Book Review: Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

Guest Review by Lisa Lester

book review hunger moon by melissa snarkWerewolf Victoria Storm knows all about duty.  Alpha to a dwindling pack decimated by war with the Barrett family, and with new pups on the way, she must find safe harbor away from the pursuing human hunters that have sworn to wipe her pack from the face of the Earth. After praying to her goddess Freya for guidance, Victoria is led to Sierra Pines, California to find an Alpha to protect and shelter her pack.  Arik Koenig, a powerful alpha male with a murky past, promises to be the protector her pack so desperately needs, and agrees to be Victoria’s mate.  Yet nothing is ever easy, and Victoria soon finds that the wickedly handsome Arik comes with his own baggage; his murdered wife’s spirit cries out to Victoria to protect her son, Logan, who has been rumored to be his mother’s killer.  Can she trust the attraction she feels with Arik, despite the rising contention between father and son?  Or will the mystery of his wife’s death lead to the destruction of her pack?  She has to find the answers, and fast, to keep herself and her pack safe.

This book was literally a page turner for me.  This was one of those books where I would look at the clock, groan aloud at how late it was, and move on to the next chapter, until I finished it in one sitting.  Melissa’s concise writing style keeps up a good pace without slowing down, and the characters are alive and seem to leap off the page.  I also loved the inclusion of Norse mythology into the story; the world and mythos building here is just enough to be immersive without bogging down in the details.  Another aspect of the book I liked was that even in their human forms, the shifters in this world still have characteristics of their animal counterparts, such as showing submissiveness to a dominant pack leader.  I particularly enjoyed the snappy dialogue between Victoria and Logan, as well as the sparks that fly between her and Arik.  Let me tell you, parts of those interactions were definitely hot! While I missed the first book in the series, that is definitely a mistake I will have to rectify.  I’m intrigued to see where Melissa takes Victoria and her pack, and to learn more about the role she plays as a Valkyrie and the dynamic between her and her goddess Freya.  A definite must read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.

Book Review Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

 

About the Book

Valkyrie Victoria Storm desires nothing more than to provide her wolf pack with a safe haven, but her position as priestess to the Goddess Freya also brings with it certain… obligations. Not to mention complications.

War with the Barrett family resulted in the deaths of her parents and most of her pack. Now, hunters are hot on the trail of the remaining pack members. Sawyer Barrett, a human hunter hell bent on revenge, is convinced that Victoria murdered his brother. He will stop at nothing to see her dead.

Victoria must defend the survivors and somehow lead them to safety.  Months on the run has weakened the pack, and there are newborn pups to protect, making swift travel impossible.  Ahead, the promise of refuge beckons.

Their best chance for survival lies in Sierra Pines, California: Arik Koenig, a powerful, dominant male wolf. He promises to protect and provide for the pack, something Victoria knows the pack needs for survival. His mysterious past is riddled with violence and death, including the slaughter of his entire family twenty years before. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and his son, Logan, is rumored to be her killer.

What is truth? Who can she trust? The desperate spirit of Arik’s murdered wife calls out for help, and Logan begs for assistance in clearing his name. Victoria must solve a murder that has pitted father against son, rooted in a mystery reaching back two decades. Her quest starts her on a journey from the human world to Odin’s Valhalla and back again.

Victoria will find salvation or face destruction beneath the Hunger Moon…

About the Author

A friend asked me once how I chose my pen name. I told her the following: “Melissa, because when people mix up my first name, it’s the most common goof up. Snark, because it amuses me. A) I love the word ‘snarky’ and B) I love Lewis Carroll.”

As an individual, I’m sarcastic, stubborn and blunt to a fault. I have a strange sense of humor and I like to laugh (usually at my husband or children), but also at myself. I’m not particularly extroverted, although I do enjoy time with my family and close friends a great deal.

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mom who writes in my spare time. I’ve got a B.S. from Arizona State University in Business, and I’ve worked a variety of different jobs, including as a medical device documentation specialist, a technical writer, and an auto liability adjuster.

I live in the San Francisco East Bay of Northern California with my husband, three kids, and three cats. My hobbies include roleplaying, cooking and reading.

Follow Melissa on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and her website. She also invites readers to email.

About the Reviewer

Lisa Lester lives in a humongous house with three cats, three dogs, two dudes (one of which she’s married to, the other one is a refugee from New Jersey) and a partridge in a pear tree…okay, just kidding about the pear tree.  And the partridge too. When she’s not working for the Man. she’s reading or killing stuff on World of Warcraft. She also enjoys nerdy things like Star Wars, crocheting, and pretty much any kind of music.

 

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Book Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover

Guest Review by Michelle Schaffer

Book Review This Girl by Colleen HooverFirst, let me say that the Slammed series is what made me love self-published authors. I came across Slammed when it popped up on my recommended reading list. I read it in one sitting and bought the second book before finishing the first. When I found out that This Girl was coming out, and it was a look back on the first book from Will’s point of view, I was counting the days and pre-ordered it the first day it was available. To say I had high expectations is an understatement, and I was a little anxious it wouldn’t live up to them. This Girl not only lived up to those expectations, it went beyond anything I could imagine.

This Girl is a look back on the beginning of Will and Layken’s (Lake) story and other parts in Will’s life that impacted them, all from Will’s perspective. It picks up immediately where Point of Retreat leaves off. Lake wants to understand what was in Will’s head when they met and everything that happened before today. “I have your future, now I want to know your past” as Lake says it. Will is hesitant to relive some very painful memories and open up on some things that Lake is unaware, but he concedes and begins to tell his side of the story. It flashes back to different stories of the past and brings you to the present to see the consequences.  As he explains his POV, it gives you the complete picture. It allows you to crawl in the mind of Will, to understand the what, when, why and how. When you read a book from one point of view, you make many assumptions as to why a story goes in one direction versus another; you wonder what is happening to the other side of the story. This Girl answers all those questions and in some of the most unexpected ways. It is written beautifully & executed perfectly. I had my doubts that it could work so well, I should know better to doubt Colleen, she is brilliant. I wanted so much to read Slammed and Point of Retreat again before reading This Girl, but I was impatient. Yet reading this took me back to some of my most favorite parts of their story, and some of the more painful parts. This book made me love Lake and Will even more. The book ends with a beautiful epilogue that made me laugh and cry.

Reading This Girl is bittersweet for me. I loved reading it, couldn’t put it down, and yet never wanted it to end. I am sad to see this brilliant series come to an end. I adored each character, each story line, and each butterflying word. (Yes, I meant to put butterflying and when you read the first book you will understand why)  If you have not read this series, you need to. This is not a standalone book, to understand the story you need to start from the beginning. The story is beautiful, heartbreaking, sad, joyous, and every emotion in between. And this book…THIS book, completed the story. I look forward to reading these books again & again for many years to come.

Book Review This Girl by Colleen Hoover

About the Book

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache. Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

About the Author

I love music. LOVE music. Namely The Avett Brothers, Lumineers, Pink, Eminem. I have eclectic taste? If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

I’m addicted to diet pepsi and could tell you in a taste-test which restaurant it came from. It’s a serious addiction, I tell you.

I get stoked whenever I get a message from goodreads saying I have a new friend request…so request me, dangit!

If you want to know when I have new books out or just want to be inundated by random, pointless blog posts, follow me at www.colleenhoover.com

Avoid my Twitter at all cost. It’s propaganda.

About the Reviewer

Michelle is a lover of books, all shapes and sizes, but a big sucker for a great romance and the search for a new fictional boyfriend! When not taking care of three demanding persons in her home, one being the man she married and the other two co-created with her husband, she works full time in a job that pays the bills. She dreams of down time to lose herself in another book since she has more books on her TBR list than she does food in her refrigerator.

Book Review: I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Guest Review by Tiff Nichols

Book review I've Got Your NumberEvery once in a while, a gal needs something light to read—a good, funny romance with endearing characters, hilarity, and hijinks. When I find myself pining for a fun read that really pulls me in, I turn to one of my favorite authors of romantic comedies, Sophie Kinsella. You might recognize her as the author of the popular Shopaholic series, but Kinsella has written quite a few hilarious standalone novels as well. The one I read most recently is I’ve Got Your Number.

Sophie Kinsella is a champ at creating lovable characters, and she doesn’t disappoint here. I adored Poppy Wyatt from the first chapter. She’s a bright, caring, and witty physiotherapist in London who is all set to marry Magnus Tavish, the man of her (and many other girls’) dreams. Like most of Kinsella’s female leads, Poppy finds herself the heroine in a comedy of errors.

During an afternoon tea with her girlfriends, Poppy manages to lose both her heirloom engagement ring and her cell phone in quick succession. As luck would have it, she finds a discarded phone in a trash bin. Poppy grabs the phone in a panic and gives the number to the hotel’s employees, who have promised to keep an eye out for her ring.

The hijinks begin immediately. Turns out the phone belonged to successful businessman Sam Roxton, whose personal assistant chucked the phone into the trash after abruptly quitting her job. Poppy convinces Sam to let her keep the phone until the hotel calls to tell her they’ve found her engagement ring. She soon finds herself immersed in Sam’s electronic life—both business and personal. Sam, of course, is none too happy about her snooping, but Poppy, with her wit, common sense, and desire to help in every situation, eventually becomes invaluable to Sam.

It was fun to watch the unconventional alliance develop between Poppy and Sam. They go from complete strangers, a bit annoyed at one another and reluctantly sharing a cell phone, to acquaintances who give each other advice via text and phone conversations.

The story is fun, the characters are endearing, and the laughs are abundant. There’s enough mystery on all fronts to keep you guessing throughout. Also, there are footnotes, a clever nod to Poppy’s distinguished and scholarly in-laws-to-be. (“Magnus says footnotes are for things which aren’t your main concern but nevertheless hold some interest for you. So. This is my footnote about footnotes.”) They’re filled with fun little tidbits that are intended as asides to the reader, e.g. “What kind of movie starts with a mother fish and all her little glowy eggs being eaten by a shark, FFS? It’s supposed to be for children.”

If you’re looking for a serious read that you can really think about, a protagonist who will be a role model for the ages, or something to satisfy your feminist side, this is one of the last books I’d recommend. But if you’re like me and enjoy the occasional jaunt to the land of “chick lit,” then I highly recommend I’ve Got Your Number. I give the book five monkeys, because anything that makes me stay up all night giggling and reading is worth it.

Book Review I've Got Your Number

About the Book

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill, but in the panic that follows, het phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents, she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

About the Author

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the bestselling Shopaholic series, as well as Twenties Girl, Remember Me?, The Undomestic Goddess, and Can You Keep a Secret? She lives with her husband and children in London, UK.

About the Reviewer

Tiffany Nichols is a writer, editor, and avid reader who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and two dogs.  She enjoys music, crocheting, craft beers, and not sharing her cell phone with strangers. You can find her at WriteEditRepeat.com.

Book Review: Amity of the Angelmen

Guest Review by Rachael Clipson

book review amity of the angel menAmity of the Angelmen by T. C. Slonaker is a book that keeps you on your toes.  It is a great book for those who just want a good read or for those struggling with their faith. I often found myself wondering if the story could actually happen or not. What if your best friend was half angel??

Amity, the main character,  has had a great life as the preacher’s daughter until she finds out some interesting news. It turns out she is God’s messenger.  She asks many of the same questions that I would ask if in that position. I found myself taking a walk in her shoes. I often thought, what if God is telling me to do that? She is a strong character, but has times where she is like any other teenager and can’t find hope in her situation. She has a great friend though that helps her find hope for her mission.

Mackenzie is a very young man trying to find his place in God’s plan. He happens to find himself in the middle of Amity’s mess when Mrs. Sheridan drags him to rid Her house of evil. He becomes Amity’s best friend and protector. He seems to be the only person she can turn to. But with Mackenzie becoming a priest he can’t have close secular relationships. Where will this leave him and Amity?

T. C. Slonaker has written a wonderful Christian mystery that leaves you begging for more! It makes you realize that God has a plan for you even if you don’t know what it is yet.
Book Review Amity of the Angelmen

About the Book

Amity David is not human, as the seventeen-year-old pastor’s daughter had thought she was. Her life has now been upturned and possibly set aright with the help of Mackenzie Abel, a young priest as conflicted about his calling as Amity is about hers. Blindly searching for answers together that will serve God’s intent, the two also struggle against feelings they have developed for one another. Can Amity trust the alleged angel who told her she is descended from a demon? Part of her hopes not because, if true, it means she is being called to help free others like her from the ties of her evil heritage through war. What happens when a being created out of evil, is called to fight on the side of good? And what if this evil being thinks she is a good person, only to find she is not even a person at all?

About the Author

Tracy enjoys her life as a wife and mother of three in just outside Reading, PA. She still has a soft spot for kids and an eagerness to use her degrees in Elementary Education by using them as Director of Christian Education at her non-denominational Christian church. She has also learned to love running, and has not given up her childhood fondness of sports (playing softball and watching football). She gives thanks to the Lord for all His good gifts. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and connect with her on Goodreads. You can find her book for purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, or the Martin Sisters Publishing website.

About the Reviewer

Rachael lives in a very small town in East Tennessee, where she attends Roane State Community College, majoring in Elementary Education. She loves to read whenever she gets the chance. You can follow her on Twitter @Rachy355.

Book Review and Author Interview: The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan

Guest Review and Interview by Jennifer Hensley

Book Review Lissa BryanThe End of All Things is a book that stays with you long after you finish reading it. When I picked up this book, I didn’t expect the beautiful love story that emerged. After finishing, I had to know more about the author and how this story came to be. She was gracious enough to answer my questions. I am excited to read the sequel to find out what is next for these beautiful characters.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I’ve always loved EOTWAWKI (End of the World as We Know It) books and movies, and just like I do with most subjects that interest me, I had to “write” my own post-apocalyptic story. The quotation marks are because, at the time, it was “written” in my mind. I never actually intended to write down any of my stories or try to publish them; it was only for my own amusement.

The inspiration often came from aspects that irked me in those stories, like people driving cars years after the disaster (no, the gas would go bad), or not thinking of simple things like water purification. It made me start thinking about how people would have to adapt to those situations. My imagination took flight from there.

I wanted my book to be about an ordinary girl in a horribly un-ordinary situation. The current trend has been for kick-ass heroines who can take on the whole world by themselves, thank you very much, and might shoot you just for the hell of it. And while I enjoy those stories, I’m more fascinated with the tales of people who aren’t prepared for anything, who have to find a core of strength inside themselves they never knew they had.

When Justin first finds Carly, she’s deeply in shock, not thinking clearly about her situation or what she needs to do to survive. He can tell she has fire and steel inside her, underneath that soft, naïve exterior, but she spends a good portion of the first novel discovering it. You’re going to see her come into her own in the sequel and learn to trust her own strength.

Did you personally identify with any of the characters?

I think I identify more with Justin because I have a similarly practical nature, and I over-prepare for everything.

I’d like to have some of Carly’s traits, such as her unyielding optimism. I share her love for animals and reading, but that’s about it

What kind of disease do you think was the cause of the apocalypse?

I envision it as a kind of weaponized super-flu.

Did you have any other agenda in mind when writing this book, such as advocating for vaccinations or dealing with governmental cover ups?

My sole agenda when I write a novel is to entertain. I’m always amazed at the messages readers tell me they took away from my stories. It makes me think of that old saying, An author only begins a book; the reader finishes it. We all see through different lenses and our areas of focus vary as well.

The only conspiracy theory I espouse is the one that says Truman Capote was the real author of To Kill a Mockingbird. I really like that one, and I refuse to let facts get in the way of it.

Did you do any traveling to Alaska to research the area for the book?

No, but I wish I could have! Visiting Alaska is on my bucket list. I relied on a friend who used to live there and Google Maps. The Street View function allowed me to “walk” alongside Carly and Justin for portions of their journey. I was even able to find topographical maps that told me whether they were going uphill or downhill. On a couple of occasions, I used tourists’ vacation photos to describe the interior of buildings. I went over that route so many times in the 3D simulation mode, I think I could probably walk from Skagway to Toad River blindfolded.

I tend to get a little pedantic about details like that. I had two sentences in the early portion of the novel where I mentioned Carly’s job and the fact she was calculating sales taxes on her purchases. I actually looked up the salary offerings on Juneau job postings and the cost of the average apartment rent to make sure she could afford it, and then checked to make sure there was sales tax in Juneau.

Will we get to read anymore about Carly and Justin or their daughter and how things changed for them once they made it to the South?

Yes. The End of All Things is actually the first half of a longer novel. I never know how long these things are going to be while they’re still inside my head, so I had confidently asserted to the acquisitions editor I could tell the whole story in under 120,000 words. Turns out I was wrong about that, so I ended it where it seems logical: as they completed one journey and were about to begin another.

I’m going to start writing the sequel this summer, as soon as I finish up the edits on my historical novel. I’m going to try to get it out as quickly as possible so readers don’t have to wait long. There will also be a collection of short stories coming out which has backstories on some of the characters, a couple of whom you’ll meet in the sequel.

My True Love is urging me to consider making it a series. He says, and I quote, “You know with parents like that, Dagny would grow up to be a real badass.

Who influenced you to become a writer?

Sylvain Reynard, actually. I read Gabriel’s Inferno in the fall of 2011 and when I went to Amazon to leave a review, I saw one reviewer state —rather scathingly— it had once been Twilight fan fiction. I had to go find out what that was.

It was like one of those moments of epiphany you see in movies where the sky opens up and golden sunlight pours down, and a host of heavenly angels sings the Hallelujah Chorus. I had discovered that other people re-wrote books and movies, too, and there were massive online communities devoted to it.

I’d never written anything before, unless you count the novels I’d “written” in my head over the years. It took me a while to talk myself into it, because I was afraid reviewers would be cruel. But the fan fiction community was incredibly supportive and kind. I started my first story in September and in February, I was contacted by a publisher. 2012 was a crazy year.

I sent Sylvain Reynard a thank you note a little while ago, and he was very kind and gracious in his response.

If you had 24 hours with nothing to do but read, what books would you read?

How many do I have to narrow it down to? My appetite for books is legendary, and I read everything from graphic novels to ancient Japanese literature. I have a library of non-fiction books on bizarrely esoteric subjects like ketchup, and the history of lawn care, and two sagging book cases filled with nothing but vampire romance novels.  I never know what I’m going to be in the mood to read.

Book Review The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan

About the Book

After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.

About the Author

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Find Lissa on her blog, her Facebook pageGoodreads profile, and follow her on Twitter. To buy the books, check Amazon.