Summer 2014 At-A-Glance

July flew by with summer vacation in full swing and some bad health days as well which was no fun at all. Then came August and my daughter’s 5th birthday party to plan along with in-laws visiting. Suddenly it’s time for school again and I haven’t even written anything for my blog! My deepest apologies to all of my valued readers!

The good news is that I got back into reading mode! And….there were so many good books that I’ve already made posts about some of them! Here’s what I read this July and August. I hope you find something of interest. Just a reminder that each of the images link to the book’s Amazon page and anything you purchase helps me maintain my blog! Gracias and Happy reading!

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory

A really fun witchy/paranormal story. A psychic leads a very ho-hum life until she meets a warlock who unleashes her potential. Can she ever go back to her normal life of seeing the future and reading tarot cards again? This is the first in the Jolie Wilkins series. Well written and the author has spin off books as well. A good choice if you like to follow characters.

I Am the Mission by Allen Zadoff

This is the second book in the Boy Nobody series urban contemporary suspense YA . I posted reviews on both the first (I Am the Weapon). These books are well written, fast paced and great for a quick weekend read. To view my full post and review, click here. Good for teens 14+.

Dark Matter Heart by Nathan Wrann

This book surprised me by being better than I expected it to be. This is about a boy, Cor, who moves into a new town in Portland to finish off his senior year in high school. He wants to lay low but trouble always finds him. In this case, it’s a vampire from his past. Can Cor stop the murders before the police decide Cor is responsible? Very believable high school angst along with fun vampire thriller.

What a Westmoreland Wants by Brenda Jackson

If you want a quick, fun romance with a bit of Aussie this story is for you. It doesn’t have a lot of depth but the story is thorough and although it is part of a series (#19, Man of the Month) I didn’t feel like I was missing too much.

Woodsmen by Clarissa Cartharn

Just so you don’t think I like everything that I read…This book was a complete disappointment. There was no resolution to the story and no draw that made me want to read the next story. Actually there was no indication that the story continued so I was left wondering ii the point of the book was just romance rather than the more interesting freedom from persecution angle. Also there were at least 4 story lines and that’s way too many for a book this short! Not my cup of tea.

Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick

Into the Shadows is a YA Book Addicts Unite! selection. This one also was a disappointment but still worth reading. It’s book one in the series by the same name. Paivi is part of a secret group of people with special powers. Her power is seeing the future. In the middle of her freshman year of high school gifted people are rounded up and persecuted. Paivi flees with her brother and another student once their parents are taken away. This is McCarthyism with a paranormal twist. I was not a fan of the dialogue but the subject matter was this book’s redeeming quality as it could appeal to a teenager and create a parallel to our country’s recent history.

Adventures in Funeral Crashing by Milda Harris

How could I not read a book with this title? and the cover is pretty fun too. I was definitely not disappointed in this one. The premise is that a teenage girl whose mother died when she was 14 suddenly finds consolation in attending funerals. During one funeral, she runs into her crush and they become partners in solving the “crime” of his sister’s “overdose”. This was well written with just a hint of romance and very much like what a teenager’s life would be like.

Better Than Before by Kathryn Shay

I’ve been wanting to read another Kathryn Shay novel for awhile now and when this one showed up free on Amazon, I snapped it up. This is the story of Annie Hopkins and Spence Wickham. They meet on his brother’s new online dating forum and have an immediate connection. However, he was online for a bet only and decides that the truth will hurt his relationship with down-to-earth Annie. What ensues is a very real look at adult relationships and how hard it can be to overcome our own baggage. I liked the characters that Ms. Shay created and if you like stand alones that are part of a series, this would be for you. Better Than Before is part of the series.

The Sun and the Moon (Lords of Conquest by Patricia Ryan

This is an historical romance set in the 1100’s England. Philippa de Paris is a scholar and independent woman which is more than rare in that era and Hugh of Wexford is a mercenary knight working for His Majesty’s chief minister, basically he’s secret service. Philippa is required by His Majesty to infiltrate a warren of sin in order to expose the plot against the king. Hugh is sent to collect, aid, and abet Philippa in her assignment. I thought that this book was a bit light weight in the history department and very heavy in the romance and sin area. It was enjoyable but not the most compelling story or characters and for some reason, I felt the timeline was too early for all of this to be believable.

The Scars of Ambition (The Cumerian Unraveling #1) by Jason Letts

This book is a fantasy world set in Cumeria which is mostly ruled by 5 major families. The main family is the Brackens who control electrical power. Lowell Bracken, the head of the family, runs the power company while his adult children prepare themselves for appropriate careers. The characters were not very likeable at all. It could be that there was just too much story to put into one book that it didn’t allow anyone to have much depth but this book just wasn’t my favorite. Its part of a series that I won’t be reading.

Where I Need to Be by Kimberly Knight

This was an enjoyable,  lightweight contemporary romance with lots of sex! It is set in San Francisco and revolves around two people involved in the fitness industry. This story is basically girl gets dumped then meets nicer boy with baggage. The question is can they carry his baggage or not. There was not a lot of plot to this and it’s part of the B&S series (not sure what that stands for) so although the ending was not a cliffhanger, the author definitely made allusions to the couple’s future. The writing was pretty good and the characters were likeable enough but it’s not the series I would read if I wanted a romance. It IS something to read if you want sex and lots of it! Do I need to say mature audiences only?

 Reign of Shadows by Melissa Wright

This story is the third in the urban fantasy Descendants series and I really enjoyed all three. They are all relatively short, very action packed and with a lot of impelling characters. The main character in this book (as well as the 2nd) is Brianna, a prophet and Shadow. She has the power to manipulate the make up of other powerful individuals (people of the Seven Lines) to either enhance or diminish their gifts. Brianna is coming to terms with her new powers and realizes that she must choose to be part of the newly discovered Shadows or stand beside the Seven Lines that she is currently protecting. Although I really enjoyed these books, I had a problem with remembering the relationships and current history of the groups and some things went unexplained. Other than that, I highly recommend them to mature teens and older.


Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau


It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.


Ani’s Review

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau was the selection for the Young Adult Book Addicts Unite! June book review. The consensus was that after a slow start, the pace picked up nicely and ending up being a fun read. In a rather small number of pages, the author was able to convey a good amount of personality into each of the main characters which I was really happy about. You know how much I like character building! Malencia (Cia) was a very thoughtful character and I enjoyed her narration. The thoughts of many teens aren’t expressed very well but Charbonneau does a good job of it here. The book review group found many similarities in this story compared to other dystopian novels which gave us a lot of comparison points and not always in a good way. For those of you who liked Hunger Games and Divergent, you will probably enjoy this book too. Click the image below to get this book or read more from

February At-a-glance

PandemoniumPandemonium by Lauren Oliver Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian. The second in the Delerium series. In the future, love is considered a disease and all teens have corrective surgery for it. In this book, Lena has escaped to “the Wilds” but left her boyfriend Alex behind, dead. She works to come to terms with her loss and decides to aid the Resistance in his honor. A much more action oriented story with a surprise ending. I just knew it would end the way it did but I was still upset when it happened! Get it!


ShineShine by Lauren Myracle Genre: Young Adult, Mystery. A serious story about hate crime in a small town. A great book for all teens and their parents – lots of discussion opportunities. Check out my full post and review from February 19, 2014. Get it!


Moon Dwellers

Moon Dwellers by David Estes Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult. Society has moved underground due to unlivable conditions on Earth’s surface but the masses are not happy and are at the brink of civil war. A really good story that reminded me of Asimov’s Caves of Steel, but more lighthearted. Fun and easy to read. I will be reading the rest of this series for sure! Get It!

Fire CountryFire Country by David Estes Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian. Another good read by Estes. Set on Earth in the future, a young woman is coming of age (16) where she will be paired with a man (not of her choice) to start her “term” of child bearing to help keep her society thriving in the midst of extremely harsh living conditions. Check out my Fire Country Birthday post to learn more about author David Estes and this series. Get It!

ElsewhereElsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin Genre: Young Adult. Lizzie dies at 15 and ends up in Elsewhere. A story about accepting your life and choosing to live it. This one made me laugh and cry. Get it!


DarkLycanDark Lycan by Sherrilyn Kenyon Genre: Paranormal Romance. Christine Feehan does it again! A super fast paced exciting book that adds yet another layer to the Carpathian story. If you haven’t read anything by her yet, you need to start now! Check out my full post.
Get it!