Review: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

When was the last time you finished a book and immediately sat down and wrote out a list of people who MUST read this book? When I finished this, that’s exactly what I did. The first, my kids, then my homeschool co-op teens, then some moms of those teens, then a few scattered friends who I know would get a kick out of this. And then I pretty much went on IG and FB and shouted it from the rooftops there. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING!!! Thought provoking and exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

When I first got Pacifica, I almost skipped the author’s note and went right to the story. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author’s note is where the magic begins. It’s where the background story comes from. It’s the first time your heart is squeezed. And it’s definitely not the last.

When you read dystopians, part of you thinks, “This could never happen. We won’t let it happen.” But when I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “Crap. This could totally happen. And that would be horrific.” Basically climate change and the affects it has on our planet. But that’s not the hardest part of this story. The people, and what’s happening right under their noses, that’s the hardest part. They thought the government knew what was best for them and they just went along with it. But when the story is uncovered, they realize it’s far from anything they’ve ever heard of.

I think the best part of this book was the friendships. I was cheering everyone on. Marin, who was a pirate’s daughter and Ross, the president’s son, set out to rescue Ross’ friend, Adam, the vice president’s son, and it is non stop action. Like stomach twisting action. I couldn’t stop reading, for fear of something happening and I miss it. ūüôā Silly, I know, but I was so invested in these characters, I wouldn’t stop until they found their way back to safety. Now there is a little bit of love brewing on the high seas, but can you blame them? People who’ve gone through traumatic experiences tend to react that way. But it’s teen friendly, so no worries.

I have never read a Kristen Simmons book, but if they’re anything like this one, she’s found a new fan and I’ve found a new autobuy author. This story is now added to my ever growing “You need to read these YA books!” list. And all those people who are on my list above, better act surprised when they all get copies for Christmas.

~Melpomene

Buy Pacifica http://amzn.to/2FqHGxt

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Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black


I’m a big fan of the fae. I will read anything that has to do with them. So this book made me a very happy girl. There was intrigue, secrets, romance and adventure. The perfect combination honestly.

Jude was taken into the faerie world when she was young. She’s hated every moment but tried to make the most of it by learning to fight. SInce she can’t be like them, and live forever, perhaps she could be in the army and at least do something beyond living til she dies, which is what mortals do. When she finds herself in the midst of a civil war, she decides to jump in, even if it costs her everything.

I liked her. She was quick on her feet and had tons of spunk. She takes what Prince Cardan, and his minions, dish out at her, and even gives some back. I’ll admit, it was hard to see what she had to take at their hands. He was just plain cruel. Hence, the title name.

She may not have known what was going to happen, but she rolled with the punches and made decisions that would benefit everyone, not just her. Even if it hurt to do that. I am super anxious to see what happens to Jude in the next book. I have some theories…

This is my first Holly Black book and I liked it. All through the story I knew what was going to happen, but it was still very enjoyable. When I say all through, I mean almost all through. I saw everything except the end, when she basically slapped me across the face with a big “HAH!! You thought you were so smart. You never saw THAT coming, did ya?”

So now I sit here waiting for my kids to read this and join in my suffering, as we all wait for book two.

~Melpomene

Buy The Cruel Prince http://amzn.to/2D08krP

Review: The Ghost by Monica McCarty

01 gho Epic and adventurous romance.

So bittersweet to say goodbye to these characters. But I am very glad to see that everyone is right where they should be. Choices were made and the consequences were paid, but in the end, all is well.

SYNOPSIS
Joan Comyn swore allegiance to Robert the Bruce the day she witnessed England’s barbarous king torturing her famous mother, Scot patriot Bella MacDuff. Now the mysterious beauty slips into men’s hearts like a specter and entices England’s most illustrious barons to unwittingly divulge their secrets, then shares them with her king. Known only as the Ghost even among her Highland Guard brethren, Joan has become the most wanted spy in England.

The man determined to uncover her identity poses her biggest threat yet. Alex Seton once stood with Bruce but now fights for the enemy. Though Joan knows she must avoid the handsome warrior or risk discovery, his knightly chivalry touches a place in her long since buried. When his suspicions grow apparent, Joan realizes she must do everything in her power to stop Alex from revealing her mission and convince the powerful fighter to join forces with the Highland Guard once more. But as the ultimate battle in the great war approaches, will Alex chose love or honor?

I am so happy we got to see how Joan turned out. We first meet her in The Viper and it was a little heartbreaking to see her turn her back on her mother and stay on the opposite side. But now we know that she did it for the right reasons.

I love Alex. He is the very model of a noble knight. He is trying to discover who the spy is, but when all the pieces start pointing to Joan, he must decide what to do with this information. Lie and protect her, or tell the truth and lose her. When he left the guard, a few books ago, I so hoping that he would come back or just redeem himself.

So bittersweet to say goodbye to these characters. But I am very glad to see that everyone is right where they should be. Choices were made and the consequences were paid, but in the end, all is well. These characters were so fun to watch and see them grow as individuals and fight with and for each other.

I have completely enjoyed this historical romance series. I wish it could go on forever.

~Melpomene

Buy The Ghost HERE.

Start the series from the beginning and fall in love, just like I did.
The Chief
The Hawk
The Ranger
The Viper
The Saint
The Recruit
The Hunter
The Knight
The Raider
The Arrow
The Striker
The Rock
The Rogue(novella)

Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

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I love it when authors put their own unique twist on classic stories and fairytales.  Bonus points if their version is even more dark and twisted than the original.  This is what you get with the latest from Lisa Maxwell.

We all know the story of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  The story from my childhood places Peter in the role of hero, saving all who are lost.  And the Neverland I remember was a magical place full of swashbuckling fun with a dash of danger thrown in.

This is not the story we grew up with. ¬†This Neverland is full of deadly secrets at every turn. ¬†There are more beasts than you can keep track of. ¬†And death is a regular occurrence. ¬†Oh and Peter? ¬†He may not be what you remember. ¬†This Peter is more sinister and conniving. And then there’s Captain Hook. ¬†Because what would a Peter Pan story be without a bad guy? ¬†But maybe Hook isn’t really the bad guy. ¬†Or maybe he is.

This is what Gwendolyn has to decide for herself. ¬†Her entire life has been spent moving from place to place. ¬†Just as soon as she gets settled, her mom uproots them yet again. ¬†She has a good reason. ¬†They are running from monsters, after all. ¬†To Gwen, this is just more of her mom’s eccentric behavior. ¬†So when they end up in London, she doesn’t take any of the warnings seriously. ¬†Keep the windows closed, don’t turn off the lights…

And when she doesn’t heed these warnings, bad things happen. ¬†In the form of dark shadowy creatures who swoop in and capture Gwen along with her friend Olivia. ¬†When Gwen wakes up, she finds herself on the ship of the infamous Captain Hook. ¬†She knows the story, so she knows he’s not the good guy. ¬†So she escapes and is rescued by Peter Pan.

Here’s where the story takes even more twists and turns. ¬†Gwen quickly realizes that Pan may not be what he seems. ¬† And it would appear that she holds the key to saving herself and Olivia. ¬†Maybe her mom wasn’t so crazy after all…

This was such a fun book to read.  The author has a way with words and is able to create magical worlds that transport the reader.  While staying close to the original storyline, she still gives us a fantastical alternate version.  Add this one to your list!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Unhooked

Review: Never Never by Brianna Shrum

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I’ve been hooked on fairy tale retellings and books based on fairy tales. Since I’ve never read them, as a child, I think that’s why I like them now. So when I was gifted Never Never, I was super excited to start it. Now that ABF is over, I was finally able to do just that.

SYNOPSIS
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

Since I’ve never read the Peter Pan story, so I really have no idea how it goes. But when I finished this book, I had tears forming in my eyes. I have no idea what to do now. James Hook had my heart. I wanted him to be good. I really did. I wanted him to find peace and a home and to find love. But I never expected this. I’m a bit shocked, but yet, not really. He is a pirate after all. He does the usually pirate things, but I knew it was for a reason. There just had to be!!

One part of this story made my romantic heart very happy and, at the same time, broke it into a million pieces. I wanted such good things for James. He deserved it, after what Peter did to him. My heart really wanted the happily ever after. But sadly, life, or in this case, fairy tales don’t always work like that.

“I grew up for you.”

And that Peter Pan…..I was a bit mad at him. I don’t wanna talk about him. I understand he was a boy, but there’s a side to him that smashed the Disney version to pieces. SHATTERED.

If you like retellings, you will enjoy Never Never.

~Melpomene

Grab NEVER NEVER while it’s on sale!! Only $1.99!!!

Review: The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff

9781405268288When I was a kid, I loved simple horror stories. Just enough to raise the goosebumps on your arm, maybe a bit more to keep you awake at night. And I still love those kinds of stories today. The problem is, especially for me as a teacher, most scary stories don’t fall within the acceptable range for younger readers. This one by Jane Hardstaff is an exception to that rule.

Meet Moss, a young girl who lives alone with her dad. Dear old Dad just happens to be the executioner of the Tower of London. And Moss is responsible for collecting the heads after each beheading, catching them as they drop and putting them in a basket. It’s the only life she’s every known, and her dad is the only parent she’s ever had since her mom died during childbirth.

But there’s more to that story than Moss has ever been told, and it’s the reason they can’t leave the Tower of London. When Moss finds a way out, she’s inexplicably drawn to the river. The river is slow and steady some days, fast and unpredictable on others. And there’s something lurking just under the surface, something that’s taking young children. Moss discovers that she’s tied to the river in a way she never dreamed possible, going all the way back to her mom’s death.

This book was a pleasant surprise. Not that I was expecting bad things, but you just never know. It’s historical, most definitely, but it has a healthy dose of paranormal/thriller thrown in. And I have to say, this is the first book I’ve read that’s set in Tudor times. This is a story that I’ll definitely be recommending to some young readers who I know. And the sequel, River Daughter, is high at the top of my TBR list.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Executioner’s Daughter

Review: Black Ice, by Becca Fitzpatrick

01bla I really enjoyed Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush series, so I was super excited to hear she was writing another book. But when I heard it was a mystery/thriller, that made me a bit nervous. I’m usually not a fan of those. However, I LOVED this book. I did break my rule of no reading blurbs, but I was still in the dark and was able to make my own assumptions.

When we first meet Britt, some may think that she’s this spoiled brat, but I never got that at all. I thought she had a good head on her shoulders and was fully prepared to take on whatever life threw at her. So what if she pretends to not understand how to pump gas, so the guy will do it for her. That doesn’t make her spoiled, that makes her smart. ūüėČ

Britt has been planning this Spring Break hiking trip for a while now and she isn’t happy that her ex is meeting her up at the cabin. She was hoping for a girls week, but at least it will give her a chance to see if her feelings for him have changed or not.

However, she never makes it to the cabin. Instead, she gets stranded and finds herself at the mercy of two strangers who hold her hostage. She is forced to pull herself together and do what they say. They want her to lead them off the mountain, away from cops and other people. If they want down, she’ll get them down, even if she “accidentally” leads them into the path of people who could save her. She just has to stay alive long enough for someone to find her.

As she makes her way, she is being taken to the areas where three murders were committed, this past year, and it makes her question if she’ll be the next victim. Her captors seem like they know more than they’re saying, so she is determined to get away, at the first chance she gets.

Throughout this entire ordeal, she struggles with knowing who is telling her the truth and who isn’t. Mason, one of her captors, is proving to be more than what she thought. It may all an act, but the evidence all around him, is making his kindness seem out of place.

Who can she trust? Who will keep her safe? Will she be the next victim?

I liked the action that was spread all over the place. My nerves were shot. My heart was racing. The thought of being stuck out in the freezing temps, on a mountain, makes me nervous. But Britt has a good grasp on reality and learns to think on her feet and make fast decisions that could possibly save her life. The smidgen of romance was enough to keep this love her girl happy also. It wasn’t the main focus of the story, but it was a nice mixture.

This is a standalone that will keep you at the edge of your seat, til the very end.

~Melpomene

Release date October 7, 2014

Preorder Black Ice