Review – The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

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Synopsis
The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.

With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor—and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles—somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon. . . .

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

The endings of Rick Riordan’s books usually leave me with tingles of dread and anticipation at what the characters are going to be facing on the next part of their journey. I still felt that with the end of this book, but I was also left feeling really sad. I felt so many emotions while reading this book. Excitement over seeing some old favorite characters, dread and suspense over the endless threats the characters faced, amusement over some of the dialogue and situations the characters find themselves in, and lots of other things.

The character death didn’t really affect me as much as it should have, but that is because my son spoiled it for me, so I knew it was coming. It didn’t have the impact that it should have had. I’m a little annoyed that I wasn’t able to *feel* the full effect of sadness, despair, and grief that should have come with that character’s death, especially since it was a character that I liked so much. But everyone’s reactions to the death? I felt that down to my core. My heart shattered as the others were left grieving.

Something that really stood out to me in this book is Apollo’s character growth. He is becoming more human, thinking of others, and is showing empathy towards them. I am so proud of the growth he has shown over the last couple books.

I’m going to grab the next book in the series on release day, because I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m looking forward to seeing some more of my favorite characters from Heroes of Olympus and Camp Jupiter. Hopefully my heart will still be intact at the end of the next book.

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Review – #Rev by Cambria Hebert

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Synopsis
Trent Mask puts the REV in revolution.
A line has been drawn.
Indie vs Pro
Here at GearShark, we’re straddling that line to bring you exclusive coverage of what some have dubbed the war of racing.
Every war starts with a spark and ends in revolution.
Drew Forrester was the spark,
but his second-in-command is the REVolution.
What does it take to stand brave in the face of opposition?
Resolve of steel…
Stubborn will…
And a heart that refuses to give up.
It isn’t just the drivers in this war.
The revolution is about more than just racing.
It’s about shattering labels and taking risks.
So we asked Trent Mask: Truth or Dare?
His answer?
Both.

 

My Review
4 out of 5 stars
4stars

This book picks up right where #Junkie left off. I was going to put this book off for a while so I could get through some more of my TBR backlist books, but I just felt a pull toward this story and couldn’t hold off anymore. I needed to know how Trent and Drew’s story ended.

I honestly thought this book would have more of the racing aspect to it, but now that I’m finished with the book, I can see why that aspect took a backseat. This story focuses more on Trent and Drew’s relationship, which I was really happy with. Trent and Drew needed time to heal from the attack from the previous book, deal with the fallout, and get their payback. Their relationship takes quite a few hits during this book and each one of them broke my heart. I felt so bad for them. I really love that they anchored to each other though and didn’t let the hate that was spewed toward them affect their relationship and their love for each other. These two are the very definition of #TrewLove. (I think that’s my new favorite hashtag, by the way!)

Trent and Drew went through quite a journey in this book. I’m so glad they are able to be themselves now, no matter what the public may think of their relationship.

I also enjoyed that we got some more insight into Lorhaven and Arrow in this book. I can’t wait to read the next book so I can get more of Lorhaven’s story. I have a feeling it’s going to be an interesting one, too.

 

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TTT – New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2018

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s prompt is 10 new-to-me authors that I read in 2018.

1. Kandi Steiner
I read The Wrong Game by Kandi Steiner in November and absolutely fell in love with her writing! I read another of her books a couple weeks later and will definitely be reading more of her books this year. I’m so glad I gave her books a try!

2. Marissa Meyer
Despite owning several of her books, I didn’t read anything of Marissa Meyer’s until a couple weeks ago. I read Renegades and really enjoyed it! I have Archenemies and Cinder on my list to read for this year.

3. Marie Lu
Marie Lu is another author that I own several books of, but didn’t read until recently. I read Batman: Nightwalker in November and enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading Warcross, Wildcard, and Legend this year hopefully.

4. Amanda Flower
I buddy read Assaulted Caramel with a couple of my friends back in the summer and I absolutely loved it. I’ve read a couple other books by her since then and have more on my list to read this year.

5. Rea Frey
I read Not Her Daughter and was immediately drawn in by Frey’s writing style. I can’t wait to read more books from her!

6. JC Cervantes
I read The Storm Keeper and absolutely loved it. I love that I got some Percy Jackson vibes from the story. She certainly knows how to tell a story. I’m looking forward to The Fire Keeper!

7. Ellery Adams
I read The Secret, Book and Scone Society and honestly just felt “eh” about it. I didn’t really like the main character. I liked Adams’ writing style though, so I’m more than likely going to try a book in a different series to see if I like that one any better.

8. JD Barker
I read The Fourth Monkey and oh my gosh, this book shocked the hell out of me. It was the most disturbing book I’ve ever read, no joke. I can’t wait to read Fifth to Die!

9. Annie Rains
I read Christmas on Mistletoe Lane a couple months ago and loved it. It was such a sweet romance story. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in that series, Springtime at Hope Cottage, releasing in a couple months!

10. Vivien Chien
I read Death by Dumpling a few months ago because the cover and the blurb were just calling out to me. I’m so glad I picked that book up! I got the second book in the series for Christmas and can’t wait to read it.

Review – Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien

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Synopsis
Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

I loved diving back into the Asia Village to catch up with Lana and her friends.

There was a double murder in this book, which I thought was pretty interesting since I haven’t come across that very often in a cozy. The mystery held my attention and kept the pages turning. There were plenty of suspects to choose from, all of which had plenty of motive for murder. I was ultimately able to guess the killer, but I was stumped for most of the book with my suspicion bouncing between suspects, and only figured it out right before Lana did.

I’m glad that Adam had a bigger part in this book. I love his interactions with Lana. I think they would make a great couple. I’m curious as to why he holds back so much when it comes to his job. Hopefully we’ll find out more about that in the next book. I’m rooting for the two of them!

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Review – #Junkie by Cambria Hebert

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Synopsis
Drew Forrester is a total adrenaline junkie.

His high of choice?

Cars.

The faster, the better.

He’s been making waves in Maryland’s underground racing circuit since he crossed the state line, and after speaking with him, we know he’s not hitting the brakes anytime soon.

So what exactly does it take to burn rubber and make a name for yourself in a world where the only rule is there are no rules?

You gotta be hungry…

You gotta have balls…

And you can never back down.

What’ve we learned here at GearShark?

Drew is all of the above.

We also know he’s got some secrets buried under his hood.

Secrets we think are loaded with octane and just might set the world of cars on fire.

Check out the full feature article inside…

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

Wow. This book was absolutely amazing! This was my first M/M read. The author did an amazing job of writing Drew and Trent’s story.

I already liked Trent and Drew’s characters from reading the Hashtag series. In this book we got to take a deeper look at their friendship and the connection that they share. Both of them want to be more than friends but are scared so they push their feelings down. The angst was squeezing my heart so much while reading this book. I just wanted to give them both a huge hug and tell them to just go for it! Thankfully someone kind of did that for me. 😉

When they finally had the talk and admitted their feelings for each other, my heart soared and I cheered for them. It is clear how much they care for each other and they are amazing together! Chemistry is off the charts. Trent and Drew have soared to the top of my favorite couples list, along with Romeo and Rimmel and Braeden and Ivy.

Even though there were so many heartwarming moments between them, my heart broke for them too and a couple times I was in tears. The closed-mindedness and attacks from some of the people in this book broke my heart. It is a real struggle that gay couples have to face.

My heart skipped a couple beats at that cliffhanger ended so I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series soon. I need to know what happens next.

 

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Review – The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

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Synopsis
Zeus has punished his son Apollo–god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more–by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous–and frankly, humiliating–trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships–with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride …

 

My Review
5 out of 5 stars
5stars

In true Riordan fashion, this book took me on another wild ride through the journeys and trials of Apollo. (See what I did there? ;))

Apollo amazes me with what he is able to do as a mortal without his Godly powers. Even though he has had some help along the way, he has been through a lot that should have killed him. I’m glad that Meg was in this book and stuck by him, but I’m still a little wary of her and where her loyalties lie. I’m also glad to have gotten more time with Leo and Calypso. I miss them so much from the Heroes of Olympus series.

This book was laced with the usual humor that we find in these stories, which is a nice break from all of the serious moments. I even cried a couple times.

That ending had me like, “WHAT?!” I turned the page expecting to find more of the story. I’ll just say that I’m thrilled with who showed up at the end and the hints at who we will see in the next book.

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Review – Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower

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Synopsis
Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you…

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good…

 

My Review
3 out of 5 stars
3stars

I love that this book had such a magical element to it. A lot of times magic is just barely hinted at, but in this book, the magic was fairly present. I’m interested in seeing how Violet does with the magical bookshop and her job as the Caretaker in the next book.

Violet was a likable character but for a big portion of the book, I felt so bad for her. She held onto so much guilt for so long over something that she didn’t even do. Not to mention people in her life keeping things from her or lying about her. Sadie, Faulkner the crow, and Emerson the cat were some of my favorite characters in this book as well.

I am not usually a fan of love triangles, but I can understand why there would be one in this story. I do have a preference of who I hope Violet ultimately ends up with. 😉

The mystery was well written, but there were times when the story started to drag and I could feel myself losing interest. I also love when the author is able to stump me about the killer, but I was able to correctly guess the killer in this book.

Overall, this was a good book and I am interested in what’s to come in the next one.

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