Tricky Twenty-Two – Janet Evanovich: Review

This book was checked out from my local library’s ebook collection.
Also this is going to be an atypical review.

Tricky Twenty-Two – Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum Series
Publication Date: November 17th, 2015
Genre(s): Cozy Mystery, Romance, Humor
Format Read: Kindle (304 pages)
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
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Stephanie Plum might not be the world’s greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she’s being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren’t adding up, and Stephanie can’t shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college—and it’s not just Zeta fraternity pranks.

As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it’s good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken’s killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

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So this novel along with the entire Stephanie Plum series as a whole is a little off what I usually blog about here but this series is my guilty pleasure and this book just reinstated that fact even more so for me. I will never get tired of Stephanie and her shenanigans. I will never get tired of the Hot as hell Morrelli and the even hotter Ranger. I still continue to laugh just as much with each new addition to this series as I did with the first few and I still find myself in shock with all the crazy ways Stephanie destroys cars.

I know that a lot of people got tired of this series and the seeming lack of growth in the characters after the first 5 or so books but I continue to love the series with each addition. There are a few main reasons for that though:
This is the series that got me back into reading.

Throughout high school I read very little outside of the required reading for classes, with the twilight series being pretty much the only exception at the time. (Don’t judge I was part of the twilight generation, they came out while I was in high school) After high school and a bad break up I moved in with my mom and to help distract me she took her stack of Stephanie Plum books and handed them to me. I blew through all of the books in the series at the time that I was left craving more. If it wasn’t for  this series it might have been many more years before I had my love for reading reignited.

This series is a slump killer.

With the humorous happening that go on in Stephanie’s day to day life that will make you actually laugh out loud and the fact that they are quick reads make the books in this series perfect for getting out of a reading slump. I have read a number of the books in this series multiple times and I know for a fact that if I am ever in a really bad slump I can just pick up one of the many books in this series and kill my slump with ease.

Any of the books in this series can be read as a standalone.

This series was cleverly written as to where each book has a certain small amount of background info on Stephanie, her job, her family and her love life required without feeling like you are missing out if you never read more than the one book. Also each book ties up in a fairly neat little bow that leave you not feeling like you have to pick up the next book because there is ultimately no cliffhanger!
About The Author

Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O’Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.

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Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: Review

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Genre(s): YA Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
Format Read: Hardcover (599 pages)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5)
Goodreads Link

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
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Illuminae is in fact just as unique as everyone says, but more so in the sense of its formating then anything else. The fact that this novel was told through hacked documents was really what made it work for me, if it had been formated like a traditional novel it would not have worked nearly as well. This book was super actioned pack which was both a pro and con. I really enjoy when a book is full of action because it keeps me interested in the story but Illuminae almost had too much going on all at the same time which made it a little hard to follow. Luckily by the end of the book all of the confusion had pretty much been straightened out.

My major problem with this novel was the fact that the characters felt a little to flat to me. Kady came off a little arrogant which overpowered the fact that she was supposed to be a strong kick-ass female lead. The relationship between Kady and Era, her ex-boyfriend, came of a little superficial because we never got enough background information to really fall in love with the thought of them as a couple. With the fact that their world had been attacked other than each other everyone else they were close to were either dead or of unknown status you would think they would work together instead of having petty little arguments. The final focus character was AIDAN, the AI aboard Battlecarrier Alexander. Words cannot even begin to describe how confusing AIDAN in general made the story. I mean I get it, a CRAZY AI is a real big concern for people but this AI went above and beyond normal AI crazy and went on to Skynet level crazy scary. That would have been fine but then we have an AI trying to figure out the meaning of its existence… This was a seriously unneeded addition to the already over confusing book.

I really wanted to be in love with this book and while I did enjoy it for the most part the flat characters and overly action packed novel was just too much. I really and truly believe that the hype and the fact that it is not a very common style of formatting have been the key players in this books success so far. It’s never a good thing when I, as a reader, feel like this book would have been a flop if it was classically formatted. Even though I wanted much more from this book I will probably still read the next book in the trilogy to see if the authors fix some of what the flaws that were presented in this book but I now know better than to purchase a copy of the next book and will wait until it is available at my local library to read it.
About The Author

Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE LOTUS WAR, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE. He is a winner of multiple Aurealis Awards, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over twenty-five countries, most of which he has never visited. Being the holder of an arts degree, he has no education to speak of. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.
He does not believe in happy endings.

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Liquid – Casey L. Bond: Review

Liquid – Casey L. Bond
Publication Date: September 8th, 2015
Genre(s): YA Fantasy Short Story
Format Read: Paperback (100 pages)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5)
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Water can give life. Water can take life away. Merra has a very unique talent: the ability to control and manipulate water. Some call her a witch. Most are afraid of her. No one truly understands her power, including her. She’s been held captive for most of her life. Liquid is in her veins. Does evil course through them as well? Liquid is a novella from award-winning author Casey L. Bond.

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Liquid is a very interesting short story/novella that follows Merra, a girl that has the ability to control and manipulate water. I loved the concept behind Liquid but felt like it was almost a little too rushed, I really think it could have used another 50 or so pages so it didn’t feel as though it was pretty much “here is the MC, here is some back story mixed with the conflict, and it’s over.”
This was the first of Casey’s work I have read and while I wish it would have been longer I loved her writing style and am really excited to read more from her!

About The Author

Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.

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Zach’s Lie Series – Roland Smith: Series Review

This review is going to be different than one of my normal reviews, normally I would review each book individually but I decided that with how old these books are that it would be easier to do a series review. 

The Zach’s Lie series is one that I read back in middle school and loved; So when I came across both books at the thrift store I knew I had to pick them up and do a re-read of them to see if my opinion had changed in the last 10 years.

Zach’s Lie – Roland Smith
Series: Zach’s Lie #1
Publication Date: April 28th, 2003
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre(s): Young Adult Realistic Fiction, Suspense, Adventure
Format Read: Paperback (211 pages)
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Goodreads Link

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Jack Osborne’s life changes forever the night men in masks break into his house, threaten Jack and his family, and ransack their home. Jack then discovers the reason these men have come into their lives-his father has been arrested for drug trafficking.

Jack, his mother, and his sister are then forced to enter Witness Security Program. Jack becomes “Zach” and moves to Elko, Nevada, a town in the middle of nowhere. There he meets Sam, the strangest school custodian he has ever encountered, and Catalin, a girl who might make Zach’s uprooting worth the trouble. But just as Zach finally begins to piece together a new life, he finds himself in danger again-and this time his actions could determine the fates of everyone he cares about.

Jack’s Run – Roland Smith
Series: Zach’s Lie #2
Publication Date: April 1st, 2007
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre(s): Young Adult Realistic Fiction, Suspense, Adventure
Format Read: Paperback (246 pages)
Rating:★★★★☆ (4/5)
Goodreads Link

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When Jack Osborne’s father was arrested for drug trafficking, he agreed to tell the authorities everything he knew about his ex-boss, the ruthless drug czar Alonzo Asnar. But betraying a man as powerful as Alonzo has consequences. The Osbornes have spent the last year in hiding, forced to take on new identities and live under the close surveillance of the Witness Security Program.

Now, with his trial date fast approaching, Alonzo’s hunt for Jack’s family intensifies. One slip up, and Alonzo will find them, making sure no Osborne survives to testify against him. Jack has messed up once before, and he won’t do it again. Unfortunately, someone else in the family hasn’t been as careful .

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The Zach’s Lie series follows Jack Osborne and his family after his father is arrested for drug trafficking. After Jack’s father is arrested the man he was working for comes after Jack, his mother and sister to keep his father from talking; this leads the Osbornes to be put into the Witness Security Program aka Witness Protection. I really enjoyed Roland Smith’s Zach’s Lies series and how it was written in third person as to not feel as though it was only focused on Jack, but all the focus characters. Between the two novels you really get to fall in love with the focus characters and start to hate the different bad guys involved. I like that Roland wrapped the series up in a neat little bow because it works perfectly for the age range this book was written for.

I’m glad that after 10 years that I still connected with this series and even though my reading level has progressed since I originally read them I didn’t feel as though the writing style was to simplistic for audiences outside the target audience to enjoy.

About The Author

Roland Smith is an American author of young adult fiction as well as nonfiction books for children.
Smith was born in Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Portland State University and, following a part-time job at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, began a 20-year career as a zookeeper, both at the Oregon Zoo and the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington.

After working to save wildlife following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in 1990, he published his first book, Sea Otter Rescue, a non-fiction account of the process of animal rescue. Smith continued to draw upon his zoo experiences for other non-fiction titles, including Journey of the Red Wolf, which won an Oregon Book Award in 1996.
In 1997, Smith published his first novel, Thundercave. The book continues Smith’s theme, as teenage protagonist Jacob Lansa follows his biologist father to Africa where the father is researching elephants. The Lansa character also appears in 1999’s Jaguar and 2001’s The Last Lobo.

Other novels by Smith include The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe, Zach’s Lie, Jack’s Run, Cryptid Hunters, Sasquatch (novel), about a boy who searches for Bigfoot. Peak, the story of a teenage boy obsessed with climbing mountains, Elephant Run and Tentacles(novel). In 2008, Smith published the first book in the series I, Q, titled Independence Hall.

Smith’s books have won “Book of the Year” awards in Colorado, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida, as well as in his native Oregon. Smith lives in Tualatin, Oregon with his wife and stepchildren.

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Genesis Girl – Jennifer Bardsley: ARC Review

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Genesis Girl – Jennifer Bardsley
Series: Blank Slate
Publication Date: June 14th, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Genre(s): Young Adult Dystopia, Science Fiction
Format Read: Kindle (280 pages)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Goodreads Link

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Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders.
Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.
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The concept that was presented by Jennifer Bardsley in Genesis Girl was fairly interesting and caught my attention right away. I enjoyed the world she created in where a small group of people never use technology and therefore have no virtual footprint. Upon Blanca and her classmates of Tabula Rasa School’s graduation they are sold off to bidders. The lack of a virtual footprint is appealing to companies because they get say over what gets shared of the Vestals and because of this they don’t have to worry about any bad publicity attached to the people representing them and their products.

When Blanca is purchased by an individual instead of a company she doesn’t know what to think. But when Cal McNeal, her purchaser, realizes just how horrifyingly obedient Blanca is he is worried for her.

Bardsley created a wonderful world and well developed characters. I was hooked very quickly and loved learning more about Blanca and the other characters but as I reached the 70% mark the storyline started to fall a little flat for me. I know that is probably the point that it got action packed for some readers but I felt as it was a little too predictable and drawn out and that is why I had to go with a 3 star rating instead of something higher.

Overall Bardsley did a wonderful job with this book but parts of the ending just didn’t work for me.

About The Author

Jennifer Bardsley is the author of GENESIS GIRL. She also writes the column “I Brake for Moms” for the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily Herald and blogs at Teaching My Baby to Read. Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and a member of SCBWI. She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA.

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Ballistic (Icarus #2) – Aria Michaels: ARC Review

I recieved an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ballistic – Aria Michaels
Series: Icarus Series #2
Publication Date: June 1st, 2016
Genre(s): YA Dystopian & Science Fiction
Format Read: Kindle (412 pages)
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Goodreads Link

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It’s been three days since Solar Storm Icarus silenced the world…three days since the GRS virus wiped out most of humanity and started changing the few who remained. Liv and the others made it through the initial wave, but they’ve lost a lot along the way and the journey to Salvation is far from over. A rogue military organization has taken hold of the area and they possess a weapon that could change everything.

When Liv finds out her brother and the other refugees are being held captive at Camp Seco, she will risk everything to get him back. As the group embarks upon a dangerous rescue mission, a rival band of survivors threatens their safety and a new storm gathers overhead. The virus has spread and the infected are being drawn together. What’s worse, the beast that lurks inside of Liv is growing stronger and more difficult to control. But Liv has a promise to keep–and her little brother is running out of time.

Will Liv be able to harness her strength to save her brother and the hundreds of other innocents beyond the walls of Camp Seco, or will she let the monster out and put them all at risk?

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If you haven’t read Killshot pick up your copy today!
Killshot (Icarus #1)
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I was hooked on Aria Michaels writing since I finished Killshot last year. So when I got the chance to be on of the advance readers for Ballistic I was overcome with excitement!

Ballistic was wonderfully written and picked up perfectly from where Killshot ended, mere days after Icarus hit and silenced the world. Liv and her group of friends are doing their best to survive and find Liv’s younger brother. Though both tasks prove to be more difficult then one would hope when they encounter the after effects of Icarus and other survivors. With each new obstacle that they encounter Liv slowly loses hope of finding her brother alive, but Riley knows somehow that Lucas is fine and they will find him.

Ballistic met every hope I had when I finished Killshot last year. Aria roped the readers in with ease for another 400 pages of adventure while building on the fantastic world she created in the first book. She also did a wonderful job of letting the readers have a deeper look at the characters that were carried over from book one while introducing new character with grace.

The Icarus Series is sure to be a hit for years to come and I am excited to see where the series takes the reader with each new installment in the series. I highly recommend this series to everyone that enjoys a good YA Dystopian series.
About The Author
Aria Michaels

Aria Michaels is the author of the Best-Selling young adult dystopian novel Killshot (Icarus Series, Book One) as well as its companion novella, Before the Sky Fell.

In addition to her career as an author, Aria Michaels is an avid reader, die-hard zombie fan and enthusiastic lover of bonfires and red wine. When she is not glued to her computer pouring out the voices in her head, Aria can be found playing in the dirt with her boys, painting, or binge-watching The Walking Dead with her husband. Don’t let her mild-mannered smile fool you…this woman has lofty ambitions that include complete global domination. She is determined to live in a world where every pair of yoga pants comes with a free book, an iced caramel macchiatto and a magic force-field that repels the sound of screaming children (of which she has six).

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