I felt dubious when I first started Grave Mercy as it's no secret I am not really into historical fiction (I am a novice at the very least). But I was...moreI felt dubious when I first started Grave Mercy as it's no secret I am not really into historical fiction (I am a novice at the very least). But I was determined to read this, being convinced by the absolutely beautiful cover firstly, but secondly the synopsis itself sounded REALLY cool. Assassin nuns?! Hell yes, sign me up for that!
So I stuck with this, and I am so very glad I did. It's a big read at 549 pages, but I didn't notice how big the book was once I got sucked into the story line itself - which was brilliant!
The story is set in 15th Century Brittany. This was set at a time when the Duchy was trying to keep its independence from France, who are seen as the enemy in this novel. Ismae is a 17 year old girl who escapes from an abusive marriage and flees to the convent of St Mortain, the patron saint of death. In this convent, the nuns worsip Saint Mortain and devote themselves to his every whim. They train in the art of assassination, they train in the thousands of ways a man can be killed. And when they are bid by Mortain to take a life, they do it without question. Awesome right?
Ismae is sent out on a mission, which turns out to be bigger than anything she's ever faced in her life. Her mission is to accompany the sexy Gavriel Duval (whom I loved, more on him later!) straight to the high court of Brittany. Duval is the step brother of the Dutchess, Anne. His mission is to keep her safe at all costs, and as Ismae is sent with Duval, her mission is to find out who is to be trusted, and who bares the marque and needs to die.
It really is such a gripping story. Action packed from the first 30 pages or so onwards, and really kept my interest piqued right until the end. Some reviews have gone on to mention that the story is confusing as there is so many characters. I feel like that perhaps is a bit harsh as there was not THAT many charaters in the book. Certainly of the main players in the book, you could easily keep track and remember who was who, but you need to pay attention to the story. If you're able to do that, then you will be fine with this book. A tip for those who struggle.. there is a map and a list of the characters and their significance in the first few pages of the book. Personally, I didn't need to refer to this, but it might prove useful to some!
I adored Ismae's character. She has been trained to need no one, and rely only on her own senses and instincts. And I truly loved the fact that she was such a strong leading female character. She is a weapons expert and knows about all of the types of poisons that can kill. The depth of her character was amazing, you understood all of her insecurities about her scars, and feel her resistance to wanting to fall in love and her inner conflicts when she does start to feel emotions the convent would not approve of. She was fantastic.
And Duval. *sigh* So different to all of the other men that Ismae had come across. He was trustworthy, and not wanting to take advantage of her. He really cared about her. And he wasn't afraid to be vulnerable around Ismae as well, which I think really added to the attraction. :)
There was definitely a lot of betrayal and villains throughout the story as well, so lots of twists and turns! But I think it's fair to say the worst of these villains is D'Albret, who I picture to be a sweaty, oily, sleazy pig of a man. *shudders* He is vile, and everything about the way he is written confirms that is is meant to be vile. I love a great villain though, I do enjoy having someone that I can hate!
Overall, a solid book, and I am desperately waiting for the next book in this series... I know I will be waiting a while, but I am very excited about this series. It's something different to the other books out at the moment, and I found it to be completely refreshing.
I had read so many dystopian books at the start of 2012 that I was getting a little burnt out by the same style of story. So I really didn't see What'...moreI had read so many dystopian books at the start of 2012 that I was getting a little burnt out by the same style of story. So I really didn't see What's Left Of Me coming. I was blindsighted! It smacked me in the face and got my attention and then I couldn't put it down once I picked it up.
Definitely one of the best books of the dystopian genre, it was a refreshing read.
Addie and Eva are two souls born into one body. Not that this is unusual in the future. This is how everyone is born. Eventually, the more dominant soul takes over and the other soul fades into the distance before eventually disappearing altogether. Addie and Eva are different though. At the age of 15, both of them are still present. They're hybrid.
Hybrid's are in hiding, hunted down and institutionalised where they are experimented upon, in often inhumane ways and even surgically altered to try and get rid of their second soul.
Addie and Eva have been quiet about Eva still being around. Addie has taken control and pretends to be like everyone else. That is untill she discovers there are others out there like her as well. She meets Ryan... who shares his body with Devon. Their love interest is quite unique because it's sweet, but at the same time awkward. Your sister or brother being there to watch you mack on with someone. Ew.
The institution itself was quite creepy to me and very reminicent of how we treated "insane" people in asylums just like this in the 1950's, with experimental types of treatment and surgery. Creepy psychologists with needles scare the beejebus out of me! And so this book definitely had that vibe about it also.
Loved the characters, loved the creepyness (loved to hate it anyways) and I am seriously hanging out for the next book already. Why make us wait a year? So so cruel. (less)
Everything is running fairly smooth in Janelle's life until she dies and is bought back to life by Ben Michaels. Sure, her family is a little dysfunct...moreEverything is running fairly smooth in Janelle's life until she dies and is bought back to life by Ben Michaels. Sure, her family is a little dysfunctional. Her father works for the FBI and is a workaholic, and her mother suffers from bi-polar, but asides from that, everything else is relatively normal until that point. And then things get strange.
How did Ben bring her back? She knows she was dead. Her spine was broken. And yet, he heals her on the spot. She has so many questions about what happened, and questions about the truck driver who hit her and killed her. After rifling through her fathers FBI files, Janelle finds some clues, but really this just opens a whole 'nother can of worms.
She employs the help of her friend Alex to see if they can get to the bottom of what happened. The more they dig, the more they realise how this is linked with a series of unexplained deaths... peoples skin and bones melted from radiation poisoning. The key to all of this, and the only person who can help Janelle with answers: Ben Michaels.
Together, they have less than a few weeks to get to the bottom of it all... before the world ends.
Honestly, this is a fantastic edge-of-your-seat kind of story. And I had no idea what this book was really all about before I started reading it, and the more involved we got, the more I loved it. It pulls you in, and before you know it, about three quarters of the way in BAM twist in the story! I didn't see it coming, but when it happened, I loved it.
I absolutely loved Ben Michael's mysterious ways. He's set out to be a bad boy, but really is just perfect. Janelle and Ben together works out amazing, and I really enjoyed their chemistry.
If you enjoy thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi and a little bit of romance, this is your book. With references to the X-Files and Veronica Mars, this is a YA book with a difference!(less)
You know, I am going to be real honest right now. I held off reading Pushing The Limits for a while because I can be a judgmental person. There I said...moreYou know, I am going to be real honest right now. I held off reading Pushing The Limits for a while because I can be a judgmental person. There I said it. I had already made my mind up that Pushing The Limits was going to be just another steamy shallow contemporary YA romance and that was that. I am SO happy to say that I was incredibly wrong. Pushing The Limits was so much more than that. It was real, and confronting. The characters at times proved difficult and frustrating, and overall it ended up being an extremely emotional read. Expect the unexpected with this one.
Pushing the Limits tells the story of Echo and Noah, with alternating chapters from each of their perspectives. Echo is suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to a dark past that we find out about in drips and drabs throughout this story. Echo doesn't remember what happened or why she has cuts all over her body, and her father and stepmother feel that therapy will help her.
It's while she's in therapy that she meets Noah. Noah, the bad boy. :) We like Noah. But there's more to him than we first see as well. Noah's parents died in a house fire, and Noah has been separated from his two younger brothers, who have been placed with different foster parents to him. Determined to get them back, Noah is trying to toe the line in order to make a case for himself.
Katie McGarry is talented beyond belief when it comes to writing characters that have their walls up and are really fractured on the inside. She is so subtle that it's difficult to pin point one moment where we see these characters start to let their guards down, but before you know it, you're there and it's happening. And that's what happens with Noah and Echo. They decide that they both want access to their therapy case files, and try to help each other get the information their each looking for to make them whole again.
Ultimately this is a story about two people who have had pretty hard lives who learn to let their guards down and trust each other. And what comes when this happens is nothing short of special.
I also really enjoyed the other characters that made an appearance in this book. Beth, Isaiah, Echo's father and stepmother. Each of these characters had depth and a storyline of their own really. Beth is angry and damaged but very sweet on the inside. Isaiah just wants to be close to Beth and tries so hard to break down her barriers. And Echo's controlling father has his own secrets as to why he is the way he is. The anger Echo feels for her stepmother is also quite powerful, and their complicated relationship makes for a great subplot.
I am really happy to see that Dare To You (the companion book to Pushing The Limits) is all about Beth and her story because even after reading Pushing The Limits, I knew Katie McGarry really had only skimmed the surface with Beth.
Overall this is a must read. I truly loved this story - sure there was some really steamy parts to the book, but there was so much more to this. Due to the nature of some of the themes, I would probably mark this book as being suitable for teens around 17 and up.(less)
Sweet Evil is one of the most hyped books I've heard of in a while! It's been on my TBR list for some time and so I bought the audiobook version (whic...moreSweet Evil is one of the most hyped books I've heard of in a while! It's been on my TBR list for some time and so I bought the audiobook version (which by the way, is really good - the southern accent in Anna and Kaiden's English accent made this book all the more enjoyable!).
The story is told from Anna's perspective. Anna has always known she was "different". She can see people's emotions in the form of auras. That is, until she meets hot bad boy English rocker Kaiden Rowe. Kaiden is the type of guy your mother warned you about, and Anna can see this, but she still has a stange attraction to him. Kaiden is "the same" as her. After Anna speaks to her guardian Patti about this, Patti ends up telling Anna the truth. She is an angel - a nephalim. Her mother was an angel, and her father is a demon (a fallen angel). Her father is the duke of substance absuse. Kaiden is the same, except his father is the duke of lust. With more questions than answers Anna seeks out Kaiden to answer her questions and in the meantime she starts to fall for him.
Kaiden is all sorts of incredible, however I still kinda wanna hate him a bit. I just felt like he probably isn't good enough for Anna. I put those feelings aside enough to indulge in how smoking hot he is, and if you know me, you know I do love a bad boy. But Kaiden Rowe maybe even crossed my "bad boy line of acceptability" at times. That is saying something!
Anna is a little too naive and goody-too-shoes for my liking. I didn't *dislike* her though, I just found I rolled my eyes at a lot of decisions she made. I mean, example numero uno right here. Kaiden goes out to "work" all night (ie sleep with all the women he can) and Anna is apparently okay with this? I mean, sure, she's not GOOD with it, but being as passive and non confrontational as she is sent out the message that this was okay. And she was still confessing her feelings for him? Oh girl. You have a lot to learn about the world. And THEN I have to tell myself that she IS 16 years old.
All naivety and eye rolling aside at Miss Anna's antics... I have to say, that their hook up scene was probably one of the best I've read in YA (considering not a whole lot happens). Sooooo I am willing to overlook the above, based on this nice save by Wendy Higgins. She definitely did a good job at capturing the sexual tension between the two of them! Good job.
I feel like at this point, there needs to be a side note here. This book actually does have a fair amount of drug use (underage drug and alcohol consumption), as well as above mentioned raunch. If you're strongly against this type of thing (or you're the parent of a YOUNG teen), this book probably isn't for you. I'd probably recommend this book for teenagers over 16 perhaps but keeping in mind that these are themes within the book (considering she is the daughter of the duke of substance abuse...).
Overall, I am going to say that this book has the swoon-worthy factor going for it, plus the second half of the book is what I am personally referring to as the "shit-got-real" side of the book, when things really hit the fan, and I enjoyed the direction the book went in (The sequel should be really good!). Overall, I would say that this book is worthy of the hype - I found it thoroughly entertaining.(less)
To categorise Everneath as just another paranormal romance would be doing this book an incredible misjustice - it is so unlike all other paranormal ro...moreTo categorise Everneath as just another paranormal romance would be doing this book an incredible misjustice - it is so unlike all other paranormal romance YA novels I have read.
Everneath is the story of Nikki. After suffering the tragic loss of her mother, and complications in her love life, Nik turns to Cole. Cole as it turns out is an Everliving. The Everlivings live in the underworld and for all purposes are immortals living off the emotions of humans. Nik is bought down there with Cole for 100 years (which is only a few months on the surface).
She returns to try and make sense of her life, and tries to move on after regretting ever trusting Cole. Only to find out that she has limited time back on the surface. 6 months. Before she'll be sucked down to a dark place called the Tunnels where she will be banished forever. Unless she can do something about it.
With the help of her boyfriend Jack, Nikki decides she is going to fight to remain on the surface to be with Jack.
I really was swept up with this story - initially I found it a little tricky since the book jumps from before The Feed to now, but really once I started paying attention to where we were the story just flowed.
I really love the depth of the characters also. I love that we see Nikki back on the surface completely drained of her emotions to start with, but we see her over the 6 months grow back into the girl she was before The Feed.
Jack was just gorgeous. I adored his devotion to Nikki, especially his tenacity drive to never give Nikki up. So sweet!
Cole... as much as he is pitted as the villain, he was kind of hot. Maybe I am the only one who thinks this? But I thought he was playing the role of the bad boy. Immortal bad boy perhaps, but he really had the one liners happening throughout the book. I loved him and hated him at the same time.
I can't say too much because of a major spoiler alert. But I loved this book so much. I am pre-ordering myself a copy when it's released to keep on my book shelf. The fact that this is the first book in a series is extremely exciting to me, given the MAJOR cliffhanger this book left me on!
Everneath is released on January 24th 2012, I highly recommend this read - order a copy from Amazon or Book Depository now!