I have to preface this review by saying that I adore Neil Gaiman's writing. I've been a fan of his since a high school fr...moreReviewed for On a Book Bender
I have to preface this review by saying that I adore Neil Gaiman's writing. I've been a fan of his since a high school friend shoved a copy of Death: The High Cost of Living into my hands and I haven't found cause to regret it yet. So, if I get a little fangirly and start flailing or using really high pitched noises, you know why.
OMG! This book was fabulous and fantastic and imaginative and a little bloody and practically perfect in every way! Seriously. The idea of a boy who escapes a horrible death only to find a life among the dead makes my brain go into spasms of delight. Bod has a limited understanding of the world since those he associates with are removed from it, but he's quick and clever and he wants to learn. The graveyard ghosts do what they can to protect him and to educate him and he grows up to be brave and curious.
Bod's story is beautiful and strange. He learns his letters off the tombstones. His guardian is a dark man who straddles the world of the living and the dead. He is beloved of the ghosts and he is bound to the graveyard because to leave it might lead his family's killer back to him. But he's a boy and in order to blend in with the outside world - as he will have to do some day - he needs to go out into it.
For those who are willing to step into the odd world of an orphan boy raised by ghosts, this book will captivate you. It's dark and lovely and well worth the read.
Maya Banks is full of awesome. She creates these characters that make me smile. I'm coming into this series with book 4 and I still felt like I knew t...moreMaya Banks is full of awesome. She creates these characters that make me smile. I'm coming into this series with book 4 and I still felt like I knew these people from page 1. They're just *cuddles them all* so lovely.
At heart, this is a book about family. The relationships might be a bit unconventional but they love each other like there's no tomorrow. It's sweet and beautiful. This book follows the Colter mama and her three husbands, the three Colter sons and their special lady, and the Colter daughter and her Dom husband. They're all loud and boisterous. They all adore one another. Mama Colter is thrilled to have all her children and their respective mates home for Christmas.
This book felt like a sweet epilogue to the entire series. While there is the potential for Max's sister's story to be told (there were some hints dropped about how she wanted the love and understanding that the others had), this story ended beautifully. Would I have enjoyed this more if I had read all the previous books? Probably. Did I love it anyway? Yes, indeed.
I had a few issues with book 1 - namely Jacinda's mom's decision to basically kill off the draki side of Jacinda without giving her any say in the mat...moreI had a few issues with book 1 - namely Jacinda's mom's decision to basically kill off the draki side of Jacinda without giving her any say in the matter. Book 2 sends Jacinda, Tamra and Mama back into the not-so-loving arms of their pride. This time around, I was making scowly faces at the idea that these girls would be forced into a mating if they didn't choose a draki male of their own. And their mom was like "You'll get over it. Just go with the flow." and I'm all o.O "You suck as a parent." Needless to say, Jacinda's mom is NOT one of my most favorite characters ever. I get that she was trying to protect Jacinda and Tamra the only way she knew how -- first by running and then by trying to fit back into the pride -- but MY GAWD! grow a freaking backbone and FIND ANOTHER WAY. That might just be the mama bear in me coming out, though.
Beyond all that tomfoolery, I really liked this book. I feel for Cassian. Jacinda has it tough because she loves a hunter and blah, blah, blah but Cassian is caught between loving a girl who doesn't love him back and his dictatorial father who is leading the pride on a platform of fear and hatred. I find Cassian to be oddly honorable in the middle of all this craziness. He steps in when Jacinda is about to be maimed, he finds ways around his father when things are at their worst. He *tries* to give Tamra a chance. And... I don't see how all this is going to end well for the poor guy.
On the other hand, I can't blame Jacinda for not being able to turn off her feelings for Will. She tries. She knows that nothing good can come from loving him. She goes through the motions of being a dutiful member of the pride... and she's dying a little inside because of it. I like her as a character. I can't find fault in her actions. She felt trapped, she did what she thought she needed to do. Sure, things didn't turn out well but she took a stand and she was going to deal with the consequences of her actions.
Bottom line: I hate Mama, kinda love Cassian, and do NOT see how anything these crazy kids are about to attempt can end well.
I liked this book but it took me a while to get into. I can't even pinpoint why it didn't grab me right away so it very easily could have been my stat...moreI liked this book but it took me a while to get into. I can't even pinpoint why it didn't grab me right away so it very easily could have been my state of mind or that I was having an off couple of days. I'm totally willing to shoulder the burden on this one. Totally.
Anyway. Once I got past my funk, I enjoyed Aiden and Leila. It did seem like there were a lot of half-truths and lies floating around between the two of them but if they're willing to forgive and forget, who am I to judge? I *really* enjoyed Aiden's Cloak Warrior buddies. They all seem like they're the type who would be a blast to hang out with. You know, if you like being in the middle of a bunch of warriors with little to no downtime. Which I do.
It was an intriguing overall premise, it just took me a while to get into. I liked that you never quite knew who to trust. Even once things began being revealed there was this little voice in my head saying "I don't know. Maybe they're working for the other side." Point to you, Tina Folsom, for making this story all twisty.
While this book didn't blow me away, it was fun and sexy. As it turns out, those are both things I like.
Hellllo, sexy shifters! I am a huge fan of insta-love when reading shapeshifter books. I just love when that mating instinct kicks in and the two part...moreHellllo, sexy shifters! I am a huge fan of insta-love when reading shapeshifter books. I just love when that mating instinct kicks in and the two parties can't get enough of one another. But what happens when the two shifters in question are polar opposites? Like, what if one's a rough and ready pilot who's just as happy camping out in the wilderness as bunking down in a room with a cot and the other is a pampered, sheltered lady who's trying to spread her wings and find herself? Shenanigans, people. SHENANIGANS!
I loved that Shaun went out of his way to try to tone himself down for Gem. He *cough*attempts*cough* to cut down on the swearing. He tries to remember to pull out her chair and open doors for her. All in the name of trying to get her to fall in love with both him and the land so that she won't hightail it back to Georgia as soon as her research is complete.
Great pack dynamics (I kinda love Evan, I can't lie about that), enthusiastic bedroom antics, and two vastly different individuals trying to make things work made this a fun FUN book. Also, the cover is pretty RAWR!
The younger man, older woman storyline isn't one I normally go for but this one? It worked. They had the friend thing going for them first, which help...moreThe younger man, older woman storyline isn't one I normally go for but this one? It worked. They had the friend thing going for them first, which helped. They had the sexy, which helped (Rawr, did they have the sexy). They had the rambunctious family, the friend who didn't approve, and the desire to make a baby. All wins in my book.
Max and Tasha were deliciously sweet together. He's been lusting after her for years, she's determined to keep him at arm's length because he's her friend's younger cousin. Never mind the attraction, the sparks, the fact that he wants her as much as she wants him. She's set her mind on this course and she's determined not to waver from it.
Naturally, she ends up spilling her proverbial guts to Max after a few too many drinks and now he knows that she wants him like whoa. And he's just as determined as she is to get what he wants. Their push and pull was fun and sexy. Even when Tasha gave in and let max into her life, she still managed to hold herself apart from him and that drove him absolutely crazy. Their sexy shenanigans were fun fun fun as he set out to show her that wasn't like any of the previous men in her life.
Overall, this was a very fun book. Sure, watching Tasha's relationship with a friend deteriorate because the friend didn't approve of Max and Tasha together was uncomfortable. In a good way. I wanted to shake Lila and tell her to go deal with her own issues instead of bringing her friend down. However, getting to see Tasha build herself back up again and face her fears head on was pretty awesome.
I've read everything except book 7 in this series and I have to say that I find it ridiculously fun. These are the books you pick up when you're havin...moreI've read everything except book 7 in this series and I have to say that I find it ridiculously fun. These are the books you pick up when you're having a so-so day and they end up making you smile. What's not to like here? You get a race of feline aliens who are so good at wooing the ladies that their entire planet was destroyed in a fit of jealousy. Did you read that last sentence? They're so good at boning that the ladies are never left unsatisfied. WIN!
Tarq's belief that he's less than everyone around him and is only good at making babies - and sexin' up the ladies to make the babies - because he can't read, was sad. He's learned to work around this disability - color coding his belongings, flirting with women so they'd help him - but it's shaped his life in so many ways. He truly believes that the only thing he's good for is stud duty. Even when he's in the wilderness surviving off the land and making bows out of tree branches to protect his group, he's humble. It made him so terribly sweet.
Lucy suffers from the same self-esteem issues as Tarq for entirely different reasons. She looks at him and can't imagine what he could ever see in plain-Jane Lucy. She's entirely resigned to loving him and then giving him up because she can't imagine anyone as beautiful and worldly as he is would want to settle down with someone like her. Between the two of them, their issues and lack of self-esteem cause more problems than anything.
While the resolution of Tarq and Lucy admitting their feelings for one another sort of popped up without much warning, I loved seeing Tarq blossom in his role as a leader in the wilds. While he was never truly comfortable with everyone relying on him, he did it very well. Lucy, also, came into her own once she escaped the stifling confines of her family. All in all, I'd have to say that this was a fun romp with one very sexy alien who likes to give his ladies pleasure like no other. I approve.
I'm rather torn on this book. I liked the idea behind it so so so much but I had a tough time with the MASSIVE cast of characters that began unravelin...moreI'm rather torn on this book. I liked the idea behind it so so so much but I had a tough time with the MASSIVE cast of characters that began unraveling the diabolical plot to destroy humanity and the world. There were a freaking lot of different plot threads going on here. A freaking lot.
If I look past all the secondary characters and focus on the Deucalion side of the story... OMG! LOVE! I really do adore the guy. He's big and scary looking, yet he's a good guy at the core. He *delights* in the wonders of the world around him. He's brilliant and ruthless when he needs to be. I think this is a sign that I should backtrack and read the first books in the series.
The downside of picking up the last book in a series is that I really have NO idea if the climactic end battle lives up to what came before. For all I know, the previous books make this one look like a dying fish flopping around on the banks of a river. Or, possibly, this one blew all the others out of the water. I was pleased with it and there was enough going on here to make me intensely curious to know the entire story. I'm usually okay with stepping into a series midstream but this is one that I really wouldn't have minded experiencing in all its glory.
Since I am currently caught up on the Guild Hunter novels, I decided to dive into the short stories. I like these vampires and angels. They're just th...moreSince I am currently caught up on the Guild Hunter novels, I decided to dive into the short stories. I like these vampires and angels. They're just the right amount of dark and deadly.
0.5 Angels' Pawn: The hunting/flirting between Ash and Janvier has been mentioned several times in the last few books. I *really* liked that we finally got to see some of that in action. They were combustible without ever getting naked. The hints to Ash's past made her very intriguing and I would love to see more with these two. I can only imagine how the two of them will set the sheets on fire when they finally give in to each other.
1.5 Angels' Judgment: I LOVED Sara and Deacon together. This is another pairing that we've seen in bits and pieces across the books and it just worked. Sara and Deacon are both strong. They're both willing to bend for the other. Deacon doesn't stifle Sara and that works for her.
4.5 Angel's Wolf: I really enjoyed seeing Noel come back into his own after the horrific attack he suffered in the Refuge. Nimra is one of the rare angels who acts like a mortal and treats her court with kindness. Her power has the potential to be awful but she's not consumed by it. To be honest, the draw in this one was Noel. I liked him.
4.75 Angels' Dance: Jessamy and Galen. Probably my favorite of the bunch because we not only got a fabulous romance but we got to see many of Raphael's key players before the events in the novels. Galen's courting of Jessamy is sweet and oddly romantic considering his usual bluntness. Her sadness and her resignation over her defect made Jessamy such a lonely, lonely character. Until Galen swooped in and mucked up her solitary existence, that is.
Final thoughts: Short stories are honestly hit or miss with me. I do tend to like ones set in worlds I'm familiar with and this set was no exception. I loved seeing so many familiar faces and I LOVE the cover.
You know when you're reading a book and you know it's supposed to be tongue in cheek and you try really hard to take it i...moreReviewed at On a Book Bender.
You know when you're reading a book and you know it's supposed to be tongue in cheek and you try really hard to take it in that vein but it doesn't quite happen and you're staring in this kind of stupified trance through large portions of said book? Yeah, that happened to me. - pauses - I *know* that it's a allegory about high school and the lengths we'll go to the fit in and be liked but... I didn't like the main character until the very end and that was very distracting.
Let's start there, shall we? Margot was not a nice person. She's mean. She treats her best friend terribly when Sybil is nothing but supportive (in a vacant, not-quite-there way) of all of Margot's weirdness. Dude, I get that high school is cutthroat and vicious but Margot's sole aim is be the "It-Girl" of Salesian High and she acts - in the beginning of the book - pretty much exactly like the girls she loves to hate. The things she said to Sybil were downright hurtful and I kept wondering why Sybil was bothering to put up with it. Then there's the unobtainable jock that Margot is determined to have. Uhhh... okay. She really knows nothing about him, she doesn't even know if he knows her name before he gets zombified, and yet she's willing to risk her humanity to have him as her "boyfriend" once he is a zombie. I'm shaking my head over this, can you tell?
Meanwhile, there's another boy. This one isn't popular but he likes Margot. Do you guys want to know what I was thinking as I read that? WHY??? WHY DO YOU LIKE HER??? She's a terrible person who cuts down her best friend constantly and has very few redeeming characteristics. Part of me wanted Baron (Heee... I love that name) to end up with Margot because that's what he wanted and part of me was screaming at him to run in the other direction because Margot was not good enough for him. *le sigh*
I think my problem here was twofold. First off, I didn't like Margot until she realized the error of her ways and starting thinking of other people but herself. Secondly, the idea behind why they thought they could get away with pretending that the zombies were just normal kids was silly bordering on ridiculous. Really, I get that this book is poking fun at high school and the hoops that we'll jump through to be top dog but... it wasn't for me.
Holy smokes. Thanatos is just... awesome, isn't he? All growly and ragey when his death-rage comes over him and then such a sweetheart when it comes t...moreHoly smokes. Thanatos is just... awesome, isn't he? All growly and ragey when his death-rage comes over him and then such a sweetheart when it comes to his kiddo. Once he got over the betrayal he felt at what Regan had done -- or maybe once he understood why she had done it and why it was eating her up inside -- he added her to the list of people he could be sweet with. Aww.
And Regan... Oh, man. She's just a big bundle of messed up, isn't she? She's trying to make sure she's indispensable to the Aegis, she's going along with all their plans because she doesn't know what else to do and then -BLAM!- Thanatos pops in and throws her for a loop.
I have to take a look at Pestilence for a second. I just... the things he did were awful and terrible and he's not a good guy but buried somewhere under all the bad is the Reseph that Than, Limos, and Ares remember. Those three have had to make a terrible choice from the beginning and it's eaten at all of them at one point or another. Pestilence's power has been growing and growing and there's not much that can stop him.
How many times can you try to save a guy before it becomes a lost cause? Although, to be fair, when a fallen angel has the power to become a pure angel again, I guess anything is possible.
Big things in the overall arc happens in this installment. Betrayals, chest crushing carnage, evisceration and other bloody goodness. I loooooove that all the badness is mixed in with the little moments that make life worth living. I love that the choices come with consequences (REAVER!) and sometimes the good guys have very bad things happen to them.
And, as it turns out, sometimes the bad guys aren't really bad and the good guys aren't to be trusted. *thumbs up*
Kelly: OMG!OMG!OMG! Annnnndrea! Who’s happy that she gets to play in all the crazy again??? I...moreJoint review with Amanda @ On a Book Bender for her blog.
Kelly: OMG!OMG!OMG! Annnnndrea! Who’s happy that she gets to play in all the crazy again??? I AM!
Amanda: *blinks* *covers ears*
Kelly: Oh, c’mon! This book was exciting! Shenanigans! Mating pranks! Death! Blood! ROMAN!
Amanda: This book WAS exciting! I’m just trying to protect the integrity of my eardrums. Gunmetal Magic had all the elements of a typical Kate Daniels book, but with ANDREA! and RAPHAEL! instead, which, honestly, was just as good as having Kate and Curran. And we can’t forget about Roman, though I strongly suspect Kelly may steal Roman for her own devious purposes.
Kelly: Roman fascinated me. I’m not ashamed of my undying love for strong, snarky men who wield a lot of power. Literally, in this case. The guy has some magical chops!
Amanda: Not only that, but it was pretty clear that there was a lot more to Roman than what meets the eye. I see lots of layers with that one. But if we can *kind of* get back to the review here, rather than moon over Roman, I think we should discuss what it’s like to see Kate from someone else’s perspective. Having read all the Kate Daniels books, we truly know Kate because she’s narrated and brought us into her world, but now we actually get to see Kate, and that was a fun experience, too. In fact, it made me anxious to dive back into her story soon.
Kelly: *thinks fondly of Roman for a moment* Very well. I did love seeing Kate from an outsider’s perspective. Spending so much time in her head in the other series, I had forgotten how CRAZY some of her actions must look to others. I think Andrea referred to her “crazy look” on more than one occasion. Speaking of Andrea, her past kind of killed me. The things she suffered through as a child… it makes some of her decisions in the later KD books make a little more sense.
Amanda: Oh, Andrea! It is hard to imagine the kind of brutality she went through as a child. Some of the dreams she had and what happened to her when she had those dreams slayed me. But you’re right. Seeing what she suffered through as a child definitely makes her actions understandable. And I think we needed that understanding, because Andrea became a very important part of Kate’s life in the later KD books.
Kelly: I really enjoyed Andrea’s interactions with Raphael. Well, once I got past the jaw drop in the beginning. They had that whole push and pull thing working overtime as they fought against their attraction for one another. I would LOVE to see more of them. Absolutely love it!
Amanda: OMG! When Raphael was being a total ass, and Andrea goes a little bat shit crazy (or should it be bouda shit crazy? I don’t know), I just about died. Watching Andrea embrace her beastkin side was actually a lot of fun to watch. I mean, it was poignant, too, because I think she reached a point where she realized she had to accept ALL of herself, but how she does it is quite entertaining.
Kelly: YES! The whole wandering the city as her beastkin self pretty much rocked! Let’s talk about the bad guy here. This was one of those sticky books where you’re never quite sure who can be trusted and who’s preparing to stab someone in the back. What did you think of the baddie?
Amanda: Random aside, when I read “sticky books” it looked like “sticky boobs” because of Andrea’s beastskin self. The baddie was a very typical Kate Daniels-ish baddie, especially toward the end, almost to the detriment of Andrea’s story. But the entire investigation leading up to it was absolutely fabulous, and I loved seeing Andrea in action.
Kelly: *giggles at the idea of sticky boobs**focuses at the task at hand* Andrea in action was pretty fantastic. I was glad she got to use her investigative skills. And her sharpshooting. Nothing says fun like pinpoint accuracy!
Amanda: I think Andrea’s story really opened up and expanded the Kate Daniels’ world. I mean, we’ve learned a lot of from the Kate Daniels’ books, but seeing the Kate Daniels world through Andrea’s eyes just continued to add to the world, and I like that. I like that a lot. I hope future KD World books do the same.
Kelly: I hope we get to see more Roman in future KD and KDW books. LOTS more Roman!
Amanda: You just want to see more of Roman so you can do dirty things to him.
Kelly: I hear he has a tattoo. I *am* partial to tattoos, you know. Rawr!
Holy Hannah! There was the... and then the... OMG! NO!... Wait!... More!... Yes!... OMG!... RUN!... NOOOOOOOOOO! *flops back* That was intense. I mean...moreHoly Hannah! There was the... and then the... OMG! NO!... Wait!... More!... Yes!... OMG!... RUN!... NOOOOOOOOOO! *flops back* That was intense. I mean, flailing, arms akimbo, can't sit still because otherwise the bad things will get me intense. I think I need a drink after finishing that book. Or a reaper of my own. Rawr!
Where to begin with that that won't give all the good stuff away? I love love LOVE Tod with Kaylee. I love how he is. I love that he's not afraid to tell her how much she means to him. I love that she makes his existence worthwhile. On the flip side, I love that Kaylee feels so much when she's with Tod but at the same time she needs to find a way out of her funk and learn to live when they're apart. Yes, this disconnect from reality is normal (as all the reapers keep telling her) but it's hard to watch this normally exuberant girl fall into such a terrible depression and have to fight every day to act normal so that she doesn't scare all her friends and family. As an aside, Rachel Vincent's portrayal of Kaylee's depression was wonderfully done. She's struggling so hard to find the will to care about what's happening around her. For those that have ever had to deal with bouts of depression, this can be debilitating and finding an even keel is hard. So, thank you, Rachel Vincent. Thank you.
I loved that we got to see how the events from Sophie's short story tied in to the big picture. I LOVE that Sophie is finally part of the Scooby gang even if she's a reluctant member. I really do think it was unfair of her dad to keep all the Netherworld badness from her when the Netherworld was so much a part of their lives. I also love that there was a such a big shake-up with the core members of their gang. SO MANY THINGS HAPPEN!
At this point, book 7 can't get here soon enough. Kaylee's story might be drawing to a close but it's going to be a brutal finale and I'm very excited for it!
This is one books that I literally couldn't put down. Okay, maybe not literally. I *could* put it down but I was so enthralled by it that I completely...moreThis is one books that I literally couldn't put down. Okay, maybe not literally. I *could* put it down but I was so enthralled by it that I completely didn't want to. Vlad's been a favorite of mine from the Night Huntress series since his first appearance and he was indisputably entrenched in the top couple of spots when he uttered the infamous "Premature inflamulation" line. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to finally see him get his own story.
Where to begin? Let's see... Vlad. He's brutal and bloody. He's downright scary when those under his protection are threatened. He isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Oh, and he can do that whole spontaneous flaming thing. Who doesn't like a guy who can set his enemies on fire with a thought?? He's found something with Leila. She intrigues him and pushes him and fires him up. Not in the spontaneously flaming way, either. He's willing to wreak havoc to keep her safe. And, yikes, does he have some moves. Some sexy, sexy moves.
Leila, of course, is an awesome counterpoint for Vlad. She's had to live with her odd ability for half her life. She's resigned herself to never having a relationship - and how could she when she zaps the hell out of people just by touching them - and it thrills her to have someone who can not only withstand her touch but also welcomes it.
Incredibly fun, action-packed and with cameos by some old faces, Vlad's series looks like it'll be downright fantastic. He and Leila are still working out the kinks in their relationship and I expect that they'll have plenty of ups and downs as the series progresses. Vlad can handle it, though. He can handle pretty much anything. Premature inflamulation aside.
I cannot tell you how excited I was to see that we were getting a spin-off series from the Lords of the Underworld. And... and and and the first book...moreI cannot tell you how excited I was to see that we were getting a spin-off series from the Lords of the Underworld. And... and and and the first book was starring Zacharel, the hard-nosed, emotionless angel who saved Haidee by giving her a pinch of the love he kept in an urn by his bed. *swoon* He has unplumbed depths, guys. UNPLUMBED DEPTHS!
Besides that fact that Zacharel is awesome (true story) and we got to meet up with some of the Lords and their Ladies (also a true story), Annabelle was pretty fantastic. She's been beaten down, over-medicated, seen horrific things, lost everything that means something to her and she's still managed to keep it together and hold onto her sanity. Her brush with the demon world is made even worse because she doesn't know what she's up against. For all she knew, these creatures were just figments of her imagination and she really was bat-shit crazy and deserved to be institutionalized. Yet, she didn't let it break her.
I loved the slow build-up of their romance. Zacharel has no concept of romantic love and has never felt lust until Annabelle stirs in it him. Annabelle's socialization skills are a little rusty and Zacharel barely cracks a smile. Watching the two of them unthaw around one another was fun. And sexy. Oh, yes. Sex-ay.
Have I mentioned Zacharel's army yet? LOVE THEM! There's so much going on with those guys. They're all so wonderfully broken. I can't wait until we get their stories. Can't wait at all.
I liked book 1 in the series but I wasn't particularly blown away by it. For all the action and alien-style shenanigans, I thought it lacked tension a...moreI liked book 1 in the series but I wasn't particularly blown away by it. For all the action and alien-style shenanigans, I thought it lacked tension as far as the "will she, won't she" make it in this alien hunting group. This book, though, didn't have that problem. When the action starts moving, it builds and builds and builds the tension until things reach critical and pop. Annnnnd... there's some sexy touching, which totally works for me. TOTALLY.
In the beginning, Camille is sweet and entirely forgettable. Her plan to dress sexy and try to attract the attention of Erik is... not the smartest, in my opinion. She takes some rather stupid risks (most at the urging of her friend) and ends up in the middle of something that she was entirely unprepared for. Good thing that Erik is a stand-up guy and takes her under his wing or she would have been toast before things really started getting good. I liked the two of them together. I liked them a lot.
Bottom line: A much stronger entry that book 1. I liked both Erik and Camille. I liked that Camille found herself when push came to shove. Highly enjoyable.
It took me a bit to get into this book. I don't know why exactly except that I keep thinking that Rahel felt off to me. Which makes sense to me now th...moreIt took me a bit to get into this book. I don't know why exactly except that I keep thinking that Rahel felt off to me. Which makes sense to me now that I'm thinking about it because she was half a the witch/demon person she normally was since she had cut herself off from the ley lines. Still, it took a while to fall back into her world and it made the first part of the book a bit sluggish. On the other hand, once she was back in the thick of things - needling Trent, ditching her security, making things go boom - I was hooked. I have to admit, her interactions with Trent grow more and more intriguing. The two of them are like oil and water at times and yet... they work. I won't lie, I want to see them give into their weird attraction and get naked.
One thing that I'm noticing is that Rachel seems to backslide every so often and decide that she's not going to deal with her issues. In the earlier books, she didn't want to admit that her blood could kindle demon magic. Now, she doesn't want to admit that she is a demon. I get that changing a mindset that's been with her from birth isn't going to happen at the drop of a hat, but she was crippling herself by cutting herself off from the demon side of her magic. I wanted to give her a good shake and tell her to put her dig demon panties on and deal with it.
I liked that we didn't know who to trust or what their intentions were when it came down to the different sides of the investigation. I liked that Rachel is starting to accept the bonds of friendship that have been laid out by people outside her core group. I liked seeing the softer side of Trent offset by the side that's willing to do anything to help someone he's given his word to.
While the beginning felt slow, the introduction of two powerful, opposing factions moved the end along nicely. Here's to hoping that Rachel actually sticks to her plan to fix the mess she left in the Ever After so we can see her doing what she's so good at - kicking ass and taking names - in the next book. And, you know, if she *needs* to get naked with Trent, who am I to argue?
I don't know how I feel about this book. On one hand, I'm still thinking about it and I liked the *idea* of these kids t...moreReviewed for On a Book Bender.
I don't know how I feel about this book. On one hand, I'm still thinking about it and I liked the *idea* of these kids trapped with nothing but themselves and a giant superstore to depend on. On the other hand, some of the choices the kids made had me almost pulling my hair out in frustration. Yeah, they're kids. Kids make stupid choices upon occasion. But... but but but I was making crazy eyes at them and wondering how in the world things were going to work out in the end. Come to think of it, maybe that's part of my problem. This book doesn't have a concrete ending. This is the first part of their story and I wanted more from it.
Stylistically speaking, I had a few issues. The first was that curse words are blanked out (F---- you, bull s----, etc). I'm of two minds on this. First, it took me out of the story whenever that came up. I kept imagining a crazy, angry person shouting "Eff you, you little esses!" and then I'd giggle. Which was totally not the response the author was going for, I'm sure. Then I thought, maybe we're just going for a clean book. One that would appeal to everyone, even the people who don't curse. (Wait. People who don't curse? Clearly, that's not me!) Except... except except except, there are several references to sexual shenanigans that seemed a whole lot more risqué than giving us a whole dirty word to read. So, that blew my whole thought process out of the water. Seriously, though, there's a wet t-shirt scene with an oversexed 13 year old girl, attempted rape, and the nuzzling of a senior girl's boobies. These things wouldn't have bothered me (Hello, have you seen the things I've been known to read??) except that I had it in my head (because of those blanked out curse words) that this book wasn't going to go in that direction. Meanwhile, I don't know what to think about the end. A fairly big revelation causes a shift in the entire dynamic of the group. While I get WHY the shift had to take place, the catalyst felt a little contrived to me. Something that hadn't been hinted at up to that point became a turning point for two of the characters.
For the most part, I liked all the characters -- even the annoying ones. A group of kids thrown into a situation like this aren't all going to get along. Considering that half of them are too young to care for themselves, there's going to be friction between the older kids as they struggle in caregiver roles.
Overall, there were things I did like about this book and then there were things that fell flat. However, the fact that I'm still turning things over in my head a couple of days after I read it tells me that I'm probably going to be reading the next book when it comes out.
I had a tough time with this book. I liked the setting (disaster and mayhem in LA in the wake of a cataclysmic earthquake) and I liked the resolution...moreI had a tough time with this book. I liked the setting (disaster and mayhem in LA in the wake of a cataclysmic earthquake) and I liked the resolution but it took me FOREVER (as in, a couple of a days) to get into this book. I was very frustrated by how Mia kept going back to the Seekers when they were obviously lying to her and only giving her half truths. Katrina's actions in particular had me shaking my head. Actually, I think the problem was that Katrina would lie, manipulate, and blackmail Mia and Mia would just kind of be "Oh, well. Don't do it again. You've lost my trust. Oh, you have something else to tell me? Okay. Bring it on." That these people who so desperately wanted her on their side during the upcoming fight were willing to risk her life and force her against her will to join them didn't sit well with me. Even the leader of the Seekers told Mia at one point that he didn't sanction Katrina's ways and then he turned around and tried to psychically force Mia to join them.
I did like the desperation in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event. Between the food shortages, the intermittent loss of water, and the displaced roaming the streets looking for handouts, it created a feeling of hopelessness and despair that was wonderfully creepy. I liked Jeremy. I liked Jeremy with Mia. I liked that they generated heat -- in a literal sense. My biggest obstacle was that the first half of the book I kept putting it down and scowling at it balefully whenever the factions would try to recruit Mia to their respective sides.
Did the second half of the book make up for this? I... don't know. I liked the ending up to a point. I liked that we got a pretty awesomely badass conclusion with lots of lightning and people running around all frantic and scared. I didn't like that the very people who lied to Mia -- and who are still withholding information from her -- were welcomed into her house with open arms once all was said and done. Dude. They lied to you. Repeatedly. Yeah, maybe they redeemed themselves somewhat at the end, but you don't need to invite them to your birthday party.
Here's the part where I'm really conflicted -- I don't know if I'd recommend this book based on how hard it was for me to get into, but I still want to see what happens next. Dangit.
I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. On the surface, it has a lot of elements that I should enjoy -- a comi...moreReviewed for On a Book Bender.
I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. On the surface, it has a lot of elements that I should enjoy -- a coming of age story, the potential for star-crossed love, mermaids (and mermen!) -- but... I found myself annoyed by the main characters far more often than not. FAR MORE!
To start with, Galen is supposed to be an ambassador of sorts for the humans. And by that, I mean that as a general rule the humans don't know he exists and yet he spends a lot of time not in the royal caverns. Or something. I'm a little fuzzy on exactly what his position as an ambassador entails. Anyway, for someone who's supposed to be a go-between between humans and Syrenas the guy is kinda clueless about how one is supposed to act around humans. o.O O.O O.o (this is my puzzled face, can you tell?) I just don't get how someone whose job was to interact with humans as needed could be so terrible at actually interacting with them.
Emma, on the other hand, wasn't bad as a character, exactly. She had weird mood-swings that didn't seem warranted sometimes but then she is described as being feisty so I guess I get that. My problem was that I never really connected with her. She's grieving the loss of her best friend (whom I didn't like based on the very short time we spent with her -- but that's just me thinking that best friends shouldn't delight in humiliating their BFF in front of a hot guy. I'm so crazy, I know!) and she's dealing with some big issues but she felt... inconsistent, maybe, in her interactions with Galen and his family.
Speaking of family, Galen's twin sister Rayna... how do I put this nicely?... she acts like a spoiled child -- hurting people when she doesn't get her way, blurting out secrets left and right, being a bitch even when she's being "nice". And everyone's okay with that. EVERYONE'S OKAY WITH THAT. Why? Why is everyone so quick to forgive her for being a spiteful hellion? There's no reason. She's not charming. She's not working through some major issues that could maybe, I don't know, explain away why she BLAMED EMMA FOR NOT SAVING HER BEST FRIEND DURING A SHARK ATTACK. Dude. Not cool. And Galen's like "Well, she could have been more tactful." and I'm thinking "REALLY? YOU THINK!?!?!?" Look, in my Big Book of Morally Conscious Things NOT To Do, it clearly states that blaming someone for another person's death when they had nothing to do with it is NOT COOL.
Like I said, I don't know how I feel about this book. I like the idea behind it more than anything. My biggest issue was that I didn't like any of the characters enough to overlook their glaring personality flaws. Well, I liked Galen, I guess. Rayna's dude was okay. Everyone else, though... on the take 'em or leave 'em scale, I would have dropped them like a hot potato.
Kelly: I am just... blown away by the awesome here. From the world building (OMG! So wonderfu...moreJoint review with Amanda @ On a Book Bender for her blog.
Kelly: I am just... blown away by the awesome here. From the world building (OMG! So wonderfully imagined!) to the characters (Alina! Mal!) to the shadowy goings on (who can you trust?)... I am smitten.
Amanda: I picked this book up on a Saturday afternoon and had trouble putting it down until I finished, for all the reasons you mentioned. It's hard to even pick where to start because there is so much awesome to choose from. But let's start with the world. The world is really very complex. It took me quite a while to situate myself in the world, but a part of me liked not knowing everything, and learning about the Grisha along with Alina. And, as someone who loves a little historical fiction, the nod to Tsarist Russia just made the world that much more intriguing.
Kelly: For me, the world felt oddly brittle. Like, the way of life that Alina and the others knew was about to fall apart. The Darkling talks about this. He tells Alina that the Grisha aren't going to fit into the new world. The thing that got me was that she never really fit into the world anyway. I liked that she was seen as the salvation of their nation and yet she's been an outsider all her life.
Amanda: Yes, brittle. Fragile, almost. It was a carefully constructed world that only needed one thing (person?) to send it crumbling down. Underneath the surface--beyond the narrative that we're given--I felt other players shifting and trying to gain power. In most monarchies, everyone is vying for power, and back-stabbing is the norm. There was that here. And yet, there was also much, much more. Alina is a typical YA heroine in many aspects (hello, only one possessing the power to save the nation and being caught between two men), but she was also so uniquely written that those things don't even matter. Heck, I even enjoyed the love triangle as much as I hated it.
Kelly: Talking about back-stabbing... whoa. Alina seems to feel the bite of betrayal often. Some of it isn't traditional betrayal (such as when she and Mal find themselves growing apart after years of being the only one the other had) but every one stings. There came a point at the end where I was staring at the book all wide-eyed and crazed, thinking "No. Just... how can this be happening?" This book made me feel everything that was happening to Alina. Her exhaustion, her frustration, her anger, her loneliness, her fear that she wasn't good enough to do the things that everyone believed she could do. It was exhilarating.
Amanda: Oh. My. Word. I loved Mal (especially at the end of the book). Funny how much we come to love him when we actually don't see much of him. But, I think we will find out more about him in the next book. (Seriously, is it out yet? I want it now.) And Alina goes through so much growth in this book. She has to discover who she is, what she is capable of, and what her limitations are. And, perhaps most important, Alina has to decide who her enemies are. Because you're right--she does seem to feel betrayal often. She is a pawn in the game, and this--whether Alina realizes it or not--is what she struggles with throughout the book.
Kelly: Yes. Her growth is phenomenal. I think that the moment she embraced her ability was the moment that she really spread her wings. The trust issue... yeah. *I* didn't know who to trust as I was reading this. She's given information at one point that causes her to make a pivotal decision and I kept waffling on whether the person giving it to her was telling her the truth or whether her inexperience with the ways of the Grisha was being used against her. It was masterfully done. There are so many twists and turns in this story that part of me still isn't convinced she knows everything she needs to know.
Amanda: Considering two more books are in the works, I feel pretty safe saying that we definitely do not have the full story. In some sense, there are too many players and too much going on for Alina to know everything she *needs* to know. She gets filtered bits of information that she's pieced together to somehow make a stand. But her story is far, far from being over. And I like this. I like it a lot.
Kelly: How long do we have to wait for book 2? I don't know how long I'll be able to last without knowing more!
Amanda: If we don't get book 2 tomorrow, then the wait is too long. That's about the only wait that is bearable for me. (Sadly, Goodreads only has the year 2013 listed. I'm hoping for early 2013.)
Oh, man, am I glad I picked this book up and got back into this series. This world is so FUN! It's dangerous and complex. It's sexy and full of twists...moreOh, man, am I glad I picked this book up and got back into this series. This world is so FUN! It's dangerous and complex. It's sexy and full of twists and turns. I like it. I really, really like it.
Now, I'm not going to lie, Merit and Ethan confuse me. The whole thing where Ethan practically threw Merit into Morgan's arms at the end of book 1 was... weird. To me, it felt like he was prostituting her out for the good of the House. Merit is pretty strong-willed, though, and she takes things slow with Morgan, which I appreciated. I *like* how Ethan and Merit spark off one another (despite Ethan's occasional fantastic forays into douchebaggery) and I don't get nearly the same feeling off of Morgan and Merit. They're just... nice. Nothing special. I don't always like Ethan's actions, but I LOVE how passionate the two of them are around one another. It doesn't matter if she's introducing him to a drive-thru hamburger or challenging his actions -- the two of them have chemistry.
The world of the Chicagoland vamps is big and getting bigger. The secrets that Gabriel Keene hints at feel like they're going to shatter some of the beliefs that Merit has held. I don't know what they are but I'm excited to find out. The secret that Merit's been carrying about her vampire half has the ability to change things. Once again, I don't know how, but when something out of the ordinary happens in an urban fantasy, I end up enthralled. And Merit's vampire half? Is out of the ordinary.
Lots of happenings, some sexy kisses and one revenge-obsessed vampire left me giddy for more.
Major pause, people. This is one badass world we've been given. It's all dark and dangerous and it's not necessarily a nice place to live but the peop...moreMajor pause, people. This is one badass world we've been given. It's all dark and dangerous and it's not necessarily a nice place to live but the people who are born in it have a hard time giving it up. I love the division between the Broken and the Edge. One is like a old West town where they have no real law and where a show of strong magic guarantees you a little respect. The other is one where a woman with strong magic can be preyed upon like anyone else. It's a frightening change of pace that anyone who chooses to pass between the worlds has to deal with on a regular basis.
Rose is intriguing. She's dedicated to her brothers. She's incredibly powerful. She's lived in fear of being taken from her life since she first realized how people would use her ability. She hasn't had the best life either. A mom who checked out years before, a dad who bailed when he thought she could hold her own, one brother who doesn't understand how to separate himself from his power and a dead end job that she can't quit because it's the only way she can keep her and her brothers fed. Naturally, she suspects the worst when Declan falls into her life.
I kinda loved Declan. He has many different faces and he played them all so well. He's smart and powerful and he cares about the people who cross his path. His personal stake in bringing down the bad guy is heartfelt. Speaking of the bad guy, he's gross. Just... yuck.
Overall, I *really* liked the world we were given. It's complex and sometimes dark. It's full of characters that were interesting - from the main characters to the inhabitants of Rose's small town. I'm extremely intrigued by William and can't wait to see what trouble he causes in the next book.
I've read a few books in the adult Alien Huntress series and while I liked it enough I was never completely blown away by it. I think this series ties...moreI've read a few books in the adult Alien Huntress series and while I liked it enough I was never completely blown away by it. I think this series ties in nicely with the adult series and I do enjoy it but... I'm still not blown away. It's fun. It's full of aliens and friendships and rivalry. There's forbidden love and all that jazz but it felt like I was waiting for something to happen. Yes, there's a nicely climactic battle scene and the rivalries get resolved but... I don't know. I think it was that I never really got the feeling that Phoenix was in danger of being tossed out of the program. For all the conflict, there wasn't a lot of conflict, if that makes sense.
I did enjoy Phoenix's interactions with her fellow trainees. I liked the friendships that blossomed and that Phoenix made an effort to draw the one loner in the group out. I liked the romance but, once again, it never felt like it was something out of reach. Sure, they had to put things on hold while she was training, but training doesn't last forever.
Overall, it was an entertaining read that reminded me that I skipped a few of the adult books (the 2nd and 3rd, I think) and wouldn't mind getting back to them. Fun, but not mindblowing.
As a hardcore BDB junkie, part of me wanted to read this book as soon as I got my hands on it and part of me was worried that I'd end up a sodden, wee...moreAs a hardcore BDB junkie, part of me wanted to read this book as soon as I got my hands on it and part of me was worried that I'd end up a sodden, weepy mess who needed large quantities of therapy so my life didn't spiral down into an endless sea of emotional pain. It's highly possibly that I expected too much of this book because as much as I loved Tohr's story, I'm not emotionally crippled after reading it. This is a good thing. My therapy hour is getting awfully crowded with all my literary moaning.
Anyway. Tohr's story is sad and emotional and it's a journey that he has to take. Not just to free Wellsie, but because he's locked so deeply in his own grief that he's no longer living. The same could be said for No'One. She's locked in the past, unwilling to live her life as more than a servant. The two of them are pretty screwed up and it takes a whole lot of work to get them to the point where they're on the same wavelength.
I'm still kinda digging Xcor and his Band of Bastards. I *really* want things to work out and get those nasty fighters fighting alongside the Brothers but I sense a long, bumpy ride ahead of them. I did love the whole Xcor/Layla interaction and that Xcor had a bit of a change of heart as far as his Bastards are concerned. I want to know more about Throe and his tragedy. I want I want I want.
One thing that I felt was that there was a lot of set up for the future going one here. The idea of admitting males who don't fit the strict bloodline rules into the Brotherhood could open up a whole lot of doors down the road. Xcor had a fundamental change in his way of thinking that could very well lead to big, big things. I'm excited. EXCITED!