Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy was certainly an entertaining read. Allie, our main character is new to New Orleans and by her own admission, is looking for an adventure. Well let's just say she finds one.
Upon her arrival, much to her dismay, she is immediately drawn to Levi. If I'm being honest, I'm not really too sure how I feel about Levi. He just didn't really do anything for me. He seems to genuinely care about Allie, but he also comes off as a bit of a clinger. He pops up around every corner and gets very serious about her rather quickly.
I don't want to give away too much information, but you already know this is a supernatural story.. so I'm going to spill a few beans here. You see, Levi is a Pteron, which is some sort of crow/human mix. He doesn't turn into a crow, but he descends from people who did and he can fly. Which is awesome. But I'm getting off track. He lets Allie in on his big secret very quickly in their relationship. I'm pretty sure it's the second or third time they've hung out and she was just really warming up to him. It just all seemed reckless and rushed to me. I don't think I'd go spilling my supernatural secrets to random girls.
On a different note, I loved the setting of the story. Ivy is somehow able to make the famous city of New Orleans a character in it's own right. She captures the excitement and beauty of the city (at least what I imagine it to be) wonderfully.
One thing that really bothered me about Flight was the fact that Allie was easily entering and drinking in bars. I've never been to New Orleans, but I know the the drinking age is 21. The majority of the story takes places in various bars and I'm just unclear as to how this is taking place. The book repeatedly states that she is 18, yet a fake I.D. is never mentioned. Plus, when her parents find out she's been frequenting bars all across the French Quarter, they don't really seemed to concerned. This bothered me enough that I did some research about drinking in New Orleans and this is what I came up with. Apparently the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 in 1996. As of right now, some bars will serve 18 year old alcohol if you are with your parents. And some bars will let you in at 18, but some are 21 and over. So I could see how Allie would get away with getting drinks in some bars, but I can't see how she would be able to buy drinks. Unless this book is supposed to take place before 1996, which I don't think is right. At any rate, it confused me.
I wasn't swept away with Flight but I did enjoy it.I loved the setting, elements of the story were fascinating to me (I am loving the Pterons!) and I think it holds a lot of potential. I'd like to see more development of the Allie/Levi relationship; more insight as to why they are together. We didn't see a lot of the little moments that make people fall for one another, we were just told that they did fall. But at any rate, it was an enjoyable read and a series that I will probably continue.
The concept behind Blackwood was genius. The vanishing of the settlers has been a mystery that people have been speculating about for hundreds of year...moreThe concept behind Blackwood was genius. The vanishing of the settlers has been a mystery that people have been speculating about for hundreds of years. It’s one of the most famous mysteries in American history and is the perfect opportunity to spin an amazing paranormal tale- which is exactly what Bond does. Blackwood is packed full with excitement, mystery and general creepiness.
I loved both main characters (Miranda and Phillips). They both had such a determined spark that made them easy to fall in love with. Plus, they both possess the snarky gene, which happens to be one of my favorite qualities in characters.
The setup of the book confused me at times; mainly when the author would switch perspectives. Let me try and explain this. Every so often the author would switch perspectives to an unknown character; usually one of the missing people. These sections would be italicized and talked about random things, like going out with girls the night before, opening doors and eating donuts. Let’s just say I found it incredibly confusing. Not only do you not know who you are reading about, you don’t really know what you are reading about. It certainly threw me off and interrupted the flow of the story.
I also felt like the plotline got a little over ambitious as the book progressed. Things became entirely too complicated. I don’t want to spoil anything for you guys, but I felt like the author was pulling in all these different elements towards the end that weren’t all that necessary. It just ended up jumbling things in my head and making it difficult to focus on the key points of the story.
But, all in all, I found Blackwood to be terribly exciting. Sure, there were little faults with the book, but in the grand scheme of things I enjoyed it. I wanted, needed to know what was going to happen to Miranda and Phillips and that kept me turning the pages. I can forgive being slightly confused at times and the choppiness of the pacing because the story kept me wanting to read it.
Oh and one last thing I noted, it is mentioned in the book that Miranda's mom loved Blondie and her favorite Blondie song is Heartbreaker. I'm pretty sure there is no Blondie song called Heartbreaker - that's a Pat Benatar song. Could it be Heart of Glass? (less)
When we met Echo, she's simply broken. She doesn't live her life; she walks around in a cloud of misery. She is separate from everyone and everything...moreWhen we met Echo, she's simply broken. She doesn't live her life; she walks around in a cloud of misery. She is separate from everyone and everything in her life, that is until she meets Noah. Noah is going through quite a bit as well; a few years ago his parents died in a house fire and entered the foster system. He's had a rough go of it and is having a difficult time getting his life back on track.
Much like the main characters, as the reader, you experience a complete range of emotions in regards to the other characters. You think you have your mind set about how you feel about them and then suddenly everything changes. I loved this. McGarry was able to not only get you to feel strongly about things, but was able to convince you that you were wrong in the end. I don't know about you, but this rarely happens to me when I'm reading. I get a feel for characters or situations in my mind and then I stick to it. I never really flip-flop about my decisions, I stick to my guns to the end. So the fact that by the end of the book my mind, just like the Echo's and Noah's, had been changed really impressed me.
I loved the dual narration of the book. McGarry flips back and forth from the perspective's of both Echo and Noah. They both had distinct, likable voices that kept me interested in their separate stories as well as their combined relationship. That being said, the main issue I had with this book was rooted in Noah's narration. He is constantly referring to Echo as a siren, nymph/goddess and it just didn't work for me. I mean, I can't say for sure, but I cannot imagine a teenage boy running around thinking those things. Unless of course this was a fantasy and she actually was a mythological creature.
That being said, I felt the book seem to drag a bit. It's not that I found it boring, it's just that it felt long. I was interested in what McGarry had to say, it just felt drawn out at times.(less)
vN by Madeline Ashby is an incredibly entertaining read. That doesn't mean it is a light read. Because it isn't. I constantly found myself confused. There is so much too learn about Amy's world that at times it can be overwhelming. Eventually I just gave up on understanding and went with it. The lead character, Amy, was intriguing enough that I was able to get by with doing this. I wanted to know what happened to her enough that I was able to bypass completely comprehending everything.
There is a lot going on in this book. Not only is the reader immersed in a completely different world - a world with tons of scientific mumbo-jumbo, but something is constantly happening. Amy flitted around from place to place, situation to situation, incredibly quickly and I sort of got lost in the process. I would just get used to a situation or just figure out what was happening and all of the sudden everything changed. With that being said, others might find this book easier to digest. I found it rather interesting and the concept was incredible, I just struggled with keeping up.
One thing I really enjoyed about vN was how dark it was. There is absolutely no sugar coating and let me tell you, some psychotic stuff happens. Right front the beginning of the book I was shocked by the events that unfolded; which was refreshing. You never know what could possibly happen next because the entire book is out of the realm of sanity. Does that make sense? It's completely and utterly unpredictable.
The interactions between the characters was definitely a highlight of the book. Portia, Charlotte and Amy (the three generations of women in the family) have a malfunction in their OS, making them unlike any other vNs out there. Without giving too much away, let's just say that you never know what to expect from these women, because they operate by their own rules.
vN is a book with a great deal of potential. The story is, without a doubt original but it can be difficult to follow. If you chose to pick this one up, don't expect to breeze through it. That being said, the characters are entertaining and the plot line is anything but predictable. I enjoyed it, even if I found myself scratching my head a few times.(less)
The Demon Catchers of Milan has all the potential in the world; a haunting and thrilling premise set within the beautiful and exciting city of Milan....moreThe Demon Catchers of Milan has all the potential in the world; a haunting and thrilling premise set within the beautiful and exciting city of Milan. I had high hopes for this book, I love the idea of a demon catching family and who doesn't want to read about Italy? Unfortunately, this story fell flat for me.
First of all, Beyer had a very unique writing style that I never really got used to. This may sound like a funny comparison, but it reminded me a bit of Yoda. She constructs sentences in an unusal way that made it difficult to understand. Here are a few examples:
"They knock to get out, my bones."
"I told them all I could; I couldn't help leaving out some details, like the way he looked at me."
"He looked both older, because he did not look like a god, and younger, because he sat still, relaxed, open."
To put it mildy, The Demon Catchers of Milan confused the heck out of me. I understood what was happening in the moment, but not how everything fit together. Does that make sense? I could understand what was going on; the family was going out to eat, or Mia was studying history, but I did not get the overall picture. I'm not sure if this was because of the galley edition, but I found that the transitions between scenes and even conversations were difficult for me to follow. Of course it didn't help that the whole demon thing was never really explained.
You see our protagonist is thrust into this strange family business when she becomes possessed by a demon. She has never met the family that she moves to Milan with and certainly doesn't know the first thing about demons or demon catching. And unfortunately for Mia (and us) the family won't explain anything to her because they fear the demon that is gunning for her will learn their secret demon catching techniques. Mia never really bothers asking questions and when she does she is basically told, "figure it out for yourself". I don't know about you, but if I had a demon on my tail I would be demanding some answers. So long story short, Mia spends the entire book bumbling around the dark trying to make sense of everything. She apparently is able to sort some things out but I never really did. At the end of the book I was left with more questions than ever.
I also found the extensive family hard to sort out. I am sure it would have helped if I spoke Italian but I was constantly confusing Nonno and Nonna, Francesco and Francesca and of course all the Signora's. I don't think this would have been such a big problem for me if I wasn't already extremely lost.
The Demon Catchers of Milan felt more like a prequel than a stand-alone or series - I am assuming there is going to be a sequel because literally not a single question was answered. I say a prequel because it feels like something I would go back and read once I've already been introduced to the world and characters of the story. But, that is obviously not the case. As it is, I was completely and utterly lost and a little bored with the story. (less)
So, Blade Song. I honestly don't even know where to begin. I have so many thoughts flying around in my head that I am struggling with putting it into words. But for you, I will do my best. First of all let me say, that I literally could not put this down. I declined an invitation to go to my favorite Chinese restaurant to finish Blade Song. If that doesn't tell you how awesome it was, then I don't know what will.
It has a lot of elements that Urban Fantasy readers are familiar with; werewolves, witches, vampires and a strong heroine who welds a sword. Sure, it's been done before. I'll bet you can name 10 books right now that contain these elements. But for some reason, this did not bother me. Guys, Blade Song was just that good.
Let's begin with Kit. Kit is our resident badass. She is half-aneira, which is an ancient race of assassins. Kit has had a extremely difficult life and it has made her into beautifully flawed character... which makes her easy to rally behind. You care about her and want to see her succeed. She's a determined little thing that simply refuses to fail. I love that quality in a heroine. But what I really love about our dearest Kit is that she is smart. She is well aware of her shortcomings and thinks before she acts. She knows that she isn't as strong as some of the creatures she goes up against and she keeps her head.
With that being said, I felt like Kit's personality faltered at times; she would sort of go in and out of character. The main occurrence that stood out in my mind is when she was considering a future with Damon. Daniels built Kit up as this woman who needed to be independent. She had been badly damaged in the past and she drew strength from being on her own. That's why it really surprised me when she was fully willing to dive headfirst into a commitment. It just did not seem to fit with her character. I'm not saying that I did not want her to, it just felt off to me.
Speaking of Damon, lord have mercy, do I ever have a fangirl crush on this werecat. I'll be honest, when he was first introduced, I was not a fan. He comes of as, well let's face it, an asshole. He's pushy, demanding and even gets a bit physical with Kit. However, as his story unfolds and things progress, his character does a complete 180. You begin to understand Damon and he becomes much more appealing.
But, there was one thing that really rubbed me the wrong way. It may seem silly and I certainly didn't hold it against his character, but his pet name for Kit irritated me immensely. Every time called Kit "baby girl" I felt like rolling my eyes. Why on earth did he call her that? Nothing about her is babyish. "Kitten" I get - he's a cat shifter, her name is Kit... I can roll with that. But baby girl? No.
Okay, moving on. The story centers around the job that the werecats have hired Kit to do - find the Alpha's missing nephew. I do not want to divulge too much information regarding the mystery, but I will let you this - it was AWESOME. It's a story full of adventure, magic, mystery and of course.. violence. What is an Urban Fantasy without a little ass-kicking, right? The pacing is perfect - it's not rushed, but it doesn't drag either. All things considered, I adored Blade Song. It's dark, gritty and all out exciting. I has a few minor hiccups with the story, but nothing serious. I will be eagerly anticipating a sequel!(less)
It's rather difficult for me to categorize this book, because it spans several genres. Obviously it's a young adult science fiction story, but it is also a romantic comedy. I guess I'll go with sci-fi-romance-romp. How's that? At any rate, I certainly enjoyed it.
Although the story centers around an Alien plot line, I would recommend it to readers who don't normally enjoy sci-fi stories. Vernon injects enough comedy, heart and romance within the book that it should appeal to a variety of readers.
I'm not sure that the character of Alex could be categorized as particularly unique, but she's likable nonetheless. She's quirky and snarky; traits I happen to adore in characters. As the book progresses she really comes into her own and shows a great deal of determination and gusto.
Ace, Alex's love interest, is also rather likable. Although we didn't get to know him as much as I would have liked. The book chugs along at a quick pace and unfortunately it causes some of the character development to suffer. I hope that in the next book we'll get to know more about Ace. From what we've seen, he is a great character, but I'd still like to get to know him better.
How To Date An Alien is a delightful comedic romp that readers are sure to find enjoyable. It's a quick, light read that will keep you entertained for a few hours. (less)
The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson takes an entirely new approach to a type of book we've seen before. We've all read young adult adventures and we've al...more The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson takes an entirely new approach to a type of book we've seen before. We've all read young adult adventures and we've all read stories that deal with mythical civilizations of the past. The current trend seems to be focused on Greek Mythology. Anyways, marrying these two ideas together has proven to be successful in the past and it proves to be just an almighty combination now.
There are a few reasons that The Lost Code is able to stand out from other young adult books that use this formula. The first of which is obvious, the ancient mythological civilization that it centers around; Atlantis. Yes, Atlantis. I for one, have never read a young adult in which teenagers realize they are descendents of the mythical and MAGICAL Atlanteans. For me, that was an instant selling point. I don't know what it is about the idea of Atlantis, but I find it completely intriguing. Maybe there is that tiny voice in the back of my mind that says, what if. What if there really was an Atlantis? Whatever the reason, I can tell you that I find it all fascinating. Even if you don't have a secret obsession with the underwater city, I guarantee you'll enjoy this book. Like I said before, with this one, Emerson is certainly bringing something new to the table. Sure, it's an age old concept, but we haven't seen it applied to this type of story before.
The second aspect of the story that makes The Lost Code a standout is the setting. Not only does Emerson create an amazing, visually stunning version of Atlantis, but he creates an equally engaging dystopian world. You see, the story takes place in the future, the society is on the brink of destruction. Owen, our make character, has spent most of his life living underground, hiding from the harmful radiation of the sun. At the start of the book, he has traveled to Camp Eden, which is basically a model of what the world used to be - all within a protective bubble. It's all described in a wonderful fashion that keeps you interested and fascinated as the story progresses.
Let's talk about the characters for a moment. In our narrator Owen, we find a likable,interesting character that is easy to relate to. Owen doesn't quite know where he fits in the world and it is something he struggles with daily. I'm pretty sure we've all got a little bit of that within us and it makes it easy to empathize and connect with him. That being said, I'm curious to know his age. Going into the story I just assumed he was in his mid-teens (maybe 15 or 16), but as the story progressed I put him more around 13. I'm basing this guess on a few different things; his thoughts and behavior and the fact that the group of campers who oversee him are supposed to be older than he is. These campers including his love interest Lilly, act as though they are their mid-teens so that puts Owen a rung below. It's not that this necessarily bothered me, I just was expecting something else - especially with the teenage boy on the book cover.
The second main character within the book was Lilly. Like I stated before, Lilly was Owen's love interest. This is where I had my only real complaint with the book. First of all, let me just say that I loved Lilly. She was adventurous, intelligent and showed such spirit. However, Lilly and Owen together did not work for me. It all felt a bit clunky and unnecessary. There was really no need for them to develop a romantic relationship; especially one that didn't really work.
The second complaint I have with The Lost Code is really a minor one. It was rather long and the writing was drawn out at times. Every so often the author would throw in these little news blips that Owen would hear off the radio or whatever. At least, that's what I assumed was happening. Anyways, I'll be the first to admit, I skipped over almost all of them. Whenever I saw long italicized paragraphs I just trucked right on through. They didn't really contribute to the story and they just threw the reader out of 'the zone'.
All things considered, I must admit that I enjoyed The Lost Code immensely. It's got a cool storyline that is jam packed with adventure, danger and excitement. I would recommend it to fans of the Gone series by Michael Grant, The Virals series by Kathy Reichs. I will definitely be continuing this one!(less)
The Curse of Gremdon was a well crafted fantasy rich with adventure and excitement. I loved the idea of Arianna being the only girl in a boys club. Sh...moreThe Curse of Gremdon was a well crafted fantasy rich with adventure and excitement. I loved the idea of Arianna being the only girl in a boys club. She is the only female warrior left in her rank and it has worked extremely hard to prove her worth. Arianna has been through a great deal during her life and she has faced every obstacle head on. When the book begins she is partaking in a fight with Tardon in hopes of becoming an elite warrior.
Tardon himself is an Elite warrior and he plays a large part in the story. You see, Tardon and Arianna fall in love, but they are forbidden from being together. It is against the law for Arianna (a female warrior) to have sex - which is something that I really didn’t understand. The reason given in the book is that it is believed it would mess with her ability to fight or something. The man warriors are encouraged to give into their desires; the Elder’s even send them “gifts” when they succeed in a battle. I understand that the double standard was necessary for the plot to move forward, but I wish it would have been explained a bit better.
Anyways, long story short, when the two are discovered a death sentence is hefted onto them. The only way they can redeem themselves (and earn the right to be together) is to set out on a dangerous quest for the Elder’s.
For me, this is when things started to fall apart a bit. About halfway through the book the plot began to drag. I especially had a difficult time getting through the scenes featuring Saldor. Saldor is the Dungeon Master (I don’t really know if that is the proper tile) and sort of takes Arianna under his wing. He develops a very strange attachment to her; much to Tardon’s (and my) dismay. I could never really understand what Saldor wanted and he just really rubbed me the wrong way. He is one of those characters that tries to do what’s best, but ends up making a huge mess of everything instead. And he does this repeatedly. I believe Knight intended readers to be sympathetic towards his character, but unfortunately I disliked him more and more as the book progressed.
Although the plot was slow at times, I did enjoy the overall story. And Let’s talk about the plot twists of all plot twists. About three quarters of the way through something happens that throws everything in Tardon and Arianna’s world on its head. It’s insane and I absolutely loved it.
I honestly enjoyed The Curse of Gremdon. It was heavier on the romance portion than I expected, but that didn’t really bother me. The underlying story was still well developed and the fantasy aspects well crafted, so everything balanced out rather nicely. Often with romance stories I find that the plot suffers, but that certainly wasn’t the case with The Curse of Gremdon. (less)
The Mers features an Interesting take on the tradition mermaid story. Blackwelder puts a dystopian spin on things and sets her story in a futuristic N...moreThe Mers features an Interesting take on the tradition mermaid story. Blackwelder puts a dystopian spin on things and sets her story in a futuristic New York / New Jersey. The Mers themselves are not your traditional take on mer-people either. They are an evolved race of humans; after the world floods over humans began adapting and developing gills and webbed fingers, toes and legs. Soon friction develops between the two races - mainly on the human side of the story. Well long story short, war breaks out and humans come out on top and end up being downright nasty – killing Mers for sport and what not.
The story centers around Mira, a teenage girl who has grown up with the Mers. Mira know she is different; it is obvious to her that she isn’t a Mer. She doesn’t have gills, webbed limbs and can’t even really swim. While I liked the idea behind this setting, I thought Mira (and those around her) who a little slow coming to this conclusion. Obviously Mira knows she is different, but she was a bit slow on the uptake. She’s 17 when the story begins and nobody has come out and told her she was a human. She doesn’t look like anyone else in her community (they are all Mers); yet it’s still kept like some big secret. She states that everyone knows she is different, but nobody talks about it. And the children all think she is a Mer. When her parents finally tell her about her true linage (it happens early on in the story, so it’s not much of a spoiler!), she is completely shocked. What? How is that shocking? I am pretty sure we all knew you were adopted.
Well, anyways, back on track. Mira soon embarks on a dangerous journey to find her real parents and find out who she really is. Now, like I said, I loved the idea of this book. I think the plotline is incredibly creative and has a ton of potential. That was an A+ for me. But, I really struggled with the character connection. I just couldn’t get emotionally invested into Mira’s story, even though I wanted to. The characters came off a bit flat and my attachment to them suffered as a result.
That being said, I’d still recommend The Mers. It was an interesting light read that will keep you entertained. I didn’t love it, but it was decent. I will definetly be open to reading more of Blackwelder’s work in the future.(less)