Seized (Profiler #3) by Elizabeth Heiter

December 29, 2015
TWO POINT FIVE STARS
Seized (The Profiler #3)
~Amazon~

SYNOPSIS:

Danger is all around her…

What should have been a routine investigation for FBI profiler Evelyn Baine turns ominous when she's kidnapped by a dangerous cult of survivalists. As her worst nightmares become a reality, she begins to question what she's seeing. Because the longer she's inside their compound, the more she realizes this group is not what it seems to be.

The next terrorist threat is right beside her…

As the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team closes in, Evelyn suspects she's stumbled onto an emerging terrorist threat—and a cult leader who has a score to settle with the FBI. If Hostage Rescue breaches the compound, Evelyn's dead for sure. If they don't, the cult may unleash a surprise attack that could leave the whole country shattered.


REVIEW:


This was definitely an entertaining read, unfortunately there wasn't enough character development and engagement to make me care about Evelyn and the important people in her life. Although this is part of a series I read it as a stand alone, which the author suggests is fine. There was plenty of action and mystery surrounding the plot. Evelyn is a brilliant FBI profiler, but in this book she's distracted and unsure of herself most of the time. This definitely didn't sit well with me, because even when she was figuring things out her lack of confidence stalled her.

The plot was engaging because I really enjoy learning about and understanding cults. The action was realistic, but definitely had it's share of heart racing moments. The book used alot of FBI abbreviations describing different personnel and roles within the FBI.  The abbreviations were distracting because they were used infrequently, so you forget what they mean. There is a glossary defining the abbreviations, but having to stop and look through definitely would take away from the enjoyment of the book.

Overall despite the books flaws I did enjoy it. The pacing was good and the ending had a twist I wasn't expecting. Despite my low rating I would suggest this book to people who enjoy thrillers involving the FBI.  However this just wasn't a good fit for my reading preference, despite my interest in cults and psychology. What I enjoy most about books is there emotional impact and ability to connect with the reader, and I didn't find it here.

I received a copy of this e-book from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
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V Girl by Mya Robarts

December 21, 2015
V Girl, Mya Robarts, Book Review, InToriLex
THREE STARS
The V Girl

SYNOPSIS:

In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him, but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love. 
Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s rape and kidnapping is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey, a foreign, broody man that she distrusts because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. He offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.

All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.
Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

REVIEW:

I don't read alot of romance, but I did enjoy the unique concept behind this. This was a mature romance in the midst of a violent oppressive dystopian society. Please be aware that this contains scenes of sexual violence that may be offensive to some readers. Lila and Aleksey are an unlikely but complex pair, who complemented each other well. Lila is an indecisive teenager who is trying to cope in a world where most of the women are raped by soldiers routinely. V-girl stands for virgin and being a virgin in this society makes you more desirable to genetically modified super soldiers who ravage girls without consequence. Aleksey is a cop who is at times sensitive and caring, but overall intimidating and unnerving.
There were well described sex scenes although they were not what you would typically consider romantic. The unpredictable nature of the book kept me engaged and wanting to read more. The author made the book come to life with her descriptions of a torn apart society in desperate need of change. But there wasn't enough fleshed out details about how and what the dystopian world was. I did enjoy the romance but it overshadowed other aspects and hindered some of the novels potential.
"You usually can’t recall all the people you’ve shared laughs with. But you rarely forget the people you’ve shared your tears with. "
There was definitely choppy parts of this book, and the ending didn't tie everything altogether. The pacing issues and repetitiveness of phrases was also distracting at times. But overall I did enjoy the romance between Lila and Alekskey to make it a worthwhile read. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy romance and don't mind some less than stellar world building.

You can purchase the book on Kobo Books and Amazon.
I received a copy from the author and Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

If you would like to participate in the Giveaway hosted by Mya Robarts for a $15 amazon card see below:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
2 comments

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

December 16, 2015
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Book Review, InToriLex,
SIX STARS
Between the World and Me

 SYNOPSIS:

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

REVIEW: 

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates. InToriLex, Book Review, Angela Davis, Black Power

This is required reading. These are my thoughts and feelings that I have been unable to express in words until I read this book. I loved it for it's honesty, and boldness eloquently and thoroughly used to explain the state of black people in America. But the explanation is not simple and you can't ignore how everyone has a played a role in it. I had to re-read passages a few times to digest and grasp everything captured concisely in wonderful prose.
 "Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible--this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white."
This was a book club read so I'm excited to talk about the many different views, issues, and awesomeness conveyed in a small and powerful book when we meet. The best part of this book is it is accessible and universally relateable. Losing someone to injustice and unfairness is too common, but the systems that exist to allow it, must change. This was a invitation for the reader to learn more about a black culture, systems of oppression and love in a wonderful way.
"It struck me that perhaps the defining feature of being black was the inescapable robbery of time, because the moments we spent readying the mask, or readying ourselves to accept half as much, could not be recovered."
I can sing this books praises over and over. But you won't get it, unless you read it. This book made me cry, reflect, and think. The struggle of life and to do what's right is just as important because in it hope, and we must all hold on to that. This books asks you to recognize your smallness, but don't let it diminish your fight to live, and do so without apologies. Do yourself a favor and read this, you'll feel bad for everyone else missing out.
"Plunder has matured into habit and addiction; the people who could author the mechanized death of our ghettos, the mass rape of private prisons, then engineer their own forgetting must inevitably plunder much more. "
4 comments

Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

December 13, 2015
Almanac of the Dead, Leslie Marmon Silko, InToriLex, Book Review
FIVE STARS
Almanac of the Dead

SYNOPSIS:

At the heart of Almanac of the Dead is Seese, a haunted, enigmatic survivor of the fast-money, high-risk world of drug dealing--a world in which the needs of modern America exist in a dangerous balance with Native American traditions. In Tucson she encounters Lecha, a well-known psychic hiding from the consequences of her celebrity, whose larger duty is to transcribe the ancient, painfully preserved notebooks that contain the history of her people--the Almanac of the Dead.

A many-layered narrative unfolds to tell the tragic story of the clash of civilizations.



REVIEW:

Almanac of the Dead, Leslie Marmon Silko, IntoriLex, Book Review
"Those who can't learn to appreciate the world's differences won't make it. They'll die."
This was Games of Thrones, meets Breaking Bad, with engaging, graphic and enlightening prose. The book consists of snapshots into a slew of diverse and broken characters, who realize how ruthless life can be. This is dense and long (763 pg's the longest novel I've read), but that didn't diminish the wonderful experience of reading this book. At the core of this is the idea being reinforced over and over again that we must remember and know the history of our people. In America Native American history in school isn't taught and Christopher Columbus continues to be regarded as a hero. This book is a a step in the right direction, because it starts the conversation with the unflinching truth about the Native American genocide.


Alot of criticism of this novel talks about homosexual characters being portrayed as evil. But at I was reading I thought that was a unfair characterization. Every character was more nuanced than good or evil. There were some graphic and disturbing scenes which involved rape and molestation, but the author clearly wants you to be uncomfortable. The point is that your comfort is taken away, so you can better relate to the turmoil and ugliness described in the novel.

There is wonderful insights and thoughts that challenge the reader to look at things they may be used to turning away from. The spiritual connection that has been lost to the earth is a reoccurring theme, but did not come off as preachy at all. Religion is used to manipulate and profit. Characters are betrayed, lost and grasping for hope where they can. I was emotionally reminded of things that this book didn't directly address, but the intimacy described is relateable for everyone.
"The ancestors had called Europeans the 'orphan people' and had noted that as with orphans taken in by selfish or coldhearted clanspeople, Few Europeans remained whole."
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience an educational, engaging, and powerful glimpse into a different culture. My book club, didn't finish the book when we met on account of the length, but we all took memorable and important lessons from it. The ending seems unfinished, but it's not. This book makes you recognize and experience the power of stories, and made me immensely grateful. 
2 comments

The Three-Body Problem (Three Body #1) by Liu Cixin, Ken Liu (Translation)

December 2, 2015
The Three-Body Problem, Three Body #1, Liu Cixin, Kin Liu, InToriLex, Book Review
FOUR STARS
The Three-Body Problem (Three-Body, #1)

SYNOPSIS:

With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from  China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

REVIEW:

Science Gif, InToriLex, Book Review
I really enjoyed the way this book made me think and address some of  my ignorance regarding China's Cultural Revolution. Although I don't really know much history, I'm grateful when a book teaches me some. There was violence, sadness, suspense, and aliens, mixed in with enough lightheartedness to make it all work.  Reading unique takes on how we will make contact with alien's and what will happen next was how I fell in love with science fiction. This story showed how intricately science and our humanity are intertwined. There were passages  that made me reflect on my relationships with others and how I understand existence. There were also passages that me laugh and frustrated which was just as important.
"It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race."
This is hard science fiction, so the author  described physics, astronomy, radio transmission, and subatomic particles in understandable but technical terms. I can see how the science described could be a turn off for readers, but I thought that was a integral part of understanding the aliens and the cost of civilization advancement. However I also found my eyes glazing over, and my brain desperately wanting to skip some parts. The rest of the story and the plot more then makes up for it and I would recommend this book to any science fiction fan. I will  continue the series and look forward to discovering what happens next. 

I like most readers usually skip acknowledgements and thanks, but the authors notes for readers of the American edition provided some great insight on what he wants readers to take from this book, and his love of science. In his own words:
"The stories of science are far more magnificent, grand, involved, profound, thrilling, strange, terrifying, mysterious, and even emotional, compared to the stories told by literature."
2 comments

Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels I'm Looking Forward To

December 1, 2015
 Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish 
Top Model, CW
Below are my Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels I'm Looking Forward To:

1. The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1) by Heidi Heilig
The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig, Top Ten Tuesday, InToriLex
The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)
Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.
 This seems soo awesome, and I usually try to steer clear of Historical Fiction, but a few of my book friends have already written great reviews for it. The multi genre novel seems to have something for everyone.

2. Everland by Wendy Spinale
Everland, Wendy Spinale, Top Ten Tuesday, InToriLex
Everland
 Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?


Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories and this dark version, seems right up my ally. I'm hoping for a great retelling.  
 
3. Beyond The Red by Ava Jae
Beyond the Red, Ava Jae, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday
Beyond the Red
Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.
I enjoy good sc-fi, and this sounds like epic space opera Young Adult. Aliens, rebels and half bloods sound great to me

4. Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
Shallow Graves, Kali Wallace, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday
Shallow Graves
For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

I haven't read a decent and engaging zombie book in a long time. I'm hoping this would be a great remedy to fix the solution!! 

5. Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Dreamology, Lucy Keating, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday
Dreamology
 Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?


I admittedly shy away from contemporary novels, but the dreaming elements of the novel draws me in. Something that will take me out of my comfort zone, but hoping it will be worth it. 

6. Underwater by Melissa Reichardt
Underwater, Melissa Reichardt, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday
Underwater
Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

Too many authors approach mental health issues the wrong way. From the positive reviews and serious tone of the synopsis I trust the author will have the appropriate care with sensitive subjects. 
7.Consider (Holo Series #1) by Kristy Acevedo
Consider, Holo Series#1, Kristy Acevedo, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday
Consider (Holo Series, #1)
Winner of the 2015 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award

As if Alexandra Lucas’ anxiety disorder isn’t enough, mysterious holograms suddenly appear from the sky, heralding the end of the world. They bring an ultimatum: heed the warning and step through a portal-like vertex to safety, or stay and be destroyed by a comet they say is on a collision course with earth. How’s that for senior year stress?

The holograms, claiming to be humans from the future, bring the promise of safety. But without the ability to verify their story, Alex is forced to consider what is best for her friends, her family, and herself.

To stay or to go. A decision must be made.

With the deadline of the holograms’ prophecy fast approaching, Alex feels as though she is living on a ticking time bomb, until she discovers it is much, much worse.


This is another YA dystopia, but seems to have good feedback and features a protagonist with a anxiety disorder. This seems promising.  

8. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel
Sleeping Giants, Themis Files #1, Sylvain Neuvel, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)
World War Z meets The Martian. This inventive first novel will please devoted fans of sci-fi as well as literary readers hoping a smart thriller will sneak up on them.

17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

My love for science fiction compels me to read more adult books in the Genre. The use of interviews seems like a great way to keep suspense going, and the book is getting great feedback so far. 

9.Please Don't Tell by Laura Rims
Please Don't Tell, Laura Tims, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday
Please Don't Tell
Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong.
I'm a big fan of thriller's and this seems like a great one, involving deceit and twins. I'm patiently waiting for this one.

10. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Symptoms of Being Human, Jeff Garvin, InToriLex, Top Ten Tuesday

Symptoms of Being Human
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.


 I really enjoy learning more about gender, this seems like a good book introducing a range of topics that teens should learn more about. I'm looking forward to it. 

What are some of the 2016 Debut Novels Your Looking Forward To?
46 comments
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