Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: Becoming Alpha

Becoming Alpha
Aileen Erin
Young Adult/PNR
Alpha Girl/Book 1
Ink Monster/December 17, 2013

Tessa McCaide has a unique talent for getting into trouble. Then again, it isn't easy for a girl with visions to ignore what she sees. Luckily Tessa and her family are leaving California and moving halfway across the country, giving her the perfect opportunity to leave her reputation as “Freaky Tessa” behind. 

But Tessa doesn't realize that kissing the wrong guy in her new Texas town could land her in far more trouble than she ever imagined. Like being forced to attend St. Ailbe’s Academy, a secret boarding school for werewolves.

Even if the wrong guy did accidentally turn her into one of “them” and doom her to attending the weirdest high school ever, Tessa can’t help her growing attraction to the mysterious Dastien Laurent.

When vampires attack St. Alibe’s and her visions pinpoint an enemy in their midst, Tessa realizes that boy drama and her new found canine tendencies might just be the least of her problems.

Be careful who you touch! That's Tessa McCaide's mantra, or it should be. Tessa is off to start fresh at a new high school and hopefully a new life. She's trying to escape her reputation of being "weird" or "different". Turns out, weird and different are mild compared to what she's about to encounter.

Becoming Alpha has some of the more traditional young adult trademarks with the misunderstood teens, the experienced mentor and a longstanding rivalry. Becoming Alpha also has parents who care about their daughter and want what is best for her even when it's difficult on all of them. This was a nice change since often we get the absentee parents or the parents who are around but clueless as to what is going on with their child. Still, Tessa was separated from her parents and forced to adjust to a new life, relying more on her wits and the guy responsible for getting her into the situation in the first place.

The guy. Yeah, he's interesting but not nearly as developed as Tessa which is not surprising since the story is told from Tessa's point of view. So even though we don't get to know Dastien as well as I might have liked he kept my interest and I hope we get to know him better in the subsequent books. There is another male character who I'm curious about.  He is Dastien's mentor as well as an adult who plays an active part in the teens' lives. Again, I found him interesting and hope to learn more about him.

There isn't much of a surprise as to where this story is heading. Take out the paranormal aspects and you have your standard young adult novel mix:  boy meets girl, teen angst, teen drama, rivals, mean girl, boy and girl against the world. Still, the pacing kept me reading and the author didn't reveal everything at once but doled out information, keeping up my curiosity. The big fight scene towards the end was well done with tension, danger and some added gore making for good reading.  And there is the fact that I bought the next book in the series.

Rating:  B

Alpha Girls Series ~

Becoming Alpha
Avoiding Alpha
Alpha Divided
Bruja (May 12, 2015)
Alpha Unleashed (October 13, 2015)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TBR Challenge Review: Her Perfect Stranger

Her Perfect Stranger
Jill Shalvis
Contemporary Romance
Harlequin Temptations #878/May 1, 2002

For only one night, Commander Corrine Atkinson lets go of her iron control and seduces a perfect, sexy stranger. Come morning, control firmly in place, Corrine sneaks out of his bed and gets back to her own life.

But Corrine's in for a big surprise. Her perfect stranger has turned into the wrong man! His name is Mike Wright and he's the newest member of the team she's commanding--which means spending all day in very close quarters. And he's wasting no time in reminding Corrine how right it can feel to spend the night in the wrong man's bed!

Made it! I did terrible at last year's challenge but I'm determined to do much better this year. Starting off with a quick category romance certainly helps.  The fact that it's written by one of my favorite contemporary authors just adds more momentum to get this read and reviewed!

Corrine Atkinson makes an impulsive decision with some very surprising ramifications.  She is a woman in a decidedly man's world.  Her NASA team is made up of four men and herself. and she's the one in command.  She knows it isn't always easy for some men to be under the command of a woman but her career goals come first.

Mike Wright goes for what he wants in life, in both his professional and personal life.  When he meets a beautiful woman on a rainy night the attraction is something he can't deny or resist.  When they meet up again, it's a shock for Mike but he tries to make the most of the opportunity.  There were a few times when it felt borderline sexual harassment with Mike's "hidden touches" as Corrine puts it. Corrine made it clear that she wants to forget their one night together and keep their relationship purely professional.  If Mike were going to make a move, he should have kept it to after work hours.

Eventually, both Mike and Corrine give in to their mutual attraction after months of tension and loads of cold showers. The one thing I did like about their relationship was Mike's ability to respect Corrine's authority at work and not resent her for her ambitions. Otherwise, it was fairly predictable.

Rating: C+

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: Switch

Janelle Stalder
New World/Book 1
New Adult/Dystopian
CreateSpace/August 27, 2013

Two thirds of the world's population has been wiped out, devastated by the worst war earth has ever seen. Still standing amongst the ruins is a mind reader who finds herself on the wrong side of the war. Everyone does what they must to survive.

When the rebels bent on bringing down the New World leader start to rise up, it is her job to make sure they stay down where they belong. That is, until one rebel sneaks past her defenses and into her heart. Love will blossom from the ashes, but will it be enough to save them, or will it mean the end of them both?

So glad I took a chance on this one. It's different than the usual dystopian novel. The world is not full of zombies or aliens but people who want power and will do whatever it takes to get it. What sets this story apart is the heroine isn't always heroic. She is willing to do what it takes to survive. Some might say her choices are less than honorable but honor doesn't always keep you alive.

Charlotte finds herself in the midst of the enemy but to her mind, there is no enemy, only the need to survive.  She forms this odd family of sorts with two very powerful men.  Even so, she keeps herself detached, doing her job while trying not to let any emotions color her perspective.  It isn't always easy for Charlotte when those emotions creep up on her. She pushes them down but you can see they still affect her, even if she doesn't think they do.

The evolution of the story shows how Charlotte not only changes her thinking but the causes of those changes. She is not a stagnate character by any means but continues to grow with her experiences and mistakes. The growth is often painful but far from dull. There are also very strong secondary characters who cause Charlotte to question her motivation and her loyalty. The darker side of life, love and loyalty are all explored with fascinating answers from each of the characters.  Switch was certainly an unexpected treasure!

Rating:  A-

New World Series ~


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Review: Lead

Kylie Scott
Contemporary Romance
Stage Dive/Book 3
November 25, 2014
St. Martin's Griffin

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it's booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble. 

Lena's not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

Well hello there blog.  It's been a while.  2014 was not the best year for Leslie's Psyche.  It seems the ole' psyche was on the fritz for most of the year.  Blogging just wasn't working for me.  I read a lot of wonderful books last year, but when it came to write about them, the words won't flow from the brain to the page.  Blogger's block.  It's a bitch.

So to start back on the road to recovery, I've decided it would be best to start with a winner.  That winner being Kylie Scott's Lead.  It's the third book in her Stage Dive series about four band members and each of their rocky roads to true love.  I enjoyed the first book, really liked the second book and the third book, I read in a day.  Yeah, it's that good.

First, I should start by saying if you haven't read the first two books in the series, I highly recommend reading those first.  Not only are they good reads, they also give a more complete look at the band and how they interact with each other.  But, if after reading this review you can't wait to read Lead, go for it.  But don't be surprised if you end up going back and reading the first two.

Lena Morrissey is having a bad day and it's about to get really weird.  Being offered a job when you're not applying for one is odd.  When the job is as an assistant for a wildly famous rock star, then you're in the twilight zone.  Lena takes the job, but doesn't let herself expect much to come of it.  She's a little out of her element but is smart and learns quickly how to deal with Jimmy.  Lena is not only smart, she's funny.  I found her so easy to relate to,  She isn't perfect and doesn't try to be someone she's not.  Take her as she is or find someone else.  Personally, she's one of my favorite contemporary heroines.  She stands up to Jimmy even when she's afraid.  Do it afraid seems to be her motto.  It's a good one to have.

Jimmy Ferris, lead singer for Stage Dive, is also a recovering addict.  He's working on getting clean but in his business, it isn't easy.  Everywhere there are temptations.  When he agrees to hire Lena to be his assistant he isn't expecting much.  What he really wants is to be left alone but instead Jimmy finds Lena hard to ignore.  Jimmy is an ass, bu in a good way.  Let me explain.  He's honest, tells it like it is and that can definitely come across as being an ass.  But wouldn't you rather have honesty over deception?  I really found myself liking Jimmy which was certainly different from the impression he left on me from the first two books.  Lick and Play left me thinking Jimmy was an immature, self-absorbed S.O. B.  After reading Lead, Jimmy managed to endear himself to me.  Not an easy feat.

The interaction between Lena and Jimmy is so well developed.  Scott takes her time with this romance.  There is no rush, rather a slow simmer, allowing Lena and Jimmy to learn about each other, often without realizing it.  It worked well to get them to the place where they could both trust each other.  Lead is funny, emotional and sometimes sad, but at it's heart it is a romance with wonderfully developed characters and a great way to start the new year.

Rating:  A

Stage Dive Series ~

Deep (March 31, 2015)