Kristie Cook's Promise left me breathless. It's about true love, soul mates, good vs. evil, and everything in between. I was completely blown away and I wasn't expecting to be left wanting so badly to continue reading non-stop. When I wasn't reading I was agonizingly wondering about what was going to happen next. I was even dreaming about different scenarios that could possibly happen from where I left off. And when I started reading again I was on the edge of my seat, my face practically smooshed to the screen. There were moments when I was practically bouncing off the walls with happiness, crying my eyes out, or holding my breath in expectation. I loved the story and characters so much I don't think there's anything negative I could say about Promise.
Alexis knows she's not completely normal (though she desperately wishes that she were), but her mother refuses to tell her anything about them and their family. Having decided that she's had enough of her mother's evasiveness, Alexis does her own research with little to no results.
On her first day of college, Alexis literally runs into Tristan Knight and sparks fly. Their connection is instantaneous and very strong. When Alexis' mother finds out about Tristan she's adamant that Alexis stay away from him. She refuses and after overhearing a conversation between her mother and Tristan she realizes that they know each other. After an accident leaving Alexis seriously injured and Tristan mysteriously unharmed, it's decided that she should be told the truth about herself, Tristan, and the world they're a part of.
What really stayed with me about Kristie's writing was the believability of the characters and the raw emotion leaping off the pages. Alexis and Tristan, Sophia and Rina, Owen and Stefan; all the characters felt so real to me. I felt as if I was right there with them, seeing everything so clearly. The emotion in this book affected me the most. I could feel their happiness, their sadness, their anger and hope. It's all so intense and real.
Alexis seems like a normal teenager at first, but we soon learn of her unusual ability to heal fast and her amazing strength (which usually only shows itself when she's really angry). Because of her peculiarities she's never had any friends (besides her mother, Sophia) and was constantly picked on. She wants more than anything to be normal, to have a normal life. She's smart and is an amazing writer. her ability to love is immense, but she fears opening herself up to someone and possibly being hurt and betrayed again. When she meets Tristan she falls hard for him, but she has priorities and doesn't let her feelings consume the rest of her life. She's someone I would love to know in real life.
Tristan is amazingly gorgeous. Before Alexis, he never felt he had the ability to love. He's loving and protective, but not overly so. He knows Alexis' strengths and doesn't mind handing a situation over to her. Tristan is also very talented in many things, mostly in design---architecture, jewelry, etc. His love and devotion are unmatched, and he would gladly lay down his life for Alexis.
Alexis and Tristan's love is so intense and passionate, it practically oozes off the pages. They seem to be complete opposites at first, but are more alike than they thought. I like that they got to know each other first before declaring their undying love for each other. There were secrets and doubts, but even after everything was revealed they still loved each other unconditionally.
There are many twists and turns, surprise revelations, and heart-stopping romance. This book definitely will keep you on the edge of your seat and the tips of your toes.
True love can't be more dangerous or bittersweet than a match made in Heaven and Hell.(less)
Purpose is even better than the book that came before it! If I could give this book an infinite rating, I would. In Promise, Kristie Cook showed us the joy and happiness of first and true love. But in Purpose, she shows us the opposite; the heartache and despair left behind when that love and hope is taken away.
It's been seven years since the Daemoni attack that took Tristan away from Alexis. It's unknown whether he's alive or dead. The only things keeping Alexis from plunging head-first into darkness are her son Dorian, her writing, and the thin ray of hope that Tristan is still alive; but that hope is dwindling.
When the Daemoni threaten to take away the only things left in her life that are keeping her going, Alexis travels to the one place she believes still holds a strong connection to her lost love. With the Ang'dora fast approaching, the battle of good versus evil not only against the Daemoni but within her own mind, and a battle against the one opponent she could never kill, Alexis will have to find the strength to save herself and those she loves.
As I said in my review for Promise, I love how Kristie makes her characters so real, but it's the emotion of the characters and the story that stands out the most. I don't think I've ever read a book or series that made me feel as much as this one does. The emotion rolls right off the pages and wash over you. There is no way you could feel nothing while reading this book.
In Purpose, Alexis is lost in the despair and heartache of Tristan's absence. Hanging on the edge of sanity, her mind has fractured to help cope with the loss: there's Almost Alexis who is close but not quite Real Alexis, Foggy Alexis who keeps her in a state of numbness, Swirly Alexis who mixes fact and fiction, Psycho Alexis who lashes out at the slightest provocation, and then there's Evil Alexis who is her own Daemoni side whispering evil in her ear. If not for Dorian and her writing, she would surely have given up hope. But now with the added threat of the Daemoni, as well as the Amadis, threatening to take that hope away permanently, Alexis is more determined than ever to hang on no matter what. So she travels to Florida where the beach house Tristan built her is located, hoping that their happy memories will help strengthen her resolve. While there she makes an unexpected and unbelievable discovery, comes into her powers as the goes through the Ang'dora, and once again has to battle the Daemoni.
Her son, Dorian, is such an adorably sweet little boy. Already coming into his father's warrior strength, and possessing his mother's fierce protectiveness, Dorian is wise beyond his six years of age. He also holds Alexis' great capacity to love. Having never met Tristan, and because of Alexis making sure that Dorian knows who his father is and that he is loved by Tristan, Dorian is able to love and miss this father. That love causes him to get into numerous fights at school when the other kids say horrible things about Tristan. As a very young boy he has a strength of character that I can't help but admire.
There is so much more I would love to say about Purpose, but I really don't want to give anything away and spoil the story for anyone else. Where Promise ended bitter-sweetly, Purpose finishes on a much better note. I'll leave this review with this thought: The best kind of true love is born from adversity and hard work and is fated to last forever.(less)
First of all, I just want to say, WOW!! Kristie Cook has done it again! I am so in love with the Soul Savers series, and it's become one of my favorite series ever. Kristie's writing is so smooth and seamless as you go from one book to the next--even when you take a break and read Genesis it's as if you're reading the Amadis history along with Alexis.
Devotion delves deeper into the politics of the Amadis society. Alexis believed them all to be good to the core, but what she finds is a bunch of politicians vying for power. And when she finds out about all the lies, secrets, and betrayals, there is no way Alexis will swear her loyalty and devotion to them. Not to mention that they seem to be doing everything in their power to separate her from Tristan.
As the secrets and betrayals are revealed, Alexis' devotion to not only the Amadis, but her family and even Tristan is tested. She'll need to trust herself and her power to find what is truth and what is deception.
It's amazing that after everything Alexis and Tristan have been through that they can come out of it even stronger than they were before. Most people would have been completely destroyed if they went through what these two did. No matter what's being thrown at them, or what direction they're pulled in, Alexis and Tristan's love and loyalty never break. It's may be shaken, it may waver, but it never breaks. Alexis really is the fierce protector, and Tristan the ultimate warrior. They still have many tests and battles ahead of them, but they'll be fine as long as they stick together.
Devotion's plot is pretty heavy and serious for most of the book, but Kristie gives us a great reprieve in a hilarious encounter Alexis has with a kangaroo. That's all I'll say about that so I don't spoil it, but I thought it was so funny that I was laughing about it well after I was finished reading Devotion.
Kristie is a truly amazing and inspiring writer. She's created memorable and lovable characters, a captivating world, and a story you can't help but fall in love with. Devotion will leave you desperately wanting more. (less)
I was really excited when I heard about this novella in the Soul Screamers series. Never to Sleep takes place during the If I Die timeline from Sophie's point of view. I'd like readers to note that this review contains spoilers from If I Die.
Sophie's going about her day a usual--wading through the social hierarchy and political intrigue, while trying to avoid her cousin, Kaylee at all costs--when she meets Luca, a new student. After he literally smacks her with a classroom door (accidentally), he offers to help her carry the dance uniforms back to the gym. They take the long way back to the gym and that's when they happen to come upon Tod and Kaylee's PDA moment and the beginning of the ensuing fight between Tod and Nash. Not wanting to be involved in Kaylee's drama, Sophie leads Luca back the other way and that's when things start to get weird.
Out of nowhere pops a boy with no irises or pupils in his eyes. Sophie is so terrified she lets out a blood-curdling scream--transporting her and Luca to the Netherworld.
Now the question I had while reading Never to Sleep was--Is Sophie really a bean sidhe, or, because she's half-bean sidhe, does she only have half the powers of a full-bean sidhe? It seems that Sophie is only able to open a way to the Netherworld when she's really terrified.
I never liked Sophie as a character and I still don't really like her. She showed great strength and intelligence while in the Netherworld, but her ego and arrogance upon returning home overshadowed those qualities. If she had stayed humble I may have changed my mind about her.
I can't wait to see how Sophie's attitude changes when she finds out the truth and that her tiny little victory in the Netherworld doesn't even compare to all that her cousin, Kaylee, has been through. It'll be interesting to see if her view of Kaylee changes at all in Before I Wake.
Now Luca, as we find out, isn't exactly normal (no one new who comes to town is ever 100% normal). Turns out he's a necromancer--and not in the raise-the-dead way, but more like he's able to recognize and communicate with the dead. We don't really know if he's a good guy or a bad guy, but it definitely seems like he's got some kind of ulterior motives. I don't think it's such a good idea for Sophie to trust him as much as she seems to at this point.
Though Never to Sleep didn't change my dislike for Sophie, I did enjoy getting a closer look at things from her POV. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all translates into Before I Wake. (less)
Rose has begun her life as an Amish woman and is succeeding, much to her family's dislike. But it hasn't been an easy experience: the work is hard and the rules are constricting, and Rose's love for Noah is sometimes the only thing pulling her through the hard times. Rose is accepted by Noah's Amish community and they are officially allowed to court each other, and they are happy. But Rose's and Noah's happiness is suddenly brought to a screeching halt. Rose made it three months in the Amish community, but then her father had had enough and used lies and deceit to get her back. Trying to move past the pain of their forced separation, they both move on with their lives and move on to new people. The truth is brought to light by Rose's older brother Sam before either of them can move on in a permanent way, and Noah rushes to Rose's side and they find happiness again. But it's not only those close to them that threaten their happily ever after. A former peer with a sick obsession is out for revenge. And Rose's life is in danger.
Rose shows a great deal of strength, determination, and stubbornness during her three months with the Amish. Her love for Noah keeps her going when it feels like everything is closing in on her. Rose doesn't mention it, but her family's obvious dislike for the Amish lifestyle and their unsupportiveness takes its toll on her. It's during these moments that Noah fears that Rose has second thoughts about being Amish. While he is proud that Rose was able to succeed in becoming a member of his community and is overjoyed that their relationship is now official, Noah can't help but doubt Rose's resolve when she refuses to discuss their future. They both show how much their experience has taken its toll on them both when Rose is forced to leave and there is now a separation between them. That space eventually tears them apart and its takes Sam and Summer to bridge the gap.
The first thing I noticed in Belonging is that it seemed like Rose was the only one sacrificing anything for their relationship. Rose showed how much she truly loves Noah by not hesitating to become Amish when she finally made the decision, but Noah didn't seem willing to sacrifice anything at all if she had refused. And this was very frustrating for me while I was reading. I also couldn't stand Rose's family's happiness at making her unhappy. It's like, Really? You're happy that your daughter/sister is miserable? Now, Hunter impressed me greatly in this book. He doesn't get any kind of joy out of Rose being unhappy and does what he can to change that. I felt kind of bad for him, because he genuinely cares deeply for Rose but she can't show that same kind of commitment with Noah still in her heart. I absolutely loved Summer and how she has Sam wrapped around her finger. And she is a very good friend to Rose, loyal and not to a fault either. Rose desperately needed someone there for her and her alone.
That cliffhanger at the end was a real killer! I've been agonizing over not being about to read the final book in this series, Forever, until January 2014. That is just too far away to learn about what happens after the big reveal at the end of Belonging. I'm just so looking forward to the next book that I'm ready to burst.(less)
In a world full of fear and hate, Caitlyn and other Paranormals are persecuted for their abilities. On the run since the Riots that took her father and brother from her, Caitlyn only has her mother. When they finally settle in a city, it's one of the most dangerous towns they could have chosen. What Caitlyn doesn't expect is the support she gains in Alex and Rachel. And when someone from her past resurfaces, Caitlyn's going to need all the help she can get.
In quite a few dystopian stories I've read with supernatural elements that paranormals are out in the open with acceptance or mild persecution., but in Hunted the persecution is anything but mild. The world of this book is brutal; Paranormals are enslaved, beaten, killed, and even forced to turn on their own if they want to live.
I admired Caitlyn's strength in the face of adversity and her determination to do what's right. Even when she's pressured by her long-lost brother to help in a revolt that would turn the persecution on to the Normals, Caitlyn refuses to cause that kind of pain for someone else, even a Normal. She knows that not all Normals hate Paras, which is evident in her friendship with Alex and Rachel.
Something that I really enjoyed in Hunted that made the story unique was how it was sibling VS. sibling. It's not very often you see siblings fighting such a deadly battle against one another. Caitlyn's fight with Daniel is really bittersweet and emotional.
Hunted is chock-full of action and emotion. I really loved this book and I think that with the way it ended it could easily be made into a series. I'm left wondering what kind of changes were brought about by the events at the end of Hunted.(less)
Courtney Vail's Kings & Queens has a complex and vivid story. At times, I found myself confused about some of the events that took place and how they came about. The characters and their individual POV's are just as complex, but each is really unique. I didn't really understand what was going on with the dreams of disaster--were they real premonitions or just their minds playing off the events happening in real life? And there were times when we are fed so much information that it can be overwhelming sometimes.
It may seem like I only have negative things to say about Kings & Queens, but there's an equal amount of positive things about this book as well. Though there were moments when I was confused and overwhelmed, the story itself is so intriguing that I kept wanting to read more. The mystery and suspense surrounding the events of the story keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters and their stories each have a depth that makes them unique and very likable--you can relate to the characters. So there's this huge mass of interconnecting stories that all meet with the main plot of the Kings and Queens and their mission. This book's complexity is what makes it worthwhile to read. Sure, it can be confusing at times, but it's also so engaging you won't be able to stop reading.
Courtney Vail has a sequel to Kings & Queens, Sapphire Reign, coming out that takes place 10 years in the future, and Majesty's world is a lot more dangerous and darker. It is not a Young Adult book, but I'm going to make sure to read Sapphire Reign to sate my curiosity about Majesty's life after Kings & Queens.(less)
Forgiving Trinity is a much darker and serious book about addiction that I've read up to this point. There are points when the story is pretty slow, but I think that works best with the seriousness of the story. Forgiving Trinity is a really interesting story, and I loved reading from Trinity's POV as she struggles to come to terms with the events of her past and start living life again. We see this from a psychological viewpoint and what goes through the mind of a person recovering from addiction.
I really liked that Trinity wasn't the only character that needed to overcome past events. Aidan also struggles with recovering from addiction, and Ruth struggles with recovering from an assault. The fact that the two people that are closest to Trinity aren't seemingly perfect and can understand and relate to her was also appealing. In other books I've read about addiction the people closest to the one recovering seem too perfect and the one recovering feels ostracized. That's not the case in Forgiving Trinity. Trinity, Aidan, and Ruth can all find strength in each other and their commonalities.
Aidan and Trinity's relationship was really beautiful, but also really fragile. The fragility is what makes it feel real. I think that they became too close to each other too soon. Aidan was looking for an emotional connection and Trinity was looking for a physical connection, but they ended up offering each other the opposite of what they wanted. There were points when they were completely in sync, but then something would happen to put them out of sync. In the beginning of the book, Trinity and Aidan moved too fast; wanted too much and didn't offer enough. The disruption in the middle of the story is probably the best thing that could have happened for their relationship; it put things in perspective for them. By the end, they slowed down and I'm sure that they can appreciate each other more now.
Though I absolutely loved this book, this story, and these characters; this is definitely not a book for everyone. But I believe that it's worth it to give this book a shot, whether you end up liking it or not. Liz Reinhardt is an amazing writer and I look forward to checking out her other works.(less)
I absolutely ADORED this book! If I could give Meeting Destiny an infinite rating to show how much I love this book, I would do it in a heartbeat. Meeting Destiny has everything it takes to make my favorites list: the characters are real and lovable, the romance is absolutely swoon-worthy, the story is intriguing and engaging, and most importantly--MEETING DESTINY MADE ME FEEL SOMETHING. The number one thing a book has to have to become a favorite of mine is that it has to make me feel something deeply. It has to make me feel emotionally attached, and Meeting Destiny did just that.
I really liked how the paranormal doesn't take a front seat in the story. Lauren's dreams help her recognize Max, her "destiny" when she finally meets him. Her "sixth sense" warns her of imminent danger and a vague sense of people in general. Then there's her, I guess you could say "guide," Rewsna, who gives her advice telepathically when she truly needs it. These aspects are subtle and are seamlessly woven into the story without overtaking it and drowning out the other aspects of the story.
I thought that the roles a soul plays in the day-to-day life of another was interesting. There's Tempters, Instigators, Protectors, Anarchists, and Mates. We know that Max is Lauren's Mate, but it's cools to see her make the connections between herself and others in her life.
I loved Lauren and Max as the main characters. Lauren has a heart of gold and a strong sense of justice. Max is patient and has a great capacity to love. And Lauren and Max together just makes me want to sigh. Their love may be fast-paced, but that's explained as Destiny in action. It's sweet and pure and totally makes you want to swoon. I also like that Max is still somewhat of a mystery by the end of the book.
I found Meeting Destiny to be reminiscent of Kristie Cook's Promise. Lauren, Max, and even Seth have their counterparts in Alexis, Tristan, and Owen. The story of a young woman with a special purpose, always in danger, and meeting her soul mate are also similar. Even the ending is similar. Though their frameworks are parallel, these two books are also very different. I didn't notice the similarity until I was thinking about what to write for this review; but just as Promise and the Soul Savers series made it's way into my heart and quickly became one of my favorite series, I know that Meeting Destiny and the Destiny series will become a favorite as well.
I can't say much about the ending, but I will say that it's a really emotional part of the book and not what I was expecting. I want to badly to know what happens next after such a powerfully emotional ending. I can't wait to see what's next for Lauren and Max.(less)
Being someone who has not had the pleasure to read the first book in this series, The Light Within Me, I was glad that the author provided some background information. Because of this, one doesn't have to have read the first book to understand Finding My Faith. In fact, I became really curious about Noah and Abby's story when they were introduced in this book, and I can't wait to go back and read their story for myself. Because I have not read The Light Within Me, I can base this review solely on Finding My Faith, since I have nothing to compare it to.
I loved how Finding My Faith has a mix of genres; there's a little bit of something for everyone: sci-fi action, supernatural abilities, and sweet romance. All of this is blended so well together that this book can't be put into just one genre.
It might seem kind of cheesy, but I really liked how Rayner and Faith always seemed to have everything in common. Not only are their backgrounds similar (each grew up in the forests of their respective homelands), but they also just so happen to like the same foods and TV shows. Their both spiritual people and love nature and the outdoors. And both are free-spirits; although Rayner lost that when he came to Earth, meeting Faith made him want to live again instead of just floating along.
I love legends and folklore, so I really like the legend of The Woman With Fire for Hair and the Red-Eyed Wolf Warrior. The legend states the a woman of the Navajo with flaming red hair and an man with glowing red eyes will produce a son that will be able to harness the earth's energy. This son will only be born when the Earth needs him most, it could be a few years or hundreds of years until he's born. Until then, The Woman With Fire for Hair and the Red-Eyed Wolf Warrior will not age, the Warrior will not lose his wolf spirit, and only after then son is born will they begin to age as humans do. This legend really works in Rayner and Faith's favor. Neither of them will age until their son is born, and who knows how long that will be. And Rayner won't lose his SR44 form (though the legends says wolf spirit, for Rayner it's his SR44 form).
I was kind of disappointed that we never got to see the Colonist's demise. With how hyped up Hudson ans Cohen were to hunt him down, I was looking forward to seeing his downfall. Everyone likes seeing the bad guy lose in the end, but we just don't see it in Finding My Faith. Also, the Colonists are portrayed as these vicious killers, but the Colonist in this book just wasn't. It was just disappointing reading about how they are trying to catch and kill this Colonist and we never get to see it when they finally do.
Other than my issue with how weak I found the Colonist to be, I really loved Finding My Faith. I can't wait to see what's next for the Six Saviors.(less)
Temptation is the story of Rose and Noah. Rose's family moved to the small town of Meadowview, Ohio, which had a large Amish community, and that was where she met Noah. They are star-crossed lovers in the sense that Noah is Amish and Rose is what they refer to as English. No one was okay with their relationship: their parents were vehemently against Noah and Rose being together, their siblings didn't understand what they saw in each other, and their friends were doubtful that they could make it work. But none of that mattered to Rose and Noah. Their connection was strong from the beginning, their feelings for each other intense, and their determination to be together pushed them to do things that had serious consequences. The future for Noah and Rose is very uncertain, sacrifices are made, and their bond is tested.
Rose is a very spirited person, and Noah even refers to everything about Rose as being like fire. She loves with her entire heart, but because of that she's easily hurt. Rose is a very good friend. She's loyal, protective, and always has her friend's back. But her stubbornness can be a blessing or a curse depending on who you ask. The things she enjoys the most about her English world are dancing, music, horseback riding, and the conveniences her world has to offer.
Noah, on the other hand, lives in a world of hard work, discipline, and rules. And he's fine with that. In fact, he loves it and doesn't want or need anything from Rose's world of convenience. Except her. Noah is a very handsome (and surprisingly passionate) young man in his Amish community, and a much sought-after marriage match. His world is turned upside down when he meets Rose. Their secret relationship, when brought to light, causes and uproar in both their worlds, and everything comes crashing down around them. But neither of them is willing to give up on their relationship, no matter the consequences.
The differences in their backgrounds and the people around them bring conflict to their lives and relationship. It's obvious how their differences in upbringing would cause ripples, but it's the people in their lives that cause the waves to come crashing against them and test the strength of their bond. First there are the rivals for Rose's and Noah's attentions, respectively. Ella Weaver had expected Noah to court her, but when Rose snatched his attention away, Ella became a potentially dangerous enemy. Then there is Levi Zook, who has a very unhealthy obsession with Rose. He's a creeper through and through, and very dangerous. Both Ella and Levi are a part of Noah's Amish community, and if these two were to ever team up against Rose and Noah, it could be disastrous. Finally, there is Hunter Braxton, a new friend and teammate of Rose's older brother Sam. He didn't leave a good impression on Rose after a drunken incident at a party, but he seems to have genuine feelings for her.
But the biggest obstacle to their happily ever after is their parents. Noah's parents were very unhappy to learn that their son was in love with an English girl, but when they saw how serious he was about Rose, the relented. But there's a catch: Rose must become Amish. Rose's father wouldn't allow his daughter to have anything to do with their "cult." However, his girlfriend suggested allowing rose to experience the Amish life and come running back on her own. But they're all in for a big surprise, because Rose refuses to give up so easily.
I'll be honest, I was skeptical about this series. Why would I want to read a book with Amish characters? But once I started reading I was instantly hooked. This was the first book I ever read with an Amish atmosphere, so it was definitely a new experience for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked how this story showed that the Amish are not perfect, like a lot of us "English" would believe. They are human and they make mistakes just like everyone else.
And I'm a totally sucker for star-crossed lovers stories. Noah and Rose are just amazing. Their story seemed very real to me and I just couldn't help but love them and desperately hope that they could make it work. I also liked how there are characters, the people in their lives, who don't make it easy for them. There are those who want either Rose or Noah for themselves, there are those who just want to protect them, and then there are those who want to hurt them. It's a very...intense story and atmosphere. It always feels like there is danger just around the corner.
And I definitely like how this book ended. The conclusion was very clean and while there was no huge cliffhanger, it leaves you wanting to know what happens anyway. It's the beginning of Rose's life as an Amish woman. Will she be able to handle all the hard work and rules? Will she go running back home like her family believes she will? Or will she tough it out and finally have her happy ending with Noah? I'm just so hooked on this story and feel so connected to these characters, that I don't think I'd be able to leave this series even if I wanted to. Which I resolutely do not.(less)
When Destiny Strikes kicks off right where When Destiny Knocks ended. With the help of Shane, Jessica, and Alex, Karlie has brought Serenity back to life. And how does Serenity repay Karlie's kindness? By stabbing and seemingly killing Alex. Talk about ungrateful, right? Thinking that Alex is dead, Karlie is out for revenge, but first she needs to fight off the hordes of zombies coming her way. Yes, ZOMBIES! You can never go wrong adding zombies to the supernatural spook mix.
Karlie has received her full powers, and they are incredibly kick a**! For instance, Karlie was surrounded by zombies on all sides and she was able to take them all out at once by spinning really fast while swinging a shovel at their heads. That was one of my favorite Karlie fight moves. She has enhanced physical and mental abilities, and the help of new friends, so she has a fighting chance in this war.
The new angel in town, Hannah, rubs Karlie the wrong way and there's instant animosity between them--mostly because Hannah has a thing for Alex and isn't afraid to show it. But once they let go of the hostility they quickly start to become good friends. And there's the twin dragon shapeshifters, Hugh and Hubert. They are an invaluable addition to the team with their ability to breathe fire, which takes out pretty much any spook but demons.
But new powers and extra fighters doesn't make any of them indestructible. They will do anything to protect Karlie and keep her alive, and some of them won't make it out alive. The all-out war that was a result of Serenity's planning ended in a cliffhanger of EPIC proportions. Heather White knows how to keep us hanging and begging for more. I can't wait to see what happens next and how Karlie gets out of her latest situation.(less)
Sarah Ross is an empath, which means that she has the ability to feel the emotions of others. Her ability is so strong that the emotions can be overwhelming sometimes. But after an attack by a mysterious creature in an abandoned house in the woods, Sarah meets Evan Valente who helps her get back to her campsite. The odd thing is that she feels none of Evan's emotions. Though Sarah has reservations about trusting Evan, she can't stay away from him.
When Sarah visits a Native American healer, she learns that she's not just an empath, but an Indigo Child as well. An Indigo Child is an evolved human with special powers, such as Sarah's empathy. Even stranger is that when Sarah and Evan touch, the power between them increases and they can do even more extraordinary things together. There is definitely something different about Evan, and when Sarah learns the truth about him, she'll have to decide if she's still willing to trust him or if she'll need to run to get away from him.
Joanne Brothwell uses Native American and Italian folklore by introducing us to the Native American Skinwalkers and the Italian Benandanti (good walkers) and the Malandanti (bad walkers). The Stregheria are witches and warlocks in Italy who are either good walkers or bad walkers. The good walkers were hunted into extinction for suspicion of witchcraft, but the bad walkers managed to survive the hunts. The Valente family is actually the last of the Italian bad walkers to survive.
This is actually only the second story I've read that had Skinwalkers as the supernatural element, so it's a new and interesting element to use. I love the use of folklore in Stealing Breath. It gives a richness to the story and gives us some insight into the Native American and Italian cultures.
I also really liked Sarah and Evan's relationship. They have a strong connection, but also have a lot of problems too. There's a point where Sarah learns the truth about Evan, and even though it hurts her to do it because she loves him, she forces herself to walk away from him. But a surprise revelation about Evan that even he didn't know about makes Sarah realize that maybe he's not as bad as they both thought him to be. So their relationship isn't perfect and has it's share of ups and downs, but the imperfections of their relationship is what makes it so perfect. It doesn't seem rushed or instantaneous. It takes time and effort to make their relationship work.
Stealing Breath is a part of a genre that doesn't get much attention. You can't put this book in the Young Adult genre or the Adult genre. It lands somewhere in the middle. I asked the author what genre she would put Stealing Breath into and she brought to my attention a genre called New Adult fiction. I was so intrigued by this new genre that I looked it up and found that New Adult fiction is a genre for novels that land between YA and Adult. The characters are usually between the ages of 18-26 and are just coming into adulthood. They are either just starting college or a new career after graduating high school. So Stealing Breath fits perfectly into this virtually unknown genre.
I'm really excited to read about what happens next for Sarah and Evan. Will they ever be able to settle in one place and live normal lives or will they have to continue running from those who want to possess their strong and powerful essences?(less)
Rae Kerrigan is on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday. For many girls, their sixteenth birthday is a rite of passage, a coming of age. But for Rae, it's that and so much more.
When Rae receives a scholarship to Guilder Boarding School, which was originally an all-boys school, now enrolling girls, her uncle jumps at the chance for Rae to attend his alma mater. But there's more to Guilder and its students (and apparently Rae) than meets the eye.
When Rae meets her roommate, Molly, she's introduced to the world of the tatù (taa-toe; rhymes with shoe). Molly tells Rae that on their sixteenth birthdays they will receive an ink that will grant them special powers. The ink appears on the arm of boys and the lower back of girls. Devon is the first inked boy she meets at Guilder. He has also been assigned as her tutor and quickly becomes one of the few that Rae feels she can trust.
What's odd is that everyone Rae meets seems to know more about her and her past than she does. Turns out that her father was a very dangerous man and her mother may have sacrificed everything to save her. A common saying in the murmurs that follow Rae is, "the sins of the father are the sins of the son, in this case the daughter." Rae is living under the shadow of her fathers misdeeds and is trying to fight off the demons of the past. She can't change the past, but she's her mother's "rae of hope."
I really loved the whole tatù concept. It was fun learning about each new tatù and the powers they gift, and it was really exciting anticipating what Rae's tatù would be. With her mother's ink being the sun and her father's ink being a wizard or sorcerer, I couldn't wait to see what Rae's ink would look like and which of her parent's gifts she inherited. When it finally appeared on her birthday, I could picture it in my head perfectly, it just seemed so beautiful. I would love to see concept art for Rae's tatù.
I know that Rae's past and the anticipation of her tatù gain her a lot of attention, but I thought that the male attention she gained was a little over the top. It just seemed that at times EVERY SINGLE GUY was falling over himself to get Rae's attention. Although it did provide some entertaining moment, and I even felt bad for the guys, because Rae is obviously infatuated with Devon.
The dynamic between Rae and Devon was excruciating and tortuous (in a good way) at points. Rae is completely head-over-heels for Devon, but he has a girlfriend. There are moments so sweet between them and you totally think they're going to get together, but then something happens to put space between them again. But the push-and-pull was definitely worth it in the end.
I haven't been this satisfied with a book's conclusion is quite a while. All loose ends are tied up real nice, there's promise for a great (and complicated) romance, and I was left with a smile on my face. I can't wait to for the next installment in the Chronicles of Kerrigan series.(less)
Joss Jones is unsatisfied with her life and just wants some normalcy after a childhood as a teen idol singer. She hopes she'll find that normalcy in Bandit Creek when she inherits her grandmother's house and a 1983 Firebird. But she finds nothing close to normal when she arrives at her new house and she's stalked by the ghost of a young man who seems to have a message for her.
When Joss goes to the James Ellis School for a job as the music teacher, she learns that her ghost is Kyle Copeland, who disappeared from Bandit Creek without a trace ten years ago. After Joss meets some of the students and questions of her accident, that took her mother's life, are voiced, Joss is overwhelmed and runs to the lake. Kneeling at the edge if the lake, crying out her sorrow and frustration, Joss hears the song she'd been dreaming about:
"Meet me in the Promised Land, where all our dreams come true, meet me in the Promised Land, I'll go first and wait for you..."
When she looks down at her reflection in the lake, it isn't her reflection, but Kyle's and suddenly she's being pulled into the lake by a very real and very solid Kyle Copeland. But when she wakes up she's in a very different place, with very different people. But one person looks familiar: Is Morgan Hawes who he claims to be or is he really Kyle Copeland? Will Joss ever be able to get home or will she be forever known as the Siren of Bandit Creek? And if she does make it home, will her heart be forever lost to a man in 1899 Bandit Creek?
I completely fell in love with Siren's Song. I was intrigued by the mystery of Morgan Hawes and his connection to Kyle Copeland, as well as the coincidence (or not?) of Kyle's disappearance ten years ago in Joss's original timeline and Morgan's presumably fatal attack by muggers ten years back in 1889 that he was miraculously saved from.
I could feel Joss's desperation to return home. From accosting Morgan on Main Street thinking him to be Kyle, trying to drown herself in a pond thinking that water is the medium between times, to becoming the Siren of Bandit Creek to gain more freedom to search for a way home. Then her relief when she sees two Native Americans ride into town, one of them wearing modern clothes from her time, only for him to tell her that a traveler must find their own way to where they must go. It was an up and down journey that was interesting to read about. Not to mention the whole time travel occurrence (who would have thought?).
When Joss is separated from Morgan in the mines on Turtle Mountain after accepting his marriage proposal and the mountain continues to move, she knows that she's being sent home and leaves her mother's gold cross necklace with Morgan along with her love. It was completely heartbreaking when Joss wakes up and leaves the mines knowing that she'll never see Morgan again. She sings Promised Land as a heartbroken farewell to the man she'd left in the cave.
I didn't really understand what the Native traveler meant when he said that time was not a straight line but a circle until Joss comes to the lake and sees herself there crying then being pulled into the lake by Kyle. Joss realizes at that point that they are fractured parts of the same person. This is further proved when Joss returns to her house, notices some differences, and finds a sapphire ring, a wedding photo, family photos, and a note to her from herself:
"Never be afraid of living your life. Never be afraid of loving others. Time is not a straight line but a circle of smoke blown in many directions at once."
(HUGE SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!)
I loved that the song Promised Land is the connection between Joss and Kyle (Morgan) through all times. In Joss's current timeline, Kyle didn't disappear, but is a famous singer whose #1 hit single is Promised Land. i was extremely happy that they got their happily ever after in the end. Kyle even had in his possession Joss's mother's gold cross necklace, which she had given Morgan in the cave before she was sent home.
"You came back," I said.
"No," he grinned. "I've been here, waiting for you the whole time."
Siren's Song is a mystery wrapped in a heart-wrenching love story that spans all different times. I laughed, I cried, I gasped, and I raged. Like Joss was pulled into the lake by Kyle, I was pulled into this story by D.L. Snow. I'm glad I didn't pass this one up.(less)
When Holly's father loses his job, her and her family move to her parent's hometown. Now Holly is starting at a new school and dreading every minute of it. But when she enters the theater for her drama class, she sees a boy sitting on the stage who no one else seems to notice. Thus begins Holly's emotional journey of self-discovery and finding a love that just may break her heart.
The Earth Painter is like an artistic version of the creation myth. There is the Sculptor (the Creator, God) who created a giant sphere, bit it was devoid of life or color. So he created three beings known as Painters. Each Painter had an assigned area--Walden paints the sky, Fritz paints the water, and Theo paints the earth (these are reminiscent of the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades). The Painters gave the world for and the Sciences--Physics, Astronomy, Biology, Geology, and Chemistry--gave the world function. But no Painter is to paint humans, that is strictly left to the Sculptor. Painters are not invisible, but they are to remain unnoticeable and not draw attention to themselves.
Now since Painters are basically unnoticeable, it brings about the question of why Holly noticed Theo without him drawing her attention to him. Only the Painters, Sciences, and their creations can notice each other without trying--and since human creation is only by the Sculptor's hand--what could possibly cause Holly to notice Theo? She can't see the other Painters or any of the Sciences without notice being brought to them. I had an inkling about the cause of this once a certain lost painting was mentioned, and I was right when it was revealed at the end.
Holly's mother is a character that annoyed my so much that, if I could have jumped into the pages of the book myself, I would have slapped her while yelling, "Grow up, woman!" I can't stand adults who behave like children in the sense of causing low self-esteem in their kids through verbal abuse and bullying--not to mention throwing tantrums when they don't get what they want. I really enjoyed seeing Holly grow out of her self-esteem issues and stand up to her mother, instead of allowing her mother to continue walking all over her.
Holly still retains some of those issues, though, when it comes to Theo. She develops feelings for Theo, but being a Painter, Theo can't feel human emotion. This leaves Holly confused, heartbroken, but still curious. There is a kiss that occurs that resulted in something so unexpected and surprising that the cliffhanger is going to leave me really curious about what will happen next. I can't wait to read the sequel to The Earth Painter! (less)
Maddy Darcy was the brightest student at Hidden Cove until she turned 15 years old and her mother passed onto the High Council. When her eyes changed color from green to turquoise, it was evident that someone placed a blocking curse on her powers, causing her to be the oldest witchling in the history of Hidden Cove. Now 27 years old, Maddy rarely ventures out in public for fear that her powers will cause harm to those around her.
When Maddy takes a rare trip to the museum to see an exhibit showcasing Scottish and Irish artifacts, she has a brief encounter with Colin Gregor when they are both viewing a Scottish quaich from the 1600's. Colin and Maddy go their separate ways, but Maddy feels a trace of magic from out of nowhere. Now Colin and Maddy can't be more than 60 feet from each other without intense stomach pains that get worse the farther apart they are.
It is discovered that Colin and Maddy are somehow tied to the Scottish vessel by a red aura indicating that the strongest emotions are involved in the curse. As time to find a way to break the curse dwindles and the future looks uncertain, one thing Maddy knows for sure: She's been twice cursed.
Forbidden starcrossed lovers, feuding families, and a curse of the past, all tie Maddy and Colin together now in the present. Robert MacGregor and Brenna Darcy--one from a Scottish clan, the other from an Irish clan--fell in love. But when their families found out, they were forbidden from seeing each other. Unwilling to part, Robert and Brenna ran away together. As their families chased after them, though, Robert and Brenna were killed in an accident, which then sparked a feud between the MacGregor and Darcy clans that lasted for over 60 years. In an attempt to bring peace to the clans, one of the MacGregor's placed a curse upon a quaich, stating that should a MacGregor and Darcy love each other and the bloodlines unite, peace will finally come to the clans.
I really don't think that Colin and Maddy find this curse very peaceful (and who uses a curse to bring peace?). Incredibly painful stomach pains assault them if they are too far apart and they start to "wither," but if they are too close the spirits of Robert and Brenna begin to take them over. Basically if they are too far apart they risk death, and if they are too close they risk possession. This is definitely not a peaceful way to bring about peace for their families. It doesn't hurt that Colin and Maddy were already attracted to each other before the curse took hold, so they aren't completely miserable being stuck with each other.
I loved the Scottish and Irish history and ancestry in Twice Cursed. These cultures are two of my very favorites and I love reading books that incorporate it in the story. I've always loved the richness of these culture's history and mythology, and though Twice Cursed focuses on ancestry, the richness still manages to show.
There were many great tension breakers that kept me laughing even after the last sentence. I loved Colin's reactions to the "dragon lady" Alice. The way she gets under his skin and cracks his carefully placed calm exterior is just too funny. And I can't forget to mention Sarabi's attempts at match-making. A huge black panther familiar trying to play cupid for a twice-cursed, 27 year old witchling and a gorgeous, shell-shocked science geek, is not something you see every day.
I was a little disappointed with the ending. Since Twice Cursed is a stand alone novel, I thought that the conclusion was too open-ended. It leaves the impression that there is more to come, and then leaves you disappointed that there isn't. I thought that an epilogue chapter was needed to tie up the book. Other than that, I liked that there was happiness for Colin and Maddy in the end.(less)