STOLEN SONGBIRD is rather like an amalgamation of Hobbit The Movie and Alice in Wonderland, telli...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
STOLEN SONGBIRD is rather like an amalgamation of Hobbit The Movie and Alice in Wonderland, telling of young Cécile's unwitting abduction to Trollus, homeland of the trolls, beneath the Lonely Forbidden Mountain, a magical tale full of intrigue, deceit and whimsical, off-with-her-head monarchs. As her debut book and start to a new fantasy series, STOLEN SONGBIRD's pretty amazing!
A (not so brief) Rundown
Under the fallen rocks of the Forbidden Mountain is rumored to be home to a whole city of a mystical species - the trolls. To enter Trollus, one must navigate the labyrinth of tunnels and evade the sluag, a slug-like creature that nullifies troll magic and strikes fear even in the hearts of the mighty trolls. It is said that Trollus contains piles of gold and riches (ahem Erebor), but many who ventured in never returned.
Cécile de Troyes is a farm maiden of Goshawk Hollow but with the voice of an angel. During a trip home from the city one day, she came upon an old friend but was kidnapped and brought to Trollus to marry the troll prince, Tristan de Montigny. Apparently, the trolls were cursed centuries ago by a human witch to never be able to step foot out of the mountain and a prophecy was told that a marriage between the troll prince and human girl with hair like fire, blue eyes and an "angel's voice" will break the curse.
But it didn't.
Cécile has always dreamed of the romantic wedded life her friends have gossiped wistfully about, but Tristan is far from a loving husband. He is one of the most handsome dudes she has ever laid eyes upon but he is also crude, rude, mostly cold and always confrontational. He picks fights with her at every opportuninty and sleeps on the couch. But in the darkness of the gardens where Cécile goes to sing to calm her riotous emotions, Tristan lets down his guard enough for her to see another side of him - the kind, gentle and loving side.
As Cécile comes to know, Trollus is not just about the amazing architecture and beautiful glass gardens (no sunlight). Humans and half bloods with little or no magic are seen as little more than slaves and any small misstep gives their owners the right to sentence them to be left in the tunnels to be sluag fodder or anything the owner sees fit. A rebellion is brewing and the factions are not clearly delineated. Tristan may seem like an insolent brat six out of seven days, but Cécile knows there is defeinitely more to him than he's showing. What does he do in the early hours of morning, sneaking out of their room and palace? Where does he factor in in the rebellion? And what has any of it to do with her?
Kudos to the author for her effort to reimagine trolls - from 3m, club-swinging, wart-covered monstrosities (I'm thinking of the one in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) to an intelligent, magic-wielding race. Some look human (just 10000000 times more beautiful), but some are disfigured and some not even remotely human-looking. However apart from that, the concept is really just taking the characteristics of Shakespeare's faries and naming them trolls. Jensen's trolls can't lie which makes them experts at the art of manipulating words, their promises are binding, their thank-you's are favors to be repaid, they have True Names which enables full control over the troll whose name is known, and one of the side characters, Anäis (yes, their names have lots of squiggly-wiggly or dots on top of their alphabets) mentioned that the name for their people isn't trolls, it's "Fai--" then she stopped herself. Well now, it's not that difficult to complete her statement now.
So I didn't really buy the "fresh" new idea of trolls.
But the plot is full of political intrigues, deceptions, and dangers for our protagonist that I was pretty invested in her story. It may be subjective though because like the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, STOLEN SONGBIRD is about Cécile finding out about trolls, their issues (the social discrimination and off-with-your-head variety) and her transformation from scared maiden to strong woman who found love and her determination to help in the rebellion. There is a sort of non-ending at the end, a sort of closure but we're not even close to the true ending. Just like how Bilbo and the dwarves were dropped off some god-forsaken cliff in the middle of nowhere and the Lonely Mountain was a speck in the horizon and the show ends. Yeah, something like that.
Not to say that it wasn't a good read (Goodreads, haha), Jensen had a very descriptive, simple yet witty style of writing. I loved the typical, easy countryside way of life at Goshawk's Hollow (Gordric's Hollow?!?!), the terror Cécile felt when she was in the sluag tunnels, the awe she felt at Trollus and her heartbreak when she thought that she was doomed to have a loveless marriage. There were quite a few secrets revealed along the way and plot curves dished out, and the alternating POV, which most of the time serves only to unveil secrets early and lessen suspense, worked pretty well here.
The characters!!! Apart from Tristan and Cécile, I thought that the secondary cast of characters were pretty fleshed out. We get to see glimpses of who each of them were really like and all of them had their own distinct personalities - there is mysterious but fiercely loyal Marc with a face split in half, each half having handsome features but freaky when seen as a whole; the Queen and her sister Duchesse who are joined together at the back so one of them has to walk backwards; the twins Vincent and Victoria who're constantly competing to see who should be Baron/Baroness of their house though their competitions are mostly jokes (like archery but with only one foot on the ground and with blindfolds on).
I don't want to spoiler anything more, but I'd definitely recommend this to fans of YA Fantasy. It's got the complicated political drama, the whole-new-world feel and magical boomz of a good fantasy, it's just that I felt that the plot and emotional development were dragged out too much that sometimes it felt like we were going in circles and the ending didn't give enough of a closure for me.
That said, though, there was a tiny part near the end that hinted at a parallel world that lives alongside Trollus and the outside world. This series is heading in a very promising direction with lots of action, suspense and romance, so yes, I will be picking up book 2 to see where Jensen takes Cécile and the rest of the crew.
~eARC courtesy of Netgalley and Strange Chemistry~ Thank you! :)(less)
This is the first I've heard of the chilling Donner's Party incident (yes, I am ignorant blah so sue me, but hey, I'm honest), but I'm...moreQuickie Review
This is the first I've heard of the chilling Donner's Party incident (yes, I am ignorant blah so sue me, but hey, I'm honest), but I'm going to hazard a guess and say DONNERS OF THE DEAD is a darn good rendition of the true event.
This is also my first Karina Halle book and damn, this lady can write horror! There was this one part near the end that made me dizzy with y'know, fear and suspense and anticipation I literally had to stop reading for a minute to calm my tits. Seriously. Scary shit. (view spoiler)[I'm talking about that part where the trees were scratching the hut Eve and Jake hid in, all on their lonesome. (hide spoiler)]
The romance was a toe-curling, sweet thang that grows on you and warms your heart. This chemistry between Eve and Jake blossomed amidst terrible circumstances, but they become each other's pillar of support both emotionally and physically in their battles. It wasn't combustible, but it was as good.
I loved the ending and I loved the speculation on the journey the Donners and their party had to travel and the cause of the zombiefication (though it's just a tad unrealistic).
DONNERS OF THE DEAD is a quick, exhilarating read that I'd recommend to friends just getting into the horror/romance genre!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My first Ilona Andrews book and it's pretty not bad! I have never read anything like this before, and that ma...moreOrginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
My first Ilona Andrews book and it's pretty not bad! I have never read anything like this before, and that made CLEAN SWEEP a refreshing and exciting read. Judging from the cover I was expecting Fantasy, but it turned out to be URBAN fantasy. I was in the mood for some fantasy, but this turned out to be an unexpectedly-fortunate mistake.
Dina is an innkeeper, and that means she has magical abilities and she's strongest when she's within the boundaries of her inn. Innkeepers have a sort of connection to their inns that allows the inn to respond to commands and comments from their keepers. They're sort of like a really loveable pet dog - the inns, I mean. Inns thrive with the flow of customers and guests, so with good business, the inn becomes stronger; Too little or no guests will cause an inn to go into hibernation.
Dina's parents were innkeepers that run a thriving inn, with a booming business and top ratings, a whopping five-stars. A highly-rated inn will be reflected in the directory and that tells customers that it is safe and guarantees quality. Dina's learnt the ropes and is pretty familiar with the codes and etiquettes that comes with being an innkeeper. However, about three years ago, her parents and their inn vanished without a trace and her brother and her had spent a few years attempting to find clues to their disappearance but to no avail. She decided to settle down and The Innkeeper Assembly allocated to her Gertrude Hunt, an inn that went into hibernation years ago.
With time, patience and lots of TLC, she slowly coaxes Gertrude Hunt out of its slumber and even have a permanent guest, the eccentric but elegant Her Grace Caldenia who has a thing for Funyuns and Mello Yello...and who's cannibal too. Anyway, it's all peaceful until her neighbor's dogs start to turn up at public places grotesquely mauled that Dina starts to investigate. Innkeepers are neutral ground, and that means staying out of anything that does not directly threaten their inns and their customers. But Dina can't just stand by and let this...whoever it is start killing and threatening the lives of the people in her town.
In walks Sean Evans, ex-military and resident werewolf who just moved into town a few months back. When their town is threatened, werewolves usually feel the need to protect it and establish their claim on the town. Then the Marshal of vampire house Krar, Arland, from some other planet drops by too claiming that the one responsible was a wanted criminal from their planet. And so Dina will have to work with two very big, bad, infinitely stubborn and protective dudes to save their little town.
I want to be an innkeeper too, dammit! This writing-duo made Clean Sweep such an adorable and fun read that I just want to be a part of their imaginary world for just awhile.
Dina is a very relatable character. She might not be kickass, but she has a broom that can change shape when she sends her magic into it, a Shih Tzu that isn't really a Shih Tzu but is still plenty cute and an inn that can send out roots to hold down attackers and wield guns to help defend itself and Dina. Then there's the cool, calm and gorgeous werewolf, Sean, and reserved, mysterious and muscular vampire, Arland. I wouldn't say that they were terribly unique love interests in the UF genre, buuuut they do provide comic relief that's for sure. (Watch out for Arland with coffee, hahaha. Vamps have this funny reaction when they ingest caffeine)
CLEAN SWEEP is a short, light and fun novella with just the right amount of humor, action and good ol' UF mystery. The ending provided enough closure, but I sense so much more adventure coming our way. CLEAN SWEEP was originally published free at this website, chapter by chapter each week, and it's been announced that they're doing it again for the sequel starting early 2014. I'll probably wait for the final copy of the book cause I prefer to read my books in one shot. I'll definitely be checking out the Andrews' other works in the mean time though!(less)
My first Gena Showalter book was an Adult Urban Fantasy, and it was terrible. (Yeah, sorry I'm blunt.) So I've been shying away from any...moreQuickie Review
My first Gena Showalter book was an Adult Urban Fantasy, and it was terrible. (Yeah, sorry I'm blunt.) So I've been shying away from any of her releases even though many of them sound so promising and very "my type".
When ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND released last year, looking at the title and author I just dissed it without reading the blurb. But after seeing many of the reviewers whom I share similar tastes with gushing and just lovin' the book, I went on GR and holy moley, it does sound good. So I went into AIZ without very high expectations, and what d'ya know, it's surprisingly exciting and well, good! You'll have to get past the first half where, other than the initial car crash and loss, it's just typical, boring high school drama, complete with a mean b*tch and hot guy and insta-love (where I almost DNFed the book). But the story started to pick up its pace after some time and there were moments in the book where I literally freaked cause the behavior of the zombies were SO CREEPY. I blew through the second half of the story and loved it!
I liked Alice as a protagonist, save for her first few meetings with Cole and that annoying "couldn't take my bloody eyes off him" thing going on. Oh please, spare me. But yeah, she was really brave, loyal and just the right amount of snark and wit. All the while she's trying to be a good friend, granddaughter and team player.
The romance between Cole and Ali started off with a little too much drama and hormones, but as their friendship and relationship developed, they made for a really sweet couple. I did like their interactions and Cole did exude that (well-loved, killer) alpha male trait. (But what is with the violet eyes? Unless he's wearing colored contacts, which is totally uncool and unlike him, it is genetically/biologically impossible.)
I'd recommend ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND to fans of Courtney Allison Moulton and Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series (though Blood of Eden is still my number 1 zombie favvvvvve). It has the drama and romance of YA UF/PNR, action and dark and gritty aspect of a good zombie flick. Once you get past the slightly dull start, it's an exhilarating ride till the end.
P.S. LOVE the white bunny clouds! Especially the part with the tea sets; so ominous!(less)
“For a moment she almost relaxed. Then the mutton stew appeared. Blade spread his arms across the back of the seat and watched her stare at it as though she’d never eaten in her life…and had suddenly found a dead fly in her bowl.
“Try the fork,” he recommended. “It’s much easier than mentally consumin’ the meal.”
KISS OF STEEL was an impulse read for me, considering it's only 5 days till my exams start! That, and I've never really been a fan of steampunk romances - I've DNFed my first venture into this genre and the other one, Wicked as They Come, I did like, but I wasn't that sold on this genre yet. I came across a review of KOS and it sounded like a "my" kind of book - come on, innocent but strong-willed heroine fallen on hard times and an infamous cutthroat hero who's earned his reputation through his own sweat and blood...classic! Who can resist that? - so I went in search of it, devoured it, and am giving it a 4.5-star rating.
I think one of the main reasons I was so taken with KOS was because McMaster focused mainly on character, plot and romance development, with just a little steampunk atmosphere, so I'm thinking hardcore steampunk fans ain't going to click that well with this one! The only steampunk elements in this book was the dark and gritty atmosphere, gas lamps, robots called metaljackets that has rocketlauncher hands, corset-wearing wenches and a darkly sexy rookery boss called Blade swooping in to sweep his lady off her feet. Just had to add that last part, haha. But other than that, it's really just about Honoria and her siblings falling on hard times, how she pulls through it for her family, hiding her inner demons and raising enough money for food and medicine for her brother.
That said, I LOVED the cast of characters and how the storyline developed! Lets talk about my favorite character first...Blade!! I mean, look how awesome his name is! He's not just another Lucas or Peter or Mark, he's Blade. Haha, he's the Devil of Whitechapel, protector of the people there but he's also feared and respected. His past is bloody and a mystery, he's also a man with a vengeance, but inside he's so sweet and charming! When he saw how Honoria was starving and struggling for her family, he helps her in a way that didn't hurt her pride. One thing I didn't understand was how fast Blade warmed up to Honoria though, the first time he saw her he was already attracted, and this is allegedly the Devil of 'Chapel that we're talkin' bout here, mind 'ya! (Yep, he has an accent! ;)
Honoria is a loyal, self-sacrificial, and strong woman who teaches gentlemen and women how to speak and act like proper gentlemen and women. When she brought her family to Whitechapel to hide from the clutches of her enemy in the Echelon, the pristine city behind walls with electricity-lasers (hmm, do I sense a little Dystopian here?), she had to pay the head honcho a little something to live in his territory and for his protection, but she has little money and she will not be his thrall (servants who are well looked-after but in turn has to provide blood for their Blue Blood master). Her pride will not allow it, and anyway, she's not that desperate. Yet. So she made a deal to teach him to speak and read in exchange for his protection.
Then there's stoic, quiet Will and Rip, his second-in-commands, O'Shay and his other loyal family he's adopted over the years. There's Honor's hotheaded sister and brother infected by the Blue Blood virus, bloodlust slowly clouding his vision. And then there's this really side character, Jasper Lynch, head of the Nighthawks guild, the Blue Blood outcasts who hunt targets for the Echelon. Even though he didn't play a big role in KOS, I thought he was almost as compelling as Blade!! He's this tall, imposing, straight-to-the-point man-of-few-words! He's going to get his own book in book 3, LADY QUICKSILVER, and I'm so excited to get my hands on it!
Anyway, it was a joy to see how Blade chipped away the icy fortress of Honoria's distrust, how she fought her attraction and charm of Blade. And how Blade protects her from the vampire terrorizing Whitechapel every night after the sun set. He's afraid he'll become a vampire one day, it's inevitable for every Blue Blood infected by the virus, once the virus level exceeds a certain level, the bloodlust will take over completely and turn them into slowly-rotting monsters. Even if he manages to convince Honoria to accept his care and feelings, how is he supposed to fight against the virus? And what about that vampire that is faster, stronger and more bloodthirsty than him who seemed to have a vested interest in Honor? And then there's the enemy from the Echelon and Honor's past.
I LOVED the ending! There was action, it was fast-paced and the plot was unfolding so quickly that the pages were just sweeping past me! The closure in the end was unexpected and heartwarming. Loved it!
There's humor, there's mystery, romance, heartbreak, family and loyalty. KISS OF STEEL was strangely addictive! I'd recommend this to paranormal romance, maybe historical and mild steampunk lovers!
“...I see a man who clawed his way out of the gutters and took control of his life. I see a man who made a family of his own. Who loved. And is loved. I see a man I want to kiss.” Her hand stroked down his back. “I see a man I want to…to give myself to.”
(I'm reviewing this assuming you're familiar with Singh's amazing Psy-Changeling world.)
*4.5 stars* So, just to make it clear, Nalini S...moreQuickie Review:
(I'm reviewing this assuming you're familiar with Singh's amazing Psy-Changeling world.)
*4.5 stars* So, just to make it clear, Nalini Singh's novels are always in a league of their own, I'm only rating it 4.5 because I'm comparing it to her other books. As usual, another very addictive, heartwarming romance between two individuals with their own scars and a gripping plot. But in this case, it's more about how Brenna and Judd finding a way to be together cause Judd's Tk abilities are so strong that if he loses control while sharing skin privileges with Brenna, he might very well kill somebody unintentionally.
Angela Dawe is my favorite audiobook reader! She can vary her voice so well and in so many intonations and pitch that it's easy to follow conversations with more than 2 people! Although I've only ever heard 3 other readers, she's by far waaaaay better than all of 'em.
I'm not reading this series in chronological order, but I'm loving Caressed by Ice! Though my favorite is still Hawke and ahemhem's story. ;) This series is highly, HIGHLY recommended to any PNR fans!(less)
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...moreQuickie 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!(less)
Rolfe gave her that crooked smile. “Do you act like this because it’s actually in your nature, or is it just because you’re afraid of dealing with people?”
“I’m the world’s greatest assassin.” She lifted her chin. “I’m not afraid of anyone.”
“Really?” Rolfe asked. “Because I’m the world’s greatest pirate, and I’m afraid of a great number of people. That’s how I’ve managed to stay alive for so long.”
She didn’t deign to reply.
The first out of four prequels to the amazing Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I loved THRONE OF GLASS, all that pre-release hype and anticipation and ACTUALLY reading the book... Wow, I couldn't let go of the characters even now, a few months after I've put TOG down, not yet. So I picked out the first prequel.
A Summary In THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD, Celaena Sardothien has received a mission from the leader of the Assassin's Guild and also her mentor, Arobynn Hamel, to demand payment from Captain Rolfe, the infamous Pirate Lord, for having slayed three of the Guild's assassins. Pirate lord? Certainly no biggie for Adarlan's greatest assassin. But, she's to travel to pirate land, which is an island on treacherous seas, with Sam, that annoying assassin that always picked fights with her and just annoyed her to no end.
Once there, what she thought to be a demand for payment turned out to be a business agreement. An agreement to sell slaves to the Guild. Celaena can't trust Sam, so she'll just have to figure out a way to save them on her own. Without ally, surrounded by pirates and stranded on an island.
My Thoughts We got a glimpse into the life Celaena had before she was captured and sentenced to the harsh life of being a slave at the salt mines in Endovier. She was waaaaay more cocky and arrogant! Haha, I think she practically pissed everyone off in this one, and as Rolfe wondered, how in the world had Arobynn tolerated her insolence and let it go unchecked all these years?
But, after all that bratty, haughty and bitchiness, we got to see the more compassionate side of her when she found out about the slaves. Sam was quite the same as well, sans the "bratty, haughty and bitchiness". He was quite a jerk, and I thought he's a power player too, but in the end, he's just a sweet, funny guy who can really kick ass.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD is a nice short story with the action and romance I was craving (and just reading about Celaena's life) that'll keep you company if you ever feel yourself on the verge of going off the deep end with all the tortourous waiting for CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. ;)(less)
I'll be frank - WHITE HOT KISS reads more like a fan fiction, with a more colloquial, YA style of...moreOrginally 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*(less)
*4.5 stars* One of the best fairytale retellings I've read thus far! Finished it in one sitting even though I'm sick and supposed to be sleeping like...more*4.5 stars* One of the best fairytale retellings I've read thus far! Finished it in one sitting even though I'm sick and supposed to be sleeping like the dead! I'm so epically glad that SCARLET (book 2) is out already. Hehehe, but people who've read it are all practically dying with the wait for book 3, which will only be out in 2014.. Dilemmaaaaa. To read or not to read?
*4.5 stars* LOSING IT, I admit, is one of those little guilty pleasures I let myself indulge in once in awhile to take a break from all the PNR/UFs th...more*4.5 stars* LOSING IT, I admit, is one of those little guilty pleasures I let myself indulge in once in awhile to take a break from all the PNR/UFs that I normally read. I usually like my romances interlaced with some crazy action going on, but sometimes, a girl just needs a nice, clean and sweet romance to curl her toes and accompany her to the beach. Ok, I admit, it was the cover that first attracted me. I mean, look at that, that that..that.. Handsome male specimen alert~
LOSING IT wouldn't really be a guilty read, seeing as it is still within the premises of the YA genre, just with a little sexual content in it. Looking at that synopsis, you'd think that there'd be tons of pages on Bliss Edwards having some mind-blowing horizontal tango, but no, fortunately or unfortunately (haha). Well, I thought that little in this case was really good; It was still intense, but slow, sweet and romannnnnntik. It is YA also because the plot was rather simplistic and it just lacked the dark and dirty element of eroticas/adult romance novels.
I won't go much into a summary of the book, cause what you see in the synopsis is pretty much what you'll get, and since this is a pretty short novel I don't want to spoiler it to much. It's basically Bliss Edwards (lead girl) still having her V-card which her best friend thought was totally not natural, so naturally, she saw fit to take Bliss to this high end club immediately to hook up with a guy and have a one-night stand. Just when she thought the night would be as futile as any other nights in the past, she may just have stumbled upon her happy ever after... Literally!
Let's go into the characters first, shall we? Let's see, who do we start with......hmm...... Let's start with Garrick Taylor. OMG GARRICK. He has this certain similarity to Christian Grey but more realistic. No troubled, dark past, not as intense (come on, who can be as intense as Grey?) or overbearing, and wealth is totally out of the question. Garrick just graduated from the college Bliss is at and is working as an actor somewhere in Philadelphia when Bliss' school's stage director called on Garrick and offered him a job as an instructor in their school, being one of the best students when he was still there. I won't say much on how Bliss and him met and their subsequent encounters and all cause I really enjoyed slowly savoring every one of them and I don't want to spoil it for you. But the embarrassment when Garrick walked into class and was introduced as their new acting teacher-instructor... That scene was priceless! Carmack described it so well I could totally see the scene unfolding in my head and laugh with sadistic glee, anticipating the embarrassment when Bliss recognized him as the man she'd left naked on her bed a mere few hours ago and all that tension (both sexual and non-sexual). Oh, and did I mention that Garrick has a British accent? Yeah, and I'll leave you to find out every sexy piece of him yourself.
Bliss was a really witty character, so full of emotions and life, and also clumsily cute! She's conservative, she mature, and she's sooooo funny when she rambles and crazy-talks. The side characters were well-developed too, all having their own distinct personalities.
One of my only grievances about this book is not explaining what "mono" was. Some STD, I think. It might be a slang from somewhere (America, perhaps?), but I didn't, and still don't, know what it was.
LOSING IT made for an easy read, and it has one of my favorite endings! It'll make any reader smile. Seriously, this is such a fun and addictive book with humor and romance that is sometimes intensely sexy and others heartwarmingly sweet. I'd recommend this to any fans of YA contemporary romance!
P.S. Carmack's biography at the back of the book's kinda cool too! Haha here's just a portion of it:
“She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too.” (Ditto!)(less)
SIEGE AND STORM is reminiscent of the seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, IMO. It’s g...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
SIEGE AND STORM is reminiscent of the seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, IMO. It’s got the whole gloomy outlook and landscape, a growing evil force, a girl looking for the objects that will hopefully bring an end to said evil thing down pat, but with a tad more romance and politicking.
S&S starts off where SHADOW AND BONE ended, with Alina and Mal onboard the Verhadder, sailing for the shores of Novyi Zem where they hope they’ll earn enough coins to travel out of the Darkling’s insidious reaches. But we know how these stories go, don’t we all? Happy ever after never comes easy. The Darkling survived the Fold, gaining a horrible scar and terrifying new powers and soon catches up to them. He has plans for Alina and Mal, but along the way, they meet unexpected allies – though Malina are still unclear of said allies’ true motives and allegiance – and barely escapes the Darkling.
This story has a very different style of plot layers than most other High Fantasies. Most others have complex storylines, a number of other subtle plotlines happening concurrently as the main story arc. However in S&S, it’s about mindplay as much as politic maneuverings, betrayals, deceptions and the ultimate battle/showdown between good and evil. During their short stay in Novyi Zem, Alina is happy, but she is also not. She feels this loneliness and discontent because she’s got to hide her powers and she can’t ever wield it again if she and Mal are to live in the shadows. She doesn’t like it, but what the Darkling said was true – they are similar, and no others will ever be like them.
Throughout the novel, most of Alina’s issues happens inside her head and with the new love interest – who I’m still pretty conflicted about – the pace of the story did slow down quite a bit. There wasn’t as much adventure and fighting as the previous installment, though there were plenty more problems dished out to our protagonists. I did like seeing more of the world outside Ravka though, and of course the new characters that were fleshed out.
The new love interest, Sturmhond, is a privateer with a secret identity with a very off-hand, witty attitude that can turn steely and dangerous the next second. Alina prefers to call him pirate though. He’s…well, he’s cool and funny and the captain of a very awesome bunch of crew and his secret identity is even more awesome… but I’m still Team Mal cause nothing shouts true love like a guy that gives up his present, his future, his friends and his other passions just to be with and protect his girl, so, GO MAL! Beat that stuck-up pirate! Hahaha, moving on.
After helping Alina and Mal escape the Darkling, Alina feels the guilt and burden of the lives lost in Novokribirsk where the Darkling used her powers to expand the Fold, and of the bajillions other Ravkans now that the Fold is constantly expanding. She feels responsible for these people, and so she goes back to Ravka and devises a plan to, well, essentially to save the world.
I feel that Bardugo did a superb job with the internal turmoil in Alina. I feel and surprisingly sort of understand her obsession with finding the amplifiers, her confusion of whether or not it is her thirst for power or genuine desire to save her people, and the rift that it causes between her and Mal. I can feel her helplessness as it happens, her heartbreak and feeling of inevitability. I was just so invested in her I read S&S in two sittings! I did feel a little dirty after putting it down though, because the decisions Alina had to make were terrible and I did just go through it all the way with her.
THAT ENDING. I pity Alina and ARGH, Mal. What is a girl supposed to do with you. I’m Team Mal, but…ARGH, I can’t put this into words! The situation between them isn’t anyone’s fault, and I just can’t stand this…situation. ARGH.
Anyhoo, I thought that SIEGE AND STORM is another brilliant addition to the High Fantasy genre and definitely an awesome sequel to an amazing debut.
P.S. I really don’t get the draw for the Darkling that other girls are squealing about!! He’s not really a bad boy, brooding type. He just seems…relentlessly annoying and weird…and old. :/
*3.5 stars* Frostbite didn't fail to deliver! Vampire Academy was quite a good start to a series, and Frostbite had the same amount of danger and acti...more*3.5 stars* Frostbite didn't fail to deliver! Vampire Academy was quite a good start to a series, and Frostbite had the same amount of danger and action that VA had, more intense emotions, heartbreaks and heartaches, more secondary characters and love rivals and interests come into play! I won't peg this as one of my favourite series, but there's just this something that makes it so addictive. I'm literally gobbling this series up one book per day! Which is seriously jeopardizing my exams tomorrow, but that's just it! It's too, goddamned addictive. (Sorry for the language.)
Might be Dmitri, might be the new hot guy in town, Adrian, might be how Rose knows how to kick some serious ass, might be how Rose's mom is THE coolest female dhamphir guardian in this era and she's now in the picture, might be...... As you can see, this book is packed with SO MANY awesome factors, so yes, it was a thrilling and gripping novel. In this cliched, vampire-novel kind of way. You might think this is a good thing, or bad, depends on how you see it. But now, there's no time to lose; I'm off to reading the next book, Shadow Kiss! ;)
P.S. For those who read my reviews regularly, I'm not going to be writing any full length reviews for quite some time cause Junior College life in Singapore is hardcore to the max. No time to do anything but MUG. Means studying and cramming over here, by the way.(less)
This series just keeps getting better and better! Shadow Kiss started off with a BAM, literally, and it only gets dull once in awhile. But most of the...moreThis series just keeps getting better and better! Shadow Kiss started off with a BAM, literally, and it only gets dull once in awhile. But most of the time, it's action after mystery after thrilling romance after action. Rose is facing more problems with her bond with Lissa, more problems then she'd at first anticipated, and her relationship with Dmitri isn't getting any better. With Adrian thrown into the mix and a ghost Mason appearing, distracting her during her field experience where she and the other dhamphir novices are assigned a Moroi to protect and their teacher guardians will act as Strigoi, attack them and grade them according to their responses for six months? Ross's life at St. Vladimir's Academy isn't what she'd call smooth.
Outside of the Academy, things are stirring awake, and the Strigoi are banding together. This has never happened before, and their planning something big this time. Something that may change the Moroi world forever. And zooming in closer to home, something that may alter Rose's world forever. Can Rose and Dmitri survive the onslaught of problems being thrown at them? Can they survive the looming Strigoi army that is banding together?
You know, usually in this type of cases, the answer will be yes, they will be able to survive. But this is where Shadow Kiss is different. I'm just going to be upfront with all this and say that no, they didn't. Not totally unscathed at least. I wasn't caught totally off-guard though, since I'm a spoiler fan (don't flame me. It's just who I am. :P) and ran off to read spoiler reviews before I even started on the book, but still.
As per VA and Frostbite, the side characters, mainly Eddie, Alberta, and Rose's other friends (and enemies), took on more proactive roles this time; Eddie especially. He was loyal, dedicated, and he matured into such a badass guardian! But when Lissa asked if he would like to date Rose, he actually blushed a little shyly and said no. It was mainly because Mason, Eddie's best friend who had a major crush on Rose and the one who died only recently because of their little misadventure and run-in with some Strigoi, was Rose's boyfriend.
If there wasn't a continuation, I would've been flaming this book and giving it an altogether different kind of rating, but seeing as it isn't, well, I'm going off to read some spoiler reviews for Blood Promise and reading it soon. But before that, I'd like to point out one really promising thing about Mead: Mead doesn't employ cliffhangers in her novels. Not a major one, at least. She does tie things up nicely, but there's just this one small tidbit that keeps you clinging on to this series desperately, like an addict (I think it's safe to say that I am currently addicted to VA), just wanting a little more of VA, inside anxious to find out what's going to happen next. I think that some authors end their novels with cliffhangers is to ensure that their readers will continue patronising the series most of the time. It's frustrating and unnecessary. I mean, why the insecurity? That's why I liked Shadow Kiss. The end is where Rose is all set to leave the Academy for good cause it's her eighteenth bithday. But as I've said, it's won't be a happy eighteenth birthday. It's such a tease! But it doesn't frustrate because it's not really a cliffhanger!
A great read! The stakes just keeps rising and you're going to want to have book 4, Blood Promise, on hand before you read Shadow Kiss!
P.S. I kept thinking about what the Moroi Queen, Tatiana, told Rose at the end of Frostbite, and the more I think about it, the more angry I get for Rose! Tatiana's CRAZY! Haha, ok, end of random rant.(less)
*4.5 stars* Valek didn't have any spotlight moments in the front three-quarters of Fire Study, regrettably. But the action was good, plot was thick, a...more*4.5 stars* Valek didn't have any spotlight moments in the front three-quarters of Fire Study, regrettably. But the action was good, plot was thick, and the ending was super sweet!! Totally made up for the lack of romance at the start. :D
This was oddly addictive! I finished MS in less than half a day, and it just completely sucked me into the intriguing world of spies, magic, mystery,...moreThis was oddly addictive! I finished MS in less than half a day, and it just completely sucked me into the intriguing world of spies, magic, mystery, comradeship, and of course, more sweet moments between Valek and Yelena. You can never get enough of those two. ;)
Liked it a lot more than its predecessor, Poison Study; Guess it has something to do with all the world-building Snyder had to do in book 1.
Let me endeavour to describe the intensity that is Faefever - I was literally so engrossed in the book that not only did I l...moreNot for the faint-hearted.
Let me endeavour to describe the intensity that is Faefever - I was literally so engrossed in the book that not only did I lost track of time, when Faefever ended, I started Dreamfever immediately, like a reflex, and now I'm already one-fifth of my way through cause I couldn't stand to tear my attention away long enough to log on to Goodreads. I can't remember where Faefever ended and Dreamfever started. I have some questions of my own, but I'm just such an incoherent mess now that I don't think I'm up to task to write this review. But I'm mighty sure on one thing - this series just keeps getting better and better, more intense and scarier, bigger and a hell lot more of action, deception, complex games of cat and mouse.
I finished this in two sittings; Two and not one because I had classes and lectures to attend.
I strongly advise you to get ahold of Dreamfever first before you get started on Faefever. I was so glad I did.
It definitely had action, but a little less than what I was expecting. I really loved the fact that the heroine, Celaena Sardothien, w...more*Quickie Review*
It definitely had action, but a little less than what I was expecting. I really loved the fact that the heroine, Celaena Sardothien, was THE most renowned assassin - she braved the most feared death camp in Erilea, Endovier, when she was just seventeen. But after being offered a deal with the King by Prince Dorian, the not very beloved son of the King but heir to the throne, she accepts to challenge the rogues and thieves that will be the other champions of other people in power to fight for the position of King's Champion, after which, she will be granted freedom after four years of loyal service.
Celaena's love affair in the castle, though not unexpected, was pretty too YA-ish, in my opinion. It was a little over-the-top sometimes; I would've preferred something a little more subtle. I was actually rooting for another person for her to fall in love with! But worry not, my fellow bookies, I am quite sure that she will fall for him eventually! (As in in the following instalments)
The plot was rather simplistic, but filled with mythical monsters and ancient magic that even Erilea's most feared assassin will need help from very unlikely places.
Throne of Glass is a light, YA Fantasy read that is quickly gaining popularity. While it did not really meet my expectations, I'd still recommend YA Fantasy-lovers to give TOG a shot.(less)
Wolff is one talented and imaginatively sadistic author; BLOOD FEVER had so much more bloodshed, action and, not surprisingly, romance! (Carden!! GAH!...moreWolff is one talented and imaginatively sadistic author; BLOOD FEVER had so much more bloodshed, action and, not surprisingly, romance! (Carden!! GAH!) Everything was back more intense, and the storyline was a little more complex with a confuddling riddle at the end!
Drew is back at the Isle of Night after her hard-won mission with Alcantara, at which one mysteriously attractive Carden McCloud was rescued. Drew's having a tough time dealing with the bond that she unknowingly forged with McCloud, craving for him and his blood and all, plus the newest assignment that the vampires dumped onto her - to ensure the safety of her new roommate, Mei-Ling. There's something a little off with Mei, not in the psychopathic-pyromaniac way that her previous roommate Lilac was, but Mei didn't come to the Isle of Night willingly. Not like Drew or the rest of the Acaris that were outcasts in society. Thing is, Mei isn't even an outcast in society with a family that wouldn't miss her even if she were gone. She had a loving family and a loyal boyfriend. Mei was abducted. But why? The only thing that Mei have in common with the she-wolves at the Isle of Night is that she has a gift, a very peculiar and dangerous gift that the vampires are interested about. Mei's good at playing musical instruments, and Drew's going to find that out what's so special about it.
Also going on at the Isle of Night are strange killings that are happening around the island. Random people are turning up exsanguinated and nobody knows the how and why. And the Directorate seems to think that Carden's the culprit.
So, on top of finding out why the vampires are so interested in Mei, Drew's got to protect her from Masha, the other Guidons and Acaris AND protect her own hide from her hate club at the island (which surprisingly has a huge fan base) AND figure out the nitty gritty of her bond with Carden AND clear his name to save him from a possible public staking.
I love all those private moments between her and Carden. They're reaaaally sweet together. But what makes this book different from its predecessors is the amount of bloodshed! I'm still reeling from all the fights that Drew had been pitted through in BLOOD FEVER! Especially at the end. It was one fight after another after another traumatic accident. More, much, much more people are going to die and when they do, a new mystery pops up and Drew's in deep enough that she's going to figure it all out.
This series gets more and more interesting and intense that once you pick ISLE OF NIGHT up, you know you're a goner till the series ends. This Watchers series is similar to The Hunger Games series, but in my opinion, better and much more intriguing. Gripping till the end! Can't wait till next June for the next and fourth instalment in the series, THE KEEP (which, very aptly, is the new mystery that Drew has to solve. (view spoiler)[Is it where all the dead girls are brought?? OH MAN, I can't wait to read it!!! (hide spoiler)]).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
FIRE BAPTIZED was an unexpectedly captivating novel! I haven't been enjoying the books that are provided for...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
FIRE BAPTIZED was an unexpectedly captivating novel! I haven't been enjoying the books that are provided for the blog tours that I've signed up for for the past few months, so I wasn't expecting much from FB initially and was even a little prejudiced toward it at the start, somehow convincing myself at page 2 that I will not like the book. But imagine my shock when, as I continued flipping its pages, the flippin' got faster and faster, and I just had to finish it in one sitting (I did it in two, actually, because I still need my beauty sleeps at night:P).
Lanore Simone Vesta is a Mixie, a mixbreed with both Fairy and Demon blood within her, who can create and manipulate fire with any part of her body. She lives with a childhood friend and past lover, MeShack. He happens to also be a Were-leopard. A really protective, possessive, and ultra hot one.
Lanore is part of the Mixbreeds For Equality (MFE), a revolutionary group that aims to fight for the rights of Mixies who are looked down upon by both the Humans and Supernaturals (Supes) which is headed by Zulu, Lanore's current lover and an alpha-male Mixie who has the connections and wealth.
The Supernaturals and Mixbreeds live in the Habitat, where there is a boundary that they cannot cross. It's not a bad world, with proper schools, universities, clubs and such, but when Lanore stumbles upon a live murder scene one day, she becomes a target of a serial killer with a fetish for draping the crime scene with the victim's decorated body parts. But what if the serial killer isn't just dismembering random passers-by? What if, there was a pattern and a purpose to all these killings?
Not only must Lanore solve these issues and handle MFE matters, she must also deal with the emotional confusion that is Zulu and MeShack, two very hot-headed and sexy half-Shifters...
I was honestly hooked to FB while I was reading it, and felt so sorry when the epilogue came up. I even chanced reading it in class! There was that steamy hot love triangle that I was seriously not expecting, and a complicated murder case that was mind-blowing. The suspense was intense, and the plot scared me a little for awhile, and I LOVED it.
Lanore's a very cool heroine. She's just the right amount of kickass and feminine; She sticks up for herself, fights her own battles, but when things got real bad and horrific, she did lose it for awhile, and had to be taken care of by the boys, but that all just made her seem all the more real and....well, cool! MeShack and Zulu too. I thought that their names were so odd when I first read about them, but it didn't matter anymore as I got to know them. They. Were. HOT. Haha, and so protective, possessive, romantic, cheeky, hot-tempered, testosterone-y, and sexy.
I liked Kenya's writing style too - the plot flowed smoothly and the scenes were illustrated vividly. The murder scenes were portrayed in all their gory detail which did gross me out quite badly, and it truly seemed like a horror story at one point. But that just goes to show how truly well FB was planned and written. Lanore was becoming obsessed with finding the murderer as it was becoming clear that she was going to be one of the next victims, and I was as confused as she was while she was still trying to solve the case. But when the big revelation came, you would go, "Why didn't I make the connection?!" It was so shocking, and I couldn't, for the life of me, have guessed who the bigass mastermind was! That part was fantastically well done.
I'd recommend FIRE BAPTIZED to fans of Paranormal Romance and Mystery/Thrillers. I'm so glad I took this tour up, and I'm anxiously awaiting for book 2, THE BURNING BUSH.(less)
White Witch is a good mix of YA Romance with lots of action and high school drama. The only regrettable thin...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
White Witch is a good mix of YA Romance with lots of action and high school drama. The only regrettable thing was...That cliffhanger!!!
Jax Pherson is a witch from the Miami Coven. Witch covens around the world gained power a long time ago by absorbing the powers from the earth at specific locations, but this in turn filled them with darkness. Jax feels that darkness inside her, her power spiking whenever her temper flares. These covens want absolute control, so whenever a witch tries to leave the coven, they will hunt her/him down and drain them of their powers and subsequently, their lives. Painfully.
Jax watched her mother's powers and life get Siphoned away by her father when she was but a youngin', and she has had a terrible fear of escaping ever since. But as she reaches her seventeenth birthday, she will be expected to kill for her coven. And that's when she plucked up her courage and sneaked away.
All she wants is to have a normal teenage life - go to school, make some friends, go for prom, and such. She's tried enrolling in a few schools, but has never gotten a successful application because apparently, a parent or guardian was required to be present. So when she comes to her next destination, North Carolina, she tweaks her plans and manages to enrol in Baker Gap High School. And there, she meets a new friend and her cousin, Toni and sexy Keller, and also a new enemy in the form of cheerleader Stacy and said cheerleader's mindless cronies.
Keller and Toni's families happened to be witch hunters, and all is fair and well for Jax for a time, normal high school drama and romance, until her secrets start to become harder to hide, and her family will hunt her down to the ends of the earth to silence her and take back the absolute control that they demand...
WHITE WITCH had the epic final battle that BREAKING DAWN didn't have, and the sane romance that Twilight didn't have, but still retaining that little unrealistic instant connection between the heroine and male protagonist. Some cases, like the one in FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan, that insta-love relationship was one of the best and most believable insta-loves I have ever read. I could feel the sizzle of attraction between them, the tension when they were alone in some dark place, and the sacrifices that they are willing to make for each other. But I couldn't for WHITE WITCH. Pity, really, cause other than that, I thought that this WW was a pretty entertaining YA Urban Fantasy!
Witches, both female and male, are all beautiful and either really kind-hearted or nasty as hell. Jax falls under the GORGEOUS blonde with a humble heart category. Er, ok. I'm not that big into gorgeous, blonde babe heroines who catches the attention of the entire school - stares and drools from the males, and envy and jealousy from the females. I mean, really? And just so that it is not generic enough, she makes an enemy of the mean head cheerleader and her mindless cronies on her first day of school. But that's not all there is to Jax - thankfully - she's also a mean machine when it comes to using her powers! She's badass and way powerful. More so than anyone could've ever anticipated - even her! Something happened when she fought the people who were after her, who are her power-hungry father and coven, that made them afraid of her. Something big. Something "bright" and magnificent. Ok, bright was a pun. Read it and you'll know it. :) But yes, Jax was not the fragile pretty-face that I thought her to be when I first read about her.
The reason why I said that the romance here was a little unbelievable was because firstly, Jax shouldn't have approached Keller in the first place since she already knew he was a witch hunter. (Abnormal and illogical behavior on her part!) Secondly, she hung out with him. (No sense of self-preservation on her part!) Thirdly, she saw him, "omg big hottie", and suddenly there's a current of electricity flowing between the two of them. Like suddenly. Ok so she went against all forms of normal behavior, hung out with Keller, and she deigned to start going out with him when he wields a gun EVERY NIGHT hunting paranormals like her. And on top of that, she spilled the beans about her identity to Keller after this particular incident. I mean, you don't tell a witch hunter you're a witch just because he's your friend and he suspects you're a witch. If he knows already, shouldn't the first instinct of a person who has been living life on the run to, well, run? Far away from danger zone? But well, Jax didn't and just dumped the cat out of the bag and looked at Keller with goo-goo eyes, hoping he will look at her the same way, heart breaking into a million pieces when he didn't. Well, what did she expect, his uncle died because of witches and his mom left because of that too. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but someone's got to stand for logic.
Keller was cool. Handsome, good with a gun, tough guy, protective and all. The whole package. The reason why I didn't swoon all over him is because I've seen his type plenty nowadays in YA novels. The genre is practically saturated with this type of guys, including adult fictions PNRs, UFs, Fantasy, Historicals, and all, so for me to swoon over another male protagonist, he's gotta have something extra on top of all the others. But Keller was cool. That I'll give credit.
As for the side characters, Toni is the best friend Jax has always dreamed of having, and she also happens to be, so coincidentally, Keller's close cousin. Toni's a cool chick, one who stands up for her friends, plays the drums for her rock band, and wears shirts with funny quotes. As for Jax's evil, heartless bastard of a father, he was rather....fake. That typical You-Have-Failed-Me-By-Running-Away-Thus-You-Are-No-Longer-My-Daughter-And-I-Will-Kill-You-And-Your-New-Friends-Now-Slow-And-Painfully evil villain. It got a little corny at times, but oh well, he is the evil villain, so I'll just get on with things.
Let me tell you that I LOVED that ending battle! It was epic, fast-paced, and...that suspense! They were all in some seriously deep shit, one of them was dying, and I just couldn't see a way out of their predicament. But Milburn did it. She opened a door for Jax and others and everything went out with a BOOM! Epic.
And then we have.. THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING!!!! Noooooooo! Milburn can't end the book like that...this is just....torture!! And it's not a good cliffhanger ending. Dammit.
WHITE WITCH had action, had romance, had friendship, had suspense, and had the high school drama that most YAs seem to have. It was very generic and stereotypical, but amusing all the same. It made for a quick, light and fun read. Until you reach the three-quarters mark. That's where the thrill comes into play. It was so much more than what I expected actually, and I really liked it!
*eARC courtesy of Bell Bridge Books via Netgalley*
P.S. I was planning on writing a short review, but look how it turned out! Well, please excuse my verbosity. Seems like I had more to say about WW then I thought I had.
Here's a little teaser from Netgalley that convinced me to pick it up:
The guy makes his way down the side of the road, near my hiding spot. My frantic heartbeat increases. He retrieves something from his truck. When he turns back toward the woods, he’s holding a gun in one hand. But when he opens his other hand, it’s the small, dark object lying in his palm, the one with the slight red glow, that really concerns me.I hold my breath, not moving a muscle, and hope that’s not what I think it is. But deep down, I know it’s a bloodstone. If he were supernatural, he wouldn’t be able to hold it. My heart rate skids to a halt. Supernatural beings don’t tote bloodstones around. Humans do. Humans who hunt my kind.He’s not some goon my family hired. He’s a hunter, the real deal. I lean my forehead, warm from the burst of magic I used, against the cool bark of the tree hiding me from my hunter. Why, oh why, did I use my power to zip into these woods? Why couldn’t I have simply run in here like a normal person instead of using inhuman speed that leaves a trail?Because what were the odds the person driving by was a hunter? The crunch of gravel makes me look up. With a final questioning glance in my direction, he slides the gun, no doubt loaded with spirit-killing rock salt, into the truck’s cab then climbs in. Only when he starts the engine and drives away do I let out the breath I’ve been holding for fear he’d hear the slight sound of air escaping my lungs.The ground catches me as I slide down to sit at the base of the tree. In the darkness surrounding me, I spot the night animals scurrying across the forest floor. The occasional pair of raccoon or opossum eyes turns my direction before hurrying away. They sense my power, the darkness from which it was born, and don’t want to be anywhere near me.I lean my head back against the tree’s rough bark, stare at the sky filled to bursting with stars, and let the tears trickle down my cheeks, down my neck to soak into the normal T-shirt of a not-so-normal girl. --Netgalley
*3.5 stars* I saw that Duncan was having a giveaway for Indulge (Warm Delicacy #2) at her blog, and it was a...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
*3.5 stars* I saw that Duncan was having a giveaway for Indulge (Warm Delicacy #2) at her blog, and it was an impulse decision to join that giveaway since I haven't read the first book yet, and when I won the giveaway, I requested a review copy for Savor. And damn if I regretted my choice; I was surprisingly hooked to Savor! I couldn't put it down, till it was 2 in the morning and I was afraid to die by my parents' hands! I genuinely liked this fairytale-ish novel.
SAVOR is about a girl, Claire Miller, who turned eighteen and had to officially start donating blood at the local hospital for the vampire population's needs. Nothing too exciting happened until the day after when a vampire under the ruling vampire family paid Clair and her mom a visit, claiming that Claire's blood is "perfect", and that she is chosen to join the ruling family as their daughter and heiress. Not given much of a choice, Claire packs up her bags and is whisked away to the palace.
I really liked the fairytale element in here. I've been fixating my reading preferences to Paranormal Romance and action for quite some time now, but once in a while, I do love a YA dreams-come-true, commoner-turn-beautiful-princess novel. Not to say that this book is all about the clouds and daisies, there are the dangers and conflicts that Claire has to face as a vampire princess, as the palace houses traitors and jealous hearts.
There was the subtle bits of romance in SAVOR that I thought was really sweet too. The first friendly male vampire that she saw, aside from King Nicolae Noire, Dmitri was friendly and helpful; Although he liked to tease Claire a lot, he's still a good guy. I wouldn't go on much about him, cause he's not the one that I'm rooting for. So the next love interest comes in the form of Arrick. Initially only a shadow in her garden, a mysterious stranger who looked out for her, now Claire's Blood Mate, the one who swears allegiance to her, and also her protector. Not only is Arrick hot, his fierce protectiveness and competence just ups the heat whenever Claire's with him.
Aside from the romance, there's also the twists in plots and curveballs thrown at us. I couldn't fathom who the betrayer was until quite late in the book, although the part where all wa revealed was a little overly-dramatic. However, I liked the second-guessings I had to do while reading SAVOR, and that the storyline flowed smoothly from start to end.
There are three things that I spotted in SAVOR which I found unpleasant:
Firstly is Claire's rather smooth transition from the day-is-night, night-is-day routine where the vamps functioned only at night. She was still a human, and she shouldn't have been able to adapt so quickly. Night time is when our body and our organs start to "recuperate", in a way, and she will tax her liver and other organs too much if she does that.
Secondly, there were the numerous puntuation errors! The first few times I encountered some minor ones, I overlooked it and continued reading. But as the story progressed and still there were errors here and there, I noted it down to be mentioned in my review. Hm, editor, what were you doing when this book was undergoing those proofreadings and editing?
Thirdly, Duncan's style of writing was a little teenager-ish. Ok, this book is under YA Lit, but I'd much prefer reading a more mature writing style.
Apart from those listed above, I thought SAVOR was a really enjoyable and light read that readers can try picking up if you think you're in need of a break after all the intense, dark thrillers or PNR books. Even though there were things that didn't suit my tastes, I was honestly hooked to its pages for most parts of the book.
If you've read the book, then you'd be familiar with this phrase:
"My last thought of the night was how excited I was that I was finally eighteen and from here on out, everything would finally start going my way." --Chapter one, page 23 of eBook.
I found it so amusing and ominously obvious that after this phrase that things will most definitely not go her way. Just saying.(less)
My Summary The world of the broods is a terrible, cold, heartless one, with leaders and earls who control th...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
My Summary The world of the broods is a terrible, cold, heartless one, with leaders and earls who control their broods through fear. Brand was raised in such an environment, his father being the King of all the broods. His father was a heartless bastard who tortured his mother and friend, and for that, Brand killed him and left the world of the broods.
Now, Brand is working alone to keep his world secret to the humans and to silence all those shapeshifters who's as much a bastard as his own father was. He meets Dagny, daughter of an old friend now turned a little looney from all the torture that Brand's father put her through. She's tougher and braver than most males shifters out there, yet also very compassionate and sensual. And when Dagny is forced to return to the cruel earl of her former brood, Brand has no choice but to face his people again, enter their violent politics and acknowledge his birthright as King.
My Thoughts BOF is a relatively short novel. It started out depicting the dark and bloody world that Brand lived in, but as the story progressed, the dynamics changed. I loved that subtle change as Dagny and his other friends entered the fray and we see small pockets of kindness, affection, and love. Especially in a such a violent world, any display of soft emotions is few yet all the more cherished and heartwarming.
We got to know more about the softer and more passionate side of Brand, his loyalty and devotion to his friends and loved ones. He was so sweet to Dagny even though they were amidst such gore and brutality. We got to know more about Alice, a weak shifter who was sold as a slave to a cruel shifter and then saved by Brand. She was very weak physically, but as events happened, Alice showed remarkable inner-strength. She's been Brand's closest companion for a hundred years and the way she and Brand talked to each other and teased each other even though one is a towering, mighty beast and the other a fragile female, they were really cute together. And then we got to know Dagny, fierce and courageous enough to butt heads with Brand's inner wolf. Together, Dagny and Brand made a formidable couple, and behind closed doors, both of them can really create some steam. More sexual tension though, since the action under their covers were not explicit and few.
I was expecting Alice to be Brand's mate, and was quite miffed when Dagny came into the picture. Lol, well, Alice is the gentle and kind heroine that's no longer common in Fiction novels nowadays, but thinking back, Alice wouldn't have been compatible with Brand cause he would have to be so cautious not to trample over her if they were indeed together.
The plot was well-planned and everything flowed out smoothly. Not to say that there weren't any curveballs thrown in, there were plenty, and I couldn't foresee anything that was to come. So much action, deception, and WOAH! The curveballs didn't only come in the form of betrayals and such, there was an unexpected side love story that was extremely heartwrenching. It pulled at my heartstrings, and I loved it so much. Then there was this totally unexpected death at the end that almost made me cry while I was reading it in public! I was waiting for my dental appointment and suddenly Moore came full-on with such a vivid, emotional scene! GAH, it was superbly well-written, I felt so keenly for the loss and actually teared. A very bittersweet ending. Amazing. (But I could have so done without it!!!! It isn't fair that _____ has to die!! D:<)
Just a few pointers that I picked out while reading BOF:
His calloused fingers moved over her cheek, rough, but gentle. --Pg 16
Um, rough but gentle?
2) Wolves drink blood. Ok, this is the very first time I've heard of that, but oh well.
Other than those points, I thought that BROODS OF FENRIR was a really nice Shapeshifter/Lycan tale, choked-full of action, suspense, romance, loyalty, and friendship. The beginning was a little too gory and dry, and I considered give the book a 3 star rating, but then as I continued reading it, it was a clear 4 or maybe 4.5. As I've mentioned previously, the change in dynamics was very subtle, but it made the book all the more engrossing. Every part of this book was intense, and I'd recommend this book to any reader who likes Paranormal Romance and a little Mystery/Thriller to go along with it.
The book's paper quality is very good. It's thicker and smoother than most books'. Lol. And the BOF bookmarks are BEAUTIFUL, I tell you! I was so surprised by it when I received it in my mail.(less)
Darian is a Shaede made by another - a past lover, in fact, one that abandoned her almost a centu...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
Darian is a Shaede made by another - a past lover, in fact, one that abandoned her almost a century ago. She's the last of her kind, or so she was led to believe, and with only stealth in her arsenal, she trains herself to be one of the best assassins in the field. She can become incorporeal after twilight, and move in the shadows as nothing more than a ghost.
Tyler has been a long-standing friend (a friend who makes her body feel all warm and flushed) and agent who informs her of her new targets/marks. And this time, her mark happens to be a man named Xander Peck. Nothing special, just a name that isn't commonly heard of. Just another man that has pissed off someone with the goods to hire her services. But when she was about to deliver the killing stroke, Xander slips into the shadows. That's when her world tilts around and she finds out she's no longer the last of her kind.
Xander turns out to be the King of the Shaedes, and her assignment was actually a test. Now, Xander - or should I say, High King Alexander - is training her up for his real task, for her next target may just be one of the most powerful Shaedes alive. That, and someone whom she may have known quite intimately in the past...
I have to say that SOG is really a "my" type of book - witty, kickass heroine who has awesome powers, a friend that has always looked out for her, another more powerful, high-ranking love interest comes along, and amidst the love triangle troubles, nothing's better than a big and complex plot to up the thrill and suspense. Typical for a PNR novel, but the idea of the Shaede, well that is very unique, and very cool. The only regrettable thing was Darian didn't pick the guy that I was rooting for! But that is for a later paragraph to elaborate.
Darian was witty, snarky, and a girl who sticks up for herself. She is the master of her own decisions, and she will allow no one to be her king, or to make her a pawn of some twisted game for power. I think that's what attracted the attention of the King of the Shaedes himself. Haha, she sure is one special and beautiful woman.
As far as the love interests goes..I'm a fan of love triangles. Not all of them though, cause some of them are just insufferably immature, and in a lot of cases the protagonists are highly self-centered as they get all frustrated with life when they have more than one person vying for their attention, and they go all, "Life is tough." Yeah, ok, have you seen what other people in Third World countries have to go through? That's tough, so suck it up. But as for Tyler, Xander, and Darian, they're all awesome. Tyler's sweet and fiercely-protective in his own silent way, but he is also funny and easygoing; Xander is intense, highhanded, powerful, but very romantic and male; Darian is scared to surrender to the fragile thing that is love, is unsure of what love truly is, or if the thing that she's feeling is actually love at all after what happened in the past. The confusion on Darian's part was very well-written. I used to think 'How can you be unsure if what you're feeling is love or not?', but after seeing what happened to her, it became believable.
The plot was good, not a "WOW!" kind of impressive, but not bad. There was quite some overlaying storylines, and the main point to the storyline only surfaced towards the middle of the book, but I had fun getting to know the characters. After knowing who's the read baddy in here, there was constant action, deceptions - and betrayals and lies..lots and lots of 'em - and the likes! And all that excitement escalated till the end where I just couldn't tear my attention away from the book; I HAD to know where the story went, and how it concluded. And now that the conclusion is read, damn if I don't want to get my hands on the sequel.
However, there were a few questions that I had when I was reading:
1) When Darian just met Xander and they were still strangers to each other, Darian divulged all her personal information to Xander when he asked for it without question. Maybe not all, but she did spill quite a lot. Which is weird, even more so since she's a skilled assassin who has lived in solitude for the past century.
2) It was mentioned that Lyhtans - the counterpart of a Shaede, which means they can slip into the light and be invisible as long as the sun shines, and also the enemies of the Shaede - are easily controlled. Well, if they were so easily manipulated, why aren't they under the control of the good people? Why are they, so coincidentally, under the influence of the bad Shaede?
3) Midway through the book, Darian was attacked by a Lyhtan and was lying in bed unconscious. But when she started to wake, she heard Tyler and Xander quarrelling and she referred to the two voices as "two of my favourite voices". Thing is, she keeps mentioning how much she dislikes Xander for lying to her, for treating her like one of his subjects, and now you're telling me his is one of your favourite voices? Really?
Actually, other than those, the book was very enjoyable. I loved Bonilla's humor and her writing style. She is consistent and I often find myself laughing along with the characters. There was only one sex scene in SOG, but let me assure all Romance-junkies out there - have no fear, the sexual tension in here is as good as any panties-combusting scene.
Overall, SHAEDES OF GREY is an amazing Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance novel packed full of fast-paced action, suspense, witty humor, sarcastic and kickass heroine, love triangle that'll leave you feeling so conflicted as to who to side with, a complex plot with curveballs at every turn, and betrayals and deceptions that will leave you reeling hours after you've put down the book. Even though the plot was a little typical, it was still fun, intense and never dull; A real page-turner, indeed.
Don't you find it freaking cool that the word "Shaedes" in the title Shaedes of Gray is so unique that you don't even have to type the full title of the book in search engines or book stores or Goodreads to search for the book? It's the one and only one that shows up in the results.(less)
*3.5 stars* THE CURSE OF GREMDON is a very unique mix of Fantasy and Romance that really captivated me. Usua...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
*3.5 stars* THE CURSE OF GREMDON is a very unique mix of Fantasy and Romance that really captivated me. Usually Fantasy novels will focus less on the romance and more on the wars and conflicts going on in their respective worlds, but TCoG has equal portions of both, and that's what I loved about it. I'm a romance junky, but I'd occasionally also like to pick up a Fantasy novel. There aren't too many of them that have a good romance to back the story up, so I usually steer clear of it. That's why I'd rushed to grab the chance to read TCoG when I read the synopsis and it started going on a tour, and boy, was I glad I did.
Arianna and her brother are orphans. In order to support him, she has to train and fight to be an Elite Warrior. She's one of the best in her field, but there's just one teensy problem - everytime she's near Tardon, she feels a spark between them. Thing is, women are not allowed to have sex, only those that are given as gifts to the male warriors are permitted the pleasure (sexism is so unbecoming of them! Grrr). Arianna controls her urge well, but it is when her brother falls prey to the deadly glutovirus fever, Tardon comes to her aid by providing her a place to stay in his room in the castle, that with both of them alone in the same room, a fire is ignited within them.
But the secret does not stay hidden from the Elders for very long (only a few seconds, actually. They were ripped apart before they did it), and now the two of them are tasked with an impossible mission, one that killed all others who partook it before - to travel beyond the Outer Circle, into the forests of Gremdon and retrieve the sap from the Tree of Life. Without it, the people will die, but to go beyond the walls of the city is to fall to the curse and turn into one of those hideous creatures, like all the others who went before them.
But as they travel futher out, they discover treachery and betrayals, and an ultimate battle to save their city from the ones who are truly evil...
Arianna was a very strong, very resilient woman who would struggle all the way to the end. When an Enforcer (man who are much stronger than warriors but too stupid to be one) caught her in Tardon's bed, he had her neck in his grip, hanging her like nothing but she still continued to fight him. And after the Enforcer dropped her on the ground and she was burning in the inside because of the Elder's magic, she still continued to stay conscious and fight it. She's amazing. Not only that, she is a very sensual woman and she gives voluptuous a whole new meaning, I tell you! Tardon couldn't stop harping on about her overflowing breasts and imagining it burst her vest! Haha, I'm messing with you, but yes, Tardon pointed out that fact a number of times.
As for Tardon, he is the best elite warrior there is in the castle, but he is what the saying calls, "brawn without brains". Not necessarily without brains, just not that much grey matter in that thick skull of his. Lol, but he is a very desirable male. He's strong, he's caring, and um, he's good in bed. 'Nuff said.
The plot wasn't an overly-fantastical one, and I took away that 1.5/5 because it got a little dull sometimes. But there was action (plenty of fightin'), adventure, suspense, and best of all, romance. There wasn't too much emphasis on the last bit. Like I said, it's all about the balance in here. When Arianna and Tardon ventured out into Gremdon, I was so unsure of their fate! But when they saw all those beautiful sceneries, the ones they had before the "curse" descended upon them, it was very heartwarming. Very heartwarming to see them finally acting on their feelings, being happy, and when they finally decided to free the people from the "curse". You'll see the reason for the quotation marks after you've read the book.:)
Overall, I thought this was actually a pretty above average Fantasy novel - the reason for the conflict and conflict itself were a little typical, but I loved the romance and action. It isn't common for a Fantasy book to have that balance, and I read it in two sittings. I'd consider this a very good find! I'd recommend this to any Fantasy fans out there who also wants a little romance.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)