Whenever I stumble across an actual love story, I am pleasantly surprised. I read a lot of romance, but its very rare for me to read a love story. Romance, especially in the YA department, tends to be filled with “romantic” clichés. The characters barely meet in an organic situation. Their eyes lock or they have sex and suddenly it’s love! To me, this is not a love story. I believe that love stories are about a journey. A love story is a progression through a relationship where we experience the characters falling in love. It begins with a spark, builds into a too strong friendship and evolves into the kind of chemistry that attracts the couple like magnets. I am happy to say that “Anna and the French Kiss” is a true love story.
Anna is a normal southern girl from Atlanta. She has a core group of friends, a great part-time job, a dream of being a movie critic and is on the brink of a relationship with her attractive co-worker. Everything is going smoothly for her senior year, until her newly rich father decides that she should finish her high school career in a fancy boarding school. Like all high school kids, Anna is not excited about finishing school away from her friends, even if her new school is in Paris. Anna moves to Paris, makes new friends and meets Étienne St. Clair. What follows is an entertaining and honest story. Anna is not burdened with heavy responsibility or insane plot devices. Anna is a normal teenager. She has normal teenage problems, like applying to college, trying to understand her parents and of course, boys.
Étienne, called St. Clair by his friends, is one of the best teenage love interests I’ve read in a long while. When I read that Étienne had a girlfriend, I imagined he was going to be some kind of a tease or a cheating jerk. I never got that feeling of him. He’s a normal guy, who is trying to figure it out. Anna throws him for loop that he never saw coming and it is easy to understand his hesitation to make a move. We see this story through Anna eyes, but St. Clair is never seen as more than human or more than an 18 year old trying to figure it out. What’s great about Étienne is that even when his life is falling apart, he is still able to be there for Anna. They have a relationship that progresses and evolves at a realistic rate. I am so glad that Anna didn’t take one look at him and decide he was going to be hers forever. We experience every aspect of their relationship. The first time they meet, their first conversation and everything else that follows.
I love Paris. I don’t necessarily ever want to live there, but I spent the best weekend of my life in Paris. It’s easy to fall in love with the culture, the history and of course the food of the city of light and Stephanie Perkins does a beautiful job of bringing this city to life. This is Anna’s first time in Paris and we get to tag along with her while she makes it her home. We go to the movies, to Notre Dame and to eat crepes with the characters in this book. Étienne is half French and knows a lot about France and it’s history. With him by her side, Anna discovers the joys of Paris and even its secrets. I studied abroad in Dublin and I think that Perkins did an excellent job of portraying what it’s like to be an American living in a European country. The worst possible thing I could imagine was someone in Dublin looking at me and thinking “American tourist,” and I found it hilarious that Anna had the same exact fears.
While “Anna and the French Kiss,” never suffers from melodrama, pretension or over the top storylines, I do not want to give the impression that nothing of real consequence happens to these characters. Anna and Étienne both have drama with their friends, family and their own romantic lives, but it goes deeper. Through the side characters Meredith, Josh and Roshimi, we see other aspects of what it means to grow up. Unrequited love, losing friends, having your first relationship fizzle, forgiveness, the fear of a parents death and dealing with controlling and abusive fathers, all happen in this book. These characters are between the ages of 16 and 17. I can’t speak for everyone, but during that time I was beginning to discover who I am. My opinions and beliefs began to break off from what my parents believed. I began to see my parents as more than just my parents, but also human, with all their flaws and failures, etc. I think this book really highlights what it means to mature into adulthood. The world begins to open up for Anna and her friends and it was great entertainment to go through it with them.
This book was released two years ago and has been on my to-read shelf for a long time. I am so happy that I finally picked it up. It was exactly what I needed.
Recommended for young adult readers, anyone who wants to visit Paris and fans of slow burn romances....more
I loved “Anna and the French Kiss,” absolutely adored it. So, when I read reviews that its companion novel “Lola and the Boy Next Door,” wasn’t as good, I believed it. I entered Lola’s world with lower expectations and was absolutely blown away by how much I loved this book. First of all, I love Lola. Even when she’s making wrong choices or allows herself to be taken advantage of, I adore her. She’s unique, she has amazing resilience and her very own style. Lola is the kind of girl who can take a picnic blanket and create an awesome dress. She wears wigs of varying colors, puts on platform boots and does her make-up in outlandish tones. No one really understands Lola. They think that her costumes are disguises that she hides behind. The only one who truly gets that her colorful style is Lola, is Cricket Bell, the boy next door.
Cricket is a very interesting love interest. He is not charming, not a bad boy and not at all smooth. He’s an inventor. He’s shy, a science geek, dresses to his own style and is kind of a pushover. What makes Cricket perfect boyfriend material is that he’s kind, he’s inventive and will drop anything to help a friend. He talks too fast, is full of energy and is so tall it’s impossible to ignore him. Cricket’s twin sister is a world champion figure skater, fighting her way towards the Olympics and Cricket lives in her shadow. Due to his sisters training schedules, different coaches and competitions, Cricket is always moving, always out of town and always ignored.
At the start of the book, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Cricket and Lola’s relationship, because she has a likeable boyfriend. The story of how Lola met and started dating Max was pretty sweet. The problem is that Max is older. She’s 17 and he’s 22, it’s really hard to make that kind of relationship work. It’s interesting to see them try their best to succeed. Max comes to mandated Sunday brunches with her parents and Lola doesn’t cause a scene whenever she is under the legal age to attend Max’s concerts. They even take her parents rules and regulations in their stride. It becomes pretty obvious early on, that Lola’s parents will never accept Max and will never completely trust Lola.
Both Lola and Cricket are used to being in someone else’s shadow; for Lola it’s her screw-up of a biological mother and for Cricket it is his figure skating champion of a twin sister. This book is not only a love story; it’s also about these two characters stepping into the light. Cricket graduated early from high school and is attending his first year of college. There he gets away from his family and gets to just be Cricket, not the figure skaters brother. Still, he has the feeling that he’s not as great and not as important as his sister. Lola’s biological mother, Nora, is her father’s sister. Nora is constantly homeless, drunk, high or in jail. She always needs help. The best thing Nora has ever done in her life, is give her daughter to her brother and his husband. The issue is that Lola’s father, Nathan, grew up with Nora. He was around when she became pregnant in high school and when the drugs and the boozing began. Because of that, Lola lives under constant restrictions. It isn’t fair to Lola, since she hasn’t done anything wrong, but she tries her best to show them that she is nothing like Nora.
I love that Stephanie Perkins gave Lola gay parents. This is a new world; two fathers and two mothers are now raising children. Despite what some conservatives might desire, this is not going to change. The family demographics are different. There are more gay couples, interracial couples and more and more people are adopting. Our literature, films and TV shows should reflect that change in our culture. There should be more gay parents, more interracial relationships and the family should be shown as more than white male and female with their 2 white kids and a white fence. There is no more “Leave it to Beaver,” that world doesn’t really exist anymore.
“Lola and the Boy Next Door,” is funny, sweet and romantic. The love story is complicated, has a heavy past and is brimming with possibilities. I love that Stephanie Perkins doesn’t try to be outlandish with her storytelling. There are never lives at stake and her characters don’t have to cope with anything unrealistic. The stories are dramatic, but never melodramatic. It’s entertaining and realistic. Stephanie Perkins writes about normal people falling in love and I love it.
Recommended for lovers of YA contemporary romance, fans of “Anna and the French Kiss” and anyone looking for a simple and entertaining love story....more
Amber is a good girl. She has always done exactly what she is supposed to do and never have her parents any trouble. She went to college, had a few boyfriends, but never went overboard with drinking and never slept around. Amber is not a virgin, but her inexperience and her inability to be comfortable around the opposite sex, makes her seem virginal, sweet and incredibly young for her age. Amber is tired of being good. Good girls don’t have fun, or get to experience the thrills of life. Enter, Tony, a contractor who is expanding the community center where Amber works. He is commanding, sexy and according to a friend he is trouble. Tony has never said more than two words to her, but she cannot get him out of her mind. When a tornado alert forces Amber and Tony to find shelter in a dark basement? Amber isn’t sure if she should be excited or terrified of being in the dark and alone with this troublesome man.
After reading “About Last night,” I emailed Ruthie Knox and begged for Arcs of her next book and lucky me her publisher sent me not one, but two. After begging the author for her book, I got a little nervous. What if I don’t like it? Within five pages of starting this book, I let out a sigh of relief. Another winner.
This is a novella, a short story and it’s about sex. It is sexy, sweet and detailed. Not cringe worthy graphic, but you can definitely imagine everything these characters are doing. This is a short story, which I usually hate. When I am finished with a book, I want to feel as if the characters are my best friends or enemies, depending on how much I like the book. I usually don’t feel that way with novellas, but with “How to Misbehave,” I really didn’t care.
This story is a snippet of a love story. We drop in on Tony and Amber at the beginning of their romance. It’s ripe, brand new and filled with possibilities. From the final page of this story, this relationship can become anything. I really enjoyed that. We go from the awkward conversation, to interests to strong attraction and finally the realization that there could be more between them than just sex.
The thing is, every girl’s first time should be with a guy like Tony. When I say first time, I don’t just mean losing your virginity. Nope, every girls first time with a new lover, first time after a break up, first time after a dry spell, etc, should be with a guy like Tony. Tony is calm, he is patient and is never annoyed with Amber’s inexperience. He explores her body, learns everything she likes while teaching her what he likes. I usually find sex scenes to be a little too much. There are authors who go on for pages and pages, until I am rolling my eyes and skipping the scene entirely. Not so in “How to Misbehave,” Amber’s sexual history is so boring; you are literally cheering Tony on. Someone had to teach this girl the correct way to misbehave!
Tony seems to do everything right. He is a confident, but fair boss. He is an accomplished lover and a guy who does not assault strange women in basements during tornadoes. Tony’s lack of faith in himself didn’t seem to add up with the man we experience. I wanted to know more and discover what it was in his past that made him distrustful of himself. Many times a characters dark past is something outlandish or ridiculous. I found Tony’s past to be heartbreaking and filled with guilt that I understood and sympathized with.
“How to Misbehave” is a quick, fun and entertaining read. I am becoming a big fan of how seamlessly Knox writes romantic male leads who are strong and confident, without the borderline obsessive and abusive tendencies that other authors have embraced.
Recommended for readers of contemporary romance, fans of “About Last Night” and anyone looking for a quick and entertaining read.
“How to Misbehave” Release date January. 28, 2013
***ARC courtesy of Loveswept/Random House and Netgalley...more
“Burning Emerald,” begins a few weeks after the events of “Living Violet.” Sam is learning that her new life as a Cambion, isn’t the greatest situation in the world. She is a guy magnet and she attends high school. All day she must endure the immature leering of high school boys and the catty jealousy of high school girls. Sam wishes for the days when everyone ignored her, but there is nothing she can do to change her current state. Luckily, she has her slightly older and Cambion experienced boyfriend, Caleb, to help her cope and understand her new existence. Everything seems to be working out for Sam, but this is a book and nothing works out for long. Enter Malik, a boy Sam has known all of her life. Now that Sam is Cambion she notices strange things about Malik that sets her on edge. It doesn’t help that he is always staring at her and spreading rumors around the school that they’re hooking up. It turns out that Sam’s Cambion has a connection to Malik, that no one sees coming and the reveal leads to a story that is frightening, intriguing and very frustrating.
I enjoyed the second installment of the “Cambion Chronicles” a lot more than its predecessor. The writing is smoother, the story more focused and the action sequences had me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed where Jaimie Reed took us and was absolutely shocked by the end of the story. Not so much the events, but the fact that she left us with such a huge cliffhanger. The story ended and I wanted to scream “NOOOO! I WANT MORE!” The saving grace of “Living Violet,” is Sam. She was smart, assertive and not quick to trust Caleb and his strangeness. I opened “Burning Emerald,” with the anticipation of loving Sam more. Unfortunately, halfway through I realized that I lost my love for Sam. Lost it. Sam lost her independence, her smart no nonsense attitude and her assertive behavior. She went from a lioness to a lamb. Her behavior and choices were extremely difficult to swallow. I could not believe how self-absorbed and out of touch she became with the people around her. I understand that the plot has to keep moving and evolving, but she did not spend nearly enough time thinking about Caleb. She becomes so obsessed with Malik. There is this pretext that she is protecting Caleb and that Lilith is actually the one obsessed with the other guy, but Sam should have been feeding images of Caleb and Capone to her roommate. Sam just seemed flighty and fickle; like she latches on to every mysterious and dangerous guy she meets. When everything hits the fan, Sam takes a downward spiral. In “Living Violet” she demanded Caleb take responsibility for all of his actions. In “Burning Emerald,” Sam spends half the book moaning it isn’t her fault and that it’s all beyond her control. It really got sickening how Sam lets things spiral out of control. She is the one who kept quiet. She is the one that opened a door for Malik to walk through. Her inability to claim responsibility for her actions really weakened her as a character and made it difficult for me to root for her in any capacity.
I was unimpressed by Caleb in the first book, but I absolutely fell in love with him in “Burning Emerald.” I’m not sure if it’s because Malik was the other option, or because of Capone’s influence, but I love Caleb. So much so that every stupid choice Sam made infuriated me. I felt like a mistress watching the wife mess up. I was all “Why does he love her?!” and “Caleb, you deserve so much better!” Yea it’s a bit overdramatic, but really Caleb deserved better!
Sam completely ignores her friends, evades Caleb and continuously lies or omits important information from her friends. Mia, Sam’s best friend, is obviously having some kind of Dougie related meltdown. Every time that relationship is mentioned, it’s because Mia reaches a new level of crazy and melodrama. Sure, Sam is dealing with her own crap, but this is her closest friend! Sam could not be bothered to take an interest in anyone beside herself.
Then there is the story with Malik. I believed it and found it very interesting, but boy did I hate that character. Malik spreads disgusting rumors about Sam. He follows her around, hints that Sam should not be dating a guy of another race and continuously makes her uncomfortable by staring. If that isn’t enough, Malik cages Sam behind the bleachers, calls her a tease and then proceeds to attack her! This is the guy that Sam and Lilith spend so much time obsessing over. This guy who breaks into the house unannounced and is so focused on Lilith he could careless about Sam. I don’t think that the reader is supposed to root for Malik in anyway and I don’t believe there is supposed to be a legitimate love triangle. Still, Sam spends a lot of time thinking about Malik and it really made it difficult to like her. Caleb spends a lot of this book in real jeopardy and it’s amazing to me that Sam let another guy get into her head when her boyfriend needed her.
My issues with Sam aside, this is a much stronger book than “Living Violet.” The characters were better flushed out and I felt like the world became wider and even more interesting. Again, the ending is a cliffhanger and keeps you wanting more. Luckily the third book in the series, “Fading Amber,” is released this Monday, December. 24, 2012....more
I loved the first two books in this series. I ignored the easy to spot plot points. I ignored the romantic dialogue that some times came off cheesy. I ignored the fact that the main romantic storyline was cliché. I ignored it, because it really did not bother me. I took the books for what they were, quick and enjoyable reads.
Unfortunately, the main actin of Dark Frost is so ridiculous and implausible that I just cannot let it slide. This huge event happens and this academy filled with students and teachers, miss it. It just happens right under their noses with not a single witness or ally for Gwen. In fact, there are two events in this book that happen and it’s astounding that no one was around to give assistance. At the start of this book it is clear that not only is the academy at risk, but Gwen is also a target and Mythos Academy does not up their security? More guards aren’t brought in? More magic security and wards aren’t set up or even normal human security systems? I just cannot fathom the fact that this is a school full of kids and their parents are so blaze that they do not demand that their children get more security? The Mythos library holds the major artifacts that the bad guys want and that building isn’t as secure as the White House?
These problems are too immense to be ignored. This is sloppy writing on the part of Jennifer Estep. She planned a certain end, she wanted an event to happen and so she made her good guys make huge mistakes and lose all common sense. I am the opinion that instead of making the good team stupid, you make the bad guys even more cunning. Or you the bad guys have to outnumber and overpower the good guys. The events in this book were so easily avoidable and after centuries of fighting, it seems impossible that the good guys could be so careless.
Besides the war with the reapers, the other story that has played through out the series is the complicated relationship between Logan and Gwen. Halfway through this book I became so sick of their angst. Logan finally broke up with his girlfriend Savannah and still Gwen and Logan cannot figure it out. What was more annoying to me, is the aftermath of Logan’s choice to date and then break up with Savannah. Logan used Savannah in the first two books. He had feelings for Gwen, but he dated Savannah anyway. I know that in real life, many women focus their hurt and anger on the new girlfriend, the mistress, etc. I just wished that in fantasyland, Savannah focused her anger on Logan. He’s the real jerk in that equation, but no Savannah calls Gwen a bitch and says nothing to Logan the person who actually broke her heart. This is a small thing and it happens in so many novels, but these stories are usually written for young adults. It would have been cool for Estep to use her characters as an example to young people.
Also, what is this trend that have characters waiting around for their love interest to be ready to commit? It’s ok for Logan to kiss more than one girl in this series, but not Gwen? I say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Another thing that annoyed me in book 3, that kind of just made me roll my eyes in the first two installments, is that Estep seems to have no real idea of how the other half lives. She seems to think that rich people only eat caviar and escargot. Gwen is constantly complaining about the lack of normal food choices. This point has been brought up often in all three books. I guess it’s supposed to bring home the point that rich kids surround Gwen. Mythos Academy is a private school, on the top of a mountain, where the students don’t have to share rooms! Of course they’re rich! Anyone who has been alive for more than a day can guess that a school like that doesn’t run on hope, but lots of money. Gwen doesn’t need to complain about designer bags and fancy food every other page for us to get it.
The ending unfortunately, ruined “Dark Frost” for me. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it just didn’t give me the vibes I got from the first two installments. I found the character’s choices to be incredibly stupid and it astounds me that the adults in this series are not better prepared or even intelligent.
Recommended for people who’ve read the first two books.
“Kiss of Frost,” picks up a few weeks after the events in “Touch of Frost.” Gwen has finally accepted that the people at Mythos Academy are not crazy and that there is indeed a war going on between good and evil. In this installment, Gwen is very much trying to figure out who she is and catch up to her classmates. The other students at Mythos Academy have known about Loki their entire lives, they have trained and they have experienced the death of family members and friends. This violent and deadly world is new to Gwen and she tries her best to catch up.
Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill Gwen. She is almost run over by a car and an arrow flies a few inches from her head. She is being hunted, but instead of sitting around waiting for the killer to find her, Gwen decides to find them first. This leads to an epic battle, mythical beast attacks and an avalanche. Gwen just cannot keep herself out of trouble. Even when she is forced to stay inside in order to stay out of trouble, trouble always finds her.
“Kiss of Frost” is not complex. I pretty much knew who the bad guy was and figured out the story’s big twist in book 1 of the series. If you are looking for a complicated story with twists and turns that has you scratching your head, then the Mythos Academy series is not for you. Actually, if you are looking to be shocked and stunned by your reading material then YA is not for you.
Though the plot is simple, I really enjoyed this book. I love the idea of young adults training to be warriors. The students of Mythos come from long lines of warriors and ancient cultures like the Spartans. These families have continued to fight to keep the world safe from Loki and his Reapers. Love it. That alone is enough to keep me turning the page. I also really like the characters. I’ve read reviews where people have called Gwen whiny, but I don’t feel that way. I am often annoyed by the resilience of characters. Something happens to them and they just brush it off and keep going. That’s not real. When something happens to me, I think about and I examine every side of it. When someone I love dies, it takes me a long time to move on. I think Gwen is as realistic as any character in this world can be. She’s been thrown into a world she didn’t know existed a year ago and she’s discovering all these new things about her family, her powers and herself.
What I really enjoyed about “Kiss of Frost,” is the new cast of supporting characters. In the first book, Gwen has no friends, is an outcast and is barely talked to. Through the events of “Touch of Frost,” Gwen gets herself a small crew of friends in Daphne and her boyfriend Carson. They are a sweet couple and help to make the tone of certain scenes light and funny. Gwen also has more reluctant companionship in Logan and his Spartan pals Oliver and Kenzie, who I wasn’t sure how to feel about them, but once I realized what part they played in the plot, I rather enjoyed. “Kiss of Frost” has a lot more dialogue than it’s predecessor and I was glad that Gwen finally got to do things besides stalking and moping around alone.
The only part of this story that I found truly frustrating is Gwen’s relationship with Logan. At the end of “Touch of Frost,” Logan decides that he cannot be with Gwen, because he does not want her to know all his secrets. Due to her gift of psychometry, it is almost impossible for Gwen to be with Logan and not learn his secrets. Psychometry is Gwen’s Gypsy gift, that gives her psychic impressions from the things and people she touches. There were moments in this book where I could not stand Logan. I was practically snapping my fingers and saying, “girl, forget him,” with attitude. Then there were moments where my heart went out to him. Mostly I just wanted these two kids to get together. I hope that this doesn’t drag on much longer. I hate series where the couple is together on page two, but it’s equally frustrating when your on book 5 and the couple still dodges each other.
I felt strongly about Logan and other aspects of the story, because I was channeling Gwen. Estep did a wonderful job in getting me to relate to Gwen and her life. That’s what I love about first person narration. If it’s done well it feels as if a friend is telling you an amazing story or as if you’re reading a long-winded journal. I tend to be overly critical of characters and their choices, which can really diminish a book for me. Luckily, I like Gwen and I like being in her head. That made this story all the more enjoyable for me.
Recommended for readers who enjoyed “Touch of Frost” or Estep’s Elemental Assasin series. The Mythos Academy series is recommended for lovers of YA, fans of mythology and anyone who likes a fun fantasy novel....more
I am a very reluctant fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. Reason? I don’t like books about Assassins. I really don’t, but Estep has managed to hook me firmly into the story of Gin Blanco and her quest for revenge. I picked up “Touch of Frost,” because the last few books I’ve read weren’t that great and I needed a sure thing. I am a fan of Estep’s writing and figured her Mythos Academy might just be that sure thing I needed. I was right; I love this first book in the series.
“Touch of Frost” follows Gwen Frost who is an outcast, the ignored girl in school and a gypsy. Like her mother and her grandmother before her, Gwen has psychic powers. She has the gift of psychometry, which means she gets psychic impressions from the things she touches. By impressions, I mean that she can literally see every person who has ever handled the object and can even feel their emotions. It is that power that has made her a bit of an amateur detective at her school. Lost a cell phone? Can’t remember which guy’s room you left your bra? No problem, call Gwen and for a reasonable price, she will find your lost item. After discovering the body of the most popular girl in school, Gwen decides to use her power to discover how Jasmine Ashton died.
Her desire to find the truth leads Gwen into dangers she never believed existed. Suddenly, the stories aren’t so much fiction or myth, but actuality. She discovers that there might just be a secret war between the gods and that she might be a player in that war. Along the way she tangles with mean girl Daphne Cruz and gains the attention of school bad boy and Spartan warrior in training Logan Quinn.
Something I like about Estep’s writing in this book, is that her style is very simple. She doesn’t overwhelm us with words, but lets the story speak for itself. I am always aware of where the characters are and am able to allow my imagination to build the rooms and see what Gwen sees. Lots of YA authors try to overwhelm us with slang and making their characters sound ‘hip.’ Teenagers are just young people and for the most part they speak just like adults. I’m glad that Estep’s characters don’t make me roll my eyes and wonder what planet she got her dialogue from.
I have to stop my objective review to make a subjective declaration. I love Gwen Frost. If the story had been boring (which it’s not) or if Jennifer Estep’s writing was horrible (it’s actually really good), I would still love Gwen Frost. When I read reviews and it goes as follows “the world is fascinating, but the main character frustrated me beyond belief!” I never pick up the book. If all I am going to do is roll my eyes and feel the desire to slip my hand through imaginary worlds just to slap a character, why should I pick that book up?
Gwen lives in a magical world where her classmates descended from gods and she can see the history of any object just from touching it. Gwen’s world is unreal, but Gwen is one of the more realistic YA heroines I’ve read. YA heroines are either total badasses like Rose Hathaway from “Vampire Academy” or a step back for women everywhere like “Twilight’s” Bella Swan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rose Hathaway, but let’s be honest. Rose isn’t a realistic teenage girl in any sense of the word. She’s who we all wished we could be, but we’re not that strong or that resilient. I like Gwen, because she is real. In lots of books, someone’s parent dies and it’s sad, but kind of at the back of their brain. The death of Gwen’s mother is always with her and Estep did a great job of writing the guilt people often feel at being the one who gets to keep on living.
Gwen’s guilt and despair about her mother’s death gives her a kind of protection in her new world. The world of Mythos Academy is difficult for Gwen to absorb. She doesn’t fit in with the students, she doesn’t believe their histories and she doesn’t seem to be filled with the kind of magic that can help her in the war they are preparing for. Since she carries survivors guilt, Gwen doesn’t care if no one talks to her, invites her out or that she doesn’t have a date to prom. Why should it matter? Her mom can’t enjoy life anymore, so why should Gwen? What’s great about this story is that we literally see Gwen heal. We’re there as she makes her first real friend at Mythos and when her feelings come alive around a certain Spartan. While her mother’s death will always be apart of her, she heals and begins the process of moving on.
The inciting incident of this story is definitely the moment that Gwen finds Jasmine’s body. Gwen does not run away screaming, her immediate thought is to check if Jasmine is still alive. That action tells me so much about her character. In the aftermath of Jasmine’s death, Gwen cannot believe how little her classmates seem to care that one of them has died. Gwen decides that someone has to care, someone has to investigate and the truth about what happened to this girl must come to light. Her investigation winds up and the actual truth behind Jasmine’s death is pretty over the top, but it works. Most important, it gives this series legs. “Touch of Frost” is a call to action. The beginning of a story that I believe will be epic. ...more
This is the story of how two people who are incredibly mean to each other, have lots of sex and then say I love you. That is literally what “Beautiful Bastard” is about. I would never classify this as a love story, because no one actually falls in love. I also wouldn’t call it erotica, because while the sex scenes try really hard, they just are not hot enough. Chloe Mills is an intern at a multi-million dollar company, that some how cannot live without her. Bennett Ryan is the mean COO of his father’s company and Chloe’s boss. After nine months of butting heads and Bennett being a complete bastard to Chloe, they begin having sex. It comes out of nowhere, there is no real hint that these people want each other, they just start doing it and cannot stop.
That kind of storyline drives me crazy. The “I hate you, but you’re so hot I can’t stop myself from having unprotected sex with you everywhere” storyline. Let’s face it, it is not that difficult to control your body. Bennett and Chloe are unbelievably awful to each other. They legitimately each other for most of this book, but some how they have sex in conference rooms, in office hallways, in Bennett’s office, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I understand passion and lust are sometimes beyond our control, but Chloe is supposed to be this serious and ambitious girl, why would she risk her career, her reputation and her job to have sex in hallways with a guy she doesn’t like? It makes no sense. You can say, well, she probably was in denial about liking him. Fine, but how can you like someone who treats you like something on the bottom of his shoe?!
I have worked for media companies, entertainment companies, advertising companies and movie companies since I was 16 years old. I have been the intern to Academy Award winning directors, executives, TV show head writers and company presidents. As good as I was at my job, I never found myself as comfortable and as needed as Chloe Mills is in this book. Sure, she has some kind of MBA internship, but guess what I know people who were MBA interns and they didn’t go to the President’s house for dinner and the president wouldn’t have stormed into their bosses office to demand that the executive treat the intern better. Chloe’s relationship to everyone else in this book is extremely absurd. Everyone’s like “we can’t do this without Chloe.” She is an intern! Of course you can do it without her. If Chloe left, you would still be able to run your million dollar business effectively! Give a me a break! I rolled my eyes at 90% of the office/business scenes, because it is pretty obvious to me that the writing team Christina Lauren, probably have never spent a day in a corporate office, before writing this book.
I think it’s incredibly sad when adults sit down to write fan fiction of teenage stories. How an adult can read “Twilight” and think it is so epic that they have to write Bella and Edward on other situations is beyond me. Liking and finding “Twilight” to be entertaining, I get, but not middle age mothers being so obsessed they decide to write their own book staring these characters. I actually don’t know how old the writing team Christina Lauren is, but since their bio claims they have jobs, etc I’m going to say they’re not 16. It blows my mind that these authors and the author of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” have been able to be successful by copying and repackaging someone else’s characters. I also find it shameful that publishers are actually going out of their way to release fan fiction. What happened to looking for the next great thing? Not rereleasing the same crap in different forms! By the time I have kids and they begin reading, publishing will just be a bunch of fan fiction about characters actual writers have created.
I have to say one thing about EL James, at least she wrote a story. We know about her character histories and there is a beginning, middle and end. The same cannot be said for “Beautiful Bastard.” This “book” consists of a bunch of scenes thrown together where Chloe and Bennett are mean to each other and then have sex. There is no real exploration into the characters and their histories. There is no characterization or evolution. One day out of nowhere they just stop fighting. Nothing has happens to bring this peace truce along, the authors just need them to stop fighting, so they do. There is no real conflict or resolution in this story. There is nothing and no one to really root for. I mostly had a vague interest in whether or not they would end up together in the end. There are no stakes. The author tries to throw in the idea that Chloe’s reputation could be tarnished, but this book does not take place in 1886, so I was not too worried.
I don’t have any real emotions toward this book, which I think is worse than hating it. If I hated it, that would mean that the author were able to get a rise out of me. It means that something they wrote deeply effected me for the worse, but a negative reaction is way better than no reaction at all.
I read this book in a few hours, because it is a ridiculously easy read. You open the book and the next thing you know it’s finished. It doesn’t even give you time to form an actual opinion.
Recommended for fans of Twilight Fan fiction and people who loved “Fifty Shades of Grey.”...more
I enjoyed Meg Wolfe immensely as a character. Here is a woman who lives under the cloud of her mother’s insanity and still she perseveres. Meg ‘s mother was the kind of woman that witch hunters search for. She was skilled in the dark arts, duped young women into joining her cause and killed male babies, because she had no use for men. Even with her haunted past, Meg steps up and becomes the Lady of Faire Isle. She is a “cunning” woman; a healer, a spiritual woman and feared for what the locals consider to be witchcraft and ungodly.
The story is well written and I absolutely loved the opening, but this book was just not my cup of tea. I always seem to forget that I do not enjoy reading books about life before Regency England. I love films about the middle ages, but there is just something about reading it that does not entertain me. Still the story has enough romance, magic and danger to keep the reader interested. Doctor Blackwood is a drunk who cares for nothing, but has enough under the surface to attract Meg, but I can’t say that I was blown away or intrigued. I’m a romantic at heart, so I wished they would have spiked up the tension, but I guess a steamy love story wouldn’t have fit well into the story.
It is very political and deals a lot with the society at large. There’s also a sense of history into the book. Caroll has written fictional characters with a fictional religion, but does not ignore the superstition that runs rampant during the 1600s England. The ideas of witchcraft and how easily a woman lost her life because she was duped or falsely accused was probably the most intriguing aspect of this story for me. A woman who was too smart, too peculiar or alone was immediately under suspicion. Someone would get sick and all of a sudden everyone is yelling kill the witch down the street and all will be well.
I also find myself really wanting to do research on King James and discover weather or not he was this superstitious and constantly worried about the threat of witchcraft. In the story, I’d say he definitely had reason to be worried. Especially after being publically cursed by a woman burning on the stake. Imagine someone’s last words are to curse you that would strike fear into my heart as well.
Also, it never seems to amaze me the way that people would gather for public executions. Wow, we have changed a lot as humans, because I can never imagine cheering while someone burned alive before my eyes.
This is book six the Dark Queen Saga, which I did not realize, but I never felt lost or confused about what was happening....more
Kiri Palger is rediscovering herself and working hard for a better life. She purchased a house in Mystic Circle, because she isn’t very close to her family and wanted to belong in a tight community. She wants a place to belong. More than that, she wants to gain her dream job at what she considers to be the best gaming company in the world. Her neighbors work at the gaming company and she hopes that by getting into their good graces it will help her win the job. After moving to Mystic Circle, she has friends, the close community she always wanted and Lathyr for a love interest. Everything seems to be falling into place, until it becomes clear that the games she is working on are actually real.
The one thing that really kept my interest in this book, was Lathyr’s back story. He is basically treated like crap due to his mixed blood. He is not allowed to find a place of his own to belong. Honestly, this guy is basically a slave, he’s homeless and he’s not even accepted by his people, because he is not purebred. I just wanted this guy to be happy and have a place of his own. He is not sure of Kiri in the beginning, because while he sees that she could help him reach his goals, he does not have a clear vision of how she can fit into his future. Still, he turns out to be a pretty solid ally for Kiri through out the story.
This book was very difficult for me to get through. I am not sure why, the concept is really interesting and Robin D. Owens did a pretty good job at blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. Still I picked this up and put it down so many times, I really didn’t think I could get into it. Robin Owens’ writing style felt very stilted to me. Other reviews I’ve read don’t seem to agree, so this may just be my problem.
The other problem is probably that this book is the third installment of the “Mystic Circle” series. I didn’t think I would be that confused, because this book doesn’t follow the same characters of the earlier books. After reading the book, I realize that skipping the first two books were probably a mistake. While Kiri is a new character, it’s obvious that the plot is intricate and basically weaved through out the series. I wasn’t completely lost, but I think that reading earlier books could have helped me picture the world we were in.
“Enchanted Ever After,” is all about realizing your potential and that perhaps you are capable of more than you think. At points I just felt like, Ok, I get it, they were undervalued and now they’re awesome. Cool.
I spent the first half of this book in utter frustration. I was still a little bit ticked by the end of “Dark Frost” and the new events that Gwen is thrown into in “Crimson Frost,” made me seethe. In the midst of her long over due fist date with her Spartan warrior and hero of a boyfriend Logan, Gwen is arrested. The first half of this book reads like a Salem witch trial. The adults and students are basically yelling “witch!” at Gwen and blaming her for Loki’s escape.
The charges against Gwen are pretty much the worst charges that can be brought against a member of the Pantheon. She’s basically charged with treason and called a Reaper. The students of Mythos and even some of the professors turn against her and she becomes worse than the “gypsy girl,” she is now the face of every Reaper who killed a family member or friend of the kids at Mythos. A good chunk of this book is pretty bleak as the threat of execution hangs over Gwen’s head.
I enjoyed this installment of Mythos Academy more than I enjoyed its predecessor. While there are still moments where I slapped my forehead in aggravation, I thought that the characters smartened up. I still cannot believe that the library’s security has not been heightened to Fort Knox levels, but I will just have to suspend my disbelief. The library is an important location and it is important for the bad guys to break in every single book and steal something. That is how the wind blows and it’s time that I accept it.
I really enjoyed the fact that the characters seem to have matured. Daphne, Carson, Oliver and Logan stand beside Gwen through out her trial. They refuse to let the other students attack her and they never doubt her innocence for a moment. Even when it becomes clear that her allies will be placed under suspicion, her gang of warriors stay strong at her side. These kids have been through a lot together and it is great that Estep uses that to her advantage. They’re still teenagers and have teenage angst, but they know when to put that aside and they are capable of deciding which battles are worth fighting.
Logan and Gwen finally acknowledge their relationship and are determined to try. There are obstacles, big and strong, thrown at them in this book, but at this point it is clear that these two are meant to be. I really hope that they can get to a place where Logan and Gwen can be constant. They have proven that they will stand together in a crisis; it’s time to see them together in every situation. I was glad not to hate Logan at all this book. He’s finally decided to become a grown up in his relationship with Gwen. I was relieved to see that his childish behavior did not continue into this installment.
I found the climatic scene in “Dark Frost” to be absolutely ridiculous. I opened “Crimson Frost,” expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this book. Loki and the Reapers are finally developing into truly twisted and over zealous villains. The first few books were small time and now we’re finally meeting the true forces behind Loki’s army. I found the Reaper’s plans to be horrifying, horrible and awful. The idea of Loki’s transformation is very interesting and if the Reapers succeed it will be catastrophic for Gwen and the good guys. I’m glad that the Reapers have proven to be formidable. In the first three installments, I thought they were lucky, because they had the element of surprise. The pantheon was expecting them and still it’s surprising the steps they take and what their goals are.
I am excited to see what else will happen with Gwen. In earlier books we learn that she is destined to kill Loki. Gwen has achieved and survived so much, it still seems impossible that she could be strong enough to defeat the god of chaos. I am really excited to see where this stories leads and experiencing Gwen grow into the killer of gods.
Recommended for fans of Mythos Academy. Everyone else should read the first few books beginning with “Touch of Frost.”
ARC provided by Netgally and Kensington Publishing Corp.
“About Last Night,” is definitely one of the better romances I read this year. It is smart, romantic and incredibly sweet. Not sweet as in ‘It gave me a toothache,’ this book is sweet as in ‘if only I could find a love like that.’
Cath is messed up. She has a messed up past, has tattoos of her mistakes and is on a campaign to be a better Cath. The new Cath doesn’t make mistakes, focuses on her career, does not party and absolutely does not have sex. She gets her entertainment by people watching and coming up with lives for the people she sees. There’s the busty redhead, the bag lady and the handsome guy in the fancy suit that she calls “City.” Following a series of unfortunate events, Cath finds herself hung over in City’s apartment and discovers that her uptight banker has another personality all together. City is actually Nev, an undiscovered, laid back and very sex artist. What follows is amazing dialogue, chemistry that explodes off the page and a love story with great romance.
I really really enjoyed Ruthie Knox’ dialogue. I’d only gotten about 11% into the book before I realized I loved Cath and Nev. They are funny. Their chemistry is like a physical thing that emanated from my nook. It’s amazing when an author can write dialogue and write characters that blend so well together. Their conversation is sharp, intelligent, witty and yet so real. It’s as if Knox listened in at windows in the most intimate moments of a couple and wrote what she overheard. That’s how good the writing is.
My favorite aspect of this book is that Nev is correct. He’s not perfect and thank God Ruthie Knox didn’t even attempt to write him as such. Nev is strong, but never domineering. Possessive but never acts as if he in anyway owns Cath. He’s persistent, but never stalks. Nev is not perfect, because perfect does not exist in human form, but he’s correct. Nev has the correct attributes for a perfect romantic hero. There is this disgusting and in my opinion wrong trend in romance where the hero is borderline abusive. Being claimed like an object is not sexy. Having every guy who looks at you punched in the face is not sexy. Being stalked and pestered to give in is not sexy. It’s about time that an author gave readers an approach that is actually sexy.
The ending of this book is a bit over the top, but I love over the top in my romances. I love when the characters make big gestures and risk everything in order to win the person they love. Romance novels talk about forever. If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone, yes an epic gesture is needed. I thought that Nev’s final bid for Cath’s heart was romantic and beautiful.
Recommended for readers of Contemporary Romance, anyone who likes a few good love scenes and readers who like smart, witty and charming dialogue between main characters. ...more
I don’t usually read novellas. I find them to be too short and they usually don’t have the meat I search for in a story. When I read the official synopsis for Mona Hanna’s “High Witch,” I decided to make an exception. I’m glad I did. The story follows Ariel and Brayden, two people in their twenties, who meet and fall in love. Unlike many love stories, falling in love is the easy part for this couple. Ariel is a High Witch, making her one of the most powerful witches in the world. It also makes her the most hunted. There are people out there who would use her power and her body for selfish gains.
The magical world of “High Witch,” is the best part of this book. Dealing with the supernatural is one of the hardest things for an author to do well. There are hundreds and hundreds of stories, different take son legends and different interpretations of lore. Mona Hanna has come up with an interesting take on witchcraft.
I was absorbed by the world the author created. I found myself legitimately surprised at the first mention of magic and witchcraft. It’s so simply done and immediately caught my attention. I enjoyed learning about Ariel’s magic and discovering the many ways that a High Witch’s power can manifest. Still, I wish this book were longer. There just isn’t enough time to fully develop or grow attached to the characters. I wanted a lot more information and a lot more time with the world of “High Witch.”
The book relies a little too much on telling and not showing. Brayden seems to know and figure out everything and tells Ariel through conversation. I would have liked to experience it, to read in detail what was happening. To have twists and turns revealed through descriptions and have the story unravel before the eyes of my imagination. I also would have loved a bit more foreshadowing. There wasn’t enough of a dark cloud over Ariel and Brayden until the enemy is revealed a quarter into the book.
I would have loved more information about Ariel and Brayden. They fall in love and I don’t feel as if I experienced it. It just sort of happens quickly and without any personal conflict between the two characters. I wish we had more time to get to know them. I would have liked to know their family situations earlier on in the book. For example, I was surprised to discover that Brayden had family. From the set up of his character and the depiction of his fear of being fired I assumed he was orphan and would be homeless if he lost his position.
The story has very interesting and simple world building. It is also is a quick and entertaining read.
I recommend this book for lovers of magic, fans of witchcraft stories and anyone looking for an entertaining, but short book....more
It would be dishonest for me to say that I did not like parts of this book. I have no problem with the first half. I thought the love story was sweet and really rooted for Gage and Cassidy. I got to the halfway mark and realized that this book is very similar to the energizer bunny. It just keeps going and going and going. By the time I read 51% of this book I literally could not understand why the story kept going. The antagonists change their tune, so the author brings in new antagonists. The couple figures out that they have a communication problem and then continue not communicating! Not to harp on this point, but it’s as if this book consists of the first, second and the third book in a trilogy.
This book is melodramatic. I don’t mean, because Cassidy was abused as a child or because the main characters are absolutely horrible at communication. This book is melodramatic, because of the dialogue, because the characters are ridiculously unrealistic and because too much happens. Honestly, more happens to these characters in a yearlong period than in the lifespan of a normal person. Halfway into the book the author introduces a new character that comes with his own set of drama. Then 75% in a new love interest is thrown in to shake things up. Why? I honestly don’t understand why these characters were introduced. How is the reader supposed to be invested or even care about these new characters? They came 75% in, obviously they’re not important, now you’re just making us suffer through your ridiculous story. I say suffer, because very few people will quit a book after reading 75% of it.
Then there are the characters. I understand why authors make their heroine’s damaged and tragic. Some of my favorite characters in literature are damaged. No, I do not mind a damaged heroine; I do mind a stupid heroine. Cassidy is stupid. I get that she’s had a traumatic past and has issues with trust, getting to know people and taking care of herself. That is all clear, still I found her to be incredibly stupid. The first half of this book consists of misdirection and miscommunication. There were moments where Cassidy’s inability to read a situation astounded me. I could not believe how difficult it was for her to see that she was being manipulated and lied to. Having common sense really can save you grief in life and Cassidy has none of it.
Then there is Tyler. Ty is an affront to best friends everywhere. At this moment there is a BFF giving their friend half of their dinner, because they know their friend doesn’t have any. There is a BFF asking their parents if their abused friend can stay the night so that their friend can have a night of peace. It goes on and on. The fact that Ty could go from that BFF to the bastard he became is beyond my comprehension. It is fine that he loves Cassidy. It is fine that he wants to continue to be the number one man in her life. Everything else about this character is awful and I have to admit unrealistic. He emotionally blackmails, manipulates and abuses not only the girl he has spent his life tending, but also the cousin who takes him in. Worst of all, this side of him comes out of nowhere.
Finally, the love story. Gage and Cassidy see each other and are immediately in love. I don’t really believe in love at first sight, but many authors have been able to make this work. The problem is not how easily they fall in love. The problem is how quickly both characters begin planning forever, before they even speak to each other. I found all the inner thoughts of Gage to be unrealistic. McAdams really needed to talk to a few guy friends about their thought process. Gage thinks like a woman and I have enough guy best friends to understand that they do not think the way that I do. When Gage and Cassidy finally get together, there is no growth process. They do not take time to blend as a couple. They just begin thinking about marriage and babies, etc.
Cassidy before the epilogue is 19 years old. She is not in school and she works at starbucks. There is nothing wrong with working at starbucks, but this is a girl without a dream, ambition or any plans for the future. She is finally free of her abusive family and it never occurs to her to make a plan? She doesn’t save up money to go to school, start a business, or anything. I’m not even sure that she graduated from high school. There is not even a mention on whether or not Cassidy sees her future as a stay at home mother. Everyone is different. I literally wouldn’t care what her plan was, as long as she had a plan. Nope, she gets away from her abusive life, focuses on guys and that’s it.
This is a story without any depth. It’s almost offensive that McAdams thinks that because she wrote a victim of abuse, she added some dimension. No. Victims of abuse still have dreams, they have hopes, and they want more from their lives. Sometimes they are damaged and never recover, but Cassidy doesn’t have the issue of drugs, alcohol or any of the other vices people use to cope. McAdams wrote a character that absolutely could have built a life for herself, but instead the author chose to write a woman who cannot cope without a man.
A love story should have romance and two people who cannot live without each other. Still, a healthy love has two independent people who have lives outside of each other....more
“Beautiful Disaster” is a fairly simple story. Boy meets girl in college they fall in love and drama happens. The writing is also simple. It’s not bad, but it also isn’t Pulitzer winning. It’s simple. The author doesn’t try to wow us with her prose and the descriptions are good enough to give us all a clear idea of what is happening and where we are. What is most interesting about this book and what everyone is talking about are the beautiful, insane, neurotic and disastrous characters.
I came into this book with a little too much foreknowledge. I knew the opinions of many. I was told that either Travis was the most abusive man in romance history or the dreamiest guy ever. He’s not. He is damaged, obsessive and unstable, but dreamy or ultra abusive? No.
I literally envisioned Travis walking around slapping women and kicking babies. He doesn’t do that, but he is probably the most violent character I have ever read. Really? Yes, he is more violent than vampire hunters or werewolf alphas. Why? Because he’s a normal guy in a normal world and all he does is fight. He fights for absolutely everything! He fights because he’s hurt, he fights because he’s jealous, he fights because he’s insecure, he fights because he wants money, he fights because he wants security…. he even fights the furniture when no else is around to punch.
There are scenes where his temper flares that literally made me cringe. I could never imagine dating him. I could never imagine standing idly by while a friend dates him. It blows my mind that I have seen his name on lists of fiction characters girls would most like to date. Travis is terrifying. He is unstable. He is not in love with Abby, no he is obsessed with her! Irrationally obsessed with her and it is so frightening how quickly he goes from ‘hey sweet thing’ to ‘you are my life and I would die for you!’
I have to wonder what kind of unrealistic world McGuire is from why Travis is never arrested in this book. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop and scenes where Abby visits him in jail. Nope. This guy gets away with beating up random guys on the street and in bars. He gets away with stalking, harassing Abby for a third of this book. He also gets away with screaming and crying outside of Abby’s dorm room all night. I don’t know how your college experience was, but in mine someone always has a paper to write, a hundred pages to read or an exam to study for. No way that campus security or the police wouldn’t have been called on Travis.
Then there is Abby. While I think Travis is extremely dangerous, I do not believe he is the type of guy to physically or mentally abuse his girlfriend. He is extremely unstable and co-dependent so any emotional abuse he inflicts is based off of his extreme obsession and emotional foolishness. Abby is the true abuser in this story. She literally pulls Travis through hell for most of this book. Only an idiot wouldn’t know that he was in love with her. She ignored that and dated Parker. Abby isn’t that interesting, so she must be the most beautiful girl ever for these guys to put up with her crap. What kind of self-respecting woman kisses one guy and then sleeps beside another every night? She mercilessly toyed with Travis and Parker’s feelings. She even placed Parker in danger, because Travis is so unstable and violent.
It blows my mind that this book is considered a love story and not a cautionary tale. This book should be in the mental health section of the bookstore. It’s a book about codependency on the highest level. It is also a book about rage, about violence and jealousy. It makes me sick to think that there are people like Abby and Travis in the world and that they can actually be in a relationship.
Their friends and family’s reactions to their relationship is so unrealistic. If my brother came to me and told me it was forever with a girl he has been dating for a month, I would be wary and have a talk with him. Everyone is too accepting of this dysfunctional relationship.
“When you have it Brazil…you’ll get it” says Travis to a friend who doesn’t understand how this couple can be so serious. Yes, people have married and loved their high school and college sweethearts, but it’s about time that authors stop writing these characters who are in forever love. How often does a 19-year-old stay with their boyfriend for the rest of their lives? Time to stop overwhelming us with irrational ideas on love. Why can’t two teenagers meet and live without insane talk about marriage and forever?...more
Favorite Quote: He died in a way that befitted his audacity.
When I finish reading a book I immediately open Microsoft word, Tumblr or even notes on my iPod touch to write down my thoughts. I always find that my immediate feelings are my most honest and sincere. Not this time. After reading “Dark Dealings,” I needed to take an hour or so to process what it is I read.
I have to give author Kim Knox credit for how different this book is. I cannot recall a book that is quite like “Dark Dealings.” Not just in terms of the fantastic world building. Knox uses sex and approaches characterization in a very unique way. Ava is the main character, the heroine and for most of the book I could not tell if she was the good or bad guy. Sure, I understood that she wasn’t responsible for the crimes she investigated, but her actions and desires make it impossible to really call her “good.” I have to say that I loved that aspect of the story. I didn’t know how to feel about anyone and I didn’t really know whom to root for until the last third of the book.
This world is filled with brash, vicious and magical creatures. Mages, Thieves and Elementals are all savage in their own way. They feed and use magic in different variations and cannot seem to get along for any reason. The characters live in the Institute, which I imagine is a magical city, but could also maybe be a large university type situation.
Ava and Heyerdar are different beings of dark, old and forbidden magic and they are both the only of their kind within the Institute walls. Ava is a thief, a creature who consumes the flesh and magic of her victims. She is an outcast. The pet of a higher powered mage. She is feared, hated and distrusted by the people around her. Heyerdar (honestly, how do you pronounce that?) is an elemental with power over the earth and gains his strength from the pull of the sun. He is also the Emperor’s left hand and one of the most powerful men in the Institute. Together they use their forbidden magic, harnessing their sexual energy to drive a couple apart. Ava wants her master and friend, Reist, to herself and Heyerdar wants Fallon back in his bed.
Ava and Heyerdar have to work together to investigate strange deaths within the Institute walls. This is obviously a ploy by the author to get them next to each other and talk about sex. After ten years of living in the Institute and never speaking, suddenly there is a case that forces the two to interact closely? It’s convenient, but it works well. While investigating the murders, obviously committed by Thieves, Ava must fight her baser instincts.
Ava’s situation is enough to make anyone angry. This is a woman who has given ten years of her life in support of the Institute, the Mages and their Emperor and they do not respect her. At all. They keep secrets of her very nature from her and she realizes how little respect they have for her. There are scenes where these people actually spit at Ava! It is disgusting and really makes you feel for her.
Ava’s main interest in this book is not finding the murderers. The problem that consumes her is how to get Fallon away from her beloved Reist. The issue with this is that Ava secretly views moments between Fallon and Reist that makes it clear that they probably love each other. After reading a tender moment between the couple, I rolled my eyes every time Ava talked about how Resit should be hers. I really wanted to slap some sense into her and tell her to move on!
Knox then complicates my feelings, again. While Ava is selfish and closed minded about her relationship with Reist, it seemed to me that Reist knew how Ava felt about him. Who do you root for in this situation? Do you hope that the girl that is willing to use undermined means gets her man? Or, do you hope that the guy who enjoys her attention without the commitment, get his cake and eats it too? Then there is the domineering alpha male Heyerdar. I was never sure if I wanted Ava to run to him or from him. By the end of the book you will pick a side and know which characters to love and which characters to ignore.Up until that point, it is a bumpy ride.
This book is really entertaining. It has great dialogue, a unique world, strong sensuality and a love story that takes you by surprise. It is a very satisfying read.
I recommend this book for Paranormal Romance lovers, readers of fantasy and anyone who likes a good sex scene or ten.
Where should I start with “Summerset Abbey?” I’ll start by saying that this is a very depressing book. Which is not surprising, because it is set in a very depressing time in women’s history. This book made me cry. Not because there is a traumatic event like a death. No, I cried, because 100 years ago the lives of Prudence, Victoria and Rowena was life for women all over the world. I cried, because even though it will be 2013 in two weeks, life is still like this for women and can even be ten times worse. Whatever its faults, this book is obviously well researched and flushed out. The dialogue feels authentic and the distinction between above stairs and below is very true to life. It’s honest, even in the end and it’s that honesty that makes this story so unbelievably depressing.
It begins with a funeral. Sir Phillip Buxton is dead. He raised his daughters Rowena and Victoria to see beyond class, speak their minds and above all love Prudence Tate like a sister. Unfortunately, Sir Phillip left his daughters in a world that is on the brink of change, but hasn’t made it there yet. Their cold uncle and their bitch of an aunt take in the Buxton girls. I’m sorry to use that word. I really am, but Lady Summerset is the kind of woman that makes me ashamed to call myself the same sex as her. The Earl and Lady Summerset, take the girls in and everything changes. Prudence, who has been treated as a beloved sister, is now thrown in the servant’s hall. The servants ridicule her, she is hated by the family above stairs and abandoned by the people she called sisters. Victoria wants to help, she wants to fight, but her words are left on deft ears, due to her frailty and sickness she is always seen as a child. All the while, Rowena is crippled into inactivity and silence under the weight of the “responsibilities,” left to her as the oldest.
I think that we are supposed to care about all three girls equally, but I could not bring myself to like Rowena. It is Rowena’s idea to have Prudence travel with them as their maid. Rowena’s stoicism and silence is intolerable to me. If she truly loved Prudence as a sister, the thought of making her a servant would have never cross her mind. It made every word, choice and emotion from Rowena seem insincere. She spends a lot of time complaining about how everything falls on her. She is a rich woman in 1913. Her father left her money that she will receive on her 25th birthday. Poor women in this time literally had no options. They had to become someone’s servant, raise other people’s children or become a prostitute. When you consider that, it becomes hard to take Rowena seriously. All she has to do is watch out for her sister. Not raise her, since Victoria is 18. The other thing she has to do is put her foot down and tell her relations that her adopted sister is not a maid. This is all. Instead of being an adult or just being a good person and doing the right thing, Rowena spends half this book pouting and saying it’s not fair she has so much responsibility.
Victoria, on the other hand, has such spirit and conviction it is difficult not like her. Women like Victoria are the reason I have the right to vote, why I have rights and a career. Victoria is a forward thinker who refuses to be boxed in, just because she is a woman and has asthma. She will not be babied or taken care of. Her body may be feeble, but her mind is not. She never gives up on trying to find a way to get Prudence back as her sister. She is loyal to a fault and wants more to life than being a gentleman’s wife.
Then there is Prudence. If I had to pick one word to describe Prudence Tate that would be good. Prudence is a good person. When Rowena waits until they are a few minutes from Summerset to inform Prudence that she is to become a maid, Prudence does not throw a fit. No, Prudence accepts her new lot in life and trusts Rowena to fix it. She goes to live in the servant’s quarters, takes all the crap thrown at her and is still a loyal sister to the Buxton girls. Prudence’s loyalty, her bravery and her good spirit is what helps to make this story so unbelievably sad. It becomes very clear that a secret is lurking over Prudence’s past and that she is unknowingly on a path toward heartbreak and disaster. The Lady of Summerset is determined to get rid of her from the start and without her sisters to truly have her back, there was no possible way for Prudence to win.
I knew this and I even had my suspicions on what the secret was, but I was still blown away by the ending. I was stunned and absolutely devastated. I hated the Earl and lady. I hated Rowena for not being stronger and not preventing this from happening. Then, it was just over. The book was complete and I am left feeling empty. I wouldn’t call the conclusion of this book to be a cliffhanger. In all honesty, it doesn’t even feel like a conclusion. It’s like the writer simply put down her pen and said “oh well, I guess I’ll just finish this in another book.” Even if there is more installments to a story, each book should have a beginning, middle and an end. “Summerset Abbey” doesn’t so much end, or pause, it just stops. It’s like when you’re walking in a crowd and the person before you comes to an abrupt halt. You have no time to catch yourself before you bump into them or fall all over yourself trying to avoid them. That is how the end of this book felt.
I have to address calling Lady Summerset a bitch. It’s not the usual way I speak, but it could not be avoided. I dislike any woman who does not have loyalty to her sex. I do not care if it’s 1911 or 1776. If a woman is brutalized or raped, we as women should sympathize and feel for that person, because it could have happened to us. In 1911, if you had a child out of wedlock, it doesn’t matter if you are the daughter of a duke or a scullery maid, you will be disgraced. Therefore, every women should be understanding of a fallen woman. Lady Summerset is someone who only cares about appearances. She is so worried about scandal or what other people think, she hurts someone that she should have championed. She is someone who doesn’t see the point in equal rights and doesn’t understand that a woman can be more than a pretty face. She misunderstands Victoria, because Victoria has a mind and actually educates herself. She looks down on Rowena, because she feels Rowena should be flaunting her pretty face in order to get a husband. I hate this woman. I hate what she represents. I hate that women like her actually existed. Women like her made life for poor, disgraced and unmarried women lives ten times harder than any man could have. And, that is why I put my politically correct self aside and call this woman a bitch.
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It’s sad and had a tone of melancholy that starts on the first page and continues through on to the last. This book does not have a happy ending. I kept waiting for good things to happen to Prudence, Victoria and Rowena, but for the most part it doesn’t. In fact, what happens to Prudence in this book has left me devastated. I am only really reading the sequel in hopes for a showdown where Victoria puts Rowena in her place and hopefully for some form of happy ending for Prudence. Lets face it, women in Prudence’s circumstances barely ever had happy endings. I should probably not hold my breath.
Recommended for fans of shows like “Downton Abbey” and lovers of historical fiction.
At the start of “KEPT” Natalya Stravinsky is exactly where she left off in “COVETED,” at least mentally. Though she fought beside the pack and showed herself to be a brave wolf that will defend her family, she is still not accepted. Farley, the Pack Alpha, is finally willing to give Nat a chance to regain her place in the pack. First, she must succeed in ‘The Trials.’ The trials are a series of boot camp like tests that start with a 10 mile run and end with a fight to conquer the other wolves struggling for a place in the pack. On top of the training for the trials, which Natalya has yet to begin, Nat discovers that her father is missing.
Armed with the assistance of her colorful cast of co-stars and a bag of disinfected wipes, Nat goes on a journey that takes her throughout the North East in search of her father. Like its predecessor “KEPT,” is full action, heartbreak, triumphs and obsessive compulsive behaviors.
“KEPT” is an entertaining story that questions right from wrong and duty vs. desire. At the start of the series, we learn that despite their obstacles and past behavior Natalya and Thorn love each other. Five years prior, Thorn went to the west coast and didn’t return for five years. It was Thorn’s abandonment that led to Natalya’s breakdown and ultimately her being kicked out of the pack. Finally we learn what kept Thorn away and why they were separated in the first place, still excuses and explanations cannot solve the problem. Natalya is an outcast and Thorn is engaged to be the mate of a rich female chosen by his father. No matter how hard they try, these two cannot seem to avoid each other and sparks always fly.
Especially, when you add in Nat’s therapy partner the white wizard Nick. Things with Nick are easy. They get along well, they understand each other and Nick has proven time and again that he will come to Natalya’s aid whenever she needs him. They have a spark, but Natalya cannot seem to let Thorn go.
It’s probably obvious from my earlier review of “COVEDTED,” that I really enjoyed that book. Loved it, read it quickly and could not put it down. While entertaining I did not love “KEPT.” Perhaps it was because I went into the first book with no expectations and into its sequel full of hope and excitement, but “KEPT,” just did not stand up to my expectations.
First, I thought that Natalya made choices that weakened her character. I don’t mean due to her OCD or the actions she takes to rescue her father and win the respect of the family. No, it is her relationship with Thorn that turned me off to the book. Madison made some choices that really villainies Thorn’s fiancé Erica and even to a lesser extent, Nick. It was as if Madison wanted to give her characters reason to make choices that are not really acceptable.
There were times where I downright disliked Thorn. He’s this alpha male, who has buckled underneath his father’s demands and yet refuses to leave Natalya alone. There were moments where it felt as if Thorn was purposely baiting and making Natalya crazy with jealousy and want. He never takes a step back and always finds himself in the middle of her business as if he wants her to rely on him, even when she cannot have him. Madison tries to explain this away and make it seem that no matter what his situation, he loves her and must help her. Unfortunately, I’d made my mind up about Thorn since book 1. Also, Nick really comes through when Thorn is off being a pack wolf.
Love triangles aside, the story progresses in a way that did not stun me. I thought that Natalya’s journey to help her family was interesting, but as a whole I wasn’t wowed. There are new creatures introduced in this book, but I felt I was more interested in learning more about the creature we’ve already met. I wanted to know more about nymphs, muses and mermaids. Still, we’re introduced to the fae and Madison’s vision of them is very interesting. They are terrifying, vengeful and powerful. They have powers that could keep you up at night and at moments I was happy to see their power at work.
Despite being slightly disappointed, I will continue this series. Huge events take place at the end of this story and I really want to see where Madison is going to take her characters from this point. ...more
There are many werewolf/pack/shifter stories out there. Many of those stories have multiple supernatural creatures like fae, witches and necromancers. What makes Shawntelle Madison’s debut series “Coveted,” stand out is her unique, completely messed up and incredibly entertaining characters. This book has a motley crew of obsessive compulsives, hoarders and germaphobes. Natalya, the heroine of this story, is at the top of the dysfunctional pyramid being in possession of all three.
This book is action packed with battle scenes, malicious attacks and even a hoard of zombie warriors. The writing is entertaining and flows so wonderfully from page to page, that it’s easy to breeze through and difficult to put down. In just about every version of werewolf fantasy novels, the Pack is portrayed as old school, incredibly brutal and not at all fair. The pack in “Coveted,” is no different. What is different is the quite compelling idea of how a werewolf with a mental disorder as debilitating as OCD, is not only treated, but viewed in this tough animal like world.
The story begins with the return of Natalya’s ex-boyfriend, Thorn. From the first moment his name is mentioned, it’s clear that Thorn is a trigger of Natalya’s condition. Her anxiety and discomfort grows just from the mention of his name. The minute he appears, all goes south. It’s easy to say, “well, that’s love,” but Madison takes her character to a different level of complexity. While Natalya is pleased at his return, she is terrified that he will see what she has become.
Natalya’s OCD is viewed as more than just a weakness. It is seen as a potential threat to the pack. She is more than ignored or abused, Natalya was tossed aside due to the pack’s inability to understand or help her. Thorn’s abandonment pushed her over the edge and allowed her disorder to swallow her up. His return forces her to face her issues and seek help. It is her desire to improve herself and regain access to her pack that pushes Natalya to join a quite awesome therapy group filled with supernaturals. The group ranges from a mermaid who is afraid of returning to the ocean to a dwarf who is too tall to find love within his own people. Their disorders and issues are wide ranging, faintly ridiculous to consider and yet so well mirrors real life problems.
In the midst of group therapy and reconnecting with her food addict best friend named Aggie, the werewolf pack from Long Island attacks. The Long Island pack takes the brutal and sneaky mode of action. The invading pack sneaks in kills the weakest and kidnaps beloved members of the pack for ransom. Being an rogue wolf and weak, Natalya is instantly marked for execution. While trying to keep her extremely neat world in order, Nat is constantly under attack, spurned by her fellow wolves and getting mixed signals from Thorn.
What follows is an incredibly entertaining story that ends with a battle so awesome and engaging, you will be cheering on these characters to the end. Throughout, there are moments of injustice, amusing Russian family dinners and adventures with an intriguing white Wizard, named Nick. ...more
Rayna is trying to get her life back on track. After two years in and out of a psychiatric hospital, she is finally in remission. She has a friend, she’s going to the local high school and she is applying for after school jobs. All is well, until her nightmare comes to life. Not only does she see an angel for the first time in months, that angel goes to her school, is impossible to avoid and it’s hard to pretend he doesn’t exist.
From the minute Cam, the angel, steps into Rayna’s life everything goes wrong. Her classmates begin to see she’s a little off, she realizes her family resents her and she learns she is probably the worst waitress in the history of the world.
What I love most about “A Shimmer of Angels” is Rayna. That is very rare for me when it comes to YA, but there aren’t many bad things you can say about her. This is a normal teenager who can see angels. She has spent her life being told that angels are not real and she is crazy. She has every reason to hate the world or to pathetically hope for acceptance.
Rayna does neither. She just wants to function. She doesn’t want to be high on meds, doesn’t want to stay locked up and doesn’t want to be babied. She wants to make money to help pay her medical bills, she wants to drink hot coco with her best friend and she wants to get through a day without feeling like a freak. With all the bad in her life she never screams woe is me and lament about how awful her life is. She stays sensible and tries her best not to get caught staring at wings.
Another aspect I loved about this book is that it has moments of calm. It never gets boring, but the world isn’t ending every minute. There is plenty of action in the form of an escape, a hostage situation and a fight between angels, but it’s never overwhelming. The author does not try to convince us her story is good by constantly trying to keep us in battle. She knows her world is good and her characters are interesting enough to keep our attention without over the top theatrics.
The main plot of this book comes to a conclusion and I wouldn’t call the ending a cliffhanger. Still, there is so much unsaid, questions unanswered and a future that is unclear. Rayna has stepped into a brave new world. I cannot wait to read what happens next....more
The synopsis of this book is interesting. It pulled me right in. I always think my life has to be a dream, well, a nightmare. The idea of Skye waking up and told her world was all fake, fascinated me. However, this book did not. “Alternity” has a really great plot and just a so-so execution.
Terra is a unique idea on the part of Mari Mancusi, the author. It is easy to imagine a world underground with its tunnels and upstairs, downstairs mentality. Still, there are many inconsistences not only in the world, but also with the characters. The people in this story are caricatures. They are not flushed out or unique. Mancusi has an idea of what a love interest or villain should be and it doesn’t matter if that idea does not fit in with her world. For example, Dawn is a dark sider who lives in what is described as a cave and scrambles to find food. Even with all that poverty, he wears a leather coat and rides a hover bike. How can he afford these luxuries while his neighbors drag around in rags? The master villain gossips his master plan over the phone and makes throat-slitting noises like a cartoon character. How is this guy supposed to put fear or urgency into the heart of readers?
“Alternity” is written as if Skye is talking directly to the reader. Most first person narration walks the line of ‘the character is telling us a story’ or ‘we’re observers in the character’s head.’ There are lines in this book like “not for the reasons you think” or “not in a romantic way, mind you,” that gives the feeling that Skye is recounting the story to the reader over coffee and scones. I found that I liked this approach. It was almost as if Skye fell into the chair across from me at Starbucks and began telling a ‘you will never guess what just happened to me,’ story.
Skye spends a lot of time denying the beliefs of the people of Terra. That is understandable. Who would easily believe that their identity is false? For someone so stubborn and practical, it seems ridiculous how easily she believes everything else. A guy she’s just met tells her she’s no longer on Earth and she’s just like ok, how do I get home? She doesn’t demand proof or ask detailed questions. She just buys it. If she can easily believe she’s on another world, why does she take so long to consider the other possibilities?
Skye insists that she has a life she has to get back to, no matter what. While on Terra, she never thinks about her boyfriend or her parents. Doesn’t wonder how long she’s been gone or if they are missing her. It’s her lack of any real emotion, besides pity for people who think of her as Mariah, that makes her impossible to relate to or empathize with.
There are bright moments between Skye and Dawn that are effortlessly charming. Their back and forth banter flows beautifully on the page convincing me that these are two people with great chemistry. Dawn is perhaps the saving grace of this book. Leather coat and hover bike aside, his feelings are portrayed very realistically. His happiness at seeing Skye and his hurt over her apparent betrayal, all seem honest. His emotional journey through this book, keeps you turning the pages.
Whenever the rules of the world become clear, the author throws a new aspect into the mix. The idea of a parallel underground world is twisty enough to deal with. Every new twist just adds too much. It becomes too scientific, too technical and over the top. It’s like a sci-fi melodrama where no one is who they say they are and everyone is obsessed with Skye or has a deep dark past.
My biggest issue with this book is that the author really doesn’t understand the behavior of characters she has written. Skye’s boyfriend kisses her on the cheek and she is uncomfortable with what she calls PDA in the school. If the author believes that a kiss on the cheek in a college hallway is risqué she knows nothing about college students. Also, she references NYU film kids saying that they love “Citizen Kane” and look down on people who like “Star Wars.” False, I graduated from NYU film school. I hate Citizen Kane, but love Star Wars. Any film kid who hasn’t seen either of these movies would probably get scoffed at and then their friends would force them to watch the movies. These sections are very small parts of the book, but are apart of Skye’s character build up. Authors should always do research, before adding specifics. You know what they say about people who assume.
This story runs at a slow pace until the end where two big twists are revealed. While I was vaguely surprised, it wasn’t an OMG moment and it didn’t improve the book for me. The character just kind of bounces around for a few chapters, while nothing really happens. This book is all about Skye and her struggle to discover who she is and what is real. Unfortunately it’s all one note. She gains some ground, then turns around and does a complete 360. Her lack of progression as a character makes this book a bit of a struggle to get through.
I recommend it for someone looking for a quick and easy read. Also for dystopian, sci-fi lovers. ...more
I read this book a few years ago and was not blown away by it. I understand that this was a look into the lives of the Beat generation and that these characters were raging sexual, literary and social revolution. They ignored the general rules and morals of the world around them and paved their own paths. Still, I was not a fan of their lifestyle and didn't really want to find my own journey on the road, the way so many other readers seem to do.
I did like the jazz like rhythm of Kerouac's writing and thought Dean an interesting and deeply flawed character ...more
“Entangled” moves at a pace that can only be described as whirlwind. Graylee is in bed, then she’s in her last class and then she’s at the dinner table. No transitions or segue. The author puts us in a scene and tells us whatever plot point she wants the reader to know and then moves us to the next scene or plot point. No finesse or flow. Graylee just bounces around the book until it comes to its incomprehensive end.
What must be applauded about this book, besides its beautiful cover, is the author’s vision of magic. “Entangled” is a very unique and different twist to witchcraft, the afterlife and possession. The magic that Raj is capable of is fascinating. The descriptions of the way that magic works, the healing process and the magic that brings Graylee back to life is new and unlike any other paranormal series.
Unfortunately, what Nikki Jefford wants her reader to understand about magic and magic users is unclear. Does magic or the power of witchcraft only come to those who are evil, morally bankrupt, stupid or crazy? That’s the way it seems. Every magical character Graylee comes across is ridiculously stupid, unaccountably selfish or certifiably insane. While on the subject of magic, it would be great to understand where the magic comes from. What makes someone a witch or a warlock, how do they discover their magic and how do covens work? None of this is explained. There are covens and those covens have rules. There is also a code that every magic user must swear to follow, but it is not clear why this code is there and who enforces it. There is no exposition of this world whatsoever.
The characters in this book are extremely foolish. Yes, this is a Young Adult novel, but by the age 16 or 17 you have a concept of why it is that you do the things that you do. There is no reason behind the actions of everyone from the hero to the villain of this book. If there is reasoning then Jefford is holding back until later books in the series. The conflict between Graylee and her sister Charlene started way before the book begins, but the reason this conflict has started is unknown. Is it jealousy or simple sibling rivalry? For a character to be three-dimensional their actions have to stem from emotions and feelings beyond simple jealousy. What did Graylee do to make Charlene hate her so much? Did is happen after their father that is never talked about or mentioned, died? Or was it the actions of their extremely weak and ridiculous mother?
One of the biggest issues with this book has to be the mother of these twins. She is an incredibly weak, foolish and a huge pushover. From the first chapter the twins run amuck and the mother does nothing. Charlene’s boyfriend breaks up with her and she is allowed to just mope around in her room, make magical threats and skip school, because her adolescent heart has been broken. The mother is completely ignorant of what is going on with her children. That can be said for most parents in YA, but at least other parents understand and know what their children are capable of. Mrs. Perez has no idea what kind of children she has raised and allows monstrous personalities to bloom under her own roof.
Then there is the love story. To call Graylee and Raj a love story would be a stretch. There is no build up or getting to know you section of this book. Suddenly, after years of knowing her, Raj is all about Graylee. He sees her use magic and all of a sudden he just knows she is the one for him. Reading YA and even adult romances can sometimes be tiresome, because authors don’t believe in allowing their characters to fall in love. Raj could have seen Graylee do magic and been intrigued enough to want to get to know her. Nope, he’s just into her. Just like that. Why do they like each other? Doesn’t matter, because the author didn’t give the audience anything to work with. They just become partners in crime and Graylee trusts him with all her secrets.
In fact, Graylee trusts every cute boy who smiles at her with her secret. Graylee comes back from the dead. It doesn’t matter that her soul is entangled with that of her sister’s, she is alive. It takes a lot of magic and probably some dark arts to accomplish something that huge. It doesn’t take a magical witch in a coven to understand that, but these characters run around telling this huge secret as if it’s hot gossip. Why are they so trusting? No reason, it just pushes the plot along. Characters are even capable of guessing the impossible, as if dead girls come back to life and inhabit their twin sister’s bodies all the time.
“Entangled” is a perfect example of a fantastic concept with a sloppy execution. Sloppy, might be too harsh a word, but this book feels like a first or second draft. It doesn’t feel fine tuned, polished or complete. The writer definitely needed to take more time to flush out her characters, her descriptions and her plot points.
I read this on the first full day of my neighborhoods black out post hurricane Sandy. I am someone who is always attached to technology. Attached to mI read this on the first full day of my neighborhoods black out post hurricane Sandy. I am someone who is always attached to technology. Attached to my computer, my ipod touch, my wifi, my TV, my netflix, my nook, etc etc. That is how I spend every day. I have not had electricity for about four days now and it's extremely grim for someone who is as technologically addicted as I am.
I have been unable to read books these last few weeks because I have been writing my first novel and have been unable to shift focus from that. Sitting down to read Magic Dreams was a last ditch effort to entertain myself in the wake of the destruction, death and darkness that has befallen my New York.
This is a short read. A Novella, but it immediately grabbed a hold of me and I fell in love. First, I love everything from the Kate Daniels world. Everything! It's ridiculous. I usually don't read the short stories or novellas of a series, but Magic Dreams pulled me.
Dali, what a great character. I loved her so much. She's a girl who is extremely smart, but not very attractive and she gets that. She's also pretty weak in terms of the pack and is basically blind. Still she races in the most dangerous races and is not afraid to face danger. Jim, we know well from the Kate Daniels books. He's the badass chief of security for all the pack and alpha of clan cat.
Dali is in love with Jim and basically risks everything to help him get out of the latest mess the pack has gotten themselves into. This story is short, but it is well written and composed. You've met these characters before, so the author wasted no time in back story, we know what we need to know. The story is jam packed with action, has great hilarious dialogue and a beautiful love story.
I love Dali, because unlike Kate who doesn't care she's hot, but is hot. Dali is a normal girl. She's not hideous, but men don't stop in their tracks to see her. She has the normal hang ups with her mom and of course is head over heels for the hot alpha male. Watching her prove that she is not only as fierce as Kate or Andrea, but she has her own flavor of power was pretty great. I hope we get more glances of Dali and Jim in the main novels of the series.
I wasn't sure what to think about this book, but I needed something different and a teenaged time traveler book written from the boy's perspective seeI wasn't sure what to think about this book, but I needed something different and a teenaged time traveler book written from the boy's perspective seemed different enough. I really must commend Julie Cross, because Tempest is an incredibly hard sell. Reading the blurb, I was really skeptical. It seemed fairly ridiculous, guy jumping around time to trying to save his girlfriend. What I got was a well plotted, interesting, action packed and beautiful story. In fact, lets call it a love story.
Jackson is a normal college freshman, who happens to be able to jump time. It's just for a few hours and isn't hurting anyone, or so he believes until a bunch of guys break into his girlfriend's room and everything he knows about his abilities, his life and his identity completely changes. He makes a jump two years into the future and is seemingly stuck, unable to return to his home base to save the girl he loves. What follows is a tale of discovery, science, intrigue and romance that, if you are able to suspend your disbelief will completely sweep you away.
I think what I love most about this story is Jackson. Even in his most terrible moments, when everything is horrible and life just sucks, Jackson is always able to keep his head straight and do whatever it takes to survive and keep the people he loves alive. I found the scenes with his twin sister Courtney to be absolutely heartbreaking. Just so sad and carries the sort of sorrow that anyone who has ever lost someone too early, understands. The regrets, the things you would say and most of all telling them you love them one more time.
The books second best aspect is a plus team of supporting characters. Holly, Adam and Jackson's dad, all just well written and rounded characters. Especially his dad, we're not sure who to trust for most of the book, but not matter what I learned about his father, I wanted the man to be good. I just got the feeling that Jackson needed one person to be there, one person he could trust and one person he could rely on no matter what and every part of my being hoped that his dad was legit and could be trusted.
I am so excited to read the next book and want to slap myself for not waiting to read Tempest until next year closer to the release of it's sequel. I'm interested in Emily and what her existence means for Jackson and his future. I want to know more about the EOT, there has to be more to them. I don't really get what they wanted with Jackson, did they feel that just because he is a time traveler he should be on their side? I'm also interested in Cassidy, and where or not she has any sort of emotional connection toward Jackson. I still don't trust the so-called good guys and just look forward for more action packed adventure. ...more
Alix is a woman who spends her life thinking of action and never consequences. She acts without thinking and barely accepts responsibility for those aAlix is a woman who spends her life thinking of action and never consequences. She acts without thinking and barely accepts responsibility for those actions. She spends the other half of her life feeling sorry for herself and making jokes at the expense of the people who force her to accept responsibility. Alix has just come into inheritance of a house and a large amount of money from an aunt who was thought to be a witch. In hopes of learning more about the aunt who left her such a generous inheritance, Alix searches through her stuff and finds a floppy disk. The floppy disk holds a magical code that brings her anything she wants. So she does the logical thing and orders the alter ego to a man she knows.
Crane is a very interesting author. She's not the best writer in terms of prose, but she has very unique and creative stories. Her Disillusionist series is completely different and has a lot of heart. The plot of "Mr. Real," is ridiculous, but an interesting concept that really makes you think. What would you do if you were able to bring anything and anyone you wanted to your front door? Added to that, it is packed with action, sensual love scenes and a bruised hero in the form of one Paul Reinhardt.
The story progresses with a series of twists and turns that keeps you turning the page even as you are shaking your head at the absurd plot. We experience this book from the POVs of Alix,Paul and Sir. Kendall, which I really enjoyed. With Sir. Kendall, you get to experience what it might be like for a character from a book, movie, commercial, to experience reality. It was interesting his jumps from super spy, to staring at a leaf as if it's the most amazing creation.
What is more ridiculous than the plot of this book? The main character, Alix. I must admit, if I was given this code, I probably couldn't stop myself from ordering Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy or Chris Hemsworth's Thor. The issue with Alix is not what she does. It's her inability to realize the consequences. She has literally brought to life Paul's worst nightmare and is angry at him when he points out that Sir Kendall may be dangerous or stays in her house for the soul purpose of protecting her. She is irrational and stupid through out the entire book. Just irresponsible and clueless.
Paul, on the other hand, is smart, fearless and carries a deep dark secret. Sir. Kendall is a character he created as a boy to save himself from abuse. Later in life he recreated Sir. Kendall as a super spy for commercials only seen in Australia. When he stumbles on Sir. Kendall and Alix in a proverbial love nest it is his most nightmare brought to life. What makes Paul a great hero, is that he doesn't run and call Alix insane. No, Paul faces his fears and decides to stay and help Alix with her insane problem. Paul is great, so great in fact that you have to ask yourself what a man like him wants with a clueless girl like Alix.
The ending breaks this book for me, unfortunately. All of a sudden the characters are sentimental and the story tries to become this super spy book. It works, but I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes. The characters become sentimental, perform complete 360s in terms of their emotions and Alix some how comes out smelling like roses. It's all her fault and yet everyone comes to her defense and she's let off the hook.
I recommend this book for lovers of paranormal or sci-fi who is looking for something completely different than the normal vampire or time-travel story. ...more
Katy Swartz is new in town and everyone knows it. Katy moves to a small town in West Virginia where the most interesting thing to happen is a new student. Katy arrives and quickly discovers that something is off about Daemon and Dee Black. Daemon is overprotective of his twin, who is starved for friends. Even with their strangeness, Katy cannot stay away and becomes great friends with Dee and frienemies with Daemon. The closer she gets to the twins the stranger things get. Daemon seems to move inhumanly fast and sometimes it seems that Dee blurs out and disappears. One night a stranger attacks Katy and everything changes. She begins to realize that the strangeness of the Black siblings is a lot more than a trick of the eye or her mind playing games on her. Katy walks into an adventure out of this world and opens herself to relationships that may change her life forever.
“Obsidian” is good, but not great. The book kept my attention, made me laugh and I was interested in learning more about the Black twins. Still, it is a very formulaic story. At no point was I shocked, overwhelmed or in awe of any of the event or character. I liked the story, but pretty much saw where it was going to go.
An issue I have with this book is the lack of feminism. The girls have to rely on the boys for security. The boys are protective, the boys hunt their enemies and the girls stay home waiting. In a world where women are soldiers, fly fighter planes and are rulers of countries, it seems impossible that the author could not write female characters that are warriors.
The girl's in this book are ridiculous. From Dee, the girl so desperate for attention the danger in this book can all be traced back to her, to Ash the oversexed, pathetic mean girl, still in love with a guy who uses her. Then there is Katy. For the most part I like Katy. She is intelligent, a book blogger, has a quick wit and is loyal to her friends. The issue with Katy is that she seems to lack common sense or any kind of street smarts. This is the kind of girl who will talk to a creepy stranger, as opposed to getting quickly away. Katy trips, slips and slides so often it's amazing to me that she can stand on two feet without Daeman holding her hand. On every other page, Katy stumbles and Daemon catches her. Don’t get me wrong, I like a knight in shining armor, but I like heroine’s who can walk a straight line better.
What I do like about Katy is that she refuses to just give in to her attraction to Daemon. Daemon spends the entire first half of this book, being nasty, mean and rude to Katy. He threatens her, laughs at her and embarrasses her in front of half of the student body. When things between them begin to change, Katy doesn’t magically forget or forgive the fact that Daemon was a total douche to her. She doesn’t just say “Oh, Daemon your eyes are soooo pretty of course I forgive you and of course you are my love forever.” Nope. This girl is not going to let some guy walk all over her, because he’s hot and that’s the kind of heroine I like to read.
The Science Fiction element to this story is interesting. I don’t read lots of Sci-fi and it was nice reading about beings from other planets. Jennifer L. Armentrout’s vision of extraterrestrials is different from the mainstream and it was a joy to read. I liked the descriptions of the aliens, their powers, their war and what happened to their home planet. I hope the series delves deeper into the sci-fi aspects and doesn't spend to much time on teenage angst.
As a whole, “Obsidian” is fluff. It doesn’t hold much depth, but it is entertaining, quick and funny. It also holds a level of intrigue.
I recommend this book for fans of Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris, anyone in search of a science fiction YA, readers who enjoy a badass hero who is also a jerk, and anyone looking for a quick, fun and easy read....more
“On Dublin Street” begins with such promise. You meet a damaged woman who meets an attractive man and sparks fly. This book has a great location in Scotland, an amusing cast of supporting characters and witty dialogue. I love the build up of Braden and Joss, up until their relationship became physical. I thought together they were charming, funny and sexy. Once they move from flirtation, the book lost some of its magic. The minute Braden forces his first kiss on Joss, I felt torn, My reactions were a cross between FINALLY! and the uncomfortable feeling that they were somehow unhealthy.
Joss has a lot of emotional problems that stem from the death of her family. Her fear of losing people and her inability to let people close, are all understandable issues. Who, after so many years of being alone, wouldn’t be shell shocked at the first sign of connection? I can understand that she needs a push, as her fear of loss is do debilitating. I just think Braden pushes too hard. He ignores what she wants, manipulates her emotions and is just way too controlling.
Braden is there whenever she turns around and sometimes it’s almost as if he is stalking her. Lets not even talk about the fact that he just lets himself into her apartment whenever he wants. This reoccurring alpha character, found in romantic stories, is beginning to worry me. Are we supposed to fall in love with a man who drags us into it kicking and screaming? Is it no longer masculine for the man to be patient and wait for the woman to come to him? Are females so weak or stubborn that they can never deal and need to be shoved into a relationship for their own good? If not, why are these alpha men so popular in fiction? Where are the Mr. Darcy’s who come on too strong, realize the error is their ways, does the right thing and then waits for the heroine to make her choice? Imagine if after Elizabeth Bennett turned down his first proposal, Mr. Darcy said, “I don’t accept that” and then proceeded to harass her.
As domineering as Braden can be, his heart is mostly pure. He does things because he cares and believes it’s for the best. Joss is just horrible. Something bad happens to a friend and her first thought is of herself. For the first half of the book I liked Joss and then she proved to be self absorbed and extremely selfish. Post traumatic stress and commitment issues go so far as an excuse for being a bad person. She must be really hot, because for the life of me I could not tell why Braden spent so much time fighting for her once her personality was revealed.
Even with all the domineering men and selfish heroine, “On Dublin Street” is a really entertaining book. It is funny, sexy and at times it is even heartbreaking. I can’t pretend that I was completely unconnected to the characters and that I didn’t relate to the issues. Young does a fantastic job of pulling the reader in and making it impossible for you to put the book down until the end. It’s just too bad I couldn’t like the characters a little better....more
This book ruined the Kitty Norville series for me. It gets off to an OK start. Kitty has locked herself away in a cottage, basically in the middle ofThis book ruined the Kitty Norville series for me. It gets off to an OK start. Kitty has locked herself away in a cottage, basically in the middle of nowhere, to help heal and cope with what happened to her at the end of "Kitty Goes to Washington." Kitty comes off a bit weak and even immature at moments in this book. Her calling in the other supernatural talk show under false names, to try and rile up or shake up the DJ. I just couldn't believe this was the same character. You are the girl who stood in a cage, faced down your assailants and turned their evil plan in your favor? You are the girl who literally pulled a fae over your spell circle? I can get taking a break from the show, but crank calls and stupid jealousy because you put your show on hold and someone else had the gal to have a show similar to it?
To make matters worse, Cormac brings a recently bitten Ben to her doorway.This is when the story goes completely south for me. It had such great promise, the idea that Ben, the ever cool lawyer is now a werewolf and Cormac, the werewolf hunter must now decide whether or not he's going to kill his cousin and best friend. The issue is that Ben is an annoying wolf.Don't get me wrong, I get that being turned into a wolf is traumatic, but Ben becomes a victim. He is always whining and relying on Kitty to talk care of him. The amount of times he yelled or whimpered "Kitty!" needing her was soooo annoying and made me roll my eyes lots.
Added to that, there is their relationship. HOW? I am sorry. Kitty has a short attention span. She throws herself at Cormac, while sleeping with Carl. Cormac is a bit freaked, which is to be expected seeing as he was raised to hunt werewolves, and so Kitty turns to Luis, who was boring as all hell. Now, all of a sudden she's into Ben? Cormac and Kitty have had chemistry since the first book. Their banter has made me laugh, etc. I liked Ben in earlier books, but there was never any real chemistry or attraction to each other. In fact, Ben spent the first two books telling Kitty how into her Cormac is, etc etc. Now all of a sudden they're together? I would have been ok with this, if after their initial hook up, there was a sign of romance, of attraction, of heat. NO, Ben just needs someone to take care of him because he's a submissive wolf and that bugs me. I am all for strong female characters, but an alpha female needs an alpha male, not some beta wolf that is going to bow his head and wait for her to get in the middle of the battles. I mean she is hurt protecting him and he's like "i should have done something" YES! You should have. Also, he goes from this badass lawyer who stared down overzealous senators on the senate floor, to a hack who cannot even handle some small town newbie prosecutor?
They're relationship is all about convenience. He's a wolf, she's a wolf, hey lets be a pack and while we're at it, lets have sex! Never mind that we never had any real attraction or interest in each other. Never mind that my cousin likes you. Never mind that when you would meet up, Ben would order lunch and barely pay you attention besides work.
I have said it before, a book is as good as it's romance and this romance was cheap, sloppily thrown together and not organic or even interesting. That coupled with Kitty's immaturity and the fact that they could not figure out simple little mysteries and threw Cormac under the bus really ruined this series. I have read some spoilers and I guess whats to come in the series is interesting, but I am disappointed, UF has not been bringing it's agame for me. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. Entertaining, action packed and interesting through out. I admit that I wondered where the story was going. But I was neve
I really enjoyed this book. Entertaining, action packed and interesting through out. I admit that I wondered where the story was going. But I was never bored.
I found this book to be interesting, because I had no idea who to trust, who was good, who bad and what their intentions were. Everyone just seemed to want to use Kitty as a pawn and I just wanted to know why.
In this installment, Kitty is called to speak to a senate committee on being a werewolf. Bold move on the authors part. I can't really think of a character who was pulled into the public light in this way. Where everyone in the country basically knows they're supernatural. The concept was very interesting.
While in Washington Kitty meets an interesting cast of characters. A master vampire, a club of shifters with no alpha and a persistent paranormal reporter. She also once again faced with Doctor Flemming and the cult leader Elijah Smith. Smith is the reason I could not give this book five stars, the entire interaction with him was too easy. He is such an interesting character, i think he deserved his own book where he could be truly used as a villain. Just easily resolved. All the chaos just seemed to resolve itself and calm down without any real repercussions. I expected more after his scenes in the first book.