Sunday, January 25, 2015

First Frost (Waverley Family #2)

Sarah Addison Allen

It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.
Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

The Waverley women all have special gifts. Claire’s gift comes via the food she bakes - maybe a cake to make someone fall in love. Sister Sydney’s gift has to do with hairdressing - perhaps a style that will make someone jealous. Daughter Bay’s gift is the ability to see where things belong - someone unhappy in their job and she can tell what direction they need to take. Finally, cousin Evanelle has the gift to see what someone needs - something as simple as a wooden spoon.

I found First Frost to be light and heartwarming. Even though they have special abilities, the Waverley women’s lives are not without troubles. I liked the way they supported each other. Their intentions are good and at the heart of things, they want to do right. The author has created likeable characters and written them into a very enjoyable read. This was my first Waverley family book, but it will not be my last!

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Deep

Nick Cutter

A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

A new disease has struck planet earth that make people become totally forgetful. There is one last hope for a cure, and it lies eight miles below the ocean. Scientist have been down there doing research and all of a sudden, there is no communication from them. Luke, the brother of one of the scientist, is sent down to try to find out what is going on.

My Thoughts
As I sat down to starting reading The Deep, I remember thinking to myself - how cool would it be to be eight miles down to the ocean floor? By the time I finished the book, I decided - NOT!

Boy does Nick Cutter have a talent for creepiness. I like that his stories do not fit the status quo. If I tried to explain what that means, I fear I would give away what I thought were the best parts of the story. Suffice it to say, everything does not end up all neat and tidy. There were parts when my heart was beating in my throat from the suspense.

I was fortunate to read Mr. Cutter’s first book, The Troop. Having now read his second, I can tell you I really like his style. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Many thanks to Gallery, Threshold Pocket Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Distance (Charlotte Alton #1)

Helen Giltrow

Charlotte Alton is an elegant socialite. But behind the locked doors of her sleek, high-security apartment in London's Docklands, she becomes Karla. Karla's business is information. Specifically, making it disappear. She's the unseen figure who, for a commanding price, will cover a criminal's tracks. A perfectionist, she's only made one slip in her career—several years ago she revealed her face to a man named Simon Johanssen, an ex-special forces sniper turned killer-for-hire. After a mob hit went horrifically wrong, Johanssen needed to disappear, and Karla helped him. He became a regular client, and then, one day, she stepped out of the shadows for reasons unclear to even herself. Now, after a long absence, Johanssen has resurfaced with a job, and he needs Karla's help again. The job is to take out an inmate—a woman—inside an experimental prison colony. But there's no record the target ever existed. That's not the only problem: the criminal boss from whom Johanssen has been hiding is incarcerated there. That doesn't stop him. It's Karla's job to get him out alive, and to do that she must uncover the truth. Who is this woman? Who wants her dead? Is the job a trap for Johanssen or for her? But every door she opens is a false one, and she's getting desperate to protect a man—a killer—to whom she's inexplicably drawn. Written in stylish, sophisticated prose, The Distance is a tense and satisfying debut in which every character, both criminal and law-abiding, wears two faces, and everyone is playing a double game. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Charlotte Alton wears many different masks as she works to hide peoples pasts. When she gets too involved with a client, the job starts to unravel. Who will make it out alive?

Not for the faint of heart! There were a few gruesome parts at the beginning of this book that almost made me put it down. Fortunately I decided to continue reading and I am very glad I did. Ms. Giltrow really has a talent for building suspense. She creates very strong characters that you will either like or dislike. The story became quite the page turner with lots of plot twists. I thought this was an excellent debut. Certainly an author to check out if you like action packed thrillers. It will be interesting to see where she takes this character in future books.

I’d like to thank Doubleday, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Golden Son (Red Rising #2)

Pierce Brown

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom.

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts
Darrow lives is a world where people are segregated by color. As a Red, Darrow worked in the mines. As part of a group who want to overthrow the upper echelon, he is made to look like a Gold and has successfully ensconced himself within the Gold environs. Now, he must work from within to move plans forward for the revolution.

Whew - what a ride this was. For every step forward Darrow is able to make for the revolution, something happens that forces him backwards. This story was also an emotional roller coaster because as a Gold, Darrow has now made friends with other Golds and is sometimes conflicted with what path to take. The author really had some outstanding plot twists. Friends become enemies and vice versa. And the ending - oi!

I strongly suggest reading book #1, Red Rising, before reading Golden Son. It is crucial to get all the players straight and the set up for that is in book one. Mr. Brown really left us with a cliff hanger and I am looking forward to reading the final book in this very creative trilogy.

Many thanks to Random House-Del Rey Spectra, via Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.