Fans of the TV series Numb3rs will enjoy this clever, YA, mystery-adventure series with an 18-year-old heroine who is a m...moreA second adventure with Digit
Fans of the TV series Numb3rs will enjoy this clever, YA, mystery-adventure series with an 18-year-old heroine who is a math genius.
Farrah ("Digit") Higgins has just begun her freshman year at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is delighted to be there, because she has finally found "her people." She can just be herself, utterly brilliant at math, and not pretend to be a so-called normal teenage girl, which is how she spent the past four years while attending a public high school.
Digit is also relieved to have escaped the traumatic adventures she experienced the spring of her senior year. She had a wonderful, relaxing, and very romantic summer with her handsome FBI boyfriend and first lover, John--who is almost as smart in his way as Digit and, unlike Digit, opted to graduate early from high school and complete university in a couple of years, so he is only about three years older than her. Digit is looking forward to John's first visit to her campus from his job in New York City--a much less significant position in terms of career advancement than he could have had if he had not opted for a lesser position in order to have plenty of time for his committed relationship with Digit, whom he loves very much. However, within minutes of John's arrival in Digit's dorm room, they have an argument which leads to Digit dumping him before he can, she assumes, dump her. She takes it as a major rejection when John says he wants them to have some breathing room from each other for a while because he believes that the intensity of their relationship will overshadow her fun and fancy-free time at university, and it won't be very good for his FBI career either.
The breakup definitely puts a crimp in Digit's collegiate happiness, and the last vestige of it is destroyed when she learns, the hard way, that her life of dangerous adventure has not come to an end. Her laptop has been under surveillance for months by both the CIA and the evil ecoterrorist, Jonas Furnis, who tried to kill her last spring. She discovers this privacy invastion after she thoughtlessly hacks into the Department of Defense’s database and two very bad things happen. First, the director of the CIA threatens her with a possible jail sentence for espionage and, second, her phenomenal hacking skills inspire Jonas Furnis to seek her out as a potential forced ally for his world-dominion aspirations.
This is the second book in the young-adult Digit series. The first book put major emphasis on the romance between Digit and John, to such an extent that, had it been written as an adult novel, it would have been classified by the publisher as "romantic suspense." This book has a very different focus. Because the romance with John is thrown overboard early on, the publisher is marketing this book as a "sassy, super smart thriller."
I personally very much enjoyed the lighthearted romance between Digit and John in Book 1, and I was quite disappointed to see it not only shoved to the side, but the author introducing a romantic-triangle as well, which acted to undercut everything the author did such a great job constructing in Book 1. By the way, the author implies in the acknowledgement section of her book that dumping John was her editor's idea. I respectfully disagree with the editor's suggestion. I liked this book in spite of throwing John overboard, not because of it.
Digit herself, though, continues to be a fascinating, enjoyable character. I personally love plots with brilliant, quirky geniuses, and almost always they are male. Having Digit be female is a terrific addition to this particular type of action-adventure mystery, and she is also a trailblazer among girl-power, YA heroines.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Romantic-Triangle Plot: 3 stars Action-Mystery Plot: 4 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 4 stars
Terrific fourth installment in a fun, paranormal, chick-lit series
Heather Tildy has a much more stressful than normal transition from middle school to...moreTerrific fourth installment in a fun, paranormal, chick-lit series
Heather Tildy has a much more stressful than normal transition from middle school to high school as she begins her freshman year, because she is a ghost handler who is in between assignments and wide open to be latched onto by an opportunistic ghost. Up until the moment the ghost Heather is currently wrangling fulfills what it is hanging around for and moves on, no other ghost can make demands on Heather. But once that ghost is gone, Heather is vulnerable to the next ghost who manages to get its hooks into her.
When ghosts at her school realize that Heather can see and hear them, they loudly plead with her to help them, and Heather knows from hard experience that she has very limited time to size up her numerous petitioners and choose the least-worst from among them. Even though she's, by now, handled multiple ghosts, she still hasn't figured out how to improve the quality of the ghosts accosting her, and she ends up stuck with a middle-aged battle-axe who is the worst ghost poor Heather has had to deal with so far.
The ghost is a control-freak lunch lady who steamrolls the hapless Heather into acting as her living instrument to spread a rigorous regimen of healthy eating. Since Heather lives in Pecan Hills, a backwater area in Georgia where a diet loaded down with fried and processed junk is epidemic among the local population, this is an enormous feat to attempt in her own family, let alone in her school and beyond.
This book is fourth in a series, and I had not read any of the other books before this one. I was easily able to follow the plot, though, because the author does a great job filling in important backstory, including just enough crucial information to avoid confusion, but not so much as to slow down the forward action of the current book.
Heather is a very sympathetic heroine. Though she is constantly overwhelmed by her ghost-handler destiny, she never gives up or gives in, and her many misadventures with ghosts provide lots of laughs.
The Southern setting created by this Georgian author adds uniqueness to the story and is very well done. As someone who was born and raised in the southern part of Missouri and spent time as an adult living in Georgia, I find the Southern culture presented in the story delightfully authentic.
Each book in this series provides Heather with a new love interest and, as is common with chick lit compared to romance novels, the focus is on girl power and dating disasters rather than achieving a committed, romantic relationship.
This book is G-rated, and girls as young as ten will enjoy it. But Heather's adventures are so clever and entertaining, that girls and women of all ages, especially fans of the paranormal and comedy, will love both this particular book and the entire series.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Fantasy World-Building: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Chick-Lit Plot: 5 stars Overall: 5
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. (less)
Acheron (Ash) Dimitrakos is a gorgeous, thirty-year-old Greek billionaire. He founded a global corporation called DT Industries,...moreClassic Lynne Graham!
Acheron (Ash) Dimitrakos is a gorgeous, thirty-year-old Greek billionaire. He founded a global corporation called DT Industries, but his recently deceased father owned half of the company. In his will, Ash's father states that if Ash does not marry within a year, his father's share of the corporation will go to Ash's stepmother and her children, all of whom Ash despises and avoids. Ash knows he could snap his fingers and have his pick among unlimited numbers of desirable women competing to become his wife, but he has known since childhood that he never wants to marry or have children. He has a dark familial secret, and he does not believe that he would make a good husband or father.
Then Ash has an explosive first meet with Tabby Glover, a young woman in her early twenties. Tabby and Ash are the legal co-guardians of a baby girl named Amber, who is the offspring of Tabby's best friend and a young man who was a distant cousin of Ash. Both of Amber's parents are deceased, and Tabby has not been able to get Ash to take any personal or financial responsibility for Amber, which is a huge issue, because Tabby is broke. She and Amber's mother had a business together, but when Tabby's friend got sick, Tabby lost the business and spent all her time nursing her friend until she died, and afterwards dedicating herself to caring for Amber. As a result, Tabby is desperately close to losing Amber, because Social Services has declared that Tabby can't give the baby a proper home. Amber is extremely attached to the baby, and Ash is her last chance to stop them from taking Amber away from her within the next few days and putting her up for adoption.
Ash is appalled at the temerity of the small, angry woman who is rudely confronting him at his place of business. Everyone in Ash's rarefied circles is in awe of him and strives constantly to impress him. But this young woman has dared to appear at his place of business dressed in a worn jacket, sweat pants, and athletic shoes, and she hasn't put on a drop of makeup or fixed her hair. He decides at first glance that Tabby is plain, until he glances into her stunning, violet eyes. Ash refuses to tolerate anyone cursing at him as Tabby does, and he threatens to throw her out of his office, until it suddenly connects with him who, exactly, the baby's father is. He was not merely a cousin, but the son of Ash's mother's caretaker during her final illness, a relative who was very kind to Ash at a vulnerable time in his childhood.
It abruptly occurs to him that he and Tabby could be of mutual use to each other. He needs a wife to keep his corporation in his hands, and she needs a husband who can assure she gets to keep Amber. He proposes a marriage of convenience, and thus begins the wild ride that is their relationship.
If you are a fan of Lynne Graham, you will very much enjoy this classic, Harlequin Presents (HP), marriage-of-convenience plot. The requirements of this romance line as to its plot lines are so stringent, it takes real genius to write fresh, exciting, sensuous romances within their confines. Ms. Graham is one of the very best at this creative feat. In this particular story, both Ash and Tabby are strong, sympathetic characters. I liked them both very much, and I greatly enjoyed the progress of their relationship. The two of them share a fascinating commonality in that each had an extremely difficult childhood, and in both cases, rather than adversity breaking them, it made them strong. Their mutual flaw is great difficulty in trusting others--especially each other. As a result, their relationship is full of the fiery battles, and equally passionate love scenes, which Ms. Graham does so extremely well.
I've read every one of Ms. Graham's 70-plus HP romances, and I can't say that for any other prolific, HP author. Though no author can be expected to hit a home run for every single book, Ms. Graham's HP novels generally run from very good to outstanding. This book is definitely in that range.
This is the third book in the Svatura, young adult, urban fantasy series. If you have not read the first two books, please do not read this review, as...moreThis is the third book in the Svatura, young adult, urban fantasy series. If you have not read the first two books, please do not read this review, as it contains spoilers for those books.
Here is a brief summary of the crucial plot points of the first two books as a memory jogger for those who read them a while ago:
The Svatura are humans who genetically inherit magical powers of all sorts, such as: shape-shifting, super strength, super speed, teleportation, telekinesis, healing, controlling the earth, controlling the weather, and producing fire, ice and toxic gas. Svatura are very long-lived, as much as several thousand years. They are not immortal because they do age, though extremely slowly, and they can be killed. Their powers begin to manifest at puberty, but it can take decades--and in some cases as much as several hundred years--for a Svatura to reach full mastery of his/her power(s). Since there are not very many Svatura in the world, they are not always able to marry another Svatura, and even more rarely are they able to find a fellow Svatura who is their "te'sorthene," a magical soulmate. In a mating of a human and a Svatura, the offspring, if they become a Svatura, usually only inherit one power. When a Svatura is born of two Svatura, it is possible to inherit two powers, but this usually only occurs in the case of twins, and the twins can share the three to four powers that they have inherited between the two of them.
In Book 1, Blue Violet, the heroine is Ellie Aubrey, who looks as if she is about 18, but in fact is over 150 years old. She meets, falls in love with, and marries her te'sorthene, Alex Jenner, who appears equally young, but is of a similar actual age to Ellie. In that book, we are introduced to her twin brother, Griffin Aubrey, and Alex's family. Hugh and Lucy Jenner are te'sorthene who have been together for centuries and are the parents of Lila and Adelaide Jenner and are Alex's adoptive parents. The Pierces are a companion family to the Jenners. Charlotte and Dexter Pierce are te'sorthene who are the adoptive parents of Nate Pierce and Ramsey Pierce, and Nate and Ramsey are a similar age to Ellie, Alex and Griffin. In this first book, the Svatura band together to defeat their long-time enemies, the Vyusher, who are Svatura who can morph into wolves as well as having additional powers. For over 130 years, their leader, Gideon, has enslaved his sister Selene with his power of mind control, forcing her to use her own magical powers in his war to exterminate non-wolf-metamorph Svatura. Selene has the ability to turn off temporarily or permanently the magical powers of Svatura and to visit dreams. The primary focus in this story is Ellie, and the A Plot is her romance with Alex. The B Plot involves the skirmishes and final, epic battle with the Vyusher in which Ellie, utilizing her ability to morph into a dragon, kills Gideon and, presumably, ends the Vyusher war.
In Book 2, Hyacinth, Selene, Queen of the Vyusher, is redeemed and brought into the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle by Ellie. Selene is Griffin's te'sorthene and a similar age to Griffin. She has visited Griffin's dreams for many, many years, and until he met her in the flesh, he had no idea she was a real person, though Selene was very aware of Griffin as a real Svatura, and had used her powers to protect him and Ellie from her evil brother. In this book, once again the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle unites to defeat terrible villains. Though most of the Vyusher, under Selene's command, have given up the war against their fellow Svatura which was forced on them by Gideon's mind control, a mysterious Vyusher named Maddox is, for reasons unknown, continuing to persecute both regular Svatura and Selene's Vyusher subjects. Maddox is traveling the world, seeking out Svatura communities, convincing them that Selene's Vyusher are still their enemy, to the point that they must pre-emptively strike against the Vyusher before the Vyusher can come after them. This book is narrated from multiple points of view and is written as an ensemble-cast story, rather than primarily focusing on a romantic couple, as was the case with Ellie and Alex in Book 1. The A Plot in Book 2 is "woman power" and the magical enhancement gained by Ellie, Selene, and the other women in the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle due to performing ritual, group magic with each other. The romance between Selene and Griffin is secondary to the female-friendship plot and the action-adventure plot of the battles against Maddox and his allies.
In this, Book 3, the battle against Maddox and his minions continues, and this book, like Book 2, is narrated from multiple points of view and is written as an ensemble-cast story. The A Plot is how the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle, in cooperation with Selene's Vyusher pack, works together to defeat Maddox and his murderous minions, and a big part of the story is discovering how Maddox is obtaining minions and what his motivation is. The romance between Lila Jenner and Ramsey Pierce is a strong B Plot. Lila's inherited Svatura powers are the ability to sense when others are telling the truth and the ability to sense and heal emotions. Within the sisterhood plot of Book 2, she additionally gained the ability to share Ellie's falcon morph power and telepathy (a power that Ellie shares with Griffin) and dream visitation from Selene. Ramsey is a firestarter, a feared and dreaded power since it is one of the most destructive and most difficult to control.
Fans of action-adventure-fantasy books and films with a focus on teamwork to overcome impossible odds, in particular those which include female team members who are co-equal warriors with the males, will greatly enjoy this latest addition to the Svatura series. The world-building remains very well done and highly entertaining, and the one-for-all and all-for-one mentality of the heroic Svatura is very appealing. No matter which of the characters are your favorites, this book offers a chance to revisit all previous members of the Jenner-Aubrey-Pierce family circle once again. The ensemble-cast approach to YA urban fantasy that this series takes is quite unique, and readers looking for an original YA read will be delighted with the Svatura books.
I rate this book as follows: Ensemble cast: 5 stars Fantasy World-Building: 5 stars Action-Adventure Plot: 5 stars Romantic Plot: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Disclosure: The author contacted me to review her book because I am a top reviewer on Amazon. I rarely accept such requests because I don't have a lot of time, but in this particular case I am very glad I did. (less)
When seventeen-year-old Brooke Thomas is invited by Cassie Deegan, the most popular girl in school, to join a secre...moreA fun read for fans of YA chick lit
When seventeen-year-old Brooke Thomas is invited by Cassie Deegan, the most popular girl in school, to join a secret club, Brooke eagerly anticipates that membership will greatly improve her lowly social status. But at the initiation meeting, she learns that the group is called the Boy Swap Club, and the only reason Brooke has been invited to join is because she has "a desirable boyfriend," a fellow band geek Brook has been dating for four months. Brooke agrees with the assessment about her boyfriend Chris, whom she regards as quite handsome, though she hadn't until now realized that the popular girls shared her opinion. Confused and overwhelmed by what is at stake in the Boy Swap Club, Brooke allows herself to be pressured into signing a pledge that consists of four startling rules:
1) Never hog your boyfriend all to yourself. 2) Never get mad at a sister member for dating your guy. 3) Don't go all the way with any of the swapped guys. 4) And never, ever, fall in love with any guys involved in the swap.
Within days of committing herself to the club, Brooke painfully discovers that these rules have concrete consequences when Cassie starts hitting on Chris, and Brooke's assumption that her boyfriend would never cheat on her is proved horrifyingly incorrect.
This book reads like a classic plot for a comic teen movie such as "Mean Girls," and I can easily imagine it optioned to become a film. As is typical for chick lit, the story focuses almost exclusively on girl power rather than romance, though there is a bit of romance in a significant subplot. There are many humorous moments as mild-mannered Brooke becomes the "worm that turned," working hard to outwit Cassie and beat her at her own game.
Fans of YA chick lit will find this an entertaining read.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Chick Lit Plot: 4 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author to enable me to read it so I could write a review. (less)
Fans of paranormal YA will enjoy this unique tale rooted in Celtic mythology.
Though sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery h...moreExciting, YA paranormal mystery
Fans of paranormal YA will enjoy this unique tale rooted in Celtic mythology.
Though sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery has multiple family members who claim to have magical talents, she doesn't really believe them and views herself as a normal girl. There is nothing magical about the fact that she has friendships, enjoys ballet and Irish folk dance, and has a crush on a cute boy in her physics class. Then her eccentric Aunt Avril, who works as a psychic for the FBI, arrives in McKayla's home town in pursuit of an evil, supernatural murderer--and every assumption McKayla previously held about her life is flipped upside down.
This YA novel is an exciting mashup of fantasy, action-adventure, and mystery, with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure. McKayla is an appealing heroine, and there are many intriguing subcharacters, most especially, McKayla's colorful aunt. The forward motion of this story never lags, and the book as a whole is very well written.
I read this book in a Kindle edition, and it is professionally designed, formatted and edited.
Dr. Lucy De Luca is an internationally respected expert in jewel appraisal, but her brother Joey is a gambling addict who frequen...moreDragons in Las Vegas!
Dr. Lucy De Luca is an internationally respected expert in jewel appraisal, but her brother Joey is a gambling addict who frequently falls into crime to support his habit. Unfortunately for Lucy, in addition to Joey being her only family, he is her twin, and she can't stand to let him suffer the consequences of his self-destructive actions. In order to protect his life from a violent mafioso-type to whom Joey owes money, Lucy reluctantly agrees to act as the inside-person on a jewel heist, because she's in Las Vegas on assignment to appraise a king's ransom of jewels. Lucy's appraisal contract is with Alec Gerald, the handsome, charismatic owner of The Crown Jewel, a brand new, utterly magnificent, Las Vegas casino. A public display of the jewels is slated to be a centerpiece of the casino's grand opening, and the mafioso has commanded Lucy to perform underhanded machinations which will open the way for him to steal Alec's jewels.
Lucy's mission is even more impossible than she feared because, unbeknownst to her, Alec is the powerful head of an ancient dragon clan. Though he is centuries old, Alec looks like a man in the prime of his life, because he is all but immortal--except for one potentially fatal flaw. In the not-too-distant future, he will lose his power to morph into a dragon, and become nothing but a frail human, unless he locates his destined mate.
It is obvious to Alec almost immediately that Lucy is not all she seems and, with great shock, he soon realizes that, though she has no dragon in her at all, she might actually be the salvation he seeks, his intended mate.
This is a fast-paced contemporary, paranormal romance with plenty of thrilling adventure. Lucy and Alec are both complexly motivated protagonists, and we are allowed to know each of them from up close and personal as the novel is narrated in their alternating points of view. Lucy and Alec have powerful sexual chemistry, and the progress of their smouldering relationship is highly entertaining.
In addition to the two villainous antagonists driving the main conflict of the story, Lucy's ne'er-do-well brother and the mysterious, terrifying mobster, there are multiple well-intentioned antagonists among Alec's dragon clan who oppose his relationship with Lucy because she is human. Each of these secondary characters is sharply and convincingly drawn, but none of them is ever allowed to upstage the two main protagonists.
Last but not least, the Las Vegas setting of this delightful story is colorful, exciting and authentic, and the idea of dragons hiding in plain sight in one of the glitziest cities in the world in a jewel-themed casino is a delicious, high concept.
All in all, this is a terrific read for fans of adult, paranormal romance, and I am looking forward to further books in this series.
Ally Grange is a classic Good Girl. She doesn't go to wild parties where other teens drink and hookup, unlike Bad Boy Grif...moreWonderful YA romantic comedy
Ally Grange is a classic Good Girl. She doesn't go to wild parties where other teens drink and hookup, unlike Bad Boy Griffin (Griff the Grief-Master) Piper. To her dismay, she's been unable to outgrow a crush-from-afar she's had on Griff for several years now, ever since he gallantly came to her defense when his hockey teammates embarrassed her by teasing her when she clumsily dropped her books in junior high. But in spite of her secret infatuation with Griff, Ally is positive she would never date a boy like him. Not that he would ever consider asking her out, because he doesn't date anyone. He's never so far had a girlfriend, only brief flings.
Instead of dating Griff or any other Bad Boy, for the past two years Ally has dated a Good Boy, sweet, sensitive Aiden, who shares her passion for writing songs and spending cozy evenings on the couch watching movies. Her best friend insists that Aiden is more of a girlfriend than a boyfriend, and that Ally needs to move beyond a boring vanilla guy to someone more exciting, but vanilla is Ally's favorite flavor of guy. She wants a safe, predictable relationship minus uncomfortable, life-disrupting passion.
Unfortunately, all of her comfort is blown to pieces when Aiden sabotages their two-year relationship by allowing another girl to come between them. He implores Ally to come with him to a party thrown by his science-lab partner, a beautiful, popular cheerleader named Fauna. Ally's suspicion that Fauna is trying to steal her boyfriend is humiliatingly confirmed when Aiden permits Fauna to drag him with her into a closet for a fast makeout session during a game of Spin the Bottle called Three Minutes in Heaven. Ally is devastated that Aiden would be that disloyal, and it seems all too obvious to her, and the 30 other teens playing the game with them, that Aiden wants Fauna as much or more than he does Ally. Then, unexpectedly, the spinning bottle points at Griffin, and he shocks everyone in the room by choosing Ally to be his heaven-mate in the closet. In the throes of angry disillusionment with Aiden, Ally abandons every rule she's ever made for herself about Griff and unresistingly follows him into the same closet that hosted Aiden's downfall. Griffin is a tender, sweet, and astonishingly skilled kisser, something Ally already knows from personal experience. Aiden has no idea--nor does anyone else but Griffin--that this is not the first time Ally has kissed Griffin. A year before, a kiss was Griffin's price for giving into her plea that he not physically put Aiden in his place for presumptuously trash-talking team-captain Griffin from Aiden's lowly position as a newby member of the hockey team. This second experience of kissing Griffin is memorable enough that Ally is roiled with conflicting emotions, longing to return to the tame safety of her relationship with Aiden and simultaneously yearning for the promise of adventure that surrendering to Griffin's obvious interest in her could bring to her life.
This is a really fast, fun read. Ally and Griffin are both very likeable characters. Ally is a naively innocent girl, but she has principles she never hesitates to defend. In the midst of so many dark, "edgy" YA novels these days, it is a refreshing pleasure to encounter a "cleanread" teen novel such as this one where the heroine refuses to go along with the culture of underage drinking and casual sexual hookups surrounding her.
Though this engaging novel never goes beyond kissing, there is a satisfying amount of sexual chemistry between Ally and Griffin. It is both funny and adorable the way she becomes Griff's secret pal by making him treats in her cooking class and anonymously putting them in his locker every day, and it's equally amusing and sweet that Griff obviously enjoys her nurturing gifts.
I would recommend this book for girls as young as 12, all the way up to adults, like myself, who enjoy YA romantic comedy.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars