THE STARS NEVER RISE was brutal, gritty and entertaining as hell (ehehe pun intended), but just short of a really gripping, TAKE-MY-SOUL-GI*3.5 stars*
THE STARS NEVER RISE was brutal, gritty and entertaining as hell (ehehe pun intended), but just short of a really gripping, TAKE-MY-SOUL-GIVE-ME-SEQUEL-PRONTO 5 stars.
So as half any dystopians would go, Nina has a deadbeat mom and younger sister to feed. Katniss Nina thinks that life can't get any worse as she lets some store manager grope her so that she can steal some essentials for her sister, when:
1) She finds out her sister has been hiding a secret that will eventually lead to incarceration and maybe execution by the Church.
2) A degenerate (zombie-demon that eats flesh and soul attacks her in the cover of night.
3) Her mom comes alive again and reveals some godawful truth about the world and some nefarious, crazy-assed plan that she has planned.
4) She becomes a fugitive after having her world being flipped on her.
Can you tell I'm trying to be as cryptic as possible? Cause almost anything I say after keeping her sister fed will be a spoiler, and who'd love spoilers other than me? (Aha)
Apart from her dismal name (I'm sorry, but I'm superficial and I like fancy pansy names, ok?)
she was a pretty badass heroine, just like Feyre, and Katniss, and Penryn, and Alexandria Andos (Covenant series by JLA), and pretty much half the heroines from all the dystopian novels out there. Her character, the same strong-willed, resilient, loyal traits were the same, but the thing that distinguished her from the rest was her abilities. And that's where Vincent's brilliantly novel of a plot comes in.
**MILD SPOILERS AHEAD**
“The day the number of stillbirths officially surpassed the number of live births. A day of mourning the world over. The Day of Great Sorrow led to the realization that the well of souls had run dry, which led to the discovery of demons among us.”
Demons need human hosts to remain in this world, and they need to be able to feed on human souls to sustain themselves, so as they inhabit the human body, the soul of the body in question slowly gets devoured over the course of approx two decades, the soul will be completely gone and with it, the body will begin to rot. Once the body starts to necrotize, if the demon fails to find a next host, it will degenerate and become a zombie.
The only was to banish their souls to hell (therefore ridding their existence if only temporarily), was to exorcise them by an exorcist.
(view spoiler)[And that's where our heroine comes in. SURPRISE, Nina is an exorcist. It's kind of obvious right..? At least on hindsight. (hide spoiler)]
This is where TSNR stumped me. THE ALMOST-INSTA LOVE. UGH. ARGH. Nnnnsgsjalahshkshd BLEURGH. I can do love triangles, I can certainly do interracial, I can maybe do bad chemistry. But no. Instant. Loves.
Which brings me to the love interest and secondary cast. My feelings for any of them are lukewarm at best, cause other than Nina and maybe Mellie the sister, Finn the love interest and Grayson, the rest weren't really fleshed out. For the latter three it's actually a stretch to describe them as complex characters who are their own persons. They each definitely had their quirks and unique histories, but they're mostly told to us instead of shown. However some of the characters did have moments of selfishness driven by their individual motivations, and that humanized them enough to make them feel real to me. Also, Finn did grow on me, very surprisingly, and this complicated but super sweet relationship saved the romance for this romance-junky, so I'm mollified enough to give TSNR a solid 4 stars. ;) Don't get me wrong though; Finn has complicated issues, but he doesn't seem terribly complex or layered as a real person to me. But I'm hopeful about his development in the sequel(s).
Another bone I have to pick with TSNR was how in the first two fight scenes, Nina was naturally, understandably and inevitably slow on the uptake on the whole fighting jazz, but without further training (or perhaps Vincent forgot to mention any training scenes that did happen?), Nina was suddenly capable of taking on demons herself. Which was kind of a what in the world moment for me.
The writing style was pretty spot-on except for some inconsistencies, such as alternating between using Maddock and Maddy for this character IN THE SAME PARAGRAPHS and it always stumps me for 3 seconds that it's pretty pissing. Like Maddock said this, then Maddy did that. JUST DECIDE AND STICK TO ONE. And there's this weirdly but characteristic way of writing her action scenes that after I got used to it, worked really well and quite sophisticated IMO.
I've only ever read one of Vincent's works in the past, BLOOD BOUND, first in the Unbound series. I don't remember much of it, but I have an impression that I wasn't very taken with it. I read TSNR in 3-4 sittings and will definitely be continuing this series cause the gory action and blood-pounding excitement, and maybe a good dose of romance is kind of what is dystopian fans are looking for right? And I'm pretty sure there will be more gore and warm-and-fuzzy Finn moments in THE FLAME NEVER DIES. Teehee.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Stone Cold Touch really made me a fickle reader. By the end of WHK, I was firmly in Team Roth, but both Roth and Zayne had their equal share in spotliStone Cold Touch really made me a fickle reader. By the end of WHK, I was firmly in Team Roth, but both Roth and Zayne had their equal share in spotlight moments (and some of those were some butterflies-in-stomach-and-brains-and-liver moments). Yes, Roth made it back topside. ;)
But SCT did what I almost thought was nigh impossible...it made me Team Zayne. Hahaha.
I've always found JLA books read more like YA, in terms of the whole tone of her books and her writing style. The Dark Elements series is no exception. The contents are definitely New Adult, but it's shelved as YA in my subconscious.
Anyway, SCT has the usual JLA goodness of humor, romance and plot-curves that just hooks you in. There were parts of the story that didn't sit well with me though - how Layla was two timing the guys, which is a serious pet peeve of mine, how fast her relationship with Zayne progressed, and how little the Church of God's children part progressed. It seemed like the plot took a backseat this time with all the love triangle drama SCT's got going. But still, definitely worth a shot!
I'd rate this between a 4 and a 4.5! I love the premise of SHADOWS, and how Gabriella (protagonist) was actually one of the best RephaimQuickie Review
I'd rate this between a 4 and a 4.5! I love the premise of SHADOWS, and how Gabriella (protagonist) was actually one of the best Rephaim (a group of half angel half humans) fighter! She doesn't remember who she was, who her friends were or even how to fight. But as she slowly trust in her friends to help her (especially one very infuriating but sexy rebel Rephaim, Rafael "Rafa") and let her instincts take over, she can still hold her own against crazy hellions (feral and animalistic hell spawns, or as Rafa calls them, hell-turds)!
I was actually expecting Gaby to regain her memory and maybe that would've added more badass action, but no, Gaby's past is still a frustrating mystery. Sigh.. But the plot was exciting, engaging and totally worth giving a shot at! SHADOWS was an accidental find, but I'm so glad I stumbled upon it! I have a very strong feeling that the subsequent books in the series may make it among my favourites! Can't wait for HAZE in May!...more
I'll be frank - WHITE HOT KISS reads more like a fan fiction, with a more colloquial, YA style ofOrginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
I'll be frank - WHITE HOT KISS reads more like a fan fiction, with a more colloquial, YA style of writing. In fact, most of JLA's works have the same tone of voice - snarky, witty, and ultimately enjoyable, but with a healthy dash of YA colloquialism thrown in. For me, sometimes it works out, other times it can really turn me off big time. I wasn't a big fan of the later part of her COVENANT series, I discontinued the LUX series after ONYX...but I loved UNCHAINED (JLA's adult PNR series). Fortunately for me though, WHK read more like UNCHAINED, and I inhaled the book in two sittings.
There is a lot to gush about WHK, and the first thing, of course, is the GARGOYLES! They're wicked cool and they're almost like dragons...but darker. Edgier. And cuter. Haha! They sleep in stone-form for defense reasons cause their stone covering is literally impenetrable. By force or by fire. Wicked cool reimagining of gargoyles.
Then there is Roth. Zayne...not that much. Other than his awesome name, he ain't got nothing on Roth. Not only does Roth possess the standard requirements for a sexy YA/NA hero - y'know, the whole sometimes-brooding-sometimes-hilarious, mischievous but protective thing they've all got going on - but the sacrifices he makes and the things he does for our protagonist, Layla, places him on a whole new level. My respect for him grew like tenfold after the end, and is making me CRAY^2 waiting for STONE COLD TOUCH to see what happens to him. (He reminds of Robin "Puck" Goodfellow from THE IRON FEY series by Julie Kagawa.) And Layla and Zayne, of course. Heh.
There was a lot of teenage angst in WHK, both in high school and in the relationship department, but there were the other complexities of the Wardens and Demons that made WHK a more engaging read. It's not all black and white with the races. The Wardens might seem like the good guys, siding with the angel and ridding the world of pesky, trouble-making demons. But as Layla hang out with Roth more often, there are certain things that the Wardens ingrain into the younger Wardens and Layla aren't true.
Being half-demon, half-Warden, Layla has always longed to fit in. To be one of the good guys. To be able to shift and take to the skies. Too bad all she got from her mixed blood is to be able to distinguish demon from human/Warden, tag them, lighting them up for patrolling Wardens to kill, and that pesky soul-sucking kiss fromto hell. At least this skill allows her to feel more useful in the battle against the demons and ridding the world of evil. But Roth is determined to open her eyes to reality, that not all demons are as bad as they seem.
Are the Wardens brainwashing their young to hate the demons? What if there are demons that aren't, well, evil and she's been helping the Wardens kill them? And where does that place her in the entire scheme of things?
Another reason why I like JLA's writing style is her way of revealing things, and building her worlds bit by bit, letting the plot progress while giving us nuggets of information along the way. It's a smooth world-building process, and the pace never gets compromised. There's no huge info-dumping when it comes to the history of the Wardens and demons. But I can feel the tension between the two factions and shown just a nugget of the why and their history.
Altogether a very enjoyable, pretty steamy (and angsty), fast-paced read with a minor cliffhanger ending. I'd recommend this to fans of THE IRON FEY series, UNCHAINED by J. Lynn (JLA), and THE GUARDIAN LEGACY series by Ednah Walters.
*Review copy courtesy of Harlequin Teen via Netgalley*...more
It's just some bird flying by, that's all. That's all. But I'm already panting with panic. I force myself to look up. All I see is endless dark sky.
It's just some bird flying by, that's all. That's all. But I'm already panting with panic. I force myself to look up. All I see is endless dark sky. But then, I do see something. Another, larger feather floats down lazily toward my head. Sweat prickes my brow. I break out into an all-out sprint.
ANGELFALL is nothing less than YA Dystopian at its best. It has everything this genre has to offer, and it gives back ten-fold. The action, the tension, uncertainties, the start of a budding rebellion, and the unlikely romance between mortal enemies when circumstances thrust them onto an adventure that'll blow all yer little asses off yer seats!
*Many spoilers ahead!*
A Summary The apocalypse came, harolded by beautifully terrifying angels of destruction. Buildings collapsed or decayed, connection lines are a thing of the past, the streets are ruled by gangs that loot and kill in the day and by nightmare creatures in the night, and your home is not your haven anymore.
Penryn, her little, crippled sister, Paige, and their slightly unstable mother have been delaying migrating to a safer place for quite some time, but they have to get out now. When they set off at sunset, they're risking a lot by being out that late, and as they made their way hastily down El Camino, through Silicon Valley to Page Mill, things were still looking hopeful. They were doing fine, until a white feather, soft as down, floated down from the sky. That's when they knew that they were going to get screwed ten times over.
An epic - albeit gruesome - angelic battle was going on, and though the angel who had wings of such magnificent white was heavily outnumbered 4 to 1, the others are still wary of him. When Snowy Wings (as Penryn calls him in her little funny inner commentary) looked like he was about finished, Penryn and her family were spotted and Penryn did something to distract the other angels, unwittinly helping Snowy Wings turn the tides and angering one of the other angels enough to kidnap Paige as he flew away.
Penryn managed to get Snowy Wings - which turned out to be Raffe (Rah-fie) - to tell her that Paige was most probably taken to the angel's aerie. Raffe's wings had been brutally amputated in the battle previously, needs Penryn's help to travel on the ground, and Penryn needs Raffe's help getting to the aerie and getting into the aerie. So for now, they're on an uneasy truce, and set off for an amazing and heartpounding adventure.
My Thoughts I had to put off writing this review because of my Term exams, but a week later and everything is still fresh in my mind! All that emotion and mindblowing awesomeness. If you'd known me before, you'd know that I was a huge hater of Dystopian novels because the first Dystopian I read (coughReaperscoughArecoughThecoughcoughcough) was SO BAD. But just recently, Julie Kagawa made me a believer, and now Susan Ee has made me a FAN. They're really amazing writers.
There's so much development and depth in ANGELFALL. All the characters, Penryn and Raffe especially, had their own personality, their own history, and their own distinct way of thinking. A few pages of Raffe talking and you know he's just not like us. He's proud and strong even when he's down on the ground or lying face down on a couch with his hands and feet tied and taped together. However as the book progresses, you see how he gains a little humanity while retaining his mysterious, very-sexy immortal persona. (view spoiler)[AND OMG, Raffe is...*hyperventilates* Raffe is...His true identity is OMG-ly cool. (hide spoiler)] Penryn is a girl who had to toughen up due to very shitty circumstances, but when things got too much, she let her body handle it the way it knows, puked in some bushes and gathered up her Big Girl Panties. She's smart and resourceful in a very funny, sarcastic way that I liked her immediately.
Along the way, we meet characters like Obi and Boden. Obi's the rebellion leader while Boden's the rebellion thug. They're cool. Obi's the typical inspiring, good-looking military leader who has to make unpopular choices for the good of the rebellion, and Boden's the typical thug with the snarl and always picking a fight with the new kid on the block - in this case, Penryn. (view spoiler)[I liked that scene where Penryn was expecting help from Raffe when Boden picked a fight with her and Raffe not only didn't rush to her aid, he started betting with the other guys on who'd win! Haha, oh how Penryn pounded Boden to the ground in her anger! (hide spoiler)]
I loved seeing how the arc unfold and how all the characters changed.
THIS is so true for Angelfall. Ee's descriptions are so vivid it's literally a movie in my head!
Ironically, since the attacks, the sunsets have been glorious. Outside our condo window, the sky flames like a bruised mango in vivid orange, reds, and purples. The clouds catch on fire with sunset colors, and I'm almost scared those of us below will catch on fire too.
~Para 1 of Chapter 1
When you see a starting like that, you know that you can expect some badass writing.
I loved the final battle. I loved how the humans made their stand, how they showed a united front in the face of such adversities unlike how most fiction novels protray humans as weak and expendable and ugly. Ugh. The ending was so, so, terribly bittersweet. What happened to Paige and all the other kidnapped kids was...disusting, inhumane and... Ee is one author who doesn't mind killing off some of her characters and roughing up most of the others. That's all I have to say about this. And poor Raffe! However, I did like how the story started and ended with Penryn, her sister and mother being together on the road, only with all the wounds and scars - both mental and physical - at the end.
Anyhoo, this review is getting long and all I have to say now is, if you're a fan of YA Dytopian novels, or not a fan at all, just as long as you can stand a little Dystopian, you'll 99.99999999% fall IN LOVE with ANGELFALL.
P.S. THERE IS NO DATE OF RELEASE FOR BOOK 2. OMG I CAN GO KILL ME AN ANGEL NOW.
P.P.S. Y'know that part where Penryn was at the rebellion camp and was talking to this woman called Dolores about training domestic dogs into a tracking/police/army one?
"This is the reason the guards are dog-free. It's hard to patrol when your K9 partner keeps running off to chase after rodents and barks all night long."
P.P.P.S. Thank you Donna (@ The Happy Booker) for introducing this book to me!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
My Summary DESPERATE BETRAYAL is about a group of immortal men who took an oath to protect thOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story. *3.5 stars*
My Summary DESPERATE BETRAYAL is about a group of immortal men who took an oath to protect the innocent from demons who mean harm. They are all lethal, and highly-skilled in battle; They are all loyal towards one another and sexy-as-hell; They cannot marry unless it is a marriage arranged by their leader, Julian, or if it is with their life-mates; They are called the Protectors.
Cynden "Cyn" Fraser is one such man. Born three centuries ago in Scotland, he undergone the transformation and took the oath to become a Protector, and is now assigned to keep the demonic at Atlanta at bay. He was slaying a group of demons in an alley one day when Emma walked into the scene. She has been looking for him for quite some time now. Her sister's been held hostage by the Supreme demon, Gerard, and he wants Emma to lure Cyn into his den. Briana's all Emma has left, and so she agrees to this bargain.
Emma is a half-demon, borne of a high-level demon for a father and a human mother, and so naturally, she keeps her heritage a secret when she first confronts Cyn, afraid that it will incite a negative response from him. Cyn refuses to help her the first time, something about his senses tells him that something about her is amiss, and his immediate attraction to her isn't helping matters either. But the second time Emma manages to find him, he caves in to her request.
As Cyn and Emma sets out to track her sister down, sparks fly, but many treacheries and betrayals abound at the same time. It's hard to trust each other, but it's hard to refuse each other too. Worse still, survival at this point is not certain, put into account all the other lives that they are risking... They're in it big this time.
My Thoughts Well, that was an awfully long summary. Lol, that aside, I must say that DESPERATE BETRAYAL's main fous seemed to centre around the romance between Cyn and Emma. Not that it was a bad thing, far from it, being the romance-junky that I am. In a way, the PROTECTORS series resembles the BDB series by J.R. Ward. Each instalment in the series is the story of one of the "brothers". Lots of action, but with a larger dose of romance.
Emma is the type of woman everyone wants to be - smart, loyal, beautiful (apparently, this is a prominent trait of hers as many of the boys seem to take note of this point), courageous, stronger than and not fully human, but not fully demon with a compassionate heart. She gave her all in saving her sister, even gave up her love life. Cyn on the other hand, is a tall, intimidating Protector who was fiercely protective, and not only was he skilled on the battlefield, but in bed too. He may appear cold and indifferent on the outside, but he's actually quite the passionate guy when they get down and dirty. Even though it was more of a lust-at-first-sight relationship, they did make a really cute and sweet pair.
As far as the plot goes, it was not bad. One thing I can say about it is, it doesn't drag. The first part of the book flowed smoothly, and I thought the character development and all were done really well, but it detoriated a little as we get to the end. There was one part where the whole scene got rather confusing, and the sentences became a little abrupt. Even though McQueen's style of writing changed at the end, I was still hooked to its pages. I think I can safely say I finished DB within two sittings. :)
I actually got the review copy of DB for its blog tour late, so I'm only reviewing it now, but it was really good! I'm tending more towards romance than action now (but not so far as to go for contemp romance with no action at all whatsoever), so if you're like me, you may want to try DB out. I'd say that DESPERATE BETRAYAL is a mix between the BDB series and the Curse of Gremdon by Ciara Knight. So if you're a fan of either one, you might like to try this out too. :)...more
I didn't enjoy HALFLINGS. There, I said it. I'll try to keep this review short and as objective as I can.
My Brief Summary
Nicole "Nikki" Youngblood is an artist who has a black belt in karate. She's a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl, and one who doesn't like to dress up much. She was in the woods one day when she was attacked by hellhounds. Therein enters our three heroes: Mace, Raven, and Vine - Halflings with a mission to protect our young damsel in distress.
Halflings and humans can never have a relationship, or the halfling in the equation will have to risk eternal damnation. But the moment Mace and Raven looks at Nikki, there's something about her that attracts them, and with the devils in hell targeting her, Nikki's in for a lot of trouble, drama, and heartache.
Nikki didn't really make an impression on me; She's a very typical YA heroine who's apparently so beautiful that she looks like an angel, but obviously is too oblivious to know it herself. She is also very stubborn, so much so that she demands to know some answers when it's not her place to know, and when the truth gets too much, she says stop. Let me say this out front that I don't like impossibly gorgeous heroines who are overly-obstinate.
She and Mace were the first ones to confess their feelings for each other, but when Raven turns on his charm and brings her to a forest in Arkansas to teach her how to fend for herself, she ends up flirting with him. Another reason why I didn't like her.
Now comes our two love interests, Mace and Raven. Mace is the serious, stick-to-the-rules kind of person who started going against said rules to be with and protect Nikki. Nothing very special, actually, apart from his stunning looks, that is.
Raven. He is the brooding type of males, who is the most experienced of the three halflings sent to protect Nikki, and the one with the most inner-demons to contend with. I was actually rooting for him for the most part of the first half of the book which I read, and after some time when there was evidently going to be minimal action scenes, he was my motivation to forge on reading. I wanted to see him fight Mace for Nikki - not literally, of course - and I want to see him in action in all his lean, graceful glory. (Ok, I'm the fairytale type of girl, what are you gonna do about it?) But the part where I stopped, at the 70% mark, Raven did something that turned me off big time. When Nikki and her pet dog were again attacked by hellhounds and a demon, Mace, Raven and Vine swooped in to save her in the nick of time, but after the imminent danger was over, Raven carried Megan over to a hill and since this is the first time Megan's seeing them with their wings, he asks her what she thinks of it. I mean, seriously? Her dog lay dying in the forest and she's probably in some kind of post-traumatic stress and all he can think about is impressing her with his wings? This is really the epitome of self-centeredness. One thing I cannot stand is arroant, selfish men, and so when I reached this part, there was obviously not much action to keep the adrenaline-junky in me satisfied, and since I couldn't stomach Raven any further, the book was immediately sent flying into the DNF pile.
Burch's writing style is a little confusing. There was a lot of bandwagon jumping, and most of the time, her jumps were big leaps and then there will be a random revelation somewhere without showing the process of how the subject person got to his/her conclusion. For example, one minute Nikki still thinks the three halflings were human, and suddenly she bursts into their house and goes all, "I know what you are. Don't deny it! You're angels." Yep, perfectly sane and normal. And there was this other part where a student was quarrelling with a teacher and when the discussion got heated, the student pulls out a knife and almost killed said teacher. Raven moves with inhuman speed and grace toward the scene and knocks the knife out of the student's hand and voilà! The day is saved, and only Nikki was there to witness the unnatural phenomenon that was Raven. There is so much wrong in that one scene that I rolled my eyes like probably more than a dozen times.
Other than that, there were the multiple cheesy romance scenes in here, more so than the number of fight scenes, as can be seen from my summary that romance takes precedence over action in HALFLINGS. Another weird thing is that Nikki's parents somehow disappeared after the quarter mark, and Nikki somehow could do whatever she liked like storming into someone else's house and proclaiming that they're angels.
However, the two things that I liked about HALFLINGS was firstly, how Burch described Mace's and Raven's relationship with Nikki. Mace "embraced her destiny, saw her as a future warrior, and swore to see her through"; Raven was "the one who embraced the person she was right now. Odds were, he’d likely stand beside her and die to protect her as well, if she gave him the chance." There's a subtle difference, and one that makes their feelings for her unique from each other.
The other thing was Vine. He is one of the main characters, but more a younger brother persona. He's a little immature, but when it somes to morals, this guy's the one that has the most. And when it comes to fighting and looks, he doesn't lose out to Mace or Raven either. He's fun, and he keeps the tension out whenever Raven quarrels with Mace or Will, their caretaker.
All in all, HALFLINGS isn't the book for me. It has been quite a while since I've chucked a book into my DNF pile. The feeling's not great, but things just has to be done. I am a fan of love triangles, but in this case, it just didn't work for me.
*eARC courtesy of Zondervan Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Random Musings - which you will not get if you haven't read the book:
Y'know that part where Nikki and Mace went to that burning building? The one where Nikki was sketching out the building using this artist's technique by drawing in the negative spaces to see a picture? That one was just plain confusing to me. You don't have to draw out a building to see that it's ON FIRE. And you certainly don't need a sketch to see that THERE IS A PERSON DYING ON THE FLOOR in the burning building. The idea was cool, but not properly utilized....more
*2.5 stars* An Urban Fantasy-Paranormal Romance Erotica that includes explicit m/m scenes, it has the actionOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
*2.5 stars* An Urban Fantasy-Paranormal Romance Erotica that includes explicit m/m scenes, it has the action that I loved both on the battlefield and between the sheets, if you get what I mean.
I wouldn't lie and say I loved CHAINS OF SILVER, in fact, the reading process was rather laborious. But I wasn't lying about the action. I loved how the characters always had to fight for their lives and even navigate emotional minefields since the couples haven't been living long together and are still getting to really know each other.
Silver is an orphan, adopted into the family of a preacher, his wife, two sons and one daughter. She never was fully accepted into the family, and living in their home always felt temporary. Only Jude, her oldest foster brother ever made her feel welcomed. Enter Jude's best bud, Nick. Nick works as part-time vamp slayer and part-time waitor at the local Club Blood. (Not a very creative name, but let's not dwell on the inconsequential.)
Nick has always viewed Silver as a younger sister, sensing in her the girl that was his biological deceased one, but Silver's always had a crush on Nick, and it has been blossoming throughout the years, just like how she blossomed into the beautiful woman with silver hair she now is. And when a gorgeous, determined young woman set her sights on something, how can that something have the strength to reject her? When being with her's so natural, has been for years?
But now that Silver's come of age, she's been granted the right to open the envelope at the adopting agency that contains the only message from her biological family, and in that envelope is a way to contact her brother who was indeed alive. And mated to a female and another male. And that guy happens to be Trevor from Book 1. Now Trev's got the duty of breaking the news that Silver's actually a Were and she'll have her first change after she loses her virginity. Also, Nick's found a nest of vamps to clear, and this time, his "little" extermination escapade could very well kill him and Silver if they aren't too careful...
I thought that the plot was a little dull and boring, to be honest. Nothing ever seemed to be happening and when it does get interesting, it tends to get solved conveniently. Though after the three quarters mark it did get a hell lot more interesting, the last battle was also a little anti-climatic. It consisted more of dialogues, getting to know each other, and sex. Yes, Silver was incessantly thinking about doing the deed, even when Nick and her were going into a closed down amusement park which was most probably the location of the group of vamps they were hunting. Talk about being horny..
However, I did like Bacio's writing style; The humor and unique phrasings were almost enough to cover the dull plot. Example:
"One drink, and she already acted tipsy. The head between his legs definitely wanted to take advantage of her. But the more elevated one on his shoulders knew that playing with Silver was dangerous business."
Head between his legs? LOL.
This book is written in a selective third person point of view where it changes from mainly Silver (heroine), to Lily (protagonist of Book 1, New Orleans Threesome), to Nick (hero), to Trev and Law (heroes of Book 1), then back to Silver. It's good in a way that the shifting perspectives only got confusing a few times, justifiable considering the multiple characters that had to be included, and we got to know what all of them were thinking. Bad in a way that the second-guessing and suspense factors were hence sorely lacking.
One thing I really couldn't tolerate at the beginning was Nick's insensitivity to Silver's feelings, but he slowly became more understanding and gentle towards her, so all's comin' along just fine by me. Silver's a little childish and gay initially, but you could see her mature as she went through some real tough adversities. She was an independent girl who knew how to keep her wits about her when the shit hits the fan, and I really liked that about her. Just the part I mentioned above where she kept wanting to get laid by Nick ticked me off a little, other than that, she's totally cool.
And another thing is how the focus of the book is a little scattered. Yes, I do want to know the goings-on with the Threesome (meaning Lily, Trevor and Lawrence), but shouldn't the focal point be fixated on Silver and Nick? This should be more of their story, but a big portion of the time it reverted back to Lily, Trev and Law's POV and them having sex. I'm fine with sex scenes, it's just I really can't appreciate m/m Eroticas, y'know what I mean?
A teeeensy weensy flaw I spotted. There was one part where Silver saw a ghost in her room in the Threesome's house (and I have no idea why Bacio wrote this scene because she didn't mention anything about the apparition nor the scene anymore in the book), she was asleep in bed with Nick and she jerked up and shrieked. Here's how the scene played out:
"Someone else had joined them, and someone else watched them. Fearful of what she might see, Silver opened her eyes slowly. A small girl, about five years old, stood in a the corner of the room watching her, and Nick.
Silver startled. How the hell did that child get in here, and in the building itself? Lily had mentioned something about ghosts, but Silver thought it was just to keep her from moving in. The lights of a passing car shone in the window, passing through the little girl, and illuminating her transparency.
With a shriek, Silver sat upright, without disrupting Nick’s sleep."
Right, cause if you shriek in the middle of the night and the person sleeping beside you doesn't wake up, that's totally normal, right?
It wasn't that I didn't enjoy CHAINS OF SILVER, it was probably more of I had higher expectations and CoS didn't quite meet them. But otherwise, I thought that it was a pretty cool read, though a little lukewarm, but still fun and enjoyable.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I ditched the book. Couldn't stand the male protagonist and the heroine. I don't even want to rate it.
The heroine was a bad friend and an even worseI ditched the book. Couldn't stand the male protagonist and the heroine. I don't even want to rate it.
The heroine was a bad friend and an even worse daughter who lies to her only kin - her mother. Her mother who only wanted another chance at love, which her daughter pretended to approve, but secretly backstabs her and her dates, and tries at every turn to ruin what her mother tries so hard achieve. It's nauseating. And when her two friends finally acts on their feelings for each other and are obviously way head over heels for each other, she says she's fine and wishes them luck, but inside she bitches about it, saying her friend is naggy (your friend just wanted to gush about her feelings, and you can't even listen?), and later on starts to develop a tinge of jealousy.
The hero? No better. He uses his influence over heroine to convince her to ditch school, play truant, and steal the school's letter to her mother informing mother about her recent rebellious behaviours. He is overly haughty, arrogant, and full of himself. I really couldn't stomach it any further.
And are all jocks really IQ-challenged? Cause there's that stereotype heavily enphasized here.
But there were a few redeemable qualities that I've noticed. For example is Lowe's phrasings.
"It was Sunday afternoon. The next day. We were seated at the food court in the Glendale mall, digesting my problem along with a double order of curly fries."
It was cool. And there was this one part that was super awesome. I loved how Guy could recite poetic lines but didn't come off as cheesy. Example:
"There can only be one hero,” he crooned softly, and he touched my hand.
Another jolt. No, bigger. Because of Guy’s touch, an electrical storm was raging inside me.
“Yeah.” The word fell from my lips, a soft tremor. Get a grip, Megan! This is what you’ve been waiting for.
“And to the victor goes the spoils. Right?”
Huh? What does that mean? He leaned in.
“Right?” he repeated, his breath on my face.
I guess he could be romantic if he wanted to. And badass. Sexy, smart. Just from a little poetry. Haha, yep, so there were good stuff, but the bad overrode the good, so.:/
*3.75 stars* A darkly beautiful, unexpected psychological thriller On A Dark Wing turned out to be. It did sOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
*3.75 stars* A darkly beautiful, unexpected psychological thriller On A Dark Wing turned out to be. It did shock me, but in a good way.
Abbey and her mom got into a car crash when she was ten, and after the eighteen-wheeler crashed into them and silence descended, a glowing apparition-like boy made up of the sky and animal clouds adrift walked up to her. She felt warmth envelope her as he came closer, and when he stretched out his hand, Abbey almost took it, but then she heard her mother's broken voice call her name. Abbey pulled back, but Death was there to collect one soul, and thus when her mom died and she lived, Abbey took all the blame unto herself.
Now that Abbey's in high school and falling for her school's superstar, Nate Holden, her situation isn't much better. She prefers to keep a low profile, and she's a sort of outcast, what with her dad being a mortician and her living room and basement housing the newly-departed. Her only friend came in the form of the wheelchair-bound boy who was once a sportstar now turned outcast, Tanner Lange.
Abbey's been OBSESSED with Nate Holden for the past forever, and with his big climb up Denali coming up, she can't wait to stalk his progress up the mountain that could rival Everest herself. Tanner is a sort of a computer genius which he termed cyber-banditto, and he managed to snag this radio which could tune into the same frequency as Nate's team's. But Abbey forgot that the time has come for her and her dad to go to this cabin in Healy again to celebrate her mom's birthday and remember her. Well, Abbey throws a tantrum, but she went along in the end.
Strange things are happening aound Abbey and Nate, more so at the cabin in Healy. Ravens are appearing outside their houses, and whenever Abbey's out of her house or the cabin, she feels eyes on her. Usually when time comes for her father and Abbey to go to that cabin, she'll try to spend some alone time at this ridge near the cabin where she and her mother used to go, trying to remember the times before when her mother's smile would warm the peaceful, snow-filled setting. But this time, something's different. This time, when she looks up, dozens of ravens fills the trees surrounding her, and when she looks back, Nate Holden stands there. Why was Nate there? Isn't Nate climbing up Denali right now? Even though she's confused and a little unsure, she befriends him and lets Nate kiss her. But then she finds out that Nate did go climb Denali. But if Nate's in Denali, who's the one that she's spent hours talking to?
And when up on Denali, Nate and his friend gets caught in an avalanche, he's got a real chance at making it back alive, but Death has a funny way of working. And since Abbey's been on his shortlist since years ago and Nate has a special place in Abbey's heart, he has crossed paths with Nate already half-dead in the crevasse where he'd fallen, and Death may not want to let him off his hook that easily...
This review is so long already! Haha, ok, I'll try to keep it as short as I can.
I loved listening to Abbey's voice as she narrates her story. It switches occasionally to Nate's, Tanner's and Nate's mom's POV sometimes, but the majority is still in Abbey's. I loved the way that she was a little sarcastic, but not overly so, a little childish sometimes, but mature in others. Her train of thought and emotions were easily relatable and understandable, being a teenager myself. It was very realistic - her natural defiance/rebellious spirit towards her dad, her obsession over a boy (though I don't have one, but it's still relatable), her sarcasm and witty jokes. Her sarcasm really kicked a punch - it was SO funny! Haha, it made reading OaDW so very enjoyable. Example:
Earlier in the year, [Mrs. Akkerman a.k.a Teacher a.k.a. Akk the Yak] assigned a project to keep a daily journal of everything we learned in her class. I know, sounds lame, right? Well, it was crazy lame. I bought a notebook just for her class and started that journal, but on day one, I got drool on the first page from where I’d fallen asleep. After it dried, I wrote one line.
Fell asleep today. Will try again tomorrow.
By the time I turned in the assignment, every page had the same entry and enough dried spit to keep a CSI team busy for weeks. When she saw my journal, my teacher called my dad in for “a talk.”
......but Mrs. Akkerman ended up giving me a B+ anyway— for doing nothing. I knew other kids had gotten worse grades, despite filling their journals with enough excrement to fertilize the Matanuska valley.
She's not afraid of using a little cuss words here and there, but none too major, and never sounding uncouth or coarse. However there was one part that got a little too sardonic and emo, and her obsession with Nate got a little overboard (dreaming about him talking to and kissing you's fine, but don't do it so incessantly!). But it was just a tiny portion that I thought is negligible in the whole scheme of things.
Furthermore, I loved Dane's writing style, phrasings and diction. It was beautiful and mature in a way I find sorely lacking in many YA and some Adult Fiction novels.
The. Plot. Was. Amazing. And that's probably an understatement, but it was very well-thought of, very detailed, and it flowed like a movie. I can practically see the story playing out in my head! As she switched from Abbey's POV, to Nate's to Tanner's to Abbey's again, it never got confusing and it never dulled the suspense even though we knew things from both ends. It's really weird how she does it; It's like I know who's the "killer/criminal", but I still got so afraid and I still had to second-guess eveything! I thought that I've seen all types of YA, and normally I can pretty much guess the storyline and ending of a book, at least roughly, but I couldn't for On A Dark Wing. At all. It's extraordinary, I tell you. Really amazing.
The only negative point about OaDW is its slow pace at the start and middle portion, and since I'm not a fan of mystery and thrillers, I wasn't enjoying it all that much or overly-excited about it initally. It was only the humor and sarcastic wit of Abbey pushing me on. But I didn't need the push when it neared the three quarters mark. From there, it's heart-pounding action and cool revelation after the other. I LOVED the ending. One of the best I've ever seen. There was closure between the father and daughter, between old friends and new ones, and a beautiful new relationship forms. It was beautiful. Bravo Dane, bravo.
I was expecting a typical YA talking about Angels (suggested by the cover) and human heroine falling in love, lol I really did, but it turned out to be a mix between YA psychological thriller and mystery with tiny hints of paranormal romance (just a teeeensy tiny bit). Dane even addressed a very controversial topic about Death. What happens After? What happens WHEN you're about to make the transition? Other than the slow start On A Dark Wing will keep you glued to its pages and it will induce lots of emotions in you - an example would be fear (yes, I did feel fear. I read it at night and I literally got scared), and another is sadness, then contentment). It is a great book, and one that I will recommend to my friends.
*Egalley courtesy of Netgalley and Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.*...more
What happened to Renegade Angels? Elijah's a goddamn wolf, and his mate is a freaking crazy vamp.. Not that I'm against them, it's just that I'm moreWhat happened to Renegade Angels? Elijah's a goddamn wolf, and his mate is a freaking crazy vamp.. Not that I'm against them, it's just that I'm more interested in Lindsay and Adrian. :(...more