May 28, 2014

Artificial Gods by Thomm Quackenbush

This is Book 3 in the Night’s Dream series.

When Jasmine sees a mysterious UFO hovering over her back yard, things start getting very weird for her.

Men in all black suits show up at her door demanding photographs of the UFO that she did not take.
She discovers they may not be after her alone. Her sister Chrys and Chrys’s friend Dylan may also be in trouble. They receive weird visits from people they do not know and they experience lost time.

When they come face to face with a reptilian that calls himself Gideon, everything starts to fall into place.
They visit a doctor who conducts hypnotism on the three to try to figure out what has happened to them during their lost time.

After this, Jasmine discovers that her sister may not be who everyone thinks she is. There may be a dark secret deep within her.

Gideon enlists the help of Jasmine to destroy the “Grays” [aliens] because he can’t do it himself.

This book seemed to go on a lot longer than it really needed to. There were a lot of chapters that I felt could have been shorter and a lot of information was given that was not helpful to the story. The ending especially seemed to drag on.
If anything, the book should have ended right after the fair. It would have left some things up to the imagination.

The three main characters from the first two books were reintroduced at the end of this one, but I felt their appearance was really unnecessary. It didn’t add anything to the story for me and made the ending more confusing.

The first half of the book flowed a lot nicer than the previous two books, but as it reached the end, the writing felt forced.

The one plot point that I found really interesting was the suggestion that people see things because they really believe in them, and people can be forced to see anything if belief is pushed onto them. 

I never really got attached to any of the characters in this one either. I kept reading more to just find out what happened and to finish the series rather than because I cared about the characters.

3/5 stars. The plot was more interesting than the first two, but it fell short in the end.

May 21, 2014

Danse Macabre by Thomm Quackenbush

Danse Macabre is the second book in the Night’s Dream Series.

The four main characters are back – Roselyn, Shane, Eliot and Dryden.

Dryden likes to role-play as a vampire. He has a whole clan that is in on it with him. They believe they are vampires, but they also believe that real, bloodsucking vampires are a myth.

That is, until Dryden is converted into one. He isn’t like the rest though. He doesn’t feel the need to kill people in order to get blood. He would rather drink from an animal than from a human, but that is not how it works in the world of the undead.

When he escapes captivity from his makers, they set out to hunt him down and will collect everyone he loves in the process.

Shane gets mistaken for Roselyn and is captured. Roselyn, Dryden, Eliot and Noah must all work together to try to save her before the vampires end up killing her.

As Dryden feels himself becoming more bloodthirsty and violent, he must find a way to halt his urges before anyone close to him is hurt.

I feel like there was better character development in this one compared to book one. They all had their own arcs and personalities. Whereas, in the first book, everyone meshed together for me; it was hard to get connected to them.

Seth was an extremely likable unlikable character. The reader isn’t supposed to like him at first, and he is written well to make you appreciate him.

The plot and flow of the story made a lot more sense to me in this one than the first one did. I was able to follow along pretty well. It also helped that I knew who the characters were from the first novel.

Even for a book about vampires, I was a little surprised by the amount of blood that was in it. I am not used to the genre though, so I don’t know whether it is more or less than the norm.

3/5 stars

Bitter Orange by Marshall Moore

After having his life turned upside down by 9/11, Seth leaves his lavish lifestyle behind to move all of the way across the country to start his life all over again. He has a roommate named Sang-Hee who is the only person who knows about his secret. Seth can become invisible, and if he is not invisible, he can deceive people into believing whatever he says. He is able to pay for an iPod with only a few dollars, and he is able to steal chips from a casino in Vegas. Seth can do basically anything he wants, but is that enough for him?

Seth was an interesting guy. He touches on the topic of having a good job in New York City that he left after 9/11. He doesn’t go into detail about it at first, so the reader isn’t completely sure what he had done in his past. Once I learned more about Seth, he became an even more unique and interesting character that was fun to read about.

Sang-Hee was a great supporting character. I liked their conversations. They flowed well, had good chemistry, and were mostly funny. Sang-Hee could have had a bigger role, but he was also good as he was presented.

I liked how Marshall Moore incorporated gay characters into the book. The main characters are gay, but that isn’t the storyline. I feel that a lot of the books I have read in the past with LGBT protagonists, the writer relies on this to form the story. They are usually love stories. But, in Bitter Orange, it was almost like it was a side note, “Oh, by the way, Seth is gay. Now lets move on with the story.”
With the push for more diverse characters in books, I feel this book should be mentioned more just for that reason alone.

The storyline really kept me hanging on until the end. I had to figure out if the reason for Seth’s sudden powers were ever explained, and they were. It was nothing like I was imagining, but I didn’t really have any theories in mind to begin with. It was a nice surprise, and the twist at the end was a little crazy.

It definitely leaves it open to a sequel.

3.5/5 stars. A little slow at times, but it is ultimately worth the read.

May 20, 2014

Touch of Heat by J.D. Foxx

This is the first book in a three-part series.

Used to things going terribly wrong in his life, Gage has a renewed sense of hope when he lands a job that brings in a lot of money.

He sells his body as a high-class escort in Los Angeles.

His clients are wealthy women looking to escape their lives for a few hours, and it pays very well.

Isabella is an investigative reporter. She tracks criminals and works with local police to get her stories.
When her sister goes missing, and the only clue is a business card is for the escort service, she decides to go undercover and join in as an escort. She believes she may be able to find some leads through working for the same place as her sister did before she disappeared.

Gage and Isabella are hired to go on an assignment together to entertain a very wealthy couple.
Upon arrival, Isabella has a sneaking suspicion that this may be where her sister has been taken and that she is being held hostage.
In an attempt to find her, she stumbles upon a scene that she should not be witnessing and she gets caught!

The book ends here. It does not explain who has found her, and it hints at what she saw.
For a book that is mainly dominated by Gage’s sexual encounters, the plot itself was really interesting and suspenseful. I want to know what happened next and if Isabella is able to find her sister.

The book is already short, but the writing flows so well that it seems like a quick and easy read.

The chemistry between Gage and Isabella is instant and it makes for some humorous dialogue along the way.

It would be good to read if you have an afternoon off.

4/5 stars

May 9, 2014

Unlucky 13 by James Patterson

Unlucky 13 follows each member of the women’s murder club as they deal with their own encounters with criminals.

LINDSAY BOXER – Lindsay is dealing with some of the most gruesome crime scenes that she has seen yet. Someone is placing capsules in food that react with stomach acid causing an explosion within the victim. They die instantly as their insides are blown out. She and her partner Conklin follow different leads that take them to a hamburger joint.
With the bad guy asking for more money each time a bomb goes off and setting off bombs with greater frequency, Lindsay and Conklin have to work quick to discover who is behind it before more innocent people have to die.

YUKI – Happy and in love, Yuki gets married to Brady. Everything is going great until they depart on their honeymoon. All too quickly it becomes a matter of life or death when their boat is taken over by madmen who kill an innocent passenger for every hour that goes by without them getting paid.

CINDY – Mackie Morales has resurfaced, and Cindy sees this as the story of a lifetime. She takes a tip that Lindsay gives her by mistake and she runs with it, tracking Mackie halfway across the country. By the time Cindy arrives and notifies local authorities, Mackie is already back on the move. Once she discovers that Cindy is on her tail, she decides that it is finally time to get her revenge on Lindsay for being the reason her love Mr. Fish died. Will Cindy be able to warn Lindsay before her life is at stake?

This one was a little different from the others in the series. I, and presumably most other fans, am used to the group working together to figure out a case. This time, they all had their own to worry about. The only exception was Claire. She was helping with the “Belly Bomb” case that Lindsay was assigned to because it was taking place in her area.

That being said, it was almost like it was 3 times the thrill. It was three different storylines that all intertwined and affected each party differently.  
It lacked the intensity that some of the other books have, but it did not take away from the entertainment of reading it.

I expected to read a little more about Lindsay’s life as a new mom, but I guess I will have to wait for #14. There was too much going on in this one for her to settle down and have time at home.

I can’t believe I have to wait another year for the next one!

4.5/5 stars

Memorable quotes: “Darlin’, here’s to the best sex, best friends, and the best times,  for the whole of your lives.”