The thing that sold me on this book was the vampires. Yes, we’ve got a bazillion vampire books out there with all sorts of lore and history, but what other books can you name where the vampires remain mentally stuck in their era? (if there are other books, I’d like to know about them) These are some of the most original vampires I’ve come across, a far cry from Dracula and his kin. No, they can’t do daylight, but they also can’t do music from another decade.
Yes, these vamps are DJs at WVMP and they each host a unique show catering to their era of expertise. They all have very unique personality styles and while you want to slap around a few of them, you really love them all by the end of the book.
Ciara (pronounced Keer-ah) is the human hired to be WVMP’s new marketing manager, as the station is in dire straits. Her idea to save the radio station is comical and while the vampires are not opposed to the idea, they think Ciara is off her rocker. You see, Ciara is a former con-artist, and while she doesn’t practice that lifestyle anymore, she still possesses the skills, and she uses them to perfection.
LOVE the author’s writing. Love, love, love it. She certainly knows how to engage the reader, her humor is perfect, and she creates some pretty likeable characters, as well. And her knowledge of music is ridiculous. I mean, ridiculous.(less)
Set in modern times, the world has experienced the “Shift.” Anyone born after it is able to see and communicate with ghosts that remain in limbo. The Shift is not explained because the cause is unknown. In fact, uncovering the mystery becomes a major part of the series. Ghosts have become so commonplace that there are even lawyers who represent those who seek justice in order to move on. And that is where we meet our protagonist, Aura. Aura works part-time for her aunt and godmother as a translator for ghosts. In fact, it’s quite common for post-Shifters to translate for ghosts during trials. All in the name of justice.
Aura is a pretty interesting young lady. I find her quite compassionate, fair, devoutly loyal to those she loves and extremely patient. Aura is quite in love with her boyfriend, Logan, an Irish youth who is extremely devoted to the punk band he’s formed with his siblings. I’d say he’s pretty self-absorbed and addicted to the idea of fame, however, he doesn’t come across as an asshole, ever. Unfortunately for him, he kicks the bucket near the beginning of the book. It’s quite a devastating moment and I really enjoyed how the author wrote it. It made me gasp! Of course, Aura was born after the Shift, so Logan is still around, in his new violet, ethereal form. Talk about an endless heartbreak. :/
In walks Zachary, in all his hottie Scottish glory, whose father was relocated to town for business. Zach is a pre-Shifter, and cannot see ghosts, but he certainly notices a beautiful, intelligent, passionate young lady when he sees one. He’s assigned to assist Aura in a research project that she’s doing. It’s a project that becomes very integral to the story, and slowly uncovers a connection between Aura and Zach that they never could have imagined.
The love triangle has been beat into the ground, and many of us are yearning for a new spin on romantic tension. This books brings that new spin, and I was pleasantly surprised at the greatness of it. This was my first book by the author. Brooke at Brooke Reviews let me borrow her WVMP books forever ago, and I need to pick them up and read them now. I was quite impressed with the author’s writing style, imagination and ability to tell a good story.(less)
Firstly, Jericho Barrons is such a smexy name! It goes quite well with this sophisticated, wealthy, mysterious man. He’s intelligent, extre...moreMy Thoughts
Firstly, Jericho Barrons is such a smexy name! It goes quite well with this sophisticated, wealthy, mysterious man. He’s intelligent, extremely confident and dead sexy. His demeanor reminds me so much of Trent Kalamack from The Hollows series by Kim Harrison (which you should read!) Mac is a different type of heroine. In the beginning, I was a tad worried about her carrying that weight, but she did just fine! Her personality is great. What a fun, bubbly, sarcastic little spitfire she is. Being a proper Southern girl, she doesn’t like to cuss (at first), so she and her sister created words to use in lieu of. I found that hysterical.
Crap was fudge-buckets. Ass was petunia. Shit was daisies and the f-word, which I can’t even recall the last time I used, was frog.
Mac isn’t all rainbows and lip gloss, however. She packs some intelligence of her own and I enjoy some of her more thought-provoking moments.
I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself. Movies show you the pink house. A good book tells you there’s a pink house and lets you paint some of the finishing touches, maybe choose the roof style, park your own car out front.
I was relieved that Mac’s disbelief about the paranormal was realistic. So many characters (mainly occurs in YA) take the newfound knowledge like it’s another day at the office. I really hate that reaction, even though these books are so not realistic. Mac takes time to gather her wits and face the truth about who she is and what she must do to protect mankind. It’s a lot for a 22 year old to take on, but she (wo)man’s up.
I loved Mac and Barron’s odd relationship, as it presented many laughable moments. He was an ass to her throughout the book and loved to apply the dumb blonde stereotype. At the same time, he showed respect by referring to her as Ms. Lane.
“Woman, you are a thousand kinds if fool.”
"You, Ms. Lane, are a menace to others! A walking, talking catastrophe in pink!"
However, you get a peak at his tender side a few times when he surprises you with his actions. I look forward to more development between these two, as I assume it becomes quite heated.
Some of the more humorous scenes involved Mac and V’lane. Every time Mac is around V’lane, she loses clothing and finds her hands down her panties. In the middle of the street, or a packed museum. Anywhere. Granted, V’lane is a one of those Death-By-Sex Fae and humans lose all control around him…
Even now, my back was still arched with sensual invitation, my bottom was questing up like a cat in heat, and my every move was supple, sinuous. I was one great big come-hither.
The author did a great job at world building and you learn quite a lot about the Fae, other paranormal creatures, and the fate of the world. I think it’s fair to say that I have the Fever! Lucky for me, the final book in the series, Shadowfever, releases this month, so I don’t have to wait to read them all (although I may not be able to read them immediately anyway).(less)
I enjoyed this book much better than the first one. I learned a lot more, there was a lot more action, some grisly, gruesome bad guys, and even a touch of sensuality. Mac has definitely matured a lot, despite what Barrons thinks. She has come to terms that everyone is using her (Barrons, V’Lane, etc) and that she has no way to change that fact. Instead, she is putting her foot down and demanding more answers and respect.
Barrons is becoming more and more mysterious! I am so perplexed by his character and wonder how trustworthy he is. And what the feck is he, anyway? He was still his arrogant self, but we definitely see a tender moment or two, and maybe even some jealousy! There is a scene near the end where he and Mac try to beat the shit out of each other, and it turns into a hot sadomasochism scene, for like, a second. Ha. Oh, you tease KMM! *shakes fist* I can’t wait for those two to hit the sheets (or shower, wall, kitchen counter, where ever!) because it is going to be glorious.
V’lane visits Mac at a very inopportune time, whisking her away to Faery. There, he gives her what her heart most desires: one last moment with her dead sister. It was a beautiful scene and I truly felt empathy for her character. After Mac growls at V’lane to never, ever do that to her again, he says he thought it is what she wanted. Is that really why you did it, V’lane?
When Mac is out and about one day, she recognizes that a young girl can see the Fae, so she runs after her. This young girl, Dani, is a red-headed spitfire who uses the cuss word Feck. I don’t know if this is a common term in Ireland, but I LOLed every time it was used. Feck is my official new cuss word. Dani is part of the organization of sidhe-seers, and they are trying to recruit Mac, of course. Mac doesn’t know who to trust. The woes of a sidhe-seer. *sigh*
Near the end, Mac comes face to face with a brutal enemy, one she has pissed off royally. Mallucé, a known vampire, hunts her down and tortures her to pay her back for a bit of his own pain. Luckily for Mac, Barrons is never to far away and Mac gets the chance to face her own real-life demon. Great action!
He was Enemy. I was Destroyer.
I do believe today is the release of Shadowfever, the final book in the series. I need to get the final 3 books stat!
My Favorite Quotes
By six o’clock, I’d had fifty-six patrons, rung up an impressive amount of sales, and discovered that I liked being a bookseller. I’d found my calling. Instead of serving drinks and watching people turn into drunken idiots, I was being paid to give people wonderful stories to escape into, full of mystery, mayhem, and romance. Instead of splashing anaesthetizing alcohol into glasses, I was pouring fictional tonics to alleviate the stress, hardship, and drudgery of their lives. --- Being touched by Jericho Barrons with kindness makes you feel like you must be the most special person in the world. It’s like walking up to the biggest, most savage lion in the jungle, lying down, placing your head it its mouth and, rather than taking your life, it licks you and purrs. --- "I couldn't‘t tell the difference between the two of you anymore!" he roared.
I smashed my fist into his face. Lies roll off us. It‘s the truths we work hardest to silence.
Then you weren‘t looking hard enough! I‘m the one with boobs!"
I know you‘re the one with boobs!They‘re in my fucking face every fucking time I turn around!" --- I get off on a man with strong moral fiber. The closest Barrons ever gets to fiber is walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. --- I’m asking the questions tonight.” One day I was going to write a book: How to Dictate to a Dictator and Evade an Evader, subtitled How to Handle Jericho Barrons. --- If he’d been any other man and i'd been any other girl, I’d have called the narrowing of his heavy-lidded dark eyes lust. But he was Barrons and I was Mac, and a blossoming of lust was about as likely as orchids blooming in Antarctica.
This series ain’t no joke! It keeps getting better and better, building and building. What a wild ride! I am r...more
Monsters and massages and mayhem, oh my!
This series ain’t no joke! It keeps getting better and better, building and building. What a wild ride! I am really enjoying the Fae lore and the magical world that KMM has created. It really is a great Urban Fantasy series, full of fantastical creatures sinking their claws into modern-day Dublin. Great characters, fantastic dialogue and one hell of a plot.
Mac is still on a quest to face her sister’s killer and kick some serious arse. She has been receiving pages out of her sister’s diary via a mystery person. Unfortunately, the pages only raise more questions. No one will give her answers and she is sick of playing games. She has faced ugly, dangerous things since her arrival in Dublin, and while she has been forced to face her true nature and purpose, she refuses to give up the last vestiges of Mac 1.0. I love her for that. :)
I was nothing if not determined; at least twice a week I would wear bright, pretty clothes. I was afraid if I didn’t, I’d forget who I was. I’d turn into what I felt like: a grungy, weapon-bearing, pissy, resentful vengeance-hungry bitch.
Barrons remains fiercely sexy. The man is shrouded in mystery, speaks more eloquently then a King and dresses like he just stepped out of a GQ magazine. However, he’s still an asshat and really got on my nerves in this book. He continues to treat Mac like a child and was beyond rude to her. He could give two shits about her feelings, but continuously requests her services as the only person alive that can track the one item that can save the world. Who does he think he is? The cake scene was just wrong. I seriously wanted to take a piece and shove it in his face. However, there is no doubt that Barrons is completely lusting for Mac. He cannot wait to get his grubby whatever-he-is paws into her flesh, literally. Still, he doesn’t let her phase him, and he holds his assholish composure throughout. But he does it so well. :)
"I moistened my lips. His gaze fixed on them. I think I stopped breathing.
He jerked so sharply away that his long dark coat sliced air, and turned his back to me. “Was that an invitation, Ms.Lane?”
“If it was?” I asked, astonishing myself. What did I think I was doing?
“I don’t do hypotheticals. Little girl."
As I moved deeper into the room, his gaze dropped to my feet, and worked its way back to my face. I was wearing faded jeans, boots, and a snug pink Juicy T-shirt I got on sale at TJ Maxx last summer that said I’m a Juicy girl.
“I bet you are,” he murmured."
Barrons and V’lane had little snarky spats with each other about Mac, too, which was highly amusing. They are both lusting after her and both are doing all they can to be the one to break her down into sexual submission. V’lane is a sexy beast too, and gives Barrons a run for his money, as Mac so readily notices.
If V’lane were a signpost, it would read Abandon All Personal Will, Ye Who Tread Here.
V’lane may be Fae but he seems to be the only one who is wiling to give Mac info. It’s still hard to say if he is good or bad, but I like his character. He has given Mac protection by allowing her to call on him when in need. He has to plant his name on her tongue via a kiss, and I just loved his comment. Yum!
“How does it feel, MacKayla? You have a piece of me in your mouth. Would you like another?”
Christian MacKeltar becomes a more prominent character in this book. And holy hell, do I ever want to meet him! Mac’s description of this Scottish lad makes me smile from ear to ear. Sounds like my kinda man. His special talent is quite intriguing too (get your mind outta the gutters!), and I wonder how he will play into the story. I loved this line, glorious in its Scottish accent. *meow*
“He’s the one who’s been doing the magic against us?”
“Duh,” I said.
“Doona be ‘duh’ing me, lass,” he growled, his burr thickening.
DANI! What a fecking hoot that kid is! I absolutely adore her character to pieces, and while I think her ego is a bit large for her britches, she is still a force! I seriously think she is just searching for someone to relate to. Even though she is part of the larger sidhe-seer organization, none of them are extraordinary like Dani, and they treat her like a child. She is quite bored and wants to do something, instead of sit around and twiddle her thumbs. She and Mac are a great team and I smile inside over their relationship. Mac is moving into a big sister role for Dani, a role she has never played with but knows the importance of. Anyway, Dani is a spitfire and I adore her!
"What the feck?” Dani snapped when I answered. “You sleep like the fecking dead up there! I been calling you for five fecking minutes!"
The end of this book was a horrific cliffhanger. I am feeling so much agony for Mac right now, and I can only pray that someone comes to her rescue, since Barrons and V’lane were obviously too busy to save her. I can’t wait to dive into Dreamfever! I’m almost to the end of the series and it will be a sad day. :((less)
HOLY SHIT! This was one HELL of a book from start to finish. As always, I love how the books pick up immediately where the last left off. KMM is a gre...moreHOLY SHIT! This was one HELL of a book from start to finish. As always, I love how the books pick up immediately where the last left off. KMM is a great story teller. :)
Dani had to take over at the beginning of this book because Mac was indisposed. I enjoy Dani’s character and really loved her chaotic, spastic thoughts. She still think she is the best thing to happen to mankind, but her naivety doesn’t bother me. She is only 13, and invincibility is a hallmark of adolescence. Don’t you remember?
The events at the end of Faefever left Mac in a serious heap of trouble, and Barrons comes to her rescue. Big time. When Mac comes out of her haze, she is pissed. off. royally. She comes back to reality, greeted by some mind-numbing events that took place while she was off in la-la land (or Hell, depends on who you ask). One complaint I have regarding Mac in this book is how easily she moves forward. I know the atrocities that occurred to her at the end of Faefever are still with her, but it would’ve been a bit more interesting and realistic if she would’ve exhibited some Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms, or something. However, I know there is no time for Mac to cry in her beer, so she shoves that hellish experience to the back of her mind and focuses on laying the smack down. She has come a long way from Mac 1.0. No longer do we see a flirty, fun Mac sporting short skirts and hot pink toe nails. We are now presented with Mac 5.0, one that has endured much trauma, torture and grief, and she is fed up with waiting to seek her revenge.
I really enjoyed the time Mac spent with Christian. Will we see him again? And Mac meets an old woman who claims to have knowledge about Mac’s family. Mac is very interested in what this old woman has to say, and we learn some intriguing things about Mac’s heritage. Who is she? Her true background has become more and more intriguing with each book!
Ryodan was so mysterious and confusing in this book. I’ve always wondered who he is and what his role is in this series, but he literally lost me with his rambles to Mac about the elusive, evil Book. And what the HELL is under Barron’s garage? Oh wait. We meet…it. At the end. :(
That cliffhanger was ugly, wrong and torturous. I seriously feel for all of you that had to wait to read Shadowfever! While cliffhangers make us want to throw the books up against the wall, in the garbage disposal, or the toilet, I still think they are genius writing.
My Favorite Quotes (Note: These quotes WILL spoil!)
He sprawls on the bed, arms folded behind his head, a mountain of dark muscle and tattoos against crimson silk sheets, watching me as I dance naked around the room. His gaze is carnal, hot, and I know my dancing pleases him greatly.
This is probably one of the HOTTEST scenes written. Ever.
“Open your eyes and say my name.”
I squeeze them shut more tightly.
“It would make my cock hard to hear you say my name.”
My eyes pop open. “Jericho Barrons,” I say sweetly.
He makes a pained sound. “Bloody hell, woman, I think a part of me wants to keep you this way.”
I touch his face. “I like how I am. I like how you are, too. When you are…What is that word you used? Cooperating.”
“Tell me to fuck you.”
I smile and comply. We’re back in territory I understand.
“You didn’t say my name. Say my name when you tell me to fuck you.”
“Fuck me, Jerricho Barrons.”
“From now on, you will call me Jericho Barrons every time you speak to me.
Strengths wasn’t about being able to do everything alone. Strength was about knowing when to ask for help and not being too proud to do it.
“What do you have down there, Barrons?” My question was nearly drowned out by another swell of hopeless, anguished baying. It made me want to run. It made me want to weep.
“The only was that could ever possibly be any of your business is if it was a book, and one that we need, and it’s not, so fuck off.”
Meet Rose Hathaway, dhampir and self-appointed Guardian of Lissa Dragomir, the last of her royal bloodline. In the beginning of this book, Rose and Lissa are enjoying a night in, until Rose notices a shadowy figure outside their bedroom window. She immediately drags Lissa out of the house, and hauls ass. Yes, they get caught – but not by the bad guys. Turns out these two ladies ran away from St. Vladimir Academy, a school for their kind. Think Hogwarts. They get taken back and Rose is reprimanded for taking Lissa away and endangering her life. All the while, you are left wondering why they ran in the first place…
This world doesn’t just have vampires, but different types of vampires. The Moroi are living mortal vampires and their enemies are the Strigoi, the dead immortal bloodsuckers. The Strigoi are stronger and have been killing the Moroi off little by little because their blood enhances the Strigoi’s abilities. Over time, the Moroi royalty have lost their fighting edge, and thus, have recruited dhampirs as their Guardians. Dhampirs are half-Moroi, half-human hybrids and possess heightened characteristics of both species. The dhampir Guardians take their job hella serious. Without the Moroi, the dhampir race would cease to exist. It seems as though dhampirs can’t mate with one another, but mating with a Moroi always creates a dhampir (so odd).
Rose’s personality is right up my alley. She is fierce, sassy, stubborn, uses her sensual body to tease the hell out of the boys, lacks impulse control and is so very protective of Lissa. You see, not only have they been best friends their entire lives, but they posses a rare psychic bond that occurred after an incident that remains unclear until later in the book. Rose can feel Lissa’s emotions and sometimes enters her head when Lissa is over-emotional. I really enjoy these scenes, being able to enter Lissa’s mind and experience events from her POV. Due to this intense connection, Rose is always on her toes, and will kick ass when Lissa is threatened.
Dimitri Belikov, Guardian Extraordinaire, has been assigned to teach Rose all that she has missed during her two year hiatus. That means meeting before and after classes to train in Guardian technique. Dimitri is extremely serious about his position and let’s Rose know that immediately. However, he also lets her know that she has the potential for greatness if she puts her all into it. As you can guess, spending so much time with one person in close quarters can turn serious business into, well, more serious business. ;)
Dimitri is a fantastic character, full of strong emotion that he keeps muted so he can remain focused. He is wise, observant and patient. The connection that arises between he and Rose happens in a realistic manner, making it all the more sweet. Unfortunately, Guardians don’t have time for love, lest they loose their focus and allow their charge to be killed. This is an unfortunate part of this world and you really feel for Rose and Dimitri as they continue on as though love can be turned off with a switch. Internally, however, emotions run rampant. Can I just say that Dimitri is totally swoon worthy, and I pictured Taylor Kitsch in my head…
Lissa was an ok character, meek and mild is her personality, but we see glimpses into the dark area of her mind. It’s a tad creepy. She has quite the issue to deal with, and without Rose to help her through it, I think she would go mad. I immediately liked Christian, the weird, anti-everyone else, outcast that has an ugly family history. His snarky comebacks had me smiling, and I look forward to more of him.
Once again, my hesitance to read a series mocks me. So very many people talk about the greatness that is Vampire Academy, and while I believed them, I was leery of another YA vampire series. Well, I should just smack myself next time I go there. The world that the author has created is really unique. And she doesn’t throw you into it at lightning speed, so you aren’t drowning in world building. One thing that fascinates me about this world is the revolting politics of Moroi royalty. It really adds to the complexity of the story, and it makes me wonder if this series will move into a “let’s overthrow the royals” plot, but we shall see. I loved learning the history of the Moroi via St. Vladimir, and thus, learning a lot about Rose and Lissa.
Great action, great characterization, great magical abilities, great plot, great chemistry, great emotion, great surprises….this book is FULL off great. The first book in this series was fantastic, and I dove into the 2nd book immediately(less)
"There's nothing worse than waiting and not knowing what'll happen to you. Your own imagination can be crueler than any captor."
Book 2 in this fantastic series has a grisly opening. Rose gets a healthy dose of realism when she discovers a massive Strigoi attack on a Moroi family. Strigoi aren’t known for working in large groups, so this attack has the school in chaos. It’s winter break at St. Vladimir's but families are too scared to allow their children to come home. To keep the students safe, they congregate at a posh ski resort that is heavily guarded. More Guardians are brought in, including Rose's kick-ass, respected, Strigoi-killing mother, Janine Hathaway. Too bad Rose’s opinion of her mother is anything but perfect. Mommy issues, anyone? The Moroi get together to talk strategy, and Christian’s aunt Tasha brings up a great idea that is shot down due to her family’s history. And maybe because the Moroi find it completely out of question. Some of the students aren’t happy that the Moroi are bickering about the threat instead of acting…
Mason, Rose’s fellow Guardian-in-training and best guy friend, has a major crush on her. Rose realizes that he could be good for her but is conflicted about how to handle the relationship while completely enraptured by Dimitri, someone she feels she can never have. Oh, dear irresistible, forbidden Dimitri. What is a girl to do? It doesn’t help that Tasha, a beautiful, fierce, available royal is flirting with Dimitri and breaking open his hard shell via laughter. Rose is furious and very upset, but does she even have a say?
Rose is also transported into Lissa’s head more due to Lissa’s overwhelming emotional states. She and Christian are getting serious, and with that comes exploration. Sounds like a situation any best friend would like to find themselves in, no? Ha, not. Lissa was not as prominent in this book, and while she serves as a very important piece in this series, I’m still not enamored by her character. She is Rose’s best friend, but sometimes I feel like that is a one-way street. However, Lissa learns more about Spirit in this book, and can we just say that her abilities far surpass those of any of the other magical elements. So rad. And I adore Christian. His witty, snarky comments liven up the pages of a sometimes very somber series. He’s one of my favorite characters, for sure.
A new character is introduced – Adrian Ivashkov, a royal Moroi and great-nephew of the queen, Tatiana. Adrian is hot for Rose, and makes his intensions known upfront. Adrian is quite hot himself and is known as a lady killer. He’s also quite the lush, and reeks of alcohol and tobacco 24/7. Self-medicating, perhaps? Rose is inexplicably drawn to him but resists his attempts. He also has the ability to visit her in her dreams, which is creepy beyond belief, but quite intriguing. Who is this guy?
Three of Rose’s friend decide to leave the safe confines of the ski resort in search of the Strigoi group that is responsible for the recent kills. 3 students decide to take matters into their own hands. Not a good equation. When Rose hears of this, she asks for Christian’s assistance, and they set off to save their comrades. Seeing Rose and Christian work as a team was quite exciting and I look forward to more of that! However, what Rose and crew are confronted with will forever change their lives.
Throughout this book, you see a major growth in Rose. She is no longer the party girl with a questionable reputation, one who would jump at the chance to show off. Rose is now the voice of reason and remains level-headed in the midst of danger. She has matured greatly. This series smacks you around with emotions, as well as a healthy does of action. The plot advances, the characters grow, and the world expands. Good stuff! (less)
Graduation is fast approaching, putting Rose closer to becoming Lissa’s Guardian. However, after Rose’s traumatic experience in Frostbite, she feels like she might be losing her mind. She is seeing things that are not visible to others, but she has the strangest feeling that it all leads somewhere. Rose believes these hallucinations might be linked to her bond with Lissa, as she knowingly accepts the “madness” that Lissa feels when she uses Spirit. That is friendship at its finest and bravery at its highest. Of course, this leads Rose right to the school counselor, and she bitches and groans the entire way. Due to my profession, I definitely enjoyed this part of the book. There was an amazing quote on what therapy actually is. It’s a damn good description…
“Therapy isn’t so much about what I think as you do.” “Then why do it at all?” ”Because we don’t always know what it is we’re thinking or feeling. When you have a guide, it’s easier to figure things out. You’ll often discover that you already know what to do. I can help you ask questions and go places you might not have on your own.”
As far as character’s go, we see some interesting and different side’s of personalities in this installment. Lissa is not my favorite character but I enjoyed her courageous attempt at standing up to Queen Tatiana. She really laid into her. It was a great scene, as I can’t stand Tatiana’s hypocritical ass. :) The sociopolitical themes in this series are intense, and I for one cannot wait until Tatiana is broken. Christian shined, again, although there wasn’t nearly enough of him in this installment. Christian is my favorite character and I pray that he is around for the entire series. I really enjoyed seeing he and Rose work together. I think they make a badass team, and their snarky banter provides some of the most entertaining scenes. We see some vulnerability from him, as well, as he tries to deal with Adrian and Lissa’s close working relationship. Speaking of Adrian, I am enjoying insight into this character and hope that Mead develops him a bit more in the future.
Dimitri and Rose are still dealing with their secret love affair but their relationship finally evolves instead of remaining stifled. Later in the book, they finally get their romantic feelings out in the open and decide “to hell with it!” Unfortunately their moment of bliss is shot to hell when Strigoi attack St. Vladimir Academy. [There is one scene in which they physically fight (as part of training) and it is HOT, people!]
The end of this book may leave you gasping for air. I love Mead’s courage to go where many authors are afraid to take their readers. She is blunt and tells the reader how it is, while you crumble into a pit of despair. This series gets better and better, with this one being the best out of the first three (and for many, the best of the series). The book is suspenseful and moves at a rapid pace without losing focus. Rose has already let readers know that she is brave in previous books, but her courage stood out in this one – especially at the end when she decides to face her worst nightmare. I, for one, am happy that Rose is finally thinking of herself and hope she keeps it together during her painful journey in the next book.(less)
Oh, dear Sam and Grace. One of the best couples to ever grace YA literature. Shiver was an incredible book. We were so lucky to have front row seats as poignant, passionate, pure love developed between Sam and Grace. For me, that intensity was lost a bit in Linger because of the introduction of Cole and Isabel’s POVs, but it was still there. Sadly, I feel that Sam and Grace’s emotions were muted and hard to find in Forever. Granted, Grace was a wolf for most of the book, but this means their scenes together should have been more electric, yet I did not feel that spark. While I recognized the intense yearning and concern they felt for each other, that original passion was missing for me. I understand they were under great stress as the stakes were quite high. This intense environment may have been what sucked the life out of them and that is understandable. It’s hard to focus on love and relationships when you have crazy men trying to gun down your pack. However, the passion was just not at the level I would have expected for the final book.
With all my thoughts on Cole and Isabel’s intrusion on Sam and Grace in Linger, I felt like they shined more intensely in Forever. I was way more interested in their damaged relationship this time around, watching as their flaws drew them together, like moths to a flame. As sad as it is to say, I became more interested in their relationship, finding myself missing their story when I was in Sam or Grace’s head. Plus, they brought snark and humor, which livened up the pages of this otherwise depressing story.
The first 100+ pages felt like filler and it was very unfulfilling to a beloved fan who was so excited to find out how it all ends. It wasn’t until a scene involving a sink hole and a terrified wolf, about 120 pages in, that I felt connected at all to the story. That was a very intense scene where emotions finally came alive. I thank this scene greatly, as I was very close to discontinuing the book.
The action in the book was terrifying, yet I never quite felt that from the characters. Yes, they knew the dangers and knew they had to act, but I never really felt like they were freaking out, which they should have been! The action was good and sad, then came the ending, almost immediately. The ending was disappointing and inconclusive. I don’t mind a story that leaves you to devise your own ending, but not when it is a major romantic story such as this. In my opinion, this story needed a solid closure.
As Parajunkee stated, this book should have been epic, but it was a let-down. While I wasn’t fulfilled with the ending of this timeless love story, there are many who were. Regardless of my opinions on Forever, I still find the author’s writing to be quite magical. She is a gifted writer who really makes emotions, character and scenes come to life. Her prose is whimsical, lyrical and emotional. I will no doubt read her future novels.(less)
"I was thinking. What if the world was like one of those Russian nesting dolls? What if we only saw one surface of it, the outside, but there was all kinds of other stuff going on, too? All the time. Underneath. But we just don't see it, even if we're part of it? Even if we're in it? And what if you had a chance to see a different layer, like flipping a channel or something? Would you want to look? Even if what you saw looked like hell? Or worse?"
Cursing below. Beware.
In the beginning of this novel, Jack attends a party at his best friend, Conner’s house. Parents are out of town so mayhem is sure to follow. Jack stumbles, drunk, into Conner’s bedroom, where he is being pleasured by a lady friend. Conner’s such a nice friend that he invites Jack to the private party, but Jack ain’t having it. He finds his way to the street, and eventually wakes up on a park bench. A nice man offers help, and as our parents have dutifully pounded into our brains, Jack should not have talked to this stranger.
Jack finds himself in a very serious situation. He’s been kidnapped by one Freddie Horvath, whose idea of a fun time is the stuff of nightmares. Jack narrowly escapes this maniac, only to find himself still stuck in his own personal hell. Jack confides in Conner, who swears to help Jack get revenge. One more tragedy later, and Jack arrives in London, where he will be attending school a la study abroad. Jack is paranoid and cannot seem to keep a firm grip on reality. One night he ends up in a bar and meets Henry Hewitt, who tells Jack a very confusing message and disappears. Henry doesn’t leave Jack empty handed, however. On the table is a pair of glasses, which eventually lead Jack to Marbury. And now the fun begins. Or should I say, the chaos ensues.
I refuse to go into details about Marbury. It is a place that you must discover on your own in order to really appreciate the post-apocalyptic, maniacal, twisted, horrific landscape. As Jack visits Marbury time and time again, you see his sanity slowly unravel like a tattered old blanket. It’s surreal and creepy as hell. And as the reader, you are left wondering if your sanity is in tact, as well. Jack has endured trauma, and for those unaware, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very real. The intensity of the trauma is not what is important. It’s how the person perceives the trauma that is the deciding factor for the mind to say “Hasta La Vista, Baby.” One of the main symptoms of PTSD is reliving the event. Does Jack do this? Yes, in his recurring distressing memories about Freddie among other hallucinations. He’s emotionally numb, feels completely detached from reality, has no interest in life, and has difficulty sleeping. More importantly, after visiting Marbury, he ‘comes to’ with gaps in his memory. I’m talking days, people. And his addiction for Marbury is insatiable.
I really enjoyed the friendship Jack and Conner shared, and throughout the book you really felt how much love, dedication and loyalty existed between them. Conner never faltered in his friendship and stood by Jack through his dark times. One thing that did irk me, however, was the ugly homophobic undertones of the book. For one, Conner constantly harassed Jack about his disinterest in girls, when Jack made it pretty clear that he’s heterosexual. I get that some heterosexual men tease their friends about being “gay.” I don’t find it funny but homophobia is one of those ugly issues prevalent in society. Conner seems to go a bit over the top on this topic, however, and it gets to a point where I really wish Jack would’ve either decked him in the face or kissed him, just to get him to shut the fuck up about it. The constant bombardment of homophobia felt a tad distasteful.
I got way more than I bargained for when I picked up this book. It is definitely a challenging read, and one I won’t soon forget. This psychological thriller fantasy is a lot to take in, and I really admire Smith for dishing out the ugly parts of life (violence, kidnapping, rape, mental health, etc.). There’s a ton of cursing. The story is dark, gritty, intense, creepy, violent, offensive and might make you a bit ill. The writing is very disjointed, but it only added to the mindfuck of a book that is The Marbury Lens.
In the end, the real question is: Has Jack slipped into the deepest, darkest part of his psyche, or Is Marbury really real? We are given various tips along the way, but to be honest, I haven’t a damn clue. I won’t spoil, but to me, the ending made this deranged journey stick with you that much more. All I know is that when I closed the book and left Jack’s world, I had to take a moment to get my bearings and ensure I, too, wasn’t wearing a pair of magical spectacles. To me, that is great writing.
Recommended for: Those up for a challenge, as this book will have you questioning reality and will haunt you for some time. NOT for the faint of heart, and parents should read it first and decide their teen’s maturity level
“Anyway, I think we should activate Plan J as soon as the lights go out tonight.”
“Okay,” I said, knowing it was going to be something entirely ridiculous. “What’s Plan J?”
Conner smiled wickedly. “About five minutes after we say good night to them and it’s all dark and quiet, I’ll yell at you, ‘Jesus Christ, Jack! It' is totally inappropriate for you to be jerking off right now with these girls in the room!’ And so the girls will, like, feel sorry for the pathetic and horny American virgin I have to sleep with, and they’ll offer to switch bedmates so they can give us both some righteously hot sympathy sex.”
Conner started laughing. I knew he wasn’t serious, but I also knew that if I didn’t say something, he’d probably actually try it.
“Con, you’re my best friend, and you always will be my best friend, but if you pull anything that’s even close to that, I will punch you in the fucking face without even thinking twice about it.”
The Seven Kingdoms. A world full of mystery, treachery and magic. Those with special abilities, such as cooking, fighting or mind-reading, are known as Gracelings. Gracelings are easily recognized by their different colored eyes, and are exploited for their skills. Meet Lady Katsa, niece to King Randa of Middlun. Katsa, who possesses one blue and one green eye, is graced with Killing. Much to her dismay and disgust, her uncle is quite fond of her useful ability. Katsa is sent out on many a mission to try and ‘persuade’ others for her uncle, and has earned herself a fierce reputation. Katsa, however, is not one to be put in a corner. (Yes, that was a Dirty Dancing reference.) While she does not have the courage to stand up to her uncle in the beginning of the story, her journeys and adventures mold her into a Lady with iron confidence, bravery and a spirit that blinds you with pride.
Lord Greening Grandemalion, aka Po, is the 7th heir to Lienid, and has arrived in the land of Middluns. He and Katsa are very curious of one another, and Po shows interest in Katsa’s ‘secret’ project. They butt heads, as Katsa is quite different from any other lady in the land. She can’t be bothered with suitors, dresses and children. A turn of events occurs, and Katsa must leave the castle. She accompanies Po on his journey to uncover the truth about a recent kidnapping, yet they discover a whole lot more than they ever imagined! Their journey and adventures were some of my favorite parts of the story. It was very exciting, dangerous and thrilling times.
The budding romance in this book is so beautiful. The chemistry between Po and Katsa is evident from the beginning, but Katsa is not one to allow a man into her heart, as she has no interest in ever becoming someone’s wife. However, Po is quite a loyal, worthy, passionate male with some very interesting characteristics of his own. Their love is a slow build and it is one that makes you teary eyed days after reading it. Their dedication, loyalty and passion for the other is brilliantly portrayed.
The villain in this book is fantastic and has gone on my Favs list. His Grace is extremely difficult to ignore and it is one that travels among people, in a 6 degrees of separation sort of fashion. He could be across the world and you still run the risk of his Grace controlling you via people who have met people who have met people who have been in his presence. Get it? He was extremely creepy and a horrible, vile man. Another character worth mentioning is Bitterblue. She joins the story halfway through it, and becomes quite a presence. We first meet a scared, helpless young girl of 10 who desperately needs the protection and care of Katsa and Po. However, by the end of the story, she has morphed into a strong, capable, confident young lady. I found her full of spirit and spunk, and her growth throughout made me proud.
The prose was so whimsical, words carefully selected and scenes beautifully depicted. This author has great skill and passion and imagination. I am sad that this is her only body of work. After she finishes book 3 of the trilogy, I hope she continues to share her creativity with the world. In short, Graceling is a phenomenal book. There are some twists in the tale that really add to the fantastical elements already present, and turn this tale into one that will keep you up for hours as you devour the danger, passion, courage, dedication, treachery and ferocity found within the pages. I was not prepared for the power, complexity and pure fierceness that was Lady Katsa!(less)
"Not all people who inspired devotion were monsters."
Fire is not a continuation of Graceling, but more of a companion novel. You can call it a prequel, because it does take place in time before Katsa’s story. You will only run into one familiar character from Graceling however, and it will make you gasp. Seriously. The prologue made me gasp! I was not prepared for that sneaky little bit of storytelling. Fire takes place in the world of Graceling, but far removed in an area that was never mentioned in Graceling (that I remember). This area of the map, The Dells, is a land of monsters. And by monsters, I mean inhumanly beautiful equivalents to all other creatures (from humans to bugs to kittens to flying beasties) with a dangerous ability to control humans. And for that, they are hated and feared.
This hatred grew out of the misuse and abuse of power by one legendary monster, Cansrel, who just so happens to be Fire’s father. Fire fits the mold of a monster. She is breathtakingly beautiful, with hair the color of? You guessed it. Fire! Thankfully for others, Fire has morals and is not proud of her ability to manipulate thoughts and emotions, yet she has withdrawn away from most of the world, keeping only a few select people as company. It is probably for the better. You see, due to her nature and extraordinary features, people either despise or lust after Fire upon sight.
A story unfolds as Fire’s presence is requested to help King Nash uncover the motives of two other kings who seem to be slowly devising a plan to overthrow his kingdom. King Nash and his brother, Brigan, commander of their army, are not fond of bringing Fire to their city. They do not trust her because it was her father who manipulated their father and turned him into a wretched man. Brigan especially despises her upon first contact, while Nash is quite taken by her.
Of course there is a major plot to the story, but it’s a bit complex to explain. Just know that Fire and Brigan have to travel and work together, and throughout the book, they begin to understand, appreciate and value the other. Their budding romance is natural and wonderful as it slowly evolves into something beautiful and coveted. Their relationship brought tears to my eyes due to the sheer pureness of it. Their entire relationship is subtle but the emotion is BANG, in your face. It got me good.
The author’s writing is magnificent and she excels at characterization. Her characters literally jump off the pages! I also enjoyed the author’s use of flashbacks. Fire experiences flashbacks of times spent with her father, and they are so interesting and revealing, and really help you to connect more to her. The personal insight, which is very important with Fire’s character, is what sucked me in. Knowing her intimate thoughts was quite fascinating to me. Fire is an incredible protagonist. She never once let her power corrupt her, she always held her composure and her compassion for animals and humans alike was powerful and determined.
I dare say I enjoyed this book a bit more than Graceling, only by a small measure though. Fire is quite a compelling tale of a young woman who faces loss, adversity, persecution and prejudice head on, and pulls through a winner, all the while remaining true to herself. This book and its profound protagonist are on my list of awesome.
Just what I needed to reinvigorate my love for vampire fiction.
Interest in the book: I owe it all to the bloggers who hosted the Tempting Tuesday read-a-long in January. I am so pleased that I picked up the book, and I now have ALL of the released titles, and will be indulging.
World-building: I enjoyed the world-building in this novel, though I hope to get more in later installments. Vampires have announced their existence to the human world, however, this series encompasses much more than just blood suckers. That is what I love most about it. We have other supernatural beasties to enjoy, too. Woot! Vampires have organized themselves in a feudal-like fashion. Each of the 12 Houses in the U.S. is run by a Master vampire. Out of the 12 Vampire Houses in the US, Chicago is home to 3 of them: Navarre, Cadogan and Grey. Cadogan’s Master is Ethan Sullivan.
Characters: According to many readers, Ethan Sullivan is panty-drop worthy. However, I’m still on the fence about him, though I picture his personality very much like TV-Eric Northman, and this is pleasing. I adored the sarcasm and relationship between Merit and Mallory! Catcher was a sarcastic sorcerer who just got hotter by the second, and Jeff was an adorable were who really needs to get laid.
And of course, Merit is our main lady. Many modern-day vampires in this world chose vampirism for various reasons, but our dear Merit was not given such a choice. Thrust into vampirism by force, Merit is dead-set on going against the grain. She challenges Ethan upon first meet, and their relationship only get more interesting from there on out.
Lasting Impressions: This is a great start to a series that seems promising on many levels. I enjoyed the mystery and loved the tension between Merit and Ethan. I am curious to see where their relationship ends up. I’m also quite curious to see how bad-ass Merit becomes. She has potential as long as she matures a tad.(less)
I could NOT believe my eyes when I saw Pale Demon available on NetGalley! I requested it, and I believe it took about 3 weeks for the approval to come through. Definitely not a quick response like a lot of the other requests, but it came…oh yea! I’m a major, major fan of The Hollows series. I believe it has become one of the best series in the Urban Fantasy genre, and Pale Demon did not disappoint.
The story starts off with a bang, as Rachel, Trent and Jenks are attacked in Rachel’s backyard! Yes, I said Rachel and Trent. You know those two can’t remain apart for very long, even though Rachel trusts him as far as she can throw him. After the attackers are obtained, *insert Ivy chasing them down on her motorcycle here,* Trent requests Rachel’s assistance as he treks across the country on a secret quest. As you can imagine, Rachel tells him to shove it. You see, Rachel has to make the trek herself to get her shunning removed at the annual witch convention, but she prefers to fly. Ha. Too bad she isn’t allowed to step her black-magic ass on a plane. Trent always wins!
Rachel, Trent, Ivy, Jenks, Pierce and Vivian. Together. In one car. For days. What a hysterical band of misfits to make a road trip across the country, all the while being chased by Elven assassins and day-walking demons! The time spent in the car allowed us some interesting insight into Rachel’s perception of her trip mates. I definitely enjoyed the banter between everyone as they slowly annoyed the shit out of one another. Jenks surprisingly becomes a major fan of Trent, seeing how much he loathed him in the past.
Speaking of Trent…wow! I obviously won’t give away any details, but you just wait! We learn some very interesting shit about Trenton Aloysius Kalamack and actually get to see him do some magic! Trent finds himself outside of his element and we get a glimpse of his vulnerable side, and it’s beautiful. Of course, he doesn’t let it last long and we are quickly reunited with the cocky bad boy. I haven’t really been on the “I lust for Trent” train in the past…maybe hanging off the railing, or in the caboose. But I’ve moved up to mid-cabin now. He was very sexy in this book.
Rachel and Trent’s relationship evolves in heaps and bounds in this book. We get to see Rachel lust after him, then quickly ask herself what the hell she is doing! They come to a firm understanding and appreciation at the end of the book, and their evolving relationship is proving to be quite interesting, indeed. Rachel and Bis’s relationship also develops and becomes much more intense. And Rachel and Pierce…well, I’ll leave that for you to discover.
Al had a large role in this book, and my, how glorious it was! Remember when he and Rachel first met in the Library’s Restricted section? Remember how he tried to rip her to pieces? I remember that scene vividly and to see where they are now is SO absurd, but I love the two of them as a team. I love Al. He’s one of the best villains, ever. Period. And definitely one of my favorite character’s in the series. We get a hellish dose of demons and Ever-After in this book. We meet new demons, and are reunited with old pals. Newt still freaks me out, and when she’s nice, it only makes the freak factor higher! She makes my skin crawl. We also get to see some demon abilities at play, and all I can say is I hope we get more time in the Ever-After in the next books! Fun times, people!
There are some damn tear jerker moments, too. Rachel flips out when she thinks she’s lost Jenks, and hauls the group through the desert to save him. Those moments were so intense. I could actually feel Rachel’s desperation. Seriously, my feelings were right there with her. I will cry my ass off the day we lose that pixie. There is also a very intense, heart-wrenching moment between Rachel and Ivy, but it is very odd. I’m not sure I understood the communication between them. *shrugs*
All in all, Rachel never ceases to amaze me with her bravery, selflessness, compassion and loyalty to those she loves. She digs herself deep holes to climb out of but she always owns up to her mistakes. Her moral code run deep and she is so admirable for sticking to her beliefs and not faltering even though she is surrounded by deception and mayhem at every turn. SHE IS SO FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!(less)
Amor Deliria Nervosa, aka Love. A disease that is slowly being eradicated from society. According to the government, love is at the heart of all wars, debauchery, deviance. If people cannot love, then people cannot hate, and society will be safe. Makes sense, which is why the government created a surgery to rid a person of the disease. This operation isn’t done until you reach 18. You are then given some appropriate matches and get to choose which one you want to betroth. Of course, you won’t make that connection until after you complete the college major that was chosen for you. And then you will have 2.5 children and live in a house with a white picket fence. And be content in your nothingness.
Despite the government’s direct, harsh methods, there are those in which the operation never works. These people are tossed inside the Crypts to waste away their lives in heartache and feces. Good times. Lastly, you have the Invalids, or the people who live in the Wilds. The ones that have escaped to uncontrolled lands to love until their hearts explode.
Meet 17 year old Lena, who is thoroughly looking forward to her operation because she wants to live a predictable life, just like everyone else…until she meets Alex and becomes infected. Lena learns the truth about her government in a very ugly fashion during a raid of an illegal party where adolescent boys and girls are mingling ( a major no no!) and unapproved entertainment is being enjoyed. This scene was brutal and Lena, who has been trying her hardest to deny thoughts of Alex, is suddenly in need of his rescue. Needless to say, Lena and Alex experience a secret, blissful romance and must make an ugly decision as to how to proceed with their lives. It is quite obvious they can’t continue on in society, and Lena’s operation date is slowly approaching…
I find it quite funny that they chose 18 as the operation appropriate age, as many, many teenagers fall hopelessly in love at some point in their adolescence, and teenagers are well known for their rebellious behavior. Yea, the government ensures that boys and girls do not associate with each other until after the operation, but where there is a will, there is a way!
Throughout the novel, the social worker in me couldn’t help but think about attachment and bonding between mother and child. If these women feel no love or affection, why is it that they give a crap about their children? While this world has almost eradicated crime, I can’t help but think about all the sociopaths that would really be produced from such an environment!
One thing I really enjoyed about this book were the various quotes and passages at the beginning of each chapter. Some were from the fictional texts of the world, some were bible quotes, etc. They all focused on what love looks like, feels like, the symptoms of love, etc. It really added to the seriousness of this dystopian world.
Delirium was the 3rd book with similar plot that I had read back-to-back. I’m not sure what possessed me to do it, but I enjoy the dystopian genre so I didn’t think anything of it. I thought the book was a normal, good read about 75% of the way through. It wasn’t until a certain turn of events occurred that the book went from good to fantastic. The ending was a real bite-your-nails moment and I didn’t realize how much I actually cared for the characters, especially Alex, until the end of the book. Those emotions crept up on me, kind of like love crept up on Lena. The final moments of the book brought tears to my eyes. I look forward to the next installment in this series because I just have to know the truth about the ending! [Looks like I also need to read Before I Fall, which has received much praise.](less)
I have not read The Immortals series by the author, which is about Riley’s older sister, Ever, so I walked into this series with a clean slate. It took me some time to warm up to Riley, and I’m not sure I ever did. She is a young protagonist (age 12) and therefore, her maturity level shines bright. I read a ton of YA and some Middle Grade books, so I’m very used to young protagonist. However, Riley’s whiney, tween-like behavior was a lot to take in. Reading the story from her POV became an uphill battle on many occasion. I think Riley as the narrator is what really did me in and I couldn’t really enjoy the story as much as I may have otherwise. It was also a short, quick read and since I’ve not read The Immortals series, I did not have time to get to know Riley.
That being said, the story had some merit. I find Riley’s new otherworldly job as a Soul Catcher very interesting. To me, she is a therapists of sorts, as she provides much needed counseling to these spirits that are stuck in Limbo. Riley’s first case was quite difficult. However, she shows courage and perseverance (and possibly stubbornness) throughout her trials and tribulations.
I adored Buttercup, Riley’s yellow lab. I was happy that Riley had a companion in the Here & Now. There is a scene where he learns to use one of his newly attained abilities as a spirit, and I smile through it all. It was an adorable moment. There was also a very interesting scene with a dead mother who was literally stuck in her own personal hell, full of grief and despair. Riley was sucked into the world through her eyes and it was quite eerie and heartbreaking.
All in all, I think this book is a great paranormal starter for younger kids!(less)
My interest in the book: Hello! It’s a reimagination of Alice in Wonderland! If you don’t yet know, I’m a major lover of Alice and I usually enjoy a new spin on the tale.
My Synopsis: Meet Gregor, an eleven year-old boy who lives in the heart of NYC with his toddler-aged sister, Margaret – aka Boots - his 7 year-old sister, Lizze, his mother and his grandmother. Gregor’s father disappeared a few years ago, and the family has been doing their best to move on since.
One day, Gregor and Boots are in the laundry room and *poof* Boots disappears through a grate in the wall. Frantic over her safety, Gregor follows her thought the grate, only to fall, continue falling, and fall some more, until he finally hits the bottom. There, he’s greeted by gnawers and crawlers, known as rats and roaches to us Overlanders.
But they are life-size. And they talk.
It seems as though the humans of Underland live beside such creatures, albeit uncomfortably. Besides gnawers and crawlers, you can also find flyers (bats) and spinners (spiders) in the Underland. Some are friends, some are foes, and Gregor gradually learns that your “species” doesn’t designate which side you are on.
Gregor is thrust into this world and wants no part of the conflict between humans and the beasties. His main priority is getting his sister home safely. Unfortunately, the Underworld gods have a different plan for Gregor. You see, the humans inform him of a strange prophecy they believe he will fulfill. A prophecy that foretells Underland's questionable future…
My Favorite Characters: Gregor is so easy to connect with, being a normal pre-adolescent boy. He is very protective of his family and yearns for the return of his father. Boots is a precious toddler who begged to be hugged and snuggled with. I adored her innocent perspective on life, and it reminds me how much society really does shape who we become. Luxa is the young heir to the throne of Regalia, the Underland city. She rubs you the wrong way in the beginning – and Gregor too – but her prideful, antagonistic behavior morphs as the story unfolds. Tik and Temp are two crawlers who call Boots “Princess” and are very protective of her. I adored these characters, especially the way they spoke. Way creative. Ares and Aurora are two fliers who are integral to the story, and Ripred is a gnawer whose courage is as big as his attitude.
Worldbuilding: As stated, most of the story takes place in Underland, a vast web of sewers and caves, filled with wonders and horrors at every turn. Gregor travels a great distance during his journey and we are introduced to the homes of many species. The society of the Underland humans is a breath of fresh air, as they are not held to the strict cut-throat ways of Overland, but they must always be on alert, for they too are not safe from harm.
Lasting Impressions: Hands down, the narrator for this book, Paul Boehmer, is GENIUS at what he does, and he completely made the story come alive for me. If he narrates the rest of the series, I will squee like a 12 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. His narration as Boots was amazing, and he made that two year old bigger than life. She was the most standout character, and it was because of him. I am quite glad that I decided to do the audiobook of this one, as I cannot imagine enjoying it even a tenth as much via hardcopy. Spectacular!(less)
Meet Girl15. She lives underground not by choice, but by necessity. War and plague have obliterated New York City forcing most of civilization to migrate underground. The elders have long since warned the enclave of the severe dangers of Topside with horrific tales of acid rain and a sun that melts your skin off. Instead, they take their chances with the Freaks down below, a nasty breed of human-like creatures with a serious appetite for flesh. Living Down Below is rough and life expectancy is in the early 20's. Because many are lost at a young age, names are not given until they reach age 15. A naming ceremony is conducted and a role is provided: Breeder, Builder or Hunter.
Girl15’s naming ceremony leaves her with a new identity. She is now known as Deuce and will become a Huntress, something she has been training for her entire short life. She is immediately paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter wise beyond his years. Fade was found years before in the tunnels, a deranged, animalistic young boy who had been left to fend for himself…and survived. Welcomed into the enclave for his fighting skills alone, he is as much an outcast as he is a badass.
Deuce and Fade soon discover that they work well together, although their penchant for following directions is mediocre at best. They soon learn that you do not disobey the elders. As punishment, they are sent on a death mission to investigate the status of the neighboring enclave, a mission they aren’t expected to return from. Returning with horrific news of which the elders quickly dismiss, the duo find themselves wondering whose side the elders are really on. Later on, Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave. Fade assures Deuce that Topside is not as bad as the elders make it out to be, although it presents its own set of dangerous issues. With nothing more than a few key items, the pair travels to new territory, in search of hope, freedom and salvation.
Not since The Hunger Games have I read such a thrilling book that I inhaled in 12 hours flat. The world that the author has created is one that easily sucks you in via pure horror. You are presented with a dark, terrifying existence underground, where space is limited, food and medicine are scarce, and Freaks threat your very existence. There is nothing joyful about this stark existence, as every day is spent ensuring the survival of the enclave. The elders are relentless in their mission to keep the population in the dark about reality outside their home, and should anyone threatens their rule, well, use your imagination…
Duece is one hell of a heroine. She is a fierce huntress who is completely content living the dangerous life. However, she is also extremely compassionate, a character trait that is not respected or tolerated within the enclave. She is intelligent yet lacks real-life experience, including that of love and intimacy, as no one but Breeders are allowed to be romantically involved. This makes for interesting plot as love is presented to Deuce, and she remains completely oblivious. Most of all, however, Deuce is a survivor, and her perseverance to keep herself and her party alive are beyond admirable. Although her life has been nothing short of hellish, she never gives up on breathing.
Fade. Wow. What a character. He is the best Hunter the enclave has ever seen, yet he remains an outcast and is used only for his frightening ability to kill. He is an enigma, at first, but once his history and personality are slowly revealed, you begin to appreciate his depth. Fade’s tragic life experiences allow him to weasel his way into our hearts. As we watch him battle both physical and emotional threats, we cheer for his victory all the way. Fade is fierce, protective, and downright magnificent, in my eyes. He is an intense character with many layers.
The naming ceremony was a wicked cool idea! I will not go into details but I was very impressed with the author’s conception of this important event. It was quite creative. On a different note, I was left wondering about the Freaks and how they came into existence. I hope this is relayed in future books. This was my first book by the author, and I must say I am her newest fan girl. She has an amazing quality to her writing that is quite hypnotic. Her ability to make the reader feel as they though they, too, were fighting Freaks, experiencing intimacy for the first time, and enduring much despair and loss, was quite amazing. The ending to Enclave is abrupt, and makes your heart yearn for more connection between the characters. However, we haven’t seen the last of Deuce and Fade. When we meet again, I am more than prepared for greatness.(less)
Interest in the book: I’ve wanted to read this book since last year, but being as it is not my normal go-to genre, I’ve kept it tucked away, waiting for the right moment. After meeting Gayle Forman and listening to her speak about the book, I knew I had to read the book soon. And, thanks to Amanda and her read-a-long, I finally read it.
Characters: These characters were standout. They leapt off the pages, into your heart, begging you to bear their torment and agony, along with their tears of joy. Mia, her boyfriend Adam, her best friend Kim, her parents, Kat and Denny, her younger brother Teddy and her grandparents. ALL of them make an impact on the story and more so, your heart. I love the journey they all take, and how this accident pulls some closer together, and pushes others further apart. This story is all about the characters.
Worldbuilding: The set up of this book was pretty magnificent, and one of the most enjoyable pieces of the story for me. As Mia watches helplessly as her world is transformed into a horror story, she reviews her life in memories over a 24 hour time period. One chapter is Mia in the present, watching over her body and her loved ones as they plead with her to pull through. Then the next chapter is a memory, Mia recalling how she met Adam, different snapshots of life with her parents and brother, her best friend, Kim. We get to know Mia through these memories, which tug at our heartstrings because present-day Mia struggles to survive.
Lasting Impressions: Honestly, I do not have words to appropriately describe how you feel after reading this story. You feel breathless as you are overtaken with intense emotions, as you question your own decisions about such scenarios. It really is a gorgeously written story about life, hope and destiny. Read the book.
“Please Mia," he implores. "Don't make me write a song.” (less)
Cassia (love this name!) lives in the future where your life is not yours to live. Everything is decided for you via The Society’s probabil...moreMy Synopsis
Cassia (love this name!) lives in the future where your life is not yours to live. Everything is decided for you via The Society’s probability measures. They use statistics to map out the population’s existence to ensure long, healthy, happy lives. They pick out the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the job you perform, whom you marry, how many children you have and when you die. Without any choices to make, life should be pretty simple, right?
Cassia thought that once, too. In the beginning of the book, Cassia attends her Matching ceremony and finds herself matched with her best friend, Xander. This is a situation that doesn’t occur often, as most people are matched with someone in a different province. As expected, however, Cassia and Xander are thrilled at the results as they know each other inside and out and have a deep bond.
When Cassia is alone at home, she pulls out her Match info and pops it into the trusty port screen. Xander’s loving face flashes on the screen, followed by a split second shot of another boy! The boy’s face fades just as fast as it appeared, but Cassia’s life is forever changed. This boy also lives in town, someone she knows: Ky. Officials tell her that Ky was a glitch in the system and Xander is her true Match.
Cassia is now faced with her first choice ever.
And it is one that she will risk all to make.
Matched was a horrifying book. Being from a country that is ridiculously independent, having no freedom or not being able to make any decisions for yourself is a ludicrous, terrifying thought. However, the beautiful part about this story was the simplicity in the message. What risk do future citizens of the world face , as our planet slowly dies, food shortages occur globally and we run out of room? At what measure will society go to ensure population sustainability?
Condie did well with emotional connections in Matched. I felt amazing connections between Cassia and her grandfather, Cassia and Xander and especially, Cassia and Ky. The secret moments between Cassia and Ky were beautiful in their innocence. There is rarely physical contact as it is too risky, so the bond they create grows out of their curiosity and exploration of one another. Cassia also had a great relationship with her family members. Throughout the story, as Cassia questions The Society, she begins to doubt the love between her parents. They were Matched after all, never given the chance to choose someone for their self…
I began Match expecting greatness. I will say that it was quite an incredible read, but it did not floor me. This is mainly due to having read a similar book just prior that I really, really loved, so it is no fault of Matched. I am thoroughly look forward to the next in the series, Crossed.
My Favorite Quotes
Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes part of theirs.
Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?
Once you want something, everything changes.
Our time together feels like a storm, like a wild wind and rain, like something too big to handle but too powerful to escape.
But if you were Matched," I say softly, "What do you think she'd be like?" "You," he says, almost before I've finished. "You.
So in the middle of all the noise, I point to the sky. I hope he understands what I mean, because I mean so many things: My heart will always fly his name. I won't go gentle. I'll find a way to soar like the angels in the stories and I will find him. And I know he understands as he looks straight at me, deep into my eyes. His lips move silently, and I know what he says: the words of a poem that only two people in the world know. Tears well up but I blink them away. Because if there is one moment in my life that I want to see clearly, this is it.
What an interesting world the author has created! I was quite fascinated with the steampunk technology, automatons, nanoagents, mechanical flesh (say what?), zombies, eyes that can detect temperature and therefore, detect lies, and of course, the fantastic manners, fashion and language of Victorian/Edwardian England.
The two main characters, Mina and Rhys, are both very interesting characters. Mina has an ugly history and has done everything in her power to overcome her tragic background. Rhys is used to getting his way, and immediately lusts for Mina,…
The first opportunity he got, Rhys was going to shag her blind.
who wants nothing to do with him sexually – at first.
He focused on the inspector, instead, though she didn't want him watching her. But Rhys liked the way she looked, particularly when her expression suggested that she'd prefer to have a gun aimed at his head rather than sit across from him in a private railcar.
Rhys refuses to be ignored and turned away, and a hot pursuit ensues. Both characters struggle with their emotions for one another, and I enjoyed the internal fight that both characters experience. It was very apparent that they would resist their connection until the very end, and boy was it fun watching them go back and forth between love and hate.
Confounding woman. He wanted to drag her close and kiss her senseless.
Near the end, Rhys fights tooth and nail for her honor yet Mina still resists his affection for various reasons. It is so heartbreaking and a specific scene practically brought me to tears.
I really enjoyed the social issues brought to light, and always appreciate an author who is willing and courageous enough to ‘speak out’ in such a way. Issues of discrimination, racism, classism, power struggles, and sexism dominate this world. Mina and Rhys deal with various levels of these issues and you can see how easily these things destroy lives.
If you plan to pick this up because you need a light, easy read - think again. The story is quite intriguing and moves at a quick pace, leaving the reader a tad confused with all of the terms, characters and schemes occurring. There is a lot going on, which keeps you on your toes. Your attention is most definitely needed.
A major thanks to Meljean for her way with words, intense imagination, fabulous characterization, incredible worldbuilding and slap-yo-ass sex scenes. I wholeheartedly love the steampunk genre and must make a better attempt to read it!
No armor. No buckles. Only a few layers of cotton and ten feet of parlor separated his mouth from her breasts.
"I'll kiss you until we can't breathe. I'll strip you naked and taste every inch of you. Then I'll shag you until neither of us can see straight."
She did like him...sometimes. When he was not a complete knacker.
Amelia cannot remember anything about how or why she is dead, and she has no clue why she’s always drawn to High Bridge Road. She is evidently in Limbo, and thus, still has a purpose to serve. When she saves a young man from drowning by pure will alone, her afterlife forever changes.
What I really loved most about this book was the evolving, innocent, endearing relationship between Amelia and Josh. I adore these two together. The more intimate their relationship becomes, the more awakened Amelia becomes. The story is told from Amelia’s POV, and the scenes where her senses and memories return are beautiful and exciting to read. I also enjoyed Josh’s family history and purpose, of which you will find out when you read it. ;)
There were some aspects of the story that I really didn’t like. The entire Eli / High Bridge Road plot felt odd and not flushed out enough for me, or maybe I’m just a big ole dummy and couldn’t quite grasp the concept of his character and purpose. Eli was certainly a creepy character and served as the evil entity in the book. Plus, he added some great tension to the story. However, his entire role was just weird. I don’t know how else to explain it. I also thought Josh believed Amelia’s circumstances way too easily, although as you find more out about his family, it starts to make sense.
The author’s descriptive writing was a joy to read and really set the tone for some of the spookier elements and scenes of the story. I absolutely loved the ending of the book and will read the next installment.(less)
This book was an escape from my usual paranormal smut and urban fantasy adventures, and it is so worth the change in scenery. I had to read the book f...moreThis book was an escape from my usual paranormal smut and urban fantasy adventures, and it is so worth the change in scenery. I had to read the book for my Vulnerable Children class, where I am learning about the child welfare system. It was a poignant tale of one girl’s tumultuous journey through the foster care system and will no doubt leave your jaw hanging on many occasion. As a human being, you will be horrified at the life that Astrid must endure after her mother is sent to prison for murder. And Astrid’s mother, Ingrid, is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever read. You will want to reach through the pages to ring her neck all the while experiencing sadness over her situation.
I was sickened by how Astrid was treated by these foster parents. They destroyed her innocence. Astrid reached out for love and was constantly slapped in the face, except for a few encounters that introduced this young lady to love and evil, themes that are very interconnected in this story. I was also sickened at the role of the social workers in this book! They treated Astrid like shit and I am horrified at the thought of a real social worker acting this way.
Janet Fitch’s writing is downright magical, poetic and intoxicating. I felt every hunger pang, every yearning for some semblance of normalcy, every embarrassing, depressing and desperate moment, every let down, every heart break, every smile, every relationship that was real and the many that were not. The book is raw and leaves your breathless.
Most of you have probably heard of this movie, which I watched recently, and thoroughly enjoyed. However, with any book, your imagination is always better, and in the case of this book, your heart breaks even more intensely. The ultimate reality of this book is that Astrid’s myriad of foster home experiences is an unfortunate common theme amongst foster children. This book is one story out of thousands that we have not heard. However, If you are up for a change of scenery, and a story that will steadily tug at your heartstrings, all the while filling you with hope that resiliency is real and can save someone, then take a dive into this book, head first.
"I wondered why it had to be so poisonous. Oleanders could live through anything, they could stand heat, drought, neglect, and put out thousands of waxy blooms. So what did they need poison for? Couldn't they just be bitter? They weren't like rattlesnakes, they didn't even eat what they killed. The way she boiled it down, distilled it, like her hatred. Maybe it was a poison in the soil, something about L.A., the hatred, the callousness, something we didn't want to think about, that the plant concentrated in its tissues. Maybe it wasn't a source of poison, but just another victim."
"And I tried not to make it worse by asking for things, pulling her down with my thoughts. I had seen girls clamor for new clothes and complain about what their mothers made for dinner. I was always mortified. Didn’t they know they were tying their mothers to the ground? Weren’t chains ashamed of their prisoners?"
"I know what you are learning to endure. There is nothing to be done. Make sure nothing is wasted. Take notes. Remember it all, every insult, every tear. Tattoo it on the inside of your mind. In life, knowledge of poisons is essential. I've told you, nobody becomes an artist unless they have to."
"That was the thing about words, they were clear and specific-chair, eye, stone- but when you talked about feelings, words were too stiff, they were this and not that, they couldn't include all the meanings. In defining, they always left something out."
"And I realized as I walked through the neighborhood how each house could contain a completely different reality. In a single block, there could be fifty separate worlds. Nobody ever really knew what was going on just next door."
"I felt like an undeveloped photograph that he was printing, my image rising to the surface under his gaze."(less)
If you did not already know, I love Angel Mythology. I am uber happy that it has made such a splash into the writing circuit! I was excited to receive a book from an unknown-to-me author writing a new series on Angels, and I feel honored that Pocket (Simon & Schuster) contacted me! A MAJOR moment for lil ole me.
Kristina delivers the reader with a very detailed description of the world right up front, and does great to keep the reader informed throughout the novel. The Fallen were cast out a millennia ago and cursed to live off blood and ferry souls to Heaven or Hell, via Uriel’s order. Uriel is the last archangel, handed the reigns by God himself. He is a twisted SOB and would like nothing more than to rid the world of the Fallen, whom he despises for their defiance. He also rules over the Nephilim, a nasty, evil sect of flesh-eaters who are seriously gruesome!
Raziel crosses paths with Allie minutes before she dies, as he is the one who will cart her soul to its proper resting place. However, when Raziel arrives at the appropriate destination, only to realize that it is Hell, he impulsively rescues Allie from eternal damnation at the last possible second. This is a no no, as the Fallen are never to interfere. And Raziel doesn’t understand why he saved her, especially since he put his own existence at risk. You see, Raziel was burned during the rescue and fire is the ultimate killer of the Fallen. As Raziel fights for his life, Allie does the only thing she can think of. She asks God for help. And so the fun begins…
I really enjoyed the resistance between Allie and Raziel. There was no possible way that either of them were going to admit their feelings before the other, and it became quite amusing. Raziel pretty much despises her for waltzing into his life for a reason unbeknownst to him and his people, inadvertently lifting the magical veil over his homeland and placing a flashing beacon overhead that reads “Hey, Nephilim, over here! Come eat us! Yay!” However, once he gets a taste of her, there is no looking back.
Allie is a spitfire with a strong voice. She is brave, stubborn and speaks her mind. She lives to tease and annoy Raziel, especially when she realizes that he can read her mind. Her thoughts are anything but wholesome, and Raziel is sent into a rage every time he has to fight down his lust for her. Funny!
The book started out a bit slow for me and I was afraid that I was not going to enjoy it. However, the novel definitely changes speed and the reader receives great romance, fantastic sex scenes, gruesome action and a serious cliffhanger! The series has a lot of potential and I look forward to the next one!(less)