I received this book via Scholastic and it immediately peaked my interest. The premise is so interesting, and I definitely enjoy a good dystopian settI 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....more
"You bitch!" he screamed. "I'll kill you for this!"
"Sure you will," I said in an easy voice. "Take a number and get in line."
Gin is always pissing
"You bitch!" he screamed. "I'll kill you for this!"
"Sure you will," I said in an easy voice. "Take a number and get in line."
Gin is always pissing someone off, even when she's out shopping for a nice dress with her awesome faux-brother, Finn. I mean, her breathing alone pisses you off, but then she goes and kicks your ass when you mess up her shopping date. And well, that pisses you off. Right? Well, that guy was sure pissed, and Gin told him to get in line. This is pretty much what her life now entails. A long line of people who are dying, literally, to get Gin dead. She's like a bad penny though and keeps coming back, shinier than ever. Her magic continues to grow, and in Deadly Sting, we experience one of the coolest tricks that Gin has ever done with her magic. It. Kicked. Ass. My jaw made nice with the floor during that scene and I have to admit I was impressed. Not that it was Gin's first time impressing me, but damn sure the most impressive trick to date. Chic's got mad skillz, yo.
Where was I. Oh, right. Gin's out shopping for a nice dress and stilettos (even though she'd rather stab Finn with them than wear them) because Finn wants her to accompany him to the opening of a fancy, schmancy art exhibit that is way too ironic to explain and spoil you with here. Unfortunately for Gin, Finn, and the hundreds of other folk attending the gala, including Owen, Eva, Philip and Roslyn, a certain giant by the name of Clementine has way more planned than you will find in the gala program. Clementine's master plan was pretty impressive and she livens up the party quite significantly. She thought through all of the details and things that could go wrong, but she didn't expect Gin Blanco. And Gin shows us all how to kick ass and take names in heels.
Gin reminded me of John McClaine, aka Die Hard, throughout this book. She was sneaking around, undetected, sniping and shivving people left and right. She loves the shiv. heh. I was pretty entertained by this thought and it really elevated the story for me. I pretended it was a movie and Gin was John's deadly, adopted sister. *snicker* Owen and Gin unexpectedly team up to bring down Clementine's giant horde, and working together forces them to talk things out a bit during their down time sitting in the prickly patch. Don't ask. Their emotions are raw and visible, but they remain level-headed and get the job done. Their last scene together had me clutching my heart and holding my breath. It was kinda beautiful.
Finn is gold in this book, but isn't he always?
“You do realize that the cost of that bracelet is within spitting distance of my going rate as an assassin, right?”
“You mean your going rate back when you were actually killing people for money,” Finn said. “Or as I like to call them— the good ole days.”
Oh. And the ending will please all of the Gin fans. It was a long time coming.
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!...more
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!...more
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 inI 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!...more
Interest in Book: I won this book during ArmchairBEA. I had not even heard of it, but the title and book cover interesteCourtesy of Smash Attack Reads
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 the book: After being introduced to Kendall's first book, Inhale, and devouring its wicked world-building aCourtesy 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....more
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....more
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"...more
INTEREST IN BOOK: If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Awaken was a book that spoke loudly to me. I was very wCourtesy of Smash Attack Reads
INTEREST IN BOOK: If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Awaken was a book that spoke loudly to me. I was very wrapped up in the possibility of the scenario. I was also very affected by experiencing Maddie’s awakening, when Justin assists her in “unplugging.” It was beautiful to watch her reconnecting with her senses and experiencing emotions she never knew existed. Being that I’m a social worker, I understand how very important socialization and social support is for human beings, and this series really drives this point home.
WORLD-BUILDING: The world expands in Middle Ground as Maddie endures a life-altering trip to a detention center for her rebellious behavior. In Maddie’s world, detention centers take care of those who are unwilling to remain plugged in and participate in a mostly-digital life. Digital School brought safety and security to society, at the cost of togetherness and intimacy. Maddie’s father is the creator of DS, so her involvement in the rebellion to bring intimacy back to society is quite the scandal. Maddie’s experience in the detention center is horrific and we learn a lot about what is being done to keep society in check. I think my only real issue with this scenario was how easy it was to sneak around inside the detention center. I get that security was low because they control the students psychologically, but it just seemed too easy…
CHARACTERS: Maddie grew a lot in this installment. She was always brave and stubborn, but she really puts herself in serious danger to save many. I found myself rooting for her, then yelling at her, many times. She surprised me with her mature, selfless decisions, though I should not have been surprised. Maddie has always been willing to go the extra mile or 50 to do what is right. And then we have Justin. Geez. I might have to add Justin Solvi to the tippy top of respectable, amazing, glorious book boyfriends. I didn’t think I could adore him more, but I certainly do. What grabbed me most were his vulnerable moments. As Maddie pointed out numerous times, he certainly has issues letting people in and being intimate, and in Middle Ground, we learn why. Justin has been carrying around a lot of guilt and Maddie does her best to encourage him to remove the blanket of guilt and shame from his heart and soul. Those moments between them were so damn beautiful.
Gabe is worth mentioning, as I find myself thinking a lot about him during this review. Gabe works in the detention center and was integral in the dangerous planning by Maddie, Justin, and gang. I think he was a huge part in keeping Maddie sane throughout the story. Of course, all the characters that have befriended Maddie throughout this series, and continue to fight the good fight with her, are great in their own ways. Love them.
LASTING IMPRESSIONS: It appears that we are going to have a third book in this series, as Maddie leaves us hanging with yet another heavy decision that she must make. In the end, I know she will do what she feels is right for humanity, but she will not be bullied. She has become quite the strong heroine, and she and Justin will stand up and fight until the war is over. Together....more
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....more
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.
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. ...more
My Synopsis: Meet Susan and Alex Wendt, and their adorable daughter, Emma, a typical family living in Brooklyn, NY. Susan has quit her job to pursue her love of art, and has become obsessed with moving her perfect family out of their small apartment. Lucky for them, the perfect opportunity presents itself, and the family finds themselves living in their dream apartment.
Too bad that dream is squished like the big, juicy bedbug Susan finds on her pillow. And so the fun begins. Susan begins to freak out about a bug infestation that her husband and daughter have yet to encounter. She calls in an exterminator, who gives the apartment a clean bill of health, yet Susan falls deeper into bed bug Hell.
My interest in the book: Hello! Psychological thrillers are so fun to read. They make some of the best horror reads because of what they suggest. They plant a seed in our mind that has us questioning our own sanity. I like that look-over-your-shoulder-and-under-your-bed type of story. I like books that get in your head, and in the case of Bedbugs, get under skin.
Characters: Susan is a pretty normal woman who morphs into someone unrecognizable by her family. Alex is a hardworking man who really cares for his family, but finds it hard to handle Susan’s “issues” along with the stress of being the lone bread winner. Sweet Emma is a great addition to the story and I’m glad the author decided to include a child in the mix. An eccentric landlady, a shady handyman, a nanny, and a rough and tumble exterminator round out the cast of characters.
Worldbuilding: The world building for this book is pretty straightforward, as it is not set in a fantasy world, but in good ole NYC. Many of us may agree that NYC has its own set of fantasy elements, but the Wendts live in typical family-oriented neighborhood surrounded by shops, eateries and parks. The real world building takes places inside the apartment, where Susan slowly loses her grip on reality and the apartment warps into something straight out of a horror movie.
Lasting Impressions: Honestly, this book was great. I did find the ending a little hokey, but it did not detract from the terror and insanity that seeped from the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed the slow descent into madness and personally, would never, ever want to go through what this woman experienced…real, imagined or otherwise! In my opinion, when an author leaves you thinking about the book days after you’ve finished it (or in the case of Bedbugs, feeling the book days after), I think it’s safe to say that they did their job, and well....more
Smashtastic Synopsis: Meet Caitlyn, a Para on the run with her mother. Caitlyn lives in a world where being different gets you a life straight out of a Stephen King novel. Therefore, Caitlyn and her mother keep moving so that the government ParaTroopers do not learn of Caitlyn’s incredible telepathic abilities. When Caitlyn settles in a small town and falls for Alex, a Normal, things get heated. Caitlyn discovers a dangerous group of renegade Paranormals who are more closely connected than she could ever imagine. Faced with difficult decisions that will affect society as a whole, Caitlyn must choose between hiding in plain sight or standing up for humanity.
Interest in the book: Ever since reading Scars, I knew I would be a life-long fan of Cheryl Rainfield. I love her honesty and raw emotion, along with the simplicity and straightforwardness of her writing. I knew this book would be worth the time and was grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC. Characters: Caitlyn is a pretty stellar character. The reader is granted a front row seat as she slowly evolves into someone who refuses to allow others to suffer, even if it costs her everything she has. Her telepathic abilities are strong, as she is able to alter people’s decisions by planting seeds of doubt in their minds. This is clearly against her morals but she uses her ability in the fight to stop the oppression of her people, but also to save Normals. Her decisions are never one-sided, and she struggles with the weight of these decisions. While constantly bombarded by hate and disgust for her kind, she refuses to let these messages sway her perspective. The story aligns Caitlyn in a very straight shot to the dark side, so to speak, yet she fights to remain pure and true to ALL of humanity. She is a true hero and I want to hug her.
Worldbuilding: As you learn about the dire situation the Paras face, you begin to realize how much this world parallels our own. Paras are hunted and imprisoned merely because Normals fear their abilities, which stems from ignorance. Ignorance is prevalent in our own society, which leads to racism, discrimination, oppression and a plethora of other issues that should have long ago been eradicated, seeing as how we have evolved as a race. While there are certainly renegade Paras who take matters into their own hands and relish in the idea of hurting those who oppress them, there is a strong theme that tolerance and more importantly, acceptance, is the best path.
Lasting Impressions: As the author always sets out to do in her writing, she has given us a world rich in meaning. So many real-world issues are brought to light in this book: government control, oppression, racism, homophobia, sexism, and the basic right to life, dignity, liberty and security. The author does a splendid job of weaving these themes into this story. And we all know how much I love a story that brings real-world issues to our attention. My only irk with this book was the romantic aspect, as it never felt real to me. However, I do understand the importance of the Para/Normal relationship in propelling Caitlyn into uncharted water, forcing her to fight to survive.
Smashtastic Entertainment Scale: Great fun and extremely meaningful...more
Smashtastic Synopsis: The year is 1996, when the internet is still a new fad. Meet Emma and Josh, best friends and neighbors since they were in diapers. Emma receives her first computer, a gift from her father, and an America Online CR-ROM from Josh. They boot up the PC and log on to AOL, only to discover themselves on Facebook fifteen years later. Things gets complicated when they try to alter their future with their choices today. Will their destinies change for better, or for worse?
Interest in the book: Yani first told me about this book, and then one day, it magically appeared in my mailbox (I LOVE when that happens!). I was a high schooler in the late 90s, and definitely remember the AOL craze, so I was all over this one.
Characters: Emma and Jay are your typical teenagers, dealing with school, friends and romantic blunders. Two kids, two destinies. I did enjoy their relationship, and really thought they looked out for each other throughout the story. I enjoyed the growth and maturity they both experienced, especially Emma. The secondary characters, Tyson and Kellan, were a bit more interesting and dynamic, in my opinion. I always seem to like secondary characters more! Worldbuilding: I LOVED the 90s throwbacks, like “Welcome” and “Goodbye” via AOL, the noise a modem makes when it’s logging on to the net. A discman! Dave Matthews and Green Day. Wayne’s World. The nostalgia was intense! There were some really fun Facebook status updates from the future, as well, that were quite funny when put into context of this story.
“Glee + Netflix = My Life.
I also loved the little bits of information that proves how far society has comes since the 90s. It also proves just how much further we still need to travel.
“We just learned in sociology that they don’t allow same-sex marriage anywhere in the world. Isn’t that crazy? That’s what my next editorial is about.”
Lasting Impressions: All in all, the story was light and easy to digest. It isn’t an amazing book, but is was entertaining. I think the story really drives home the importance of living for today. As my favorite musical states…
NO DAY BUT TODAY!
Smashtastic Entertainment Scale: Great Potential
"I have a computer in my car? Josh is going to freak out when he hears this. And if Kevin saved a life, maybe he’s a doctor. Or a paramedic. Or a fireman! That’d be cool because firemen have great bodies."