Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell

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Title: Melody’s Key

Author: Dallas Coryell

Published: June 24, 2016 by AsherRain Publications

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Stars: 4                Content Rating: 7

Synopsis: Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”

******

Melody’s Key took me by surprise. I started it and the writing was different than I’m used to. It was like reading poetry but not. The way the author describes things was really beautiful. This made PERFECT sense when the story is about two musicians that write songs as an outlet to what they are feeling. Before I get into all that though let me back up and tell you about this book from the beginning.

Tegan Lockwood is smart, beautiful and talented. Her family owns an estate in a small town in England that they have fixed up and run as a vacation spot during the summer. Tegan and her siblings all have their jobs to keep it running. Since renovating it took a ton of money the finical burden of keeping going is tough but they do it all together and make it work. Tegan even turned down an art scholarship to Colombia because her family needed her and could not afford the expense of her going. She loves her family and pours her heart out with her music and song writing.

The Lockwood Estate is old. I can’t remember how old but old. The attic stores all these family heirlooms and it is one of Tegan’s favorite spots in the house. She found a box that was locked with the key in it and when she finally opened it there were all these old love letters that were from WWI. Very beautiful love letters and a fun little twist to the story.  Tegan was a little confusing to me. Sometimes I think she is wise beyond her years and then others I felt like she is really young. She is a total nerd and I loved all the nerdy references. A girl after my own heart. I really loved her.

Mason is a rockstar. His parents died when he was 17 and he found music. His image is the total bad boy, ladies man and drugs. He decides he needs a vacation away from everyone and chooses the Lockwood Holiday as his place to escape. Mason is not at all who is label has made him out to be. He isn’t what he seems. He is frustrated and miserable until a certain nerdy girl puts him in his place. She is a breath of fresh air and makes him feel things again. Inspiring things. Very  important for a musician to have a muse. At first Tegan want’s nothing to do with Mason. He is too much like her ex. Only she eventually realizes you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Eventually they spend more time together and I bet you can’t guess what happens!

I really liked the build up of this romance. They both feel it. They both have self doubt and insecurities. It was very real and honest. Their love story is very sweet and well.. romantic. Who takes that leap first? It’s hard to be vulnerable. I love when they write lyrics together. The humor and sexual innuendoes were fun. I kept smiling like an idiot while I was reading.  I was very happy to see that the songs in this book are REAL SONGS. Yes. You can watch and listen to them here.

Most romances I read are very to the point and a quick read. This one was not that way. I felt like it went a little deeper. Real life things happened. The struggle with finances. A gay friend that isn’t accepted. The town bully. Ex girlfriends. Prank wars. Making mistakes and trying to figure out how to fix them. I felt like most everyone would be able to find something relatable in this read.  I loved this contemporary romance.

* I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Dallas Coryell!

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Title: Daughter of the Pirate King

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Published: February 28, 2017 by Feiwell & Friends

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Stars: 5                   Content Rating:  3

Cover: There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

******

I received this book in my Spearcraft Bookbox and was so excited to see it in there! I had been planning on buying it if it wasn’t because I had heard so many good things. It did not disappoint me. Sometimes you need something a little different to hold your interest. PIRATES.

Alosa gets captured on purpose by enemy pirates so that she can search their ship for a map. Not any map. This is an ancient map that has been torn into 3 pieces. Each piece handed down to the successor of 3 pirate heritage lines. Alosa’s father has his piece and now she is going to steal the next.  The parts about her needing to get captured, and recaptured were so funny. Almost like she had to  let the dumbest pirates ever be the ones to do it. She was constantly trying to cover up how brilliant she is. Only she wasn’t counting on the son of the Pirate Lord Jeskor to be so young. Darken has a young crew and also a brother.  His first mate, Riden.  Riden is handsome, clever and good at being a pirate. I get the feeling that he doesn’t really want to be a pirate. He seems to have a conscience and holds himself to a higher standard than most pirates. He has confusing feelings for Alosa. He likes her. He also seems to be the only one that realizes she is more dangerous than they give her credit for. He wants to protect her but has a duty to his brother. In their time together they slowly build trust. They don’t call it that. They keep thinking they owe each other. Repaying the other for a certain kindness. No pirate likes to be indebted to anyone.  He makes it very difficult for Alosa to finish her mission.

The Pirate King has his own spies on every ship and in every port. Alosa foolishly believes a member of Draxen’s crew as the King’s man. Until eventually she realizes her mistake and is trapped on an island in a cage. This time she wasn’t planning on it and more than her life is at stake. Will she be able to make it out alive and still find the map? Will she be able to keep her secrets hidden?

All pirates are manipulators. They will do whatever it takes to get what they want.  Every character in this book is gambling and I can’t wait to see who wins.

I could not put this down. I just couldn’t wait to see what Alosa did next. Or Riden for that matter. The storyline was just as strong as these fun new characters. I loved it.

*This book is the first of the series and the only one out so far.

Darken the Stars by Amy A. Bartol

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Title: Darken the Stars

Author: Amy A.Bartol

Published: September 8, 2015 by 47North

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance, Fantasy, YA

Stars: 3               Content Rating:5

 

Cover: Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Together, their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket, however, doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar—she has an unbreakable desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she desperately wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis.

As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted—including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. But Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart.

As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her fiery future to reshape it. For she knows one thing above all else: the only person she can truly count on is herself.

I’m truly at a loss for words. The first 80 percent of this book is just as fantastic as the first 2 books. I can’t believe the ending was written by the same author. There are so many directions this story could have gone in. Let me see if I can get through this without getting too upset. (insert crying laughing smiling face)

**SPOILERS**

The last book left us with Giffen trading Kricket for her sister Astrid. Kyon finally has Kricket. We also find out that Kricket’s father is still alive and creating an army of rebels out of all the males that Alameeda would have otherwise killed for their gifts. Trey and the Cavars are now outlaws of Rafe so end up joining the rebels. We find out more about the prophecy in this book. The rebels are demanding that Kricket spys for them and in return they don’t kill Trey. Kyon doesn’t know Trey is still alive. There are so many things that I feel like don’t make sense or are unfinished. I couldn’t believe I was almost done and there was still so much to do. Kricket is supposed to find a way to kill Excelsior Ensin. She has no idea how. She doesn’t full trust Kyon. She still loves Trey. Everything is a mess. Then all of a sudden she comes up with a plan. She kills him. She gets out. Runs back to earth and leaves a letter. This part is so out of character for ALL of the characters. The whole ending was so bizarre. Almost like the author couldn’t decide on an ending. She doesn’t have closure with Trey or Kyon.. or her FAMILY. She runs away?? Kricket doesn’t run away. She can see the future and change it. She would have a whole Alameeda ARMY. Trey stops fighting for her? I don’t believe it. Not for one second. No way do they go through all that they have been through and then he asks her to die for his family. Like he doesn’t care anymore. Like Rafe is more important. Then there is Kyon. He spent the whole of the first 2 books chasing her. He is going to wake up from his coma and keep chasing her. He didn’t need revenge. He needed love and he is not going to give up. Her family is not going to be satisfied that she is still alive. The whole ending I felt like was a cop out. Especially when there could have been so many ways to make the ending better. or even keep the series going! I felt like there could have been 2 more books! That letter just trying sum up everything all perfectly felt like the biggest betrayal of all. These CHARACTERS need their ending! A real one.

Sea of Stars by Amy A. Bartol

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Title: Sea of Stars (Book 2 in the Kricket Series)

Author: Amy A. Bartol

Published: March 31, 2015 by 47North

Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance, YA

Stars: 5               Content Rating: 5

To see how I rate book content click here.

Goodreads Says: Eighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.

A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars.

******

Continuing the Kricket story has been so amazing! I have loved this series so far! Sometimes when I start a new series or even just a novel I find that it takes me half the book just to start to like it. Before the need to finish it takes over .. you know.. that ‘I just have to know what is going to happen,’ mode that we all find ourselves in when it is so good. That has not been the case with this series. It has been a definite page turner from the beginning. I actually remember looking at the Chapter 4 and thinking, “What? I’m only 4 chapters in?!? This is soooooooo good.”

On to the good stuff. Sea of Stars starts out with war. Trey, Kricket and the Cavars make it to the Isle of Skye with a plan that Kricket will be an asset to the defense team. She will finally be able to control her own destiny. However, they don’t get to see that plan through because the head commander (I can’t remember his title) is murdered and the new leader doesn’t trust Kricket. All the details are better read on your own. She really is a bad ass. I  love Kricket. Everyone wants Kricket for her power to see the future but no one ever believes her when she tries to warn them. In book 1 the Regent didn’t believe her and now in book 2 only the Cavars believe her when she says that the Alameeda are going to attack Skye. Kyon gets her out first (before they start blowing things up) but Trey is not far behind. This part of the book is all cat and mouse and VERY intense. They all barely escape Kyon and hide out.  I don’t want to give everything away because that is just not my style. I want to encourage you to read it, not tell you the whole dang story! It’s hard to know how much is too much. I will say this, you get to know everyone on a whole new level. There are new characters and new information that will blow your mind. The story line is strong and interesting. The way it ended left me wanting more and more and more.

Under Different Stars (The Kricket Series Book 1)

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Title: Under Different Stars

Author: Amy A. Bartol

Published: December 15, 2013

Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance

Stars: 5                                             Content Rating: 3

 

Cover: Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

When I think sci-fi what comes to mind are movies. Signs, Star Wars, Star Crossed and Guardians of the Galaxy. I did read Ender’s Game before the movie came out but that is it! I know that this is crazy but I have never given it a chance. I always think green alien monsters are coming to invade earth! So anyways, I am in the middle of few other reads and wasn’t in the mood for them. I want to read them but for some reason they just weren’t doing in for me. Goodreads had a deal on The Kricket Series a few days ago. There are 3 books in the series and each book was under $2 for the kindle edition. I thought “what the heck, they sound pretty good.”

I AM BLOWN AWAY! Maybe I came into it with low expectations but this first book got me in the first 3 chapters. I LOVE it when a story just reaches out and grabs you. It was interesting. I stayed up late because I could NOT put it down. Kricket is amazing from the start. You can tell she has it rough when she is running from foster care and on her own. She is waiting to turn 18 so she can start her life. All she has ever wanted is a real family. In one day 2 different sets of big guys are after her. One group being led by Trey the other by Kyron. Both want to take Kricket back to their home.. on a different planet. The way the author  introduces you to this new planet and their culture is amazing. Kricket’s personality is street smart. She had to learn at a young age how to take care of herself. To defend herself and to survive. As she is thrust into this different world she has to learn fast and as she is learning so are you. I feel like everything is explained very well. It all makes sense even though they are using different words and slang. I didn’t feel like it was too much or confusing. I actually thought it was really fun and smart.

In this world ‘Ethar’ there are 5 nations. Most of this first book is about Alameeda and Rafe because Kricket’s mother was an Alameeda Priestess and her father was a titled Rafe soldier. She is half and half and both sides want her. (hence the two groups of guys that were after her in the beginning) Trey’s group caught her and brought her to Rafe where she is trying to figure everything out. The Alameeda Priestess’ have prophetic powers and Kricket is no exception. Which makes her valuable to everyone. Pretty much everyone is ready to go to war over her. Kricket and Trey have a little love going on. She was supposed to be committed to Kyron and he can help her with her gifts. I love the dynamic between these three. Who will she choose? War? The ending left me hanging and now I’m on to book 2.

This whole Etharian society is incredible. It is not what I thought at all. I have truly enjoyed this read and would recommend it my friends. It was very refreshing for me to read something a little bit different. I couldn’t put the book down.

Happy Reading!

Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth

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Title: Carve The Mark

Author: Veronica Roth

Published: 01/17/2017

Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Young Adult

Stars: 3.5                                  Content Rating: 3

Cover: Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
Then Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

*****
“Maybe I could change. Maybe I was changing, just by believe I could.”

This book came out in January and I have been looking forward to it. There has been a lot of hype about it. I read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth as well and I LOVED them. I have heard nothing but good things about Carve The Mark.

On planet Thuvhe there are two nations. The Thuvhe and Shotet. They are separated by the “divide” and are enemies. This planet has a very harsh environment. Thuvhe is the recognized nation where as Shotet are not. The Shotet people want to be recognized and in their rulers eyes that means they have to overtake Thuvhe. Everyone is this galaxy has a gift. It is called the current gift.  Some are really amazing while others are not. Reminded me a little bit of the mutants in X-Men. When you come of age your current gift presents itself. There are also Oracles. One that is old, one that is THEE Oracle and then one that is rising. They see the fates. There are 3 families on Thuvhe that are “fated families” and all of their fates seem to be intertwined. They all want to change their fates, but can they? I was very impressed with how the author makes you think that maybe they can. How you see their fates come into being and also want it to change. They are fated. No one can change their fate.. so then you think you can guess how it is all going to come about. I didn’t realize this was going to be a series. When I saw I only had about 100 pages left I was freaking out that I wouldn’t know the ending. I enjoyed this book. I will say that after all the hype I was a little disappointed. I felt like it should have been more somehow? Which is silly because I really like the characters and the story line and I will definitely read the next one because I HAVE to know how it all comes together.

Akos is brave. He learns how to be strong. He has made promises he intends to keep. He gets taken from his home and is taught how to fight. He is good with brewing medicines and poisons. He has one goal in mind and can not give up on it.

Cyra is a girl that gets twisted up doing her brother’s dirty work. She can cause pain just by touch but she also feels the same pain. Ryzek uses her and she lets him. Till Akos current gift helps her not feel the pain. She decides that maybe its time to fight back.

Eijeh is Akos brother who as also taken because his current gift is an oracle. Ryzek wants to use him to alter his own fate.

Ryzek was raised into the Noavek dynasty to believe he HAS to over take Thuvhe and claim total dominance of the planet. However his fate says that he will fail. He will stop at nothing to change his fate.

Obviously there is so much more but I don’t like giving things away so you will just have to read it and find out for yourselves! Can they change their fates?

xoxo,

whit

Dead Man’s Hand by K.E. Radke

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Title: Dead Man’s Hand

Author: K.E. Radke

Published: 11/19/2015 by Kendra Radke (kindle edition)

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Star Rating: 3.5                                     Content Rating: 7*

Synopsis: Everyone has been used before. For their body, money, position, family, and the list keeps going. If Brooke had known exactly what she was getting into from the start, she might have had second thoughts. Her idea of fun isn’t being kidnapped in the middle of the night, or guns jabbed at her head. She didn’t ask to be a stripper and dance around slimy guys or be manhandled. And never in a million years did she think someone would deliberately try to kill her. All she wanted was a job, and in a fit of desperation she’s gambling in a high stakes game with her life.

This has been on my kindle for awhile now and it was a great vacation read. It was intriguing and maybe a little slow at first. I thought that the characters weren’t very deep. I kept waiting for more. Wanting more. The main character Brooke is about to graduate. She is easy to relate to. She just wants to finish school and get a job so she can move out of her parents house. (been there before.. right?) Then she meets Alice and instinct tells her something is off but she isn’t sure and before you know it she is getting a job without even knowing what the job is. She takes it for the money and finds out that their little team also includes her ex-boyfriend who broke her heart 4 years ago. Chip is the leader of their team and they are like research reporters. They do all this undercover/detective work to find the facts and then sell the story to the highest bidder. I didn’t realize how dangerous that type of job can be. Brooke kinda gets stuck between how she feels about the guys, does she love them? Does she even like them? Can she get with the fact that her ex left her but now wants her back? Alice becomes a an amazing friend who looks out for her and teaches her the ropes.

Brooke has a friend -Tom that works at CheckBank. Her job is to work there and find out anything she can about the CEO. There has been some very shady stuff that has been happening but they aren’t sure what or who exactly, other than a man named “Poker” found and questioned some things and then went missing and it had something to do with the CEO – Arnold Matthews. Tom also told every one that Brooke was his girlfriend because his boss keeps trying to hook him up with his daughter, Cello. (also for other reasons but that part was a surprise for me so I’ll let you find that out on your own. wink wink)

Brooke gets some lessons with guns and training. I thought some of this was a little much. I kept wanting to tell her to stop being such a baby but if they kidnapped me and held a gun to my head (just to make sure they could trust me) and then took me to the gym to get in shape, I would probably be a pretty big cry baby too. They do some different things trying to get a lead. This part was all about getting to know the characters. You get to figure out their dynamics and roles. I think that as all this was happening I wanted it to be a little more intense. I’m new to the thriller/mystery genre. .. But I just wanted to be a little more surprised and little more into it.

They get an accidental lead when this old man named Sal comes to the CheckBank to protest. He claimed they took all his money. Brooke and Alice go and question him and find out some big info. That info puts them on the hit list and Brooke has to go into hiding. Now this is where I stop. Before I just get into details and plot and what is actually going on and the ending and the mafia and clues and and and and… haha. I will say that after I thought there wasn’t any major plot twists I was actually surprised in the end.

Overall a good read. It isn’t a huge book. Perfect for a vacation or a weekend read. Fun story. Interesting characters. Like I said it was slow at first for me but when I finished it I really did like the book. Happy reading everyone!

*I gave it a high content rating because there were some F bombs and sexual reference.