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)
*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)
*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)
LOVER AWAKENED is a very dark, very intense book. Lots of misery and tragedy. Personally I like dark and int...moreOriginally Posted at A Bookalicious Story.
LOVER AWAKENED is a very dark, very intense book. Lots of misery and tragedy. Personally I like dark and intense books, dark means that there will be action, and the hero and maybe heroine will know how to kick some real, tough ass, and intense means that I will like the writing style of the author cause the novel can incite deep emotions in me. But this is the first time that I say there's a limit to all these. Not that I didn't enjoy LA, I liked the romance, the action and the Brotherhood plenty, but I couldn't stomach how miserable it made me feel at the end. Lol, yes, it is that intense.
Zsadist is the odd ball in the Brotherhood who has deep, permanent emotional - and physical - scars from an abusive, horrifying past. Z doesn't like to get close to people, the proximity scares him, and he doesn't drink from a female vamp's vein but from a human's. That would normally not be enough to sustain a male vamp, moreover a warrior, a Brother, but that's how strong Z is, even without proper nourisment. (Imagine feeding from tofu once ever alternate day or something and fighting street thugs. Yeah, I think that's a good analogy.) So Z would never have thought that his life would actually have a hint of romance in it.
Bella is part of the aristocrat in the vampire society, a sheltered female with a protective brother and 2 doggens to wait on her and her family (brother and mother only). She's only ever been in one relationship before, but that guy proved to be a coward and they went their separate ways. Who would've thought she has a thing for dangerous males, and when she sees Z, all she can think is to get close to him, to know him. But what she discovers is a man in need, a man who has been hurt but has never been healed. And she still wants him.
But a terrifying lesser, if you'd remember Mr. O from the previous instalments, has become obsessed with Bella ever since he set eyes on her, cause when he sees her, he sees his deceased wife. Well, he's majorly screwed up upstairs, violent, one-track minded, very smart, and the Omega seems to really like him. A very dangerous combination. And when he gets his hands on Bella...
I loved to watch how Z started warming up to Bella. Like Rhage with Mary, and Wrath with Beth, Bella started to change Z for the better. I liked those parts. Haha, esepcially when Bella went into her needing period where the male has to "serve" the woman by having sex with her or the woman goes into intense pain. Hahahah, and after that Z was SPENT!XD And when Z became protective of Bella, it was very heartwarming even if he's methods aren't always conventional.
Anyway, other than Z's parts, I wasn't very taken by Bella. I've mentioned this in my review of the previous book, LOVER ETERNAL, that Bella's a little too bold for me. It's not that apparent in AWAKENED, but well, it's still there, and I thought it bordered on pesky. But that's what got through to Z cause he kept pushing her away, and if she took the hint, their thing together would never have happened, so yeah, I guess it's good for their relationship.
As always, I immersed myself into the world of the Brotherhood, and I loved it. I loved them dark and mysterious, and I read LOVER AWAKENED in one sitting. I wasn't wow-ed by the book, but I'm just somehow addicted to them, the Brotherhood. I loved the way the brothers bantered with each other like carefree boys, and how Butch is totally integrated into the Brotherhood's fold. Butch is so full of bullshit! Hahhaha, his sarcasm and wit is hilarious! He brightens up every scene he's in.
Similar to the previous two books, I don't really agree with Ward's writing style the way she alternated POVs between multiple characters. It serves a purpose, but I don't like the way I'm cut off when something interesting or major is happening with a particular character. Especially when the something happening involves Z and/or Bella.
The reason why I took that one star away from the five was because I really don't see the necessity of that death at the end. IT WAS TOTALLY UNCALLED FOR AND STUPID! &*(^&%^$^%#$%$^&*%(&! I don't want her to die.... That was the too dark and intense part. Z's and Phury's past was indeed very heartbreaking and traumatic, but I was preparing myself for the worst, seeing as how broken Z was. But that death at the end....
Anyway, I thought that until the ending, LOVER AWAKENED was a fantastic read that contains everything a Paranormal Romance fan will want - action, suspense, thrill, romance, gore, and heartbreak. I loved Z and Bella when they're together, especially when Z's not being an idiot thinking he's too filthy for Bella to touch and to be close with. Ok he's not being an idiot, I know it wouldn't have been convincing if he let Bella into his life that easily, but I really like the times when they're, well, intimate physically.
A very recommendable read, just like its prequels.["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"]>(less)
*3.5 stars* First things first: I love the cover. Seriously, I mean, look at it! It has that very soft feel...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
*3.5 stars* First things first: I love the cover. Seriously, I mean, look at it! It has that very soft feel with that white and purple color combination, and the cushions.. And of course the model's absolutely beautiful. That cover is a real winner, I tell you. It was what caught my attention, then came the synopsis mentioning Greek mythology and I knew at that moment that I was a goner; I had to read DESTINED.
**Major spoiler ahead**
Psyche is the most beautiful girl of all Greece, and after having her portrait painted, she shot to stardom. Her beauty caught the attention of Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. Aphrodite named Psyche her daughter, and in exchange for wealth and fame, she wanted Psyche to marry her immortal son, Eros (a.k.a. Cupid).
Eros, having been in love with a mortal girl once and brutally ditched, was furious when his mother proposed the idea in front of him and Psyche, who could be the very shadow of the girl he once loved. Psyche was adamant about opposing the idea of getting married so soon, and especially to a self-absorbed jerk like Eros. Since both of them disobeyed her so forthrightly, Aphrodite got mad and secretly commanded Eros to make Psyche fall in love with a hideous man who treated his woman badly. Eros would've done the deed gladly, thinking that beautiful women shouldn't be allowed to roam scot-free breaking men's hearts, but when he found Psyche crying in her garden (read the book to find out why she's crying), that gave him pause. He lowered his arrow of love/cupid arrow but accidentally nicked himself, and that made him fall in love with her with an all-consuming passion. HAH, all that historical Greek drama.
Anyway, since Eros can't let Psyche fall for another, he had to try his hand at meddling with Fate, and to circumvent his mother's orders and make Psyche fall in love with him. Kinda hard since her first impression of him is worse than bad and that she hates him already. But he did, and because of her listening to the advice of a petty, jealous kin, Psyche ruined Eros' plan and they had to go their separate ways. But Psyche can't let him go now, not when she has already lost her heart to him, so she embarks on a crazy adventure to win back Eros' trust, and to win the right to be by his side. Forever.
**End of spoiler zone**
Apart from a few flaws of the book (and they are pretty major), I did like DESTINED. It was a very beautiful narration of the historical fairytale of Cupid and Psyche.
I'll talk about the flaws first before I gush about the good. The biggest and most obvious flaw I spotted was the too-modern way of writing. I mean, you don't call someone a "twit" in Ancient Greece. The word hasn't even been invented in Ancient America! Lol, if there was such a thing. And you don't celebrate birthdays with cheesecakes. I mean, what? It's 2 generations after the epic Trojan War and you're bringing out cheesecakes? That's like 1900 B.C. we're talking about. And the way Psyche acted, she was practically a modern day American teenager. She was EIGHTEEN and she wasn't even married! Heck, her older sister wasn't even married. Girls in those days were eligible when they turn fifteen (or was that Ancient Egypt? But it shouldn't be far off)! The interactions were off and, well, just too modernised. If not for the modern language, I'd have gladly given this book a 4 or 4.5. I really liked it. A lot. But I do understand the dilemma that Harrell had because DESTINED is a YA novel, and to go with that genre, she couldn't use olden English.
Another thing I noticed, though significantly less important, is that Harrell switched from using the Greek gods and goddesses Roman and Greek names. For example, she used the name Aphrodite, which is the Greek counterpart to Venus, but she used the name Ceres, which was the Roman counterpart of Demeter. Really minor, but I saw it, so, just saying.
Thirdly, Helios wasn't the sun god anymore when Apollo was born. The titans were overthrown when the Olympians took over. In some texts, people believed that Apollo and Helios were one and the same, but in others, they believed that they were two separate entities. But even if they were two distinct gods, Apollo took over as sun god, so there couldn't be a Helios and an Apollo together in the book at the same time, and Apollo couldn't not be the sun god if he was in the story, which was what Harrell wrote.
Fourthly, even though the cover is gorgeous, it doesn't match the Ancient Greece setting. It was very misleading.
Anyway, now on to the things I did like. THE CHARACTERS!! I loved Eros and Psyche! Eros more because he was absolutely flawless, Psyche a little lesser because I'm not into pretty princesses. Much. Eros was, of course, drop-dead gorgeous and an impossible charmer, but under all that, he's just a guy suffering from a lost love and a really nice, kind, and loving romantic. Psyche, even though she indulges herself in crying when trouble comes along, she always stands up again, show the shit who's boss, always gets the job done and the problems solved. She's amazing, and she demonstrated great strength on her journey to find Eros after he left her. And when both of them are together, they are just one of the sweetest couples I have ever seen.
The first time I saw that our male protagonist would be Eros, I was thinking "isn't Cupid small, gay and so inconsequential"? And I saw reviewers gushing about him and his swoon-worthiness. I was so cynical about it all, but after I read DESTINED, I realised I was so wrong. Harrell made him sound so cheeky and so, well, sexy! And the way he wielded his arrows weren't gay at all. Trust me on this.
Other than their personalities, most of them had very human feelings. Like, for example, Chara, Psyche's older sister, felt jealousy and resentment towards Psyche when Chara was forced to marry an old king in the neighbouring, powerful country of Mycenae and Psyche got to have a handsome and charming god as her fiance. It made them seem more real and believable... More relatable.
The plot was fantastic. Harrell managed to balance romance, action, suspense, and all the other dynamics really well. I loved how she used the legend of Heracles' (or more commonly known as Hercules) 12 Labours and made a very clever imitation of it. The way Heracles was tricked into doing 12 instead of the original 10 labours because the person who ordered the labours done, who is King Eurystheus of Mycenae, managed to find loopholes. Harrell managed to do that. That, in itself, is a truly amazing feat. Subtle loopholes are difficult to create, and she actually incorporated her version of the 12 Labours (though Psyche's one was only 2) into DESTINED. Amazing, really amazing.
I have always harbored a deep interest in Greek mythology, and I loved how Harrell included some of the other gods and goddess as secondary characters. Hermes and Eros joked about stuff like brothers, Eros making Zeus fall for mortal women, and others. The only thing I was miffed about was that Hera wasn't such a philanthropist as Harrell depicted her to be. In all the history texts, Hera was, simply put, a B(itch). Nicely put, unkind. But well, her being a saint at heart worked in the protagonists' favor so I was actually feeling thankful that Hera was nice.
DESTINED is a beautiful debut novel about love, strength, and familial ties, cleverly using Greek mythology to portray these values. Other than the overly-mordernised language that bugged me a lot, I loved the cover, I loved the story, and I loved the characters... What more can a bibliophile ask for? I'd recommend this to YA Lit and Greek mythology fans.
P.S. I REALLY want a sequel!!!!! Sigh, but Harrell has just replied my tweet saying that she's planning a companion novel featuring a new couple! Well, at least now I still have something to look forward to.:D(less)
DO NOT judge a book by its cover. Seriously, this book may seem middle-gradey and younger, but there are sexual innuendoes in here. I know I've got yo...moreDO NOT judge a book by its cover. Seriously, this book may seem middle-gradey and younger, but there are sexual innuendoes in here. I know I've got you at the sexual part, so read on, folks!
Ingenious! At first when I received the ebook from the author, well, being the Paranormal Geekfan that I am, I was thinking I wouldn't like the book, but was in a very What-the-Heck mood so I accepted it. I would never have expected myself capable of ever reading a book written in verse form (I would just faint from boredom), and then enjoy it as much as I had. It was way cool; A really modern and humorous way of retelling one of the world's most famous fairytales.
You see, there once lived 8 dwarfs in the little cottage, but the 8th one was a little different, and a little weird, so the others termed him "Creepy", and the name has stuck ever since. Creepy lived up to his name, eating insects and shaving his hair, till one day the others could stand him no more, and threw him into the cellar. Poor Creepy had a kind heart, just a little dirty, if you get what I mean. And in came Snow White one day, when his brother dwarfs were out at work, and when the old lady at the door starts coming everyday to do her wicked deeds, it's up to Creepy to save the day. But will he get accepted by the others in the end?
There really isn't a main point to the story, so my summary's a little all over the place, plus the book's only 7 pages on the Adobe Digital Edition, so I couldn't divulge all the juicy contents now, could I?
Imagine creating a poem that has 2,200 words give or take... Yeah, daunting task, doesn't it seem so? But Mullin did it. Wow, I can't even conjure a 5 paragragh worth of a half-assed poem in my Literature class, and he wrote this... Lol, that is some talent there. Not only that, he incorporated wit, humor, and he even managed to address a very controversial societal subject - the message to "not judge a book by its cover" and to not ostracize anyone just because they're different or ugly came across quite clearly in a fun and engaging way.
There was humor and a subtle sexual innuendo in the book, and a child-like quality that kept it true to its origins. There was this particular part that I really, really liked:
[This is where Snow White enters the cottage of the supposedly seven dwarfs'.] "While he sat there in silence beneath the wood floor, An unwelcome creature came in the front door. “Hello?” it called out in a voice scared and thin.
A reply was not needed. She just let herself in.
“How rude!” thought Creepy in sheer disbelief, “Unless she’s a criminal. Some kind of thief. If that is the case then it serves those dopes right, The front door unlatched, yet mine is locked tight!”
He quietly moved to the place in his tomb Where he got the best view of the ground-level room. She walked overhead, and he opened his jaw, Surprised and transfixed by the sight that he saw. Her bare feet were covered with cuts and scrapes, But beyond that were far more intriguing shapes. A layer of wrinkled-up cotton and lace Covered gentle curves in the negative space. His mind raced with thoughts not entirely clean Seeing that which was clearly not meant to be seen. He thought that perhaps he should look well away ..."
Uh huh, y'think? Lol, that's about 1 and a half pages out of the 7 that I mentioned. I'm telling you, it was 7 pages worth of smiles and surprises. Little Creepy even knew sarcasm! I got a kick reading that part of the prose, it was absolutely hilarious. And unexpected.
8 was a really "hip" way of retelling the alternate history (or in this case, alternate fairytale) of Snow White, where one neglected dwarf tells his neglected story, and it also serves as a reminder to society to stop looking at what's on the outside and start looking on the inside. Oh, and to stop being biased to the good-looking, and harbouring prejudices against the uglies.
You see, there's just too much moral values that Mullin teaches inside this little book of 7 pages. So, what's stopping you from picking this book up?(less)
*4.5 stars* The first thing that came to me after I read the The End was: Perfect. Actually no, scratch tha...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
*4.5 stars* The first thing that came to me after I read the The End was: Perfect. Actually no, scratch that. The first thing that came were actually incoherent "WOWOWOWOWOWOW" then came the finality of "Perfect". I think that this book is definitely well-deserving of that adjective. And shortly after that came the shoutings (still in my head, of course) demanding the sequel for FRACTURED LIGHT.
Llona Reese has been an orphan since she was ten - her mother died when she was but a toddler by a Vyken, a demon who can walk in sunlight only if it drank the blood of an Aura, and her dad when she was ten hunting down the Vyken who killed his Aura wife. She's been on the move with her uncle, Jake, who was more of an older brother, trying not to stay in one place for too long and not making any friends who would just become a burden in her heart. But this time, Llona doesn't feel like moving. She's found a friend in May, and was saved from a painful fall by Christian, who quickly won her trust and subsequently, her heart.
People are dying one-by-one in Bountiful, and they all somehow has a connection to Llona - the high heel of the victim ends up on her lawn, the victim's body left in her car and blood splattered onto her car. And with her guard slipping, her luck doesn't hold up for too long, cause now that she's settled down in Bountiful, Utah, it makes her easy prey, and the Vyken that made her an orphan all those years back isn't going to let her slip through his fingers quite so easily this time..
Let me just say this again cause I can hardly contain the excitement within me: I loved, absolutely adored FRACTURED LIGHT. Even though it took some time to immerse myself into the scenes, it was still an attention-grabber and after the initial few pages, I was honestly hooked! It is a magnificent story with very realistic and relatable characters, and a fantastic yet believable plot that was simply filled with action, suspense, thrill, romance, and surprises. And a little fear added into the mix along with the aforementioned thrill. The best thing I liked about the plot was that I couldn't guess what was about to happen next! Y'know usually (and almost always for YA novels) readers would be able to predict or have an idea of how a story will play out and who would end up how, but I couldn't, at all, for FL. That was how good it was, and it literally kept me glued to its pages, turning it as fast as my brain could read. It was amazing, really.
I loved McClellan's writing style, I really do. It was mature, humorous, witty, and really entertaining. An example:
[Christian (male protagonist) is speaking to Llona]
“I never told you, but the first time I saw you, I thought I was looking at an angel. You were walking to school wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. You’d taken off your hat when you thought no one was looking and your hair fell down your back like wings unfolding. I think this was one of the rare times I saw you as your true self.”
If I could talk, I would’ve been speechless.
A little cheesy at the start, but I was stunned for a few minutes then I started cracking up. Hah! The irony is epic. You have to be in the moment to have found as much humor in it like I did. Ohoh, and another one (but this one's a little more somber):
" That night I focused more on my light bullets, and with the moon’s cycle no longer affecting my strength, thanks to Christian’s very dangerous, yet highly effective training on the mountain, it came much easier. In a matter of days, I had them piercing through just about anything. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that something big was coming. The tick tock of death’s clock was growing louder. "
I loved the way she phrased things, it gave it a very sophisticated feel, and I had such an enjoyable time reading it. Unlike those YA, and sometimes Adult Fiction novels, who employs a more informal (and a little childish) writing style.
I loved the cast. As I've mentioned before, the entire cast is made up of very realistic and relatable characters. Which means that I would probably have acted and chosen the things that they chose to do at any specific circumstance. I'm not explaining this right. Y'know how sometimes authors make heroines (or heroes) choose an option which is obviously the wrong, and most of the time the stupid one, just so that there can be a plot to elaborate on where there was now an obstacle to be overcomed by the protagonists? But FL wasn't like that. Even though Llona (properly pronounced as E-o-na, by the way) was mature and always picked the sensible option, shit just somehow manages to find a fan to hit, and trouble always ends up at her door. It made it all the more engrossing to read.
Oh, and don't let me get started on Christian. He is one hot Guardian. Yes, he is Llona's guardian! AHHH, haha! Every Aura out in the world is assigned a guardian, and Christian's Llona's!! Lol, Christian's Llona's. Sounds funny. (Random musing: Why are all the Christians I'm reading about so hot? The book I'm reading now, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, is about one Christian Grey, whom I feel obliged to say, is a goddamned alpha male. Trust me on it; I can hardly keep my attention away from the book - and him - for more than a few minutes! But I'm digressing) Because of his enhanced genetic makeup, Christian moves faster than normal human beings, and is stronger. Please don't compare him with a vamp cause that's totally de-cooling him. He's so much more awesome than them. And way, waaaay, more awesome.
The only thing I found odd was the cover. It's beautiful, yes that it is, but it misled me to think that this was going to be a Fantasy novel, but it turned out to be URBAN-Fantasy. Lol, not that I minded, not at all actually, just... It was misleading. This may be a for me only, but just saying.
I'd love for all of you good readers to be able to read FRACTURED LIGHT also, but it's only going to be released approximately 2 months from now..:( Haha, do I sound like I'm gloating?XP Anyway, since you're reading this review (past all my verbosity before), I assume that you and I have similar tastes in books, so I humbly beseech you to get your hand on a copy of FL when it's out. I assure you it's totally worth your money, time, effort, living space, and brain space.
I went on to read the bio on the author, and was pleasntly shocked! LOL! I have to quote this since I know most readers won't go on back to read the acknowledgements:
" Rachel McClellan was born and raised in Idaho, a place secretly known for its supernatural creatures. When she’s not in her writing lair, she’s partying with her husband and four small children. Her love for storytelling began as a child when the moon first possessed the night. For when the lights went out, her imagination painted a whole new world. And what a scary world it is . . . "
It's so unique..and cool! And the picture she posted was very ghost-like, mind you. I freaked out a little when I flipped the page and a big, half the page, ghost-Rachel was staring out at me. *shudder*
Oh and Rachel replied to my email saying that there will be a sequel!!!!! SQUEAALLLL! But it's only going to be out Feb, 2013. *sobs uncontrollably* Lol, my rep is totally tarnished with the sobs.["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"]>(less)