Book Review “The Chemist” Stephenie Meyer

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In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life. She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. Resolving to meet the threat head on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life, but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors.

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Stephenie Meyer has kicked major literary butt again with “The Chemist”. I love every single one of her books. Every. Single. One. “The Chemist” was so far removed from everything else I’ve read from Meyer and she wrote it like she is a seasoned pro in this genre. 

Meyer has this amazing ability to form these relationships with her characters that are incredibly improbable but soooooo believable. This has made for some intriguing stories.

In “The Chemist” Alex is one of those characters that is traditionally perceived as the bad guy. Meyer brings a depth to this “profession” that I hadn’t thought much on before reading this. It leads to the question of how much motivation would someone need to do great harm to one to save the masses. How much value do we bestow on the individual? What’s acceptable and what’s not? Meyer weaves some thought provoking questions into this story.

“The Chemist” moves quickly. It’s a hard one to put down because there really wasn’t a good stopping point. I basically went into zombie reading mode to finish it. The pages were basically on fire with the speed they were turning.

I love that Alex was a woman. In most espionage films or books this type of character is usually male. A female lead opened up a whole new set of obstacles and assets that I don’t think have been explored near enough in this genre. 

Alex’s intellect and chemical creativity was almost it’s own character in the story. I got a real kick out of all the “booby traps” she had on and off her person.

The use of “mirror twins” was expertly done. I caught on to where I thought Meyer was going with it before the climax but that may be the massive amount of books I’ve read that were similar to this one. There’s only so many ways this could of ended. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy with the ending because I think it ended the way it should have. Much different and the realistic narrative would have been bent maybe beyond beliveveability (not sure if that’s an actual word or if I made that up but it sounds good).

Something that Meyer brought up in building the character of Alex was her trying to formulate a way to “interrogate” without causing pain. A truth serum if you will…. this wasn’t harped on but it was mentioned that the powers that be didn’t seem interested in that line of research. If you think about that beyond the scope of fiction it does make a person wonder.

“The Chemist” has a lot to offer a variety of people. It’s entertaining, full of action but also brings up a pile of philosophical questions. It’s a solid book and Meyer has proved yet again why she is a best seller. Oh what it must be like to have those stories swirling in one’s mind.

5 star book!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Chemist | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Stephenie Meyer  |Publisher: Little, Brown and Company / Publication Date: 11-8-2016 |Pages: 528 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0316387835   |Genre(s): Thriller & Suspense |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 11-20-2016 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

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Reaper Lands – BOTBC #3 Winner!

The past couple of weeks have been tough for AlliesOpinions Battle Of The Book Cover (BOTBC). We pitted two book covers against each other and came out with a tie. After a little prodding the book world has spoken and a winner has emerged. Congratulations Roy Burdine!

Roy Burdine is the author of “Reaper Lands” and has won a free Book Spotlight! This close to Christmas a free Book Spotlight can be a big help to authors trying to get their book some attention in the vastness of the book world. 

AlliesOpinions is happy to assist Indie Authors in their literary quest and will be featuring a variety of books. If books are on your shopping list (and honestly everyone should buy at least one) look no further! Every book featured on BOTBC or any other promotional post has been read and reviewed before promoting. We are happy to wade through the muck to assist in your journey to find amazing stories!

So, keep an eye out for Roy’s Book Spotlight and consider shopping for Indie books this holiday season.

 Get your voting caps on for the next battle.

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Battle Of The Book Cover – Tie Breaker

How goes it my fellow bookworms? For the first time AlliesOpinions “Battle Of The Book Cover” has ended in a tie! The authors and I need your help to determine who gets the free Book Spotlight!

Do you love indie books? Want to help them get more recognition? A free Book Spotlight can go a long way to helping a book reach it’s full potential. 

What do you have to do? Simply comment on which cover you like the most! It’s that easy! 

The first time AlliesOpinions listed these covers they received one vote each. Help us break this tie and declare a winner!

cold water bridegroom         Reaper Lands Cover

Let me know in the comments which cover you prefer!

Thanks for voting!!

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Book Review “Moonstone Beach” Linda Seed

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Kate Bennet owns a small bookstore in Cambria, California—the kind of shop that smells like mildew, furniture wax, and old pages, the kind where you’ll find a cat napping atop the used biographies. Two years out from a divorce that left her emotionally fragile, Kate is starting to think that maybe she’s ready for love again—or at least for a fling with a hot man. Jackson Graham is a local chef who’s controlling when it comes to food, careless when it comes to women, and temperamental when it comes to just about everything. When Kate’s friends mobilize to set things up between Kate and Jackson, she expects some casual pleasure followed by a hasty goodbye, but Jackson’s long-term crush on Kate means that he’s in this one to win. The problem is, neither he nor Kate knows whether he can change the self-defeating habits that usually send women scurrying for the door as soon as the afterglow fades. Throw in a beautiful backdrop of rocky beaches and rugged coastline, a manipulative father, a Mary Kay–pushing stepmother, a yapping Pomeranian, and a nervous ring-tailed lemur, and you’ve got Moonstone Beach, the first contemporary romance in a series of four about Kate and her friends, Gen, Lacy, and Rose.

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“Moonstone Beach” is what I would call the perfect beach (or poolside) read. Each character is like someone you know (or wish you did). Cambria sounds like a beautiful little town and the camaraderie of those who inhabit it brings a coziness to the story.  

Seed writes her characters lovingly. From Kate’s inner circle to those who skim it each encounter is written with the aura of love. It’s clear that these characters hold significance to Seed and her love for them will bleed to the reader almost from page one.  

While the story is reliably romantic it’s also pretty funny in places. There aren’t any real surprises. That’s not to say that the story is dull because it definitely isn’t. Those who favor this genre will guess the ending fairly easy. It’s a feel good book and it does it’s job well. 

Seed set the groundwork for the next book in this one in a really clever way. No cliff hangers but a little look into who the next main characters may be. I will definitely buy the next book.

The story is sweet and realistic. The characters lovable and genuine. The tourist picturesque setting is a perfect back drop for the romance and brings a real softness and summery feel to the story. I had the whole range of warm fuzzies while reading and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I loved the familiarity of this book and rate it at 5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Moonstone Beach | Series: Main Street Merchchants  |  Author(s): Linda Seed  |Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing / Publication Date: 10-21-2015 |Pages: 286 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1518628917  |Genre(s): Romance / Romantic Comedy |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 11-4-2016 |Source: Copy from author.

About The Author

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Linda Seed is a former journalist with more than 15 years in the news business at publications including the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Ventura County Star. She began writing fiction at age 16, and published her first novel more than thirty years later. She works as a freelance fiction editor for independent authors. Linda lives in Riverside County, California, with her husband, art writer John Seed, and their three children.

Book Review “Burned” Ellen Hopkins

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Pattyn Von Stratten is searching for the love she isn’t getting from God or her family in this novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins.

It all started with a dream. Just a typical fantasy, but for a girl raised in a religious—and abusive—family, a simple dream could be the first step toward eternal damnation. Now Pattyn Von Stratten has questions. Questions about God, and sex, and mostly love. Will she ever find it? Pattyn experiences the first stirrings of passion, but when her father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control.

Pattyn is sent to live with an aunt in the wilds of rural Nevada to find salvation and redemption. What she finds instead is love and acceptance, and for the first time she feels worthy of both—until she realizes that her old demons will not let her go. Those demons lead Pattyn down a path to hell—not to the place she learned about in sacrament meetings, but to an existence every bit as horrifying.

In this gripping and masterful novel told in verse, Ellen Hopkins embarks on an emotional journey that ebbs and flows. From the highs of true love to the lows of loss and despair, Pattyn’s story is utterly compelling. You won’t want this story to end—but when it does, you can find out what’s next for Pattyn in the sequel, Smoke.

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First lines: DID YOU EVER? 

When you were little, endure?

your parents’ warnings, then wait

for them to leave the room,

pry loose protective covers

and consider inserting some metal

object into an electrical outlet?

I don’t usually post Trigger warnings….however, I feel like this book needs them. The following is a list of triggers this book may contain for certain people. This list may contain SPOILERS.

Here is your chance to skip….

I’m about to list spoilers…..

Are you still with me?

Ok, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Trigger List

Miscarriage

Religious In-doctrine

Domestic Abuse

Child Abuse

Murder

“Burned” is a very intense read. What makes it so emotional is it’s close ties to reality. This book could be about someone I know. It could be about the religious zealot we have all seen at school, work or standing on a corner with a sign proclaiming the “end”. The portrayal of domestic abuse is chillingly accurate.   I grew up in an abusive home and I know first hand how close to reality this story really is. The feelings that Pattyn expresses are so real that it’s easy to forget she isn’t real and this is just a story.

“Burned” is shocking. If I had to sum the entire book into one word that would be it. It’s authenticity is shocking. It’s accuracy is shocking. It’s subject matter is shocking. But, this story needs to be told and I am extremely glad that Hopkins has told it so masterfully. 

Pattyn is a character that has stuck with me for a long time. See, this is a book I bought years ago. It’s been sitting on my shelf a long time. I’ve re-read it countless times. Pattyn is a character I know well. Her story is one I go back to again and again. 

This story is a dark one. It’s dark because reality can be dark. It’s not as simple as running away. It’s not as simple as standing up for yourself. In some households, that could get you killed. Or….someone you love killed. For those whose lives have not been tainted by abuse (religious or other) it’s hard to understand the darkness that surrounds you. The lack of faith and trust you have in humanity. The isolation you feel while surrounded by your peers. The choices you have to make…. The way people turn on you with breakneck speed. 

Thank you Ellen Hopkins for bringing the story of so many to the forefront. Thank you for telling it in its painful reality. Thank you for not sparing the bad. 

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Burned | Series: Burned Series  |  Author(s):  Ellen Hopkins |Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books / Publication Date: 9-10-2013 |Pages: 560 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1442494619  |Genre(s): Fiction & Religion & Young Adult |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-20-2016 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

About The Author

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I was adopted at birth and raised by a great, loving older couple. I grew up in Palm Springs CA, although we summered in Napa and Lake Tahoe, to avoid those 120 degree summers. After my adopted parents died, I did find my birth mother, who lives in Michigan with my half sister.

I studied journalism in college, but left school to marry, raise kids and start my own business–a video store, before the mega-chains were out there. After a divorce, I met my current husband and we moved to Tahoe to become ski bums and otherwise try to find our dreams. At that time, I went to work for a small alternative press, writing stories and eventually editing.

When we moved down the mountain to the Reno area, I started writing nonfiction books, many of which you can see here. The rest are viewable on my personal website. I also continued to freelance articles for newspapers and magazines.

All that has changed, with the publication of my novel, CRANK, which has led to a valued career writing YA novels in verse, all of which explore the more difficult situations young adults often find themselves in. Will I ever write one in prose? No doubt! But, for the moment, writing novels in verse fulfills two needs: writing poetry and writing fiction. The combination is so interesting!

Discussion Topic: Supporting Characters

How’s everyone in book land doing? I recently read a book that had some very intriguing supporting characters and to be honest, they really made the book. The main character was annoying and drove me nuts. That book got me thinking about the importance of supporting characters and how they can make or break a story. In film, lots of times there are multiple main characters. Now that I’m thinking about it, I think my favorite books and movies have a variety of view points. I’ve seen lots of lists that focus on favorite main characters so lets mix it up! 

What books have you read that the supporting characters saved the story?

What are your favorite supporting characters in film or books? 

What books do you think have the best supporting characters?

5 Books With The Best Supporting Characters

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Book Review “Missing Mona” Joe Klingler

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Tommy has boomeranged back to his parents residence and a dead-end job after too many years in college. As he looks squarely at his next decade of life his smartphone convinces him the time is ripe for a change. A gift from his grandfather provides the means, so he embarks on the path of blues artists and beatniks before him–and hits the road.

He immediately meets a damsel in hitchhiking distress who says her name is Mona. Her presence persuades him that the bright lights and dark clubs of Chicago might be his kind of town. So on a summer Saturday night they settle into a fancy hotel overlooking the beaches of Lake Michigan.

On Sunday…Mona disappears.

But she leaves behind more than a sweet memory that involves Tommy in a brand new cash flow problem he never imagined. While trying to sort out how to stay on the right side of the law and get back on the road, he meets a young criminologist who helps him, a DJ who doesn’t, and a librarian who teaches him about the city, women, and the art of the makeover. After truth and lies are stirred like a blue martini, being assaulted by a pink monkey, and witnessing a drive-by shooting that drowns a Ferrari–Tommy is desperate to help Mona.

If he can find her.

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“Missing Mona” was a fun read. It took me awhile to really get into the story but once I did the suspense had me flipping pages to unravel all those loose threads! 

I have to admit that when I began the book I did not like Tommy. Not even a little. He seems like a grown man baby. He doesn’t at all seem to understand how privileged he is and he surely doesn’t appreciate it. I was more than a quarter into the book before I stopped sneering at Tommy and actually started to like him a little. His evolution as a character is one of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed the most. Because, let me tell you…if Tommy wouldn’t of started to change pretty early on there is a good chance I would of put this book down and labeled a DNF.

Beyond my immediate dislike of Tommy, the plot of “Missing Mona” is intricate and cleverly constructed. Most of the twists and turns took me completely by surprise while a few others were a bit predictable. 

Now, the supporting characters is what makes this book! Klingler did a fantastic job of building Mona, Marvin, Lizz, Kim ect… They each stand out and build on the Chicago setting making the location feel more and more authentic. For a mystery, this had one of the best casts of supporting characters that I have read this year. I really can not brag on this enough. Each time a new character came into play the story became more vibrant and dug its hooks further in. 

All in all, this book is cleverly written and fun to read. Klingler did a great job and this is a series I will follow in the future.

4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Missing Mona | Series:  Tommy Cuda Mysteries  |  Author(s):  Joe Klingler |Publisher: Cartosi LLC / Publication Date: 10-23-2015 |Pages: 416 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1941156056  |Genre(s): Mystery & Suspense |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-20-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

About The Author

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Joe Klingler was born in the Great Black Swamp on a hot July day during a cold war. In primary school he read Four Wheel Drift. That led to a soap box derby car named Restless, two crashes, and a lifelong love of motion.

Images of Jimi Hendrix playing the U.S. National Anthem at Woodstock inspired pounding on a Gibson in a garage band influenced by local groups like the MC5 and Iggy and Stooges whose pioneering punk music he figured existed everywhere—though it was actually coming out of Detroit, Michigan forty miles to the north.

Joe read The God Machine by Martin Caidin, and started thinking about the nature of computation. He studied electrical engineering, spent time doing research in medical image processing, published academic papers, wrote a few patents. All of which led to an interest in special effects and the software that made them. He co-founded a company that was soon acquired, leading to a string of jobs for bigger and bigger corporations until assimilation by a billion dollar enterprise gave him the idea for a book—which he wrote while moving 525 mph bouncing between the coasts of North America.

That book led to RATS, his debut novel, which draws on the beauty of technology, its uses, misuses and abuses. And how the collision of human ideologies shapes its future—and ours. A minor character in RATS led to Mash Up: a rollicking ride with student musicians through San Francisco, Silicon Valley, social media and the minds of persons who use sharp knives to solve problems.

He currently resides in California with an iMac and a couple of motorcycles, and has recently released his third novel: Missing Mona. He’s fond of turbochargers, and loves his S1000RR.

To learn more, check out Joe’s website HERE.

The Booklist – 5 Books You Should Read

Since it’s well known that I’m a voracious reader, I often have people ask me for book recommendations. Due to this, I’ve decided to start a weekly list of books that I have personally reviewed. Each book has received a minimum 4 star rating from me. If you have read any of the books I’ve listed, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments! Click on the covers to be taken to the review.

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Have you read any of the books on my list? Drop your thoughts in the comments!

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Vote! Vote! Vote!

As we reach the last few hours that polls are open, I want to inject just a bit of motivation to get you through those long lines. I know it’s a pain. The workers are slow as molasses at some of your voting locations. The lines are disorganized and the system is confusing. I know. I get it. Voting has become a trial instead of a celebration of power to the people. 

I’m still here asking you to wait in those lines. I did. With an 11 month old baby and a very hyper 3 year old. An old man admonished me for allowing my son to play on my cell phone. A strange woman kissed my baby without my permission. Trust me, I wanted to bail on the whole ordeal. I didn’t leave though. I waited. My baby got sick of being held and started to cry. I still stayed in line. My son tried to run away and damn near pulled me over more times than I can count. I stayed in that line like my feet were cemented to the floor.

Do you know why? Because this is one of the few ways that my voice can be heard. As a mother there isn’t many ways I can get involved. Most of these events or protests aren’t kid friendly. So, even if they rig the system…..even if my vote never gets counted for those I actually voted for. I showed up and people saw me show up. AND I saw them show up too. That matters.

I urge you to stay firm. Wait in the line. It matters.

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