I still have yet to finish The Tudors with the ever-lusty Jonathan Rhys Meyer because my DVD player broke down, but with 2 seasons under my belt, I fe...moreI still have yet to finish The Tudors with the ever-lusty Jonathan Rhys Meyer because my DVD player broke down, but with 2 seasons under my belt, I feel confident that I knew all there was to know about Anne Boleyn to dive into anne of hollywood. Unfortunately, the scandalous lives of the 16th century nobility do not mirror the scandalous lives of the Hollywood elite as well as I had expected. The characters and their motives, while present, fell a little flat, and not enough time was spent to develop these modern personalities to match their infamous historical counterparts. It is one thing to know whom Henry Tudor represented, but it is another to see that charisma ooze out of the pages. I wanted to see steam rise up from the pages of anne of hollywood with all the lust and love and betrayal and dramatic tension, but what I got was a bunch of characters who did not ace their history test. anne of hollywood reminded me of Gigi Levange Grazer books, so fans of The Starter Wife or maneater may appreciate another literary spin on the Hollywood scene. As for me, I will stick with Hollywood on silver screen. (less)
I do not know if I have been living under a rock, but where have all the witches gone? Have they been run out of the fantasy genre by werewolves, vamp...moreI do not know if I have been living under a rock, but where have all the witches gone? Have they been run out of the fantasy genre by werewolves, vampires, and other night bumplies? I had high hopes for Witchful Thinking – with a title so bubbly and clever, a cover so adorable, and hype that makes it sound beyond entertaining – but hex me silly, the story did not suck me in. I am not sure if it is because I started in the middle of Jolie’s charmed life or not finding any charm in her diary entries (they felt a little too juvenile for my liking), but even so, I did not feel compelled to backtrack to the beginning of the series. Although the ending makes up for the journey and leaves me more than curious to read onward, I am still hesitant to do so. I wanted more action, trouble, and clever words from Witchful Thinking. I think Raine Benares and Stephanie Plum have spoiled me for what to expect from a strong female lead who has an eye for trouble. Perhaps Jolie needs to channel a bit more Angelina to make this series sparkle with fun intensity. (less)
I expected GRAVE MERCY to somehow channel a fairy tale feel – maybe badass Red Riding Hood with a crossbow – given the cover and the tagline. I hate t...moreI expected GRAVE MERCY to somehow channel a fairy tale feel – maybe badass Red Riding Hood with a crossbow – given the cover and the tagline. I hate to break it to you, dear Readers, but this is no fairy tale. Nay, GRAVE MERCY is an intense EPIC fueled with dark and gritty details. Robin LaFevers has built a fascinating world built upon old magic and politics.
Ismae is a tough character to love, but I think that may be partly due to the fact that she has been a sheltered life that has ill-prepared her to interact normally and comfortably with people. Although she has the itch to assassinate traitors, Ismae is hardly the experienced assassin as Celaena Sardothien. She still is in her “training wheels” stage where she can have an assignment go smoothly, but that is due to 80% pure luck and 20% skill. Not to mention, if I were in Ismae’s shoes and caught in the tangled web of politics, I probably would be on edge as well and not trust anyone with my back. I had hoped that Ismae would mellow out or show a little marshmallow middle, but she remained a strong and resolute personality that warranted respect and maybe fear but never the hug that I so wanted to give her.
The story slowly but steadily builds to the point where Ismae comes face-to-face with the truth and has to weigh her options on the right course of action. St. Mortain, the old god of Death, expects her to kill those who have earned the marque to die, but when Ismae learns that this is not as black-and-white as the convent led her to believe, she gets a rude awakening into the gray area where change of heart occurs. I cannot say that there was a definitive climax – that high point where everything comes together before it plummets to the end; instead, the story remains steadfast in its intensity that I probably held my breath with anticipation for a solid 200 pages.
There was not a whole lot of romance despite the promising hint of one. My lack of reaction may be a result of my love for the headier romances where I see more heated interactions (not necessarily without clothes, but the tug-of-war bantering and emotional rollercoaster). Ismae and Duval had a few good exchange of words, but I did not quite feel the pull of their attraction. The romance was expected and established, but I thought both parties seemed a bit stiff –and, like I mentioned earlier, Ismae is a tough cookie to love and she never really melted enough to welcome love into her life. I don’t know how else to explain it. I was a little disappointed with how this romance panned out.
I can see fans of The Scorpio Races or the Beka Cooper series gravitating towards GRAVE MERCY because it travels on the same EPIC wavelength. Robin LaFevers has created such a fierce young woman that will demand attention and, trust me, it will be awfully hard to look away! I am curious to see what Book 2 will bring; it is supposed to focus on another fair assassin, but I am not sure if Ismae will also make an appearance. I kinda of want to have my cake and eat it too, so I hope Robin LaFevers will spoil us! (less)
I would have passed on Raven Calls if I had any inkling that it was Book 7 in a series. That’s right –7?! This is when I wish I do a little bit more r...moreI would have passed on Raven Calls if I had any inkling that it was Book 7 in a series. That’s right –7?! This is when I wish I do a little bit more research before I decide to pick up a book, but sometimes jumping in the middle of a series can work out okay. And it sounded SO good that I wanted to jump in! Well… Raven Calls would have welcomed me more completely if it had time to backtrack, but I think the story had a lot on its plate to keep track of all the time traveling. Joanne even got confused as to when things happened, if it un-happened, or plain and simple WHAT HAPPENED. Pretending that I know all about these characters and the magic system, I think Raven Calls works for the series even though Joanne leaves Seattle and ends up in Ireland. I like the idea that Joanne has to come to terms with Shamanic and Irish magic, but it sounds awfully complicated as the plot unfolds and the Irish gods get involved. Raven Calls will require close attention to detail, even for the seasoned Walker Papers reader, because the story will get inundated with characters and fluctuate between past and present. (less)
Is it just me – or does it seem that the East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon fairy tale (random aside: Or would it be really the Psyche-Eros mythos) is...moreIs it just me – or does it seem that the East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon fairy tale (random aside: Or would it be really the Psyche-Eros mythos) is spiking several creative juices and really delivering some heady punch? I know Firelight has also been attributed to Beauty And The Beast and Phantom Of The Opera, but whatever the mash-up of inspiration is, Firelight will be an enjoyable addition to anyone’s TBR pile, especially if you enjoy Gail Carriger and her Parasol Protectorate series. Or perhaps ICE by Sarah Beth Durst - Firelight has that same quiet yet solid intensity of an epic romance that made me hold my breath and watch how the story unfolds around Miranda and Benjamin. The suspense was so thick as wool that, when it finally lifted to reveal the ending, let me just say that Kristen Callihan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Holy Fog Monster, can she craft a story and then some! I am glad that Firelight got its chance to see the light of printed day because it was such a pleasure to sink my teeth into such a well-done steak of a book. (less)
The Stuttering Tattoo is my first Greg Logsted book, and I have to say that it was interesting but nothing mind-blowing. The suspense works well enoug...moreThe Stuttering Tattoo is my first Greg Logsted book, and I have to say that it was interesting but nothing mind-blowing. The suspense works well enough – seriously, who can put down a book when the characters stumble upon a severed arm in the backyard? Steven seemed like the trustworthy narrator who will sniff out the truth, and Becky a disarming coincidence that may or may not warrant suspicions. They started off with enough spark to draw me in, but seemed to lose momentum as the story went on and things got complicated. I expected The Stuttering Tattoo to follow the same delicious heights as Holly Black’s WHITE CAT, but sadly it never came close to the same level of intensity. (less)
Pretty Crooked falls between Heist Society and Populazzi – it has a cute story concept with fluffy adorability, but I wanted a little more finished bu...morePretty Crooked falls between Heist Society and Populazzi – it has a cute story concept with fluffy adorability, but I wanted a little more finished business at the end of the book and less of a traitorous cliffhanger. Granted, I am definitely on board for the sequel to find out what happens – but I felt that Pretty Crooked could have gone a little differently. I think it was trying to set up enough background for a sequel as she introduced Willa, Aiden, Glitterati, and company in the current Robin Hood-styled story. As it turns out, I was MORE interested in the set-up for the sequel and read on to pursue that plotline before realizing that I would not get any answers until Book 2. By itself without all the trimmings for the sequel, Pretty Crooked has a likeable character with admirable intentions to equal out the have-lots and the have-nots. If Elisa Ludwig continues to write with such charm and wit in addition to providing more answers in Pretty Sly, I think we may another Ally Carter on our hands – and quite frankly, I am more than excited! (less)
Even though it is Book 2 of a series, BLACK NIGHT works well as a standalone – and I did not too overwhelmed by the backstory that I could not enjoy t...moreEven though it is Book 2 of a series, BLACK NIGHT works well as a standalone – and I did not too overwhelmed by the backstory that I could not enjoy the present dangers for Maddy and company. Too often I find urban fantasies with badass heroines who delivers cute yet overly girlish one-liners, and I was pleasantly surprised to find Maddy more of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am type of girl who would rather engage in a pissing contest with the faerie queen and not obsess over her missing bodyguard to the point where she is utterly useless. There was a forbidden romance story arc, but it did not dominate Maddy’s entire attention.
I mentioned earlier that BLACK NIGHT can be enjoyed as a standalone. What happens in BLACK NIGHT, stays mostly in BLACK NIGHT. However, I do get the impression that there is an underlying current of trouble that is slowly building to a crescendo for the entire series. Which means that reading from the beginning BLACK WINGS and continuing with the rest of the series will only bring Maddy and company closer to whatever devious plans Lucifer has in store for them. I had been hoping to learn what it means for Maddy to be an “agent of death,” but it does not seem to come into play in BLACK NIGHT. Which only means that I will have to check out Book 1 to learn more about it :)
I think Christina Henry has created a smart and action-packed series that will appeal to a more bloodthirsty reader. Fans of Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine series will be thrilled for a new series to devour and a favorite new heroine to kick some demon butt. I am hoping that BLACK HOWL will bring the Maddy-Gabriel relationship into the spotlight, especially since these two were left with an awfully sticky situation that definitely changes the playing field. (less)
Oh, holy butter, THE HUNT is such a smooth and unputdownable read that I hardly know where to begin with this review. If our world was set in THE HUNT...moreOh, holy butter, THE HUNT is such a smooth and unputdownable read that I hardly know where to begin with this review. If our world was set in THE HUNT, Andrew Fukuda is like the master of all vampires, and I would gladly crack my neck with excitement because I am absolutely salivating for the next installment! I had said earlier this year that DRINK, SLAY, LOVE was absolute love-at-first-sight, and comparitively THE HUNT rises up to the challenge and proves to be true-love-at-first-bite. Vampires, your comeback is nigh – and I totally LOVE what these authors have done with them!
THE HUNT will immediately suck readers into a world where vampires come out on top in regards to survival of the fittest, and Gene may be the last free-roaming human left - although he cannot exactly announce that to the world. The vampires may love humans, but their love is not strictly in the platonic sense. I cannot imagine how hard it is for Gene to hide his humanity and train himself to be unnoticeable among his predators. Gene is quite the intelligent young man, but he realizes that any misstep means certain and unpleasant death. As a person who tends to wear her emotions on her sleeve, I would probably fail epicly in maintaining a cool façade. I do wonder what exactly Gene expects for his life since it seems that he may have a lonely future ahead of him with no particular desire to stir any trouble. Until he gets selected to join the Hunt and comes into contact with the human captives.
What Andrew Fukuda brings to the table is a strong and cohesive world where night becomes the new day, and all the characters definitely help to create such an interesting dilemma where readers constantly wonder if there are others like Gene who have lived under the radar and also if higher powers DO know about Gene but choose to keep it quiet. Who exactly is the man behind the curtain? Who is vampire, and who is human? Who can be trusted, and who will stake you in the back? THE HUNT deftly buildS up the suspense into a satisfying yet game-changing conclusion that will leave readers anxious to find out where the series will go in Book 2 – and who will prove fit enough to survive.
Deliciously innovative, wholly addictive, and solidly dystopic, fans of LEGEND, The Hunger Games, and DIVERGENT are sure to devour THE HUNT in one sitting, drool to the point of embarrassment, and immediately demand seconds. NOW. Andrew Fukuda has delivered an impressive debut that brings all the tricks to the table, and something tells me that the next installment will be just as well-crafted to perfection. (less)
Yet another angel-themed book to face my scrutiny, and I am happy to report that Halflings makes the cut and earns my stamp of approval. There are a f...moreYet another angel-themed book to face my scrutiny, and I am happy to report that Halflings makes the cut and earns my stamp of approval. There are a few hiccups and unanswered questions, but overall I found the story captivating enough to want to keep reading and finally have enough curiosity to pounce on the sequel. It also helps that these Halfling boys oozed with such hotness and tough-but-vulnerable personalities that I would do anything to spend more time with them. What can I say? I cannot resist a well-crafted male specimen who has hope to be redeemed from the Dark Side. Halflings has the same action-packing suspense as Angelfire and an interesting angel re-invention like Angel Burn, and I am totally looking forward to seeing how Nikki and company fare in GUARDIAN. (less)
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms reminds me of The Phantom Tollbooth or Coraline where a young person manages to find his or her way into some wonderful...moreHorten’s Miraculous Mechanisms reminds me of The Phantom Tollbooth or Coraline where a young person manages to find his or her way into some wonderful and magical adventure where anything – especially that of an unexpected nature – can happen. This was a charming yet awfully short read, and I loved watching Stuart try to decipher his uncle’s encrypted messages and learn about his family legacy in magic-making. I also enjoyed Mr. and Mrs. Horten’s quirks, especially Mr. Horten’s crossword-inventing self that would thrown in the most random of comments. I did wish that the book had spent more time on expanding on the minor characters, especially the triplets, because they came onto the page with all sorts of interesting things to say, but then left shortly without really getting too embroiled in Stuart’s adventure. Overall though, Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms can be a wonderful discovery for a young reader with a big imagination and a love for all things fantastic. (less)
I peeked at a few reviews for The Weepers on GoodReads, and my jaw dropped at how my reaction differed from the most recent reviews. I left The Weeper...moreI peeked at a few reviews for The Weepers on GoodReads, and my jaw dropped at how my reaction differed from the most recent reviews. I left The Weepers thoroughly hooked like a zombie addict, and I can hardly wait for the next installment! Yes, there might have been similar plot points to THE FIRST DAYS or I AM LEGEND, but Susanne Winnacker breathed fresh life into the familiar dystopia and die-hard fans will embrace The Weepers with feverished glee.
The new cast of characters held their own in these dire times of post-apocalyptic Earth. Sherry makes a decent tour guide as she learns just how different the world has become, and it is obvious that she has a lot of toughening up to do before she can become a Weeper-killing machine. I always appreciate a “survival of the fittest” from a female’s perspective, especially as she grows into a badass warrior. Joshua proves to be the knight-in-shining-armor love interest who will make Weepers and uninfected humans alike drool. He has lived through the horrors far earlier than Sherry, and he knows what is at stake if he lets his guard down. There is no time for romance, but who can honestly resist the power of teenaged hormones? By the end of The Weepers, I was so in love with Sherry and Joshua that I would gladly walk to the ends of the earth and back again in order to support their survival!
I hesitate to call the Weepers “zombies” if only because, when I picture them, I envision some sort of half-wolf/half-human grayish creature. Most likely due to the fact that it was a rabies virus gone horribly wrong, and I automatically associate such nonsense with canine characteristics. Does that still count as zombies? In my mind, no, but someone else might think so. All I know is the Weepers sound more vicious and terrifying, and if I had to choice between meeting a zombie or Weeper in a cold, dark alley, let me say that I think I have better chances of survival with a nice human-like zombie.
If you are familiar with Rhiannon Frater’s THE FIRST DAYS, The Weepers is like its teenaged counterpart. There is much fear for the new world, and there are the very fortunate few who have found a safe haven and ways to combat their unnatural adversaries. If you are looking for a brand-new zombie story, then The Weepers may not be for you; but if you are in it for the characters and how they cope with their odds, then buckle up and settle in because it looks like Susanne Winnacker will take us on a bumpy but absolutely riveting ride! (less)
I have been really jonesin’ for some straight-up YA contemporary reads for a long while now, and when I find a gem like TORN that literally speaks to...moreI have been really jonesin’ for some straight-up YA contemporary reads for a long while now, and when I find a gem like TORN that literally speaks to my soul, I cannot help but sing high praises. TORN takes readers on a rocky ride as Stella figures out whether keeping up with Ruby is a good idea – or stop her new wild-and-crazy friend from some very bad decisions. How old is too old as far as boyfriends go? How high is too high to jump for your friends? How close is too close to your family to help out with your younger siblings as your mom works double shifts?
Senior year has never been more packed full of age-old questions and heart-heavy dilemmas – and I appreciated the end-results that TORN delivered to its readers. Stephanie Guerra created two very interesting characters whose friendship might self-destruct at any given moment, but I could not help but hope that Stella and Ruby would be able to make it out of high school alive and for the better. I do not think I have read a more memorable and well-journeyed account of a senior year. I guarantee TORN will make you wanting a Stella or Ruby in your lives because I am sure that no one should ever go without one who will have your back even if you try to shut them out. (less)