Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

ISBN: 978-1439147979
Rating: B
Elemental Assassin Book One

Gin Blanco is a cold hearted stone blooded killer. She’s an assassin who kills the dregs of society for money. When one of her clients double crosses her and murdered her handler, Gin takes on the job of finding out who is responsible for taking the only family she has left.

Estep took an interesting concept and made it come to life for me. Gin is a character similar to Dexter where you shouldn’t care about her or what she is going through, but you do. She’s the killer with a heart of gold who will do anything to protect those she loves. She holds within her a deep responsibility to those whom she considers family.

Urban Fantasy is a new genre for me as a reader, when this sub-genre first emerged I had a difficult time finding a quality in the story that I appreciated. However I have learned to appreciate the world building required in this genre. Estep created an unique world, and characters to populate it.

I look forward to seeing where Estep takes me in WEB OF LIES, and how the story will continue to grow.

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

ISBN: 978-0891061878
Rating: A

The combination of Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum remind me why I fell in love with reading as an adult.
Reviewing this series is difficult due to how much of a sentimental favorite it is; all I can say is that the relationships in this series are what make it matter.

When I picked up SIZZLING SIXTEEN it was because of my love of the characters, not because I expected an amazing mystery but because it is like visiting with old friends.

The plot was actually more developed than a few of the more recent forays into this series, and renewed my faith in this series.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

ISBN: 978-0545123273
Rating: A
#1 Mercy Falls

SHIVER had me questioning how it would turn out and whether I would like how it ended. I wasn’t sure what the reality of the story was going to be. I’m glad with how it ended enough that I am eager to read the second book LINGER.

Stiefvater created Sam and Grace, two characters who immediately draw you into their worlds.

One winter day 6 years ago, Grace is swinging in her back yard when she is grabbed by a pack of wolves who begin to fight over her, until she finds the bright yellow eyes of one of the wolves who can’t seem to shake the heart behind her eyes. Grace is so straight and honest that when she finally finds that one person who makes her waiver from that line it makes her even more heart warming and honest. She’s the grown up in her world, and her falling in love was innocent and sweet.

Sam is a werewolf who was bitten when he was young and forced to become the animal that haunts him every winter. Sam wants to stay Sam and he fights the change every winter, but he knows that this is his last summer of being Sam forever. It takes one moment to change Sam and Grace’s life forever. When a boy is ravaged by the wolves in Boundary Woods, a hunting party goes looking for these animals and shoots Sam causing him to change back from wolf to boy. Grace finds him wounded on her deck and takes him in. He has the same eyes as the wolf who saved her 6 years before.

It’s a tender story told with maturity. This is one of the most tender love stories I’ve read in the young adult genre and I feel that this held a delicate balance between young love and true love.

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

ISBN: 978-0-446-57096-1

Rating: A

Typically when reading a Nicholas Sparks book, one must definitely be in the mood to cry and although THE LAST SONG took me a bit longer before I started, but once I started I couldn’t stop.

When Ronnie and her little brother Jonah are forced to visit their dad for an entire summer in Wilmington, 17 year old Ronnie wishes that she could have turned 18 sooner so that she could skip out on this summer of forced parental imprisonment. Ronnie has spent the last 3 years ignoring her dad and worrying about how everything impacts her, as with every 17 year old the center of the universe is herself. She is in for a journey of self discovery during her summer in Wilmington, and one that will forever change how she see’s the world.

I knew before picking up THE LAST SONG that I was in for an emotional roller coaster. However the subject matter hit home in a lot of ways. When parents get divorced it’s hard for the kids to understand why or even to begin to know how to feel about it and speaking from experience I knew exactly where Ronnie came from. So when confronted with the visit to her dad and being forced to acknowledge those feelings Ronnie takes the only action that can protect her, she pushes people away. She dresses and acts unapproachable however if you look close enough there is a soft underside that very few people in her life have ever seen.

THE LAST SONG took a delicate subject and portrayed it honestly and compassionately and brought back those emotions for me, and put me in Ronnie’s shoes. The reality of this story was told with the right voice, and I am still amazed at the emotions that Sparks can create for me as a reader.

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

ISBN: 978-0399156359
Rating: B+
1st Nathaniel Cade series

What happens when you cross DC politics and the supernatural? You get the only Vampire employed by the President of the United States and BLOOD OATH by Christopher Farnsworth.

BLOOD OATH started off a little rocky for me. A lot of lead up and not a lot of follow through happened in the first 100 pages, typical of the first book in a series. However, after that initial drought of action the story took a turn and I was hooked.

Nathaniel Cade is a vampire who serves the United States, and has sworn a blood oath to protect the President of the United States going as far back as Andrew Jackson and all those who follow him. Cade protects the citizens and the President from those things that go bump in the night, and has done so successfully for a very long while.

Cade’s handler former FBI Agent Griffin is sick and retiring so we are introduced to a new fledgling handler in Zach Barrows who swears the reason he was assigned to this duty is for having a relationship with Candace, the first daughter.

BLOOD OATH is a book of bonds, and relationships. Those you are made to honor and those you choose to. I look forward to seeing where else Farnsworth can take me with Cade and Barrows.

Killing Floor by Lee Child

ISBN: 978-0425205068
Rating: B
#1 Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher is a wanderer. A military brat who turned into a 13 year military man who craves freedom. He wants no place to hang his hat, he’d rather throw it away and buy a new one. KILLING FLOOR leads Jack to Margrave Georgia where he finds himself accused of murder with hours of his arrival.

I picked up KILLING FLOOR based on several recommendations from my online book group. I wasn’t overly impressed, but I wasn’t let down either. I think Reacher and I need to get to know each other a little better. This was a mediocre read, I enjoyed it when it was within my grip but it was easy to forget about Jack and his problems when I wasn’t actively involved in the story. Was this the typical debut novel of a series that is full of set up and has a slow wandering plot? Maybe, but I am interested enough to read the next in the series DIE TRYING.

Reacher is an interesting character, this area of story development was flush however the plot had major gaping holes. I’m not sure how I feel about I feel about Reacher’s relationship with the police, if you have read this you know what I mean. The rest of the plot was well thought out and had me trying to solve it the entire read.

Although I was not impressed by this series debut I am intrigued to see if Reacher and Child will grow on me.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

ISBN: 978-0307454546
Rating: B

Who knew that the world of financial journalism could turn into a chilling thriller, which takes the reader on a spiraling journey towards a truth so twisted it was hard to see coming.

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and while I can’t rave about it as much as others, I can say that it was definitely not what I expected. When I hear the word “thriller” I think of HEARTSICK by Chelsea Cain where I am turning the page even before I’ve finished reading it because I have to know what is coming next. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is not your typical thriller. For me it was reminiscent of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series; a thinking man’s thriller. A lot of the story was cerebral and required the reader to be active in the investigation. As a reader you were on the journey with Mikael Blomkvist pushing your theories of the crime onto the character waiting for him to come to the same conclusions as you. It was an interesting experience because I did like I was part of the story, not just watching it from the outside.

I look forward to reading the remaining two books in this trilogy to see if they live up to my new found expectations of this author’s work.

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