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Reviews Written by
M. Rodriguez "Lely" RSS Feed (Chicago, IL United States)

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Begin With Goodbye Vol 1
Begin With Goodbye Vol 1

4.0 out of 5 stars Full of emotion!, December 13, 2013
ARC provided via NetGalley for honest review.

This was extremely short, being 19 pages and all, yet it was the best first 19 pages! I was completely impressed with how many emotions were conveyed so far and how quickly it got to the point. As the synopsis mentions, Samantha has been away at college and has returned to attend her sister’s funeral. We get Samantha’s POV as to why she is so ticked off with her sister’s husband as well as her mother and father. You can tell by the way it ended there will be plenty of drama and that it is definitely a complicated story. I really enjoyed it and I definitely want to read the rest of the installments to come.

Beg: The Submission Series #1 (Songs of Submission)
Beg: The Submission Series #1 (Songs of Submission)
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start!, December 13, 2013
ARC was provided via NetGalley for an honest review.

We meet Monica, a singer of a band, but like most artists is finding it hard to make a decent living on just the arts/music alone. While waitressing at a hotel, she meets Jonathan who is hot, intriguing and persuasive. Monica has sworn off men until after she makes it big in music but yeah, that seems to all go out the window when Jonathan proves to be too enticing to pass up on. So the adventure begins!

This read was many things. It was funny, quirky at times, sexy and definitely a page turner. Oh, and the hot was definitely HOT. Monica had my eyes rolling galore the first chapter or so but I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself overall. I ended this first installment wanting to pick up the next one right away.

Pumpin Blood
Pumpin Blood
Price: $1.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Love!, November 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Pumpin Blood (MP3 Music)
This song is just great! I love the beat and how unique the voices are. Thank you to Dancing With The Stars for bringing me here.

Breathless (Elemental)
Breathless (Elemental)
Price: $1.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathless... Yes, indeed., September 6, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, I did NOT read the synopsis. I requested this bad boy from NetGalley and dove right in the moment I was approved. I suggest you all do the same. Skip the synopsis and just dive right in because, lord almighty, you will NOT be disappointed.

This bad boy earned every single star I gave it. It was definitely a great read. Kemmerer veered off the path that many a fan thought she was traveling and instead traveled a twisted road the entire time. This read had me on my toes and not once did I dare think I had guessed the ending. The writing was a bit different as well, which made for a more interesting and exciting read.

There is definitely more to Nick Merrick. I loved him before and I love him even more now. I'm not sure if he'll get his own book but I sure hope he does with a lot more air elemental. This book was more about self-discovery and acceptance for both Nick and Quinn and not much about Nick's powers.

I'm definitely more excited about the series, since this was a game changer of sorts, but not too excited about Hunter's book. Sorry, not too much of a Hunter fan.

ARC was provided by Kensington Teen via NetGalley.

The Siren's Secret (The Shapeshifter's Secret)
The Siren's Secret (The Shapeshifter's Secret)
by Heather Ostler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.29
28 used & new from $9.72

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Siren's Secret..., September 6, 2013
Heather Ostler has been blessed by the cover gods once again. It's another awesome cover!

With said, sadly, my excitement ends there.

I mentioned in my last review that I thought this series had loads of potential. Essentially, this is the story of a teenage girl who finds out that she is a Shapeshifter, comes from a long line of royalty and was born in a world full of magic.

I had high hopes for the first book and although I wasn't thoroughly impressed by the end of that book, I still found myself intrigued enough to read book two, The Siren's Secret.
Again, I found myself awed with the cover and the synopsis and only hoped beyond hope that the writing had improved. It didn't and this saddens me. Writing is more than just putting words and ideas together. It's about making the reader feel a connection, transporting the reader into a world that is very real in the author's head and heart to the point the reader believes that world is real.

I felt a huge disconnect throughout the entire book. There are a lot of characters in this book and we are supposed to believe that many of them are emotionally tied to one another, like best friends, family, and love interests. Not once did I ever feel like these emotions, these bonds, were real.
We are to believe that Julia will one day rise up to lead her people. I'm sorry; I can't see that happening at all. Julia is the biggest brat and the most immature character I've read in a long time. There is nothing about this child that screams leader or anything at all that a leader possesses, like common sense.

Sirens are awesome and I liked how they were incorporated into the story. I just didn't like how Julia was incorporated into the Siren's story. In fact Julia ruined the whole Siren experience for me. She focused on all the wrong things, in my opinion. Julia's new world is in the middle of a very real war. Her dad is targeted to be killed all the time. She finds out that she has a connection with the Siren community. Tell me why the only thing that bothers her for at least half the book is that she is destined to be without a husband. Of all the questions she could have asked a seer of sorts, she asks if she is truly destined to be alone. She didn't think to ask if she will be a good leader, how the war will turn out... I don't know anything but will she be married one day.

It was disappointing. This is the girl that is supposed to lead a whole world.

Finally, the most frustrating part of this whole thing is that once again this world is oozing of Harry Potter. It's not an attempt to re-create the feeling of Harry Potter; it's an attempt to be Harry Potter by changing a few details plus editing a huge chunk of that series so that it may fit into three books in this series. That huge disconnect I wrote about earlier, it has something to do with the book feeling really rushed. When I stopped to think about the whole thing, the only thing that made sense was that the rush was due to trying to incorporate a whole bunch of things that would normally happen in like seven books, to happen in three.

The similarities are just insane at this point and it really upsets me.

I hate writing these kinds of reviews but I have to be honest. I won't be reading book three in the series.

An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.

Fat Girl
Fat Girl
by Carlos Batts
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.68
43 used & new from $15.60

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brave and Inspiring, September 6, 2013
This review is from: Fat Girl (Paperback)
Fat Girl

There is no doubt that those two words carry power. It doesn't matter who thinks or says the two words or in what context they are saying it, those two words carry power. So naturally it caught my attention while on Netgalley and so I downloaded it.

April Flores struggled with her self-image for a very long time. She was never comfortable being in her own skin because she was constantly aware that society wouldn't allow her to be. That was until one day she decided enough was enough and made discovering that comfort her main priority. We join her on her journey via intimate thoughts and photos.

The writing was good. You really did get the feeling that you were walking down memory lane. An ambiance was created which was a bit dark, sultry and sad. At least it was for me and it was only for the first half of the book.

The photos were impressive and diverse. There is no doubt that April Flores is beautiful. You got to see her at different locations with different outfits rocking different hairstyles and hair color. What remained constant was the show of confidence that radiated off of April. Confidence was sexy as hell.

The second half of the book does take on a turn which I sure as heck wasn't expecting. I was reading this book in my car, which was parked right outside of my son's school, as I was waiting for him to get out. Imagine my freak out moment when I turn the page on my reader and it has naked people staring back at me. Doing the deed. Ooo wee! I sure did turn off the screen at master speed and had a quick look-see around. Yep, laugh it up. Ha Ha!

Part of April's journey leads her to find empowerment via the adult industry. In this half of the book you really get a sense of how excited she is of her accomplishments and of the changes she has been able to influence. She's proud and happy because even within the adult industry you can find prejudices and she was fully embraced within that culture.

Overall, I liked this book. I think everyone can relate to the pressures of society in general and almost everyone can relate to feeling insecure about their looks and weight. I applaud April for finding peace within. Not many people do and not many people know how to.

**I know that people who keep an open mind will be able to find art and love within this book and more importantly, inspiration. **

An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

All photos belong to Carlos Batts, the author. Please do not take these pictures unless you have expressed permission from the author or publisher.

Spirit (Elemental Book 3)
Spirit (Elemental Book 3)
Price: $7.22

5.0 out of 5 stars A Totally Pleasant Surprise!, September 6, 2013
Holy Freaking Hell! She did it... Brigid Kemmerer did what I thought would be impossible. She found a way for me to like and possibly love Hunter Garrity. Believe me, this was a miracle.

I have made no secret about my dislike of Hunter. There was nothing about him I liked. I thought he was a master manipulator and not once did I trust him. I couldn't understand why he was getting his own book. I was pretty upset about it, too. This is about the Merricks. How could Hunter get his own book before Nick? I mean, sheesh, does Kemmerer know what she's doing?

Short answer... Yes, she does.

This story pushed all sorts of limits. I have to give Kemmerer props. With her last novella and now with Spirit, I've seen so much growth as a writer. She does follow a certain formula such as, alternating pov's, romance, action, conflict but she's switching things up a bit and not delivering what we normally expect from this series. I'm really digging her little bag of tricks and surprises.

A lot of time and care is given to making Hunter more relatable, human, and broken. You quickly realize that he doesn't have all the answers, he's not always right and things are never what they seem. You seriously feel bad for this kid. Made me want to slap him upside the head and hug him a few times.

This book would not be complete if you don't get a healthy dose of Merrick and you do. By far the most impressive Merrick in this one was Michael. The Merricks are not really a mushy bunch. They pretty much show their affection by getting into a brawl every now and then. Weird, I know, but it works. You just know they love one another. Michael, the oldest of the bunch, seems to have the hardest time showing affection. Imagine my surprise when Michael turns out to be the one to give Hunter the benefit of the doubt and brings him closer to the family.

As I mentioned before, I questioned Kemmerer's decision to give Hunter his own book 3. Now I've come to the conclusion that it was totally necessary and that this is exactly when it should have been done. Things come to light that will definitely question all you knew about this world.

Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster full of revelations. Enjoy the ride!

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

True (True Believers Book 1)
True (True Believers Book 1)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spoilers Ahead... Tread carefully, September 6, 2013
I enjoyed this read and it was well written, for the most part. It's definitely a bit deeper and complicated than the synopsis leads you to think. I liked the characters enough even if the girls in the book were a bit too immature for my taste. Yet, there were deeper issues within that really rubbed me the wrong way.

This might be spoiler-ish, tread carefully, although what I'll reveal doesn't really spoil anything about the meat of the story.

With most contemporaries, I find that it's hard for me to really relate to some of the characters because I'm not like them, wasn't like them, and I often find myself saying I would have never made the decisions they make. However, I can have an open mind and think that some of the things I read in books are plausible because isn't that what reading/telling stories is about? It is, but dang, I can only have an open mind for so long.

The story opens up with a sexual assault. Rory is the naïve and awkward girl who has never really had a real adult experience with a guy. While out one night, Rory's alone in the living room with a guy she's kind of crushing on, more like curious about, while her two roommates are getting their groove on in the bedrooms. The guy is reading Rory all wrong and even though Rory is up for messing around she didn't think it would get as serious as it was getting. Rory finds herself being forced into performing oral sex on the guy when the hero of the story stops it. She realizes real quickly that she could have been raped.

I didn't have a problem with this because this can totally happen. I had a big problem with what happened about half way through the book. Rory invites this same kid into the same apartment and has a pretty normal conversation with him. She didn't let anyone in the apartment know that he was there nor did she act scared or even a bit apprehensive. It was like nothing had happened between the two as serious as a possible rape. This was their first encounter since the first chapter of the book...

Something else that was pretty crazy, Rory overhears her two roommates talking about how they paid the hero of the story to sleep with her. These are the same two roommates that know about her almost rape yet proceed to get this guy to accept sex for pay. To top it all off Rory decides to keep quiet about it and just go with it.

Sheesh, man...

These were pretty serious and things I couldn't ignore since I don't think they added to the story. There were other ways the author could have gone about getting what she wanted to achieve.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Dark Child (The Awakening): Omnibus Edition (Dark child omnibus edition Book 1)
Dark Child (The Awakening): Omnibus Edition (Dark child omnibus edition Book 1)
Price: $4.35

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars Unique and new creatures kept me going., September 6, 2013
Dark Child was originally published as a series of shorts and has just recently been released as a novel.

Overall, I was intrigued by the premise of the book. The creatures/characters created in this world were very unique and I felt as if I had never really encountered any of the like even if they can be compared to shifters or vampires. The author did an incredible job in creating a dark and sinister ambiance which was consistent throughout.

I found issue with how slow the story was. It was slow for pretty much the entire time and I felt that during that time not much was said or accomplished. There are bouts of action and they were pretty great but this book was still SLOW. I started to wonder how the readers kept going when it was in serial form and I even found myself wondering where the breaks had occurred to keep the reader coming back for more.

I also had issues with some of the dialog. Kat spent some time at home and I think this was supposed to show how close she was to her family but really it made the experience awkward for me. It never really flowed for me, not natural or smooth.

Even then I found myself wanting to read the next installment, if there was one, which there doesn't seem to be, because I wanted to see where Kat would end up on her journey along with the other characters who were her guardians. The ending didn't feel like an ending. It was more like a "there's more to come".

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.

King Hall (Forever Evermore Book 1)
King Hall (Forever Evermore Book 1)
Price: $3.58

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 but I rounded up since I do like this one, September 6, 2013
Holy crap y'all! I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated I was with this book. Furthermore, I've never been more frustrated with a book and still ended liking it, thus adding to my frustration. Does that even make sense?

I'm not even going to lie... I got as far as the first four pages and was ready to call it quits. In fact, I did. I jumped on Goodreads and lo and behold there were tons of raving reviews and about a couple of reviews that shared in my frustration. Only then did I stop and try to give this book another chance. Obviously I got through more than a few pages this time. So here it goes...

This is a new world where humans (Coms aka Commoners) and Mysticals live alongside one another. The Mysticals are a magical folk consisting of four factions; Shifters, Mages, Vampires and Elementals. The Commoners are still under the leadership of their presidents, kings, queens and so on and so forth. The Mysticals have four kings/and or queens to lead each faction. We view this new world through the eyes of Lily, the future Queen of Shifters.

This is the story of how two future kings and two future queens, while training to become rulers, foster a unique and strong friendship that hints of being a catalyst for changes in their world yet to be seen.

My beef:

*Right off what rubbed me the wrong way was the writing style. This book reads as if you should already know aspects of this world; as if in fact this was book two of the series. It's not. It is book one. I checked just to make sure because that's how confused I was. The author does an incredible job in making the friendships between the four prodigies believable but in all reality that is the entire book's focus. You don't really get any backstory on the different factions. You don't know how these partnerships came to be. Even though different factions go to school together you don't ever understand why socially they are segregated. You do get to understand the different powers they have and the individual weaknesses but nothing truly about their people and histories. There is a bit about the Great War between Mysticals and Commoners but literally a sentence or two. You don't know what, who, when, where and why. It happened, it was gory and as a result there was a treaty drawn up. There are bits and pieces of angst and action peppered here and there but again, only to spice things up momentarily and then it's brought back up as if to say "oh yeah, remember (insert so and so here) this is how it was handled".

*Did it bother anyone else that Lily ditched her one and only friend prior to becoming the prodigy? She was there one minute and then not. She could have kept her as a friend.

*I agree with everyone that the best developed character was Ezra, the Vampire Prodigy/King. Everything was on point with him. He was mysterious, unique, powerful and his reactions and emotions were consistent and the best written. Something happens where it causes Lily to grieve. We are inside Lily's head the entire book which means that if this is a constant grief, which we are led to believe, we should be able to know about it. Nope. Lily's grief felt like it was here one moment and gone the next just to revisit us in small spurts. Ezra was going through a similar grief and although his grief was not as fresh it felt that way the entire time.

*Let me tell you, there is talk of sex. Lots of sex talks. Mucho mucho sex talk. There is not a lot of actual sex going on. I'm not bothered by the actual deed not happening or that it is but behind not so locked doors. I think I'm more bothered with how much it's discussed. Why is this so important to the story? I think I'm also a bit bothered that people actually think sex is always on the brain. I was that age once... it wasn't always on my mind! If it's because they are Mysticals, please help me to understand why it is so important to them.

*There is a lot of expectancy going on. I kept expecting stuff to happen.

* There is no revolution, folks. The synopsis fibbed a bit. I think it was meant for book two.

After all that you might be wondering why I still liked the story... Me too! Just kidding. Maybe not.

After giving it much thought, I came to a few conclusions that this has the makings of a great story, a unique world bursting at the seams, with incredible characters that will bring on change and action. You feel the love and loyalty between the prodigies; you will laugh out loud and perhaps cry a little too. This was an ARC. Meaning, all of this could have been fixed. Even with the before mentioned flaws, the story was entertaining and I do recommend it. Enter with caution and patience and you'll be rewarded. Maybe.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

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