Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Review: Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick

Hidden Deep

(The Hidden Trilogy #1)


Amy Patrick 





He isn't supposed to even talk to a human, much less fall in love with one...

Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she'd be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She's a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he's not supposed to exist.

After her father's affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn't mind a first date that didn't suck, but she's determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann's just moved into her grandma's house in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.

She's still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He's still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she's with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann's strict policy-- never want someone more than he wants you.

Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don't get careless and Don't get caught.
It's allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore. Lad's never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He's not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.

And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully ignorant and safe. 




I'd seen this book around a few times so when I found out it had gone perma-free I decided to take a chance on it. 

I'm glad I did. I was very surprised by how much I got into the secret world that the author develops. I can't say much without giving away a huge reveal, but the way she wraps fantasy with reality, and even human history and today's fame crazed culture, was extremely clever. There was always something pulling me through the pages. I had to know this boy's secrets. I think I was as curious as Ryann was! And when the truth finally came out, I was blown away! (Why didn't I think of that?)

The first 1/4 of the book dragged a bit as it set up the characters and the love triangle. Let me get something straight. I don't hate love triangles. In fact, I don't know why they are so widely hated. I want a good romance as much as anyone. But I wasn't convinced by this romantic standoff. I didn't particularly like either of the beaus and one just completely infuriated me. Ryann and one guy seemed to just be destined for each other, while the other just seemed to get in the way. That aspect of the story is not what did it for me.

The twists were interesting, though I called them pretty quickly. (I never used to do that. I think I'm just developing a talent.) Despite that, it was well crafted story that had a lot of originality. The writing flowed very well, keeping me interested and making it a quick read. As I said before, I loved the culture put into the secret world, and the mythos behind everything was pure genius. I want more of that world and I have to find out what happens next, so I definitely added this series to my list.

4 stars
   * * * *   

Friday, January 8, 2016

Sword and Shield

I found this fantastic Facebook group dedicated to YA fantasy authors and readers. It's following has been growing a lot and I thought I would help spread the word. (I am not the admin or creator.)

Authors can promote and post giveaways, but it's main focuses are discussions about the industry and supporting one another. It's a great place to vent, inquire, find out about release parties, and get insights to what readers want. We swap reviews, trade marketing secrets, play games, and blab about what we are reading. Since I joined two months ago, I've won free books, and scored a few ARCs!

Both traditionally published authors as well as self-published are encouraged to join, as long as their main genre is YA fantasy. Readers, bloggers, and aspiring writers are also welcome. It's a great group with some fun, genuine people.   

Don't miss out!

Check out

Sword and Shield  

on Facebook.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: Playing With Fire by Sherry D. Ficklin

Playing With Fire


Sherry D. Ficklin




One brilliant young hacker. 
One experimental government aircraft. 
One chance to keep it all from going up in flames. 

Still recovering from her troubled past, Farris is no stranger to change. But when the military transfers her father across the country to an experimental aircraft squadron, settling in to a new life is the least of her problems. As a series of apparent computer glitches threaten the security of the fleet and the blame falls on her father, she decides to put her computer skills to use digging up the truth. Soon she's drawn into the perilous world of a hacker who is determined to ground the fleet--at any cost.

When all signs lead to someone close to her as the mastermind, Farris will have to burn more than bridges to get to the truth. She will have to risk her fragile new life to uncover the identity of the cyber criminal before they can escalate from harmless tampering... to all out murder.




I was absolutely enchanted with Sherry D. Ficklin's historical romance Queen of Someday. Check out my review. When I found the first book in her #HACKERS series was also free, I had to check it out. 

I was pleasantly surprised with Playing With Fire. It's been awhile since something in the contemporary genre has really grabbed me. I haven't ever read a teen book that takes place on a military base so the novelty of that was intriguing, as I'm not at all familiar with that lifestyle. I was really impressed by the technical jargon but also relieved that it was all worded in a way that someone like me, who's head is consumed in a fantasy world, can understand. Sort of, anyway. I think I understood it. Something about digital portals and codes, and stuff. Either way, it made sense enough for me to follow the plot and Ferris's clever line of thought. The voice of the story was everything I've come to expect from Ficklin after reading Queen of Someday. Even though the genre could not be more different, she did not disappoint.

Military brat Ferris is a typical outcast as it comes with her calling, but the author made sure to round out her character with just the right amount of punk and girlishness. Instead of scoffing at the prospect trading in her Vans for homecoming heels, she embraced her inner princess and does a great job at being the social butterfly, which I haven't seen a lot of lately with teen rebels. I hope this means rebel and girly are starting to get along again.

I'm not really sure if what I didn't like about the book would bother very many other people. Some of the language was a bit too colorful and too frequent for me. The actual story and conflict took a long time to get going. Too much of your basic high school drama between characters and not enough intrigue and hacker hi-jinks. If it wasn't for Sherry D. Ficklin's voice that I love, I might have put it down for a bit. Thankfully, at the exact line I was thinking, I'm a little bored, things picked up immediately. The pace from there was excellent.

There's a great love triangle to follow. I personally was rooting for the guy that turned out to be a jerk-face, but I think that testifies of Ficklin's storytelling. She doesn't always follow the rules. Most of the rest of the characters are interesting enough to care about and I'm looking forward to getting more of their stories in the sequels. I'll definitely be reading the next book, partly because I won it in a Facebook giveaway! (I'm telling you, it really pays to follow your favorite authors) But honestly, I would have read the next book In Too Deep, anyway.    

4 Stars
  * * * *