This book was unrelentingly depressing. I'm not even sure if I liked it or not. I love the premise but I don't think we got enough background informati...moreThis book was unrelentingly depressing. I'm not even sure if I liked it or not. I love the premise but I don't think we got enough background information on the cause of the outbreak or on the guys in the book. Mary always seemed to be "the grass in always greener" kind of girl - always wanting the opposite of what she had at any given time which got a little annoying seeing how everyone was sacrificing for her dreams. Having said that - I couldn't put it down and I cried a number of times. Not sure if that's a helpful review but........(less)
Simone Elkeles has taken an old formula and made it her own. The story of bad boy/ gang member Alex and pretty cheerleader Brittany could have been an...moreSimone Elkeles has taken an old formula and made it her own. The story of bad boy/ gang member Alex and pretty cheerleader Brittany could have been another formulaic teen YA novel, but this story doesn’t contain any of the clichés or cheesiness of some of the other books from this genre. These are characters that you can relate to and care about. I loved this book right from the start! Told through the alternating pov’s of Brittany and Alex, you get to see who these two people really are – not the façade they use in front of others. Sometimes I’m irritated by alternating pov’s, but not here, they flowed beautifully only adding to the story. Elkeles has pitch perfect pacing and character development, right down to the names she chose for the MC’s. Perfect! And the sexual tension is off the charts without being frustrating for the reader. The side characters were well written and only added to the story. The best compliment that I can give this book is that I was reading it faster and faster to find out what happened ……then saw I was over halfway done and slowed down to make it last longer. Loved: The thing I loved most is that Brittany & Alex weren’t perfect but they learned from their mistakes!! Nitpick: I could have easily read more! I want to know everything about these two!
Now this is how teen romance should be written! And I’m searching now to find everything else Simone Elkeles has ever written! (less)
Frostbite is a different kind of werewolf tale. There’s no big sweeping romance , no studly six pack ab werewolf racing in to save his damsel in distr...moreFrostbite is a different kind of werewolf tale. There’s no big sweeping romance , no studly six pack ab werewolf racing in to save his damsel in distress. In Frostbite we go back to a more deadly type of werewolf, cursed by an ancient spell, one that loses his humanity when the moon rises, can be killed by silver, a wolf that can never live among people. Chey gets bitten by the wolf with the piercing green eyes. She knows this wolf – she has come to the Arctic to get her revenge but now she must rely on him, Monty Powell, and his wolf, to help her come to terms with what she has become.
“I saw her ankle,” Powell said. “She got herself scratched. She’s in the club, or she will be very soon.”
Dzo shrugged. “Sure that’s why I brought her here.”
Powell said……“I can’t let her turn, though. She’ll hurt somebody. Maybe even spread this thing. I can’t let her do that” He hefted something in his hands. It was an ax…………”the moon will be up in a few minutes. If we take her head off right now I think it will still be alright”
Frostbite is told in three parts. Part one relates to the attack on Chey and her trying to cope with how her life has changed with the help of Powell and Dzo. Part two deals with Chey’s past and we learn more about how Chey came to be in the Arctic in the first place and what her connection is to Powell. And in the third part she has to decide if she is going to cling to her long held beliefs about werewolves or embrace what she has become. I really liked the gritty take on the werewolf legend. This is a love story of sorts but isn’t the typical wounded girl finding her alpha male, but a deeper connection between two people struggling with their inner beast and their past. The only problem I had with the book was that I didn’t really connect with Chey as a character until the second part of the book when we found out her true motivations. The first section had a nice set up but it was clear that there was more to it and it was frustrating not knowing what that was. Part two clears that up in gruesome detail and I think this is the best part of the story – it really connects the dots and gets the story moving. There were a few minor contrivances in Part 3 and I was a little tired of how Chey was “really dying this time” but by the end of the book I was sad to leave these two characters and I’m hoping there will be a sequel soon. Liked: The fresh take on werewolves (or back to the old ways some might say). A deeper relationship between two people - not just sex (in fact there is no sex). I really liked Powell and Dzo and hope to read more about them in the future. And I LOVE that cover!! Nitpick: Lagged in spots and I didn’t connect with Chey at first. A few subplots seemed contrived.
This wasn't a perfect book...the pacing lagged at times and there were numerous spelling errors but the character development and original concept of...moreThis wasn't a perfect book...the pacing lagged at times and there were numerous spelling errors but the character development and original concept of the zombies themselves kept me interested. I even shed a tear at the end...that doesn't happen to often in a zombie novel!(less)
**spoiler alert** John Matthew’s story has been a long time coming. In fact his story really begins in the first book of the series “Dark Lover”. His...more**spoiler alert** John Matthew’s story has been a long time coming. In fact his story really begins in the first book of the series “Dark Lover”. His character has such a rich history to draw from and I was really looking forward to Lover Mine thinking it would be the best book of the series. This story had so much potential that I was kind of shocked to see it turned into a generic love story. All that past history was set aside for a different back story that was supposed to show how John and Xhex were fated to be together, but all it did was keep taking me out of the present. I think Xhex and John make a great couple and there were some very touching scenes between them, particularly during one of Xhex’s panic attacks and my favorite scene concerning their shared desire for revenge on Lash. I even found myself crying a few times. Qhuinn and Blay also had a very powerful storyline that had me crying. But both felt like a retread of the other (and better written IMO) brother’s stories, which leads me to my main complaints with this book.
The slang – I know this is her style and I mainly ignore it, but it was so over the top in the first third of this book I found myself laughing… Next is the sex. Now I’m all for a good sex scene and there were some steamy ones in Lover Mine, but I feel that Ward is relying on them too often as proof of love. I remember the good old days when there were long discussions to go with the sex. Someone is either having sex to overcome their horrible past, having sex with someone else because they can’t have sex with who they want, or taking lots of showers…but not cold if you get my drift…those brothers spend a lot of time in the shower! Depravity – it seems that at least half of the Brotherhood has either been raped, seen someone raped or their mate has been raped. Every Lesser relies on the act of rape. Now I’m not saying I want all sunshine and happiness ( I happen to love a good dark storyline) and there is a way to write this well (Zsadist’s story for example or John’s early experience in the stairwell) and no doubt it’s an evil act but it feels like it’s the go to behavior to prove someone’s depravity. Evil bad guys – I do not even once - ever - think the Lesser’s will win. The Omega seems like an idiot who keeps getting bigger idiots to do his dirty work. They are interchangeable. Mr. D, Mr. P,Q,R?? Does it matter anymore?? Lash? Could have been a nice twist there but surprise…sadistic moron. So there is never any tension for me on that front. They are only there to propel the love story, nothing is really at stake. The brothers go out, they fight...they come home. Too many plots – I can count at least five different stories going on in this book. There are only so many brothers so I understand that she has to write new characters in to continue this series but it’s spreading the plot too thin for me. That paranormal reality show?? WTF!!??
Maybe my expectations were too high for Lover Mine and that was my problem. I know everyone else really loved this book so once again ….maybe it’s just me. J.R. Ward has written some of my favorite books that I read over & over again – I think she’s the master of this genre but the series does seem to be stretching a little thin with this book. I have a few more things to say about Lover Mine but they’re spoilery - so I put it after this with a warning.
There were some well written emotionally brutal scenes – and I like John & Xhex – Tohr made a nice comeback here & I was happy to see a few appearances from Z, but the stories are getting a little to overstretched and repetitive for my taste.
SPOILER!! Qhuinn and Blay. Now I admit I really wanted them to get together, didn’t happen (yet) - I can live with that. BUT. I can see how Blay would move on after Qhuinn’s rejections but I can’t believe that he would go for Saxton. He came off as a pretentious ass to me. Layla – Another virginal Chosen…..been there – done that. They bore me. The whole thing seems like a new twist on the old Wrath/Marissa, V/Butch storyline and Layla is too much like Cormia and Marrisa to be original for me.
Where was Beth? I thought this would be a great book to draw the brotherhood back together again. Missed opportunity. (less)
Under My Skin has all the elements of a good paranormal YA – werewolves, vampires, shamans and sprites. It has secrets, danger and of course a love tr...moreUnder My Skin has all the elements of a good paranormal YA – werewolves, vampires, shamans and sprites. It has secrets, danger and of course a love triangle. I really liked Grave’s spin on werewolves. There are Wolven who are born and werewolves which are made. Eryn is a half breed Wolven who has had her wolf kept in check by a drug her father has been giving her. When her parents go missing Eryn has to deal not only with their loss but also with her primal wolf impulses – impulses that may put her and those she loves in danger. Eryn also works as a Hunter for The Council - a group that keeps paranormal creatures in check. The council has moved Eryn to Redgrave to keep her safe while they look for her missing parents. Despite her secrets she manages to make a friend in Brit the resident goth chick who warns her against taking up with Alec Delecroix whom she has encounter while running in the woods. OK – I didn’t really get pulled into this book right away but once Alec entered the picture (it’s always about a boy…isn’t it??) I was hooked.
Brit: “He’s hot alright, but……..You don’t want to go there.” Eryn: “I don’t?” But the image of his long dark hair, broad shoulders, and powerful thighs had already registered on my but – I - really - think - I – do – want – to – go - there interest meter”
Alec and his brother Matt are also Hunter’s and Eryn joins with them to help fight the paranorms all while trying to keep her secret fearing Alec will reject her if he finds out. Wade also enters the picture as the sexy son of the local police chief and this sets up a pretty good love triangle. I usually get stressed out over these, but I loved both guys and could see it going either way. I think Alec gets a little short changed once Wade enters the picture but Alec’s mom has a pretty ominous prediction about Alec and Eryn so this storyline is guaranteed to get more time in the next book. There is quite a bit more going on in Under My Skin but I don’t want to reveal spoilers so I hope I’ve peaked your interest enough for you to check it out. I did have a few issues. One was the aforementioned love triangle. As I said I loved both guys and Eryn is drawn to both for different reasons and it makes complete sense. But her response to both boys is pretty intense and gave me a case of whiplash at how fast she could go from guy to guy. It seems that the book walked the line of YA and adult. The themes and romantic interactions bordered on more of an adult paranormal but then it would slip into more of a breezy high school vibe – lowering the intensity for me. Under My Skin leaves a few things up in the air: Can the council be trusted? Is Wade evil? Is there more to Alec than meets the eye? How far will Eryn have to go to save the ones she loves? And what the heck does that vision mean??? I have my own thoughts on that last one but I will just have to wait and see…arghh – I’m not the most patient person! Liked: The boys! Nice love triangle. Lays the foundation for a really good series. Nitpick: There were illustrations throughout the book. They were very nice but took me out of the story and I prefer to have my own vision for what a character looks like. Not too distracting though. As with most first books in a series, it had a lot going on to lay the foundation for the future storylines.
The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins” -Edgar Allan P...moreThe boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins” -Edgar Allan Poe, “The Premature Burial”
That’s the paragraph that starts off Shade - and it is as good a description as any of what’s to come. But I suppose you want to know more about what I think about plotlines and love triangles so here we go. Aura and anyone born after the “Shift” can see ghosts. Anyone older cannot. There are courts to help ghosts who are lingering in this world find justice so they can pass on. If they don’t, their bitterness can turn them into Shades – ghosts who are consumed by the darkness. All of this becomes much too personal when Aura’s boyfriend Logan dies and is trapped in her world. To be honest I had a little trouble getting into the story to begin with. There is a lot of talk about Irish music and drinking, astrological/metaphysical mumbo jumbo and I felt a little disoriented at first. Then a funny thing happened…I got sucked in and I wanted to know all about the “astrological/metaphysical mumbo jumbo” and what it means for both the living and the dead. I’m usually drawn more to the characters than the world around them but I found myself fascinated by the moral, ethical and psychological dilemmas the Shift presented. What it must be like for people born before the Shift who can’t see ghosts. To know your loved one is dead, lost to you forever, but to also know that they are out there somewhere… still alive in a way but able to communicate only with those born after the Shift. How do you let go? Or how do you love a ghost that you can see but never touch? Is that really living – for either of you? Do you help them move on or find a way to make them stay? What about the love triangle you ask? “It’s complicated.” Another line from the book that sums everything up. We have Logan – who’s vibrant, impulsive and egotistical – basically being your average 17 yr old boy, but also full of life (even in death) with an undying love & loyalty for Aura. Then there is Zachary – the very much alive and near perfect boy that helps ease Aura’s pain and may be the key to helping Aura unlock the secrets of the Shift. I have picked a “team” on this one (and Jeri – no I didn’t change my mind after reading…lol)….sadly I think I’m on the losing side of this one so I’m trying not to invest too much into that aspect *sniff* *sniff*. All three of them are written in such an honest way though. I both loved and got irritated with all three of them at different points. Particularly Aura and Logan who have a lot of maturing to do, but I believe that’s the point so I don’t mean that as a criticism but as a compliment to the writing of these complex characters. There is SO much more to this story but I don’t want to give anything away so let me just say that despite the confusing start I finished it as I do all of Jeri’s books – in an emotional puddle of goo – Kleenex in hand! That ending!! OMG. I am already trying to restrain myself from thinking of all the possible angles of the next book, Shift. Loved: The complexity of the world, the plot and characters. No easy choices here. The ending - WOW. Nitpick: Not a big fan of Aura’s best friend Megan and I sometimes found it hard to believe the true love angle of Logan and Aura with the way she sometimes acted…but maybe that’s the point?? Hmmm
A very sweet southern style story...but slow pacing dragged it down. Nothing really happened until the very end and even then it wasn't much but still...moreA very sweet southern style story...but slow pacing dragged it down. Nothing really happened until the very end and even then it wasn't much but still I enjoyed the characters.(less)
I loved this book. It had an original concept, great characters, good pacing and big reveals. Every person was relevant to the story and kept things m...moreI loved this book. It had an original concept, great characters, good pacing and big reveals. Every person was relevant to the story and kept things moving. If I had to find a nitpick it would be that I would have liked to have known a little more about Nash and what made him tick. I finshed this book in less than six hours and I can't wait to get to book two!(less)
Anastasia Hopcus has created an original and complex mythology in her debut novel Shadow Hills. This – the first book in the series contains a lot of...moreAnastasia Hopcus has created an original and complex mythology in her debut novel Shadow Hills. This – the first book in the series contains a lot of world building and you have to be paying attention or you may miss out on the clues being thrown at you. Although I liked Phe and I definitely liked Zach – Phe’s love interest, I was more intrigued by Zach and his sister Corrine’s relationship. Corrine is ice station zebra – and a real bitch but you can tell she has her reasons and I liked the complex nature of their relationship. You don’t often see siblings getting that much attention or development in books these days and I enjoyed it. The book works best when Phe is interacting with the fellow students and Zack. Whenever she was off on her own investigating I felt a little too much “in her head” if you know what I mean. This is happening in quite a few books I’ve been reading lately and while I want to know the motivations of the MC sometimes I just want some action. I’m not knocking Hopcus for that one though….it’s more of a case of reading too much of the same thing recently. The supporting players are all well written in Shadow Hills and I’m looking forward to see how they all fit into the bigger picture. I don’t want to give too much away but there is a supernatural element to this book and it is fresh and original. I don’t think I‘ve read anything like it before and it’s difficult to surprise a reader these days. I think this is a nice foundation to a series that I think will just get better and better. (less)
I was dying to read this book since Victoria Dahl’s Tumble Creek series is one of my favorites but this book fell a little short of that. Chloe meets M...moreI was dying to read this book since Victoria Dahl’s Tumble Creek series is one of my favorites but this book fell a little short of that. Chloe meets Max while they are both vacationing on a secluded island. Both have issues of course. Chloe’s fiancé faked his own death to avoid the marriage and the media has been hounding her ever since the discovery that he is really alive. She’s reeling from the realization that her life wasn’t what she thought it was and doesn’t know if she can trust her instincts anymore. Max has a savior complex. He’s always picking the girl who needs rescuing and is constantly trying to avoid accidents and save those around him. His last girlfriend was full of drama and he wants to avoid it that at all costs and takes a vow of abstinence even though he has a reputation as a sexy globetrotting treasure hunter. Hmmmm. I just never connected to this couple. They are both nice and they have some very steamy sex scenes and were believable as a couple but the circumstances around them seemed contrived. Every conceivable obstacle that would push their buttons seemed to pop up to keep them apart. There was another romance developing between Max’s brother Elliot and Chloe’s best friend Jenn that I found much more interesting. No one does sexy geeks better than Dahl! I wish there was more of them or that they had their own story. Again it seemed like a contrived plotline to fit the bigger story. Once the vacation is over, Max has to decide if he will stand by Chloe under the media scrutiny when they get back home. Her former fiancé and all those associated with him are under investigation for faking the accident and possibly for bigger crimes. It was an interesting angle and believable that she would become the main focus of the media circus. “Jilted lover – man fakes death to avoid marrying crazy bridezilla!” We live in weird times that we are obsessed with other people’s lives. I just got sick of hearing how hard her life was and Max whining about how hard it was to worry about everyone. It was a fast read – not too deep and because of the steamy side of things I think it would make a great book to take to the beach. Loved: This is strange but I loved the scenes of Chloe and Max fighting - they really said what they were feeling and I just liked the raw emotion. Very steamy love scenes. Elliot and Jenn made a cute couple. Nitpick: I wasn’t crazy about the media circus plotline and I would have liked to have known Max more.