Friday, March 4, 2016

Title: Riders
Author(s): Veronica Rossi
Narrator(s): Dan Bitner
Series: Riders, book #1
Length: 10 hrs 40 mins
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Source: library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

I waffled something fierce on whether I wanted to give this series a try or not. I read some reviews - some good and some bad - and I still wasn't sure what to expect from this first book. I was going to buy the audio when it first released, but I hesitated. Then I read an excerpt and my curiosity was rekindled and as luck would have it, my library uploaded the audio to their collection soon after. Score one for patience.

I knew it wouldn't be like Rossi's other series - and it most definitely is not - but I knew what I wanted it to be: a story about four badass dudes taking on some evil as the four horsemen of the apocalypse, riding in on their awesome horses to save the day. And in that respect, I got my wish. I liked how the narrative was told interrogation-style, starting in the middle and backtracking until the present and then proceeding at a break-neck pace to the end. And I love that it's from one of the four horseman's perspectives instead of the girl who brings them together. Rossi is boss at writing the male point-of-view, and she should always include at least one male perspective in her novels, as far as I'm concerned.

If you're undecided, as I was, I definitely recommend the audiobook, narrated by Dan "Sex-on-a-stick" Bitner. If you're unfamiliar with this narrator, he voiced Cole in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series and his voice is gruff, sexy, tough-guy to the nth. Plus, he's got pretty great comedic timing and his audiobook performances are just fun.

Riders was not exactly what I was expecting but it was what I was hoping for, and the more I think about it, the more I liked it. And I can't help but wonder if subsequent books will feature the narratives of the other horsemen. I liked Gideon, but the other horsemen have such interesting stories to tell, as well, and I'm looking forward to finding out more about them.

About the author:

Veronica Rossi is a best selling author of fiction for young adults. Her debut novel, UNDER THE NEVER SKY, was the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy. Released in January 2012, it was deemed one of the Best Books of Year by School Library Journal. The series appeared in the NY Times and USA Today best seller lists and was published in over 25 foreign markets.

Her second series for young adults will begin with RIDERS (publishing February 16, 2016), the story of four modern day teens who become incarnations of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and the prophetic girl who brings them together.

Find Veronica:

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Title: The Killing Jar
Author(s): Jennifer Bosworth
Narrator(s): Saskia Maarleveld
Series: stand-alone
Length: 8 hrs 23 mins
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Publication Date: January 13, 2016
Source: ARC from publisher, audiobook from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…

I've been such a mood reader these days, and it means I miss release dates on a lot of the review books I have in my possession. I either wait until I do feel like reading a story - to give it the fairest chance possible - or until it's released on audiobook. Such is the case with The Killing Jar, which drew me in with the promise of a cult-like situation and a stunning cover. I was cleaning my shelves the other day and found the ARC and read a few pages to see if it was worth keeping for a rainy day, and from the few pages I read, I was intrigued. And as I've mentioned, my library just did a mass upload and I grabbed the audiobook for this novel since my curiosity had been piqued by my little sneak peek.

That said, the story as a whole was a little disappointing. It started off strange and only got weirder. I like weird, but I like when I get answers, too, and those were far and few between for the majority of this novel. It's a commune, so obviously things are going to be a little hush-hush, but when I already know what's going on and the main character just keeps on mucking things up with bad decision after bad decision because no one will tell her anything, I tend to get frustrated.

* Spoiler Alert * Spoiler Alert * Spoiler Alert * Spoiler Alert * Spoiler Alert * Spoiler Alert * Spoiler Alert * Spoiler Alert *

Also, the romantic entanglements in this story were ick. The first love interest who's introduced is her best friend Blake, and I usually love those types of romances but it's the way this one progressed that got my goat. Basically, they finally make out for the first time, she goes to the commune after a violent incident that same night, boy breaks her out some undisclosed time later, her inner monologue has them as boyfriend and girlfriend, she barely resists having her way with him out in the woods the first night she's back, and then she tells him to stay away from her -- for his own good, obvi. The next day he's talking about how it was good that they didn't go any further, that he didn't have protection and it wasn't how he pictured their first time, blah, blah, blah. But this is only the second time they've been in each other's company since anything romantic had occurred between them!

Plus, she met an older guy at the commune that she's attracted to. And when I say older, I mean OLDER. Not that Cyrus looks it, but that's another secret the commune is harboring. When Kenna asks him how old he is or how long he's been at the commune, all he'll say is "a long time". But the truth will out. At any rate, while at the commune, Kenna thinks about Blake, the best friend/maybe boyfriend, a lot, but in a manipulative move, she makes out with Cyrus. And not just once, though there are other forces at play some of the time. But I don't want to spoil anything too much.

The weirdest thing, though, is that I actually kind of like how the romantic situations were each resolved. Kenna 'fesses up to Blake and there's pretty much no choice to make when all is said and done.

/ Spoiler Alert / Spoiler Alert / Spoiler Alert / Spoiler Alert / Spoiler Alert / Spoiler Alert / Spoiler Alert / Spoiler Alert /

So…yeah. Disappointing on a lot of levels, but especially where the romance is concerned. The narrator is one I'm not familiar with but she did a good job with the material she was given.

About the author:

Author and screenwriter, Jennifer Bosworth, grew up in a small town where there was nothing to do but read and get into trouble. She did plenty of both, which led her to a career writing about people who get into trouble. Jennifer and her husband recently escaped from Los Angeles and are now hiding out in Portland, Oregon with a couple of long-legged dogs. In her spare time she can be found watching horror movies and dreaming of starting her own hippie commune, where there will be many goats.

Find Jennifer:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. I'm really curious about the first book! THAT COVER! It sounds so great. :D I've seen the second book around, but I haven't seen a lot of reviews. Too bad you didn't enjoy that one.

  2. Oh I've been known to download an audiobook on voice over merits. So even thought Riders hasn't been getting some pretty fantastic reviews so far, you sold me. Lol.


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