Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

"Stella Gordan's life is a lie."

Stella Gordon, not her real name, is given ten minutes to say goodbye to her boyfriend Reed. The two are entering the Witness Protection Program because her testimony will put Danny Balando in prison. Balando, her mother's drug dealer, is facing a first degree murder charge as well as multiple counts of drug possession and trafficking. Stella, who hates her new name, is heading to Thunder Basin, NE while her mother is going to rehab. She is angry at her mother and blames her for the situation that she finds herself in. Stella hopes to never see her again. She is estranged from her father because he refused to join her in the Program. Reed doesn't know where he is being relocated. She will never be able to come back home to Philadelphia and knows that Balando and his henchmen will never stop searching for her. Before the two are separated after being given ten minutes to say goodbye, Reed whispers in her ear to remember their joint email account.

Agent Price drives Stella to the middle of nowhere, small town Nebraska. He tells her about Carmina Songster, the retired cop Stella will be living with for the next three months until she turns eighteen. Everyone in town likes Carmina. They call her Gran and she knows the truth about Stella. They arrive after dark and Carmina is waiting on the porch for them. Right away, Stella knows this isn’t home. Her life and everything in it is back in Philadelphia.  She isn’t very receptive to Carmina’s welcoming gestures. Getting out of the car, she has a flashback to that night at her house where everything went wrong. Agent Price thinks everyone will be better with a good night’s sleep. Inside the house, Stella feels like she is in a time warp back to the twentieth-century. Carmina tells her that breakfast is at 7am sharp. Her room looks like it hasn’t been occupied in a while and a few of the previous inhabitant’s things are still there. She begins to wonder about Carmina’s past.

Stella is awoken by the sound of a lawn mower. She looks at the clock and sees that it is only 5am. Looking out the window, she sees a fit guy around her age. He doesn't hear her yelling because he has headphones on. She goes into Carmina’s room. She tells Stella that his name is Chet Falconer and he likes to get his work done early before it get too hot. Carmina instructs her to go back to bed. Since she wasn’t allowed to bring her iPhone, she will find something else in a dresser drawer. Back in her room, Stella pulls out a Walkman and rummages through the cassette tapes before finding one to her liking. She turns up the volumes and goes back to sleep. Stella goes down to the kitchen around ten and finds that breakfast is over. Carmina is out back, weeding her garden. Carmina tells her that bacon and eggs aren’t good cold and Stella states that she gets it; if you snooze, you lose. Stella hasn’t had a parent figure in a while and can do for herself. Carmina tells her that they are going into town to look for her a job, something Stella has never done. Stella thinks that maybe Carmina is looking for a fight but Stella decides that two can play at that game and goes along. She isn’t looking to get past her anger and open up to Carmina. On the way into town, the two pass by Chet at a house with a toolbox in hand. Stella starts to ask questions about Chet and Carmina warns her off. She states that he has enough problems without her adding to them. His parents are deceased and he is now the man of the house. Stella is surprised to find out that he isn’t looking to see what she considers a dead end town. After applying for several jobs while dressed in cut off shorts, the continue to trade barbs on their way home.

Carmina leaves Stella home alone one night while she attends a bible study. To combat a flashback she has, Stella goes to her room and pulls out one of Reed’s letters that she snuck with her. While reading it, she recalls one of the last things Reed said to her and she remembers their email account. Stella decides she must find a way to get to the library. She looks in the barn to see if she can find a bike but discovers an old Mustang instead. Locating the keys, the car easily starts and Stella heads out. She is disappointed to find that Reed hasn’t left an email but she leaves one instead. Heading out to her car, she is panic stricken to find that it won’t start. A guy comes up offering to help but she doesn’t want to take it. He states that the car was his before he sold it to Carmina last year. He wants to know if he needs to call the police. Turns out the guy is Chet. Stella tells him that Carmina is her foster parent and he is shocked. Chet can’t figure out why a loner like Carmina has taken her in. Stella gives Chet her cover story and he seems to buy it. He will start the car if she does a favor for him. Stella is worried that she won’t beat Carmina home. She agrees and heads to the diner to listen into a conversation that Chet is interested in. Getting the needed information, Stella comes back to find the Mustang running. Chet tells her a short cut. Hiding the car back into the barn, Stella thinks she is in the clear until she finds Carmina waiting for her in the house. Stella will be attending church with her tomorrow and now has a curfew. She isn’t happy and drowns her sorrows by reading one of Reed’s old letters.

People in church are shocked to see Stella with Carmina. She steers clear of any questions someone might ask and they want to ask. Stella begins to wonder what Carmina’s cover story for her appearance might be and why she was picked by the U.S. attorney’s office. Stella asks Carmina what she is getting in return. That is the answer Chet wants to know as he sits down in the pew behind them. Carmina isn’t answering and the conversation turns to Chet’s past. Carmina had arrested Chet in the past. She is surprised that Chet and Stella were together the night before. Stella is talked into staying for the church social after the service. Talking, Stella discovers that she listened in to a conversation between Chet’s young brother Dusty and Cooter Saggory, the town’s drug dealer. Chet fears that his brother is going to get caught up in something that will land him in prison. Their parents’ death hasn’t been easy on him. Stella wants to stir clear of the conversation because Chet’s problems with Dusty are all too familiar to her. Carmina come to retrieve her to go home. Stella tries to get out of leaving with her but Chet won’t play along. The Reverend tells Stella that he hoped to see her again. She comments that Carmina keeps her on a tight leash but Carmina comments that she isn’t Stella’s parole officer. H offers to see if Chet can find a church softball team to join. Stella is all to happy to play.

What occurred that caused Stella to enter the Witness Protection Plan? Why has Carmina taken in Stella? What is in Carmina’s past that she isn’t telling anyone?  Can Stella open up about her problems to Carmina or will she continue to shut her out? Does Chet uncover the truth about Stella? What secrets is Chet hiding? Can Stella and her mother ever repair their relationship? Will Stella ever see Reed again? What happens when Stella’s cover is blown?

Visit Becca Fitzpatrick’s website.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Half Bad by Sally Green (Half Bad book 1)

Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

"Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?" - taken from

Nathan's story continues with book two i the trilogy, Half Wild.

Visit Sally Green's website.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Persuasion by Martina Boone (Heirs of Watson Island book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book the series, Compulsion, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

Barrie has returned to Watson's Landing after spending four days in San Francisco to retrieve her Godfather's ashes. What Seven and Eight Beauford neglected to tell her while they were gone is that reporters and ghost hunters have been hanging around since the story about the boat explosion made the news. Pru and Seven decided to close up the tea room over concerns of unwanted visitors. Barrie is upset because she doesn't know how to keep Watson’s Landing safe if she doesn't know what is going on. Seven reassures her that the excitement will die down after Cassie’s hearing and Wyatt's funeral. He believes that everything can go back to normal then.

Eight and Barrie go outside to steal some time together. Eight states that he would like to be rid of his gift but Barrie has embraced hers, even though she develops migraines upon leaving Watson’s Landing. Her gift ties her to the house. Eight says that things would be simpler if she was free of her gift. Barrie just wants the reporters and ghost hunters to quit looking for the Fire Carrier. She is afraid someone else will get hurt. Eight tells her that Wyatt and Ernesto chose to be drug runners and their death is the result of their choices. Barrie is broken when she realizes that the whole time they were in California making plans for their future restaurant, Eight knew they wouldn’t come to fruition. She wishes that they had more time together before he leaves for college. Eight drops the bomb on Barrie that he turned down his baseball scholarship to USC to stay in South Carolina and be close to her. Barrie wants to know if he is staying because he wants to or because of his gift of knowing that she wants him to. They get into an argument over his change of heart over leaving the island. When the implications of what Eight is assuming over a possible future between the two of them, she gets scared. She runs off, leaving a miserable Eight behind.

Barrie’s not mad at Eight, just all of the circumstances that have come their way. Rounding the corner of the house, she realizes that the yunwi are agitated and try to get her to leave. Her gift pulls her to a green object on the ground. Barrie bends over to pick up the token and sees that there is a raven on the backside. She looks for the person who dropped it but doesn’t see anyone at first. Then a man in a dark suit with dreadlocks materializes. Barrie realizes that it is the same man she thought she saw on on the wall the day she came home.  He remarks that he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t witnessed it, saying that he didn’t think the gift would still be around after all this time. Barrie wants him to leave but he tells he that she has no reason to be afraid of Obadiah. She tries to scream but finds that she cannot. Obadiah tells her that he isn’t there to hurt her and that the Beaufort boy isn’t needed. He overheard their argument earlier and is there to help. He knows Eight wants to be rid of his gift gone. Barrie finds that she can let out a muffled scream and Obadiah is gone. Eight comes running and asks what is wrong. She tries to tell him about Obadiah, but the harder she tries to recall her memories, the hazier they become. Barrie finds that she cannot remember him.

Later, Seven has a chat with Barrie. He wants her to make sure that Eight leaves Watson’s Island while he still has the chance. It is up to her to convince him that she no longer wants him. Barrie is stunned to discover that Eight doesn’t know that his gift will tie him to the island. His father refuses to tell him and won’t answer any of Barrie’s questions. Seven does tell her that a future together with Seven isn’t in the cards. Each will be tied to their respective family homes. If they live together in the future, one would always be in pain. Barrie is left with seeing Seven in a new light and wondering what the future holds.

Who is Obadiah? Can he really take away Eight’s gift? What did he mean when he realizes that Barrie still had the Watson gift of finding things? Why does Barrie have issues recalling any memories of Obadiah?  Is there buried treasure at Coleworth Place? Will Barrie be able to convince Eight to leave Watson’s Island before his gift ties him to Beaufort Hall? What isn’t Seven telling either Barrie or Eight about the family gifts? Do the ghost hunters finally leave Watson’s Island? Is there a chance that Barrie and Eight can have a future together?

Barrie’s story will conclude with Illusion due out on October 25, 2016.

Visit Martina Boone’s website.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Rose Society by Marie Lu (Young Elites book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book the series, The Young Elites, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher on the first book in the series.

“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.”

It has been three weeks since Adelina Amouteru and her sister Violetta, left Kenettra. She feels a tremendous amount of guilt over Enzo Valenciano’s death and not trusting the Dagger Society  sooner. Even though she helped rescue Raffaele Bessette, the Daggers still cast her away and she now considers them her enemy. The sisters are in Merroutas to flee the Inquisition's eyes but also to see if they can locate another Young Elite by the name of Magiano. While searching, the two girls are approached by a street vendor who is operating a gambling game. Among the participants is a young malfetto boy. Adelina and Violetta believe that may have found Magiano. Violetta is able to sense Elites by their powers. When the malfetto boy wins, the other participants aren’t happy. After collecting his winnings, he leaves, not sensing the danger behind him. The men who lost their money, follow him down an alley. The girls decide to follow as well. They find the men accosting the boy. Adelina decides to help him. Using her power of illusion, she begins torturing the men. Violetta talks her back to reality and they realize the malfetto boy has escaped. Adelina and Violetta realize that the boy isn’t Magiano. He isn’t the Elite that Violetta sensed. Adelina hears a familiar voice speak to them and Violetta whispers that it belongs to the Elite she sensed earlier. They turn around to see the game operator staring down at them from a balcony.

The sisters tell him that they are searching for Magiano. He wants to know why they are searching for an imaginary person that mothers tell stories about to get their children to behave. They ask why he is so successful at his gambling operation and he reports magic. He also thanks the two of them for helping his young assistant. He wishes them luck in finding their Young Elite. When he says Young Elite, recognition dawns on her. It turns out that the reason Adelina recognizes his voice is that he was in the prison cell next to hers before her scheduled execution. He tries to play it off but realizes that she is Adelina Amouteru. He lets her know that she saved his life that day but doesn't say how. He does tell them that they would have better luck finding Magiano at the Little Baths of Bethesda, one of the abandoned bath halls of southern Merroutas. He warns them that they better have a good reason for seeking him out and leaves. It turns out that the gaming operator is actually Magiano. The sisters will have to prove their worth before he will agree to join up with them. When they complete the task he gave them with what seems to be disastrous results, Magiano is eager to join their ranks. Adelina wonders what drives Magiano; greed or revenge.

Raffaele has assumed leadership of the Dagger Society since the death of Enzo. He and the remaining members have traveled to Beldain to meet with Queen Maeve. Very few of their supporters have been in contact with them since they fled Kenettra. Raffaele realizes that Maeve is an Elite. Her former companion, Lucent, was blamed for Tristan’s ,Maeve's brother, death and banished by Maeve’s mother. Lucent is surprised to see Tristan alive. Raffaele asks Maeve how that is possible and she explains that no one knew that Tristan died. She kept her power a secret. Maeve wants to wrestle control over Kenettra from Giulietta. If Raffaele helps her bring Enzo back to life, his powers would be tenfold. In order for it to work, Enzo has to be tethered to someone. Maeve wants to use Raffaele but she will find someone else if he refuses. Raffaele recognizes that something is off about Tristan now.

Teren Santoro, Leader of the Inquisition Axis, is fiercely loyal to Queen Giulietta. In fact, he is her lover and co-conspirator. He has been enamoured with her since they were children. Now that she is sitting on the throne, it seems her agenda towards malfettos has changed. She wants their “slaves” treated better but Teren is driven to rid Kenettra of all malfettos. He is fighting with himself over his desire to be with Giulietta and to carry out his own personal agenda.

Why does Magiano decide to join forces with Adelina and Violetta? Will Raffaele help Queen Maeve with her plans for Enzo and Kenettra? How come Giulietta wants to save the Malfettos
now that she is on the throne? Why is Teren so determined to rid Kenettra of its malfettos? What happens when Adelina encounters Raffaele and the Black Daggers?  Will Adelina and Teren cross paths again? Who survives? Will Adelina always be a “villain" or can she be redeemed?   Does Adelina’s fame/notoriety help or hinder her endeavors?    

Stay tuned for book three in the Young Elites trilogy due out in 2016 to see how the story ends.

Visit Marie Lu’s website.