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Review: On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane

The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her “lucky” break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.

And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane

Release Date: 27 December 2011
Read Date: 3 December 2011
Rating:

I’m torn. There are some brilliant aspects to this book but it was dreadfully slow. I dragged myself through because after figuring out the Meet Joe Black angle I was curious to know if it would end the same way. It didn’t. Actually, it took an unexpected yet not unwelcome turn that may not be liked by the masses.

Abbey is excellently portrayed. Her predicament: the ever-present crushing guilt over her mother’s death, the growing distance between her and her father, and her misplaced obsession with Nate (the jock who has an obsession of his own with mountain climbing) resulting from her inability to deal with her guilt, wallowing in it instead of moving on with her life. So she imagines this fictitious romantic relationship with him to help her deal with reality. It comforts her. Yes, it’s sort of creepy. She was one step away from becoming a full-on stalker but I understood her crush and empathised.

Her only company was her best friend Tanner but she hadn’t revealed much about her mother’s death and how she felt about it to him. He had his own hang-ups. He’d also been in a tragic accident but he hadn’t been so lucky; he was paralysed from the waist down and in a wheelchair. I enjoyed reading Tanner’s POV, witnessing how he was treated by others, how his relationships had suffered and the difference in how Abbey treats him. Without pity. She understands how it is for him without even asking.

‘Being loners might have drawn us together out of necessity, but it was our friendship that had made us strong enough to come out the other side.’

Kind of reminds me of The Dream-Maker’s Magic.

The story is all about Abbey’s transition. Realising that she’s tired of being unhappy, of pretending, lying and hiding. She wants to live. It’s a great message and I liked the method in which it was conveyed, reminiscent of Riders of the Apocalypse. Love, and the selfish versus the altruistic needs, wants and decisions we make based on that love were also expertly demonstrated. FYI, love’s a bitch.

“Dealing with guilt and grief doesn’t leave much room for anything else. I know about that dark stuff, but one day if you’re really lucky, you get tired of feeling bad all the time. It’s like a curtain opens and light comes in. First, it’s only a sliver. Then more.”

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Besides being slow I really struggled to remain interested whenever we joined Nate’s dangerous climb up the mountain. Since seeing Cliffhanger as a child I never even contemplated doing something so unnecessarily hazardous. Rescue teams must love those guys. Anyway, when the Angel of Death does his Joe Black thing to Nate I cringed at his interactions with Abbey. Perhaps it was realistic given her crush but the way she sort of accepted not-Nate’s behaviour was uncomfortable to read. I wanted her to push harder when she called him on it, which would’ve sped up proceedings.

Death had been dealt a bum hand, poor guy. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. As powerful as he was he couldn’t control everything and he wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. The mythology surrounding Death was intriguing. He’s sort of a swallower of souls, holding them inside him for safe-keeping until the day he’s the last one to die. But each soul changes him, for better or worse and this is what prompts him to make contact with Abbey. The ravens were a nice touch -suitably eerie.

As for the romance, well this is tricky. How much to say? There are three potential boyfriends, I guess. One from Abbey’s past, her present and future. And the most obvious is not the guy Abbey chooses, and I’m glad of this. Some might not be pleased but just this one aspect makes On a Dark Wing unique, for multiple reasons. The resolution at end was well done. I can definitely see people reacting in that manner to such an extraordinary situation although the lead-up to the climax was a little ludicrous.

Would I recommend this to anyone? Well, I didn’t hate this book and I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading it. In fact, I might warn them it’s slow but I’d encourage them to read to the end because I think the effort just might be worth it.

***Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.***

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Review: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

The island Republic has emerged from a ruined world. Its citizens are safe but not free. Until a man named Adam Forde rescues a girl from the sea. Fourteen-year-old Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s sat facing three Examiners and her five-hour examination has just begun. The subject is close to her heart: Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. In a series of startling twists, Anax discovers new things about Adam and her people that question everything she holds sacred. But why is the Academy allowing her to open up the enigma at its heart? Bernard Beckett has written a strikingly original novel that weaves dazzling ideas into a truly moving story about a young girl on the brink of her future.

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Release Date: 24 March 2009
Read Date: 18 November 2011
Rating:

Holy fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.

Firstly, I owe a huge thank you to Lyndsey’s review for inspiring me to read this because HOLY CRAP, HOOOOLY CRAP! This is the dystopian book to end all dystopian books. Doesn’t matter if you think this sort of thing isn’t for you, or if you’re disillusioned with the genre.

At the very least this book will make you THINK. Think about the state of humanity, its limitations and where it is heading. Think about the pursuit of happiness, our curiosity, our technological advances. If the world ended as we know it tomorrow and we had a chance to start again from scratch, could we truly create a utopian society? Could we succeed in creating something we could be proud of? Or are we a doomed species hopelessly cursed to repeat the same mistakes?

Brain power is needed to read this, especially for the Third Hour chapter because damn if that wasn’t a mind-bending philosophical debate regarding what it is to be human. I had to take a break to recharge the old batteries and when I returned to it…the jaw dropped and I had to re-read a paragraph because OH…MY…GOD I did not see That coming, That was a game changer, It brought a whole new meaning to what I had read.

Genesis is a small book, an expensive one, so expensive I decided to borrow it from the library but I must have a copy. It’s absolutely worth the money. This book may be less than 200 pages but you could write a dissertation on it. Seriously.

Don’t read up on this book, don’t research it, just find a copy and read the hell out of it. Go in blind and discover for yourself the reason why I have given this the highest possible rating.

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Review ~ Queenie’s Brigade by Heather Massey

Queenie’s Brigade by Heather Massey

Captain Michael Drake desperately needs an army to save Earth after a crushing defeat by alien invaders. When his damaged starship docks at a remote prison colony, he discovers Earth’s last best hope—an army to replace the one he lost.

But, Queenie, the feral goddess ruling the prison, has other plans for the rugged star ship captain. After imprisoning Drake and seizing his ship, she prepares to lead her blood-thirsty band to freedom before the invaders track them down.
Despite her intentions, Queenie secretly falls for the sexy, hotshot captain. Drake makes it plain he wants to win back Earth with her by his side. But is following her heart worth betraying her people?

The author provided some great bullets to pique your interest:

*a smart, charismatic, and honorable Alpha hero with a touch of angst
*a kick-butt Latina anti-heroine in search of redemption
*a biracial romance (of the enemies-to-lovers/opposites attract variety)
*high stakes & high-octane action-adventure space opera featuring underdog heroes (Think: THE DIRTY DOZEN in space.)

Heat Level: Sexual tension; one steamy love scene
Tone: Dark and edgy; strong language; graphic violence

She offers a free-preview of the first three chapters.  Once you read them, you’ll want to finish the story!

(PDF) (ePub) (Mobi)

The eBook is available for purchase from: (Red Sage) (Amazon) (Barnes & Noble)

You can visit the author at her website or check out more from Red Sage Publishing.

Release Date: 1 October 2011

Read Date: 19 October 2011

Rating:

Queenie’s Brigade introduces us to Michael Drake and Queenie.  We meet Starship Captain Drake when he’s retreating from a losing battle against a Calithian invasion against Earth. The last thing he wants to do is flee, but he does so because they may just be Earth’s only chance.

He and his remaining crew dock the damaged ship, Relentless (love the name) at a prison colony called Hades Station.  Queenie rules colony. When Drake’s ship lands, she quickly captures him and his men, then takes control of his ship. He begins to see an opportunity to rebuild the army he lost while she wants to free her people.  Will Queenie’s people and Drake’s space soldiers be able to work together?

Queenie’s Brigade was a good mix of sci-fi action and romance.  I read the three-chapter preview and couldn’t wait to read the rest.  I immediately liked (Michael) Drake.  The flashbacks of his loss were touching and helped the reader relate to him early on.  Queenie, while not blessed with the best name, was a wickedly fierce heroine who is strong, yet vulnerable and always looking out for her people.

I would like to follow these two as they continue their battles, if the author plans on turning this into a series.

Review: Hunting Human by Amanda Alvarez

❝For two years, Beth Williams has run from the past, and the beast that dwells inside her. She is haunted by memories of being kidnapped and the savage attack that killed her best friend. Now Beth finally thinks she’s ready to move on…with Braden Edwards, a charming, irresistibly sexy man who tempts Beth to embrace the present.

But the past lurks closer than Beth realizes. Markko Bolvek, one of the werewolves who kidnapped her, has tracked her to Portland, Oregon, his pursuit fueled by a hunger for vengeance. Only Braden, a werewolf himself, senses the danger shadowing her steps. The Edwards and Bolveks have been enemies for centuries—and despite the instant connection he feels with Beth, Braden isn’t sure which side of the war she’s on.

With suspicion at odds with their attraction, Beth and Braden must learn to trust one another to stop Markko for good. Can Beth accept the wolf within—and love a man who embodies everything she fears?❞

Read: 16 Mar 2011
Rating: 4/5✰

Details:

Kindle Edition
Published March 28th 2011 by Carina Press
ASIN#: B004MPRZGQ

Review:

Hunting Human is at times your typical “werewolf meets human he can’t resist” story and others an emotionally intense story about a girl who lost her closest friend (sister from another mother) in a brutal attack.

We are introduced to Beth (Elizabeth; Lizzy) and Rachel through Beth’s flashbacks of their trip through Europe. Liz being the responsible one of the two. As usual, she watched over Rachel while she partied a bit too hard at a local bar. While there, they attracted the wrong kind of attention from Markko Bolvek, a local werewolf. He abducts a not yet sober Rachel and Liz. She watches Rachel get attacked and killed before managing to escape.

Flash forward 2-3 years, Beth has spent much of her time back in the US wandering from one place to another, always looking over her shoulder and never settling down. Not until she gets a job at a local coffee shoppe and cafe in Portland, Oregon where she forms a bond with the shoppe’s owner, Angie and other employee. The two ladies make her laugh and without knowing it, help her get to a place emotionally where she can truly begin to rebuild her life.

Angie, a long-time mother-like figure in his life, tries to sway Braden Edwards’, from approaching Beth when she notices his peaked interest in her. She warns, “Not that one. She’s complicated. Not quick to socialize. There’s a past there. She’s not suited to casual romances.” But, he can’t resist. “He had to know her.”

Braden’s attempts to break through Beth’s shell as they get to know each other were adorable. He’s charming, handsome and funny. Beth’s equally nervous, this being her first date in three years. Their dates quickly turn hot as Braden spoiler – highlight to read:  s wolf’s attraction to her is unable to hold back. From there, things are hot and cold between the couple as Beth tries to overcome the horrors of her past and the discoveries they make of each other.

Past and present collide when the shadow Beth’s been hiding from emerges to have his revenge. There are a lot of things the couple haven’t shared about themselves when he appears, throwing their relationship into a spiral and neither is sure what will happen next. Or if it’s even possible to have a relationship at all.

Amanda Alvarez created a dark, emotional and steamy PNR that draws you in and keeps you intrigued throughout. I’d definitely read another book by this author. I also hope that this may turn into a series. I’d really enjoy seeing more of Braden’s family, who were a great addition to the story. Especially Lucy, Braden’s sister, who quickly fills the whole in her heart left by losing Rachel. Of course, I wouldn’t mind reading more about his brothers either.

This was a free NetGalley ARC.