Review: Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire by Jillianne Hamilton

Molly Miranda Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire
by Jillianne Hamilton

ISBN-13: 9-780993-987021
Publication: February 2015 from Tomfoolery Press
Source: Editor
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Professional, experienced contract burglar.
It’s not exactly something you can put on a business card.

Molly Miranda has made a successful living from “acquiring” valuables and delivering them to clients who pay buckets of cash for her unique services.

So what if she has to lie about her lavish lifestyle in Manhattan and her frequent trips out of the country? Molly has everything under control.

Things go astray when she knocks boots with her charming roommate right before taking off to Scotland with an untrustworthy wildcard on a job assignment that doesn’t go quite as planned.

It doesn’t help that this new partner-in-crime is super annoying. And attractive…

Join Molly on her hilarious adventures as she dodges bullets, trespasses, wears disguises, and steals her way into trouble.

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It’s rare that I take a break from reading YA and MG, but I couldn’t say no when Savvy Fox offered me an e-ARC of Jillianne Hamilton’s Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire and I am SO glad I said yes! It’s a short read, at only around 150 pages, but still. I was planning to read it in bits and pieces as a break from lesson planning and correcting. Instead, I sat down to start reading and didn’t put it down until I had hit 100% read. I read through lunch and was starving, but it was so worth it.

Molly Miranda is a professional thief. She’s hired by a middle-man (or in this case, woman) to steal items for clients. Of course, or good-looking nice-guy roommate things her parents own a ski resort and pay for her gorgeous NYC apartment, but what are a few lies between roommates? Nthing, until things heat up between them! Of course, we can’t be good chick lit with the sexy, kind-of-a-dick at first professional thief she’s hired to do an assignment with. Rhys is all charm and Scottish accent, with a head for stealing and gadgets. But he’s not the nicest in the beginning. He flips attitudes pretty fast, but it fits. Thankfully, this book is not a full on crazy love-triangle or I might not have liked it as much! I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, thieving, car chasing and gun-slinging going on in Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire. It kept me on my toes and turning pages!

4.5 heart

Molly is definitely the best part of this book. Boys, guns and cars aside, we send the book in Molly’s head and it’s awesome. She’s a smart (but not good at geography), sarcastic, kind narrator who loves to steal and get paid for it. She tries the 9-5 thing and it does not go well. She has boy troubles, enemies, a best friend who’s not as straight in business (or in love, which was awesome) as you’d first expect when Molly mentions her, and a dad who can order a hit. Kind of awesome! I would have loved to read another 100 pages of Molly’s thieving ways and am hoping for a sequel!

e-ARC recieved from Savvy Fox Author Services in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

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Review: Arctic Rising by Tobias S. Buckell [blog tour]

Arctic Rising
by Tobias S. Buckell

ISBN-13: 9-780765-319210
Publication: February 2012 from Tor Books
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it’s about to get even hotter. The Arctic ice cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.

Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself — but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.

Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Arctic Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.

Now Anika finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia Corporation stopped…by any means necessary. When Gaia Corp loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world.

It is all to easy to imagine the near-future world in Tobias S. Buckell’s Arctic Rising. The Polar ice cap has all but melted and the Arctic has opened up as a shipping lane, place to live and work, and of course – oil. Anika usually has a fairly easy job of monitoring shipping through the Arctic waters from her airship, until the day she looks a bit closer at a ship showing radioactive readings and is shot out of the sky. What follows begins as a simple need to find out why and quickly becomes a rush to save more than just herself, but the Arctic and the world.

Arctic Rising is almost non-stop action from the beginning to the end. Spanning only a few days, Anika’s airship is shot out of the sky, she finds herself in a fight for her life, flees her home and work, is captured, escapes engages in numerous shootouts and oh yea, is entirely too close to a nuclear bomb for her comfort. But even with this amount of action and running around, Tobias S. Buckell still manages to flesh out his characters and allow you to connect with them. I think the main aspect I really liked about this book is Anika. She’s a strong, capable, independent woman. She fights for what she believes in and those she loves, and can handle her own when it comes to the tough stuff. At any time she could have easily given up and given in, but she doesn’t. She keeps going and sees it through to the end. Oh! And, Anika happens to be a lesbian. Best part? She just is. There’s no big reveal or major plot revolving around this fact, her orientation is just one more aspect to her character and it’s wonderful.

I do have to admit that I was a little confused at times as to who were the bad guys and who were the good guys, but I’m thinking it’s supposed to be that way. Anika herself is often unsure as to who’s on her side, and whose side she’s on, and the plot reflects that, though it can be distracting trying to keep it all straight. I think I may have also enjoyed the book more (though I did enjoy it quite a bit) with a different writing style. The writing is good, don’t get me wrong, there were just some turns of phrase and sentences that seemed a big awkward to me, although they may not to another reader.

Arctic Rising is a fast-paced fire fight through the Arctic ice and cold. Books that have a plot rooted in possibility are always a bit more heart-pounding than complete science fiction, for the simple fact that such a future is scary to imagine and yet may very well be reality and sooner than we may think. The ideas presented by Tobias S. Buckell for reversing global warming are intriguing and I can’t help but wonder if, it ever came down to such a drastic change in weather and climate, would something like it be attempted? While Arctic Rising may be an intense action-adventure, it’s completely thought-provoking as well, and a science fiction that takes place in a not so distant future.

Find the author:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Blog (LJ)

Hardcover copy provided by Tor Books as part of a blog tour in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

 

Dead of Night
by Jonathan Maberry

ISBN-13: 9-781250-000897
Published: October 2011 from St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.

A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But before he can be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. Can two small town cops contain the plague before it spread beyond all control?

Dead of Night has everything I could want in a zombie book. I was kept up late at night reading and I may have even had a zombie dream or two, not gonna lie. Zombies are my thing right now – I’m fascinated by them. Mostly because there is no one right way to write about a zombie. Fast or slow, virus or spell, intelligent or brain dead, there are so many possibilities. Jonathan Maberry’s zombies are just how I like them, though – shuffling, brain-dead, why-won’t-they-just-die cannibals. From a virus. Always a plus!

Dead of Night actually takes place over a very short amount of time…only about twenty-four hours from first bite. And rather than be a story about a global apocalypse (though I do love those), the twenty-four hours showcase how and where the dreaded zombie apocalypse could start. Who would ever think it would be in small town America? From the moment our two main character cops Dez and JT come across the first risen bite victim, I started a body count – and that body count rose quickly. There are blood, guts and body parts galore, and that brief moment when you as the reader know that “there are zombies behind you, oh my god,” and want to yell at the unsuspecting cops to aim for the head!

Besides my obvious love for the zombies, I do still need some purposeful story to keep me entertained, and Jonathan Maberry delivers. Officer Desdemona (Dez) Fox is a kick-ass female lead who is brash, ballsy and one of those people you’re not sure you like right away but come to appreciate when it comes right down to it. Dez may not always be the best or nicest person, but she’s a good cop and by the end of the book I was cheering for her so hard. And her partner, JT Hammond…oh man, I don’t want to give anything away but…JT. An older cop, he’s still able to hold his own and blow away some zombies. Dez and JT compliment each other really well in temperament. He’s cool and collected, she’s loud and anxious. One of the other main characters of note – besides the serial killer who starts it all, Homer Gibbon – is Billy Trout, local news-reporter and on-again-off-again boyfriend of one Dez Fox. Billy’s character is our way of finding out the back story to the zombie apocalypse and his sections flow really well with Dez’s parts. We get some insight into Homer Gibbon, and the doctor that infected him with the virus. The voices in this book are all so unique and well written, but the best one? The zombie point of view. I was so excited to read parts from one of the first zombies, Doc Hartnup (mortician who accepted Homer Gibbon’s “body” into the funeral home). His thoughts are so intense, and really make you feel for the zombie.

Dead of Night is a zombie novel that is about more than just the zombies. Jonathan Maberry’s take on how a zombie virus could come about is in-depth, well thought out and I’d believe it. Why not? There are odder ways for a zombie apocalypse to start! Characterization and writing drags you in and keeps you running for your life while zombies and the military are hot on your heels. I really enjoyed the glimpses into his idea of how the government would respond to a viral outbreak with an almost 100% infection rate. Everything in this book comes to a deliciously intense ending that had me gripping the book, afraid someone would make me put it down in the middle of such an intense scene. And the very end…dude. That’s all I have to say. Love. If you like your zombies definitely dead and gory, your book with substance and don’t mind leaking emotions all over the place, Dead of Night is for you. Go read it.

(Me, I’m going to be reading more Jonathan Maberry. Starting with the one on my shelves, Dust & Decay!)
(Parents: there be foul language and zombie violence afoot. Proceed with normal caution)

ARC copy received from St. Martin’s Griffin and the author in exchange for my honest review.

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Promise
by Donna VanLiere
ISBN-13: 9-780312-367763
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥

Seven years ago Gloria endured a family tragedy that almost shook her faith entirely. Each Christmas she places a card in an envelope on her tree, restating a promise she made to her husband before he died. Now, having moved from her small town and all the painful memories it held, she is building a life by caring for people in need. Whether it’s a young mother who can’t pay her electric bill or a family who needs some extra food, Gloria always finds a way.

Miriam is a thorn in Gloria’s side. Miriam is a constantly critical, disapproving neighbor who looks with suspicion at all the good things Gloria does. When a twist of fate makes them roommates instead of neighbors, it’s the ultimate test of patience and faith.

Chaz has a good job as head of security at Wilson’s Department Store, but each night he returns home to an empty apartment. He longs for a wife and family of his own but realizes that the life choices he’s made have alienated him. He befriends a young boy whose mother has fallen on hard times, giving him a chance to have a life he thought impossible.

The fourth book in the series, The Christmas Promise, is just as well written and heart-warming as book three (the only other one I’ve read :P).

The story takes place in the same town as the others, though the only recurring character is the doctor, Nathan. Gloria is a great character, she’s a good neighbour, kind to everyone and extremely loving. She’s lonely, though, since her husband died and youngest son disappeared. But, since it’s a Christmas story, everything works out for Gloria in the end! The secondary characters were quite integral to the plot, and I loved Nathan’s little cameo.

Donna VanLiere’s series is a wonderful addition to any holiday story collection!

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha + Giveaway

The Book of Awesome
by Neil Pasricha
ISBN-13: 9-780399-156519
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥

Based on the award-winning 10-million-plus-hit blog 1000awesomethings.com, The Book of Awesome is a high five for humanity and a big celebration of life’s little moments:

• Popping Bubble Wrap
• Wearing underwear just out of the dryer
• Fixing electronics by smacking them
• Getting called up to the dinner buffet first at a wedding
• Watching The Price Is Right when you’re home sick
• Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row
• Waking up and realizing it’s Saturday

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the things that make us smile. With a 24/7 news cycle reporting that the polar ice caps are melting, hurricanes are swirling in the seas, wars are heating up around the world, and the job market is in a deep freeze, it’s tempting to feel that the world is falling apart. But awesome things are all around us-sometimes we just need someone to point them out.

The Book of Awesome is, for lack of a better word, awesome. A collection of ideas of things that are awesome, each heading is followed by a small description of exactly why that thing is awesome. My favourite? Illegal naps! There’s nothing better than taking a nap when you know you probably shouldn’t, but it feels so good anyway.

The anecdotes are quite humerous, or touching, and some just make you shake your head smiling, knowing that yes indeed, that thing is certainly awesome (laughing so hard it’s silent, anyone? Yea, it’s awesome). Some are things I never even thought about, but once it’s put into print you realize that it certainly is pretty awesome – like high fiving babies, or the moment at a concert before the band comes on stage.

This book doesn’t need to be read in one sitting, or even in order! Start in the middle, or the back. Read a few at a time, all at once, when you need a pick-me-up, or just because. Everyone deserves to have a little something awesome in their lives, and this book delivers it!

GIVEAWAY
I’m giving away one copy of The Book of Awesome, because everyone needs a little something awesome.

– open to Canada and US only
– comment to be entered, with one thing you find awesome!
– for an extra entry, spread the word and leave me a link
– contest closes at 11:59pm EST on January 4, 2011

The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Hope
by Donna VanLiere
ISBN-13: 9-780312-334505
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

Patricia and Mark Addison have long given up the hope of having a meaningful Christmas. But this year, Patricia’s job as a social worker will lead her to a very special five-year-old: Emily. Against her better judgement, Patricia bends the rules and takes the little girl into her own home. Through the presence of Emily in their house, and her penetrating questions about heaven, the Addisons will learn that there is no sorrow so great that faith cannot help you find your way through. And Christmas will once more be a time of warmth in their home.
The Christmas Hope is a story of love in the face of loss, joy when all seems hopeless, and how light can shine into the darkest places.

The Christmas Hope is book three in a series, but it’s not necessary to read the books in order (obviously, I didn’t). Each once stand by itself as a wonderful story of the miracle of Christmas.

Patricia Addison is a social worker who hasn’t celebrated Christmas for the past four years, and is slowly losing the connection she had with her husband. After she breaks a rule and brings home foster child Emily for the holidays, she and her husband Mark are thrown back together in the desire to make this the best Christmas for Emily. It is through Emily that Patricia re-discovers the magic of Christmas, and the love that comes from being around family during the holiday season. It’s through Emily that she and Mark re-connect and learn to live again.

Donna VanLiere writes wonderful Christmas stories. This one is full of so much love and hope, and the magic of Christmas. I found myself cheering for Patricia and her family, and even though you know that everything will turn out again and that Patricia and Mark will adopt Emily (it is a Christmas story, after all), you still can’t help but be anxious for them. The story just invokes such a sense of warmth and fuzzy Christmas feelings in the reader. Patricia starts out the book as a fairly broken character, who has lost the love of Christmas and is losing her marriage. Through her social work, and the holiday magic floating in the air (plus, some help from her wonderful co-worker), Patricia manages to completely turn her life around and re-kindle the spirit she had long ago lost. And Emily is just the cutest kid ever. You really feel for her situation and just want everything to work out perfect. Thankfully, this is a Christmas book, so everything does!

If you’re looking for a great Christmas read, you can’t go wrong with The Christmas Hope. The first two books are The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing. Both fous around a character named Nathan, who shows up in this book three as well. And, if you’re like me, you’ll already know The Christmas Shoes! I’ll leave you with the music video, but the movie is well worth watching, too.

Green Books Campaign: YOU comma Idiot by Doug Harris

This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on “green” books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.


YOU comma Idiot
by Doug Harris
ISBN-13: 9-780864-926302
Rating: 3.5 &hearts / 5 ♥ – I liked it!

“You are the kind of guy who falls in love after one date.”

Marginalized and alienated, perennial fuck-up Lee Goodstone is a resounding zero: a low-rent hash-dealer with delusions of inadequacy. He’s content to while away the hours of his life drinking, smoking, hanging out, playing the occasional game of hockey, and generally ignoring the world outside his tiny neighbourhood. But Lee’s near-idyllic existence is about to grind into second gear. His friend Henry has been accused of kidnapping and Lee’s been cornered by the local media. Another friend has decided to shoehorn his way into Lee’s drug business. And he’s just made it with his best friend’s girlfriend. Clearly, Lee needs a Plan B — not easy for a guy who long ago decided that the correct plan of action is to have no plan at all.

Although not my usual style of novel, I quite enjoyed YOU comma Idiot. Usually I’d summarize the book in my own words here, but the blurb from the back of the book does a pretty good job of describing the plot. The story is very much Lee’s life. Told from a first person POV that utilizes ‘you’ instead of ‘I’, the reader is sucked in to the ins and outs of Lee’s slowly wasting away adulthood. And Lee himself? What a character. A genuine normal guy (albeit one who sells drugs, is a handyman in a renovated warehouse turned apartment and sleeps with his best friend’s girl), Lee has a very pragmatic and sometimes cynical outlook on life. He’s incredibly harsh on himself, doesn’t always make the right decisions and skirts the law, but he’s a good guy.

While I may not have completely loved the book (though it’s a good story), I did love Doug Harris’ writing style. I can tell you right now, it was his prose and writing style that kept me sucked in and reading. It’s an incredibly well written novel, with smooth prose (even with some shorter sentences), good description, emotion and pacing, and has a very real and raw feel about it. The mystery surrounding Henry and the missing girl was done wonderfully, Lee’s emotions about Honey – his best friend’s girl – and his decisions regarding selling drugs and maybe getting a job come across loud and clear. YOU comma Idiot is a book about life choices, events and the hassles of bad decisions.

YOU comma Idiot was sent to me by Goose Lane Editions for review during this Green Books Campaign. The book is printed on FSC-certified paper, which means the paper used to print the book has been done responsibly and in an eco-friendly manner. Check them out:Forest Stewardship Council

Goose Lane Editions was kind enough to send me a second copy to giveaway! To be entered, just leave a comment with an e-mail address. Open to Canada and the US only, contest ends Wendesday, November 17, 2010.