch with a capital B, but Ella was a spitfire and sometimes talked back. So I wanted MORE to go down between the two of them. Also, the last chapter or two, just breezed by eight months later…and I wish that was also a bit more dramatic than what it is lead to believe. The book follows the POV of Darien and Ella, and sometimes it focused too much on the little things, so when the drama did happen, it fizzled pretty quickly and didn’t pack quite the punch it could have. BUT. It was still a cute story, and I am still giving a decent rating. It was still entertaining, and one part in particular really had me teary. And when a book makes me cry, it gets a higher rating. We all need an ugly cry from time to time.

Finally, I loved what the book means for nerd girls. Ella was this nerdy girl who really thought she was a nobody throughout the ENTIRE story. It took all of her challenges she did go through like befriending a moody coworker, helping create a cosplay costume, dealing with stepmonster and the evil twins, introducing others to the glory of Starfield, and making unconventional friends from the stars. In Darien’s case, he sometimes came off whiney and I am not sure why it took him so long to take a stand. I felt that the drama between him and Brian could have been better written because it read weird. But I liked Darien. Closet geek. Those are the best.

And remember, look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.

Untamed

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Untamed by Madeline Dyer

Rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. These are opinions are my own and I have not been paid for them.

Untamed was an interesting read. Not necessarily a bad kind of interesting, I am giving it 5 stars, but very interesting. It was a very unique take on a dark dystopian, especially when it is getting harder to be original in the dystopian genre.

The story is a fast read, and predictable for many aspects (I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, because when other’s find out, it is pretty spectacular). Untamed has violent, graphic material, so if you do not like books in the YA genre that have death, killing, etc, in it, then this book may not be for you.

Seven is an Untamed. She feels, thinks, and sees untainted, unlike the Enhanced who only feel positive emotions and are supposed to be the top of the life chain as superior beings. An unfortunate event results in Seven’s capture and change to an Enhanced. She is however rescued from the Enhanced compound by her village, however many are disgusted because she is no longer untamed. While sleeping in her family’s hut, she dreams of a series of events and a bison in the sky. This indicates she is a Seer, which earns more leers and distrust from the village. The Enhanced come searching for Seven because she is a strong Seer and want her on their side. This sets of the whirlwind of adventures for Seven and some of her untamed village. 

As a note, I would advise against developing any attachments to any characters, as many die. This book is well developed with a clear plot line. The end left me curious about what will happen in book 2. The characters are enjoyable and easy to connect to. Seven is in an interesting situation where she is not quite enhanced yet no longer fully untamed. Eventually, she has to pick a side…which one will it be?

This book can easily be read in a day. It keeps the reader sucked in and is pretty fast paced from the very beginning. I look forward to continuing with Seven’s journey in future books. I am glad to have had the opportunity to read Untamed as it was very enjoyable and well worth the read. 

Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes

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Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michele Carpenter.

Rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I was given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own.

I have given a synopsis in both of the previous books in this series, therefore, I will skip out on a synopsis here and go in to talking about what I enjoyed about the book and finishing up any lasting thoughts I have of the series.

Out of the three books, Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes is my favorite. This story was action packed, enlightening, heart breaking, and heartwarming all rolled up into 300 pages of warm, fuzzy, goodness.

The Zaria Fierce trilogy is a great show of a team comprised of unique, different, individuals that come together to work towards a common goal. All of the characters had significant growth, and frankly Hart becomes one of my favorite characters, right next to Aleks (the pretty awesome Changeling) and Hector (Stag Lord). I am looking forward to Aleks’ follow up trilogy. I can’t wait to dive back into this world and will be sad if it finishes.

The whole story set leaves you wanting more. Each character is brought to life by Michele Carpenter, which makes listening that much more enjoyable. This series is a great fantasy read geared towards middle ages but is so good parents and older readers will enjoy it as well. There is so much constantly going on in this book that it is massive stimulation constantly. I like books that really hit the ground running and I finished this story pretty quickly. By the end, I was left breathless, heartbroken, yet satisfied, and happy. This book was truly enchanting.

If you haven’t read it yet, please do so. You will not be disappointed.

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

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Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michele Carpenter.

 

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I was given a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own. I have not been paid for this review. 

 

Zaria Fierce and Enchanted Drakeland Sword is the second book in the Zaria Fierce trilogy. This story follows the aftermath of Hart being stolen by Olaf. Hector comes for Zaria and her friends for another adventure into the heart of many lands in Norse mythology.

Zaria continues to be haunted by nightmares and self blame regarding the loss of Heart, the Staglord of the Elkenfolken’s son, Hart. All of the children set off in hopes to find the Enchanted Drakeland Sword and find where Hart is being kept by Olaf. Along the way, they meet many Giants, some who are helpful and others who are not. Eventually they make their way into the land of dwarves.

Zaria keeps having these visions where she sees a spector of sorts who looks like her. She is sleeping in her bed when it wakes her up. It tells her it is slowly turning into her and will eventually make his way up to surface with people of Earth and will fool them all into thinking he is her. He then flees, which causes Zaria to follow after him down the dwarvan tunnels through a hidden magical door. Once through, she finds Hart, and frees him with her newly acquired Drakeland Sword. Only, it wasn’t Hart, it was Koll, the deadly dragon Olaf is desperate to free from the Under Realm where he has been trapped for thousands of years.

To save from any spoilers, I will end the synopsis here because the adventure is worth the read, or listen. The narrator is fantastic, bringing each of the characters alive. Each character is well written and has continual growth. The reason I gave this 4.5 stars, instead of 5, was simply because Zaria was almost whiney, and it got annoying after a while. Also, out of all 3 books, this one was my least favorite. I felt that it did not accomplish as much as book 1, and book 3 (review to come soon). I felt it took me longer to get through and I needed frequent breaks. It is worth reading, and getting through, because book 3 was spectacular and a fantastic way to end the trilogy.

Final thought: This is a great series filled with Norse folklore adventures for young readers, but can be enjoyed by all

At His Mercy

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Synopsis-blog-pic

Angel in his arms . . . Devil at her heel

One last, no-strings night of indulgence. That’s all Tristan wants before he begins a much-needed new chapter in his life. Instead he finds an innocent angel in pink who brings him to his knees.

Isabella is done hiding from the world . . . and her haunting memories. Discovering courage in the arms of a perfect stranger, she finally lets go and sheds her inhibitions.

To Isabella’s shock, she soon learns that Tristan is more than her mystery man—he’s her professor. But Tristan isn’t the only person who’s found Isabella on campus. A dark figure from her past has come back for her. Now Tristan will risk anything to protect Isabella . . . even if it costs him his life.

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At His Mercy by Shelly Bell

Ratings: 5 Stars

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and participation in this book blitz.

From the very first page, I knew this book would be a 5 star read. There was so much hot and so much sizzle, I had the highest of hopes from the get go. This book did not disappoint. This book moved in a consistent flow and there were never any dull moments. It really keeps the reader entranced.

When Isabella walks into the play party for the first time and Tristan lays his eyes on her, the reader can see the steam come off the page. The chemistry throughout the story is super hot and super steamy and perfect. Watching the struggle between Isabella and Tristan when they discovered the student-teacher status was really difficult, and I had hoped they would move through it and just proceed forward.

This story kept me hooked and I could not put it down. I hated when I had to put it down to do anything else.

My favorite quote in the story is “that’s why the submissive role is so alluring to people with demanding careers. Giving control to someone else doesn’t make you weak.” This really hit me hard, because it is something I had to acknowledge in my own life a long time ago. This story and it’s contents is well researched and well written. The BDSM is light, but still enjoyable. If this is a reader’s first time reading a book about BDSM, this would be a great opener.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A sucker for a happy ending, Shelly Bell writes sensual romantic thrillers. When she’s not working her day job, taking care of her family, or writing, you’ll find her reading the latest romance.

 

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Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

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Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michelle Carpenter.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I was provided a free copy of this book in audio format by the author in exchange for an honest review. I have not been paid for this review.

Zaria Fierce is a story enriched with Norse folklore. It is full of trolls, elves, giants, and the like can all be found in this story. This story was a very short listen, and the narrator was amazing. Carpenter’s voices were spot on, helping bring every character to life, my favorite being Christoffer.

One of the biggest indicators for a potential 5-star rating for me is when a story is captivating from the very beginning. The only downfall to listening to this story being narrated, is that there are illustrations in the book. BUT! No fear, Gillett provided the book trailer links, and there you can see the lovely illustrations!!

Every character in this book has something particularly charming about them, including some pretty interesting secrets, which become helpful throughout the story. This ragtag team find themselves in some pretty hot water in every world they enter into, but yet they are resourceful enough to get themselves out of these situations. For a bunch of 13 year olds, that is not bad. I did peg who Zaria was from the beginning, but it was fun to watch it all unfold.

This story is great for children, or adults! As an audiobook, I can hear it filling up the time spent together in a long car ride. In book form, I can envision parents reading chapters to their kids before bed at night. I am looking forward to enjoying more adventures of these friends in future books!

I know this is a short and sweet review, but it was a heartwarming story, with a great narrator. It is fun for all ages, and mixes Norse folklore into the story in such a fun way. The narrator is fantastic and helps aide in bringing the story to life for the listener. It is worth the time to read or listen to. I also LOVE strong, heroic, female lead characters, and Zaria is a great leading lady!

 

Soulmated

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Soulmated by Shaila Patel

Goodreads rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of Soulmated from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review. These opinions are my own.

 

Soulmated is the story about an Empath (someone who is often sensitive and affected by the energy or emotions of others around them) prince, Liam, who is on a quest to find The One in which he will become Soulmated with. The two would then become very powerful in the Empath community, of which there are MANY in the Council and even Elders who are leary of Liam finding a Soulmate because of the power the couple will have. Liam is searching for a female who his dad has visions about, someone on the cusp of becoming an Empath herself. Which leads him to a small town in North Carolina, where he meets Laxshmi, or,  “Lucky.” The two go on one hell of an adventure which takes the reader on a wild and emotional ride.

This book will literally steal your heart and capture your soul. This book left me so hungover, I felt like a junkie desperately searching for my next fix. This book left me so shattered, I couldn’t breathe, see, or think after I finished. The last time I felt this raw after a book was when I read I’m Still Here in 2014.

The story is very beautifully written, making the reader feel every raw emotion. It was such an easy read, but didn’t feel “simple” at all. I like to do most of my ratings on how I feel or connect with a book, and this book just sucked me in. I was a goner from the very beginning. It is one of those stories I want everyone to read because it is so great, but also want to keep it all to myself like a jealous lover (I will rip off a ladybug’s wings, I swear it, I will) afraid to let anyone else close.

This book can be enjoyed by high school and older. It is a young adult, but does not feel “kiddish” like some young adult books can come off like. I didn’t find myself frustrated with Lucky and her constantly wallowing in her head. I think Patel really wrote the story in such a way that it didn’t put the story down because the character couldn’t stop questioning every little action….because of what Lucky was experiencing, it made the constant self-doubt very understandable and acceptable. I loved reading the changes in Liam as he grew towards Lucky. I equally loved reading how Lucky really came into herself.

I LOVED Lucky’s mom…I know Lucky and her mom are constantly at war with each other, but I really enjoyed her. My one real qualm with the book is the Indian terminology used, not because there were Indian terms in it, but because for majority of the terms used, I had no idea what it was and my Kindle would not translate it, or would give a translation to some other word that I knew was not correct because it wouldn’t fit with the sentence. There also was not a dictionary of those terms that I could find in the book, which may have been helpful, especially because they appeared to be slang terms. I didn’t knock down the rating for this primarily because I didn’t feel like not knowing the terms took away from the story. Some of the words were types of endearment, and some were directed towards people, but I didn’t understand why, and that was mainly it.

So, as a recap….find the book Here on Amazon and give it a go!!!! Seriously!!

The Seafarer’s Kiss

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The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to think the author for this opportunity.

 

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a retelling of the Little Mermaid, and though this story is largely about mermaids, I feel it is more accurate that this tale is a retelling of Ursula. I say this largely on my knowledge of Disney’s version. Similarities between The Seafarer’s Kiss and The Little Mermaid include: The Little Mermaid and Ersel (The Seafarer’s Kiss) both saving a human from a shipwreck, they both desperately want to leave their underwater kingdom for the land, their love of all things human, and both stories have a Sea Witch (in The Seafarer’s Kiss, the Sea Witch is Loki).

Ersel (sounds like Ursula, doesn’t it??) is not a princess. She is anxiously waiting The Grading, where someone from Aegir’s court comes and determines the mermaids who come of age’s fertility and how many children “eggs” they can hatch to keep the population up. Once the number is released, this number follows them forever. If the number is high, then the males began fighting for them as mates. Ersel is desperately afraid and her dream is to leave the icy glacier their kingdom is situated and experience the rest of the world. Prior to The Grading, she meets and protects and young woman named Ragna, which she falls in love with. Eventually, she is found by her former friend, who betrayed her becoming a guard for the evil king, and is informed that she no longer had a choice but to become her mate. After The Grading, she makes a deal with Loki, knowing she should not. This deal went awry and she was turned into a “monster,” her fins turned into legs similar to Ursula’s. In order to prevent any potential spoilers, she is banished and takes up residence in a boat that has been shipwrecked since Ersel was a child. Loki visits her again to strike up a new deal in order to get her fins back, or something else she desires. Ersel then moves forward in the story with this new deal in mind.

I will not give away the end, but the second part of this story was much better than the first part. I felt that the story was a bit boring prior to Ersel’s banishment. I felt the relationship with Ragna came off kind of forced (from a writer perspective, not that Ersel was forced into a relationship by Ragna), specifically the intimate interactions the two encountered together. I also had a hard time connecting with any particular character and I felt disappointed with the end of the story.

Even though I feel this story is 3.5 overall, I still gave it a 4 star rating because I felt the retelling was a very unique aspect. I felt the imagery of the story was great, and for the  most part, I could visualize along with the story’s narrator. I especially liked the Norse aspect of included in the story. By the end of the story, I still thought this would be a great segue into Ursula/Sea Witch territory for a retelling!

This story is a pretty quick read and flows easily. It is just over 200 pages and can be easily knocked out in a day, depending on the kind of time a reader has to give it. I do wish it was a bit longer, in order to add more into the story to help connect, but if there is a sequel, I will definitely read it. At the end of the day, I would recommend this to others. Just because I did not connect, does not mean others will not. A lot of people really enjoy the book, I just wish there was more and felt parts a bit boring and hard to get through. I enjoyed the author’s writing style, which is important as well.

Heartless

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Rating: 2 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

I received Heartless in my OwlCrate box for the Alice in Wonderland theme. I was super excited to read this story, however, it really missed the mark for me.

Heartless is the story of the young woman (Catherine) who turns into the Queen of Hearts in the beloved childhood classic, Alice in Wonderland. Even though the reader knows what the end result of the story is ultimately going to be, the path should have been an interesting one. I will admit, the last few chapters were my favorite and I felt they were the strongest. The events leading up to the end battle, were boring and it felt like too many words describing nothing in particular.

Catherine is the daughter of the Marquess of Rockturtle Cove. She has the dream of opening her own bakery and being the best baker in Hearts. Her mother forces her into a courtship with the King of Hearts, though she falls in love with another member of the Court. The story centers around her budding relationship with this person other than the King, who disgusts her.

I do not like writing negative reviews, at all, but I wanted to be honest with other readers. I was a bit disappointed, especially with how much I love Cinder. Meyer is a fantastic writer, and this story does show case her amazing writer skills, however, the story line was so boring.

The narrator was great! It was the same narrator of the Lunar Chronicles Rebecca Soler. My favorite part of the entire narration occurred towards the end, when Soler really broke out the Queen of Hearts evil voice. It is sad that the most enjoyment I got out of this story, was Catherine’s pain.