Wow, that was so much better than the first book in the series. Minus the overdone and too-detailed sex scenes, I enjoyed all of this. If the author cWow, that was so much better than the first book in the series. Minus the overdone and too-detailed sex scenes, I enjoyed all of this. If the author can keep this up, I might even consider myself a fan. Oh, and this is definitely *not* YA; it's New Adult or better yet, just good, commercial fantasy....more
"The Witch Sea" was well-written with strong imagery and prose, but it was not nearly as moving as originally anticipated. I wanted in the way of char "The Witch Sea" was well-written with strong imagery and prose, but it was not nearly as moving as originally anticipated. I wanted in the way of character and relationship development between the two female leads to believe that the main character could fall in love so quickly and be so quickly moved from her lifelong sentiments and convictions. ...more
I'm finally, finally done with this tome of a novel. Sadly, this was the most disjointed and clearly unplanned novel of the series. Plot lines were br I'm finally, finally done with this tome of a novel. Sadly, this was the most disjointed and clearly unplanned novel of the series. Plot lines were brought up and then dropped; characters were introduced or reintroduced and then ignored; and the entire conflict and resolution felt contrived and anticlimactic. Oh, and our two main characters of Matthew and Diana? Even more perfect and revolutionary and special than anyone before them and anyone to come and all to a nauseating degree of implausibility. ...more
Not as bad as expected when you read the entire thing, but the middle third was full of nothing but romantic angst that almost did me in. This is not Not as bad as expected when you read the entire thing, but the middle third was full of nothing but romantic angst that almost did me in. This is not the strong female story that the blurb claims it to be, but instead it is a romance sandwiched in between typical fantasy/adventure events....more
If I rated this on my reading experience alone, it would get 1 star. If I rated this, however, based on how it fares and compares to other novels in t If I rated this on my reading experience alone, it would get 1 star. If I rated this, however, based on how it fares and compares to other novels in the romance genre, it would get 2 stars. Therefore, I'm going with 1.5 stars overall.
Nothing too original here - typical paranormal romance
As an adult reader of Andrea Cremer's young adult Nightshade series, I was curious to pick up this adult novel set in the same world and written under a pen name. Unfortunately, other than the background of her supernatural world, I didn't find anything more original or entertaining than a typical romance or light erotica novel: our characters fall into lust and love over the course of a mere few days, despite all of the reasons not to do so, and the the supposedly strong heroine starts falling to pieces once trials with her new lover arise. Compared to what I've read in the rest of the paranormal romance genre, it's not bad, but there's nothing here to make it stand out above the rest. Also, for those who have not read the author's other novels, much of the world building and setting may not make sense.
Note: This reviews refers to an advance review copy....more
Though I really enjoyed the first one in this prequel series, I'm now a bit worried about book two. The teaser chapters (available through MTV's HollyThough I really enjoyed the first one in this prequel series, I'm now a bit worried about book two. The teaser chapters (available through MTV's Hollywood Crush site) suggest that this one is going to bring the unnecessary romance and sex drama like WOAH.
(view spoiler)[The first two chapters are about nothing but the scummy boy wanting to have his rape-y way with our heroine and then the heroine trying to have her lovey-sexy way with the hunky, reasonable love interest. In 24 hours, she goes from her first-ever kiss to seeing people battle evil and die to fleeing on horseback under the cover of darkness to talking herbal birth control with her lover in the forest after trying to run her hands up into his man goods. Really? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
Charming historical-supernatural romance that's slow to start
In Saundra Mitchell's The Springsweet, seventeen-year-old Zora finds herself stuck in B Charming historical-supernatural romance that's slow to start
In Saundra Mitchell's The Springsweet, seventeen-year-old Zora finds herself stuck in Baltimore - both emotionally and physically - as she grieves the tragic loss of her fiancé. When a rash choice provides a way out, she takes it and finds her way to the wind-swept prairies of Oklahoma to live with her aunt. Once there, Zora discovers that she has the power to sense water under the ground and that her skill is in much demand in a drought-ridden land. While burdened with the responsibility of locating water (and hope) for others, Zora finds that her own heart may be awakening again.
Overall, The Springsweet was a charming historical romance with a light dash of the supernatural. The novel was short and succinct, and it was easy to sit down and devour it in one sitting. Zora, though a bit selfish, was a sympathetic character given her experiences and loss, and side characters like aunt Birdie and her young daughter helped flesh out the story. One of the love interests was also very likeable, and the romance, though quick and not entirely explainable, had some swoony moments. The greatest strength of the novel, however, lay in its detailed and beautiful descriptions of prairie and frontier life; these vivid mental images provided the story with an excellent sense of place and time.
Despite these positives, the novel was slow to start, and the writing felt a bit awkward in a few places. This novel is also not a good choice as someone's first foray into a historical/period novel, as there were words or descriptions, such as Zora lifting up the "combination" under her dress, that didn't mean anything to me and left me confused. Some of the supernatural elements weren't clearly explained either. The romance also developed too quickly and without much substance. This was one of the few times that I wanted a book to be longer, instead of shorter. It seemed like a lot of my concerns about the romance and the supernatural elements could have been cleared up with a few more pages about each topic. Though it's advertised as a companion novel, not a sequel, there were also times I wished I had read Mitchell's first book, The Vespertine, before this. The story does a good job of filling in the gaps, but I still felt like I was missing something.
Even though I found things I didn't like in The Springsweet, I found a lot that I did, and those strengths are enough to make me want to catch up on the first book The Vespertine and read the next (Aetherborne) when it comes out. In the coming book, I hope Mitchell continues to create a memorable sense of time and place while also providing readers with more insight into the supernatural ways and romances of her characters.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy....more
Strong protagonist, action, and romance combine for solid read, 3.5 stars
In Rift, the prequel to Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, readers get a gl Strong protagonist, action, and romance combine for solid read, 3.5 stars
In Rift, the prequel to Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, readers get a glimpse into the origins of the Keepers and the Witches War of the 15th century. The daughter of a noble, Ember Morrow must leave her family after her 16th birthday to serve the mysterious order of Conatus. Though most fear the knights, Ember readily embraces the life of battle and purpose the order provides. Once training begins, she finds not only her skills tested, but also her wit and her heart. Dark powers soon start to infiltrate the group, and Ember must decide where and with whom her allegiances lie.
Though I had a rocky relationship with Cremer's other Nightshade books, I really enjoyed Rift once I got past some slow parts in the beginning. Ember was an able and spirited protagonist with a strong sense of self. Though a bit reckless at times, she doesn't complain or expect others to rescue her. Action scenes were well-described and plentiful, and the author's prose painted beautiful images of the Scottish highlands cloaked in gray fog. The slow-building romance was another highlight with its swoon-worthy love interest who was both strong and masculine but also considerate and effusive. Even though it's a prequel, Rift can also be read on its own as the satisfying start to a new series, and the story ends in a place where a reader can look forward to the next installment without being left on a terrible cliffhanger.
As mentioned, Rift was slow to start, however, and I felt bogged down during the first 100 pages by some character interactions and historical information that wasn't always clearly explained. Ember became too adept as a knight too quickly to be believable, and the romance blossomed from little sparks to full devotion in too short of a time near the end to feel truly natural. The story line about the split within Conatus also wasn't nearly as engaging as hoped, and I found myself rushing through those sections to get back to Ember's story. Overall, the story just felt a bit light on content where there could have been more development.
While I might have found a few stumbling points, Rift is the best thing I've read by Andrea Cremer, and I'm already looking forward to the sequel (Rise). In it, I hope Cremer develops the swoony romance even more and provides greater tension to the emerging story about the split that leads to the Witches War.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. ...more
Though I had a rocky experience with Harkness' first novel, A Discovery of Witches, I began reading Shadow of Night with hopes that its setting in the past would add intrigue and excitement to the unfolding story. Unfortunately, it did not, and the story became more plodding and convoluted in this installment.
Shadow of Night suffered most from its almost obsession-like focus on detailing every aspect of the historical period in which it was set. From particulars about the floor coverings to the convenient inclusion of almost every notable figure of the time, I felt bogged down in the details and the name-dropping. Character development also progressed in fits and spurts and ultimately stalled. Though Matthew and Diana have some "breakthrough" moments in their relationship, Diana remains relatively incompetent and reckless and Matthew continues to be controlling and possessive. Slow pacing made the first 80% of the novel drag, and very little time or attention was given to the threats or worries of the present day. When action or plot movement did occur, it provided little tension or excitement. The couple's impetus to be in the past - to hone Diana's magic and to find Ashmole 782 - often got lost among historical notes and unrelated intrigue. The mythology regarding time travel and Diana's magical skills was also unclear and seemed to contradict itself at times.
Even though Shadow of Night didn't work for me, this book might be an enjoyable read for those who love history and detail. The time spent exploring Diana's magic and her special capabilities was interesting, as was the information revealed toward the end of the novel about Ashmole 782 and its related prophecy; I finished the book wanting to know more about each. The story also provided some insight into Matthew's character and how his past and his family had shaped him. Chapters set in the present day that were interspersed between sections also provided glimpses into what was happening in the present-day world and moved things along for the secondary characters. Of all of the different parts in the book, I enjoyed these infrequent additions the most.
While I can appreciate the ambitious nature of Harkness' series, I left this second book of the trilogy feeling unmoved again by the story or its characters. Even such, I will likely read the final installment when it comes out to see what happens to Diana, Matthew, and all those connected by Ashmole 782. As she wraps up her story, I hope that Harkness provides readers with faster pacing, clearer world building, and more character development.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. ...more
Somewhat predictable and dragging sequel, 2.5 stars
In the second book of Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, Wolfsbane, Calla finds herself imprisoned Somewhat predictable and dragging sequel, 2.5 stars
In the second book of Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, Wolfsbane, Calla finds herself imprisoned by the Searchers, her lifelong enemies. When the Searchers end up being much different than expected, Calla must decide whether it's worth the risk of trusting them in order to save her pack. She must also decide if her allegiance belongs to Shay, the man who escaped with her, or Ren, the one she left behind.
WOLFSBANE was a somewhat predictable and dragging sequel that still left me interested enough to keep reading. In this installment, the reader learns a great deal more about the Searchers, the Keepers, and the Guardians and how they're all connected to one another across centuries of warfare. Certain new characters added to the developing story, and the action scenes really moved the story along in the second half. Cremer also again integrated serious themes into her story about important issues like belongingness, choice, war, and how authority can influence and oppress people.
Though these good things could have combined to make a great book, they frustratingly did not. More than 200 pages were spent awkwardly dumping information on the reader, and the sheer number of new characters and roles became confusing. The new people were then often characterized using clichés. Repeated scenarios to reinforce the idea of a new human "pack" also felt redundant. Because of all this, the book was very slow to start.
Character development also faltered. Calla and Shay both act in unbelievable ways regarding each other and those around them. Their previously egalitarian relationship disappears, and both love interests act in ways that made it difficult to root for either guy, especially Ren. Calla also continues to not act like the alpha we're told she is; she does a lot of telling about her warrior and alpha attributes but she doesn't show them. Instead, there was too much reliance on teeth baring and snarling to make the Guardians seem fierce. Flowery prose also bogged down much of the story, and I noticed a few plot holes. One major plot twist was predicted too easily, and the book then finished with an unsatisfying cliffhanger.
Even though WOLFSBANE was disappointing in many ways, I'm still looking forward to see what happens as the trilogy wraps up in Bloodrose. I'm hoping that Cremer takes some major risks regarding the resolution, especially the love triangle, and that she brings some of the social and political issues to the forefront. ...more