After reading and enjoying the first book in this series, WANT, I wasn't entirely sure how I would feel about a sequel featuring Issac after the events that closed the first novel. As someone who really rooted for Dave when it came to Julianne (yes, I like nice guys), I was concerned I wouldn't be able to really relate to or sympathize with Issac as a main character.
I need not have worried. Ms. Lawton was able to draw me into Issac's angst and really feel for him, despite what a cad I thought he had been. By the time he'd run into Heather again, the author had me squarely on his side and feeling badly enough for him to want to root for him to find happiness.
I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I will keep the plot points talk to a minimum, but I will say that this book is definitely more maturely written than WANT. There are some interesting "adult" oriented themes here that would appeal to a more mature audience. Saying that, I did feel the shift to an NA genre from the original's YA stamp was warranted, and made sense for the story when you consider Issac was a great deal older than Julianne in the original story.
I really enjoyed getting another glimpse into Stephanie Lawton's skewed deep south society. Being born and bred in Upstate New York, I've often wondered if life in the south is really that interestingly dysfunctional.
NEED earned 4.5 stars from me. Shy of five, mostly because despite my general life of Heather, I never really felt connected to her the way I was to Julianne in the first novel. I am, however, willing to concede that some of that is my own bias -- having enjoyed WANT so much.
I would not hesitate to recommend this one, and if you read the first novel, it is a MUST READ. (less)
I’m going to start this review off by stating for the record, I consider the author, Jocelyn Adams a good friend. But, saying that, you should also un...moreI’m going to start this review off by stating for the record, I consider the author, Jocelyn Adams a good friend. But, saying that, you should also understand she is one because I met her on a writing site and LOVED her stories, so started to post critiques of them on the site. We got to know each other and became friends, but I loved her stories first.
Now that we have that out of the way.
Rise of the Magi is the final installment of Ms. Adams’ Lila Gray stories, and while I have to say The Glass Man is still my favorite of the three novels in the series, Rise of the Magi comes a close second. The series’ main character, Lila Gray has become one of my favorite literary heroines. I’m just a sucker for a tough female lead. Lila started out spunky in The Glass Man and that spirit and sarcastic determination is evident in the second book, Shadowborn. It still exists in this story.
I make it a point to not give spoilers in my review, so I won’t discuss the plot itself — as much as I want to. I will say I cried in some places, and for a book to get me that way doesn’t happen often.
I also have to say I am completely impressed by the authors ability to carry the tale through three novels and tie things up so succinctly at the end of it all. So many twists and turns, things I never saw coming, clues missed in Book #1 or Book #2 that gave me such “A-ha” moments while reading Rise of the Magi. I love when that happens.
The story is character rich and the “voice” is stellar. I highly recommend the read, in fact, the whole Lila Gray series.
The Watcher is a well written YA tale of eternal love, redemption and impossible romances. 17 yr old student, Mia Crawford is your typical HS senior u...moreThe Watcher is a well written YA tale of eternal love, redemption and impossible romances. 17 yr old student, Mia Crawford is your typical HS senior until a trip to the park changes everything. The story features a love triangle, lots of tension, emotion, suspense, a rich history, and strong characterizations. While I think the main theme of the story has been done before, the author gives the tale enough twists and turns to keep the reader from feeling they have seen this all before -- just with different characters.
I'm not one for spoilers in reviews, so I wont rehash the story or plot, but I will say I was drawn into the story from the beginning and Ms Voisin did an excellent job of keeping me there until reaching the end. I never felt the story line was predictable or felt I knew what was coming before it did -- something that I come across a lot when reading YA stories. That was a nice change for me.
Even the secondary characters felt real and well defined. I would have like to "Like" Michael a bit better, but for me at least, he was a bit annoying in that he was forever sending Mia mixed signals that at some points made me want to reach into the book and throttle him. That being said, he did get me to react emotionally -- which I can appreciate because it means despite his flaws, he was a nicely complex character.
I'm giving this 4 stars because of the Michael annoyance factor and because I would have liked to see some of the ancient lore referenced in the tale to be a bit more fleshed out and a bigger part of the overall story.
I would highly recommend this story to any YA romance fans and anyone who enjoys a good Angels and Demons tale. Looking forward to checking out more work by this author.(less)
After reading the entire anthology, I really feel this story is the perfect place to start out from. The s...moreSacrificial Oath - Terri Rochenski (4 Stars)
After reading the entire anthology, I really feel this story is the perfect place to start out from. The story has a strong fable feel to it and I can definitely see where the cover image inspired the story. Some great references to the red so prevalent in the image throughout the tale. The well-written story follows the MC, Alesuela as she comes to grips with the sacrifice she has to make for the good of her father, the King, and their people. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I wont give more plot detail than that, but I will say the internal conflict was well done, and Alesuela's emotions really shine through. Overall, I would have preferred a bit more "action", but this tale seemed to be more morality "fairy tale" based than most fantasy, which was a nice change of pace.
The Amulet of Ormisez - J. Keller Ford (4 Stars)
As most of you know, I am a huge fan of selkie tales, so I had a special place in my heart for this story. Like the opening tale, this one was set in a more traditional historical fantasy backdrop and focused on the story of two brothers, Elton and Cayden Fletcher. The author does a tremendous job with the characterizations of the two brothers, and as a reader, I felt drawn into the conflict unfolding and invested in the characters and their journey. The ending sweet and the potential relationship for Elton was a nice touch, though I did feel everything worked out a little too perfectly and fortuitously. Overall, a satisfying little story.
Birthright - Lynda R. Young (4 stars)
The third story in the anthology was decidedly different from the previous two, with a more "supernatural" feel to it, which was a nice surprise for me. The story held my attention and I was intrigued by the mystery of Christa's heritage from beginning to end. I did feel some of the events in the story went a bit too quickly for me to really "believe" it, and I think I might have liked this one a little more had it been a bit longer and the story more drawn out. The author could have easily made this one into a satisfying novel, in my opinion.
Petrified - Kelly Said (4.5 Stars)
I really enjoyed this tale snuggled at the center of the anthology. Kelly Said does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the world of her main character, a young healer named Locklyn. Here is another story in the anthology I think could have easily been made longer, mostly because the world building was so strong, the intrigue so intense, I wanted to know more about the world the author introduced to us here. I also felt the romantic relationship progressed a bit swiftly for my tastes, but the way the rest of the story was weaved more than made up for that small shortcoming. Plus, I just love me a strong female lead :)
Last Winter Red - Jennifer M. Eaton (5 Stars)
I think this has to be my favorite story in the book. I really enjoyed the more dystopian feel to this one, and I found the twist up at the end to be just perfect for the tale. It is rare to find a good dystopian in short form as there is generally so much world building necessary to really pull it off well. In this instance, I found the back story to be just enough to keep me intrigued and wondering while not boring me with useless details for the sake of story length. I would be interested in reading more about this world Ms. Eaton creates for us in this one.
Escort To Insanity - J.A. Belfield (5 stars)
The final tale in this anthology comes from the author of the Holloway Pack series, J.A.Belfield, and the story contains all the things I have come to expect from Ms. Belfield's writing. The main character, Cole (short for Nicole) decides to hire an escort to take her to a party she doesn't really want to attend. While this short does not involved the famed Holloway pack, it does involve shifters. The action and suspense were nicely peppered throughout the story and the voice is spot on. I really enjoyed this one despite thinking I would miss the focus of the story being on Jem and Sean from the Pack. A great ending to the anthology!
3.5 stars for a unique, romantic modern day tale with a fairy tale feel.
After my first foray into Tiffany Reisz' writing with SEVEN DAY LOAN, I though...more3.5 stars for a unique, romantic modern day tale with a fairy tale feel.
After my first foray into Tiffany Reisz' writing with SEVEN DAY LOAN, I thought I knew what to expect with IMMERSED IN PLEASURE. I was pretty wrong. Where the former was dark and sultry, this short was sweet and light.
I've not read a Spice Brief before, so I don't know if they are all about the same length, but this was a bit short for me to really sink myself into the characters enough to be emotionally vested in whether or not the main characters, Derek and Xenia actually "make it". More sweet and romantic than sultry or erotic, I think the length may have done a disservices to the readers investment in the characters. Despite that, this was a well spent hour or two and I enjoyed the twist on the traditional Little Mermaid tale.
I loved Fathoms, and quite frankly would love to visit a club like that at some point in my lifetime. I could totally see there being a ritzy themed club like that in LA or NYC.
I'd have given it a solid 4 stars, if not for the super short length to it, as Tiffany Reisz' ability to weave words is something I, as an author aspire to.(less)
Let me start by saying this book was absolutely nothing like what I expected when I sat down to read. I have read a fair share of YA books, but WANT i...moreLet me start by saying this book was absolutely nothing like what I expected when I sat down to read. I have read a fair share of YA books, but WANT is miles above anything I have read from this genre lately.
Stephanie Lawton presents us with a southern world, steeped in tradition and dark secrets. The MC, Julianne is flawed and "real" and I was rooting for her from page one. What a wonderful departure this was from the usual perfect life, beautiful flawless MC's present in so much of today's YA fiction.
About halfway through the novel I had worried I wouldn't be pleased with the ending based on how the story was unfolding, but boy was I wrong. Ms. Lawton drew me into her southern world and had me gnawing my nails as I prayed for Julianne to make the right choices -- pick the right man. Don't even get me going on the hotness of the men -- one dark and brooding, one the perfect southern gent (even if he is a Yankee).
While some of the subject matter was deep and emotional, I feel it was well handled and none of the drama read as over the top or gratuitous. All of it lended to the authentic feel to the story.
Really enjoyed this one a great deal and will be looking for more titles by this talented new author.(less)