Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review: Sovereign by ER Arroyo

In this first book of the Antius Ascending series, Cori is a fish out of water in post-apocalyptic America. She's an orphan who was brought to the colony of Antius at age seven. No matter how she tries over the next ten years, she doesn't fit in. All she can think about is escaping. But the security to keep the wild things out, keeps her prisoner. So she plans and plots and sneaks out at night with various escape plans, but as bad as it seems, it gets worse when the colony leader dies and his cruel son Nathan takes over.

The conflict between Cori and Nathan is balanced by her friendship with another young adult, Dylan, who is determined to help her escape. Except when Nathan takes over, the rules change. Cori is immediately enrolled in Nathan's militia training, a brutal training camp that's designed to break her. However, as time passes and she out performs her "class" of six, she gets assigned to the trade security line of work. The more she learns about the different layers of society, the more she realizes her chances of escaping are close to zero.

Cori must keep her wits about her to survive in this dystopian world. She's seen firsthand that the smallest of sleights to their Sovereign Nathan is a death sentence.  Can she beat this terrible man and save herself?

I admired Cori's character arc, and her unswerving focus. She's gutsy and brave, physically tough and yet emotionally vulnerable, compassionate and resolute - all of this at 17!

ER Arroyo is a fine writer, and this is a story I will read again, which is a high compliment in my world.

Maggie Toussaint and Rigel Carson for Muddy Rose Reviews

Book Review: Witch Risen by Jill Nojack

Book Two of the Bad Tom Series starts out in Tom's POV. Tom is a shapeshifter cat who's used up seven of his nine lives. As the book opens, he's racing across town in his cat persona, but he's too late. His girlfriend has been taken over by a witch from the grave.

Tom is desperate to get Cassie back, but the coven moves at glacial speed. His sense of urgency pushes him to take all kinds of risks, but it will all be worth it if he can save Cassie.

This was a quick, fun read. I picked it up because I read the first book in the series, which was a Kindle Scout winner. Nojack writes fluidly, and the pages fly by at a pleasing rate. If you're like me, you'll be so engrossed you won't want to “shift” out of your chair!

Maggie Toussaint and Rigel Carson for Muddy Rose Reviews

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Book Review: The Unseen by Jake Lingwall

Intrepid hacker Kari Tahe makes a break from prison using her special skills. Alas, something goes terribly wrong. On the verge of capture, she’s rescued and delivered to a secret hacker hideaway run by a guy named Oedipus. The plush retreat is nothing short of fabulous, and like-minded people are always inviting Kari to join their hacking games.

But she misses her friends David and Audrey. She wishes the war would end so life would get back to normal. While Kari admires the Eden-like sanctuary and the talent around her, she’s getting mixed signals from people, especially Oedipus. She’s idolized his feats for years, so her hero worship of him blinds her to his nature.

As the war escalates, a fellow hacker warns her to trust no one. Already on edge, Kari decides to stop taking things on face value, and trouble like she’s never seen before rains down on her. Can she survive in this strange new world?

Another winning Kindle Scout book. I loved Freelancer, the first book of this dystopian series, and The Unseen met my high expectations and more. Author Jake Lingwall wove a powerful tale of intrigue and high tech wizardry that had me reading at darn near warp speeds. Nicely done!

Maggie Toussaint and Rigel Carson for Muddy Rose Reviews

Book Review: Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

When hotel exec Madeline Chase gets a distressed phone call from the caretaker of the only decommissioned hotel in her family’s chain of boutique B&Bs, she screws up her courage and returns to the scene of her worst nightmare. After the caretaker suffers a dire fate on Cooper Island, Madeline calls the cops and her security team for good measure.

Jack Rayner rushes to Madeline’s side and together they try to solve the caretaker’s murder. Except the more they look into it, the more the answers seem rooted in the past, and tied to a powerful West Coast family.

Soon Madeline has no choice but to call her secret sister, but doing so escalates the danger. With a madman in the neighborhood and a killer on the loose in this island community, the question is will finding the truth, and all of the truth, cost Madeline and Jack their lives?

I truly enjoyed the twists and turns in this novel. It reminded me of Jayne’s novels prior to the Arcane story threads in most of her more recent work. I adore paranormal, but normal can be Out of this World too. Whatever she writes, it’s always a hit with me.

Maggie Toussaint and Rigel Carson for Muddy Rose Reviews

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Review: Grave of Hummingbirds by Jennifer Skutelsky

In the Andean mountains, preparations are underway for Independence Day in tiny Colibri. Dr. Gregory Moreno, still mourning his late wife, dreads the holiday without his Nita. A young man finds an angel in the mountains – a dead woman – with wings sewn to her newly inked skin.

The authorities are taken with the woman's resemblance to the late Nita. Superstition, rumor, and suspicion swirl around this murder. Then, another woman is abducted, and this woman also resembles the doctor’s departed wife.

With the mayor prepping for the festival, the job of sleuthing falls to the doctor, though he is reluctant to accept the call to action.

This is a story to savor. So much of what goes on in small towns is captured here in loving yet suspenseful detail. There are several enduring themes here and I especially like the condors circling in the sky, reminding me of the endlessly spinning wheels in small communities.

Love and betrayal are served up on a hefty slice of karma. This story will stay with you long after you stop turning the pages.

Maggie Toussaint and Rigel Carson for Muddy Rose Reviews

Book Review: Finding Charlie by Katie O'Rourke

In a family where the mom walked out when the kids were small, older sister Olivia became mother and sister to Charlie.

One day Charlie turns up missing. No one can reach her – not her father, not her sister, not her bestie. Worse, no one knows why she left without her car or cell phone.

The cops are no help, so Olivia starts piecing together Charlie’s last day and eventually learns she left town with a male acquaintance. Olivia traipses after her, eventually finding her in a place she didn’t expect, with a person she never wanted to see again.

Finding Charlie is about the ties that bind -the ties that bind until they chafe and more. Inter-family dynamics are explored as well as themes of independence, forgiveness, accountability, and love.

Maggie Toussaint and Rigel Carson for Muddy Rose Reviews