I received this book via Scholastic and it immediately peaked my interest. The premise is so interesting, and I definitely enjoy a good dystopian sett...moreI received this book via Scholastic and it immediately peaked my interest. The premise is so interesting, and I definitely enjoy a good dystopian setting. This disease called Ferae has ravaged the eastern part of the country and a massive wall was erected to keep the western population safe. Ferae causes mutation in humans, mutations with animalistic side effects. Bottom line, you don't want to catch Ferae, which is a blood born disease. A scientist is working hard to find a cure, since it is a man-made issue, but can man save himself?
The last half of the book is nothing like the first. Our main character, Lane, is also a very different character by the end of the book. Lane is on a very personal mission on the wrong side of the wall, and we all know how emotion can affect your thoughts and actions in the heat of the moment. I enjoyed her growth and believed her intensity and fear regarding her situation.
There is a love triangle. It doesn't bother me so much, but I'm just letting you know. The two guys were both great, and I adore them both for very different reasons. Rafe, the wild man that Lane meets when she ventures beyond the wall, is a sarcastic, fierce young man who makes a living off bringing down Ferals. He's a stark contrast to Everson, the Line Guard that keeps the wall safe from Ferals who may try and breach the wall. Everson appears more calm and calculating, with a tad more tact and softness.
The world building was super cool. It didn't start out extremely interesting, but as the plot builds, so does the setting and characters. The outside world is super dangerous as Lane quickly learns. She is a very trusting young girl and has a huge, compassionate heart. These traits aren't necessarily beneficial in this world, and Lane has to learn to listen to her instincts more. The setting at the end of the book was so rocksauce! It felt like a twisted Alice In Wonderland, with some equally twisted characters and situations. My kinda book, indeed.(less)
In Time was a nice addition to The Darkest Minds universe, which was a treat in the YA Fantasy world. The Darkest Minds was exciting and interesting,...moreIn Time was a nice addition to The Darkest Minds universe, which was a treat in the YA Fantasy world. The Darkest Minds was exciting and interesting, with incredible characters and an ugly plot. The characters are ones that will stay with you after the book is closed, and a few reenter our lives briefly during In Time.
This novella is not happy times. We get a glimpse of life outside the concentration camps from the perspective of a young adult. Gabe is an average young man who is struggling to survive the post-Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration U.S. and the resulting “abnormal” children it produced. Gabe leaves home, which is not saying much, in search of a good future for himself. He decides to become a skip tracer, a group of adults who seek out children that have escaped the concentration camps. They bring them back to the government for $10K a pop, and that’s a nice living in this new nation. Unfortunately, Gabe must bag and tag a child first before he is given access to all the nifty skip tracer gadgets and intel.
Gabe gets lucky, in more ways than I can describe, when he comes across a group of kids who are fleeing some skip tracers. After some risky maneuvering and near-death moments, Gabe flees the scene with a small girl who doesn’t speak. From this point on, Gabe’s world is changed, in a big way. I loved Gabe’s development throughout the story. His realization about who he really is was a beautiful thing, and I enjoyed watching his transformation.
This is definitely a separate story from The Darkest Minds, but there are still connections to the characters we love. One connection, in particular, had me gasp. I remember holding my hand to my chest and screaming OMG! It was so satisfying to feel that character, even though they were not a part of this story.(less)
Interest in Book: It's Rusty Fischer writing zombies! That's always an entertaining combination. I will admit that this was not my favorite Rusty book, mainly due to lack of character connections on my part, but it was entertaining and full of his fun phrasing. His books always make me smile! Emotion = Win.
My Thoughts: The world-building was simple yet fun. A strange bunch of kids in detention get turned into zombies. Some can think, others...not so much. They retain their personalities but are entertainingly different. Their entire school is wiped out, when a SWAT-like team shows up on the scene. Next thing you know, this group of misfit brain connoisseurs has a new teacher. Who asks them to read. Yea...what? Things just get more zany from there on out!
Rusty handed out the gore in this book, but it was gore in a fun way. Yes, there is such a thing. Why? Because I said so.
And then suddenly it's bedlam: blood is spurting out of jugular veins left and right and splattering the walls like in one of those forensic mysteries shows Dad watches late at night on Gavel TV and suddenly everybody is biting everybody else. It's kind of like a big pillow fight - with teeth.
See? Fun gore. Win.
The characters are where I had issues with the book. I could not connect to them and was not really invested in their outcome. They did have some redeemable qualities, however, and I enjoyed their banter back and forth with one another, too. There's always drama when teenage zombies congregate. The Teenage Zombie Drama Queen crown goes to...
I highlighted half the book. Seriously. You should see my Kindle. There are endless amounts of quotes that I highlighted because the Rusty's phrasing is just so fun and entertaining. THAT is why I love his stories. He is witty and funny and full of one-liners. I've yet to be disappointed with his creativity and zany imagination.
In a voice as detached as his purposeful footsteps, Proctor says, "Zombies don't cry," simply, with no further explanation.
The the one who's been chuckling looks at me and says, "It's a shame, this one. She doesn't seem angry like the rest we bring in here." And oh, do I want to correct him and say, like the rest we brought in here, moron, brought in here...
I totally thought of Amanda and Isa, who I hope never become zombies, but if they do, I know they will be slinging grammar tips like the pros they are!
(Okay, okay, so maybe it's four-hundred-percent wishful thinking, but, hey, a girl can dream, can't she? Even if she's waterlogged and underwater and sitting on a slimy rock that's putting barnacle-shaped dimples in her rump?)
Shoot, she could definitely do worse. The movies I watched growing up, every zombie I ever saw looked like utter crap. But these two, they could definitely pose for the Aber-zoombie and Fitch catalog, if you know what I'm saying.
I adored this book. The minute that I met Christy and Adam, I wanted to be the third wheel. I adored their personalities, and more importantly, their mutual love and support. I think it’s rare to find people who are so dedicated to another person in the way that these two friends were dedicated to each other. So epic, this friendship. The excerpt below shows a preliminary glimpse into their everlasting bond. All of the characters leapt off the pages and into my life. They were SO engaging and entertaining, that I found myself wanting to read the book at any free moment just so I could be in their presence.
Firstly, we have Christy with her unwavering loyalty, disappointment in her slowly but surely emerging witch abilities, and her good-natured soul. She rocked an Evil Alice costume for Halloween, which made me SQUEE. Twinsies! Then there is her bestie, Adam, with his gentle soul, bruised self-esteem, and yearning for love. Christy’s parents were damn memorable with their uncanny ability to be there when they were needed most. Chrsity’s dad was a riot. I would be his daughter any day, just so he can glamour himself into wicked hilarious costumes when he comes to save my ass from evil. Adam’s mother, Ashley, was so entertaining. She really reminded me of a character in Frater’s As The World Dies series. This character is also similar to a certain real-life Ashley that I adore hardcore. Turns out, the character in this book was indeed modeled after The Bookish Brunette, and it was totally her. Right down to the stiletto fetish and energetic personality. So much win.
Then we have the friends. Olivia, a town noob, falls in step with the outcast duo and ends up being a seriously entertaining piece of the puzzle. Panda bears FTW! Drifter, a mutual friend, was in the background for the most part, but he was someone I respected because of his ability to fit in with any crowd. He was liked by all cliques and was able to remain neutral and level-headed. I like people that can be friends with all types of people. Next up is Mark, who was dreamy and all the things you would ever want in a man, but be careful what you wish for! Nathan came about near the end of the book, but he had such a strong presence and I want MOAR. And lastly, I cannot forget the star of the book, for me: Callie the cat. Have no fear, this feline truly has a personality larger than any human I’ve ever met. I adored her protectiveness, sassiness and down-right boldness. Cats = ♥.
The mystery behind a certain character was REALLY fun and had my noodle working. I loved trying to figure out just WHAT this character really was. I picked up on the subtle hints but I was still perplexed because nothing quite fit. And there was a seriously scary scene thrown in there, and I don’t think I breathed until it was over. I was totally wrapped up in the moment, wishing I could turn myself invisible so that creature would not eat me! Also, there were some great pop culture references in this book that had me giggling profusely. Hocus Pocus was mentioned. Win!
Ok, I’m done rambling. Sorry for the incoherent run-on sentences. Did I like this book? That much is obvious. It was truly fun and entertaining, and that is exactly what I look for in a book.
”Whatever! I still think you should’ve been planning your party!”
“With who? Me, my two friends and a cat?”
“Callie? Sure! Why not? She’s a party animal from what you told me.”
“I said she’s was a slut, Mom. She’s always in heat.”
Interest in Book:Dark Inside was like crack. I could not tear my eyes away from the devastation and horror that the characters were surrounded by. Their hope and perseverance was just as addicting. I had to know where their bleak lives would lead. Into the mouth of Hell, no doubt. But I had faith, I tell you!
World-Building: The story opens 3 weeks prior to the end of days events in Dark Inside. We get glimpses into what was happening into the character's liver prior, and it appears that they were all experiencing signs that the end was near. When present day is back in focus, we learn that it is 3 months after the earthquakes. The four main characters from Dark Inside are now banded together along with various others. They have been surviving in a large home by gathering food, staying off the "Baggars" radar and trying to figure out what has happened to the world. They all face death head-on as they use their love and compassion for humanity to save people who have not been overtaken by evil. Unfortunately for them, evil is a sneaky bastard.
Characters: More perspectives are introduced into the foray and I loved that Daniel's was one of them. As suspected, this character really surprised me, especially at the end of the story. He is quite the special one, and I am looking forward to where his internal struggles take him in the next book. Clementine and Michael begin searching the university's campus for her brother, Heath, and stumble upon a survivor camp. The whole set-up appeared very cult-like but they did befriend, Raj, who brought smiles and humor to the pages. Aries is sneaking out at night to meet Daniel, who remains mysterious and refuses to live with the lot of them. Mason was quite the surprise in this book, and I believe he had the most personal growth. He steps up his game and really puts his ass on the line for the team, even though he constantly second guesses which team he is on.
Lasting Impressions: Lots of surprises, heartache and some triumphs occur in this exciting and treacherous sequel. I have not been so excited to read a series of books in some time and I am so upset that I have to wait for numerous months for the next one. We get a lot of emotion and action on both ends of the good vs. bad scale. I am seriously nervous for what lay in store for these characters!(less)
Interest in Book: I read Jeff Hirsch's The Eleventh Plague and found it to be entertaining, but I had issues really connecting to the characters. That being said, I loved the world-building and themes in the book, and enjoyed the writing. Once I read the synopsis for Magisterium, I knew I wanted to read it and hoped for more in terms of character connections. Plus, I really had to find out what was on the other side of that fence, and I desperately wanted to know who the creepy Charlize-Theron-Evil-Queen character was on the cover. The cover is just incredible!
World-Building: Holy Awesome, Batman! I was immersed in this world when the characters finally take a trip across the invisible divide. The two worlds, or realities, are extremely different in every sense of the imagination. The modern-day world is the one Glenn has been growing up in, but on the other side of the Rift, reality is far different. Once she crosses the fence, Glenn is presented with magic and mystery and creatures and mayhem. I ate it up! I loved how starkly different both realities are, and how instantaneous the change was once you crossed the barrier. And this obviously caused issues for the characters. You see, Affinity, or magic, does not work once you cross the Rift. The same goes for technology. Problematic, or life-saving, when you are being chased down by power-hungry loons!
Characters: It was very hard to not like the characters in this book, and for that, I am grateful. Glenn was easy to like. She had hardship but her resiliency has led her towards a bright future. She is very studious, intelligent, and curious. She possess morals and seeks proof in her world, as any scientist would. Her father, a brilliant scientist, has lost himself in his work since her mother's disappearance many years ago. Due to her father's influence, Glenn relies on technology and proof to shape her world. None of this magic hocus pocus stuff appeals to her, though her geeky best-friend, Kevin, teases her about the possibility of such things. Kevin was a good, loyal friend, and as you can easily guess, there are some romantic tension between the two.
I was quickly interested in the creature Aamon, who we meet once Glenn crosses the Rift. He appeared very protective and interested in Glenn's well-being, but I always wondered where his loyalties lie. I think his character was the biggest surprise of all, one I was not expecting! Opal Whitley was another interesting character that really grabbed my attention. The reader's first encounter with her is eerie, but she soon morphs into a very useful character. And then, of course, we have the Magistra, the evil entity that is the driving force of this story. The scene where the reader first meets her will blow you away. Just think of that book cover in real-time. It was like out of a movie. I re-read it a few times because it was truly magnificent and eerie to experience.
Lasting Impressions: Bravo, Mr. Hirsch. This was a home run for me. I was engrossed in the story and a few scenes on the magical side of the rift were truly breathtaking to experience. The pacing was great and the descriptions were fantastic. The idea of having two realities side-by-side, so very different from one another but also so dependent on and threatened by the other, was a fantastic idea and all the intricate pieces were woven together well.
If you love magic, alternate realities, great world-building, eerie and intriguing characters, give Magisterium a go!(less)
Interest in Book: I started talking to the author on Twitter, and next thing I know, I have the opportunity to review her book. I had not yet heard of this series, and I am so happy that I know of it now. I love Shifter and Were books, and well, with a lone female wolf who is feared by the supernatural community, I was definitely game to find out what is so special about Jessica McClain.
World-Building: The book opens up with a bang as Jessica is woken up out of a dead sleep when her body endures its first shift into wolf form. This comes as a serious surprise to her, for many reasons. Firstly, she should not even be alive, as females born to weres never, ever occur. Secondly, a shifting female? Say what? She is an anomaly that has sparked much interest and fear since her birth, and with a pesky prophecy hanging over her head, let's just say that Jessica's life is now on the fast road to danger and hardship.
This book set up the world quite nicely. The Pack dynamics and politics were very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed the brotherhood and camaraderie between the members. Other supernatural beasties are prevalent in this world, such as witches, vampires and other were animals. Vampires play a pivotal role leading up to the next book, and they were creepy to experience. Definitely not your shimmering type.
Characters: Jessica McClain is the daughter of the North American Pack Alpha, Callum McClain. Pretty much the baddest bad ass of his kind. Her brother, Tyler, is as dedicated to her and her father, and their relationships were endearing and heartfelt. Jessica has been living as an alias for the past seven years so she could live a normal human life away from the pack. Unfortunately for her and the rest of the supernatural community, her first shift has put into motion some serious treachery and a supernatural showdown is imminent. I enjoyed Jessica's character development. She is a fierce chic who does not back down due to possessing boobs instead of balls. She is a courageous as they come, though her new found powers and abilities are not quite known to her, or anyone else, which puts her in serious danger.
Packmates James and Danny, as well as best friend and business mate, Nick, are rocksauce. Danny is adorable with his accent and confidence. He has some of the best lines of the books, most of them aimed at Jessica's buxom chest or tight ass. James is Callum's second and a powerful, rockhard, sexy beast! His devotion and dedication to his pack and protecting Jessica are evident in his bold actions. And Nick is just fun and always there when Jessica needs him. Her only gal pal, a witch named Marcy, also delivers some light commentary and has a great personality.
And then we have Rourke. *rawr* Rourke is a deadly mercenary who ends up in town, seeking an audience with Jessica. After a series of events, Jessica finds herself alone with Rourke as they flee to safety deep in the Ozarks. Some revelations are had and some battles are fought. Rourke is an ancient werecat of some kind, though no one who has seen his were form has lived to tell about it. His raw energy is enough to light up the night sky and he is about the size of a boulder. I am hoping that we get to witness his cat form. The guess Jessica made about his were-form has me SO intrigued! That would ROCK!
Lasting Impressions: I was really impressed with this book! It reminded me of Rachel Vincent's Shifter series, which is a mega favorite of mine. I really love reading about Pack life and experiencing the harsh politics and extreme dedication among pack mates. Plus, there is an uber strong female lead who is trying to figure out her role in the world. I also loved the inner monologue Jessica had with her Wolf. It was humorous as hell watching the two as they got to know one another. And the author made me giggle profusely anytime Jessica's Latina neighbor, Juanita, made an appearance. Her thick Spanish accent was hilarious to read. The romance is minimal with a few damn sexy scenes, but the romance is the numero uno catalyst for book two, Hot Blooded! All in all, a fab start to a UF series!
If you love weres, pack life and politics, sexy, strong characters and great action, put this one on your TBR!
I love Thea Harrison's Elder Races series. I truly, truly do. It's magical, full of amazing world-building, characters that light up the pages, and in...moreI love Thea Harrison's Elder Races series. I truly, truly do. It's magical, full of amazing world-building, characters that light up the pages, and intense, passionate romance. All of the full-length books and novellas have been a sheer joy to experience. One of the most well-crafted paranormal worlds ever, and the romance is just incredible. If you have not experienced this writer's talent yet, get with the frakin program!
That being said, of all the amazing pieces of fiction set in the Elder Races world, this novella is my favorite so far. The world-building was minimal, but the love story was one of the most beautiful I've ever read. I was touched beyond belief as I watched Aubrey and Xanthe's love blossom and consume them. Seeing as she had to care for him while his body recovered from a brutal attack, it was only a matter of time before their close quarters brought them closer together. It happened so naturally, so beautifully. Their reactions and inhibitions and emotions were so realistic and palpable. On the lighter side, I loved when Aubrey playfully teased Xanthe after he realized that she had a crush on him. And I love how he occasionally slipped out of his political role and said Fuck. It made me laugh just as much as Xanthe. It's really hard not to love these two.
Of course, it did not hurt that Tiago, sexy beast that he is, had a few scenes. I sure do miss him, and he hasn't changed a bit. Always professional, but still putty in Niniane's hands. Heh. And they don't call Niniane Tricks for nothing. That's all I have to say about that!(less)
Interest in Book: I'm not on the underwater creature feature bandwagon, but it does intrigue me because I love the ocean's inhabitants. When Ashley @ Bookish Brunette offered up this tour, I decided to give it a go. I enjoyed Amanda Hocking's Hollowland well enough. I still need to review that one, too. *sigh*
Characters: I have to admit to being really engrossed in the family dynamics. Gemma and her older sister, Harper, have lived with their father for the past 9 years. An unfortunate accident has kept mom from having an active role in their life, though there was a scene near the end of the book that makes me wonder if she will play a larger role later on. The scenes where Gemma and Harper visit with their mother are so touching and realistic.
Harper has taken over the mother and wife role in the home. Not literally, of course, but she has definitely shifted the family dynamics and while it shows her love and dedication for her family, it isn't healthy for any of them. Harper needs to live her young life and not put so much pressure on herself. Gemma and Harper's relationship is endearing, as well as hard to watch. I truly felt love and devotion, as well as annoyance and confusion. Emotions that family brings out in us, loud and clear. Harper drives Gemma crazy with her constant (s)mothering. Gemma is in need of some privacy and autonomy, and the only place she can de-stress is the ocean. Her nightly swims keep her sane.
Alex, the-nerdy-boy-next-door-who-is-now-filling-out-that-Superman-shirt-nicely is too adorable. I love nerds and geeks, so much so, I married one! I would marry Alex, too, or at least make him a man...whooops. TMI. Alex came off so realistic to me. His personality is full of win and I adore the budding relationship he has with Gemma. Then there is Daniel, an older boy who lives on his boat. He's got his eye on Harper, who shoots the poor dude down on a constant basis. However, when you have a golden personality such as Daniel's, your target is bound to falter at some point. Harper remains a determined hard ass throughout the book, but her shell is slowly cracking, and I love being witness to it all. There is also something very intriguing about Daniel, as he appears immune to the wiles of the next characters...
Penn, Lexi and Thea, the mysterious newcomers to the small ocean town, have unnerved the residents of Capri. They are strikingly beautiful and have this creepy yet awesome ability where they can easily influence people. Men are suckers at their feet, and a lot of women become dazed in their presence, too. They become increasingly interested in befriending Gemma, and have big plans for her. Penn was a classic malicious bitch, and I wanted to knock her teeth out on many occasion. I cannot deny what an incredible villain she is!
World-Building: Once we learn the lore of the sisters and Gemma's role in their world, I was a little disappointed. I love Greek Mythology, and guessed the sister's true natures very early on. However, the lore and background that Penn reveals to Gemma was not very interesting, to me. Maybe my love for Greek Mythology mucks things up, which could be the case for a lot of books that incorporate these myths into their story lines. On another note, one of their true forms was horrendous, though it felt odd in this story! I was totally imagining a hella creepy character from a dark 1980s Jim Henson movie, and I loved it. Eeeep!
Lasting Impressions:Rhiannon Frater mentioned that she saw many parallels to The Lost Boys. Yea, that wicked vampire movie from the 80s, before vampires sparkled and shit. I thought the same thing, having just watched the movie again recently. Not that this is a bad thing, because that movie rocks my face off, but the overall plot and major scenes are very similar. Regardless, I'd like to see how the world expands in the next installment. I am curious to see how Gemma handles her new life, and how Harper, Daniel and Alex try to save her from it.
"I could win you a goldfish."
"I don't think that'd be fair to the goldfish," Gemma said. "I've had about a dozen of them, and they all seem to die within days of me getting them."
"Oh, yeah." Alex smiled crookedly. "I remember you making your dad bury them out in the backyard."
"They were my pets, and they deserved a proper burial."
"I better be careful around you." Alex stepped back from her cautiously, giving her a wide berth. "You're a goldfish mass murderer. I don't know what you're capable of."
"Stop!" Gemma laughed. "I didn't kill them on purpose! I was little. I think I overfed them. Out of love, though."
"That's even scarier," he teased. "Do you plan to kill me with kindness?"
"Maybe." She narrowed her eyes at him and tried to look menacing, making him laugh.
Interest in Book: I won this book during ArmchairBEA. I had not even heard of it, but the title and book cover interested me so much that I didn't even need to read the synopsis. I'm not sure that I ever did. "And girl created boy..." was surely going to provide some thought-provoking content, and I was right.
World-Building: This book appears to be set in present day, though I thought it was futuristic due to the apparent advances in technology. Terra Spiker owns Spiker Biopharmaceuticals, a multi-billion dollar biotech company. Her scientific teams have cured diseases and are held in high esteem around the scientific community. She is pretty much Queen Bee in the scientific/medical communities and will refuse anything short of that title and respect.
The book opens up with a grisly scene that catapults Evening, Terra's daughter, into a whole lot of reality, and propels the reader right into the story. I LOVE when books open with HOLY SHIT! scenes. When you can grip a reader like that from the beginning, you also have to keep us interested. For the most part, the book did just that. I enjoyed the scientific aspects greatly, especially when science and creationism clash in epic ways. The ramifications and WTFs of this world keep you turning the page! I think my only issue was with the ending, which did not go in a direction I was expecting, and it was all a bit dull for me.
Characters: Being the teenage daughter of "Terror" Spiker has its pros and cons. I'm not sure if Eve would be able to identify any pros at this point in her life, but her mother sure would! She uses her power and influence to remove Eve from the ICU immediately after a horrendous injury. Terra claims her company's technological advances are far better for her daughter's prognosis, and whisks her away to her own hospital in the Spiker Biopharmaceuticals complex. This makes sense if your mom has such resources, but the way Terra reacted during that scene was so cold and scientific. Not at all like a mother would be acting in such a scenario! My antennae went up and I wondered about this woman's real motives from there on out.
Accompanying Eve in the ambulance, since her mother could not fathom being enclosed in a space laden with micro beasties, is Solo, a Spiker employee. Solo is a bit too young to be fully employed by her mother. He's a lackey, given the crap jobs and no one really pays much attention to him. He also lives at the complex, which immediately makes you wonder about his family. He slowly reveals himself to Eve throughout the story and helps her puzzle together some serious reality checks.SERIOUS. It's pretty easy to adore Solo, even though he comes off as less appealing at first. Being who I am, I immediately thought about the causal factors for his actions and words, and by the end of it all, I was cheering for him.
While Eve is recovering in the SB complex, her mother puts her to work: create the perfect man. Of course, she provides Eve with a very advanced technological program in which to carry out this interesting, and entertaining task. Eve names her creation Adam and feels proud of what she has created. She pays great attention to the details - personality traits, intelligence, appearance, biological components like metabolism, prone to acne, diabetes. It was a fascinating look into genetics and really makes you think about what represents perfection to you.
Of course, Eve has absolutely no clue just how important Adam will become in her future...
Lasting Impressions: I enjoy multiple POVs when they are done well, and this book made me happy. It also made me think. Lots of questions about genetic modification, survival of the fittest, creating the perfect human and playing God come to mind. As a society, we are hell bent on perfection, when the sad fact of the matter is, perfection is unattainable because what is perfect to one person is not perfect to another. As a whole, society will never, ever reach perfection because of the vast differences each person embodies.What we should focus more of our energies on is happiness and acceptance. I will never be a size 6. I will never have thin legs. I will never have big eyes. I will never have the IQ of my husband. I will never be as spontaneous as he is, either. I have a bit of a controlling side, think I'm right more than I am, and can be a bit of a firecracker with a sharp tongue. I am ok with this because I have a lot of other things that I am happy with, both physical, mental and emotional. We have to stop searching for the perfect this or that, and start focusing on what we have and how it adds to our lives.
We first meet Seremela in Serpent's Kiss, and I was so amazed to find a medusa in a story! Big ups to Thea Harrison for incorporating medusa lore into her series. I mean, who ever thought they wanted to learn about these supposedly icky creatures? I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED learning more about the medusae culture in Devil's Gate.
The medusae believed that each medusa was born with a drop of poison in their souls. The poison turned into a medusa's Adversary, the dark voice that whispered doubts and fears in one's own thoughts. The measure of one's strength was determined by how well on withstood one's internal Adversary. Seremela tried to overcome the negative voice, but her own Adversary had a lot of ammunition to use against her.
It was eye-opening to be in Seremela's head and realize how lonely it most be for that species. However, what tenacity and determination this women possesses! And her snakes, poisonous to many creatures, were hilarious to experience. She refers to them as brats occasionally and they really did remind me of rambunctious, nosy pets. They sure did calm down and appear at ease when Duncan was around though...
Duncan is a Vampyre and the progeny of Carling, who was once the Vampyre Queen but is now enjoying her days and nights with her mate, Rune. I don't think I ever thought twice about Duncan, but he certainly came across as appealing int his novella. And so very different from the large, aggressive Alpha males in this series. Duncan's Alpha-ness is different. Still quite strong physically, his intelligence and charm are more his forte, and he has them in spades.
Duncan and Seremela are an odd pair, but I was quite taken by their story. They seem to complete each other, accept each other. It just felt natural and beautiful. Win!
He's have to be a liar or blind to claim he wasn't affected by her beauty, because he was, but what really engaged his interest was her quick mind. It was such a goddamn pleasure to seduce an intelligent woman.
Interest in Book: Zombies! Character-driven plot! End of days nightmarish world-building. Great heroine and smoldering, sexy romantic tension. And the author isn't afraid to write gore. Wooooty woot!
World-Building: Oh, the world-building was just incredible! The setting is 4 years after the zombie apocalypse. The main character, Kansas, has been living on her own most of that time and has learned to take care of herself. When a group of survivors stumble upon her secluded home, she reluctantly welcomes them in. Kansas learns a lot about herself, the people of the new world and just how much has been going on outside her little bubble. When she ventures out to explore, she learns that zombies and humans have both evolved in some form or another.
The author was not afraid to write gore! Yahoo! This made me happy, but should be a warning for those of you who do not like blood and guts. There are also some pretty disturbing scenes involving humans and how they treat zombies in a settlement that Kansas stumbles upon. I think those scenes were more horrifying than any bashed-in brain or putrid zombie explosions. Some of the people in this new world are just as crazy as the zombies, in my opinion. Their humanity is teetering on the edge of a cliff throughout the entire book. And, of course, we get a nice dose of fanatical cult fun. Cult mentality is so fascinating to me!
Characters: Kansas is a great character. She has issues letting people in, due to being alone for so long and being wronged in the past. She has become a lean fighting machine from being secluded and relying on her own physical finesse for so long. She also has wicked long dreadlocks because she got sick of brushing her hair. I really loved this about her, because dread locks just look cool - on the right person, anyhow. She has moments of clarity and moments of utter despair, but one thing is for sure, she wants to survive and will mow down a cult, a zombie horde, or a few indecent assholes if they block her path.
Kansas meets Rudy along her journey. He saved her life out in the wild and they end up becoming close friends in a settlement that takes her in. Rudy's quite the looker, if you ask any of the settlement's hookers that want to go for a ride on the Rudymobile. Rudy and Kansas have a very interesting relationship throughout the book. They don't always say what they feel and give mixed signals. They do, however, remain supportive, respectful and protective. Love blossoms under the surface but the dangerous, chaotic environment leads to missed opportunities. And yes, there is a love triangle and some nice sexy time. I don't want to say more than that. It was not annoying, for me, but I am hoping and praying that Rudy comes out the winner. His smile won me over, not to mention most of his personality.
Lasting Impressions: This book is a fantastic start to a new zombie post-apocalyptic series. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the wacky mentality of the settlement, the cult action, the zombie lore and the romantic tension. It delivered on all aspects of what makes a book entertaining for me.(less)
Interest in the book: After being introduced to Kendall's first book, Inhale, and devouring its wicked world-building a...moreCourtesy of Smash Attack Reads.
Interest in the book: After being introduced to Kendall's first book, Inhale, and devouring its wicked world-building awesomeness, I knew I had to continue on the journey with Zoe and Gavin. Their story is one that you want to finish. I want to see them safely through the end of their struggles. I NEED THEM TO BE OK! Ok?
First Impressions: The book leaves off exactly where Inhale ends, which I personally enjoy. We are catapulted back into the situation at hand, which is as hairy as your Uncle Mo's back. Emotions are raw and confused, and hellions are back on the loose to make life hell for Zoe and Gavin.
Characters: Zoe and Gavin are back with their stellar personalities, insecurities, yearning to experience life, passion for their respective jobs (and each other!) and compassion for others. Zoe is great and I really enjoy her voice in the story. She's insecure but her stubborn nature will not allow others in very easily. She is tough at her core but crumbles under the passion and adoration of Gavin. I think we'd all crumble. Gavin is a stand up guy. He's oozing with sex and definitely makes you want to take a cold shower, but the guy is just plain ole tender-hearted and good-natured. I frakking love experiencing Zoe and Gavin from the other's perspective. Aside from the serious intimacy of it all, I love knowing their thoughts in the moment, their insecurities and confidence, their happy and sad memories. I LOVE being inside their head. They balance each other but also challenge and push each other.
God, she was instant relief from all the shit flying around in his head. Her touch grounded him, put things in perspective.
Plus, their moments together never disappoint. Their encounters don't always end happily but their passion and adoration for the other pours off the pages.
He'd always viewed kissing as the path of least resistance to achieving the goal of bedding women. But Jesus, this wasn't a kiss. It was a fucking experience. Like discovering a new world. And the intoxicating atmosphere in Zoeland turned his bones to jelly.
And the HEAT they produce together is steamy. Kendall's use of phrasing always bring home a win.
He leaned in for a kiss, but she avoided his lips by dropping to her knees. She sucked his dick stupid.
Of course, Scarlet and Sinnder are never to far behind where Zoe and Gavin are concerned. Sinnder was so perplexing throughout the entire book. I love his mysterious nature. He constantly has me guessing where his loyalties lie and if his heart is as fiery as it's supposed to be. He is my favorite character in the series, and his role in this whole clusterfuck is becoming more and more interesting! Scarlet really upped the ante in this installment and bitch took psycho to ultimate levels of crazy. As much as I want her to go out in an everlasting flame of good riddance, I LOVE her character. She is seriously one of the best villains I've come across in a long while.
Fuck. If she'd been an ordinary human, Scarlet would have been classified as dangerous, but the Fyre Elemental label upgraded her psycho status to platinum deadly.
World-Building: You want world-building? You got it. Rich, intense and interesting world-building. Characters that jump off the pages and sear you with their interesting, engaging and sometimes down-right scary personalities. Two different parallel worlds that affect the other in tragic ways. And whales! YAY!
Lasting Impressions: Kendall Grey has talent and a beautiful heart. Did you know she was donating all proceeds of this trilogy to whale education? That, to me, is pure heart and compassion and a cherry on top. I wanted to be a marine biologist throughout my entire childhood, and dolphins were my passion. I completely get where she is coming from, and also love how she weaves them into her storytelling.(less)
b>Interest in Book: Duh. It's a zombie book! And then I opened it and read the dedication. SO MUCH WIN. I knew immediately I would enjoy the author's voice. It turned out to be exactly what I expected: quirky, dangerous, campy, highly entertaining and just plain fun. It's not your typical serious zombie post-apocalyptic book, but it definitely has some gory moments as a band of teenagers try to figure out just what the tittlepop is happening in their little slice of America. Of course, underneath all the silly fun are some heavy themes, mainly corporate monsters and the food industry, which are one in the same, I suppose.
World-Building: Nick, aka Nero, is a normal teenager living with his perceived deadbeat of a father, The Dude, and his younger sister, Amanda, who has Asperger Syndrome. Nick works for a major chicken production plant and after a serious(?) incident, he ends up at the "Inward Trek" camp for juvenile delinquents. I think the incident was silly, but it connects the plot later on so I guess it gets a pass. On the way to camp, Nick notices odd occurrences but writes it off strange human behavior. Once at camp, the zombie infestation lands right outside their tents, literally. From there on out, lots of chaos, death, funny one-liners and tough chicks grace the pages as Nick and gang try to save humanity.
The zombie encounters were wicked fun and a tad gory. The zombies appeared to have some sort of rational grasp on reality, as they were able to use strategy a time or two. I absolutely love the groups' descriptions of the zombies, as camp counselors, camp mates, joggers and random people become flesh-eating hellions. The source of infection turns out to be connected in a big way to Nick, and his stance at the end of the book was unexpected.
Characters: Nick was the protagonist and as always, it's nice to read from a male's perspective. I really enjoyed the flashbacks where we learn more about his family. He also has a constant back and forth with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in his head that was ridiculously fun. however, Nick stood out the least. The author brought life to the supporting characters in a big way because they are all memorable. Every single one of the delinquents that Nick is unfortunately stuck with during this bizarre adventure had serious personality. When the zombie outbreak finally reached the group of misfits, I was laughing hardcore at their reactions. Idle and Billy start dropping beats, yo! And they use yo. Love!
I adored little sis Amanda. I've been around Asperger kids, and have a few friends whose children have been diagnosed. I think the author really captured the personality characteristics of this disorder. The author used a lot of question marks when Amanda was speaking, in between her words, to evoke emotions or maybe her constant questioning and wondering? I'm not sure. It was hella annoying at first, but then I realized it was only with Amanda and it made more sense.
Lasting Impressions: I really wish I could post some quotes, as this book is highly quotable. This was my first book by the author and I really enjoyed his style, commentary and phrasing. I loved the use of Zombrules throughout the book, which were just downright hysterical. My favorite spoke of Ztockholm Syndrome. Scary shit, people. The chapter titles were also really creative, as well as the Fresh Bukket Menu and the Incident Reports. The blood splatter at the beginning of each chapter gets bigger and bigger, too. All of this supplementary material and creativity really brought the story to life. Unfortunately, the ending fell flat for me, but it really didn't detract from my enjoyment throughout the book.(less)
Hold on to your hats, ladies and gents. Humanity is rearing up for one hell of a bumpy ride!
Interest in the book: Rhiannon Frater invited me to be part of the blog tour, and being a major fangirl, I could not say no. After the cover reveal, I was even more excited to read the book. Isn't that cover ridiculously awesome? At first, I thought it was a series, but then she corrected me. I am actually glad it's a standalone. The ending works. It felt right.
First Impressions: In true Frater fashion, the prologue sets the scene and grips you tightly by the throat. Humanity is dangling by a thread because the last Bastion has been cut off from its food sources due to the Inferi Scourge breaking through a pretty impenetrable gate. The Bastion sets out on its final mission to save humanity, and as with any zombie book, they don't make it easy on you!
Characters: Vanguard Maria Martinez is a bad. ass. mama. jama. She is fierce, protective, loyal, inquisitive and compassionate. She is also broken, physically and mentally, but is not afraid to lay her ass on the line to save the last of mankind. Maria is in love with officer Dwayne Reichardt and their secret love affair is her only form of happiness. Maria was part of the last mission to rid the valley of Inferi Scourge, a mission that ends on a serious sour note. When she is contacted to be part of a secret mission as the final attempt to rid the world of the infected, Maria jumps at the chance to save humanity, even though it may cost her everything. She is such an admirable, courageous woman! She faces fears pretty damn personal throughout the mission but she always keeps her eye on the prize.
Dwayne surprised me with his dedication to Maria. He is left back home while Maria is in the field, but with the assistance of Maria's dear friend and tech geek, Lindsay, he is able assist Maria behind the scenes. You see, not all is what it seems in this game. Discovering the truth about everything, along with the characters, is incredible. You feel the intense feelings right along with them, and the deception and surprises will make you gasp!
World-Building: Ohhh. The world-building was rich in this book. It's set in the future, and a virus has infected most of the human population, turning them into mindless Inferi Scourge whose sole purpose is to spread the virus by biting their victims. In other words, they do not eat flesh. They merely bite your ass and welcome you to the family. These zombie-like creatures do not decompose, so their human-like appearance plays psychological havoc with the military personnel sent to destroy them.
The Last Bastion is the final safe place for humanity, and it is surrounded by millions of Inferi Scourge. The Bastion is slowly dying because the Inferi Scourge has cut them off from all renewable resources and food. The future is bleak, the current living conditions are poor, the ammunition is running low, but the government officials have something up their sleeve. The government's super secret mission is their last hurrah before humanity dies out, and it is full of devious, treacherous, scandalous twists and turns. But as is typical with zombies and viruses, in general, they deliver a set of surprises all their own. Booyah!
Lasting Impressions: The ending worked. I was expecting something different, as I am sure others will, but I'm glad Frater decided to surprise us. I finished the book with hope and a smile on my face. And trust me, there is no time for smiles with the Inferi Scourge breathing down your neck! Frater lights up the plot with conspiracies, treachery, coups and a bucket load of political fucktards to last through a nuclear explosion (since, you know, they are like roaches). She also delivers a touching love story that stands strong through a milieu of WTFckery!(less)
SMASHTASTIC ENTERTAINMENT QUICKIE: Oh. Em. Squee! EPIC storytelling!
INTEREST IN THE BOOK: This may have not shown up on my radar had Kt from A Book Obsession not tweeted to tell me about the ZOMPIRES in the book. I mean, really? Freaking Zompires? I HAD to witness it. I had no clue what I was getting myself into and this book turned out to be way more than I anticipated.
WORLD-BUILDING: This is my first venture into Julie Kagawa’s mind, as I have yet to read her Iron Fey series. That being said, I really had no idea what to expect in terms of world-building, which as you know, is my favorite piece of any story. I will state that she blew. me. away. This dystopian setting was epic, as Kelly at Reading the Paranormal so aptly described. Deteriorating cities were described in great detail, with ravaged skyscrapers giving these ghost towns an eerie feel. The author did a fabulous job at conveying our current environment as complete wreckage in the future. Obliterated, disintegrating, disappearing. The Chicago we know today is a water-world of sorts in this setting, offering many different obstacles and hazards for our characters. I particularly loved this setting the most.
Due to a virus eradicating much of the human population, the vampire race rules in this future world. That being said, people are not very hopeful and live in constant fear. The larger populations of people are where, of course, you will find the larger population of vampires, who request services and sustenance in exchange for the basics: shelter, food, protection. This last one is a bit iffy.
"In this world, the only law was to obey the Masters, and the Masters didn’t care if their cattle occasionally turned on each other. Run into a bored, hungry gang, and you’ll be lucky if all they did was kill you."
On the flip side, there are certain humans who prefer to face this big, bad, scary world alone. These unregistered humans are given no shelter, no food, no protection. Nada. Zilch. Needless to say, they have learned how to survive in this desolate, horrific environment, among the gangs, vampires and other, more sinister and dangerous creatures: the rabids, or how I will forever refer to them – ZOMPIRES! The lore behind the rabids is extremely interesting and given to us in bits and pieces throughout the book. We also come face to face with these creatures on a few occasion, and I cannot express the pant-shitting fear I had during those scenes! I was so impressed with the author’s ability to instill fear and horror in me when the rabids were front and center. I kid you not, I was trembling in me skivvies, peeps!
CHARACTERS: Allison “Allie” Sekemoto is an unregistered living on the outskirts of vampire society, doing her best to survive each minute of the day. She doesn’t always possess the best insight and decision-making, but she is, at her core, a survivor. She, like the rest of the human population, abhors the vampire race and she suddenly finds herself the very thing she despises. While she struggles to cope with her worst nightmare, she must learn the rules of her new immortality. Fun times, people. Intense struggle lands in Allie’s lap, but as I’ve stated, she is a survivor, and she finds it deep within her to continue breathing moving.
ZEKE! Holy canoli, what a magnanimous character this young man turned out to be. Zeke is a part of a shoddy group of people on their quest for Eden, the human paradise, or more likely accurate, human stronghold minus vampires. Zeke has been raised by a fanatical man named Jeb, the leader of this desperate band of survivors. As with all families, Jeb’s beliefs have bled into Zeke’s mind, and he carries out his father’s bidding without question. However, one thing is clearly different about father and son: Jeb is a ‘do what needs to done regardless if it results in casualties’ kinda guy, whereas Zeke holds on tightly to his humanity, even though he questions it often. I LOVE ZEKE. Amazing character.
The romance that blooms between Allie and Zeke, two very-unlikely-to-ever-be-romantically-involved people, is beautiful, subtle and real. I look forward to the struggles and triumphs in future books that these two will no doubt experience together.
LASTING IMPRESSIONS: What else can I say? Aside from being so upset and frustrated that I have to wait a long ass time for the next installment, I gots nothing! Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Now. *glare of doom*
Jeb regarded me with no expression. “Do you believe in God, Allison?”
“No,” I said immediately. “Is this the part where you tell me I’m going to hell?”
“This is hell,” Jebbadiah said, gesturing to the town around us. “This is our punishment, our Tribulation. God has abandoned this world. The faithful have already gone on to their reward, and he has left the rest of us here, at the mercy of the demons and the devils. The sins of our fathers have passed to their children, and their children’s children, and it will continue to be so until this world is completely destroyed. So it doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not, because He is not here.”
Interest in the book: After reading Abandon, I was surely going to follow Pierce's journey into the Underworld. The book leaves off right where Abandon ended, which made the story seamless. I am pleasantly surprised and entertained by this retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth.
First Impressions: The book opens with a horrific nightmare that Pierce wakes up from in terror, and suddenly realizes those curtains aren't familiar. Oh, right. Pierce is not in her bedroom. She's in John's. In the Underworld. And he's next to her. On the bed. This is not a situation that Pierce is ready to encounter. Oh, the woes of teen love!
Characters: Pierce is still that same odd young lady who doesn't quite fit in with others, but she has matured greatly due to events in Abandon. She remains fiercely protective over her family members and is distraught at the thought of never returning home to tell her mother that she is ok. Pierce meets some new characters that live in John's home. They all seem to think he's a captain and they kind of act like seamen. This may or may not be related to a major hurricane and sunken ship and all this other lore that surrounds Isla Huesos.
Pierce becomes more curious about John's true origins and learns more about him throughout this installment. Of course, John fears the worst and believes Pierce will see him as a monster. While I disagree heavily with John removing Pierce's choice and free will, he does his best to see that she is happy, even though he is seriously afraid of the dangers she faces. His conscience is on a constant give-and-take and I would hate to have to deal with that! But still, Pierce forgives him way too easily...
I have to mention the Mourning dove that John gifts her in the beginning of the book. The bird is very symbolic to Pierce and her relationship with John, and it also symbolizes something else for Pierce: Hope. So yea, that's what she ends up calling the bird, even though she is against the name in the beginning. The thing about Hope, you see, is that she pops into existence when Pierce is in trouble or needs assistance. Of course a bird can't do much to assist a human, but she is great at alerting Pierce to danger. Not only that, but Meg Cabot gave her the sauciest, sassiest little personality, and trust me when I say you will adore this bird!
World-Building: I really enjoyed the time spent in the Underworld. Despite the title, a lot of time is spent "above ground" as Pierce and John try to save her cousin's life. Of course, the Furies have a different agenda and they face perils of all shapes and sizes. What time is spent in the Underworld, however, really moves the plot forward. I enjoyed Pierce's discoveries of the other characters and the changes that have occurred in the Underworld due to her compassionate heart.
Lasting Impressions: This series is entertaining, and while the romantic relationship between Pierce and John is not quite right, what relationship is perfect? He is the caretaker of the dead and she is a teen girl who has been chosen as his consort. Things are bound to be less than ideal, though these two do their best to understand the other. The action was great, the secondary characters were fun and the plot has definitely moved forward. I look forward to Awaken!
“...Did you see him? I know the photo was grainy, but he looks like one of those death metal goth heads, or whatever they’re called. All dressed in black with long hair —”
I took umbrage at my mother describing my boyfriend this way. John was the Lord of the Underworld. How else was he supposed to dress?”
World-building: WOW! I am wicked impressed with Kendall's world-building skills! The world she has created is intense and it took me a while to acclimate to it all. In this world, you have the Dreaming (dream world) and the Realis (real life). You also have Aers, Wæters, Fyres and Erthe elementals. These elementals have different functions and personalities, but we get a major dose of the Fyre elementals, whose personalities are exactly what you imagine: passionate, fierce, dangerous. The elementals feed off of the Wylding (humans) in the Realis, but need skin contact in order to absorb elements; their life force. In the Dreaming, it's an entirely different ballgame. However, elementals aren't supposed to be in the Dreaming. When they invade the Dreaming and mess with the Wyldlings therein, the seriously mess up the Balance. As Kendall states here: "Though the Dreaming is the collective unconscious of the human race, events that transpire there affect people in real ways." In other words, an elemental might suck the real life right out of a human! Therefore, Sentinels, beings with equal parts of water, air, fire and earth, have to guard the Dreaming and protect the vulnerable Wyldlings.
Confused yet? I was! But tell me that isn't damn interesting? It is seriously original and really sucks you in to the possibilities of it all. Wicked impressed, I tell you!
Characters: Gavin, our hero, is an Australian musician with tattoos and a lip ring. Rawr! I do love me some bloody fun Australian colloquial language. The use or arse and bloke had me smiling. Anywho, Gavin's conflicted about his past and struggling to go on with life when he meets our beloved heroine, Zoe, a whale biologist. Their encounters are anything but normal. Gavin is a Sentinel, and first meets Zoe in the Dreaming. Needless to say, their lives intertwine and their connection becomes undeniable. Gavin has lost his way and Zoe is just the spark to bring him back online. *waggles eyebrows* Note: See my favorite quote below. Gavin is full of protective spirit and when he regains his passion, his fire made me sweat! I absolutely loved watching his transformation. He has so much potential and I am excited to watch his growth. All of his growth. ;) Zoe is one hell of lady! She is fiercely passionate about her job, but her past experiences have taken a toll on her ego. She struggles to regain herself, though you would never be able to tell that from the outside. Zoe is admirable for standing up for her beliefs, regardless of the consequences.
There are other characters worth mentioning: Scarlet and Sinnder, Fyre elementals up to no damn good. Scarlet is one hell of a bitch, wrapped tightly in leather and fuck you. She is behind a master plan of which Zoe stands so firmly in the way. And of course, Scarlet has history with Gavin, but she is not yet ready for it to be considered history. She is out for blood. Scarlet is so easy to hate but she added such steam to this story. While I'm not a fan, I am totally digging her role and its effects.
SINNDER! Ha. Oh my. *fans self* Sinnder is Scarlet's lackey, or so she thinks. As Kendall described him here: "Sinnder’s an enigma. You just don’t know what the hell he’s about, what his goal is, or whose side he’s really on." I completely agree, as you never truly know his motives. His way of dealing with Scarlet and her unwanted advances towards him is sooooooo sexy. I love those scenes the most! Um, kitchen scene, anyone! Woot! He is just sexy without even trying. He bleeds sex. He is a Fyre, after all.
Whoa. Hot. The kind of hot that could make a woman feel like she needed a month-long vacation in a nunnery after one night with him.
Um. I have located my local nunnery. #JustSaying
Lasting Impressions: THE ENDING! THANK YOU FOR THAT ENDING, Kendall! And um, all the other in between stuff too. I cannot wait to pick up Exhale and continue on Zoe and Gavin's journey. And experience more Sinnder! And get scalded by Scarlet!
"I'm not finished with you yet," she whispered, dragging her hips up, down, squeezing her inner muscles around his cock. It was like fucking CPR. Brought him right back online.
I may have written this note in my Kindle: "That's what I'm fuckin talkin' bout, right there! #SmexyTime"(less)
Interest in Book: I saw this title on Scholastic's list and requested it because it sounded intriguing, entertaining and mysterious. It was all these things, and I am really glad I've been introduced to the author. I plan to read more of her work because she is a great storyteller. Also, Small Review really sold it with her review!
World-Building: I really loved the world-building. It was simple and to the point, with political intrigue and betrayal at every corner. There is an imagined world but no fantasy elements of any kind, at least not in this book. Apparently the king in place is weak, according to those who want to dethrone him. The countries surrounding Carthya are looking for any way to bring down the royal and take over the land. The King's youngest son, Jaron, was lost at sea when pirates attacked his ship, but as one would expect, his body was never recovered. It seems as though this young Prince is key to bringing back peace and prosperity to Carthya.
We first meet Sage as he is running through the streets with a roast in his hands as the deli owner relentlessly chases after him. Sage is quick and sneaky, but he trips over an unfortunately placed foot in an alleyway, where a nobleman saves his ass from losing a hand, or something. This nobleman, Conner, whisks him away from the orphanage, against Sage's wishes. Conner has big plans for Sage, along with 3 other orphans, and Sage is set on a course that will change his life drastically.
Characters: Sage is full of WIN. His sarcasm and snark made me laugh out loud many times. This young man hands back everything given to him, and then some. Dude's got swagger in spades. He is FULL of fire, spunk, spirit, soul. Regardless of the abuse that he receives from Conner and his lackeys, Sage's light never goes out. This is a character you will adore immediately. It's hard to deny him. Not too mention, he is incredibly smart, witty, tricky and a masterful actor. Sage has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and he will no doubt surprise the gold from out of your pocket.
Conner, a King's regent or something of that nature, is an insidious bastard. With a capital B. You will no doubt agree immediately. He harbors lots of secrets and wears his maliciousness on his sleeve. He sees nothing wrong with whipping young boys who disobey his will, his idea of breaking them like a wild horse. He is manipulative and uses the idea that only the chosen one shall live as a way to cause unease and suspicion among the boys. And of course, the suspicion stirs the pot, and each boy eventually reveals his own grand plan to ensure he is chosen as the crowned fraud.
Mott, Conner's right-hand man, is someone who interested me greatly. He was that unfortunate foot that Sage trips over in the beginning, so the two do not get off on the right, er, foot. Their relationship morphs over the course of the book, however, and it appears that Mott has some admirable qualities about him, after all. I look forward to his role in future books. Imogen, a mute servant in Conner's establishment, catches Sage's eye, and their relationship is extremely interesting to watch unfold. It's almost hard to call it romance, because there was nothing romantic about it, but I assume the buds of a beautiful love flower have been planted, as she slowly comes to respect Sage's brazen, unapologetic personality. Plus, he respects and sticks up for her on countless occasion. In her eyes, he is causing her more trouble by doing so, but honestly, what woman can resist a man who sticks his neck out for her?
Lasting Impressions: I cannot express how AWESOME the revelations and twists and treachery in this book were. I was so pleased and so entertained by the turn of events about 75% through the story. It was brilliant, and the explanation of it all had me confused and questioning if what I read was real or part of the grand plan. It was fantastic and I loved the mystery and jaw-dropping moment. The book doesn't end on a cliffhanger, but Sage has big plans, peeps. I cannot wait to accompany him on the treacherous road to glory.
“I've got to go."
"To go. I'd have just taken care of it myself, but it looks like you want to come along."
Mott cursed. "Wait for morning."
"Wish I could. I've been cursed with my mother's pea-size bladder.”
Interest in Book: After the ending in Pretty When She Dies, I definitely needed to know where the story would take Amaliya and Cian. The book ended on a good note, but there was a lot left up in the air. And, in true Frater form, she doesn't make it easy on her characters or readers!
World-Building: The world-building just gets me all giddy and excited in this series! I think Rhiannon is pretty masterful at this process, but I just love the little twist she throws into a seemingly normal, gritty vampire tale. Cian rehashes his vampiric history and I truly loved the lore expansion. We are introduced to a were coyote, a dhampir and a witch, and Samantha gets more than she bargained for when she decided to hang out on the wild side. The world expands nicely, but it doesn't make your head spin. And we get a taste of Amaliya's new life and powers right along with her. What an experience!
Characters: Rhiannon introduced more POVs during this installment, with many interconnecting story lines. Some of the characters are very tricky and treacherous. The bad guys are seriously bad, yet some might surprise you. Some characters make you laugh out loud, some make you sob, and others make your heart soar with love. Rhiannon has incredible characterization skills. She can build relationships up, break them down, smack them around and reel them back in. There is a lot of grey area with her characters, which keeps both the characters and the readers on their toes.
There was some growth with all of the main characters. Amaliya is learning more about what she is and controlling the power she possesses. Cian is opening up to the idea of expanding his family. Samantha's life becomes overwhelming and unbearable but with the help of her friends, she's able to gain control. I think this leads to some soul-searching and compassion-feeling, and Samantha's characters becomes a little less annoying. She does, however, have quite the mouth on her and she made me laugh numerous times. As did Eduardo, a new addition to the story who has eyes all over Amaliya. Amaliya plays it up, which makes Cian squirm. Fun times.
Lasting Impressions:The ending was an epic WTF and I just loved how it all played out. I truly love this series! It's gritty and entertaining. There is a lot of action, great lore and great smexy time! There is heart-break, revelations, soul-searching, romance and ass-kicking! It's got a little bit of everything that makes a book fun to read.(less)
Interest in the book: I was totally impressed with the first book, Exiled, in The Protector series by M.R. Merrick, and looked forward to jumping back into Chase’s chaotic life. Or his arms? Either works for me.
World-building: Hot damn, the world-building in this book was Ah to the Some. Shifters are more prominent in this book, and I absolutely loved the drama and action they brought to the story. Learning specifics about Shifter life and magic was interesting and entertaining. On another note, Chase is plagued by Riley and other nasty characters in his dreams, causing physical and mental trauma during play time. This type of magic is uber scary!
Characters: Chase! My oh my, how this young man has bloomed before our very eyes. Dealing with grief from events in Exiled has led Chase down the path of retribution. Chase has hardened up a bit and has morphed into someone who does. not. play. As the series title so aptly portrays, Chase is ever so loyal and protective of those he loves, always the do-gooder and never backing down from what is right. And hello, confidence. Where has confident Chase been all my life?
Rayna also has serious screen times as she struggles with the beast within. Her storyline was exciting and anxiety-ridden, but she is a tough cookie and can take it. Chase is beside her every step of the way, and she too remains by his side, working with him to gain control of his erratic powers. The budding romance between Chase and Rayna is so raw, natural and beautiful. On the topic of romance, M.R. Merrick drew out the tension, interrupting prime smooch time on numerous occasion, resulting in the angry fist of doom more than once.
I must give a quick shout out for Rai! I fell in love with this creature in Exiled and was giddy with excitement that she remained in Chase’s life. I adore her and find her to be so valuable, mentally and physically. We also get to see a side of Vincent the vampire that I didn’t know he had, and I was quite freaked out by his demeanor in this book.
Lasting Impressions:Explosive is the word I am using the describe this book. The story opens up with an explosive scene that resulted in my jaw making nice with the floor. All I could think about through the entire opening scene was “WOAH!” (Think Joey Lawrence a la Blossom). Then we are hurled through explosive actions scenes, more explosive dramatic scenes, and maybe an explosive romantic notion or two.
The last line of the book only means there is much explosive fun to be had. I love where the story is headed and have no doubts that M.R. Merrick will give us nothing less than explosive epic storytelling!(less)
Smashtastic Entertainment Quickie: Interesting mystery with entertaining, likable characters. And Grims, peeps!
Interest in the book: When Teen Book Scene sent out the request for this blog tour, the synopsis immediately drew me in. Grim Reapers FTW! And the justice bit interested me, being who I am and all.
World-building: This book starts out in a boring little town with a teenage girl full of angst and screw the world attitude. She’s getting into serious trouble with her peers and in school, so the family sits down and discusses options for Lex. Spending a summer on her Uncle Mort’s farm, shoveling horse manure and milking cows, is bound to teach her a lesson or two. Ha! See how much you know, mom!
Lex is sent to Croak, a town the size of a Piggly Wiggly (which surprisingly does not have a Piggly Wiggly). Croak does, however, have streets called Dead End and Slain Lane and menu items at the Morgue diner called Mad CowBurger, HomiCider and Salmo-Nilla Ice Cream. FULL of win, I say! And death. Of course, Croak is not your typical backwards podunk town.
The Afterlife, filled with everyone dead and gone, was an enjoyable piece of the story. We get famous greats like Abe Lincoln, the Wright Brothers, Benjamin Franklin, and Edgar Allen Poe, who wander around the Afterlife in bliss. Or not so much. Some are still stuck in their moments on earth, trying to figure out how to make anything fly or light something else on fire. Their personalities and interactions with the characters were light and humorous.
Characters: Lex is hardcore teen angst in a fearless package and her M.O. is busting balls and making your daddy weep. Lex feels misunderstood and out of place in the real world. Of course, so do all the other miscreants in Croak and around the Grimsphere, so that sense of belonging brings out a different side to Lex. She becomes bearable but never loses her edge. I loved Driggs so much because he gave Lex attitude right back. He was her equal in many ways and I loved their banter. How can you not love Driggs?
“Did I just blow your mind?” Driggs asked. “I think I just blew your mind.”
Uncle Mort, Cordy (Lex’s twin sister) and the rest of the cast where entertaining and enjoyable.
Lasting Impressions: This book was fun. I can’t say I was too caught up in the mystery. I found it odd and the outcome was a bit meh. However, I enjoyed the story because of the world-building and characters. I also like where the story is headed. I am interested to see just how unique Lex really is!
“Michael Thorley turned out to be an assclown, the rest of this place is nothing but a barren wasteland of undateability. The only guy who’s shown the slightest amount of interest in me this summer is Mr. Papadopoulos on the third floor of the nursing home. He says I have the ass of a Russian call girl.” -Cordy.
For those who aren't in the know, Rusty Fischer is kinda funny. He takes the zombie genre and pokes fun at it, but keeps his stories interesting and entertaining as hell. I read Zombies Don't Cry and was greatly amused, especially be the mean, spineless, snarky asshat Zerkers. I received Panty Raid @ Zombie High from Rusty and completely forgot to review it for him. I'm a terrible book blogger, I know, but I am now highlighting it because it is worth reading.
Toby, our geeky, awkward protagonist, is desperate to find his love interest best friend, Molly, who has gone missing. Toby and a group of teenagers set off to find Molly, whom they believe has been turned into a zombie and is now being rehabilitated at Zombie High. Toby is anything but brave, but has put on his big boy underoos to save his gal.
Toby's internal monologue was insecure and funny, in only the way a teen boy's internal monologue can be. The group of misfits that tag along with him offer pure entertainment. Along with Toby and Spud, an annoying, weird little dude whose father runs the facility, are two jocks and their two bitches girlfriends. These morons tag along for what they believe will be a night of panty-raid partying. You see, they plan to snag a pair of electric undies that the zombies wear. Think cattle prod. Or that scene from Face-Off in the prison. You remember those wacky metal shoes that kept them glued in place on the metal floors? Yea, these panties remind me of those shoes. Anywho, those 4 idiots think they are visiting Zombie High for a panty raid because Toby hasn't been exactly honest with them. The resulting escapade through a facility that is nothing at all what they expected is full of laughs, spooks, gore and adventure.
The book is totally campy, tongue-in-cheek, silly, *insert your favorite word here.* It is quick and easy, as any panty raid should be, and will totally take your mind off life for a few. Next time you need a pick-me-up, give this one a go. How can you go wrong with a panty raid?
Quotes to prove my point
"Well, they've never made it that far because they never took me along," Spud brags uncharacteristically, avoiding my penetrating glare as I give him major WTF face from ground level.
Oh God, I think. This is becoming a really bad late-night Scream Channel B-movie, complete with dancing thugs and trampy skanks in mini-mini-skirts who lick soda off their fingers while zombies prowl the halls.
I turn, inch even closer to Spud and hold my house key like a weapon.
Don't hate. Mom saw it on 20/20 or something, and I've never had a chance to try it out until just now.
My first fight is going to be with an eight-foot-tall living dead cage fighter with a thigh for a neck and a tree trunk for a thigh?
Interest in the book: The books does sounds interesting, no? I was really attracted by the main character being stuck in a year after his girlfriend is fatally shot, knowing he will somehow figure out how to rectify the situation. It seemed like a very dramatic story to tell.
Characters: Jackson is our main character. He’s 19 and in his first year of college. He’s filthy rich with a non-participative dad and a hole in his heart that his sister Courtney once filled. As you learn things about Jackson’s past, you feel pity and sadness for his present, but you also admire his positive outlook. He’s in love with Holly, and with the help of uber-geek Adam, he’s beginning to test his time jump abilities. And that’s about as interesting as I found him. Holly wasn’t an extremely exciting character either, though I did enjoy their time in the past together much more than the present. Adam, Courtney and Jackson’s father were my favorite characters. Jackson’s father is extremely intriguing and throughout most of the book I detested him, but I found him so very interesting. I placed my self in his shoes at times, trying to figure out his motives. I may have felt some empathy a time or two. The moments Jackson shares with Courtney in his jump to the past are uber sweet and some of my favorite scenes.
Worldbuilding: This is my favorite part of any story and I was quite disappointed with the world building in Tempest. I recognize that my confusion with the time jumping probably led to my disappointment, but it still brought the enjoyment factor down for me something major. The flashbacks were set in the past that is now the present, but there were a lot of flashbacks and jumping and the pacing was fast. It became convoluted and disorienting for me.
Lasting Impressions: I really enjoyed the male narrator. We need more of these in YA! The heart and passion behind this story is solid. I felt it. It’s there, but I didn’t buy in to the love story as much as others. My connection to Jackson, Holly or their relationship wasn’t strong. The final 50 or so pages of the story were very exciting and I enjoyed them more than the rest of the book! I think where the story is headed may be enough for me to pick up book 2.
Smashtastic Entertainment Scale: Great potential. (less)