Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Spotlight Saturday": The Masks Series by Melissa Pearl

"True Colors" (Book 1)- Click Here
"Two-Faced" (Book 2)- Click Here
"Snake Eyes" (Book 3)- Click Here
"Poker Face" (Book 4)- Click Here 

My Thoughts: Amazing Series from Beginning to End!!

 The Masks Series is a Y.A./ N.A. series written by Melissa Pearl (Amazon Author Page) that is a contemporary romance with a paranormal twist, which is so beautifully crafted and well written that a reader is instantly caught up in the books. This whole series is a complete adventure full of crazy moments one after another that will just wrap you up and take you through Caitlyn Davis' life as she ventures out into the world trying to live with a gift to see beyond people's facades. A reader can't help but feel for her plight in not only trying grow up as a young woman in trying to balancing a life, school, family, and maybe a relationship, but now she also this new gift. This gift causes Caitlyn to take on a new perspective on life where she can't help but be empathetic towards people's situations and finds herself always wanting to help them out of their situations despite what it may cost her. In the end it's the connections Caitlyn makes with some new friends, especially with her man the amazing Eric Shore, that will leave any reader jealous and wanting to read more and more. Seriously the adventures and sometimes very dangerous situations Caitlyn manages to get herself into are page turning, or should I say ebook swiping moments. But seriously, readers will get that reading tunnel vision where the world just needs to go away for a while, because I MUST finish this part now! Yeah you know what that feeling is like, well these books make you do that time and time again, because this author, Melissa Pearl, is just gifted that way, and this series proves she knows how to capture her audience. So yes, I greatly endorse this awesome series and have been a reader of it from the beginning to the bittersweet end. So if you are still not convinced, though I haven't the foggiest clue why not, listed below is my True Colors review and links to each book with their book blurps. Now be forewarned none are too revealing BUT still read at your own risk. I dare ya! 

"True Colors" (Book 1)-
Price: $0 ebook FREE (at time of post) **LIMITED TIME OFFER**
Listed Rating:📔📔📔📔.4
Book Link: Click Here
           The main character Caitlyn Davis, is first introduced as a modern girl to a fault. She chooses to let her best friends and social status at school dictate who she should be and how she should act, despite how she may feel on the inside about everything. Like many high schoolers, Caitlyn goes with the flow and does not go against what everyone else does and instead holds her tongue most of the time. However it's upon receiving her gift that Caitlyn begins to see everyone's TRUE emotions hidden by their fake smiles and laughs, which causes her to change her lifestyle for the better.
          The concept that a person can see behind the masks we put up to hid our true feelings is so brilliant and real. I mean the book is paranormal, but not to out there in the sense that Caitlyn isn't reading minds, flying, controlling time or the elements. Instead Caitlyn is given the power to read the real person behind who they try to present to the world, and its from there Caitlyn must decided what to do with that information. With some help Caitlyn learns to harness her gift and use it to understand the people she reads, in order to help those in need.
          Caitlyn's biggest supporter and helper through her discovery of her gift is Eric, who was once her next neighbor, but then becomes her boyfriend, her Hercules, her Silver Lining. Their relationship is something she can count on as pure and true, when all Caitlyn encounters are false realities and emotions from people she thought she knew. Eric is perfect for her and Caitlyn discovers this especially after her disaster of a boyfriend Chase in the beginning of the story. I must mention there is talks about sex and partial sexual situations that would makes this is a YA and a bit of a NA book too in my opinion, since Caitlyn is a senior in H.S
         Then there is the violence that occurs in the book. It's strange because while reading the book I was is enraptured I didn't really comprehend the reality of maybe how much abuse could have been happening to some of the characters. However, in thinking back on it, those situations would be very sickening in reality. I think Melissa Pearl just does an amazing job in writing about the violence in a away were it's just enough to make it vivid and descriptive but not disturbing. I don't know if that makes sense, but if you've read her work before you know what I mean, if you haven't take my word on the fact that she keeps your attention with a scene with out making you cringe despite the scene probably being ten times worse than how she's portraying it, she's just great and not disgusting us.
         Overall, I would definitely recommend this series. In fact I've already talked it up to a couple friends and have shared it with my sister. Of course the title "True Colors" always reminds me of the Cindy Lauper song, but don't let that stop you from reading this book if that too pops into your head every time you say the book title. This book is thrilling, sweet, and filled with deep contemporary teen and YA issues. I can't wait to see what happens next for this modern day heroine and how Caitlyn can develop relationships with the gift of insight past the facades of people.

"Two-Faced" (Book 2)-
Price: $2.99 ebook (at time of post)
Listed Rating: 📔📔📔📔.4
Book Link:Click Here
           Caitlyn Davies has an unusual gift. She knows exactly what people feel. She sees their true reactions, every time. Everyone wears a mask, but she can see the truth hiding behind it. This ability has changed her life, both for the better and the worse. She can choose to ignore what she sees...but what happens when it involves the guy she loves?
           Eric Shore knew getting involved with a girl who could read people was risky, but he couldn't help himself. Caitlyn is gorgeous and he loves being with her. Things have been going great...until she tells Eric that his step-brother and star basketball player, Connor, is doing drugs. Having looked up to the guy for years, Eric just can't buy it. Things only get worse when Caitlyn starts to question the true nature of Eric's favorite teacher at UCLA.
          Their first year at college together was supposed to be amazing, but their relationship is off to a rocky start, especially when Caitlyn refuses to deny what she's seen in order to keep her boyfriend happy. As more and more masks are peeled away, Caitlyn is thrown into a dangerous world where secrets are exposed and Eric once again has to decide whether dating Caitlyn is worth the risk. It doesn't take long for the young couple to realize that even those closest to you can be two-faced.

"Snake Eyes" (Book 3)-
Price: $2.99 ebook (at time of post)
Listed Rating: 📔📔📔📔.4
Book Link:Click Here
       Caitlyn Davis expects her sophomore year at UCLA to be perfect...until she walks into her dorm room to find Special Agent Zoey Kaplan of the FBI waiting for her. In that instant, she knows her idyllic year with new best friends, Nicole and Dale, along with her super hot boyfriend, Eric, is about to fall apart.
       Having been forced to work with the FBI months earlier, Caity accidentally gave away her special ability to read people's emotions and know whether they were telling the truth. Now, Kaplan wants Caity to go undercover again for a secret operation that will bring her close to the sadistic Diego Mendez, a man believed to be involved in human trafficking.
       Eric Shore is not a man who trusts easily. Having been burned multiple times, it's hard for him to open up completely, but his love for Caity makes him want to try. Yet, her sudden withdrawal worries him, particularly when she chooses to spend time with her new roommate, Quella Mendez, over him. When Caity's behavior begins to match that of her wild roommate, Eric wonders if their relationship is as strong as he believed.
      As Caity struggles to maintain her relationship and do her job, she finds herself pulled further into a dangerous world that could take away everything she holds dear. Will Eric learn the truth in time to save her? Or will the man with the eyes of a snake destroy their perfect romance?

"Poker Face" (Book 4)-
Price: $2.99 ebook (at time of post)
Listed Rating:***NEW RELEASE***
Book Link: Click Here
       When Caitlyn Davis agreed to work with the FBI, she never imagined it would lead to her own kidnapping. But her special ability to read people's emotions and decipher the truth has attracted the unwanted attention of Santiago Gomez, a rich casino owner who intends to use Caity's talent to further his own business.
       Eric Shore knew Caity didn't want to break up with him; her scribbled note left on his bed gave him a snippet of the truth she'd been hiding. Still reeling from his brush with death and the loss of his beloved grandfather, Eric throws himself into searching for his girl.
      With help from his reemerged father and a rogue FBI agent, Eric follows a tenuous lead to Las Vegas, not caring that his rescue attempt could bring him face-to-face with the same man who killed his grandfather and wants him dead as well. While Caity fights to survive the horrors of her slavery, Eric is thrust into a dangerous world that could cost him his life, along with Caity's.

Friday, February 27, 2015

"Friday Favs": Poker Face by Melissa Pearl

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. 246 pages
Price: $2.99 ebook, (at time of post)
Publisher & Date: Evatopia Press. February 23, 2015
Book Link: Click Here
Listed Rating: ***NEW RELEASE***
Price I Paid: $2.99,  FYI I love any book by this author
My Rating: 📔📔📔📔📔

My ThoughtsSuch a Thrilling and an Almost Heartbreaking Ending!

         Wow! Such a thrilling and an almost heartbreaking ending, but Melissa Pearl pulls it off once again, bringing readers through another great ending to a fantastic series! Poor Caity and Eric, everything for them has just kept getting worse and worse, especially after that end in Snake Eyes.  I seriously kept thinking "How is Melissa Pearl going to fix this?!" and "She needs to fix this!" and “Oh! She better not leave them like this!"
       Caity is separated from Eric, when she was enlisted against her will by Agent Kaplan in an undercover operation. Things went wrong at the end of said operation and now she is sold and hidden away to be left alone in the place where sins abound and masks are worn daily for acts of violence corruption and deceit all conducted without remorse or guilt. All the while Eric is left with a deep sense of sadness, longing and guilt that he pushes away in order to put forth all his efforts into find his girl. Eric just knows that Caity is in trouble and will do anything even risking his own life if need be, to get to her and bring her back safely.  However,  when help is offered will Eric be wise enough to take even if it’s from a person he has grown to hate? And will Caity be able to last and use her gift wisely enough to last in a place where men care for nothing but money and power?
       Overall this book was frustratingly fantastic! I mean I just knew Melissa would do right by her readers and give Caity and Eric their HEA of sorts,  but I just couldn't see it while reading this book. So a reader will just have to endure the great book to see if Caity and Eric do get their HEA. Cause honestly I wasn’t sure it could happen, but I will hint at the fact that Melissa, went with a more realistic ending and not a fictitious way out. Which I applaud, since I sooo hate it when authors force a happy fake ending that's a bit unbelievable, so rest assured Caity and Eric do get an ending weather its happy or not?  You’ll just have to read it to see it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Romance Thursday": Intentions of the Earl (Scandalous Sisters Book 1) by Rose Gordon

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Regency. 242 pages
Price: $0 FREE (at time of post)
Publisher & Date: Parchment & Plum, LLC [2nd edition]. December 30, 2013 
Book Link: Click Here
Listed Rating: 📔📔📔 . 9
Price I Paid: $0 (got it FREE on May 16, 2012)
My Rating: 📔 📖

My Thoughts: Scandalous Sure But Also Dreary 

     This book was sooo long winded and full of dialogue. Normally I've had to write reviews concerning an author's writing being to descriptive about scenery or a sex scene. Instead this book was just to much dialogue after dialogue that made this book seem really long. There was so much said that could have been condensed. Into a smaller plot, especially since the story itself was rather cliche. 
      The Banks girls: Brooke, Madison, and Liberty, are all know for different things and are currently all out in English society fresh from America. Their parents, mother America and father English, only want the best matches in marriage for them but also want them to be married for love as they were. This story is essential about Brooke and her time in courting an Earl Andrew Townson. Brooke lets me go a little far with her and doesn't heed the social norms on how to behave with men, so she is labeled a tease. Well one Duke she teases does not take it well and plots to ruin her by sending the Earl Andrew Townson to her as a possible suitor only in the hopes to woo her, compromise her then disgrace her by not marrying her. Andrew, not one to do such wicked things only agrees to the Dukes proposal so he can gain back some of his estates. However Andrew did not realize he could lose his heart in the scheme of things as he finds himself falling for the victims of this horrible plot.
      Overall the book was not my cup of tea. I've read this genre many times and this one just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was the underlying idea of Andrew always trying to ruin Brooke that made this book feel off since I couldn't really root for him as a good guy. And as for Brooke well she wasn't much a victim to me since she was overly flirtatious and a tease putting herself in those positions sooo it made it hard to be on her side too. The bright side in the book was the witty banter that occurred between Brooke or Andrew, though it felt more contemporary than regency. My only other fault with this book is the length. I think the length could have been cut had the author not written a lot of the forthcoming info and extra character devil omen concerning the Brooke's sisters for the next books in the series. It's was distracting and seemed like idle talking from the main story. So like I said not my favorite historical romance and will not be reading this series further.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Wednesday's, Wonderings & Wanderings": Museums and Art Galleries

    A couple weeks ago I took my BFF to the Getty Center in Los Angeles for her birthday. Now that was a treat for both her and myself, because she was turing 24 and wanted a day out, while as for myself I had never made it out to that Getty location, so I was up for the adventure.

      Let me state that I love art and LOVE history, so museums are a place where the two subjects meet. Seriously I can take hours perusing every inch of the museum looking at everything. So my friends and family that go or are dragged there with me know it will be a long day.  In fact my favorite section is the ancient history era anything pertaining to Greeks, Romans or Egyptian am automatically glued to the glass cases. Oh and if the place has anything with ancient indigenous Indians like the Mayans or Aztecs, then I get just as absorbed into that as well. That's why my favorite place to visit is the Getty Villa up the coast on P.C.H in Malibu. It's built to be modeled after a Roman Villa and it's just a gorgeous place filled with ancient art and antiques.

     Now as for art galleries I find them so beautiful, intriguing and inspiring. I don't like calling myself an artist per say, because compared to true artists I feel like my art is subpar. However, I do love to draw, take photos and take to the pen occasionally. So going to art galleries always makes me feel good, because I get to see true art displayed all in one place from modern to old well know artists. Grant it sometimes I have no clue why things are called art, but most of the time I go with it. Especially since most of my own art is abstract, so shapes and colors are my aesthetic language.

Exhibit from LACMA *not my work
        I have 3 favorite moments concerning art that always stick out, subsequently they are from my time studying abroad in Europe. Number one was me just staring for 30mins straight at the Van Gogh Sunflower painting. Last I knew, it was hosted at the National Gallery Art Gallery in London and it's just so gorgeous I just stood there and stared taking it in. It was my first and thus far not my last Van Gogh painting that I have been blessed to see in person. I have found that Van Gogh paintings are just so odd up close, yet so defined and dare I say normal from afar that you can't help but be mystified by them. The next was the Da Vinci's Mona Lisa located in the Louvre Museum in Paris, loved that place, but the Mona Lisa was definitely a highlight. Seriously, I took a selfie with it and it's still an art work that I look back at and think "You know, it's not as big as you think it is." And last but certainly not least, I must name the entire Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo located in the Vatican City of Rome, Italy. Ugh, I soooo miss Rome but being in that Sistine Chapel was amazing the whole Vatican was amazing but that chapel, Wow! No pictures were allowed, but I snuck a few, they aren't the best but hey I had to try. I just remember staring up at the ceiling, looking at the famous scene where Adam is reaching out to God and God is reaching out to Adam. The tension in the moment is so real that staring at it for more than 10 mins you feel like they almost move and could touch by just moving a smidge more. Like I said loved it and it's space is just splendid that it leaves you in awe at Michelangelo's skill as a painter and artist.

     Well I suppose in the end I think I prefer museums over art galleries, mostly because I have a deeper love of history. Plus in museums they tend to keep a few pieces of art on hand displayed, so you're not only seeing artifacts but art too, because art is big part of history. Don't get me wrong I will always be up for going to galleries, but contemporary work is shall I say interesting. So I've found that trying to figure out modern art is rather half the fun of attending any art gallery. Plus thanks to my location in L.A. there are tons around to go in and peruse when I have a free day and willing companion, I find that's harder to find a willing friend.

So I wonder, which is more your cup of tea, museum or art gallery?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"N.A. Tuesday": A Dark Road by Amanda Lance

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Coming of Age. 292 pages
Price: $0.99 ebook, $11.99 paperback (at time of post)
Publisher & Date: Limitless Publishing LLC. August 22, 2013
Book Link: Click Here
Listed Rating: 📔📔📔📔
Price I Paid: Zip,**I received a free copy in return for an honest review**
My Rating: 📔📔📔📖

My Thoughts: Holy Smokes! Really?!

     This book seemed soo promising based on the book description, however I did not feel it lived up to it's potential until the end and then  . . . IT FREAKING THREW ME!! This book was rather hard to get into and kind of strange at times, But it was the end that made it memorable book. Now grant it this book is not one I'd pick up again, but if you want a mind blown "what the heck?!" then this'll do. 
      The story is told in dual narrative form to help a read better understand and know the main character who are Hadley Grayson and James McKay. Now a reader can either love dual perspective or hate it, I liked it, but found Mckay point of view at times to be too immature and less appealing to read than Grayson's at times. But I still believe both perspectives were a good idea for this book.
      Hadley Grayson and her family move from a relatively nice place in Connecticut to a nowheresville of Ravel, Pennsylvania. She was settled in Connecticut being the captain of her high school fencing team she knew who her friends were and was ready to start her senior year, but her mom got a new job and the family moved. Her twin brother Simon easily fits into the new school in Ravel and makes friends but Hadley finds it hard and finds herself more alone even when surrounded by people.
      James Mckay the resident nobody somebody that everyone knows is just a little off but never gets to know. He goes by Mckay and lets no one near, because if he did he might get caught. Only few know that he is the resident "cook" or supplier in town for illicit drug. The problem is he isn't in it for the fame, riches, drugs, adrenaline, no its all in ends to a means for him. He wasn't out of the town and uses it as his only way to get enough cash to save up to pay for college. 
      Not the kingpin one would assume and not the sweet brainless beauty queen people would think, Mckay and Hadley find themselves drawn to each other. Their loneliness is the connection that pulls them together and it's their relationship that could bring trouble, because when you deal in drugs no one is safe.
     Overall, Interesting story and concept, I just couldn't get into the story until maybe halfway though it, mostly because I just couldn't connect with Mckay. He was sooo strange and I understand that he was written in a certain way, but he was so far out there at times. And Hadley the girl latches onto Mckay fast. Their relationship is love, but not and it's hard to really retell, so you just go with how the author put it from Hadley's words, "I felt sorry for him but I didn't understand why, there was no specific reason to pity him, but my gut told me he needed sympathy." I always felt like Hadley fell into the relationship out of pity, or as she said sympathy, because she found a kindred lonely spirit in Mckay, rather than it being love. Well, I suppose ultimately the author must have done a good in getting me little wrapped up, because that ending it's a bit abrupt but DANG! Din't see it ending that way and can only say read this if your okay with spending free time on a story you may or may not regret reading, cause I'm still on the fence. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Misc. Monday": The Crown in the Heather (The Bruce Trilogy Book 1) by N. Gemini Sasson

Genre: Action, Adventure, Biographical, Historical Fiction. 301 pages
Price: $0 FREE (at time of post)
Publisher & Date: Cader Idris Press. July 4, 2010
Book Link: Click Here
Listed Rating: 📔📔📔📔
Price I Paid:  $0 (got it FREE on February 14, 2015)
My Rating: 📔📔📔📔📔


    Historical Fiction is not the same as Historical Romance. Yes, there is some romance in this story, but it is not the main point of the story. So if you are looking for that, then this is may not be your type of book. However, if you are looking for a book pertaining to Scotland in the 14th century about it's history and the drama that enfolded between England and Scots then this a great choice.
    The story begins in a later time when Robert the Bruce is on the run with his band of people and family, with the English forces following them closely giving Bruce's weary forces no time to rest and collect themselves. The story then rewinds back in time to show readers how the main character's in the story found themselves where they are in the beginning chapter and subsequently later in the series that follow this book. 
      Robert the Bruce is shown to have been groomed from a young lad to become the next king of Scotland by birthright or force. Sadly Robert has a long journey filled with love, loss and many battles that make it clear it takes more than love for his country and pure intentions that will earn him his right to the throne of Scotland. James Douglas is a a young boy who is shown all to soon in life how the English deal with Scots. James father once a proud Scotsman was forced into promises to save his land and life, but James will later learn through various ordeals that as a Scot the only place he need be is Scotland and that he will need to fight only for what is his and his alone because trusting others can be fatal. 
      The English antagonists are Edward I and Edward II. The king initiating the bloodshed and battles is Edward I, aka Longskanks. He has his mind set on subduing Scotland and it inhabitant, but the nobles all vie for the right to rule independently. Edward II is shown as the heir to England but is constantly put down by his father as sub-par and worthless. Edward has but one "friend" and his father disapproves of their relationship, leaving Edward's hatred for his father growing all the more. Edward only wants to destroy Scotland and Bruce so he can leave those lands and head back to England, and perhaps receive some recognition from his father and king. 
       Overall, I found this book to be a great piece of historical fiction. I'm usually always hesitant when reading this genre, because the authors are either spot on or way off, but this author did it right. Sure there are historical inaccuracies but nothing too outrageous that I'd be put off by this book and say this is B.S. No, in fact I can tell the Author cares for the subject matter and wanted to portray it accurately in a way people would be enraptured by the history and people. So give this book a go if you want drama and adventure about Scottish history without the "and his father and that place" humdrum, this book richly unfolds the tale of Robert the Bruce and I look forward to buying the next book in the series.

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Friday Favs": Faith (Soul Savers Book 7) by Kristie Cook

Genre: SciFi, Fantasy, Dystopian, Paranormal. 335 pages
Price: $2.99 ebook (at time of post)
Publisher & Date: Ang'dora Productions, LLC. February 16, 2015
Book Link: Click Here
Listed Rating: 📔📔📔📔 . 9
Price I Paid: $2.51 (pre-ordered price on January 12, 2015)
My Rating: 📔📔📔📔

My Thoughts: Faith, Love, Letting Go and Letting God!!

        Oh Kristie Cook the agony, the tears, the heartbreak and the years all totally worth it after reading this final book in the series! OMG, I cried again at so many parts. Seriously normally I devour books, however this book took me a whole 5 days to get through, not because it was awful, on the contrary it was amazing! I was just super reluctant to see this amazing series end. I literally tried reading at the beach, in the comfort of my bed on a lazy day but when that didn't help either I tried my favorite spot on the couch, all to no avail. I even tried reading while grocery shopping with my mom, but nothing could keep me from feeling that hesitant sensation that THIS was it! I was soo overly excited that upon downloading the book I immediately felt sad because it was the last book. Too much of a fan I suppose BUT I was so happy I finished it finally, because Kristie did not disappoint and she left a little something something in the end to leave me excited and happy for more. 
      Basically the world is destroyed and Lucas is ruling what's left of it with the Daemoni and Demons. Alexis is proven to be dead, but not quite, and has to endure a trial or two to find herself and some Faith to get out of Hell. Tristan, the poor man, only wants to be with his love and find his son, but readers are shown his side of things in this book via his perspective, as this book is written in a duel narrative (which I loved). Together Tristan and Alexis try to find what's left of humanity and the Amadis, while searching for their son, Dorian, who sets off to accomplish what he thinks is his preordained destiny. Meanwhile Alexis through this book finds out that Faith and Love is all you need to make it in a dark world, because thinking you are all alone will truly keep you alone and defeated with no sense of hope.
      Overall loved the book, it was emotionally packed and I was absolutely happy with the conclusion. Warning to any potential reader, you must read the 6 previous books in the series before reading this book or you will be lost. Seriously loved books 1-7, plus the side books, and even though I've shed tears because of  these books, I'm happy for those tears being shed, because that's a sign of a good book. If a book or series doesn't get you emotionally involved then it's flat with no real substance and this series is sooo not flat. Oh and I'm so looking forward to what looks promised at the end of the book, so read this concluding book and see what Kristie has Cook-ing for her readers, I know I'm excited!