I'm a huge fan of Janelle Stalder's books -- HUGE, HUGE, HUUUUGE fan girl here. Her gift for story-telling and the complexity of characters she createI'm a huge fan of Janelle Stalder's books -- HUGE, HUGE, HUUUUGE fan girl here. Her gift for story-telling and the complexity of characters she creates is unmatched in today's market. In MASKED we pick up where the very incredible SWITCH left off (check out my SIX star review on my blog, Known to Read) and as a bonus we get to some of the events from SWITCH unfolding from Bridgette's point of view. I really liked seeing things through Bridgette's eyes. She's such a contrast from her sister and is so brave despite her vulnerability and inexperience. And then there's Roman ... happy sigh. He's a great character and a perfect hero for Bridgette. He's in a situation where he'd be viewed as the bad guy by so many, but truly has a good heart. One of the great thing about Stalder's writing is that her characters always have such depth and none are purely good nor evil. This is especially true of Ludwig. He's loathsome in so many ways, but we see a side to him in MASKED that makes you care for the guy and feel pretty sad for him as events unfold. Stalder's books always leave me feeling so conflicted, but in a good way.
Another amazing thing about Stalder's books is that she always has so much going on with a full cast of characters to love, hate or be unsure about. Despite the complexity of her stories, the reader never gets lost or confused. MASKED is another fabulous buffet of layered story lines with engaging characters of whom a reader just cannot get enough. I'm dying to see what happens next and how this all plays out. I can never figure out how Stalder will resolve her plot conflicts and am looking forward to more surprises, plot twist and tasty romance! Yay!!! ...more
I absolutely adore Janelle Stalder's work! The Eden Series is a remarkable read; the type of series I'll reread over and over. When I heard she had aI absolutely adore Janelle Stalder's work! The Eden Series is a remarkable read; the type of series I'll reread over and over. When I heard she had a brand new series, I practically did flips. Needless to say, I had high expectations for Switch and not only were they met, they were freakin' blown away!!! By far, the best dystopian I've read!
The world building for Switch is perfect. You understand clearly (and so could see it happening) this future setting without getting a "history lesson" style dump of information. The action is intense and grips you from the first pages. I read Switch every free moment I had and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Total, complete obsession.
Charlotte is an incredible female lead. Many times I fail to connect with a dystopian's female lead because she's so hard; it makes sense that someone would be super jaded living in a dystopian would, but still, I just can't connect with a super hard female character. In Switch Stalder creates the perfect balance in her female lead. Charlotte is tough and jaded, willing to do whatever necessary to survive, but yet she still has a tenderness and vulnerability that makes her so engaging.
Pete, our male lead, is such a fun character. He's playful and warm and yet still tough and smart. He is written with such depth, as are the characters that surround him. He's a perfect foil for Charlotte's driven personality. And very, very yummy to boot! Their chemistry is intense and hot and just wow!
I love how Stalder's writing contains so much complexity. As in real life, there's not much that's truly black or white, good or evil. I was so tangled up reading Switch wondering how it could all work out. Two enemies in love? Both sides contain good and evil alike? How the hell could it all work out for a happily ever after?!? On top of all this excitement, there's a whole lot more that's entwined into Charlotte and Pete's story, but I don't want to give anything away.
The ending of Switch is amazing: perfect combination of conflict resolution and cliff-hanger. My only complaint is that I don't have book 2 yet....more
Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski Genre: YA Fantasy Rating: * * * My Review: This is a retelling of an old fable andI reviewed each story separately...
Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski Genre: YA Fantasy Rating: * * * My Review: This is a retelling of an old fable and I enjoyed the author's take on it. We see everything from Alesuela's perspective which adds a great deal to the mystery and suspense. I loved how Terri Rochenski used the color red symbolically throughout the story. Overall, the story did fall short for me as I didn't really connect much with the main character, so I wasn't emotionally invested, but it still was an entertaining start to the anthology.
The Amulet of Ormisez by J. Keller Ford Genre: Fantasy My Rating: * * * * My Review: This is a well-told and creative story that had me hanging on the author's every word. I loved the world that J. Keller Ford created and grew attached to the characters immediately. My only real complaint is use of the names of places got confusing and I wasn't always sure at first where the characters were supposed to be. I was also little confused on the hows and whys of Cayden's and the Queen's final situation, but not enough for it to ruin the story for me.
Birthright by Lynda R. Young Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy My Rating: * * * * * My Review: I was very much wow-ed by this story. It's super suspenseful with a unique and creative supernatural element. I found it easy to connect with the characters and totally felt the Jack-Christa connection. It didn't feel rushed or insta-love-ish even though it all happens quickly. Birthright is a crazy cool read and I really hope author takes this to the next step with a full novel.
Petrified by Kelly Said Genre: YA Fantasy My Rating: * * * * My Review: Petrified was a real treat of suspense and mystery. Sooo much of this story has you asking why and who and can he/she be trusted??? I loved how Kelly Said built her world and our knowledge of each character slowly throughout the story, only bringing all the elements together near the conclusion. Both Lochlyn and Sterling are great characters; I loved Lochlyn's tenderheartedness. I wish their romance was built-up a bit more; I felt they were a bit touchy-feely with one another considering they were pretty much strangers. I think if there had been more acknowledgement of attraction in their thoughts and maybe more time on the romantic elements at the conclusion, I'd been better satisfied. Regardless, this was a really great story!
Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton Genre: Dystopian My Rating: * * * * * My Review: Wow! This was a fantastic read! First off, its amazing to see a well-written dystopian in short story form; I believe it difficult to world-build a dystopian society with so few words, but Jennifer M. Eaton does it and does it fabulously! I loved the world, the characters and the budding romance!!! Last Winter Red was so perfectly done! It was like a chocolate truffle. Perfectly satisfying, yet bite-sized!
Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy My Rating: * * * * * My Review: It's no secret I'm a huge J. A. Belfield fan. I must admit I was curious, though, to see what her writing would be like without the Holloway Pack. Would I still love her writing with Jem and Sean??? And the answer .... YES, ABSO-FREAKIN-LOUTELY, YES!!! Escort to Instanity was so amazing! There was so much suspense and action and romance in those few pages ... holy cow! .... how did she manage that??? I'm so hoping that this is the take off of a new series for her. That would rock because I'm loving me some Benjamin Gold! Yum!...more
My Review: Have you ever pondered if society's dream of eternal youth was achieved? Ever considered the consequences? The overpopulation? The rich andMy Review: Have you ever pondered if society's dream of eternal youth was achieved? Ever considered the consequences? The overpopulation? The rich and powerful having an endless supply of days to become more so? This is the setting of this amazing thriller.
Christine Amsden builds an incredibly interesting and quite frightening world. Without getting overly philosophical or boringly deep, Amsden tosses her reader head first into a world out of control where people had mysteriously stopped aging for the past 400 hundred years. This world is literally brimming over with people, both the powerfully rich and the starving enslaved, all with their own agendas. Enter our heroine who only wants to make a difference. She's been beat down both in love and in ideals. She's tough and wary from living in this bleak dystopian society. Between the proverbial rock and hard place, she takes an assignment that might make a difference or might get her killed.
This is very much a thriller complete with nail biting suspense and plot twists and turns. Poor Grace doesn't know who she can trust and she's pretty justified in her wariness. There's a smidgen of romance throughout the book which fits perfectly with all the other mysteries that abound.
I so enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. My only complaint is that the characters weren't quite what I'd consider to be well-rounded. I liked them all and really cheered for Grace throughout, but never connected with her or any of the other characters in a way I would with one written with great dimension. Regardless of this one complaint, I highly recommend The Immortality Virus for those seeking some high-intensity thrills!
Cover Art: I can't say I'm a big fan of this book cover. It's just too CGI for me and I fear it hurts the book more than helps. Truthfully, the cover made me leery of reading this outstanding book and I would've missed out on a great story.
This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. See more of my reviews on my blog, Known to Read....more
Genre: Funky blend of dystopian, sci-fi and steampunk(not sure yet if this will be a YA series or not) ... Total Awesomesauce!!!
My Review: One word: inGenre: Funky blend of dystopian, sci-fi and steampunk(not sure yet if this will be a YA series or not) ... Total Awesomesauce!!!
My Review: One word: intense! More than a bit scary but not "horror" dark (this reviewer doesn't do the real dark stuff). For such a short glimpse into the world of the Neumarian Chronicles, this book is a power punch of freaking amazingness .... okay, maybe not a word, but you get the idea. I loved everything about this book. It's suspenseful. It's mysterious. It's creative. It has the most likable and hate-worthy characters... and we have barely met them! 42 pages and I've not stopped thinking about them since I finished this two days ago. So my only complaint is that book 1, Escapement, isn't out yet. It's kind of cruel to leave me hanging like this. I want more!!!
Cover Art: Wowie-wow-wow!!! Love, love, love this cover! Likely my favorite cover of 2012 to date! ...more
Amazing! Amazing. A-maz-ing. Holy cow this book was good!!! Alrighty, you probably want more of an explanation than that, huh?
So let me expound... FirsAmazing! Amazing. A-maz-ing. Holy cow this book was good!!! Alrighty, you probably want more of an explanation than that, huh?
So let me expound... First, we find ourselves in an almost historical setting of castles and warriors. Two warriors clash... a contest, thankfully, not a battle. One is Arianna. Yes, a woman, who's intense determination and focus has enabled her to rise in the ranks of warriors as the only woman Elite Warrior. She fights against Tardon, who is, simply put, the best. What we find out about these two combatants almost immediately is that they have deep, unspoken and forbidden, feelings for one another. ***chillbumps!!!***
I love how tough Arianna is, both physically and mentally. Not so much so that she's hard to connect with, but in a way I can admire. I love a kick-butt heroine! She's also deeply loyal to both her people and her family and is brave despite her well-founded fears. Tardon is a rock. He's honorable, steady and deep and sees Arianna for the incredible woman she is. He's an easy guy to fall for.
This book is chalk full of action. Not wasting time setting things up before grasping you by the shirt and pulling you into the fray. At every twist and turn, you wonder how the heck they are going to get out of each predicament. It's hard to tell who to trust and what the truth really is.
There's so much more I want to say about this book, but I don't do spoilers and I won't ruin this ride for you. Just know this... castles/warriors + zombies + mysterious magic = A M A Z I N G !!! So go get this book now!!!
Cover Art: I absolutely love this cover!!! There's so much mystery and the pendant is gorgeous (and an important element in the story). The atmosphere is dark and looks dangerous, which is where we find ourselves as we start this book. Amazing!!!