Bring on the pitchforks and torches, because I honestly didn't like this one NEARLY as much as the first two. Such a letdown for me, because I really...moreBring on the pitchforks and torches, because I honestly didn't like this one NEARLY as much as the first two. Such a letdown for me, because I really enjoyed Catching Fire..
Still, not awful, simply not as good as the previous one for me.
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2013 Publisher: Self-Published Imprint:...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2013 Publisher: Self-Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.ptmichelle.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: Yes, 0.5, Brightest Kind of Darkness Series Series Best Read In Order: Prequel can be read before or after Book 1 Steam Level: Chaste Pet Peeves: Not a Self-Contained Story, Cliff-Hanger Favorite Tropes: Male Point-of-View, Tattoo
Even though I've read Brightest Kind of Darkness, it's been a long time, and a lot of books in between, and so while I remembered that I enjoyed the book, I honestly didn't remember the specifics of what it was about. As such, I read Ethan almost as a newcomer to the series, and so the only real drawback to this novella was the cliff-hanger ending. This was a rather minor point, since I knew going into it that it ended at a specific point, but I do think newcomers to the series should be aware that this is not a self-contained story in and of itself.
Overall, I loved getting Ethan's point of view, as well as a taste of his back story. While I would have been a bit disappointed at the lack of actual "romance" in the book had I not already read BKOD, I did enjoy seeing Nara through Ethan's eyes.
While Ethan can be read either before or after reading Brightest Kind of Darkness, I think I would personally recommend reading this second. However, the good news is that at the time of this review, Brightest Kind of Darkness is free* on Kindle. I honestly have no idea how long it will be available at that promotional price, but I reviewed that story when it first came out and gave it 4.5/5 Stars (WHICH YOU CAN READ BY CLICKING HERE), and would highly recommend picking it up while it's still available on this promotion.
4/5 Stars, and recommended for any fan of the series.
*Always check the price of any book before purchasing it. ;)(less)
Expected Release Date: August 30, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Tor...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com
Expected Release Date: August 30, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Tor Imprint: Tor Teen Author’s Website: http://kendareblake.com/ My Source for This Book: Personal Gift Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Anna Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Warning: This review contains minor spoilers
Cas Lowood is no ordinary 17 year old boy. He is a ghost-hunter, one of the few descended from a long line of hunters who can not only see and communicate with malevolent ghosts, but who possesses the power to end their reign of terror. When his father was brutally murdered on a routine ghost-hunting mission, Cas picked up where his father left off, training and searching, waiting for the day that he is strong enough to go after the being that murdered his father.
When one of his associates forwards information about Anna Korlov, known now as Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas feels an immediate strong compulsion to seek out the murderous spirit, and put her back in the grave. When he arrives in town, however, he discovers that Anna is much more powerful than any other spirit he’s ever encountered, and it will take not only his own strength, but the help of the locals to discover the source of her power and break the curse that has trapped her in the old Victorian house, destined to murder any who enter…
I wanted, so badly, to adore this story. It got off to such a strong start that I in all seriousness told Mr. Romanceaholic that I sincerely hoped that someone would have the good sense to make this novel into a movie, because the storyline and visuals were absolutely engrossing. Everything from Cas’ family history to his hunting down and killing murderous ghosts, to utilizing his father’s contacts to choose his next target, to his mother’s white witchcraft and enabling of his lifestyle. Even the relationships that Cas developed with the local schoolkids, and the horror of watching a ghost brutally murder someone right in front of him while inexplicably sparing his life, all added to my excitement about the story, and the incredible descriptions painted such a vivid image of the story in my mind that I couldn’t help but wish I could go see it come to life on the big-screen.
However, about halfway in, the story became less frightening and creepy and turned more silly and cheesy, culminating in an ending that had me sighing, not with contentment, but with disappointment. Once Anna’s curse was broken, there was practically no tension left in the book, and when another Big Bad made an appearance, it was too little too late for me, despite the valiant effort at gore, creepiness, and vivid descriptions.
Am I still interested in seeing this book turned into a movie? Probably not, unless the screenwriters work with Ms. Kendare to amp up the horror and tone down the cheese in the ending. Will I read the sequel when it’s released? Absolutely. Do I recommend this to fans of YA horror? You betcha.
Expected Release Date: October 18, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Random House Publishing Group Imprint: Del Rey Author’s Website: http://liahabel.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Dearly Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Almost two hundred years in the future, the world as we now know it is gone. Rapid climate shifts and nuclear war have reshaped both our planet and society as a whole. Desperate to find normalcy and civilization amongst the ruins, a new society is formed based on historical Victorian principals, and the New Victorians are born. Similar to their historical counterparts in manners and fashion, they embrace technology while at the same time rigorously enforcing strict societal rules.
But some people do not approve of the New Victorian society, with its inherent caste system and over-reliance on electricity and computer technology. These people rebelled, and embrace a simpler life, where a person’s worth stems from their wit and hard work rather than an accident of birth. Called the Punks by the New Victorians, the majority simply want to be left alone to live in peace, but enough radicals patrol the borders as to create an enormous amount of tension between the two groups.
In the middle of all of this is Nora Dearly, the orphan daughter of the now-deceased Victor Dearly, a prominent physician in his day.sec Well-off but not truly wealthy, Nora is a student at St. Cyprian’s — an all-girl’s academy whose mission it is to turn her into a useless “lady”. Despite her schooling, Nora has a deep love for war movies — something that by all rights should make a delicate lady swoon — and a penchant for speaking out of turn.
Returning home on holiday, she’s disgusted to learn that her Aunt has run through her inheritance with her luxurious lifestyle, and intends that Nora find a rich husband as soon as possible, despite the fact that they are literally a day out of mourning for her late father. Love, attraction, or even liking the man are completely irrelevant in her aunt’s mind, and Nora is horrified by her aunt’s attitude and behavior.
Soon, however, it becomes apparent that Nora’s concerns of money and marriage are the least of her worries. Alone in the house while her aunt is off trying to secure a rich husband, Nora goes to investigate a noise only to discover something out of a horror story — rotting, crazed corpses overrunning her house, determined to get their hands on her. Desperate for escape, she is rescued by masked soldiers who spirit her away — only these are no ordinary soldiers, and Nora’s world is about to change forever.
As many of you may know, I don’t typically gravitate towards Young Adult Novels, simply because I tend to prefer steamier fare. However, every now and then a book comes along that reminds me that there are YA novels whose storytelling more than makes up for any “lack” in physical romance, and this was certainly one of them.
I have always enjoyed Steampunk, but I’ve never had a chance to read “cyber-Victorian”. While I’m not certain what the “official” definition is for either term, Steampunk to me is Victorian-style society only with technological advances that were not truly available at the time, all powered by steam engines and clockwork mechanisms (think automata, elevators, steam powered cars, etc.). Cyber-Victorian is even more interesting — it’s Victorian-style society but with actual computerized technology like we have today — flatscreen television, email, PDA’s, cellphones, etc. I loved the contrasts of bustles and corsets and arranged marriages and the aristocracy against cell phones and digital diaries and computers and medical technology.
I loved all of the main characters — Nora, Bram, Pam, and even Victor — and while I found the POV jumps to be disorienting at first, I soon became accustomed to them and even found myself enjoying the different perspectives.
The entire main concept of a zombie virus that might actually leave you.. well… yourself.. was very intriguing to me. Sure, there were the Grays (zombies who lost all of their humanity when they reanimated), but so many were exactly as they had been, only dead.
Plus, the entire fact that the members of Z Company were embalmed and ate tofu made me laugh.
Overall, even with the POV shifts, this one is firmly on my keeper shelf, and I am greatly looking forward to the next installment.
Honestly, I read it on a whim a few months ago and can't really remember that much. I do remember the love triangle, ridiculous plot advancements (tho...moreHonestly, I read it on a whim a few months ago and can't really remember that much. I do remember the love triangle, ridiculous plot advancements (though, they did borderline on "campy" so some may be forgiven) and quite a bit of general cattiness.
Will I read the sequel? Maybe one day, but really, I'll probably just rely on spoilers from Goodreads, because really all I want to know is who she'll end up with in the end.
Expected Release Date: September 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Ca...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://www.shawnathomas.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
The daughter of a prostitute, Selia has run her family’s tavern since her mother’s death, and is determined to keep her establishment an honest one. Along with her simple half-brother, she saves the life of a man being attacked by thieves, only to discover that the injured man is not a “man” at all, but is instead a Svistra, a race of blood-drinking brutes who have her world poised on the brink of war.
Allowing her brother to tend him against her better judgement, Selia soon discovers that there are more to the Svistra than meets the eye, and that despite rumors the the contrary, her patient appears to not only be civilized but also possesses a somewhat gentle nature. Knowing that she must keep his presence a secret from the townspeople and the soldiers marching through, she secrets him away in the barn during his convalescence.
When a press-gang takes all the men in the village, including Selia’s gentle giant of a brother, Selia makes it her mission to track them down and rescue him. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that no matter how skilled she may be with a knife and a bow, she is no match for the wilderness that lies between her and the military outpost where her brother has been taken.
When Jaden, the Svistra man she rescued, in turn saves her from a certain death, Selia is not sure what to expect. Claiming that he owes her a Blood Debt for her having saved his life, Jaden vows to help Selia rescue her brother, whom Jaden also counts as a friend.
Their goal is not an easy one to achieve, however, because in addition to the perils of the forest, Jaden’s own people occupy the land ahead of them. As the son a Svistra commander, cast from his clan for his “traitorous” peace-loving ways, there is a price on Jaden’s head as well, and he knows that if his people capture Selia, there is no end to the horrors she will face.
Together, Selia and Jaden must elude the Svistra, cross toxic wastelands, and fight their own growing attraction in order to not only rescue her brother, but to prevent a war that will destroy both their peoples.
This story was an absolute treat! Ranging from fantasy adventure to romance to complicated issues such as race relations and politics, I quite literally couldn’t put it down and read it in a single sitting.
Jaden was delicious, and Selia is resourceful and cunning but still retains enough vulnerabilities to allow the reader to relate to her. The action scenes are wonderful, and throughout the novel, the threat from both the Svistra and the humans against Selia and Jaden add a delightful sense of tension to the story.
Recommended for fans of fantasy worlds on the brink of war, of peacekeeping heroes who are nonetheless powerful warriors, of tenacious heroines who steal the spotlight, and of finding love against impossible odds.
Expected Release Date: June 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self-Pub...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 27, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Self-Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.ptmichelle.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift From the Author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Brightest Kind of Darkness Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Sixteen year-old Nara is never surprised. Each night, she dreams the entire events that she will experience the following day. She learned at a young age not to interfere with the natural order of things, but when she dreams of a major catastrophe that she has the power to prevent, she can’t simply ignore it.
Fate, however, has other plans. Soon not only do Nara’s prophetic dreams suddenly start to fade, but students at school start to have serious accidents that she can’t fully prevent. Add to that the sudden unwelcome reappearance of the father who abandoned her at a young age, the sudden betrayal by her best friend, and the suspicious attention she’s gained from the school’s mysterious new student, Ethan, and Nara’s life has never been so out of control.
While struggling to adapt to the sudden loss of her abilities and trying to stay one step ahead of Fate, Nara forges a surprisingly strong alliance with Ethan. Soon, however, Ethan’s ability to “get” her as well as his terrible reputation begin to make Nara suspicious — while the attraction between them is as real as it gets, it’s also obvious that Ethan is hiding something that may make all the difference.
A few housekeeping details to go ahead and get out of the way here — first and foremost is that the plot to this book is very similar to the Final Destination movies.
Now, personally, I liked the similarities to the plots, because I thoroughly enjoyed the Final Destination movies (they scared the bejeezus out of me, actually). There are also many factors that make a strong distinction between this book and those movies, so please don’t think that they’re at all identical. However, it wouldn’t be a fair review if I didn’t mention the parallels between the stories because some readers may not appreciate them.
Second, this is also a YA novel, which is not typically the type of story I tend to read (I, er, like smexin in my books. Heh.), so of course the steam rating is only set on “Warm”.
Lack of smexin aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Ethan was incredible while not falling into that “perfect guy” trap that so many romance heroes fall into. He’s tortured, has a bad temper, is hesitant to open up to Nara, and also has a tendency to be a bit high-handed. However, he’s also completely devoted to Nara and her safety without being all creepy-stalkerish which is refreshing, and there’s also just enough mystery left about him that I’m dying to read the next one if it will hurry up and be released!
Nara was also a favorite of mine. Slightly spoiled, a bit insecure, and occasionally selfish, she felt like a real teenage girl to me, albeit one who had a pretty cool psychic power and a crazy run-in with malevolent forces.
In the end, I was very happy with this book. While I’m frustrated that I have to wait for a sequel, as there are several very important things that were never fully covered in this story, the romance was satisfying, the plot was not only interesting but slightly creepy, and the entire concept of precognitive dreams is an intriguing one.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Impr...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://melaniecard.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
I don't normally start reviews off this way, but I honestly think that this was one if not the best books I've read all year, and since it's almost July at the time of my writing this, that's definitely saying something.
In Ward's world, magic is commonplace and some things that we take for granted are completely forbidden, such as surgery. Having always wanted to be a physician, Ward was kicked out before completing his training because of his penchant for grave-robbing -- a distasteful but necessary occupation for one who wants to study the illicit practice of surgery. Now forced to be a Necromancer for the rich, his job is to bring back those who have recently died for fifteen minutes so that their families can make peace with the deceased.
Hired by a rich man to wake Celia Carlyle, he is astonished when not only does she insist that she's been murdered rather than having been simply "ill" as her family suggests, but she also sleeps with a dagger under her pillow, dresses in men's clothing, and attempts to escape out the window. Knowing that her disappearance will result in an accusation of grave-robbing, he follows her trying to convince her that she must return. Instead Celia invokes Ward's Physician's Oath -- an unbreakable vow to help all those who ask for assistance, and one punishable by eternal torture in the afterlife if broken.
Making his decision, he follows her, having to re-wake her several times as the fifteen-minute limit of the waking spell is reached. At risk of permanently disturbing the "balance" between the worlds, he performs a dangerous spell to attempt to allow her to remain "awake" for a longer period, when something goes wrong. In addition to the fact that he's been forced to improvise with the required ingredients for the spell, he is interrupted before he can be certain his spell has been completed, but when Celia regains consciousness and helps to fight off their attackers, he assumes that everything worked as it should have.
However, it soon becomes apparent that his intended spell did not yield the expected results, as Celia shows no signs of decay, and in fact, actually seems... healthier than before.
Complicating matters is his own undeniable attraction towards her, but relations with the dead are strictly forbidden, and despite the fact that she eats, breathes, and walks, there is no denying that she had died and is therefore completely off-limits.
Add to that the fact that Celia is obviously not simply the pampered daughter of a rich noble, and Ward is soon drawn into a dangerous world of forbidden magic, assassinations, and deception.
One point of note is that while I have labeled this as Young Adult for my own convenience, it is more of a New Adult/Upper YA Fantasy. Not having read a lot of Young Adult in my life, I'm not certain just how important this distinction is, only that it was made and I felt it was wise to point it out. I think the biggest difference is that the main characters are no longer teenagers, but are instead both in the first stages of real adulthood, complete with all of the complications that come along with that stage of life
I admit, I'm actually having a hard time believing that this is a debut novel. Ms. Card's website and Goodreads profile list this as her only work, but I wonder if she's written any previous novels under a different name. I must do some Googlefu and see what I can discover, because I'm absolutely in love with her writing style and am thirsting for more.
It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that I will be preordering any and all future books in this series, and I have a feeling I will be fangirling all over this one for a long time to come.
Recommended for fans of kick-butt heroines who reluctantly soften as they mature, heroes who actually have to work to earn the title, and an intriguing paranormal-fantasy universe to explore.
Expected Release Date: March 1, 2009 (Available Now!) Publisher: Orchard...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: March 1, 2009 (Available Now!) Publisher: Orchard Books Author’s Website: http://macleanspace.com/ My Source for This Book: Used Bookstore Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
Official Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford is strong-willed and sharp-tongued and not interested in marriage. Unfortunately, her mother is determined to marry her off to someone safe, respectable, wealthy, and almost certainly boring. But Alex is much more interested in adventure than romance.
Between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get entangled in her biggest scrape yet. When the Earl of Blackmoor’s father is mysteriously killed in a riding accident, Alex helps his son, the devilishly handsome Gavin, to discover the truth. It’s a mystery brimming with espionage, murder, suspicion, and true love.
Romance and danger fill the air, as this year’s Season begins!
To be honest, the official blurb does an excellent job of summarizing, so I won’t be adding my own version for once :P
As a Young Adult book, there is of course very little sensuality. I found that I didn't actually miss it. I think this may be owed to both Alexandra and Gavin's ages -- despite common social mores at the time, I've never really warmed to the whole marriage-at-17 thing for women.
While I was annoyed with Gavin's courtship of Penelope in the beginning, and his hypocritical dislike of Stanhope, I did rather appreciate the ease that Alexandra and Gavin clearly felt with each other, and their obviously deepening feelings for one another.
In the end, however, while I enjoyed it, I didn't feel that it was anything exceptional. I admit, part of my dissatisfaction likely stems from the fact that I recently read a much-anticipated 5-Star book (that would be Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh, btw) and so frankly, nothing quite compares to the Book High I got while reading that one. Another problem could probably be the fact that I read three books in quick succession that had a similar plot -- that of childhood friends turned to lovers -- and none of the three books actually seemed to really stand out from the other.
Even so, however, the romance fell a little flat for me. I expected there to be a little more resistance between the two, but instead declarations were fast coming. Add to that a very predictable murder mystery, and I wasn't very impressed.
Recommended for fans of childhood friends who fall in love, and of intrepid 17 year olds who buck societal conventions to do what they feel is right, both sprinkled with murder, betrayal, and of course, love.