Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those kinds of reviews that I am reluctant to write for fear of dredging up everything that I experienced while reading. This is not an easy to book to read, not because it’s poorly written (it’s not; it is beautifully written), but because it picks out your emotions, drawing them out into a line, and then wrenches and twists each of them in turn. You know this emotionally wrenching experience will happen; reading the book is like being chased with an impending sense of doom, but you must know what happens. You are never quite given enough information until suddenly you know too much and there is no turning back from what you learned.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is painful. But there is beauty in pain. There is no solace in this book; it will gut your heart and stomp on it. We need books like these to remind us that not all love stories are fairy tales. Daughter of Smoke and Bone so carefully manipulates your emotions, but they are not your emotions, they are the character’s emotions. You are Akiva. You are Karou. You don’t want to push forward, but you know there is no other option. If you want a happy book, this is not your book. If you want a book that toys with your emotions, something that will make you experience a wide breadth and depth of emotions, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is your book.
Having been to Prague before, I was happily surprised by the depth and accuracy of the descriptions of Prague. It lends an added sense of validity to the story, making everything — even the parts not set in Prague — that much more real. In some ways, there are two different stories within Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Two stories that intertwine and fuse into one single and heartbreaking ending, but not in the way one might expect. The end is far from over. There is still hope.(less)
Remember when I said I don’t really cry easily when I read books? If I Stay made me cry. I wanted to bawl. It made me set down the book and go bake cookies with my mom. It made me text my brother just to say, “Hey, how are you?” and it made me hug the boyfriend just a little more tightly. This book will destroy you. At first I didn’t think I would be able to write a review because If I Stay is the kind of book that rubs your emotions raw and leaves them open and bleeding. But it would be doing a disservice not to talk about If I Stay. So here I am.
If I Stay alternates between present day of Mia in a coma watching life unfold around her and memories that Mia relives. The memories reveal, while not a perfect childhood, a childhood that is certainly filled with a loving family and happy times. When contrasted with the present Mia, locked a coma, these memories become even more painful to bear, a poignant reminder of everything that can be lost.
As difficult and heart-wrenching as If I Stay is, it is a book that you should consider reading. Though there is so much more that I could say, this is one you should experience for yourself.(less)
Deadly Cool feels like an updated and snarky Nancy Drew. Hartley was written in such a way that I had flashbacks to Evie in Paranormalcy. But it isn’t that Hartley and Evie are similar, it is that their personalities leap off the page at you. Hartley isn’t given to much angst, and she is extremely funny. She texts (and yes, in the shorthand common to teenagers these days), she’s hip and there are a lot of cultural references. She appears authentic for the time. I loved her. But then, I love most characters graced with a healthy dose of sarcasm and snark. They make me giggle in a way that is half-snort, half-bwahahaha.
I liked that Deadly Cool really is a mystery. You get murder, mayhem, and a lot of amateur sleuthing. Are some elements of the story predictable? Sure. But Hartley carries us through it. I was easily hooked and it took some very heavy eyelids before I could finally put the book down. And Hartley is not the only character who is well written: best friend Sam who censors herself, Hartley’s overprotective mom who also happens to be gluten-free and tofu-loving, and bad boy Chase who is very…enticing. Even if I wasn’t so fond of Hartley, I’d read the sequel to Deadly Cool just for a little more Chase.
I wasn’t overly excited about the text-speak, and I suspect this could be an aspect some people don’t like. But then again, Deadly Cool IS a young adult novel. Definitely cringe worthy for us old folk, but it has authenticity. Bottom line, Deadly Cool was a very fun read with mystery and just a hint of romance that has me dying for more. I instantly added Social Suicide to my wishlist after finishing Deadly Cool. Note: I was also really torn between rating this an 8 or 9. I ended up sticking with 8 because a few 9 books I’ve read lately touched me more than this one. It is likely that if I had come off a “not so good” reading streak, it would have rated a 9.(less)
I went into The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer knowing that it was going to be a wild and confusing ride. I think that 1) you have to know this and 2) you have to be okay with it in order to enjoy the story. And you have to be open to possibilities. I don’t know that I’m extremely sold on what happens at the end, but I know I want to read the sequel to find out. I even want to pick this one back up and read it all over again. And maybe I will. There’s something about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer that is intoxicating.
For all my “I must know everything NOW” need that I continually flaunt in my reviews, I also like when books jerk me around in a way that tells me everything and nothing. It reminds me somewhat of Catch-22, which is one of those rare 5 star books for me. My brain seems to be rolling all over the place and I’m not really sure where to start picking up the pieces. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer pulled me in, sucked me out, and folded me upon myself. It makes sense and it does not, and I could spin myself in a tizzy trying to explain it to you, and that’s exactly why I liked it so much.
Mara has no idea what is going on or what happened to her. We learn slowly with her — kind of — but can we really trust what’s there? Side note: Michelle Hodkin signed my book with a “What will you believe?” Before I read it, I thought the statement was melodramatic, but it turns out to be aptly fitting. I liked Mara. She’s got spunk and attitude, and that’s always a plus. Noah is pretty much the guy you dreamed about dating in high school, and exactly how you dreamed dating him would be. No, seriously. It’s true. And for invoking my boy crazy memories of high school — some of the most positive memories I have of that time — I love Noah and Michelle Hodkin.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer flashes back between present day and before the accident. These flashes leave you wanting more but afraid to know the whole truth. And more than that, this book is funny in a way that I wouldn’t expect from a book that knocked my emotions all over the place. I can promise you that not everyone is going to like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. The few interactions I’ve had with people on Twitter since attempting to start writing this review has only confirmed that. But part of what makes The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so good for me is its ability to provoke so many conflicting and rolling emotions. You react to it, even though you’re not really sure how you want to or ought to react. And it is awesome.(less)
I felt that Slave to Sensation operated on two different levels for me: the world building and the romance. There was not a lot of world building, which often left me feeling confused about how everything in the world actually functioned. Since Slave to Sensation is the first in a series and I have experienced other series that expand and explore the world in each successive book (e.g., Dark Hunter series), I let myself focus on the romance and the emotions rather than the world. The world itself is intriguing enough to warrant reading the next in the series, though I would definitely need more world building to continue on with the series.
What really captured me was the romance. It’s got the Thea Harrison Dragon Bound kind of feel to it with a completely different writing style. I have always had an addiction to the inevitable “YOU’RE MINE” type of romances. They grip my emotions and play with them, like a cat plays with a mouse. I enjoy every minute of the emotional roller-coaster because, hey, you’re reading a paranormal romance and you know the characters will be together in the end. What more do you need?
I am not sure this necessarily makes sense, but often times the characters don’t matter as much as their romance does. You could have switched Lucas and Sascha with any other character, and I would have been equally satisfied with the rolling emotions Slave to Sensation caused. So, the characters are forgettable, but the romance is not. Slave to Sensation is a solid start to this series, though a little light on the world building and plot, the romance really shines through. And for me, that’s what counted the most.(less)
When I read books, I try to read from the perspective of a reader and not from an English teacher’s perspective, or even an editor’s perspective. Sometimes I fail. Sleepers was one of those books that I couldn’t stop my inner editor from coming out. There were a lot of simple and compound sentence constructions, and I felt this often made the narration stilted. The bulk of the story takes place through dialogue between characters or through Lianne’s thoughts. For being such a great fighter, Lianne only fought twice that I can recall.
There were also a number of inconsistencies that bothered me. Lianne originally states that she could not raise Trevin because she didn’t love him like a son, and then later says she does without an explanation for such a change. She states that she loves Kellan unconditionally, and then easily throws it away for Bryden a few chapters later. I’m not a fan of love triangles to begin with, and these actions annoyed me because they seemed so unnecessary. I struggled to understand the character’s motivations and make a connection with them. I occasionally had trouble with the way characters said things. Example:
“He’s been disinherited,” I said. ”He’s not the king’s son. The queen had an affair and he is the product of their love.”
I had a difficult time believing a 16 year old would say that, especially the “product of their love” part. I also read the synopsis (above) at 43% and found that I knew very little beyond what is stated in the synopsis, which was frustrating for me. Either the synopsis gives away too much, or the plot did not move along very quickly. The second half of the book was definitely better than the first, and the secrets behind Lianne’s heritage and people were intriguing enough to make me want to know more, though I am not sure at this point whether I will pick up the next book in the series.
There is far more at work in this world than Lianne or we, as readers, can ever guess. I wish this would have been explored in greater depth in the book, as the ending sort of slammed into us with many things happening all at once with little time to process it all. There were some twists and turns at the end in regards to certain characters, but they were so unexpected that it was almost unbelievable. Well, I suspected something was up with a specific character, but what actually happened turned out to be much bigger than I suspected and rather than being thrilled or excited, I was a little flummoxed.
You Might Enjoy This Book If…
Judging by the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I seem to be in the minority about Sleepers, so you may enjoy enjoy this one, even if I didn’t.(less)
This book is not for the faint of heart. And it is tough. Keely, the main character, does not spend much of her story alive. Instead, we are first launched into her suicide in grim detail from the very beginning, and then into her utter disbelief and denial about being dead. I have long since wondered if people who commit suicide think of the consequences of their actions on other people, and that thought is explored in detail in Don’t Fear the Reaper. I didn’t always agree with Keely’s actions or decisions, but I wanted her to find the peace she was searching for.
Though I have never lost a sibling like Keely, I have lost loved ones, and the exploration into the afterlife was of particular interest to me. There are scenes in Reaper that dredge up old memories of mine — of my grandmother, of my dog — that wreaked havoc on my emotions, forcing me to relive my grief right along with Keely. This is one of those books that transcend the words that are written, and burrow into your own experiences, making it difficult to disconnect the two. More than a story about death, Don’t Fear the Reaper is a story about love — but not just any kind of love; it is the kind of love that does not end with death, but simply changes and morphs into something different.
While I was able to somewhat guess at what would have to happen at the end, Don’t Fear the Reaper was a suspenseful read that left me questioning everyone’s motives and trying to figure out how the story could conclude as happily as possible. I especially enjoyed Banning and Daniel as characters — Daniel perhaps the most — because there was so much more to both of them than it first appears, and I love a little mystery. I look forward to future books.(less)
Because I got Web of Lies, Venom, and Tangled Threads during one library trip, I attempted to read them over a single weekend. This strategy worked great for reading Web of Lies and Venom, but I crashed and burned a bit with Tangled Threads, which is why it took me a little longer than usual to finish; I didn’t struggle with Tangled Threads, I struggled with reading in general, if that makes sense.
The only reason Tangled Threads doesn’t rate a full 8 (or, 4 stars) for me is the repetitiveness. We hear the same descriptions about characters in each book, multiple times. Whereas I was able to overlook it before, it is becoming more difficult now. This repetitiveness is, however, really my only complaint. Jennifer Estep has created a fabulous series and excellent characters that make for a satisfying and entertaining read.
Tangled Threads furthers the story arc between Mab Monroe and Gin, namely through an arrogant assassin named Elektra. Throughout the series thus far, we’ve been exposed to the different types of elemental magic: Gin’s stone and ice, Mab’s fire, Jo-Jo’s air, and Owen’s metal. Elektra introduces us to electrical magic with a shock. And yes, pun fully intended. Gin continues to doubt her own elemental magic abilities, but she is coming to rely on them more frequently as the series progresses and she is forced up against others with elemental magic. I find this keeps the books interesting, and allows Gin’s character to develop and change throughout the series. And clearly, as if the book doesn’t hint at it enough, eventually Gin will have to use her elemental magic to defeat Mab.
To me, the focus of Tangled Threads, other than Mab, is really on the relationship between Gin and her sister Bria, and what happened to their family. Finn, Jo-Jo, Sophia, and the rest of the gang seem to take a lesser role. But we finally get to witness, through Gin’s dreams/memories, what happened that fateful night. And of course, there are some interesting secrets there, too. Learning about what happened when Mab killed Gin’s mother and older sister sets the stage for the epic showdown between Gin and Mab that will be coming in Spider’s Revenge. As for Owen, I am rather satisfied with how that relationship is progressing.(less)
I think it’s well-known that I am a big fan of knowing secrets and getting my questions answered. I don’t like it when my characters hold out on me. We get a hint of Gin’s past in Spider’s Bite, and are teased further in Web of Lies, but everything we’ve learned culminates in Venom. Where Gin has always been careful not to draw Mab’s ire previously, the situation changes in Venom. Getting my answers and having the Mab story arc furthered (with a boom) went a long way in my enjoyment of the third Elemental Assassin book.
But it is the characters that keep me coming back for more and really shine in this series. I love Gin, the hard-ass assassin with a heart. As the series progresses, Gin has opened up to become more than just a successful killer with the patience of a saint — or a spider. And yes, we got to see more Owen, who is definitely a much MUCH better fit for Gin. We see it before Gin does. Thankfully Owen doesn’t know when to quit. Finn is fun. Sophia is…intriguing. Thus far into the series, she has been relatively enigmatic, though Gin has hinted repeatedly that there is much more to Sophia than meets the eye. We learn a few very interesting bits of information about Sophia in Venom, and I suspect we’ll learn even more in Tangled Threads.
The stories that Jennifer Estep weaves are fantastic. The descriptions and explanations get us inside Gin’s head and experience and see the world the same way that she does. My only complaint is the repetitiveness of some descriptions of characters, and how they are used almost verbatim between books. Characters’ eye colors, Finn’s chicory coffee, silverstone knives, Mab’s runes, etc. I’m choosing to attribute this repetitiveness to the fact that I’m reading the books back to back, though I can see how it can very easily get irritating.(less)
Web of Lies picks up very soon after Spider’s Bite. Gin is retired from her assassin gig, but it’s more “retired” than retired. But, like the summary says, she is curious. So of course she sticks her noise into stuff that gets her into trouble. I would expect nothing less. Gin may be a cold and patient assassin, but in her own way she has heart. And her own morals.
The detective made a very big appearance in Web of Lies, but the complicated relationship between him and Gin only gets more complicated. We are also introduced to another possible love interest. Now, you know me and my intense dislike of love triangles. And I do dislike them. But I also appreciate having the story spun so that whatever happens feels appropriate and right. Despite Gin’s involvement with Donovan from the beginning of Spider’s Bite, I was never able to fully connect with him. He was successful at holding himself back, because in the end, a relationship between Gin and Donovan is rough and doomed. Thus, the introduction of someone new makes sense, especially given that he stands to give Gin what Donovan can’t. Rather than being annoyed by this, I am intrigued.
Web of Lies is also important in the series, as it slowly builds the Mab Monroe story line that will continue through the next few books. We don’t necessarily learn anything more about what happened to Gin’s family the night they died (though I want to), but we are introduced to Mab a little more, and are left wondering what the hell Mab knows and what she is up to. In that sense, the job that Gin takes in Web of Lies is not quite as important as the implications of the job as well as who it brings Gin in contact with. Web of Lies sets the stage for something more, and it is perhaps for that reason it didn’t quite dazzle me the way Spider’s Bite did. Or I was just in one of those moods.
Gin is one helluva character, and other than the continual references to eye color, the Elemental Assassin is shaping up to be one of my favorite series. I appreciate that Jennifer Estep’s writing forces me to set aside my own personal likes and dislikes (hello, slight love triangles) and simply experience the story for what it is. In other words, whatever happens makes sense and is logical for the story. When both my logic and emotions are engaged, that’s the sign of a successful series.
And before I forget: don’t read Web of Lies on an empty stomach. The descriptions of food that Gin makes (because hey, she cooks just as well as she kills) are slightly sinful.(less)
With the economy the way it is currently, the Atlanta of 2018 is not really that difficult to believe (minus the paranormal aspect, of course). I enjoyed the world Jana Oliver created, with demons, demon trappers (and hunters), witches, and who knows what else. Riley may know a little about how to be a demon trapper, but she clearly has a lot left to learn, and we learn along side of her — at least what we get to learn in this book. There is still a lot left up in the air, especially with the way Demon Trapper’s Daughter ended. I would like to see a lot more demon trapping and what that all entails. Demon Trapper’s Daughter also felt pretty upper-YA to me. Even though Riley is 17, she interacts with a lot of adults.
On a character front, I liked Riley. She is already pretty grown up considering her circumstances, but she tries to take on more than she can handle, making it seem like she has big shoes to adjust to. And I wasn’t overly fond of her boy choices. Because yes, as everyone knows, I am not a fan of love triangles, and it definitely felt like there was one here. It’s all about Beck, even though the way he speaks is so incredibly annoying. I am sure that the “ya” and “yer” used when Beck was speaking was a way to drive home the “Backwoods Boy” idea, but it grated on my nerves. If I wasn’t cheering for a Riley/Beck pairing (because really, it’s the only choice), I’d probably smack him. No one else spoke in such a manner, so it was a trifle confusing and out of place. There were more boys, but, eh. I’ll leave that up to you to figure out.
The ending leaves a lot of the plot left hanging in the air. It’s not the kind of cliffhanger that barrels into you like a freight train, but is instead the kind of cliffhanger that teases mercilessly of what has been left without closure. It didn’t leave me cursing, but I was not a fan either. There were also a few spots where we got the “thoughts” of the characters — direct thoughts, not “Riley thought…” — which I felt was out of place only because everything was narrated in third person. Overall, I did enjoy Demon Trapper’s Daughter and the demon trapper world, though there were a few minor flaws.(less)
Despite not being a zombie fan, I am most definitely a Rhiannon Frater fan. From the opening lines, Rhiannon Frater draws you in with chilling descriptions and a sense of foreboding that refuses to dissipate. Reading The First Days left me feeling on edge, waiting for the next catastrophic event to happen. I found the characters to be interesting — flawed, but honest and real, even if the characters occasionally got on my nerves.
In many ways, Jenni and Katie are complete opposites. And yet, the two of them have been thrown together — by chance and luck, no less — and form a strong bond. The adage that opposites attract works well for the relationship between Jenni and Katie. They both fulfill an important role in the other’s world. Eventually we meet more people who will become central to our characters: Jason, Travis, Juan, Ralph and Nerit, all of whom are vital to the story in some way.
I found myself putting the book down a lot, though I suspect the reason for this is has to do more with me than anything related to the book. The post-apocalyptic genre doesn’t quite appeal to me. If you do like this genre, or you like zombie horror stories, The First Days will a book you do not want to miss.(less)
As long as romances are well-written, I tend to get swept up in them. Good Girls Don’t did not fail me in that regard, especially with the emotional tension and issues between Luke and Tessa. But I did not like Tessa as much as I probably could have. Logically I can understand that her desire to keep her family together drove her to do what she did, but it felt wrong, like there was a lot of misunderstandings that could have been easily avoided if the truth had come out right away. I was a much bigger fan of Luke, who was one of those tortured and slightly damaged souls but who are really sweet and caring underneath it all.
Being the Good Girls Don’t is the first in a trilogy about the Donovan siblings, Victoria Dahl did a fabulous job of introducing us to Tessa’s brothers. I am definitely curious enough to continue with the series. Although Luke is a police detective and there was a break in at the brewery, that aspect of the plot took a back seat to the Donovan sibling drama, which was highly entertaining. Having a brother myself (younger though, not older) gave me something to relate to (I don’t think brother is as bad as Jamie, but that is definitely who I would compare him to).
Overall, Good Girls Don’t is a good solid romance with a few minor flaws.(less)
Where to start? I felt very disconnected from both Julian and Serena. I didn’t understand Julian. He was supposed to be a big bad demon, but he felt far too human. In fact, except for the last few pages, this entire novel could have been written without angels and demons and focused on another good versus evil duo, such as the law and criminals. I am not sure that it added much to the story, except at the very end, at which I was just ready to finish the book.
The narration felt distant, and there seemed to be a heavy reliance on telling rather than showing. With writing, adjectives are not necessarily your friends. I came across noun phrases like: “glorious penis,” “penetrating beauty,” and “impressive manhood.” They are all great adjectives, but it threw me off in my reading. What is penetrating beauty? I’m not really sure. Because penetrating beauty does not tell me much, other than turn on the dirty side of my brain and make me giggle. The word choice detracted from the story rather than added to it.
I might have rated Where Demons Fear to Tread higher if a particular sex scene hadn’t derailed my enjoyment. It was a turning point for me, and not necessarily a good one. I don’t like the use of the word cock in books, because it tends to be a vulgar word. So unless there is a situation that calls for vulgarity, I don’t want to see it. And I especially don’t want to see the word cock used 10 times within a span of five pages. Since I have an ARC, I thought perhaps this was an aspect that might have been changed after the official release date, but after asking someone who had a finished copy, it seems unlikely.
I really wanted to like Where Demons Fear to Tread but in the end, I just didn’t.(less)
I’d never thought I’d see the day where there was too much emotion in a book. But perhaps that’s not true. Maybe it was more that there seemed to be more pain than necessary, and some of it was easy to see coming. I like books with emotions that rip you apart, but it happened too soon and dragged on for too long for me here. I used to read a lot of contemporary romance before I was in a relationship, because the stories were a fill-in significant other. In some ways, Sweet as Sin is too real, and it made me crave something less realistic.
But if you want to roll and tumble with your emotions, Sweet as Sin is the book to do it with. Both Livvy and John are incredibly fleshed out characters that are as broken as they are beautiful together. The narration was a little awkward at first, but once I got pulled into the story it didn’t matter or it got better — either way, it wasn’t important enough for my mind to take note of it.
Inez Kelley writes fantastic and steamy romance novels. While I liked Sweet as Sin, I think I liked Turn It Up more. Even so, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by her again.(less)
I could probably sum up The Stranger You Seek in one word: masterful. If you think you can guess who is behind the murders, you are wrong. Even knowing that the killer was going to be someone I did not expect, I was still bowled over to the point of disbelief. The reveal of the killer’s identity flips you over and makes you question everything you thought you knew. And that’s not the only surprise in store. But I won’t tell you what that surprise is.
Keye Street is a fabulously flawed character. I like flawed characters because no one is perfect, and when you find flaws, you find humanity and the ability to relate. Keye is not quite as flawed or tragic as some of my favorite characters such as Sara Linton and Will Trent from Karin Slaughter’s various series (incidentally enough, these also set in Georgia) but there were points during the book where I felt a kinship, an I understand your inner struggles even without experiencing them myself. We don’t learn a lot about Keye’s past, but what we do learn proves fascinating and incomplete. Though the other characters were developed, there were times when the relationship between them and Keye seemed murky, as though there was more to it than we were ever told. However, this is only a negative if the next books in the series don’t explore these relationships and back stories.
The Stranger You Seek is one of those books that shows you a series of seemingly unrelated events, only to have them converge upon each other in the end. With the abundance of paranormal reads, I forget that sometimes a good mystery is just as good. I will definitely be reading the next Keye Street book.(less)
It is fascinating the way something as simple as choosing present tense over past tense can affect a story. The use of present tense somehow made the story a little more creepy as though the future is unknown and not at all certain of a favorable outcome, and Cas’s narration seem so very real, as though we were observing over his shoulder rather than being a disconnected reader.
For some reason, books don’t creep me out and scare me as much as TV or movies. I walked to the neighbors and back at night after starting Anna Dressed in Blood and was somehow not any more scared than usual (seriously, the woods at night are creepy). But there is a definite scary feel to Anna Dressed in Blood that has you thinking about ghosts a little differently and watching everything just a little bit closer.
I really enjoyed Cas. I got the whole teenage boy vibe from his narration, low on the emotional angst (which is always a nice break) and moderate on the swearing. And though there was swearing, I always felt that it was appropriate for Cas and whatever situation he was in. It was never overused, and for a 17 year old boy, I expect some swearing.
Anna is such a conflicting and horrifying character. She is unusual, even for Cas’s world. Both Cas and Anna seem to be inexplicably drawn toward each other. What makes Anna such a fantastic character is the dichotomy of her actions as a ghost and the tragedy of her death.
I thought the ending wrapped up pretty quickly, maybe too quickly, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story. For as much as we experienced in Anna Dressed in Blood, and how much I came to know — and like — Cas, I also realized that, upon finishing, there was still a lot we don’t know. I am definitely looking forward to Girl of Nightmares, though the thought of waiting another year is not appealing.
Originally read: 10/14/2011--10/15/2011 Reread (audiobook): 8/31/2012(less)
There wasn’t anything spectacular about Tempest Rising, but it certainly held its own; after all, it was the first book I finished after going through nearly a week of not reading (and that’s rare, even for me). It was a light read in the sense that it just skimmed the surface of emotions; it was superficial without being shallow. Tempest Rising was not an all-consuming and emotional read, but perhaps that is exactly what I needed.
There is nothing really special about Jane, except that she likes to swim in the ocean off the coast of Maine…often while naked. She does her best to fit into “normal” society, but doesn’t quite succeed, and with good reason — she’s not “normal.” The back cover of Tempest Rising compares the series to the Sookie Stackhouse series, and the more I reflect on this, the more I find that I agree with it, though I do find that I like Jane True more than Sookie (sorry Sookie fans). Ryu is Jane’s love interest, and while I didn’t hate him, I didn’t love him either. There is some serious lusting in Tempest Rising but the romance was lacking, which makes me wonder if Jane will eventually switch partners at some point in time in the series (normally this would bother the heck out of me, but my apathy toward Ryu would probably mean accepting a partner switch with ease as long as the reasons are sound).
The true (why do I have to keep using that word?) charm of Tempest Rising is the world building; it is both familiar to paranormal fans while still being unique. The mystery — which was nothing spectacular, but not terrible, nor too important to the plot at this point — was wrapped up nicely at the end, though the amount of knowledge Jane (and the readers!) has is still minimal; it’s a big bad world out there, and the adventure has just begun, so to speak. While I don’t think I will go rushing out to buy the next book, I’m sure that I will continue reading the series.(less)
This is one of those times when I have very little to say because I was so wrapped up in the story that my reaction has been reduced to one or two word statements, some of which I won’t repeat, and an overload of emotions that makes it difficult to return to the real world. Turn It Up definitely hit the spot in my quest for something “adult” as it ratchets up the heat — and the stakes. I came very close to crying while reading, and that never happens with books (unless the book is about a dog, and then I become a blubbering mess; don’t ask, that’s just how I operate) so you know the story had my heart caught in its grip.
I haven’t read any contemporary romances lately, and Inez Kelley is a new author to me, but if Turn It Up is representative of the stories she creates, anything by her is automatically going on my wishlist. Bastian and Charlie were incredibly well-written characters that felt real with all their issues and hang-ups, and I so very much wanted a happy ending for them. And tucked within this compelling love story is a lot more than just ‘flirty banter’ — my glasses never steamed up, but I am sure it came close, since this book caused me to completely forget to close up the house and turn on the air conditioning when the afternoon got too warm.
Ha. Turn It Up was simply fantastic and renewed my love for contemporary romances.(less)
Up until the last hundred pages or so, Some Girls Bite was a solid 3 stars. There is a lot of time spent on setting up the world and the circumstances surrounding Merit’s change and entry into the vampiric world, and, while interesting, it was relatively easy to put down. It was good, but not really good. Chloe Neill’s vampires are somewhat similar in comparison with vampires from other series, but unique enough to make them interesting to learn about. By the time everything was built up and unraveling, it got to be difficult to put Some Girls Bite down, to the point where I chose reading over eating.
I think what most captured my attention in this book is how political it is, and how much the ending of the book set up huge potential and possibilities for future books. There is no cliffhanger, but I instantly wanted to get my hands on the next book in the series. Some Girls Bite intrigued the intellectual in me, not just the urban fantasy fan.
Though Merit is not exactly my favorite character, nor is there a lot of romance (though there is definite romantic interest here), I actually really enjoyed Some Girls Bite. Like any good book, it makes me like it despite my normal preferences. Some Girls Bite definitely makes a promise of a good series and I am interested to see if the promise is kept.(less)
Though I felt these last two books were better than the previous two, I find it hard to reconcile Darkfever with Shadowfever. Or is it the other way around? Shadowfever is so incredibly different than how the series began. I liked Darkfever and it remains my favorite book of the series. However, as the series progressed, it got further away from what it was in Darkfever. Things got too absurd and messed up for me to want anything other than a resolution. I felt like every possible twist that you could think of was thrown at Mac, and eventually I stopped feeling like it was a plausible story. It’s the author’s responsibility to make me believe that whatever happens in the book is possible, no matter how absurd or strange it is. It did not happen for me here.
Shadowfever dragged on for what felt like forever. It was a total roller-coaster of finally loving the series, only to have that dashed when the latest turn of events annoyed me, or having the pace of the book slow to the point that I just wanted to yell at it to hurry up. I remember being at 90% thinking, the book is almost over FINALLY, when another twist was thrown in, and I just wanted to groan. Shadowfever was equal parts “I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN” and “JUST FINISH THE STORY, ALREADY!” but the latter sticks with me as an overall impression rather than the former.
I’m also torn about the characters. I loved Mac at the beginning, but the more she started questioning herself and spinning herself around in circles, the more confused I felt, and the more it made me want a quick resolution to the story. And Barrons… I liked knowing less about him, oddly enough. Learning about him in this book ruined his mysterious nature, the same that I fell in love with in Darkfever. It was the side characters that really came through in this book, though it would have been nicer to see more of them sooner. It felt as though everything worth knowing was saved for this last book, when these bits of information could have been sprinkled throughout the previous books to culminate in Shadowfever.
At least there wasn’t a cliffhanger? (maybe that should have been my in six words)(less)
I almost gave up on this book. Those who have read the book before and know of my dislike of love triangles will understand why. There is an appearance of a certain character that throws the balance of this book off about a third of the way through and I wanted to give up in despair. I’m glad I did not. Though I struggled with certain elements of the book, the struggle is necessary, just as Ash’s journey to find his soul was necessary.
I found Ash’s narration to be the perfect reflection of who he is and what he quest was on. Throughout the series, I liked Ash more than Meghan, and I enjoyed delving into Ash’s perspective. At times, however, especially toward the beginning of the book, I almost felt that Ash was too distant and aloof. But then, those feelings are needed to contrast with who Ash must become to possess a soul. We can literally track his change.
The Iron Knight tore me up. I was not even sure how to rate this final installment, but no matter my problems with the book, the ending more than makes up for the frustration and pain. In fact, everything that Ash is dragged through is necessary, as though everything must happen for a reason. It does, but it does not necessarily make sense at the time. That is simply how life works.
Seeing Ash and Puck together was fantastic. We got an inside look into their relationship, and it gave me an appreciation for their history and everything that they went through together. Puck was one of those secondary characters that tended to steal the show at time, not just in this book, but throughout the entire series. The Iron Fey series would not have been the same without Puck. And, of course, we can’t forget the special treat that is Grim, either. The Iron Knight was a necessary part of the Iron Fey journey; not only did it provide closure to Meghan and Ash’s relationship, it also gave us a chance to get inside the mind of Ash and really get to know him in a way that we had not had before.(less)