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March 13, 2015

Review: Red Hunter by Jennifer Loiske

by Claire Rees

Red Hunter

At last the circle was full, all palms bleeding equally; I was brave enough to steal a peek. Twelve sweaty, naked men and me. It could have been a dream come true, except it was so not. The knife was gone and the men tightened the circle, squeezing me between Alex and Ben.

The Review:

Sam's story starts out in the Immortal Blood series with Club Number Five as the first book. However you do not need to read that series to read this book.

Sam is now a new born vampire and has had to deal with a cruel master and maybe losing the love of her life. Now Muriel the elder vampire believes that Sam is trying to get together with Muriel’s son and so sends Sam away from the house and her friends. Sam is to become a hunter. She is to be trained by the gorgeous twins, Alex and Ben. Kieran, Sam's human ‘slave’ goes with her and at the last moment Dane also decides that he is going with her.

Here at the new place she endures the worst of days and is savagely attacked by Ben, but she pushes through it all by fighting back and earning her place in the brotherhood. She quickly becomes a ferocious and deadly being. She and Dane even rekindle their love but in the end this becomes her downfall and they may not get their ‘happily ever after’. The end was very climatic and I am very much looking forward to reading the next book.

I read Red Hunter by Jennifer Loiske in one sitting. The writing is fast paced and descriptive and had me turning page after page to see what was going to happen next. The characters are great and are easy to like/hate. Sam is such a strong, passionate female character that I was always willing her to do better or to win each fight or test she had to go through.

If you like action packed vampire stories, full of love and fighting, where one moment they are hot, sexy nice vampires and the next they are deadly predators then this is a book for you.

Buy Red Hunter at Amazon

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Book info:
available formats: ebook and paperback (200 pages)
published: November 2014 by Rogue House
ISBN13: 978-1326096533
genres: Fantasy, paranormal
source: author
read: February 2015

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.

March 12, 2015

Blogger's Adult Content Policy pt. 2

by Donna Huber

I feel like I should do a tip post on some aspect of reviewing since every other post this week has been a review, but I thought it would be better to bring you up to speed on Blogger's content policy change. You may remember two weeks ago I wrote a post regarding the upcoming changes to their Adult Content Policy. I wasn't the only to write a blog post about it.

The intention behind the changes was to limit pornography. With the amount of sexual exploitation that takes place each day it was a good move on their part. My post was more to inform you of the change and discuss possible unintended consequences for book bloggers. However, many people spoke out against the changes.

According to a new post on Blogger's support page, they will not be implementing the change. I do find it interesting that they have changed the wording from "adult content policy" to "porn content policy". I wonder if they are going back to the drawing board and in a few months we will see another announcement about changes to the policy.

For now though, if you want to stay with blogger and do post adult content, be sure to check the box for adult content.

March 11, 2015

Despite All Odds: A Review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown

by Alison DeLuca

Red Rising
Ray Bradbury and Edgar Rice Burroughs enthralled me with their stories about Mars. When I read about the Red Rising series it had Alison written all over it: set on Mars in the future, check. Starts in a mining society, check. Infiltrating nobility modeled on Roman mythology, check. I was all over it.

However, I found Red Rising fell flat for me, at least for most of the novel. I liked Darrow and his mining community, as well as his wife, Eo, and the permanent contest for the Laurel to win more food for the families in his division.

WAIT A MINUTE. This sounds familiar, right? If you’re thinking Hunger Games, it’s kind of impossible not to. Granted, any dystopian novel now is automatically held up to Katniss Level, but I was determined to give Red Rising a chance as a separate novel.

I ended up liking, not loving, the book. I didn’t get enthralled as I was with Wool, when I simply couldn’t stop turning the pages and found it was 2 am and ‘time for just one more chapter.’

The reason for my disconnect, I think, was the unwieldy nature of the plot. Pierce Brown starts the action in the mining society, but a quarter of the way through it switches to the elite society of the Golds complete with ANOTHER contest in an academy between twelve houses of students.

This means I had to forget the first world as well as its complex structure of characters and start over with a completely new (and extremely large) group of new characters. Hang on – make that twelve groups of characters, since there are a dozen Houses completing for the top spot.

Brown succeeds somewhat, although having such a huge task bogs down the book. As a result, the final part suffers from White Room syndrome. We move from the mines, to a rebel outpost, to a training facility, to another facility, to a castle, a cave, another castle, a field, a forest…  I felt like Johnny McCartney, Paul’s grandfather, from the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night - “I thought I was supposed to be getting a change of scenery. But so far, I’ve been in a train and a room, and a car and a room, and a room and a room.”

All this meant I couldn’t really picture where Darrow and Cassius / Mustang / Roque / whoever were at the moment. If Brown had spent a bit more on world-building I think he would have seen his setting was too huge, too overbearing. It’s easy to slap on another castle or facility for your plot – much harder to keep things simple and really explore the microverse you’ve created for your readers.

Even the characters were White Roomed. Darrow completely changes his appearance when he infiltrates the upper echelon of the Golds, so I had no idea what he looked like (except he’s supposed to be gorgeous, of course.) Ditto Eo, his wife, (but of course she was gorgeous as well.) Then there’s Cassius, who is athletic and gorgeous, and Mustang, also athletic and gorgeous…. At this point I glazed over. WHERE ARE THE CHARACTER FLAWS?

Much has been written on the subject of Brown’s language. It’s supposed to be archaic, with a hint of epic fantasy and an original construct. As a result we have words like ‘gorydamn, gravboots, HighLingo, gorywell, drillBoy, goryballs…’ Yeah. There’s a lot of gory going on. However, I can deal with made up words. What I couldn’t get past was the idea that miners would sing songs with lines like these: ‘We fell and fell and danced along to croon a knell of rights and wrongs…’

TO CROON A KNELL? REALLY? I found myself longing for good, old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon curses at that point.

However, what kept me going was the repeated plotpoint that all contests were pre-decided. No matter what one does, Darrow discovers, the outcome is already written. And so, of course, he decides to change it.

That decisiveness in the face of injustice kept me reading to the end, hoping for justice. And along the way, the book gelled and became interesting just in time for the next installment in the series, of course.

I understand Red Rising is already optioned for a movie. Probably it will do well, since the actors will give actual faces to the vague characters, and staging will create real settings. If you enjoyed Jupiter Ascending and don’t mind slogging through an overblown beginning to reach a better finale, you might give Red Rising a try.

Buy Red Rising at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above links.

March 10, 2015

Review: Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel

by Donna Huber

Love by the Book

This project was born, like so many things, from an egg. Two, to be exact.
Adrian walked in just in time to see me crack two eggs on the side of the pan and pour them into the sizzling butter. I leaned into him when he wrapped his arms around me and peered over my shoulder at the stove.

The Review

This review is a bit over due, but I find it a bit difficult to write. I was really looking forward to Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel. It has a fun sounding premise. A single girl living in London has decided to try different dating books in order to find more dating partners. Well "dating" isn't really what she is looking for; she is looking for casual sex.

As one who has struggled with finding guys to date, I have always wondered if a dating book would help. However, unlike Lauren, I'm not wanting casual relationships. The book is based on a blog by the author who actually did this experiment. Which is what makes this review difficult. I didn't really like the main character Lauren.

She drank and smoked way too much. The continual references to having to go outside for a cigarette really grated on my nerves. And then there was the complaints she was extending adolescence while her friends were getting married and having babies. But she didn't want marriage and commitment. And I just wanted to yell at her that she can't have it both ways and marriage isn't the only way to be a grown-up. I did slightly envy her ability to reinvent her life, though she had secured a job before flying across the pond. However, the reason for her flight dampened that envy.

As far as a chick-lit novel, it wasn't one of the funnier novels I've read. I did have a few laughs, particularly with the online dating. The boating date was probably the funniest scene in the entire book. The ending was a bit predictable. After just a couple of encounters with a certain character I knew that he was the one and had to wonder when Lauren would figure it out. Actually, I wondered how clueless she was about others around her. I figured out the kind of relationship her roommate was having with her older beau early on.

When I did my Goodreads review, I did give Love by the Book 4 stars. Why? Because I think the book wasn't a good match for me and not that there was really anything wrong with the book itself. I liked Pimentel's writing style. It was straight-forward, conversational. I think it was this writing style that had me knowing that I probably wouldn't have been Lauren's friend in real life. However, it did make the story flow well and easy to read.

If you liked Bridget Jones, then you will enjoy Love by the Book by Melissa Pimental. Be sure to read the interview with Melissa here.

Buy Love by the Book at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and paperback (315 pages)
published: February 2015 by Penguin Books
ISBN13: 9780143127284
genres: chick-lit, romance, humor
source: publisher
read: February 2015

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. A free book was provided for this review.

March 9, 2015

Review: Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass by F.A. Tallahassee

by Claire Rees

Champagen Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass
Champagne Jackson aka CJ has had the worst wedding anniversary ever! Not only did she catch her husband cheating on her on their doorstep but the world then goes to hell with a zombie apocalypse.

Knowing that she will soon run out of supplies locked in her apartment she decides to make her way to the pawn shop she owns where she keeps her gun. This is where she meets former marine Mike. The two of them team up to try to get out of the city safely but they find out that the only way to do this is to try to negotiate with local gang boss ‘Tiny’. On their way to see ‘Tiny’ they save two children called Diego and Manuela whose parents have been killed by a rival gang of Tiny’s.  Tiny is not too happy to see them though and they soon get into a lot of trouble.  Whist being kept as Tiny’s prisoners they make an unlikely ally who helps them to escape.

Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass by F.A. Tallahassee is different from other zombie stories I have read and I enjoyed it just as much. This one focuses on gang life and how they choose to survive the zombie apocalypse.  I enjoyed the story and the characters and I feel that the speech portrayed how I would imagine gang life to be perfectly. The  story was fast paced and kept me hooked all of the way through with a few surprises along the way. Although the story is not for the faint-hearted or those who offend easily as there is a lot of adult language and gory in places which I think adds to the feel of a zombie apocalypse. If you are a zombie lover then this is definitely a book you should read.

Buy Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass at Amazon

Book Info:
available formats: ebook and paperback (260 pages)
published: January 2015 
ISBN13: 9781507507896
genres: horror, comedy
target audience: adult
source: Author
read: February 2015

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. A free ebook was provided for this review.