5/26/16

The Butterfly Garden - by Dot Hutchison

My Rating: 3.5 stars

I am in a group on Goodreads and this book was recommended to me as part of a challenge called the Bossy Book Challenge. It was also one of this month's Kindle First selections (which made my decision on which book to choose much easier). My first choice of books is not usually anything that has P.I., FBI agent, Police Detective in the books description. I find that most police procedural type books are usually written in the same fashion and not to my liking. But the book's blurb sounded very intriguing despite the mention of police detectives. 

This book is different because it starts out with the victim already rescued and being interviewed by the police. The reader learns what happened through the interview process by the police. The entire story is told from Maya's point of view. 

The story is different and I was surprised at how engrossed I was in the story and what happened to these Butterflies and how they came to be there and what the Gardener did to them. The entire story is leading up to how they got rescued. It is an interesting story and a fast read. The ending fell a little short and was anti-climatic for me (hence the 3.5 instead of a 4 star rating).  Since we know they got rescued, we are just waiting until we get to the part when we find out how. So once I got there I just thought to myself "that's it?" Overall, it was a good story and interesting but don't expect any big surprises or strange twists at the end. It was a super quick read and kept my interest but it just wasn't enough to make this higher on my list of potential favorites. If anyone is not sure about this book because they are worried about violence, there is mention of rape and murder but it does not go into any graphic descriptions.




About the book:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding...
 

About the author:

Dot Hutchison is the author of A Wounded Name, a young adult novel based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the adult thriller The Butterfly Garden. With past experience working at a Boy Scout camp, a craft store, a bookstore, and the Renaissance Faire (as a human combat chess piece), Hutchison prides herself on remaining delightfully in tune with her inner young adult. She loves thunderstorms, mythology, history, and movies that can and should be watched on repeat.



5/23/16

Bargain Books

Here are some bargain priced eBooks for Amazon Kindle. These are temporary reductions so don't wait. What will you read?



Science Fiction and Fantasy:



$1.99

The city of Klaar has never fallen. No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city’s mighty walls. Even when a powerful invading army shows up at the gates, the duke and his daughter, Rina Veraiin, are certain that it poses little threat.

But they are cruelly betrayed from within and, in a horrific spasm of violence, the city is brought to its knees. With the help of her bodyguard, Kork, the battle-trained young Rina narrowly escapes the slaughter and makes her way to the lair of an ancient sorcerer—the Ink Mage—who gifts her with a strange, beautiful set of magical tattoos. Now a duchess in exile, Rina sets out on a quest to reclaim what is rightfully hers, aided by a motley assortment of followers who will help her in her cause—some for noble reasons and others for their own dark purposes.
With the enemy’s agents nipping at her heels, Rina must learn to harness her new and startling magical powers if she is to assert her rightful place as ruler of Klaar.



Mystery, Thriller, Suspense:



$1.99

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger.



Romance:



$1.99

After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track.

Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did.
But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it.


Teen & Young Adult:



$1.99    

Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away, and to forget about what happened that night. But as she starts putting her life, her family, and her friendships back together, Lex is haunted by a secret she hasn't told anyone—a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.  


Literary Fiction:



$1.99

For most of us, remembering the Holocaust requires effort; we listen to stories, watch films, read histories. But the people who came to be called “survivors” could not avoid their memories. Sol Nazerman, protagonist of Edward Lewis Wallant’s The Pawnbroker, is one such sufferer.

At 45, Nazerman, who survived Bergen-Belsen although his wife and children did not, runs a Harlem pawnshop. But the operation is only a front for a gangster who pays Nazerman a comfortable salary for his services. Nazerman’s dreams are haunted by visions of his past tortures.


5/20/16

Passenger - by Alexandra Bracken

My rating: 3 Stars

First, this is book 1 of who knows how many. I did not realize this was going to be part of a series of books until about the last 100 pages and I realized the story was not going to resolve in the pages that were left. I am not opposed to series or sequels but not knowing ahead of time made for an unsatisfied ending.

The story is about Etta, a teen violin prodigy, and Nicholas, an 18th century sailor. Etta is thrust into Nicholas's world and unbeknownst to her, she can time travel. Etta and Nicholas are on a mission to find an astrolabe that has special powers and to try and save Etta's mother. This book is a young adult book with time travel, some adventure and some romance. The first quarter of the book moves slow and is a little disjointed. The rest of the book picks up a little in pace (but not much) as Etta and Nicholas try to find the astrolabe while flitting through time. I didn't think the story was all that original and the use of time travel wasn't very interesting or new. My biggest problem was the lack of an ending. The story wasn't resolved and a new dilemma was created which is the set-up to the next book. For me it was an average book, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The story isn't a bad story and it would probably be much more entertaining for the young adult audience it is intended for. This is a good book for the 9th through 12th grade reader. For parents looking for a good book for their child, this would fit the bill. It doesn't have any graphic violence or inappropriate language.



About the Book:

Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn't even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.



Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies--the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web. 


Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light--threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home... forever.


About the Author:

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She now writes full time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming apartment overflowing with books. You can visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com or on Twitter (@alexbracken).                



5/18/16

New Book Releases

Here are some new books that came out in May or will be coming out in May. Books with an apocalypse theme are one of my favorites and there are three books coming out this month that are apocalypse or post-apocalypse in nature. The first of these is The Firemanby Joe Hill. I almost pre-ordered it but waited until yesterday to run to the bookstore so I could grab it and not have to wait for it to be shipped.  The premise for this book is new and different. From the books blurb:

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.


The next book coming out in the apocalypse category is the final book in the The 5th Waveseries, The Last Starby Rick Yancey. The final installment in the popular alien invasion trilogy comes out on May 24th. From the books blurb:

We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.



The final apocalypse themed book and also another final book in a series is Justin Cronin's The City of Mirrors being released on May 24th. This series is one of my top favorite series of all time. I have never been so excited for a book to come out. I was lucky enough to get a hold of an ARC and you can see my review here. From the books blurb:

"The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?"

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity's only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.


The last new release I want to share is a book by Claire North, The Sudden Appearance of Hope The book came out on the 17th. I became a fan of Claire North after reading The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Her new book looks even more intriguing and I can't wait to read it. From the books blurb:

My name is Hope Arden, and you won't know who I am. We've met before - a thousand times. But I am the girl the world forgets.

It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time.

A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks straight through me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit - you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life tricky. But it also makes me dangerous . . .

The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of the girl no one remembers. But this gripping story – of love and loss, of hope and despair, of living in the moment and dying to leave a mark – is novel that will stay with you for ever.


Summer is coming. What will you be reading? Leave a comment below and share what your next read will be.



5/16/16

Bookcon

This past Saturday was Bookcon in Chicago. Bookcon is a consumer tradeshow for all things books. Bookcon is an all day event filled with booths from big publishers like Penguin, Disney, Harper Collins as well as smaller publishers and indie authors.  There are a lot of opportunities to meet authors and get an autograph and maybe even a galley or sample of an upcoming book.


Bookcon was held in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center.


There is something for everyone at Bookcon. Many authors were at panels on a variety of topics.


 Some authors signed autographs at the publisher's booth but there were a lot more opportunities to get a book from home signed by your favorite author at the autographing sessions. This was a crazy event to try and get to but worth it.

  

I was lucky and I was able to get autographs from Justin Cronin and Scott Sigler.




There was also an added bonus the night before Bookcon. The SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) had a mass autographing at the Palmer House Hilton. I was lucky and got autographs from Rysa Walker, Helene Walker and John Scalzi.


These are a few of the books I brought home (my daughter already gabbed a few). Not a bad book haul. All in all, it was a super busy day and I definitely got a work out.

5/13/16

Bargain Books

Here are some new bargain books for the Kindle (also available in print at a different price). These might only be temporary reductions so get them while you can!


Science Fiction and Fantasy:




$2.99

In this comic book/graphic novel adaptation set one hundred years before the events in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Hedge Knight chronicles a young squire as he travels the cruel and complex path to knighthood in the Seven Kingdoms.

Shouldering his fallen master’s sword and shield, Duncan (or “Dunk") is determined to reinvent himself as a knight in a nearby tournament. But first Dunk needs a sponsor, and that requirement sends him down a road studded with friends, foes, adventure, and hidden agendas. One such friend is Egg, who becomes Dunk’s squire, yet even he may hold secret motivations of his own.
In this gripping prequel, Dunk and Egg seek glory in a world both familiar and new to Game of Thrones fans. What the two fortune seekers encounter, however, is a world of distrust and political machinations. Chivalry is not lost while Dunk holds fast to his dreams of honor. But such outdated virtues make him a target—and they may even lead to his ruin. This vivid and elaborately wrought tale brings new dimension to George R. R. Martin’s beloved world.

This edition includes fifteen pages of new supplemental material: sketches, character designs, and original pages by Mike S. Miller, plus variant and original covers.

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense:



The Devil She Knew

$1.99

"You have to trust somebody, Cassidy. It might as well be me," he said. But she didn't know him. And something her mother taught her once always stayed with her: 'Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.'

When reputed mobster Tony DelMorrie feuds with his girlfriend and wins the fight by killing her, Cassidy Hoake is the only witness. She quickly becomes a target when DelMorrie skips bail - running is Cassidy’s only option. Now, she’s hiding from the devil, living in a small Ohio town, aware that only her anonymity protects her. She can’t afford complications like Clay Cestra. His police uniform fits like a second skin and he looks even better with his clothes off. But he is the law and she is a fugitive. A life with him means risking everything, confronting her demons and defeating the devil.

Romance:




$1.99

Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has a roster of A-list clients, including the sexy and unpredictable Simon O'Neal. But Simon, who's just been through a turbulent divorce, won't cooperate, so she drops him from her list—and he retaliates by taking the rest of her clients with him.

Desperate to save her company, Gail makes a deal with Simon. What he wants is custody of his son, but that's going to require a whole new image. He needs to marry some squeaky-clean girl like Gail, who'll drag him off to some small, obscure place like Whiskey Creek…. Gail reluctantly agrees to become his wife. She isn't reluctant because he's too hard to like. It's because he's too hard not to
love!

Teen and Young Adult:



Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days Book 1)

$1.99

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with Raffe, an injured enemy angel. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco, where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.


Literary Fiction:



The Oddfits (The Oddfits Series Book 1)

$1.99

Eight-year-old Murgatroyd Floyd doesn’t fit in—not as a blue-eyed blonde living in Singapore, not in school, and certainly not with his aloof expatriate parents, who seem determined to make his life even harder. Unbeknownst to him, there’s a reason why he’s always the odd boy out: he is an Oddfit, a rare type of human with access to the More Known World, a land invisible to most people. Yet unfortunate circumstances keep Murgatroyd stranded in the Known World, bumbling through life with the feeling that an extraordinary something is waiting for him just beyond reach.
Seventeen years later, that something finally arrives when a secret organization dedicated to exploring the More Known World invites Murgatroyd on a mission. But as the consummate loser begins to grow into the Oddfit he was meant to be, the Known World becomes bent on exterminating him. For once in his underachieving life, will Murgatroyd Floyd exceed expectations and outsmart those trying to thwart his stupendous destiny?