Book Review: Front Lines by Michael Grant

Front Lines by Michael Grant is a powerful, immersive read that presents an alternate version of history and asks as well as answers the question: what if women served on the front lines during World War II? Girl soldiers — teenagers barely out of high school (and some not even) fighting at the front, working as medics, and even training as intelligence operatives. These are the girls, the woman of Front Lines.

z Front Lines

Rio, Frangie, and Rainy. I can’t get these girls out of my mind. Each fighting for their own reasons and each facing such deep prejudice, not only for their gender but for their age, skin color, and heritage. While each is from a different area of the country with diverse backgrounds, these young women have something in common — a dream of a better life.

I’ve watched a lot of war movies and have visited different museums with war exhibits (if you’re ever in the Chicago suburbs be sure to visit the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park). Author Michael Grant did an excellent job of re-imagining history while weaving actual events and historical details into his fictional work. Front Lines made me feel as if I had dropped into the foxhole with Rio. I was there with her. But more than that, I knew where she came from because Grant takes his reader on the full journey, from enlistment to basic training and passage across the ocean on the Queen Mary.

Tip: When you’re done reading the book, be sure to check out the Author’s Notes at the end. Interesting and good stuff there.

I admit I started this book a few weeks ago but set it aside to finish an ARC of another book and was sidetracked with work stuff. However, when I resumed reading it this weekend, I couldn’t put it down. What a book to read on Memorial Day weekend! At times it made me laugh and at times it made me angry. It also brought a few tears to my eyes. Most of all, Front Lines made me think and that’s why I really loved this book.

You don’t have to be a World War II or war story lover to enjoy Front Lines. While there’s plenty of action, some of it violent (it is war), Front Lines is a story with strong characters. Unforgettable characters. I can’t wait to read the next book and see what happens with Rio, Frangie, and Rainy and how not only the war will change them, but how they will change the war.

If you’ve not read Michael Grant’s “Gone” series, I highly recommend it as well. It’s one of my all-time favorites. You can check it out here along with his other work.

Book Review: Sea of Temptation by Suzie Jay

Some days I really enjoy a fun, lighthearted romance — today the little gem was the novella “Sea of Temptation: Summer Loving” by Suzie Jay. I love being able to escape the humdrum of daily life and sail out for a sensational romantic encounter on the high seas.

Sea of Temptation

“Sea of Temptation” has readers boarding the Stella Maris, a cruise ship that’s the perfect setting for a romance, where we meet Reid Lancaster. At first glance, Reid appears to be something of a ladies’ man, but there’s actually something deeper lurking beneath the tan, muscles, and gorgeous green eyes. However, Scarlett Barrett, the ship’s slightly uptight doctor is less than thrilled to encounter Reid. Reid and Scarlett have history and things really didn’t end well. Will they be able to work out the issues from their past? Can Scarlett forgive Reid and can he forgive himself?

Author Suzie Jay has written a charming story with characters that are both likeable and real. In addition to Reid and Scarlett, we get to spend time with Reid’s little sister Pip, who’s  feisty and fun as well as Scarlett’s friend Jane — I really liked both supporting characters and they’re integral to helping Reid and Scarlett find their way.

I recommend “Sea of Temptation: Summer Loving” by Suzie Jay to anyone who enjoys a sweet, romantic read. It’s a novella, just seven chapters making it ideal for a lazy summer day read poolside or while at the beach. And I guarantee the opening line will make you smile!

Want to know more about author Suzie Jay? Check out her author website here.

I received “Sea of Temptation: Summer Loving” as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Recovery Road by Danielle Donaldson

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I enjoyed a luxurious morning indulging in my favorite dark roast coffee, slices of raspberry-lemon bread (if you ask nice I’ll share the easy recipe), and the book “Recovery Road” from author Danielle Donaldson. It truly was the perfect morning!

“Recovery Road” by Danielle Donaldson is her debut novel, set to release on May 31. I received my copy as an ARC and I’m thrilled to share my review of this new book today.

Recovery Road

Donaldson introduces us to Catalina Montgomery and her young family, but in an instant, every changes as tragedy strikes. Catalina survives a devastating explosion only to be left a widow and single parent to her little girl. “Recovery Road” explores the aftermath of a life-altering event with grace and elegance while keeping it real. Donaldson makes it easy to connect with Catalina. I immediately was pulled into her story and didn’t want to stop until we completed the journey.

Catalina struggles to recover emotionally and physically after her world explodes. As she wrestles with grief and depression, her closest friends decide she needs a bit more help than traditional therapy. Enter Evan Bowers, her late husband’s best friend, who also is dealing with loss, grief, and battling his own demons. Together, they begin to rebuild. However, Evan has had deep feelings for Catalina since they were kids — but she’s his best friend’s girl and she’s always been off limits.

“Recover Road” provides readers with a roller coaster ride of emotions and you won’t be disappointed by the ending. I loved the journey of Catalina and Evan. I also really enjoyed the supporting characters; their friends and family, even the ones that were less than likable because let’s face it, not everyone in this world is nice.

I recommend the contemporary romance “Recover Road” by Danielle Donaldson. Add it to your to-be-read list and then to your bookshelves when it officially releases on May 31.

Want to know a bit more about author Danielle Donaldson? Check out her author’s website here.

It’s Friday! Whatcha Reading?

It’s Friday! We made it! So I have only one question for you —

What are you reading this weekend?

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Whatcha reading?

Celebrate #FridayReads by posting in the comments below your reads for the weekend. And if you’ve ever been curious about the origin of #FridayReads, check it out here.

I will be curled up reading Michael Grant’s “Front Lines“.

Book Review: Alien Like Me by Sherilyn Putnam

You may remember, a few weeks ago I posted the cover reveal for “Alien Like Me” by Sherilyn Putnam. Today, I’m happy to share my review of the book.

Author Sherilyn Putnam‘s new book, “Alien Like Me” offers readers an imaginative journey and look at the world several years after an alien invasion. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a middle-grade book and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to read this one.

Alien Like Me Cover Reveal

In “Alien Like Me” we meet Max, barely a teen and alone in a world that’s been invaded by aliens. Max is a survivor and he’s smart. Yet, Max also has a sweet and vulnerable side that makes him endearing. When we first encounter Max, he’s trading for supplies — when a substantial portion of the world’s population has died due an alien invasion, getting your hands on necessities like shoes means cultivating savvy bartering skills. Author Putnam paints a vivid picture of a post-invasion world and draws her reader quickly in with the challenges Max faces.

Max is on a journey for answers, his destination a research facility with scientists working to figure out why the aliens invaded. What did the aliens want then and what do they want now? Max feels a connection to the “Blueys” but what does it mean and why haven’t they tried to kill him too?

I really liked Max. Sherilyn Putnam has a created a genuinely likable character who is smart, funny, and compassionate. One of my favorite things about this book is that Max doesn’t have any close human friends or  “sidekicks” along for journey. He’s one his own and we even get to see him question his own humanity after spending so many years alone. But don’t worry about Max, he does meet a little buddy and develops an unusual friendship.

I received a copy of “Alien Like Me” as an ARC in exchange for an honest review, and I happily report that I truly enjoyed this story and recommend it as a good read for all ages — from middle grades through middle age and beyond pick up a copy of “Alien Like Me” by Sherilyn Putnam today.

You find out more about Sherilyn Putnam and her books here.

Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare gives fans of her Shadowhunters series a chance to spend some time at the Los Angeles Institute with the Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family. We met Emma, Julian, and the other Blackthorn siblings during the height of the Dark War. It’s five years later, Emma and Julian are now almost adults. They’re also parabatai. Their lives as Shadowhunters are turned upside when a lost family member is returned during their investigation into a string of murders that include both mundanes and faeries.

Book review Lady Midnight
Book Cover from Goodreads.

Emma becomes obsessed with solving these murders as each victim has been murdered in the same way her own parents were murdered several years ago. Author Cassandra Clare has expanded once again on her Shadowhunter world, effortlessly melding familiar characters with new for a tale that combines action, drama, romance, and the supernatural.

Fans of Clare’s Mortal Instruments series will be enjoy cameos by serie’s favorites Clary, Jace, and the one-and-only Magnus Bane. They’ll also be treated to appearances by Jem and Tessa from the Infernal Devices series.

Be prepared, Lady Midnight stretches on for almost 700 pages — but it’s filled with plenty of Shadowhunter action sequences, freaky demons, witty dialogue, and a romance you won’t want to miss. It is Book One in Cassandra Clare’s new The Dark Artifices series and readers are left with several questions unanswered at the end of this book. However, major plot lines are neatly concluded with others left dangling in directions that could prove to be quite interesting as the situations play out in the next book.

I give Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads and I will say that I’m looking forward to reading Book Two of The Dark Artifices.

If you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices series yet, visit Cassandra Clare’s site for more info.

Book Review: Bellamy Rising by A.E. Snow

Bellamy Rising” is the second YA book by A.E. Snow that I’ve enjoyed reading. Back in December, I read her novel “Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick” and loved it. You can check out my Goodreads review of that book here.

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Recently, I received an ARC for her new YA book, “Bellamy Rising” and I’m so happy I had the chance to sit down and read this one as well. “Bellamy Rising” sucked me in and held my attention from start to finish.

It’s no secret I love YA and I love mysteries. When I find a book that successfully combines the two, I’m a happy reader. “Bellamy Rising” treads on the darker side of YA dipping into the paranormal and psyche of a cold-blooded killer.

Bellamy Foster, age 17, lives in Louisa, a small town where her orange hair, lip ring, and delinquent behavior help label her as a misfit and an outcast. However, it’s not her appearance or behavior that really sets Bellamy apart, it’s the visions. Bellamy is plagued with visions of death. When a cheerleader disappears on New Year’s Eve, Bellamy is the last person to see her alive, landing her in the middle of a police investigation.

Mason Ellis just wants answers. It was his sister that disappeared on New Year’s Eve and he’s hoping Bellamy can shed some light on what may have happened. When a second girl disappears, Mason and Bellamy intensify their search for the truth. Can Bellamy trust Mason with the secret of her visions?

Author A.E. Snow takes readers on an intense ride as Bellamy desperately searches for answers. There is no shortage of suspects and the story will keep you guessing until the final chapters.

As a reader, I loved the creepy setting of the decrepit, abandoned house and the equally creepy Robert Browning poem. Bellamy is a kick-ass character with just the right amount of vulnerability and honesty.

“Bellamy Rising” offers suspense, action, strong characters, and witty dialogue. I highly recommend “Bellamy Rising” — put it on your TBR List today!

Want to know a bit more about author A.E. Snow? You can find her here at her author website. You can also find her at the Writing Wenches.

Bellamy Rising: New YA Release from A.E. Snow

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BELLAMY RISING by A.E. Snow

What do an abandoned house, frightening visions, and a creepy poem have in common? A serial killer, of course.

A madman is on the loose in the small town of Louisa. Teenage girls are disappearing and then showing up dead. Bellamy Foster, a 17-year-old misfit, is having visions of the crime scenes and must find a way to use these visions to find the killer.

When a cheerleader disappears, Bellamy finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. After a second girl disappears, Bellamy goes on a search for the truth which leads her to an abandoned house, a tarot reader, and a poem.

Can Bellamy use her second sight to catch a killer before she becomes the prey?

ABOUT A.E. SNOW

A.E. Snow is a MG and YA author, mother, and pet wrangler. She lives in a tiny mountain town with her husband, two children, three cats, a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aesnowauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aesnowauthor/?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/aesnowautho0001/

Website: http://aesnowauthor.com/

 

ISBN: 978-1-5137-0400-5

Pages: 212

Contact:

A.E. Snow – aesnowauthor@gmail.com

Bellamy Rising:

  • Available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback versions
  • Available on BarnesandNoble.com in Nook and paperback versions
  • Available internationally – please contact us directly if you do not see it on your preferred book purchase website
  • Remember – you can always read for free on booktrope.com
  • Discounts or customized editions may be available for educational and other groups based on bulk purchase. For further information please contact info@booktrope.com

ABOUT BOOKTROPE

Booktrope is a new type of publishing company, founded in 2009 in Seattle, WA. We are pioneering a new type of book development process called team publishing. We are committed to the creation of quality books and to our unique marketing methods, which include offering all of our books online to read for free.

www.booktrope.com

 

 

The TBR List

Like many of you, my TBR or to-be-read list keeps growing despite the fact that I continue to read and finish books. And how can it not grow when there’s a continual supply of new books from both veteran and first-time authors?

More than 300,000 print books are traditionally published each year, just in the U.S. You can check out the statistics here.

And what about ebooks? And self-published books? Bottom-line — there are a lot of books available and it’s no wonder our TBR lists keep growing. Personally, I think it’s a good thing to have a large reading list. Recently, I wrote out an actual list of my TBR book titles as part of an effort to get a bit more organized. I didn’t list the books in any particular order and I’m not reading them in a certain order either.

I thought I’d share some of that list with you today along with links to the book so if it strikes your fancy, you can add it to your TBR list as well.

TBR pile2

Barb’s TBR Book List (in no particular order)

The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant (sequel to Messenger of Fear)

Front Lines by Michael Grant

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

The Replaced by Kimberly Derting (sequel to The Taking)

The Devil Within by Lauren Greene

Deceived (Soul Keeper Series) by L.A. Starkey

Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt

Avoidables by Rachel Medhurst

The Waking Engine by David Edison

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Cloak of Shadows (The Netherwalker Series) by C.K. Dawn

Ghost Unbroken by Annie McLeod

Doctor Abbott by Michelle Laverdure

Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce

Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols

This is a mere snapshot of my TBR list — some pretty amazing books on there and I’m anxious to read each one. Go ahead and leave the title and author of the next book on your TBR list in the comments, I’d love to have more great books to add!

Book Review: Cupid’s Curse

I actually read “Cupid’s Curse” by Rebekah R. Ganiere on Valentine’s Day. It was the perfect Valentine’s Day read, effortlessly combining romance, mystery, humor, and the right amount of steamy heat. This novella was a quick read, full of action that kept me turning pages.

Unknown amazing sexy woman

Author Ganiere gives us Raine, a Fae who has no magic, but she does have a pet dragon. Raine lives among the ‘Mundanes’ (you know, humans like you and me) and works as an Inquisitor for Otherworlders (magic types and others that are not Mundane.) Her boyfriend is a weretiger and her best friend is another Fae who helps her out with a bit of magic when she needs it.

Raine’s world gets even more complicated after she excepts a job from Cupid. Seems someone or something is killing off the clients from his dating service. Toss in some serious harassment from the Otherworld Guardians (think secret police) and some issues with her weretiger boyfriend, and Raine’s not having the best February.

I really enjoyed this novella. It was fun, Raine was an awesome heroine, and I simply enjoyed story. I recommend “Cupid’s Curse” by Rebekah R. Ganiere to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance and wants an original story with unforgettable characters.

**I received this book as an ARC in return for an honest review.**

To check out more books by Rebekah R. Ganiere, please visit her site here.