Book Review: Taking It All by: Maya Banks


Publisher: Berkley Trade

Publication Date: August 5, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: Chessy and Tate have been married for several years. In the beginning, their relationship was everything she wanted. Passionate. All consuming. She offered her submission freely and Tate cherished her gift with a tenderness that made her feel safe. Content. Wanted. And loved beyond all measure. But as the years have gone by, Tate has become more immersed in making his business the success it has become, and Chessy has taken a back seat to his business obligations. Growing unhappier with the status of their once blissful marriage, Chessy knows that something has to give. Or they stand to lose it all

Tate loves his wife. Has always loved her. Providing for her has always been his number one priority. But lately she’s seemed unhappy, and he’s worried. Worried enough that he arranges for a night together that he hopes will reignite the fire that once burned like an inferno between them.

But a business call at the wrong time threatens everything. Chessy’s safety, his concentration, his wife’s faith in him as her husband, a man sworn to love and protect her above all else. Gutted with the realization that he’s going to lose her—has already lost her—he readies for the fight of his life. Whatever it takes, he’ll get her back. And prove to her that nothing is more important than her love. And that if she’ll allow him to prove himself one more time, he’ll take it all. Everything. But he’ll give far more back. Himself. His undying love.

Series: Surrender Trilogy

Review: TAKING IT ALL is the third book of the Surrender Trilogy and the one I was most anticipating. I was highly disappointed, unfortunately. Chessy’s put up with her husband, Tate, and the fact his business has taken up so much of his time for quite awhile. She’s tired and hurt, wanting her relationship back to where it was before. I was not happy with Chessy for letting herself be hurt and unhappy for so long. She should have talked to Tate long before about how she was feeling. If you’re unhappy in your relationship, you have to talk thing through right away. Once Tate knew how Chessy felt, he tried to make it up to her but his best laid plans go terribly awry. Chessy, rightly, walks away but Tate is determined to win her back. I thought TAKING IT ALL could have been so much better. I couldn’t stand either character by the end, which really broke my heart.

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Book Review: No Time to Die by: Kira Peikoff


Publisher: Pinnacle

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: In a Washington, D.C. research lab, a brilliant scientist is attacked by his own test subjects. At Columbia University, a talented biochemist is lured out of her apartment and never seen again. In the Justice Department's new Bioethics Committee, agent Les Mahler sees a sinister pattern emerging. . .

Zoe Kincaid is a petite college student whose rare genetic makeup may hold the key to a powerful medical breakthrough. When she is kidnapped, the very thing mankind has wanted since the dawn of time threatens to unleash our final destruction.

Review: NO TIME TO DIE covers issues of medical and research ethics, genetics, and legal rights. As my full-time job is in the arena of human subjects protections I was excited to read this new thriller. Zoe Kincaid is a 20 year old woman who has the appearance of a young teenager. Zoe has felt like a freak for years and only wants to grow up - to look like a normal 20 year old. Her parents are in denial and her only supporter is her maternal grandfather. When she has medical tests performed without her parents’ knowledge, as they want her to accept herself through therapy, she finds out her genetic makeup may hold the key to new discoveries in the science of aging. Meanwhile there is a secret group, The Network, led by a charismatic man who goes by “Galileo” which secret experiments on human subjects without IRB or governmental oversight. The head of the DOJ’s Bioethics Committee, Les Mahler, is desperate to shut The Network down by any means necessary. When Zoe goes missing along with a researcher who was the last to see her, Mahler is determined to root out The Network once and for all.

Zoe is a likable character and while her outward appearance is of a young teenager, it seemed to me as if she should have behaved more in a manner fitting her chronological age. I think this would have helped show a distinction between who she really is versus how the world and her parents treat her. “Galileo” had a Robin Hood-esque feeling to him; larger than life and pursuing new discoveries ‘for the greater good’. Whose greater good? It is true that science and technology develop faster than our understanding on how to deal with these breakthroughs in an ethically sound manner. However, this doesn’t mean that just because you can do something it should be done. It appears there is an underlying approval by the characters of experiments conducted on humans without any kind of ethical review. Those who don't agree are written in a more negative light. The science itself is fascinating, even with some accelerated timelines for plot sake, as all humans fear aging in some way. NO TIME TO DIE is an interesting take on the field of research and ethics, sure to spark many lively conversations.

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Book Review: The Blessed Man and the Witch by: David Dubrow


Publisher: David Dubrow

Publication Date: March 6, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: How can you possibly prepare for the end of the world? The end of everything? Armageddon is right around the corner, and there’s no guarantee that Heaven’s going to be the victor. Hell is real, it’s clawing at the edges of the Pit, and its demonically possessed servants are right now gathering powerful artifacts as weapons of war. The End Times are coming. Are you ready?

Hector Shaw isn’t. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he’s been recruited to work for a clandestine security company under strange circumstances. What do they really want him for? Siobhan Dempsey isn’t, either. She’s only just gotten her life together when she finds that she can do magick. Real magick. Why now, and why her?

Connecting multiple characters and building to a shattering climax, this is the first novel in a trilogy focusing on themes of supernatural horror, western occultism, and Biblical apocalypse.

Review: THE BLESSED MAN AND THE WITCH is an end-of-days thriller told in multiple points-of-view. It’s sometimes hard to get the whole picture as we are jumped from character to character abruptly, which is perhaps the point. The appearance of The Blessed Man has triggered something huge – people are being born with prophetic abilities and the ability to perform real magick. Anyone The Blessed Man has come in contact with has their lives forever changed. His appearance has also triggered the beginning of the apocalypse and two opposing factions are doing their best to push the world where they want it to go. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, as well as what is going on with each of them. THE BLESSED MAN AND THE WITCH is not for the faint of heart as there is strong language and graphic scenes. There is a lot of action and overall the plot was good, I just felt there was so much going on it appeared to detract from the message of the story. As the first in a trilogy, THE BLESSED MAN AND THE WITCH certainly raises readers’ expectations for the next two books!

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Guest Post: The Sham’s playlist, by Ellen Allen


Publisher: BookBaby

Publication Date: September 7, 2014

Synopsis: When love leads to death, be careful who you trust

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as “The Sham”, with her boyfriend, Jack, but he’s very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He’s also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months’ ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily’s classmates washed up in the local floods.

Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they’re pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path;
and the town doesn’t need another dead body.

**This book is unsuitable for younger readers; it contains discussions about murder scenes, conversations about sex and profanity.

Guest Post: As I was writing the book, I had these songs in my mind at key scenes in the plot; they make a great album:

1. Thomston, Burning out

Emily is forced to watch as four of her classmates bully a small boy in the local playground. She meets Jack and, together, they are able to save him. Everyone is traumatized but Jack helps her to feel better: “I’m coming up, I’m too young to worry bout burning out”.

2. Girls in Hawaii, Where do your tears come from?

This is a very moody and atmospheric song for when Emily finds out that her classmate – one of the playground bullies – is dead.

3. Snakehips (ft. Sinead Harnett), Days with you

After tourists claim Jack is their long lost nephew, someone called Matthew, Jack disappears and Emily convinces herself that she really is “better off without you”. It has a great vibe and it’s very upbeat, even though it’s sad.

4. Ed Sheeran, Thinking out loud

This is the music playing for Emily and Jack’s first kiss; “Take me into your loving arms. Place your head on my beating heart.” Aaaah.

5. Ella Eyre, Deeper

Jack doesn’t give away his emotions easily and this song perfectly encapsulates what Emily thinks Jack is feeling – that he doesn’t want to commit – and how he should “dig a little deeper”.

6. Lenny Kravitz, The Chamber

The police manage to convince Emily that Jack is actually Matthew. She’s angry, hurt, upset and feels betrayed: “You killed the love that was once so strong. With no regret to what you did wrong”.

7. Jessie Ware, Wildest moments

This song is playing over the speakers of the supermarket café when Emily finally finds everything out – about who Jack really is and who killed the girls. It manages to perfectly encapsulate the complexity of Jack and Emily’s relationship and the situation she has
to deal with at the end of the book; “we could be the greatest, we could be the worst of all”.

8. Clean Bandit (featuring Jess Glynne), Rather Be

This song conveys the end of the book brilliantly and leaves us on a really upbeat tone. It’s a tip top tune!

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Book Review: Futureless by: K.J. Draeghan


Publisher: K. J. Draeghan

Publication Date: July 28, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: In a world far, far away, there exists a giant mass of land that five unique races call their home – Ilreya.

Long ago, Ilreya was torn asunder by the gnashing jaws of a vicious war: The Blood War. The five nations of this land had never known true peace, their racism and distrust creating great rifts between them. With this war, the rifts grew wider still. When all the continent seemed about to perish at the hands of its inhabitants, a treaty was struck. This treaty, despite ending the bloodshed, did not mend the hate the races felt for each other and soon all contact ceased between them.

Now, many centuries later, war threatens to rear its hideous head yet again. The barbarous William Blaise, current ruler of the weredragon nation, has grown mad with his desire for power. With his awesome might he plans to bring the other races of Ilreya to their knees and claim the entire continent as his own.

There is only one way he can be stopped: A group of youths from the Ilreyan nation of Coruka must band together and bring an end to the monster's rule before war begins anew. Though they will face incredulous peril and devastating trials, success is their only option. If they fail, if they cannot find it within themselves to defeat such a formidable foe, the only world they've ever known will languish under the weight of the chains Blaise will bind it in.

Review: Ilreya was ripped apart by suspicion, racism, and hatred. During The Blood War, the five nations tried to wipe each other off the face of the world. When it seemed the darkness would overcome them all, a treaty was struck. While this served to end the war, the fear and hatred between the races ran unceasing and caused each nation to become insular and xenophobic. Centuries pass and William Blaise, the leader of the weredragons, has decided it’s time take over all of Ilreya and bring the nations to their knees. The only thing standing in his way is a ragtag group of Corukan youth with some interesting histories of their own. FUTURELESS is the start of an epic high fantasy series in the vein of Tolkien or Lewis. Each character is given an in depth back story and undergoes major growth throughout the tale. FUTURELESS has romance, magic, action, suspense, and fantastic creatures written in vivid detail. The characters and story leap off the page and, even though there are some slower spots, the whole story is captivating. Like other high fantasy novels, there are some difficult to pronounce names, but it didn’t curb my enjoyment. FUTURELESS will have something for any reader who likes high fantasy.

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