****Review copy received for an honest review.****
There is something undeniably addicting about Amanda Carlson's writing. Combine that with her new pe****Review copy received for an honest review.****
There is something undeniably addicting about Amanda Carlson's writing. Combine that with her new peppy lead, Phoebe Meadows, who is a new born Valkyrie and you've got a hit. Phoebe kind of reminds me of the FRIENDS Phoebe, not just because of the name but they both are quirky gals. Ones that I like. Though admittedly no one can be as quirky as the FRIENDS Phoebe and Phoebe Meadows is brighter.
I will say upfront that Struck reminds me a lot of Full Blooded. The plot, feel, and pacing is the same. Plot wise it's just shadowing, not copy and pasting. The feel is more like the flavor of an author's writing style, because Struck is admittedly more funny and lighthearted. Though there are plenty of dark elements and themes. Pacing is fast and a wild ride that Carlson is well known for.
Phoebe annoyed me at first, but she quickly grew on me. She's a book bestie now. As she ventures through the realms and comes into her powers I couldn't not like her! Phoebe is hilarious, fun, sweet, and genuine. She's not magically a bad ass. She fumbles, learns, and grows. Which, with the books I've been reading lately, is something I greatly appreciate.
The male love interest was pretty awesome. He's alpha and polite. Well most of the time. I had a few issues with some of his ideas about Phoebe and her blade. (Not some kind of pun.) I feel like Carlson didn't over do it. Fen is relatable and you understand what motivates his actions.
Struck, to me, has enough Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance elements to please fans of both. I love the quirkiness of the story and humor. Not to mention the mythology of the world is steeped in Norse lore, but has Carlson's own magic touches. Oh, my gosh! The characters. I won't spoil anything but I can't wait to meet other mythological creatures/beings of Norse lore. Finally I have a Valkyrie story to look forward to. For years I've been waiting for someone to write a book/series that I would like with Valkyries as leads. (I was starting to think that Valkyries were cursed/jinxed for me.) I look forward to the rest of the books in the Phoebe Meadows series. Not to mention the twists and turns of the plot! Yeah!
Sexual Content: Yeah, I'd say so. Sexual humor, talk about torture and rape. Nothing too scary.
First it needs to be said that this book is edited right. I did not want to bash my brains out due to grammar errors. The writing isn't too bad eitherFirst it needs to be said that this book is edited right. I did not want to bash my brains out due to grammar errors. The writing isn't too bad either. It has life and a flavor to it. Sadly the overall story, events, and characters bored me. I fell asleep while reading. Had to skip a few parts that basically went exactly how I knew they would. (For a read-every-word girl like me, that's not a good sign.)
The first thing I need to touch base with was the world building. The idea of a world where humans evolved into mages, and then the mages experimented on humans that then created shifters is awesome. When first diving into the story I thought this was an urban fantasy read. It felt like it. It revealed we were not on our earth, but a totally made up one. Cool. Then all of a sudden a steambike pops up and whams me in the face. OK. I rolled with it because the idea that this is a made up world with steampunk technology thrilled me.
So it was a steampunk fantasy world!
Maybe? The technology felt off because there was a power plant and lots of things that didn't quite fit a steampunk world. Such as sweatpants. And I'm assuming they are sweats, because that is the term used for them. Sweats in fantasy/steampunk worlds are usually “loose pants” or “baggy pants”. “Work out pants.” So on. Because the type of technology to make our kind of sweats does not mesh with the world.
I'm a picky reader. I felt like Walt simply wanted me to feel in the blanks. Assume a lot of things about this world. Which sucked.
Ah, the cast of characters. Who all felt barrowed from other stories and pieced together. Definitely urban fantasy characters. Who did and said the things I expected them to. The lead was supposed to be witty and snarky, but I found her more stupid and irritating. Rude. The male interests where boring and so typical that no attempt was made to flesh them out.
Oh, and the lead is magically attracted to the rude—excuse me mysterious/misunderstood—Chief Mage. AKA the man with all the power that seems like a bad guy but isn't. Of course she's drawn to him despite herself.
The mystery of her mentor's death and the “silver murders” is tacked onto the lead's secret being found out and so on. It's all rather boring. And well typical. (Yeah, I'm tired of using that word.) Actually it may have behooved this series to get us to care about the lead and her world before playing all of its cards.
The names of the characters have already left my head. Instead I remember them as stereotypes that did their stereotypical things. That just happened to be cut into a stereotypical UF plot. Which is a true shame as the basis of this world was so unique. With an underwhelming romance and boring plot. Despite the fact that this is supposed to be a fantasy steampunk world. It all falls short because it's so busy following the steps of a Urban Fantasy book that it forgets to be itself. To build emotions and distinguish its characters from the many others out there. To build the world and not just the buildings and rooms. To have the world figured out enough to clue readers into the hows and whys. Thumbs up for solid editing. Thank you.
Sexual Content: Sexual humor, minor dark themes, and overall clean.
“You're right, because if not for her, Ash would be dead and you'd still be in Asphodel, pregnant with the next generation of Samael's slaves.”
“You're right, because if not for her, Ash would be dead and you'd still be in Asphodel, pregnant with the next generation of Samael's slaves.”
That's right Seiya! Ugh! You tell her Lyre.
Honestly I did not want to read from Seiya's point of view. By the end of Yield the Night all I wanted was to strangle her and weigh her body down somewhere so she wouldn't sully any more page time. Sleep with the fishes you annoying SOB. It also ticked me off to see the whole hate was part jealousy despite what Lyre told Piper. Lyre new it too, and I enjoyed that he confronted Seiya about it.
It was really cool seeing what happened to Lyre and Seiya after they returned through the portal. I think there's some discord in the Raas' clan. I think this will signal the turning point for Seiya's characters, and I actually would suggest reading it for the series. Especially since despite this being told from Seiya's POV it is very much a Lyre book. As he finally divulges some information about himself. OMG!!!
Sexual Content: Actually, I don't think Lyre worked any of his flitateous magics. (Much to Seiya's annoyance.) A mild dark theme is referenced (see quote above), but honestly this book is clean.
At first I thought I was going to write an enraged review. Now I'm just resigned.
The writing was bad. Life sucking bad. Honestly I can not believe thAt first I thought I was going to write an enraged review. Now I'm just resigned.
The writing was bad. Life sucking bad. Honestly I can not believe that Banks wrote this. I'm a fan so even if the start was rocky, the writing was something I had kept hope for. Sadly even her talent for making unlikable characters likable was gone. Which sucked, because every character was horrible.
Friends that were supposed to be best friends turned on each other in a blink. All the characters where hot. All the men were macho, alpha men. Who apparently always looked pissy. There were so many mood swings going on I felt like I had whiplash. Which apparently is sexy. Not to mention that the dialogue was atrocious. If real people talked like this it would be the sign of the body stealers and the impending alien invasion. You know, as they tried to imitate speech patterns.
It hit me that I didn't want to suffer reading Evangeline. She's supposed to be naïve and innocent. Somehow being innocent equates to a pushover, unable to stand up for herself—unless she's tossing her friendships away, thinking she's ugly, and a number of other stupid things masquerading under the guise of innocents. She had to drop out of High School and get a job to help her family. How could she not have streets smarts? Why did I sit through an entire book with everyone telling Evangeline she was gorgeous, and that her not knowing she was gorgeous only made her more beautiful? Maybe I have self worth issues like Evangeline.
Because not even Drake or the sex scenes brought anything to the table. Most of those scenes were boring and emotionless. When I did feel emotion it was because I was disgusted. Because Drake would guilt Evangeline into doing sexual things she didn't like. But Evangeline did it because it PLEASED Drake. Because she TRUSTED him. If Drake cared about her he'd realize that she wasn't into it, it wasn't pleasing to her.
There's a ton of reasons this book ticked me off. The writing is bad, and there were grammar issues on the first page. Mind you it was the placement of a period as a comma, but little errors kept popping up. It bothers me that this book is probably what a lot of readers are going to be introduced to Banks with. It's horrible. This is one of the authors who introduced me to erotica. Who made me realize that me likey ménage amour. It kills me that this is a soulless imitation of 50 Shades exists. (No when I first heard about it and saw it on the shelves in the stores that was my first thought! That Banks, or the publisher, was trying to suck off the 50 Shades train.) If you're a Banks fan you'll probably try it out like I had to. Be warned, borrow it. If you're new to Banks. Please, start with another book.
There's no way I will be checking out any more books in this series, and I'm very nervous about that HR I've been waiting for.
Sexual Content: Yep, lots. And I'm going to say it some of the sex was guilt/coerced for Evangeline to participate.
After finishing up First Grave on the Right I knew that this series had me. Normally I don't care about shorts and only follow them for a few series.After finishing up First Grave on the Right I knew that this series had me. Normally I don't care about shorts and only follow them for a few series. I hadn't planned on doing shorts for the Charley Davidson books, but after book one I knew I was a goner. I will now read anything that has anything to do with Charley.
So I hunted down a copy, and the rest of the series to date, and sat down to read this short. Which surprised me as it was told by a ghost that had found her way to Charley's light. Hmmmm. Strangely enough I enjoyed it. It was fun seeing Charley and Reyes from the outside. And I enjoyed the inner thoughts about the characters.
It was great seeing Charley's compassion for the dead. Also, chilling to see what happens when a ghost can't remember. It was well done and overall I enjoyed it. I'm curious what future shorts for the series will be like.
For those wondering whether or not to give this a try I'd say try it if you love the series. Either way it's not important to the story so if you opt out nothing will be missed. I did love how the tension between Charley and Reyes could be felt by just an observer.
Sexual Content: Some mild dark themes, and some kissing.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
The Steel & Stone series has easily become one of my favorite Young Adult Urban Fantasy series. Surpassing many other popular ones from traditionaThe Steel & Stone series has easily become one of my favorite Young Adult Urban Fantasy series. Surpassing many other popular ones from traditional publishers/authors. To be honest I was really nervous about how things were going to go with Piper going to human boarding school. Thank goodness the story picks up when Piper gets home to the consulate skipping all that school crap. The general gist is given of what school was like, but minus angsty school drama stuff. Yeah! (Besides we already knew human boys can't handle Piper.)
So I figured after we dealt with Ash's Samael problem the next step would logically be Piper's mother. Her mother and the radical Gaians. Nailed it. What I enjoyed most was that both sides of Gaians and Consulates could be seen. They both have good and bad. Though one is clearly a fanatical group that has no conscience. Willing to hurt humans and daemons for "the" cause. Even killing their own members.
She sighed. She must be jaded: being kidnapped just didn't faze her anymore.
So Piper gets kidnapped again. Yeah. But let us be honest, it's a trope that happens in pretty much every Urban Fantasy series. (Heck, and a lot of PNR titles.) Marie does the smart thing though. The kidnap reminds interesting and gives the world a lot of expanding. Especially what its like to be haeman outside of the Consulate, because they don't pick up haemons for training. In fact humans and demons kind of shun them, and they don't have teachers or schools for them. (Which is odd as I had assumed up until this point they'd have something for their magical training at least.) Family's disown them unwilling to deal, or cope, with them. Haemon children may have no idea that they are haemon until their powers manifest. It's scary and it's interesting seeing the Gaians prey upon them and the Consulates ignore them. It's an eye opener that the Consulates need to expand the job quota and get reorganized.
So I can predict this series pretty easily. I knew that the Gaians would be next and her mom would get what her fanatical heart wanted. I'm trying to be as vague as possible because I know not everyone is good at predicting where a story is going. I've enjoyed the mythology surrounding the Sahar Stone. Boom! It is sentient and I'm very happy about that, but considering that a soul has been trapped in there it's out for vengeance. Because she's still angry and very mad. Hell hath no furry, like a haeman scorned.
Considering Piper had risked her life to save Seiya from imprisonment and torture, the girl seriously lacked gratitude.
The progression of this series is wonderful! I love that Marie knows where this series is going to go, how each book should be, and doesn't give readers fillers. I will admit I did not like how Seiya was acting in this book. The short after this book helps to give readers more insight. But it still feels over dramatized. Why Seiya blames Piper for putting Ash at risk. Not to mention that I thought Seiya could be an awesome friend for Piper, not an enemy. It's something I've become aware of lately, and tired of, where other females hate/are jealous of the female lead.
Ah, Ash. He's back and the fire between him and Piper is amazing. I'm positive at this point that Lyre is simply a succubus friend to Piper. He understands that Ash and Piper have something. He'll flirt and be a succubus, but he's there for his friends. I like how much Lyre understands people and that he wants to help Ash out so much. But I doubt I'm going to get the bromance I've been dying for from this series. (Or a love triangle where Lyre hearts Ash. Girl can dream. There was sparks in that first book I tell you!)
She was done letting other people risk their lives for her. She was done letting Ash bleed for her. She would fight her own battles from now on.
Piper's growth is amazing! How she handles learning truths about her dreams and the reality of what's happening around her is perfection. She's grown up from the first book. (I'm so proud of her.) Her progress with the magic in her life is handled well and I love how rich the lore is. Instead of the Underworld Piper heads on over to the Upperworld (AKA Heaven). Which was amazing.
I'll be honest some of the hints and plots in this book where really in-you-face-obvious. Every page was sheer pleasure though, and at the very least it all made since how it got there. I'm bothered by how much of Quinn and Piper's relationship is ignored in these books. Heck, I think I understand the crazy mother more than I do Quinn! I'm pretty sure it can't be ignored in the next book. (But I do find my self saying that after each book!) Ash and Piper's relationship is on point. I love the buildup this series has created. The burn. The passion! The respect for one another. Not to mention trust. Thank you. Also, I love that it's not really a love triangle. Lyre is a friend to both Ash and Piper. It breaks my heart to think that I've got only two books left in the series.
Oh, hot book my mind is ready! But my feelings are so confused. Never let it end.
Sexual Content: Sexual content, minor dark themes talked about, some (hot as hell!) make out scenes, and still overall clean for the kiddies.
Holy bookworm! I can't believe this series came on my radar last December. For shame! This is why I FREAKING love Urban Fantasy. This is what I've misHoly bookworm! I can't believe this series came on my radar last December. For shame! This is why I FREAKING love Urban Fantasy. This is what I've missed from Young Adult Urban Fantasy (Paranormal). Bind the Soul may have started out a little weak, it really took off. Piper may even makes some annoying choices and moves, but I like that she learns from these mistakes. Bind the Soul shook me out of my reading block!!
Some more details are given about the current world of Steel & Stone and I enjoyed it. Sadly this book doesn't really get to explore that world. Like the first book I do want more of the world. Instead of consulates, clubs, hospitals, apartments, and fight rings. (Which were all super entertaining!) The earth of this series really intrigues me. However, it was all made better. Because we get to go to the Underworld!
Oh, and Annette Marie doesn't waste any time. Plot lines that I thought would be dragged out for multiple books were seriously developed! Questions as to what Ashe's reason for being a slave to Samael isn't just answered. Nothing is left in the dark! (I won't say what it is if you didn't guess it from the last book.) The history behind the Sahar Stone is A-mazing. I love magical artifacts, especially if they might be sentient. Because how an inanimate object becomes sentient is usually deliciously, disturbingly gruesome! Either because someone wants it so bad . . . or are betrayed.
Bind the Soul is amazing. Piper is amazing. I love books that don't beat around the bush, but chop that thorny thing down! The romance, plot, action, and everything is just—bookworms of gloriousness. This is what I want. Nay. What I NEED from my paranormal YA!!! Bless you Annette Marie. Bless you. Now for the impossible, to keep myself from jumping on the next book so I stay in pace with my buddy read.
Sexual Content: Some minor dark themes, nothing gets over the top. Some make out scenes, but I'm not telling with whom.
Wow. Just wow. You know that magical hungry feeling you get when you're reading a great book that's hitting all the right spots? Chase the Dark was thWow. Just wow. You know that magical hungry feeling you get when you're reading a great book that's hitting all the right spots? Chase the Dark was that book. I hadn't read a decent Urban Fantasy in Young Adult for a really long while. Almost a full year. During that full year YA leading ladies haven't been this good either. The words I've been using to describe them has been “whiny and characterless”.
Piper is amazing and a far cry from either of those two words. She's so well developed, not to mention flawed and realistic. She might be training to become a Consul, but she has along way to go. Piper knows it and she's aware of her strengths. It's also enjoyable having a non-magical lead who needs that magic to interact in the world. (Though I have a feeling it won't stay that way.) She has some hot headed moments where her emotions take over, but I couldn't blame her. In fact, there was only one moment when I wanted to smack her upside the head, but I understood where she was coming from.
Lyre and Ash are both amazing reads. They both start out as stereotypes at first glance. Lyre the pervy over flirty incubus. It starts off a little much with the sexual innuendos, but once the flow of the writing settles in it's pretty fun. Ash was setup to be the bad ass jerk character. But he's not. He's complicated and super caring. He's still bad ass, but he's an actual person—err, draconians. (Yeah, dragons. ^_^)
There's no insta-love and while there's a clear setup for a love triangle Chase the Dark simply flirts with the idea. Lyre and Ash are such amazing characters that I know this is going to be one of those series that I adore the build up of said love triangle. It's going to tear me apart emotionally at some point! Yeah! (And maybe give me a bromance between Lyre and Ash! Or something more . . . ?)
Another thing I've missed from Young Adult Urban Fantasy titles is unique worlds. Well this one is very unique. Apparently humans used bombs, biological warfare and weapons of mass destruction for three years to kill each other. Until daemons decided it was worth sacrificing the secret of their existence to kill military types to end the war. Even wiping out the weapons. Most major cities where wiped out and daemons become part of society. Consuls and Consulates came to be to house demons, mediate, witnesses, be judge, jury, and executioner. Consuls are haeman—human and daemon beings—who act as a buffer between daemons and humans.
See cool world!
Chase the Dark is well written and for a self pub the grammar errors were down to a minimum. Just some jumbled wording here and there. Nothing noticeable. Though there was this awkward moment when a room was described to be the size of a swimming pool. Swimming pools come in a lot of sizes . There were one or to other weirdly non-describing comments like that. But again nothing too noticeable. In fact, most readers aren't going to notice. It's me being nit picking.
The writing had wit and just the write snark. Clever pacing kept the adrenaline going. Each character had a unique voice and Annette Marie does a wonderful job making them stand out. Some of the side characters such as Piper's Uncle, father, and mother don't get enough page time to become developed. Basically they are the obligated stereotypes and do exactly what you expect them to do. That's OK. Because I enjoyed other aspects especially meeting and interacting with other daemons. It tickles me seeing the Underworld—hell—and Upperworld—heaven—daemons and knowing that there's not much difference between the two except what realm they're from. There aren't any angels to be found here.
Hopefully the long winded-ness of my review helps to convey how much I truly enjoyed this book. Unfortunately this is one of those times where I just can't seem to convey with words how awesome this book was. If you've been missing well written and realized Young Adult Urban Fantasy this is your book. Piper is a strong lead in not only fighting capabilities, but strong in the character development department. The male leads are great and interact well with Piper. No awkward insta-love and it's only the buildup for the foundation of a love triangle—and I have some niggling theory burning in the back of my head. In the end the rush and overall plot are the main focus. The main characters are well realized and I genuinely want to know what happens next. Thank goodness I already own the next 3 books!
Sexual Content: Talk about sex, humor, and some minor dark themes. There is some sexual predator moments, nothing scary. More like a warning and a reality check.
Kate Daniel shorts are always magical. You don't necessarily have to read the Kate books to get them. And if you read the Kate books you don't have toKate Daniel shorts are always magical. You don't necessarily have to read the Kate books to get them. And if you read the Kate books you don't have to read them, there is sometimes a general nod to them sometimes in the main story. So why are you reading them? You're reading them for the sheer joy of the world and characters the Andrews team has created. Magic Stars, to its credit, does more then just deliver comfort food. It expands on Derek! Which is really all I need to know. Plus, Julie is growing on me.
Despite it being super short, it feels like a full blown Kate Daniels book. (Well kind of.) I really hope there will be more Derek short stories. I loved that tantalizing tease about . . . well I'm not going to spill the beans. I'm very curious where Julie and Derek's relationship will go. To be honest I like Julie with another from a different short. I enjoy the sibling comradery of Derek and Julie.
As usual Andrews creates an awesome mythology and I loved the mythical creatures introduced. As a fairly new introduction to the shorts for the Daniels verse I think this is a pretty great place to start. I've only read two so far—yes, including this one—and I know I have to seek out more. (Though technically this is supposed to be the start of the Grey Wolf series, it's still part of the Kate reading material to me.)
Shit. This book here is why I quit reading erotica. (Which sucks as I was counting on it after reading Kaye’s Hearts in Darkness!) Romance in generalShit. This book here is why I quit reading erotica. (Which sucks as I was counting on it after reading Kaye’s Hearts in Darkness!) Romance in general is a genre that can get very repetitive and tiring. It was something I knew exploring the genre, and then something I grew tired of. Especially the past few years. AND especially after reading some authors who actually think outside the box. For some reason paranormal romance suffers from that repetitiveness and can be unimaginative. Same with erotica.
Which I find sad. Fantasy elements are endless and imagination has no limits! All this can create an exciting world and characters. The sad truth is world building doesn't usually factor in too much. Or they've taken the same old tropes pasting them in.
In The Service of the King it could be any PNR world. The only difference is that vampires apparently have to feed from virgins.
Yeah. This book never really had a chance with me. Because I was left wondering if it was just the vampire king? It would be hard to feed all those warriors virgins only. Especially if they have to mate with them. Talk about slicing down on your inventory.
The author was trying to say that these girls were cherished. Appreciated. That by mating they weren't just blood and baby makers. Bullshit. They are. Though I appreciate it being addressed, even if it was halfhearted.
Another thing was the Souleaters. Basically evil vampires that the good vampires have had an on going war with. They had nothing to offer to the story except to be villains. They shaped both the pasts of the characters, but overall they felt like nothing more then an idea. This book was so dull that they never actually factored into the present. Except to “give purpose” to some of the events.
Overall the sex was dull, there was no chemistry between the two leads and I honestly didn't care about them. This was a copy and paste story that has been told a thousand times in the PNR/erotica genre. This is why I've quit reading erotica/romance. It's so predictable.
Sexual Content: Yeah. Nothing you haven’t seen before.
Gosh that title. Fitting. Though considering all the places things happen, I don't think any walls were nailed upon. ^_-
I really enjoyed seeing all ofGosh that title. Fitting. Though considering all the places things happen, I don't think any walls were nailed upon. ^_-
I really enjoyed seeing all of the characters interact. I like that Rylon skills have developed the cast of characters, so well that they're really balanced here. I enjoyed the girls time together and loved them as friends. Not to mention how love is different between the couples and their friendships.
But that's not what you want to hear about.
Oh, things go down. Every kinky sexual thing you wanted these crazy menagers to do happens. Some you didn't think of and stuff you were praying for.
I will be honest though. It covers a lot of bedroom scenes. I broke it up into individual reads. Because while there was some none sex scenes, they were few and far between. I'm not a person who can just have sex scene after sex scene. Not to mention that certain things did become over the top and cliché.
Just like previous books there were moments where the sex scenes are off balanced. For instant wasn't she already on her back? When he flipped her, she's still on her back?
It was a great addition to the series. I like that the book helps to expand what these characters real lives are going through outside of the bedroom. How they deal with who they are, what they want. That they talk things through. Not to mention that every fantasy these characters have is basically done.
Sexual Content: Okay, people just assume it's all kinds of kinky cray-cray stuff.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
Shera: Oh, are you in one of those self-pity moods? Should I come back when yoA Conversation With the Character:
Shera: Hey, Vhalla.
Shera: Oh, are you in one of those self-pity moods? Should I come back when you've cooled down?
Vhalla: No, you might be waiting a while.
Vhalla: dramatic sigh So what did you want to talk to me about?
Shera: Well. You're bonded to Prince Aldrik.
Shera: You've finally had the revelation that you've loved him since forever.
Vhalla starts tearing up: Y-y-yes!
Shera: Um. Don't start that. You just spent a few pages self-pitying your love and crying. Stop it.
Shera: Oh, dear this won't be ending soon. So besides this bonding, why do you love him?
Vhalla sniffles out: Because I know him.
Shera: Yeah—wait, what?
Vhalla: I just know him. Better than—
Shera: Hold it! Hold it right there. You don't even know the relationship that Aldrik has with his brother. Or parents!
Vhalla: Well, I kind of do. There's tension there, he doesn't want to discuss it. But he'll tell me when he's ready.
Shera: Riiiiiiiight. Just like he told you how people would react to Windwalkers? Or the serious danger you were in as a the only living Windwalker?
Vhalla pouts: But I trust him!
Shera: OK. You trust a man who tossed you off the top of a building because he had vague ideas that you'd survive and that you're Bond would not allow him to harm you. Sure. Winner there. Or that he'd tell you what is currently going on?
Vhalla: He's protecting me. He'll tell me when he's ready.
Shera: Yes, because all of his protection hasn't lead to you currently being property of the Empire.
Well why don't you ask other people some questions? Clearly this dark side of Aldrik that everyone is warning you about is worth looking into? You know nothing about him, he's not giving you answers. He's using you. Most of your relationship is based on meaningful touches and looks. Then he ignores you.
Girl you don't even know his real favorite color. You say black I'll cut you.
Vhalla: We don't have anything! I don't have to explain it to you! He'll tell me when he's ready, and can trust him with my life!
Shera: Oh, god. You're supposed to be smart. You're a librarian apprentice who loves knowledge and learning! You've already been played by the royals and senate!! How are you not asking questions? How can you be in love with a man you know NOTHING about except that he's a mysterious “dark” prince?
Vhalla: I don't have to explain myself to anyone!!!
Shera: OK, so he's off limits. What about your lack of making connections with your magic? Why aren't you trying to ask questions there? How are you not making connections between your magical dreams, what little you do know about your powers, and well just learning in general? You have people around you with vast amounts of knowledge!! You can't rely on how you're magically learning how to fight.
Vhalla sharply turns away and stomps away to resume sulking.
Shera: Mature, like you didn't spend most of the book doing that! God, I'm out. You're another dumb female lead. To Stupid to Live.
It wasn't too long that I realized this should have been a DNF for me. But I was stubborn. The ending of the last book had so much promise. The world—everything—had so much promise! I kept thinking that maybe Kova was just taking a while to warm up to Vhalla and her role in the Emperor's army. That the action and real plot was just around the corner. Then at 27% I had really had enough, but my stubbornness would not quite let me give up. Things started looking up around 33 %! Then this piss of shit line smacked me up side the head:
"If it was an actual competition for Aldrik's attention, it was one Vhalla was winning.” - From Vhalla's head.
What. The. Fuck. (And you guys know I do not like to swear too hard in my reviews. But there's no bleeping this one out.) So. The ending of the first book was a big fat lie. Vhalla didn't become a stronger person. No. She became a sodding idiot! Vhalla had promise, she was smart quite a few times in the first book. This one she was so obsessed with Aldrik. And for what reason?????? She knows nothing about him. The male love interests who are these dark and mysterious men need to go. Vhalla is convinced that she knows him best! Despite not knowing what kind of relationship he has with the people around him, or who he trusts. Her life is in shambles because of Prince Aldrik's lack of information sharing. But she's OK with this.
Vhalla was a librarian assistant. She LOVES knowledge. Yet she never asks question. Never any important ones. Doesn't even think about getting information that pertains to her. Maybe she should try and make herself that warrior she was talking about. The one at the end of the book? The one that would make the senator piss their hoity-toity pants?
Oh, and the best part. This is one of those books where the lead just magically learns how to fight. Sure Kova tries to explain it away by Vhalla's Bond to Aldrik. It just pissed me off. Characters should suffer and grow. They should be HUMAN. You know learn. Not only that but she has magic that know one knows anything about, and she doesn't connect the dots. She knows wind magic isn't just the wind, it's mind. And despite glaring signs that a simpleton, let a lone a “brilliant” mind like her, should be able to pick up on. Vhalla gave me a headache with her stupidity. And with everyone telling her how smart she was.
So Vhalla is wasted because the amazing female lead we were promised from the first book turns into a overly angst and overly emotional twit. Obsesses endlessly over Prince Aldrik. Obsession does not equal love. Who magically becomes a better fighter (AKA character development cop out.) She lashes out at friends. Who do nothing but love and earn her trust over and over again. Can't bet bothered to ask questions. Basically lets everyone walk all over her.
Aldrik is wasted because he has to be “mysterious” and apparently being a bad boy means a jerk. After the emotional does-he-love-me dance where and is hot'n'cold he does man up. Conversations aren't there really there between Vhalla and Aldrik. Readers are told that Vhalla and Aldrik are having a conversation that makes them closer. Or that they're talking for hours on end. Hmmmm.
Those interesting side characters that I was excited to know more about were fed to the wolves. The gay character became a token. Thanks. Vhalla's mentor, who happens to be Aldrik's one and only friend, does get time to develop. But she's only developed for a certain plot point, so it felt wasted. This book does the exact same thing plot wise as the first book, but makes it more insufferable. Thank you again.
The cliffhanger of this book is wonderful. I loved it. It almost made up for pushing through and dealing with Vhalla. Almost. Because I'm pretty sure Kova won't stick to it. All of the information about magic—bare bones here—is pointing to this cliffhanger being false. If you're going to go there, freaking go through with it!!!! (Who knows maybe she will. I doubt it and I'll be asking GR friends who actually read the next one.) In the end Vhalla has become another insufferable female lead. At the end of the book I would have gladly bashed her brains in if Vhalla magically appeared before me. Would have saved her a lot of grief. This book did nothing to expand the world, the magic, or anything other than Vhalla's unending—unfounded—love for Aldrik. It feels like readers and authors have forgotten what truly makes a great romance. And that a romance does not need to compromise the characters and world building. Developing those aspects will not make your book boring. Quite the opposite. Oh, and the epic action and war readers are promised is barely a blip in the book, and poorly done.
*Drops book.* I'm out.
Sexual Content: Kissing and mild make out scenes. Some homosexual humor/reference, and some mild talk about sex. Some rude sexual humor from the overly creepy the Heartbreaker Prince, and some other mildly creepy things from him.
There's a point when stories become predictable maybe because you read a lot, watched a lot of movies/TV shows, and are generally good at picking up oThere's a point when stories become predictable maybe because you read a lot, watched a lot of movies/TV shows, and are generally good at picking up on cues. Well. I am good at all of those. Predicting how a story is going to turn out is easy. (Visualize a very smug smile.) So what happens when a book bitch slaps you with an amazing plot twist, right after you've SMUGGLY called the plot and have decided how this promising read is going to crumble? When it proves that the author will go there, and yes characters shall die!!!?
Well for me, I throw a mini party. Which involved dancing for a short amount of time before I immediately went back to reading. Eating up Air Awakens to it's promising conclusion, and even better promise of where this series is going to go!
So I had been picking up on some genre tropes. Also I had it in my mind that this was a High Fantasy and it is, but there are more romance elements then I had anticipated. The first half of the book is predictable for the most part. There's a “Heartbreaker Prince” and then the Royal heir to be who happens to be “cold” and broody. You get me. Some men keep telling Vhalla how special she is. “You are special” was in fact used by one character, and many variations of it where made.
However, Kova was a master of smoothing it all over. (Accept for one major idiotic moment. And memory loss.) The saving grace is that Vhalla is a wonderful character. It's in her favor that she's a librarian apprentice—great character—but she's well thought out. She's naive, kind, and smart. I enjoy that she's not closed off about sex (don't worry it's clean for the kiddies) she's on the cusp of becoming a women and I loved how it was all handled. This is a true book of growing up, but in a more adult vein. She's a women, but she realizes how much her life needs to grow emotionally and in experiencing life. Living through her books alone isn't enough. Most importantly she realizes how as a girl she's never made a lot of big decisions for herself, and the women she wants to become is a decision maker!
Her world had grown, as a child, she had accepted that better than as a young woman.
Why did growing up shrink her mind?
The magic of this book is interesting, and unfortunately not as explored as I would like. But it fit with the book and where Vhalla was at. What is given is super fascinating and I LOVE the world that Kova has created. Her writing was spot on, and only a few misworded moments could be spotted. Humor, emotions, danger, battles, and the budding feelings of friendship (soon-to-be-full-blown-undeniable-love, come on) are expertly delivered. Ha, witty dialogue, I've missed you.
“Fire needs air to live. Air fuels fire, stokes it, and makes it burn brighter and hotter than it ever could alone. But too much air will snuff it completely, just as too many flames will consume all the air. They are far greater than the sum of their parts together, but are equally as dangerous to each other's existence.”
Kova does a wonderful job of not only bringing Vhalla to life (her name makes me want to call her Valhalla!) but her side characters and male lead as well. Characters that just seem like stereotypes find surprising depth, or a surprising twist in the story line. Though that's not to say they aren't a stereotype, but their well realized enough that I enjoy their presence in the story. Sadly a lot of them went there in the story, until Vhalla needed them. Some were just bare window dressings. Also loved the hint that one character might be homosexual? Hm? (Sadly one character who was neglected.)
Air Awakens reminds me of the awesomeness of Mercedes Lackey's Arrows of the Queen. While there's no magical white horses and . . . well they really don't have too much in common. It's the tone and the amazing growing up part that they have in common. Plus, both books signal amazing sequels to come. Hopefully with more side characters getting decent page time. Vhalla is one of the most unique, interesting, and well developed leads I've read in a while. Most importantly she's different.
Sexual Content: Vhalla has had past experiences, there is some frank talk about sex (nothing too scandalous for the chillen), maybe hints of homosexuality (or I'm reading too much into it), some kissing, and sexual humor. (Bless this book.)
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
On the Prowl Anthology Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, book 0.5) by Patricia Briggs
Wow!! I had forgotten how good this short was. It's set in thOn the Prowl Anthology Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, book 0.5) by Patricia Briggs
Wow!! I had forgotten how good this short was. It's set in the same world as Mercy Thompson's. Presenting a new character, Anna, and an old one, Charles. Charles is kind of old, but he's a blank slate. Readers first meet him in Moon Called and gets smatterings of mentions in Mercy's books. He's the son of the Marrok so it's bound to happen. He's also the executioner for the pack and a key in keeping it running. Charles is a character I've longed to know so it's exciting he'll be in his own spinoff.
Anna is another example of Briggs creating well realized female leads. They don't need to be bad asses wielding weapons. They can be strong in other ways. Personally I really loved her and it helped showing the other side of werewolf packs. Because it's been hinted at that not all packs are like Adam and Bran's.
It's also wonderful getting full on werewolf pack politics again! Especially from the point of view of a woman. Sure she's an Omega—no I won't ruin it for you—so the sexist rules of the other female members need not apply to her. Which is both cool and a bit of a shame that it won’t be explored. However, since she is a werewolf I have no doubt it will be brought up in future books.
Overall this is an excellent pre-series launch. It got my attention. Sadly it was so amazing it's probably why the first official book in the Alpha and Omega series was such a let down. (Who knows maybe I'll like it more on my reread. Because I can barely remember it!) It introduces an excellent power couple and I can't wait to see them actually fall in love. Because Mating in Briggs world isn’t like basic romance novel crap. Not to mention that Anna will be going up to the Marrok's territory. Oh. Yeah.
Sexual Content: Some sexual rumor, talk and mention of rape and sexual abuse. There’s a darker flavor to this book.
This is a debut novel and while I'm impressed, and it's a friend's book. I'm sticking to my guns. Because I'm mean like that.
Born to Die is a very chThis is a debut novel and while I'm impressed, and it's a friend's book. I'm sticking to my guns. Because I'm mean like that.
Born to Die is a very character driven world. It immediately hooked me as Lyric began to muse upon her life in the first chapter. It sets up the novel well and established that this was going to be a dark and haunting read. Shit happens to Lyric, it's unpleasant and horrible. Gosh I loved it. The villain(s) is pretty dastardly and there's this huge mystery as to why he's fixated on Lyric.
The connections the characters have to each other are dysfunctional and creepy as all get out. No—dysfunctional doesn't even come close. I don't know!!! It's scary to see them interact and while they're interacting, at any moment one of them could go even more psycho and simply maim another character. Let alone kill.
The romance is very interesting and there's just enough mystery behind it. Not a terrible love triangle. Though the “dream guy” took me a while to swallow. Ellis works her character skills and eventually wins me over. Besides it was cool in the end. The vampires and the mystery of what other supernatural creatures are out there kept me driven to finish this book.
Driven to keep going despite the fact that I had numerous questions about the world. This is slightly futuristic, but at no time did I feel like it was really futuristic. So why the time line speed up? The characters and they're interactions were well done; I had a very clear image of them. The scenes and the world in which the story takes place was barren. A couch was mentioned here, a creepy basement talked about but not fully described to set the scene.
Basic things in the world were left out. Like the house that Lyric was staying in. Was it the vampire's house? Did they simply break in, why didn't people notice? Especially with the screams and psychotic noises coming from the house? Things are kind of hinted/assumed at, but I never felt like a scene was fully developed. Not to mention the important ones pertaining to the mythology and setup of the world.
I've said it before, well done characters can save an average world or average plot. However, it's hard to do if the world isn't fully explored, or a single scene setup. Make the time period you've picked for your book feel relevant; you're story is taking place in it. If a character is being tortured I want the full picture of the room. Sorry, but if I'm wondering what the room looks like I'm not truly enjoying the story.
The writing is pretty well crafted. At times beautiful creating haunting and chilling scenes. Sweet and moving scenes, and heightened emotions. However. A few times there were too many characters being referred to by “her/hers/she” and “him/his/he” that it was confusing. Especially at the start of the book. As if Ellis had forgotten she was talking about multiple characters and that it might be a good idea to distinguish them by name.
My final critiques on the writing is that at times it was repetitive. Saying the same thing over and over again just with different words. Sometimes I felt like the coma bombs were too much. Just make it two separate—or three—sentences. Again that was more at the beginning of the book. The final (and last one I promise) is that every now and then a description felt totally out of place for the style of writing. Imagine this haunting passage that left you numb, and then this hit: “it was sadder then road kill”. Or something like that. (Sorry my highlighting feature wasn't working so I can't remember the exact quote. It wasn't as bad as that example.) I think it was added to add flavor to Lyric and make her seem more like a simple country girl. It didn't work because it was so out of place!
A lot of readers might not mind those type of things. I know when I've read other books and they lacked on some front it seemed like I was the only one who found issue. Because this novel is chilling and haunting. This is a dark horror mashup that fantasy readers of vampires will like. Ellis isn't afraid to go there. Rape, slaughtering children, mental and physical abuse, and loss are the tip of it. Not to mention that no matter how dark things get, there's hope. This is a promising attempt and if Ellis does it right she'll be a formidable author.
Sexual Content: It's there. Nothing really slapped me in the face. However, there's rape and mental rape. Very dark themes and some minor sexual humor.
To be honest I feel guilty giving Opening Up such a rating. It had one of the best female leads with PJ. I adored her, she was the type of lead I wantTo be honest I feel guilty giving Opening Up such a rating. It had one of the best female leads with PJ. I adored her, she was the type of lead I want to see more of in the romance genre. In fact, she's the main reason I read well past when I should have. Problems is I just got done reading some great books. Most importantly great books with amazing sexual chemistry, and they weren't even romance central books.
Sad truth is that Opening Up reads slow. It never really picks up and just plods along. Asa is the male lead and he could have been swapped out with any other male alpha out there. When he finally develops I had already checked out. Not to mention that Asa and PJ's chemistry would turn off and on for me. Most of the time it never reached the heights I needed it to.
Plus the writing and I did not get along. I had to reread some of the dialogue. I couldn't tell which alpha male was speaking. The flow of what some characters were saying was off, and I don't think it was slang. Not to mention that the writing is a little barren to me. For a while I kept thinking that Asa had a beard. Well over halfway it was confirmed and I kept wondering what kind of beard? The writing didn't create enough of a visual, emotions, and other key things to suck me in.
PJ interested me. I LOVED her! Not only her but her best friend and sister. I enjoyed how Opening Up addresses how being a woman, and being young, is used against you in the work environment. Working in the car industry makes it even worst. (Or a lot of other industries that are male "only".) PJ handles her self well and I love that she knows what she wants. When Asa tries to think for her, she shuts him down and tells him what's what. She knows how far she's willing to court him, and when she needs to move on. She's not afraid to tell him no. Even in the bedroom. There was an awesome scene about saying no to back door action! Ha-ha!
Fact is I would give PJ a 5/5. She's amazing, and if the book was about her and her career I would have been on board. Sadly it's a romance and Asa did not interest me. Which led to a lack of chemistry as a couple. I've read plenty of romance where the alpha male could have been swapped out for another one, but they had burning chemistry! For PJ I read this way past my quitting point. I dare say that many romance fans are going to love this book. If you are a big romance reader I insist that you give this book a try. For me though I'm tired of the genre and I need MORE. In the end I wanted to quit, but I couldn't miss experiencing more PJ. Sadly the rest of this book was boring and uninteresting.
Sexual Content: Plenty of humor. Yes, sex. Sadly I found that pretty flat except for a few comedic points that were put in. The two had no chemistry.
Pretty ding dong cool! The art is wonderful and I adore how gritty and naughty this first collection is! This is how I had always wished Once Upon a TPretty ding dong cool! The art is wonderful and I adore how gritty and naughty this first collection is! This is how I had always wished Once Upon a Time could have been. Thank goodness a Goodreads friend reviewed this and told me this is what I had been waiting for. It’s the best of Urban Fantasy mixed with the kind of brave stuff I want out of my fairytale reimaginings!
It’s enchanting to see the fables shadowing the fair city of New York. The art captures the dark tone of the city itself as well as the beasties that live there. Fabletown seems right at home in the Big Apple. Especially as a violent crime takes place and a murder must be solved!
The pacing is well done in these first five volumes as it gives readers the basics and introduces the main players. It introduces The Adversary and how the Fables came to be in the mundane world. (Which is actually a pretty clever and funny story when told by King Cole.) Thankfully that’s not the focus right now. It focuses on how the people of Fabletown are dealing with living in this world and takes place around a murder. While I guessed how it would end, the murder/who dun it part, it was still fun getting to that conclusion with Wolf.
What a cast to pick from! Snow White, so far, is the leading lady and boy is she quite the woman! I’m starting to think that White is very popular as she’s the one that always seems to get the most love, and kick ass personality, when she’s reimagined in a story. She’s the Director of Operations of Fabletown, and she handles it amazingly! That’s not to say some of the other ladies don’t get makeovers. I have a feeling that Cinderella and I are going to get a long quite nicely once she gets more page time. Beauty isn’t what I had hoped for, but maybe that will change over time. Rose Red is quite the interesting character, and sure she’s not the normal big princess, but I like her!
What’s more is no one has their happily ever after. Two of the “big” princess have already gone through divorces and one is battling it out for the long haul. Martial issues of the happily ever after kind, too cool. These realistic takes are my bread and butter!
Prince Charming is such a slut. Man he’s going to be a character I love to loath. Especially because of his dialogue. There’s some bedroom scene dialogue that practically had me laughing until I hurt. Jack is an interesting type, he’s the quick to make a buck and idiot type. Bluebeard is so fascinating! And scary. I’m going to love his character. Then there’s Bigby Wolf.
Ah. No matter the media form I can’t say no to a man who changes into a wolf. To top that this is THE Big Bad Wolf. I’d like him to huff and puff my—OK I’ll stop. (Things could get awkward. Fast.) Wolf is the perfect Sherriff of Fabletown. Not to mention his looks and personality fill that old time cop feel that I love. Solving the murder with him was a true treat. It was a mix of old school detective work and CSI. (Well low tech CSI.)
This was a great introductory to the Fables universe. It’s got my attention and I am revved up for the next collection! Plus, I want to know what happened with the Dwarves that makes Snow White so touchy! I need Cinderella's development! As sad as it is to say I need more horridly naughty Charming moments. Wolf. Yeah, totally need more of him. Clearly The Adversary is going to come into conflict, maybe a big battle for the homeland back. For now though I’ll take what the series is offering while it builds up to it. Gritty takes on fables in the modern age! Nothing is off limits.
Sexual Content: No nudity, but there is sex. Plenty of sexual humor. Very much adult.