Graphic Novel Review: Distant Fortunes (plus discount code)

RedMoon_DarkBack-e1410645732526 I believe in full disclosure in reviewing and this review is a little different from my other reviews just because it’s about a graphic novel. But the disclosure comes in because this graphic novel was created by Eddie, a fellow blogger here so obviously I’m inclined to like it. He put the story out there on Wattpad which I originally started reading there and then he put together a kickstarter campaign that I also gave to because I think the story is interesting and I like to support my friends projects!

I’ve read ahead so I know more than just this volume one because I was following the story on WattPad. I really enjoy the way the story develops over the course of the whole story but in this volume we start at the beginning obviously. We’re introduced to Bonnie and Richard and within the first few pages we discover there are mutants in this world. What I love about this graphic novel is how they introduce the different characters – as a new person is brought in a text box is on the page that lists whether they’re human or mutant and what their power is.

The illustrations in the comic are just as great as the story. The faces and the hands have wrinkles and have realistic looking age to them. The clothes have creases where a person would naturally bend. I think the look and feel of this seems more grown- up than the comics I used to read which is appropriate for the overall story that I read.

Something fun that Eddie, the creator and writer, has done is take his friends and used them as inspirations for different characters in the comic. So I have a character I inspired somewhere coming up!

This is a fun graphic novel and here’s a link for a 25% discount Eddie is offering for our blog readers – Discount.

~Melinda

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Kit Rocha’s Beyond Innocence Release Day plus Giveaway!

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Kit Rocha’s Beyond series is a hot dystopian female empowerment series I love. This is the latest one and it was definitely up there with the rest of the books for me. The romance is hot, the overall story arc of the series was continued and my favorite part – the women embracing their sexuality and taking control of their lives – was at the forefront of this one.

Blurb:
For years, Jared has existed on the fringes of both Eden society and Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang. He travels between these worlds, protected by his money and power–money he earned selling his body, and power that comes from knowing secrets. He’s untouchable—until he starts a new life gathering intelligence for the O’Kanes.

Lili Fleming walked out of Sector Five with a gun, the bloodstained clothes on her back, and an icy determination to survive. She finds herself in a world where people live hard and love harder, and nothing’s more terrifying than how much the O’Kanes wake her up, make her feel—especially Jared.

Emotion is a risk he can’t afford, and a complication she doesn’t need. But neither can resist the lust simmering between them, and the sparks that could either melt the ice around both their hearts…or get them killed. Because the only thing more dangerous than loving an O’Kane is loving a spy.

 

Excerpt

He didn’t say anything, just watched her for so long that the intensity would have terrified her if being the focus of his attention wasn’t thrilling in a different way. Finally, he sighed. “I don’t know what to do with you, Lili Fleming.”

Her heart lurched, and the words that spilled out were reckless—the most unguarded of her life. “What do you want to do with me?”

Again, the hesitation. “There are ways I could help you,” he admitted, rubbing his thumb over the bowl of his glass. “Ordinarily, I would have already offered. But somehow it seems complicated now.”

She watched his thumb make another slow sweep and couldn’t not imagine it smoothing over her skin. That was what he was talking about—he had to be. Touching her. Showing her the things her body wanted, even as her mind shrank away.

“That’s not why—” Her voice cracked, and she took a long sip of wine and wished it was whiskey. “I’m not asking you for that. I don’t know if I—if I could…” God, she couldn’t even say it, her tongue tangling around the mildest of euphemisms.

“I know you’re not asking.” He shrugged. “I guess that’s what makes it complicated.”

Because trades were simple. They never left you vulnerable. And he hadn’t really answered her question—he was so deft that she hadn’t noticed. “What do you want to do?” she repeated softly.

Jared held her riveted, so completely that she barely noticed when he moved. She couldn’t look away, even when he took the glass from her hand. Even when he laid his hands on her face, his fingers curled around her neck to hold her, and lowered his mouth to hers.

She’d imagined kissing. Mouths touching, lips brushing.

She’d imagined wrong, because Jared’s tongue was the first thing she felt, hot and shocking, as if he knew it would make her gasp. Because when she did, he went deeper, his tongue finding hers.

It was too much. Too fast, too intoxicating. Her entire body throbbed along with her racing pulse, and her knees felt unsteady. She clutched for the only steady thing she could find, grasping his upper arms to keep from melting through the floor.

Then his hands tightened, tilting her head back, urging her mouth open. His tongue swept over hers again, rough and rasping, and every tiny shiver of sensation built into an ache that settled between her legs. Not just an ache, a need, and she whimpered into his mouth.

Jared broke the kiss with a shudder and smoothed his thumb over her tingling lower lip. “See?” he whispered. “Complicated.”

She closed her eyes and tried to catch her breath. “Not sure that helped,” she said, an attempt to turn it into a joke. It had to be, or fear and longing would crash together and vaporize her. “I’m feeling all sorts of things now.”

“It doesn’t have to stop.” His hands trembled on her face. “But that’s your choice to make.”

An impossible choice—need or fear, pleasure or peace. And all of it shrouded in mystery, because she couldn’t reconcile the O’Kanes’ wild glee with her mother’s whispered warnings to lie still so it would be over faster.

“I don’t know.” She forced herself to look at him, to meet his patient, waiting eyes. “I don’t know anything. How can I make a choice when I don’t understand what you’re offering?”

“You’re right.” He smiled again and brushed her hair back from her forehead with a careful, gentle touch. “It’s not exactly fair, is it?”

She was still clinging to him. Slowly, shyly, she eased her grip until she was touching, instead. His arms were solid, muscle flexing as she rubbed her thumb against his sleeve and wondered if he felt the same spark of sensation. “When I was on the drugs, everything seemed so clear. I thought they were all pretending. I didn’t believe in pleasure.”

“And now?”

Now it would be like not believing in water while she was standing outside in the rain. This wasn’t some gentle mist, either. She was caught up in a storm, and she’d seen what heavy rain could do to the desert. The clay couldn’t absorb the water, and the riverbeds couldn’t contain it.

She wasn’t made for pleasure. Too much would sweep her away. “Now I’m scared.”

 

 

 

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To enter a giveaway for the Beyond Volume One bundle (the first 3 Beyond books) in ebook format comment on this post! US only.

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Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane

 

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Zelda and Lisa are twins, Zelda is a retired CIA agent who specialises in forensic botany and her sister Lisa is a bit of party girl who has gotten involved with a drug dealer. When Lisa’s boyfriend looses her in a high stakes poker game to a Mexican drug lord Zelda steps in to take her place hoping to find out more about the drug lord to take him down. When she arrives she is then passed along to an even more powerful and violent man by the name of El Gorrion and that’s when things get worse.

When the plane carrying Zelda lands and she is about to be turned over to El Gorrion’s men someone comes along and slaughters all of the men at the air field and takes Zelda with him. This strangers fighting style reminds Zelda of a well known killer, Kabakas, someone Zelda has been tracking and fascinated by. But Kabakas was to have died in a fire and the man who has taken her is Hugo.

As things heat up in a land war between El Gorrion and Hugo will Zelda get the info she needs to save her sister and help her former CIA colleagues or will she get caught up in the destruction of the land and help the man who rescued her?

I enjoyed this book, there is a lot of different plot lines going on that keep it interesting and fast paced. I loved how Zelda went from getting info out of Hugo via a ‘coldfuck’ to getting feelings for him. It’s very well written and kept me reading far into the night. The botany bits, which I thought would be a bit dull weren’t and the sex scenes were steamy and hot! Both characters are battling inner demons and the stories into their background were interesting. This is the first book I have read by Carolyn Crane and it won’t be my last! It is book four in a series but it can be read without having read the others.

ARC received from author in exchange for a fair and honest review

4/5 stars

Crash

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Book Summary:

 

TO SAVE HER PROSTITUTE TWIN SISTER SHE HAS TO SWITCH PLACES WITH HER…

When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group–and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again.

Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…

Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?

~~~

Crane Author Photo

About the Author

 

I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin). My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

 

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Giveaway Information

 

(1) $75.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice & open internationally)

(32) Digital Copies of either Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows (winner’s choice & open internationally)

 

Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1c9cd1c919/?

 

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Blog Tour Stops

 

Monday, May 18, 2015

 

Straight Shooting Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.straightshootinbookreviews.com

Romance Junkies (Excerpt): http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog

Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post): http://ramblingsfromthischick.com

Under the Covers Book Blog (Guest Post): http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com

Lush Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com

Badass Book Reviews (Review): http://www.badassbookreviews.com

Urban Girl Reader (Excerpt): http://www.urbangirlreader.com

 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

 

Happiness is a book (Review): https://happinessbook.wordpress.com

Reading by the Book (Excerpt): http://www.readingbythebook.com

That’s What I’m Talking About (Review): http://twimom227.com

Cricket’s Chirps (Review): http://www.cricketschirps.com/

The Romance Dish (Review): http://theromancedish.com

The Book Review (Review): http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

 

Em & M Books (Excerpt): http://www.emandmbooks.com

Ex Libris (Guest Post): http://www.stella.exlibris.com

Herding Cats & Burning Soup (Interview): http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com

The Book Nympho (Review): http://thebooknympho.com/

Long and Short Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.longandshortreviews.com

Love Affair with an E-Reader (Review): www.loveaffairwithanereader.blogspot.com

 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

 

Paranormal Haven (Interview): http://paranormalhaven.com/

Becky on Books (Review): http://beckymmoe.com

Amy’s Blog (Excerpt): http://www.amymanemann.blogspot.com

So Many Reads (Excerpt): http://www.somanyreads.com

Angela Quarles Blog (Excerpt): http://www.angelaquarles.com/blog

Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review): http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com

 

Friday, May 22, 2015

 

Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell (Review): http://books-forlife.blogspot.com

Blogging by Liza (Excerpt): http://lizasblog-liza.blogspot.com/

Bring Your Own Book Club (BYOB) (Review): https://www.facebook.com/byobclub1.0

Peaces of Me (Interview): http://www.suespeaces.blogspot.ca/

Ariesgrl Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.ariesgrlreview.com

C. K. Crouch (Review): http://ckcrouch.com/

Review: The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen

23346876 Sarina Bowen is an author I was lucky enough to hear about last year and I’ve read everything she’s written so far and really enjoyed them all. The Ivy Years series is definitely my favorite of hers and this book is the most recent one in the series. This is another cover that I love – the woman on the cover seems to exemplify the heroine, Bella, perfectly.

We met Bella in the last book when her heart was broken by the guy she thought she was in love with turned out to be gay. I liked her in that book – she has a strong sensuality and sexuality both. She’s slept with quite a few men and owns that but also has a lot of guy friends and values those friendships. Bella is the manager of the hockey team on campus, so is used to being surrounded by guys. The hero in the book – Rafe – is broken up with by his long term girlfriend quite unexpectedly. Bella goes through a traumatic experience and afterwards Rafe and she get close.

Once again I loved Bowen’s book. There were a few conventions that were flipped on their heads and I thoroughly enjoyed those parts. The first and the most apparent is that Bella just flat out enjoys sex and her attitude towards it is much more like how a traditional male would act in a book. I don’t see that in many books and if I do the woman has a lot of guilt or she wants or needs sex because she’s “broken” in some way. Not Bella. She enjoys sex and is pretty unapologetic about it. She definitely has qualms here and there but not what I would expect. The other convention flipped is the typical virgin heroine and experienced hero – here the virgin is the hero. Rafe hasn’t exactly been saving himself for religious reasons or anything that specific. But as he explained to Bella he respected his previous girlfriends too much to pressure them and they weren’t ready for that. I think this kind of switching conventions reflects a much truer sign of reality than is present in some romance books.

I’m supposed to be writing a paper about female subjugation. But all I want is for someone to give me a good pounding.

Both slut shaming and bullying are addressed head on in this book and I think these are incredibly important and relevant right now. Not to scare anyone off the book and think that they’re going to read a heavy book! Like any good book it balances important issues, plot and story line very well. I really love Bella’s attitude about so much in this book, she dealt with things in a very realistic way. There are also quite a few funny parts that I loved, many involving Lianne (Bella’s roommate) who I loved and I really hope gets her own book very soon!

If you haven’t read any of Sarina Bowen’s book you really need to! And if you have but haven’t read this book you also really need to!!

4 Stars

~Melinda

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Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer; narrated by Rebecca Soler

22489107 I’m on a roll of reviewing books with amazing covers! This one is just as stunning, I love the mirror and the image in it – I think the entire thing is gorgeous. The Lunar Chronicles are an amazing young adult series that is part fairy tale retelling, part dystopian and part romance. I’ve listened to them on audio since the beginning and I would highly recommend listening to them because Rebecca Soler is a wonderful narrator. She makes the characters come alive and makes the different characters very distinct – both of which are key factors to enjoys an audio book for me. I’m a big fan of audiobooks in general because it’s so easy to listen while you’re doing tasks that aren’t so pleasant like housekeeping!

Each book in this series is based on a fairy tale and retells it with a compelling new twist and one that has a science fiction flair to it as well. This one tells the back story of the evil Queen Levana which reminded me of Gregory Maguire’s The Life and Time of The Wicked Witch in that the point of the story is to tell the evil Queen’s side of the story for once. In the previous books Levana has tormented Cinder, Scarlet and Cress and she’s used her glamour to gain more and more power. But we’ve never known a thing about what made Levana Levana.

I went into this thinking I would feel sorry for Levana, and much needed compassion for the crazy acting queen. Within about 5 minutes that was definitely the case.

She was suddenly angry. Angry that this woman was so effortlessly pretty. Angry that tonight she would sleep beside her doting husband. That soon she would hold a wrinkled, wailing baby in her arms and that child would never question whether it was loved, or whether its parents loved each other.

Nothing Levana wanted had ever come that easily.

However, not that long after that Levana slowly began to transform into the Queen we know and Marissa Meyer does this transformation so well that at first I found myself being sympathetic to her situation. But then she truly becomes more and more horrific to the point of no return and the sympathy turned into loathing.

Levana had not seen the bodies, but she had seen the bedrooms the next morning, and her first thought was that all that blood would make a very pretty rouge on her lips.

This book was just as well done as the other ones, which was no surprise. The romance in this was so well done because it was easy to see both sides of what was going on. It was like the entire book – completely disturbing but in a ridiculously great way. I highly recommend this book but would definitely start at the beginning of the series and go in publication order.

5 Stars

~Melinda

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Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

17331828 I’ve been missing in action for quite a while but I’ve been reading a ton so I have a lot of reviews to catch up on! I haven’t read anything else by Julie Kagawa and had heard good things about this author so when I heard her newest YA series was about dragons I had to pick it up. I just have a thing about dragons, in general I think they’re pretty awesome so I was looking forward to this series. Also – how gorgeous is this cover!?

Ember and Dante Hill are the only siblings to have ever been born to dragons so some think they’re pretty important. These dragons are the shape shifting type and they’re required to spend the summer blending in with humans over the summer. This is a huge undertaking and one they’ve been trained on and Ember has been looking forward to. Talon itself is a secret dragon society, one every dragon belongs to, or so the brother and sister thinks. Ember finds herself being drawn to a Rogue dragon – one that has escaped from under Talons watchful eye, and also comes to meet to meet a human that she can’t resist. Both of these things are huge no-no’s for fledgling dragons.

This book has changing POV’s which can be tricky and oftentimes doesn’t work for me but I found that the author used it very well here. I find that alternating POV’s can be very jarring for me, taking me abruptly from one character’s head to another without any buffer. But with this book the changes were much more smoothly done and the scenes glided from one to the other, regardless of which character I was reading. The pacing and plot also worked very well for me in this book. The pacing was just right – not too fast but not too slow, both of which can be major detractors from a book.

Ember was the protaganoist and such a naive one, but believably so. She was meant to be sheltered throughout her life until she came to live with humans over this summer so I found her journey to be one that I bought into without hesitation. Garrett, the hero in the book – one of two actually – was less believable to me in his naivete. He would waffle from one belief to another and that was the part that I struggled with the most. I really liked him and his relationship with Ember but some of his actions didn’t ring true with me. Another part of the book I struggled with, yet liked was the love triangle that is barely fleshed out but seems to be forming. Triangles are ever present in YA and that taints my view of them because there are so many of them! I couldn’t quite tell if this was going to turn into an actual love triangle or not but I have sequel to read and review next so I’ll let you know…

3.5 Stars

~ Melinda

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Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

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Anna is an American ex-pat in her late 30’s who is living in Switzerland with her husband and three young children. Outwardly she leads a pretty idyllic life in a beautiful suburb of Zurich. She is morose, without purpose and is joyless. She has struggled by with learning little German, which makes communication and interaction difficult. She just floats along in life. She has a string of affairs, which are just as empty as she is. She has become a consummate liar and can compartmentalize her affairs from the rest of her life. She feels that the lack of attention and love she receives from her husband is justification for her affairs. She has run away from things her entire life and even lies to herself about it. She is an empty shell of a person.

This woman is struggling through her life; she is depressed and clearly mentally ill. She tries to fill a never ending hole in her life but the more she can’t fill it the more she spirals out of control. After 9 years of living in Switzerland she finally attends German classes. As she learns more of the language she starts to interact more but even this is too little too late. When she finally decided to change her life, thinking things will get better, things get more out of control.

In some ways I can relate to Anna, as far as moving to a different country and struggling to fit in. It’s hard to make friends in a country where you speak the language, never mind in one where you don’t. When she did have moments of intense joy she let it consume her and wash over her. She would be unable to contain herself and thought she would burst from the sheer wonder of it all. Then it would all come crashing down on her as she feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. She would question her psychoanalysis about God, morals and the after life. God was brought into the story but even then if Anna didn’t or couldn’t find the answers she wanted then she would despair more.

I found it hard going in some parts of this book. The sections where Anna is speaking to her annalist were just thrown into the middle of a paragraph. One story line would be going on while there would be a flashback within a flashback thrown in at the same time and you would struggle to figure out just what was going on. This book has a lot of internal monolog from Anna, which makes the story, but the randomness of things makes me wonder if the author is trying to let you into the workings of Anna’s mind, if that’s the case she did an amazing job of it. This isn’t an easy book, it’s a dark read in some ways.

ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 stars

Crash

 

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