***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** Clara is a Nephilian, a Quartarious to be exact, meaning she was born one quarter angel, the blood of the...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** Clara is a Nephilian, a Quartarious to be exact, meaning she was born one quarter angel, the blood of the angels running through her veins. Her mother is a Demetrious, a half human-half angel who passed the blood down to Clara upon her birth. Each of those with the blood of the angels is born with a calling, a destiny that comes to them in visions between the ages of sixteen and their twenties or so. Clara receives hers at the beginning of the novel. She gets reoccurring visions of a boy in a burning forest fire. The visions occur day or night and with each she seems to gather a little more information about where he is and where she needs to be to save him. When the glimpses lead her to Wyoming, the entire family picks up and moves to the small town of Jackson Hole Wyoming so that Clara can fulfill her destiny. Only meeting one's destiny isn't as easy as it sounds. The boy is Christian Prescott, the dream guy at school who has an extremely possessive and witchy girlfriend. His social status makes him pretty much unapproachable. She only manages to make two friends and the twin brother of one of them becomes the bane of her existence. When things start to change and the bane of her existence becomes the boy she falls in love with Clara must choose between her destiny and her heart, and neither decision will truly make her happy.
I really don't like rating books, I like writing reviews, giving my opinions of them, but it so hard for me to decide on an accurate rating. I debated between three and four stars with this one. It wasn't a bad book, in fact I'm curious about the next in the series, but it also wasn't one of those novels I could see myself rereading many times. I decided to go with a four stars because the positives about this story outweighed the negatives and probably deserved the better rating.
The first thing that bugged me from the start was the entire story is first person, present tense. I don't mind a well written first person novel, but reading it in the present tense is just abrasive to me as reader. I have trouble connecting with books written in first person present tense, and find reading them a little jarring.
I didn't have trouble relating to Clara as a character, we had too much in common, not that I've got super powers or anything. But I felt sorry for her from page one, ending up with a name like Clara since I narrowly avoided the name Clara Belle as an infant, my mother loved the name, my father fortunately talked her out of it. I will be forever grateful not to have the same name as cartoon cow. Additionally the more I got to know this character the more she took me back to my teenage years, unfortunately not in a good way. Do you remember the awkward stages, and the constant mental obsession with those awkward teenage social faux pas? The part of your teenage years that you do your best to forget when you grow up into an adult and leave high school behind you. This is the part of my teenage years that this book, this character, connected me back to. I'll admit I wasn't really comfortable with that. I had to keep putting the book down to get past that feeling of mortal embarrassment every time a scene of this nature occurred in Clara's life. In a way I guess this is good because it says that Hand has created a main character who grabs you, but as a person that developed all sorts of defense mechanisms to stay away from that feeling I can't say I was comfortable with experiencing it again through Clara's eyes.
The leading character was well developed with believable flaws and attributes considering she has angel blood. The same can't be said of most of the other character. It's not that they don't have flaws, it's that other than Tucker, Hand doesn't really let us in to the other characters beyond the facade they present to the world. Without being able to see beyond the social veneers of the other characters it's difficult to relate to any characters other than Clara and Tucker.
Another thing that bugged me is that outside characters seemed to be constantly telling Clara that is wasn't always about her, the thing is the situations where this occurred in my opinion never warranted that comment. I didn't see her character as all that self-centered and it seemed odd to me that the writer kept throwing in other characters accusing her of being so. Maybe if she behaved as a self-centered person I would have understood, but that really wasn't the case with this character.
The ending was a bit of a let down, I just figured with all that build up there'd be a little more to it, but other than that I don't really have many complaints with the plot. The book had an intriguing plot that draws you in and you keep turning the pages to discover what will happen next in this interesting story. It's exciting, emotional and filled with teenage angst. Overall I'd recommend the book with the warning that if you don't want to be pulled back to those awkward teenage moments in your life where you wished you could bury yourself under a rock, this book may not be a comfortable read. If you can get past that connection with the leading character however it's definitely worth picking up and reading. (less)
Paradox: The Angels Are Here is an introduction to many characters, Ab...moreRECEIVED FROM: The Author For Review
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Paradox: The Angels Are Here is an introduction to many characters, Abaddon, an angel vampire creature, second in command of the Grigorian Angel Demon creatures, only second to his brother Cerebrus. Juliette, an angel who sort of serves as an introductory narrator. And Grace, a human child with strange nightmares and angels constantly flocking to her who serves as the main character in this tale. Grace is unaware of the many angels around her and the reason for this isn't even revealed to the reader in the course of this novel. Her father is aware of what's going on though that's not completely explained either and the angels become even more prevalent in Grace's life when he passes on in what's she's told is a mining accident.
I know that's not the best summary of a book, however it's the best one I can put together with so many things going on in this novel, hopefully my explanations in the review will better serve for an explanation of the book.
Have you ever read a book where a good editor would have made all the difference? Paradox: The Angels Are Here is one such novel in my personal opinion. The synopsis listed for this book focuses on Juliette, a character who had an entire two pages of presence in the novel. Her entering voice is a compelling opening, but after that she just disappears, lost in the tale of the strange fantasy read that follows.
Scene changes in the novel are abrupt and confusing, especially toward the beginning. It does smooth out a little later in the novel, but I often found myself stopping and asking what is going on and where did this character come from before realizing the author had transitioned into a different scene.
The writing jumps between past and present tense, which is extremely confusing and changes point of views so often it's almost whiplash like in it's effect. She head hops within the third person, which while I know this point of view opens the ability to jump into a variety of minds, it's not meant to be jumping every other sentence. In addition to this she jumps back and forth between first and third person point of view and at one point even includes the rarely used second person point of view. I understand that most of the time when she moves to the first person she's trying to show a dream sequence but unless that dream sequence is a part of a conversation it would be better identified with the use of italic font than a point of view switch. And honestly I don't think she meant to include the small section of second person point of view. It wasn't long enough to come across as something she planned when writing. It's more just there.
She begins multiple plots in the course of this story, a baby being born on the night of his grandfather's death, the birth being strange with the medical staff being even stranger. The little girl growing up with only an angel she thinks is imaginary for a friend, losing her father, befriending hidden angels. The odd war and the politics within the Griogorian family. Unfortunately for the reader she never fully explains any of these plots and they don't quite blend together right, so I spent most of the novel wonder what was going on. I think the plots have something to do with each other of course, but the lack of explanation in each plot and subplot is probably what causes the lack of these stories really weaving together. Also none of the plot lines encompass a full story arc, therefore the book is more of an introduction to this vast cast of characters leaving the reader curious as to exactly what they have to do with each other. As there are further novels planned for the series I believe the writer intends to explain this at a further date, however I truly to believe she needed to do a little more explaining in the first novels to better encourage readers to read the second.
The quick jumps from plot to plot also make it close to impossible to get to know any of the characters and really relate to them.
While her descriptions are well written and almost prose like at points, especially in the beginning the sections of them are so long it distracts the reader from the actual plot and by the time she comes back from the descriptions to the story you can't remember what was going on. She needs to find a way to weave these well written descriptions into the text without putting them in giant block that don't serve to move her story forward in anyway.
What saves this book is two things. One the writer is actually very talented, she can weave together a well written sentence and has a very strong voice. Two she's got some great plot lines going on, though they are extremely unorganized when presented in this story. If she'd expanded and explained more on any of the plots connecting them better, lengthening the time spent in each story line the book really would have been a page turner. Her ideas are excellent, it's her follow through that's not quite there yet. What Roberts really needs is to be paired up with a shrewd and experienced editor who can help her with transitioning and point of view. Someone who will point out the writing issues that make her story hard to follow before she publishes the story and an editor strong enough to make her voice heard. The combination of Robert's talent and imagination with a shrewd and experienced editor would make an unstoppable pair. However I will mention that this is a debut novel, her only other release being a book that she felt wasn't actually ready for publishing, and many writers are shaky on form and organization on their first novels. I can only hope that with experience her style will become more organized and easier to follow.(less)
Leah Noble McQuarrie has spent the last decade living a time that’s not her own. She’s rebuilt the life de...more ***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Leah Noble McQuarrie has spent the last decade living a time that’s not her own. She’s rebuilt the life destroyed by the Nuadian fae in the past and was quite content to have done so if it meant she was safe from those who sought to harm her. She was content within the McQuarrie keep with her adoptive grandparents until their eldest son showed up taking over the keep and trying to force her into marriage with a mean-spirited, high ranking old man. She’s been held against her will once and Fairies attempt to use her body as a brood mare, she’ll not do it again. Though she’s turned her back on her heritage she has no choice but to escape the keep she calls home and seek the MacKiernans who Mairi said would help her if she should ever need them.
When Andrew MacAllister comes across a drowning lass while on one of his trips to find a cure for his injured leg he doesn’t think twice about saving her and though it goes against his better judgment he can’t resist coming to her aide and bringing her to DunArd even though if he were the laird he wouldn’t endanger his people to save hers. There’s something about her that he can’t walk away from. When he discovers she’s fae with the ability to heal, he thinks he’s found his dream come true. After all they put him through the Fairies owe him this. Except for all that Leah asks of him, she denies her heritage and the existence of her gift, absolutely refusing the one thing he wants from her. When circumstances find him married to her he believes that she’ll have no choice but to help him regain his life. But with Leah’s only goal to save the McQuarrie and his desire to protect his own people it seems they’ll never see eye to eye. Will he be able to convince Leah to help him even though he can’t give her the one thing she wants? Will Leah be able to save her new family without him?
Now this is what I’m talking about, the series picks up with the same flair it had in its beginning with this latest installment of the Daughters of the Glenn Series. I mentioned in my last review I’ve been waiting to hear Leah’s story. While I did get the love story I was looking for, the reason I didn’t give this a five star review is because the back story I’d been curious about wasn’t there. The story was great don’t get me wrong, but the only reason I really understood anything at all during this story was that I’d read all the previous titles before this one. If a person hadn’t already read the previous series titles and started with this one they’d have no idea what made Leah so reluctant to claim her heritage. The details of her captivity with the Nuadian fae are like one or two sentences out of the whole book. On top of we also get next to nothing of her adjustments to the new time period and the new life. While I think the story was a wonderful read it was also a bit of a letdown. She’s created this haunted female lead, a woman even more haunted than her crippled hero, but doesn’t let us inside that past that makes her who she’s become. I’ve been looking forward to this book since I met Leah two books ago, to not get the story I wanted was disappointing and I have to think I’m not alone in having wanted more of Leah’s past brought into this story, even if it were in a conversation where she told Drew about what happened, the complete truth. As it stands upon finishing this book it seems that Drew has no real idea of Leah’s past or why she’s in his time and she has no intention of telling him. To neglect spilling the story of such a vital part of this character I think diminishes the potential she’s set up in this book. However don’t get me wrong despite my complaints I really did enjoy the book. While I didn’t get as many secondary characters scenes as I usually enjoy in Mayhue’s other titles, the focus she gives to her main characters and their plights is worth reading. As all of the other titles it’s a fast paced, well written, third person novel. While the fae magic is discussed and the reason behind both leading characters’ hatred of the fae is glossed over a bit there aren’t actually any fae making an appearance in the novel which is a bit different from many of the other titles in the series. Other than Leah’s own powers most of the major magic is references to things that have occurred in past novels. However she brings the characters nicely into their time period by firmly bring the dissension between Scotland and England into the story. The story holds the constant threat of real danger and adventure, but doesn’t go as much into the life threatening scenes of previous novels, probably because the character are both against violence for the most part. I’m writing this and thing boy this isn’t coming out like what I have in my head but I hope you can understand that while the primary plot is the romance the secondary plot is equally interesting. It’s the type of page turner you can’t put down or walk away from especially if you’re a fan of Mayhue’s work. While the novel that introduce Leah was a bit of a letdown as you saw in my review of that book, the set up it provided for the last two titles was well worth the weak link in the series.
Characters are in my opinion Mayhue’s greatest strength and though she relied on previous titles to give readers most of the background on the leading characters in this story she did bring us firmly into their worlds, their hearts and their mind. She’s again created two well developed characters with believable strength and weakness that are easy to relate to. Leah and Drew are probably the most haunted of any character Mayhue has introduced to us yet. I’ll admit I think having more of the back story included in the book could have strengthened these characters considerably but they are nonetheless two of the most memorable characters I’ve seen in her works so far. Mayhue doesn’t spend as much time on secondary character development as she did in her other works, but since many of the characters are recognizable to series regulars I guess she’s able to get away with it. I’ll admit to wanting to know more about some of the secondary characters within this novel and where their paths eventually lead but overall I was happy with the characterization presented in this novel.
In conclusion now that you’ve suffered through probably one of my more poorly written review yet, the book is highly recommended to reader of historical and fantasy romance, though more the first than the second as the magic doesn’t have as much of a play in this novel as it has in other titles. However I do recommend reading the other Daughters of the Glenn Series titles before reading this one since as I mentioned above Mayhue relies a lot on the content of those novels to fill in the blanks in this one rather than recounting the back story that series regulars would already know. (less)
RECEIVED FROM: Library Thing Member Giveaways for Review Purposes
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Daphne is a young mother living in the en...moreRECEIVED FROM: Library Thing Member Giveaways for Review Purposes
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Daphne is a young mother living in the enchanted city of Trevell. The city is cared for by the union of a phoenix and a silver ash tree, every hundred years the phoenix renews it's spirit into the great tree and the phoenix, the tree and the city are reborn anew, fixed and shiny again. In the interim, near the end as the phoenix fades before rebirth the city slowly dwindles away, dirty and falling apart with small harvests and sick people. Unfortunately for the people of Trevell, the silver ash is dying and when it is time for the phoenix's rebirth she refuses to be reborn into the tree because she doesn't want to die too. Instead she merges her spirit into Daphne's body much to the anger of all the city's resident. Now Daphne must figure out how to save the tree and the city before they kill her because the believe she stole the spirit of the phoenix from them.
This story is a delightful short read which combines a variety of ancient myths from multiple cultures into one fairy tale like story. The musical lilt of the authors voice slowly draws you and immerses you in the lives of Daphne and the people of Trevell. The book does read like a fairy tale and is in many parts told to the reader rather than shown. A closer point of view would have allowed for both a faster pace to this novel that I think could have greatly benefited the work. And while I also believe it would have allowed for a better connection to the characters within the story with a closer voice than the one provided, the distance narrator-like voice actually does still work for this novel. That's not something I'd usually say with a modern novel, but Llewelyn manages to pull it off brilliantly.
The opening actually reminds me of the beginning of the movie Ella Enchanted, (I haven't had the opportunity to read the book yet) though it doesn't seem quite as silly as that movie is presented at it's opening. Reading it I was surprisingly able to still connect to the main character of Daphne, though the distance of narration made it difficult to connect to any character beyond Daphne. You could sort of feel their plights through their actions and words, but they seemed too far away to really relate. However with the manner in which this story is told, it doesn't matter in the same way that it normally would within a novel when you can't really relate to a character. Due to the fact that it's based on this blending of myth, it reads much like a myth where it's less important to connect to the characters within the story and more important to grasp the morals or lessons portrayed through the story.
While the novel is on the short side, Llewelyn manages to neatly pack everything needed within the text leaving the reader with a sense of fulfillment upon finishing the story that's actually becoming uncommon among other recently published literary works. While his summary at the end promises future works from Daphne's world, the writer doesn't feel the need to leave the many frustrating lose ends common in recent works from other writers.
This is a well written fairy tale and the only fault I can find with it is that I think it might have been more exciting in a more real-time close narrative. However even without that, it's an excellent read that once you begin you'll have trouble putting down. I highly recommend this book to younger readers, though I think many adults will still find enjoyment in the tale of Daphne and her city as well. (less)
Robbie MacQuarrie has spent the last few years living in a time that’s not his own. His friend’s wife Cate...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Robbie MacQuarrie has spent the last few years living in a time that’s not his own. His friend’s wife Cate brought him forward with them to save his life and while he’s grateful to her, he can’t help but regret not being able to fulfill the promise he’d made to a dying friend to take care of the man’s daughter. When the opportunity comes up to go back, with a new ward that needs to escape the present, Robbie jumps at the chance. It isn’t that he doesn’t love the time he’s in, it’s that he has obligations he can’t walk away from in the past that it’s long past time he fulfill. He expects to return to shortly after he left when he arrives two decades later he wonders if he’s too late. Isabella MacGahan has spent the last two decades pretending to be crazy in order to live away from her people. The half fae granddaughter of the laird can’t help that her emotions seem to affect the weather, but she’ll be damned if she’ll live with the fear in her grandfather’s eyes that occurs because of it. She knows she’s destined to live alone because of the curse of her heritage and it doesn’t bother her that she can’t marry, well until her long lost Guardian shows up to claim her. Robbie is different from everyone else, or at least he seems that way. Fortunately Isabella knows that people aren’t always what they seem and it’s only a matter of time before he treats her just like the rest. If he would only go and leave her in peace, maybe her heart would be safe. But there’s more going on at the MacGahan keep than Isabella has noticed and her life is in danger whether she sees that or not. Robbie can’t just leave her there, not when he’s already left her alone for so long. But will he be able to protect her from the dangers of her own people?
Mayhue makes an excellent come back from the let down in her last book with this sixth installment of the Daughter of the Glen Series. The story picks up right where the previous one left off, but unlike the last novel Mayhue returns with her original voice rather than catering to trends. I definitely prefer Mayhue’s own style to what she wrote in the last novel where she sort of copycatted other styles to follow the sales trends. Her original stories such as this one, while they don’t cater as much to trends, are better written and have a more interesting plot. The foreshadowing was a bit obvious in this one, but it didn’t make the journey any less interesting. While I did debate between a three and four star because it wasn’t as good as the first four novels, it was so much better than the fifth novel that I didn’t feel right giving it the same rating. As with all the novels I’ve read of Mayhue’s so far the book is a well written close third person with a fast pace. Sex is included, but it is used sparingly and to accent the love story rather than just having sex scenes for the sake of sex. However, one thing I didn’t like is that only a chapter or so before the first sex scene occurred Robbie was hell-bent on not touching his ward in any sort of sexual manner, but when the opportunity truly presents itself there’s not a single resistance from him in sight. It also took me a bit of time to get used to the idea of the leading couple in the novel. Robbie was supposed to return to the time he left where he intended to fulfill his word to take care of his friend’s seven year old daughter, instead he’s returned twenty years later making his young ward a twenty seven year old woman and the female lead in this romance. I know the age of their bodies at this point is only a few years difference, but he was born a long time before she was and initially the idea that the two of them would hook up struck me as kind of wrong. I mean I got over it as I kept reading, but the idea of him sleeping with the child put into his care even if she is no longer a child didn’t set well with me. Logically I know there’s nothing wrong with it, but emotionally it didn’t seem right to me. I also didn’t like not getting to see much of Leah, I spent the entire last novel curious about the girl and how she’ll recover from what she’s been through, how she’ll fit into the world she’s fled to, a world so very unlike her own. Then Leah’s basically left with his mom within the first chapter or two and we only see her for one more scene right before the end. Leah’s a character I’m really curious about and since I saw the next book is her story it might have affected my opinion of this one since I spent most of it wishing I could read faster to get to her story. However in all fairness this was a great story as well. Additionally I felt as if the lore behind the stories changed again. Before they said to be a Guardian you must have fae blood so that you can live for so long to fulfill the duties of a Guardian, but Robbie doesn’t have Fairy blood and he becomes a Guardian at the beginning of this novel. Connor who also wasn’t previously mentioned as a Guardian was at his ceremony and the scene was portrayed as if Connor had been a Guardian all along. The concept of the Guardian’s wasn’t even introduced until the second novel so I feel if he was inducted into the Guardians they really should have mentioned it somewhere in the past five novels in the series. My final issue with this novel is that while the other novels in the past did push some boundaries on what would have logically been allowed, Isabella’s life is so far outside what would normally have occurred that it’s hard to believe. The excuse for her being allowed this freedom is her fairy magic that affects the weather. It seems more likely that her powers would have caused her to be tried as a witch than for her to be allowed to live her life with such freedom as she does in this novel. Other than those qualms I enjoyed the story. It was interesting to be brought into the politics within the keep. I enjoyed the scenes with Roland Lardiner and his daughter Agneys especially, seeing things through their eyes somewhat like was done in the previous novel, but not in the sleazy sexual way. I would have liked to see some in her Grandfather’s point of view because I thought he was a fairly interesting character, but the book was fine without it and kept me interested from beginning to end.
As I’ve mentioned in my other reviews Mayhue has a talent for developing both interesting leading characters as well as interesting secondary characters. There was so much going on inside the keep Robert ended up at that Mayhue couldn’t help but build wellrounded secondary characters because without them the story would never have worked. Robert is a well rounded and likeable male lead, though I didn’t feel as if we got to know him as well as we had characters in other novels. Isabella was also a multifaceted character though I’ll agree with other reviews that her naivety did get annoying at time because it seemed every time she turned around she was rushing off following on emotion and getting herself into less than promising situations. The book has a lot more in plot line than its predecessors and I can’t help but wonder if the primary character development suffered a little because of that. The secondary characters were as developed as they were in the previous novels, but the main characters I just didn’t feel like I knew them as well as I had gotten to know Mayhue’s past leading characters.
Overall I’d definitely recommend the book to lovers of fantasy, historical and time travel romance. It’s a good story with interesting characters which is most definitely worth reading. (less)
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** Sarah Douglas is an American Author who has decided to spend a few months in Scotland because one she's ho...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** Sarah Douglas is an American Author who has decided to spend a few months in Scotland because one she's hoping it will help her overcome her writer's block and two she believes that fate is pulling her there, to that country, to that cottage. She believes that at that moment it's where she's supposed to be. After spending close to a lifetime of not being able to touch someone without being violently drawn into their thoughts and feelings, she's decided to stop denying her gift and to go where fate takes her. Fate takes her to the doorstep of Fae Guardian Ian McCullough. Ian is a 600 year old war of half fae and half human blood who's mission is to protect the gateway between the human and fae worlds from the evil Fairies - the Nuadian. What apparently only Sarah doesn't know, is her presence presents a risk to Ian and his mission, she's a descendant of the fae as well and as a female descendant she can both see the gate and should she chose to lead the Nuadian right to it. Sarah is quickly drawn into the a web of new faces, new people and new agendas. She doesn't even know if they're all sane, let alone who to trust and to make matters worse she's finds herself undeniably attracted to Ian who looks close to a decade younger than her. In her mind the relationship is entirely inappropriate, but when Ian returns her interest she finds it difficult to turn away. Should she follow her heart or trust what she knows? And when both sides have people she feels she can trust, how can she possibly know which one is right and exactly who deserves her allegiance? Sarah finds herself on an unbelievable adventure of love, magic and dangers that even her writer's imagination could never have envisioned.
This is the second book in the Daughters of the Glen series, however since the ties between the two books are slim it's very easily a stand alone title. There is one small scene where the characters from the first book make a cameo, but other than that until the epilogue it's hard to see how the two books are even connected with the exception of the fact that faeries (though for the most part it's not the same faeries) are characters in both books.
The book was both well-written and exciting, a tale which draws you in and keeps your turning the pages until it's conclusion. As romance it does include sex, however the few scenes of this nature enhance the plot rather than exist for the purpose of having a sex scene.
I had two main issues with this book, the first of which is Sarah. Like in the previous book, the female lead begins as a walking doormat. She does have a lot of character growth and becomes a stronger woman by the stories conclusion, but I'd like to see a heroine from Mayhue that doesn't begin as a woman that you can more easily feel sorry for and ignore instead of a woman with some backbone that you can route for. Sarah sees her gifts as a curse and believes that because of them no one is capable of loving her. She's divorced from a man who married her for her trust fund and belittled her to the point that she barely has an self worth. She can't even find pride in her work, skirting around the genre she writes when questioned by Ian upon meeting him. I get that there are reasons for her skittish behavior, however the character needs a little more to begin with that doormat status. Yes these characters give a lot of opportunity for growth in the course of the novel, but they aren't someone you can respect upon meeting them because they themselves don't seem to possess self respect.
The second thing that bothered me about this book is the relationship between Ian and Sarah. The intense feelings between them seem to develop almost out of no where, born more of mutual attraction than of mutual respect. The communication between the two characters doesn't include enough trust and disclosure to the other person for me to really view this relationship as love. If they characters had spent a little more time talking and little less mentally obsessing I might have seen how this could be love, but I'm not the type of reader who will accept that a couple are soul-mates just because someone says so. I want to see more action to prove that this is the case rather than relying on what the faeries believe to be true.
All of the characters in this story as in the first are extremely well-rounded with the exception of the Nuadian villain, possessing both believable positive and negative attributes. I particularly enjoyed meeting the supporting characters of Will, the young boy who shares Sarah's gift and Ramos Servans who is a good guy in a villain role. What I loved about Ramos's character is that he really believes what he's fighting for is right, the problem is he's been raised not actually knowing the truth of the situation. I look forward to seeing more of both minor characters in future works.
Overall this book is a great read, though I think it will appeal more to reader of urban fantasy than those of romance. Highly recommended.(less)
Destiny Noble has given up every penny she has searching for her missing sister, a sister that no one but...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Destiny Noble has given up every penny she has searching for her missing sister, a sister that no one but she believes is kidnapped – a sister that she bears the responsibility for. When her prophetic dreams point her toward Coryell Enterprises, she quickly emails them in hopes that they’ll be the answer to her prayers. When Jesse Coryell hears a new secretary in the office talking about a nut case named Destiny who keeps emailing them he can’t help but be reminded of what his fae niece said to him the night before – “Go and Find Your Destiny.” He though she was speaking figuratively, but considering she’s only seven, she might have been being literal and the coincidence is too much for him to walk away from. So he uses his vacation to check out this potential client that his company wouldn’t usually take on. When he finds her being abducted by a Nuadian fae he realizes that he can’t walk away. Together the two race across the country pursuing the Nuadian’s in search of her sister. But will they be able to get past the wrongs of their pasts in order to trust each other and if they can’t will Destiny’s sister be the one left to suffer?
I’ve been slowly making my way through this series, it’s quite addicting, but this latest installment has an entirely different feel to it than the others. Like Ian and Sarah’s story, this one is set entirely in the present but unlike that one it does include some familiar characters from other books. They style to it though was much unlike Mayhue’s other novels and it’s almost as if she’s trying to replicate Cheyenne McCray’s racy multi-sided sex scenes. Meaning that in McCray’s novels you glimpse both sides of sex, the more sensual, emotion based sex of the hero and heroine and the seedy carnal sex of the villains. It’s a compare and contrast sort of thing that McCray pulls off with flair, but one writer’s signature style doesn’t necessarily work for another and Mayhue’s seedy scenes with the villains, even though they didn’t quite go into the full act, just sort of fell flat for me. I mean maybe if I’d never read McCray’s work the idea would seem original to me but Adira’s scenes in this novel were too similar to McCray’s work for me to see it as anything other than a copycat move that I consider to be beneath the author doing it. I realize they both write what is considered to be formula romance, but what makes formula romance still have fans after all these years is the original styles and characters that each author brings to the genre, to have one so closely mimic another just threw off the whole book for me. Also I understand that in a series each book builds on the legend, world, myths (I’m not finding the word I really want here but I’m hoping you get the picture) of the others, but I personally feel there’s a line which crosses between natural progression and farfetched to the point that it almost seems reaching. In this novel it almost feels as if the writer has walked away from her initial visions in order to follow trends. First the Nuadin Fae keep their youth by stealing the souls of human (which by the way seems straight out of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter Series to me.) and then their drinking blood to obtain the ability to do more damage and steal the power of half fae descendents. If I had any intention of giving the writer the benefit of doubt about trying to follow the vampire craze so popular in fiction, it was dashed when she went so far as to claim the vampire legend actually came from ancient fairies who had drunk the blood of humans to gain powers. And I’ve loved this series so far so I have to wonder what the author was thinking to have strayed so far from the initial original style of her works in this novel. When looking at the reviews on Goodreads it seems as though I’m in the minority for my opinions here but for the book just not measure up in any way shape or form to the rest of the series. I mean besides the gimmicky changes and the copycat like styles mentioned about it’s well written with both a love story and a decent outside plot but I’m disappointed when I compare it to the rest of the series. Sex is used lightly however in my opinion it’s used at all the wrong times, I mean seriously if someone I was responsible for was kidnapped I wouldn’t be even thinking about sex while they were in danger and I was still searching for them. Destiny had her priorities all sorts of messed up in this novel in my opinion. Like the other novels it’s told in a close third person, but while time travel is mentioned this is one of the few novels where we never get to actually see someone shifting centuries.
The characters were fairly well developed but there was a lot more focus on plot in this novel than characters. I almost feel as more effort went into developing secondary characters like the villain Adira than the primary characters of Jesse and Destiny. I liked the opening scenes where we got to see a little bit more inside Rosie’s head since she’s a reoccurring character but I didn’t like how she just disappeared after telling Jesse to go and find his Destiny. You’d think if she were having these awful visions and nightmares she’d have been in the book for more than just the opening scenes. Jesse and Destiny were I guess well developed, but not as well as some of the previous characters in Mayhue’s book, I also found these characters very difficult to relate to.
Overall it was a good book, all right for a one time read, but not a great one and is so far the weakest link in Mayhue’s Daughters of the Glenn Series. She did manage some nice set ups for future titles so I do plan to continue reading the series but not with as much excitement as I had before reading this novel. I’d recommend the book to readers of contemporary and fantasy romance, but I’d check it out of the library before spending money because it’s one of those borderline books where you may love it but you may hate it as well.(less)
Ellie Denton’s life is falling apart, if it weren’t enough to lose her mother, the last of her family she...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Ellie Denton’s life is falling apart, if it weren’t enough to lose her mother, the last of her family she has a rose shaped mark appear on her chest and her former stepfather just showed up and took everything she owned claiming it as his because her mother never bothered to divorce the man. Worse, she’s losing her mind because she swears she can hear animals talking to her. So when she’s drowning in her own tears over her favorite Highlander romance novel as she’s hiding on her own land she makes a silly wish for her one true love and a highlander of her own. What she doesn’t count on is that she’s a descendent of the Fae and that mark is the sign she’d been granted the powers rightfully hers, making her wish a spell that whisks her into the thirteenth century into the barn of none of other than Caden MacAlister. After his betrothed betrayed him nine years ago almost causing the deaths of his cousin and sister just to get away from her marriage to him Caden wants nothing to do with women. He’s certain the fates have decreed he’s not meant to fall in love so when Ellie shows up in her foreign clothes he sees her as nothing other than another Fae problem he doesn’t want to deal with. He doesn’t count on being irresistibly attracted to her. He need to figure out why he’s there so he can send her home or marry her off to one of his brothers, whichever is more convenient. When he falls for her he’s not sure what he wants anymore, but will the Fae who’ve tempted him with her take her away again?
I debated between four and five stars for this book, I mean I really loved it, the journey was a pure delight to read. I couldn’t immediately think of issues which should have given me adequate reason to give it a five stars, but for some reason I didn’t think it was quite five stars yet. So I had to sit and think, what bothered me about this book to the point I wasn’t ready to give it a perfect rating. Then I realized it was some of the set up, minor details that had been bothering me. First of all the idea that Ellie lost her home in that manner didn’t quite make sense. Whether or not his brother in law was the sheriff or not if you don’t leave a will I was under the impression and correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the state then decided what was to become of your things and could legally actually take them. Additionally whether her mother was divorced or not, if she’d been separated from her ex for a considerable period of time as it sounded and the property was hers before meeting him I would think the blood daughter she has would have more claim to the property than the spouse she’d kicked out years ago. And while I’ll admit small town law enforcement can get away with a lot more than they should, there’s too many other legal systems in place like the state police and doesn’t Texas have their rangers, for something quite this disastrous to just up and happen. So the set up I find a little hard to believe and although I LOVED the twist in the epilogue, I also find that a little bit hard to believe as well especially if both women were Texans. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense if you haven’t read the book but to give more than that away would spoil the epilogue and while I know I give away more spoilers than I should, I don’t write reviews intending to give away their twists and moments designed to make the reader smile.
An additional issue I had with the book is some of the reoccurring characters from the series just seemed different somehow. I realize nine years has passed for them since the last book, but at the end of the last book it seemed that things were going well for the most part of the MacKeirnan/MacAlister family seemed to be doing well and when we revisit them in this book they all seemed sort of broken, wounded by events of the previous novel. I mean I get that Drew was injured and Caden’s fiancé was the one who betrayed them, but I just didn’t get the impression that there were quite as many scars on this family in the last novel as there are when we rejoin them in this novel. However I will admit that I didn’t think as much on these thing when I was actually reading the novel, I just knew when I finished it that I didn’t think it was quite five stars and had to sit and figure out why. The well written close third person novel was a true delight to read. Beyond just a love story there’s a lot of different things going on in this novel. You’ve got Caden’s brother and the Laird being held hostage because of his brother’s stance in the war, problems with the sheep, a backstabbing friend, the old fiancé back in the picture, not to mention the problems Ellie left behind before the magic brought her there with her stepfather stealing her land and telling her the only way she could live there was if she was willing to be his consort. I’m not sure if I’d call them separate plot lines, well maybe a couple of them might be interwoven plot lines but no doubt this is a lot more than a love story. As with the other novels sex is used sparingly and tastefully to accent the love story, but isn’t substituted for the love story. The attraction and the fire between the two characters all but jumps from the page and the description and setting were vividly written.
As with the other books the characters are fairly well developed. We’ve seen Anabella, Rosalie and Blaine in three out of four novels in the series now so they’re really familiar characters. All of them are fairly well developed secondary characters and it was wonderful to see Blaine get his own secondary love story even if his new significant other wasn’t as developed of a character as I would have liked her to be. Most of the characters in the previous novel, at least those that live in the thirteenth century make a reappearance in this novel as well. There are a few new characters but not many so for readers of the series returning to these characters almost feels like coming home because such and effort is made to create realistic secondary characters within this series. Of course because this is a romance the male and female leads are exceptionally developed. Both of the leads are both brooding and fiery. One thing I didn’t like about Caden is that you would think after what he’d learned about trusting on blind faith in people during the last novel he wouldn’t have fallen into the traps he did in this one, but I guess some people are just blind to the true natures of others and Caden is definitely one of those people. He blames himself for everything, but he’s definitely got the Alpha male vibe going on as well. He’s easy to relate to and other than constantly wanting to pair off Ellie with his brothers even though he wants her for himself he’s definitely one of those men you wouldn’t mind bringing home (that is if you weren’t already engaged.) Ellie is fiery, strong and opinionated but she’s let the world beat up on her too much and it takes her time during the course of novel to really find that inner strength. She’s intelligent but insecure and one of those characters that you can’t help but like.
Overall as with the rest of the series it’s highly recommend for readers of both historical and paranormal romance, after all who doesn’t want a highlander of their own?(less)
Conner MacKiernan is a 13th century highland knight sworn into the king's service. He should have been lai...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Conner MacKiernan is a 13th century highland knight sworn into the king's service. He should have been laird, but since he was only a child when his father and brothers passed away, his awful uncle usurped his title and Conner has no desire to see the lives of his people lost in a war over who should lead them. When his Uncle promises his younger sister into a marriage with an older laird Mairi doesn't love who's already killed three wives before her Conner doesn't know what to do. He can't stand and protect Mairi while still in the king's service. He can't leave the king's service unless he marries himself and seven years before he made a vow before god and man that he'd marry no woman who currently walked the earth. The action had seemed understandable at the time, considering his betrothed has married his Uncle while he was off serving the king, but it left him with little choice but to turn to his aunt, a descent of the Fairy Prince Pol to help him find someone who can help him. Rosalyn, Conner's lovable and meddling aunt sends Connor forward in time where be meets and retrieves Caitlyn Coryell from modern day Colorado to be his new bride. Caitlyn has just caught her fiance cheating on her with his secretary only to have him tell her it was her fault for not being more adventurous or providing for his needs by sleeping with him. Worse than this she almost believes he's right so when Connor shows up and offers her this chance at an adventure she doesn't turn him down. What follows is an adventurous and humorous tale of love and intrigue in 13th century Scotland. Neither Connor nor Caitlyn is ready to trust a member of the opposite sex, but if they don't trust each other or open their hearts, what cost will it be to their lives?
Have you ever read one of those stories where you find yourself so lost in the story that when you finish it you have a hard time going back and looking at it critically? For me this tale of magic, mystery and love in the Highlands was once such tale. I debated for a while between just giving it a five star rating and gushing over it or stopping to think if anything really bothered me with this novel, my status update on good reads reminded me that at the beginning I was ready to slap Cate upside the head for her behavior so I decided to rate this at four stars.
The book does have a great set up with excellent character growth, but I just can't bring myself to give a five star rating to a book where the female lead pretty much convinces herself it's her fault her fiance cheated on her. In the beginning chapters you actually get to listen to the thought process as she rationalizes Richard's behavior and finds only herself to blame. While she does decide to call of the wedding it's not because of Richard's actions, it's because she realized she was only marrying him because her mother and grandmother had been married at her age. Her wedding was basically a check mark on her to do list and her older brother convinced her that love doesn't work like that. Umm how about the fact you're engaged to a slime ball as a good reason to call off the wedding?! If my fiance ever did that to me then tried to tell me it was my fault I'd be causing him bodily harm to ensure he never did it again and I certainly wouldn't marry him. It wouldn't be my fault it would be his fault. Cate does grow through out the book, getting a backbone, slowly seeing her worth, and becoming a character you can relate to and root for, but the woman you meet when you begin this story needs to be hit upside the head for stupidity. The woman she becomes is one a reader can respect, but the fact that I can't respect the person she started out as is most of the reason I couldn't bring myself to give this book a five star rating.
The book like most romances does include sex, however not only are the two scenes included well written, they occur in logical places where they enhance the plot of feelings and attraction between the leading characters rather than being there just for the sake of having a sex scene. The way Mayhue includes them in her novel is a perfect example of how a sex scene should be used in a romance as opposed to recent novels in the genre by writers who have embraced the idea of sex sells so lets have long steamy sex scenes in every other chapter just for the purpose of having them. Not saying all of them do this, but there are so many that as a previous die hard romance fan I don't often pick up a romance novel anymore.
The story pulls you in with an exciting plot, well rounded characters and massive character obstacles and growth in the novel. About the only other thing that disappointed me in this novel was the ending, while it did complete a wonderfully exciting story arc I'd like to have seen what happened between the last chapter and the epilogue that neatly ties everything up. It's a good ending don't get me wrong, but there's a lot she could have done between the last chapter and the epilogue that I think would have made it even better.
Overall the book is a must read for lovers of historical and time travel romance. I'd highly recommend it. (less)
Ever Bloom is the psychic sixteen year old survivor of a car crash that killed her entire family. She wasn...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Ever Bloom is the psychic sixteen year old survivor of a car crash that killed her entire family. She wasn’t always psychic, always privy to everyone else’s thoughts, always seeing everyone else’s auras, always seeing ghosts. All of that was an unpleasant side affect from surviving a wreck that should have killed her, it killed everyone else in her family. When a new boy arrives at school whose thought are completely his own locked up in an attractive body to boot, Ever can’t help but being interested. But Damen Auguste isn’t all that he seems. His presence brings as many questions as much danger as it does happiness and relief. But will Ever discover the truth of just who Damen is and what kind of threat he might pose to her before it’s too late?
Okay part of my rating for this is because of the verb tense used in the book, if you’ve been following my reviews you’ll note that I’m not a fan of the first person present tense. When I read in the present tense I don’t know it’s almost like a picture the character talking straight to me giving me a running commentary of everything that happens to them as it happens. Therefore when things like speech occur within the test it doesn’t fit with my mental picture of the book. This is why I’m of the firm belief that nothing can be written really well in that tense at least not in my personal opinion as a reader. Though I’m sure there are tons of readers and writers who disagree with my opinion on this matter, no matter how many times I read books following this trend I just can’t really get into them the way I could a first person past tense or a third person past tense. I find the present tense to be awkward and difficult to read and get into. Again that’s only my opinion but I have a feeling that I’m not the only reader in the world that feels that way. Also with this tense when boring scenes are skipped or difficult to write scenes are fast forwarded through then told in memories I wonder why the character decided to shut up through those portion since she’s given me a verbal commentary on everything else. With the past tense the story is a memory therefore it makes sense to only convey the good parts, with the present it’s a running commentary therefore the character shouldn’t know what’s going to be a good part and what isn’t since it with the way it written it isn’t happening until the reader begins to read and experience it with her. With that line of thought a streamlined story should not exist because with a running commentary of life even the useless parts should be included because the character doesn’t know at that moment if they’re useless or not. Am I better explaining my aversion to reading the present tense yet?
One of the small irritations I had with this story was the character names because realistically who names their children Ever, Haven and Stacia? To me those names were in fact distracting and while character names shouldn’t matter to me as a reader they do. Some names are just so ludicrous they shape how you picture a character because they’re so far out of place. While it would be boring to have a book filled with Dick, Jane and Joe in this day and age I think extravagant names should be used sparingly and come with some sort of interesting story, ie your parents were high when they decided Ever would be an appropriate name for a child. Though with the popularity of these novels, I won’t be surprised if the name doesn’t become common in newborns born to adoring fans of the series. I personally hope this isn’t the case, but I’ve met too many newborns named Bella to be surprised if the same doesn’t occur with this series.
The larger issues I had with this novel influenced my rating a lot more than name irritations though. For example the two characters are madly in love by the end of the novel of course, because it’s a love story and even if you hadn’t opened the book you could already guess this would be true. However I’m left kind of wondering when that happened because she’s freaked out by him in more than half the novel and many of his behaviors seem more like a stalker’s than a potential mate. Yes he explains to her about past lives etc etc but it doesn’t really go into detail and if it were me just because some really weird guy came up and said I used to be Juliet and he’s still Romeo doesn’t mean I’m going to up and decide he’s my one true love. (BTW that’s just an example not an actual plot point.) There are some interesting scenes that show clear signs of attraction but there’s also a lot of hot and cold with their relationship and I didn’t really get the whole we’re falling in love vibe. I may have gotten a faint falling in lust vibe and some definite teenage crushing, but the idea of the characters actually being in love seems highly unrealistic to me.
The second major issue I had with this story is that Noel has created this neat new paranormal creature, Immortals but she doesn’t go into details of the mythology or even details of the past lives that would have explained the tragic love story. She alludes to things, she may give small short explanations that doesn’t even begin to cover it. But all I really know is some of the characters can live forever and it has something to do with alchemy. That’s not nearly enough background to make these beings seem real to me. If she’s going to create something new instead of relying on well known mythology she needs to give the reader details and back story. I mean I have a pretty good imagination, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be a fiction reader but with something like this I should need to rely completely on my imagination to fill in the blanks. A new being not common to my daily life should be fully explained in detail within the pages of the novel. The concept is pretty cool, but the details are so vague just as they are in the love story that it makes both very hard to believe.
However the story was highly engaging and I did read the entire thing in one sitting, meaning it caught my attention long enough that I never felt the need to walk away from the story. The concepts of the story are extremely romantic and had the appropriate detail been there I’d say it was a truly epic idea. The detailing of the mythology, the powers and the love story were just too vague for me to say the book totally came through for me. I did however really like the characters, especially Riley, her ghostly little sister. I felt the writer did a good job of creating well fleshed out, multifaceted characters. I also thought the story itself was both interesting and engaging with a decently fast pace. Another thing that I really enjoyed about the story is though it’s the beginning of the series we receive a full story arc in the first novel and are given an ending to the story instead of the cliffhangers which have become so frustratingly popular in young adult series. I like knowing that when I pick up a book I’m getting a whole story, not just one piece of the story. I fully intend to read more works by Noel because the potential shown in this one makes me think I’m unlikely to be disappointed with future works.
Overall I don’t think the story qualifies as great, but I definitely think it was a good story which is worth reading. (less)
When a new boy named Roman arrives at school, charming everyone but Ever, her whole world is turned upside...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
When a new boy named Roman arrives at school, charming everyone but Ever, her whole world is turned upside down. Damen gets sick and doesn’t seem to even remember he loved her. Her friends have turned against her, even her teachers and Sabine seem to be coming down on her. Ever is left to stand on her own to figure out exactly who Roman is and just what he’s done to tear her perfect world apart. Will she discover the answer before it’s too late?
Okay the main thing I didn’t like about this book was the verb tense which I find awkward to read. I went into detail about this in my previous Noel review of Evermore so I’m not going to go into detail again here. I don’t think a first person present tense will ever get a five star rating from me. It just never sits right for me reading it regardless of how popular the style is becoming with young adult writers.
Obviously the name issues still bother me since most of the characters haven’t changed, though I actually do know a guy named Roman in real life, so the new character introduced here didn’t really have a name that stood out to me. And since I went into detail about my thoughts on the other character’s names in the previous review there’s really no need to go into detail about my thoughts on that in this one.
The one new thing that bothered me, that isn’t a carryover from the previous novel and just a series wide complaint is while I know it’s important for a character to have strengths and weaknesses, especially weaknesses since the worst kind of character to relate to is the one who seems perfect. I think she’s going a little too far with Ever’s weaknesses in this novel. Ever is starting to appear the worst sort of naïve to the point that’s she’s just looking stupid. I can’t abide a stupid heroine so I’m actually surprised that I liked this book more than the first in the series. To give her more strengths, Noel has her friends and boyfriend treat her like total crap and have her be forgiving of all the mistreatment she receives because she knows it’s all due to Roman’s spell. I’m sorry spell or not, nobody is that forgiving. Emotions and logic are two completely different things and when it comes to forgiveness no amount of logic is going to make your emotions forgive that kind of pain. It’s just not going to happen. Besides that at least with Haven, this makes two novels where the girl has gone turncoat on Ever, is there really a point in being friends with a girl like that?
On the plus side I felt the writing was better in this novel and Ever at least becomes a more fleshed out character. More of my questions about the Immortals were answered but now I’m left with a host of questions about Summerland. Though the while the lack of information still frustrates me, it’s not quite as bad as it was in the first novel. Though it does make me wonder if this world was carefully constructed before the series began and the writer is just stingy about giving us the whole background or if it’s being constructed as she goes along which is why it’s constantly leaving questions that are fundamental to understand the story.
Also I didn’t understand why the visit to halls of learning in Summerland would point her to time travel if it wasn’t the answer. I mean while it would have been tragic for the love story yes, without it being the answer it kind of seems like a random thing to focus the book toward.
You do receive a full story arc in the book which is always a bonus for me though the end brings a new set of problems that don’t actually get addressed in the novel and leave me curious for more. I liked the addition of the new characters Roman, who appears he’s going to be a reoccurring and multifaceted villain. Raine and Romy who are the prep school twins that I haven’t completely figured out yet were a definite bonus addition to the book. Again I’d like to see more of them in future novels but I was actually frustrated with these characters as well because they created more questions than answers. Every answer they gave was so vague I was probably more frustrated than Ever with their answers.
I liked how the story didn’t revolve as much around a love story this time, but more on Ever growing as a character and learning to stand on her own without Damen to fix everything. The book was fast paced and the world is definitely evolving. After reviewing the last title I noticed a lot of reviews comparing the book to a Twilight rip-off which I didn’t really see myself, if I was going to say it came straight from another book I’d lean more toward the Vampire Diaries, but that’s just my personal opinion. I think the second installment of this novel definitely took the work in a different direction than either of those titles and I look forward to reading more in the series.
Overall I’d recommend the book, it’s decently written, fast paced and the world of the Immortals is becoming more fleshed out and developed. It’s definitely a decent read.(less)
Marina is about to start her senior year of high school in a new schoo...moreRECEIVED FROM: The Author For Review
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Marina is about to start her senior year of high school in a new school, the first she's ever actually attended, and for the first time without her Dad there to support her. Marina's father is a agronomist who's spending the year in Afghanistan to help them develops ways to feed their country, while Marina is going to Aptos, California to live with her Aunt Abby and her cousin Cruz in their little seaside town. She believes her life is over until she encounters a sexy boy named Ethan and an ethereal mermaid name Lorelei. Soon she's drawn into the little seaside town and the mysteries of the ocean it borders, embarking on a dangerous quest to find out who she is and where she comes from. Will she survive to discover the answers she seeks?
The summary isn't the best description of the book, but lately I seem to find myself staring at a blank screen forever just to try to find the right words to both summarize and review the books I've read. I don't know if it's having a blog that's creating this loss for words in my writing or just some temporary mental block, but hopefully it goes away soon. Anyway back to the review.
This book is really more of a 3.5 stars than 3 but I don't do half ratings since I copy my reviews to my different profiles it's easier to stay with solid stars since that's what the other sites use. I actually only found two things that I think detracted from what is an otherwise well written and interesting story, however one of them was just so big that it dropped my rating considerably.
The first thing that bothered me, and this is actually the smaller one was that the characters seemed to have this inside joke that was never explained to the reader. There's multiple scenes with giggling characters where I didn't really understand what was so funny. To the characters in this novel there's apparently something hilarious about the statement "That's what she said." I didn't get it and there's nothing worse than being on the outside of a joke. Okay well there is, but it still sucks when you're left out.
The thing that I thought was the major flaw with this book was the Mary Sue tendencies of the characters and their lifestyles. They weren't quite perfect but they were darn close, at first I wasn't going to ding this book so hard for this, but it was her father winning the Nobel prize that kind of put it over the top for me. Marina has traveled extensively attending online school because her father is not only a brilliant agronomist (a job that to be honest I'd never heard of before reading this book.) but also holds a faculty position at a prestigious university. Apparently he's powerful enough that Marina can get her own way on all her classes just by mentioning his name to the school guidance counselor.
She herself is brilliant and is only attending high school because her father feels she's too independent and needs to learn to be around her peers. It's pretty apparent that no one really expects her to learn anything new academically there. Let's not forget that's she's beautiful and mystical as well.
Her neighbor, who's pretty much adopted her to the point she's referred to as Aunt Evie, is a retired fashion model who dresses Marina is Prada and other top of the line designers just because she enjoys doing it. If that weren't enough with this flamboyant character she has a basement full of expensive cars that she lets Marina learn to drive on and oh she's the original fashion "it" girl. Not to mention the fabulous Evie spends her time searching out hidden talents in fashion and music and helping them succeed in the business. (I seriously need an Aunt Evie.)
Her cousin Cruz, though a social outcast is a brilliant but as of yet undiscovered fashion designer. His best friend Meghan is a song writer with the most amazing voice. And we can't forget that Evan the boy who falls for Marina is the hottest and most respect guy in school. He's the best surfer on the beach, works all the time to achieve his future and adores the perfect Marina.
I had planned to mention this from about the introduction of Aunt Evie, but I hadn't planned to make as big of a deal of it in my review until Dad won the Nobel prize. That's just what put it over the top for me. The only negative things really in the character's lives is that Ethan doesn't have a lot of money and his mother ran off when he was only a kid. Cruz is a social outcast, and believe his father died in a car crash when he was a baby only to learn later that his father was a married man who tried paying his mother to abort him. Meghan is overweight and also a social outcast. And finishing out the social outcast crew is Marina who's mother died in child birth. It's as if the writer has found a couple flaws she likes and just attributed them to every character.
The book however is extremely well written, fast paced and a quick and enjoyable read. The plot has some interesting twists and turns that keep readers turning the page. The only thing I think the writer needs to learn is that perfect characters may lead wonderful lives, but it's harder for a reader to relate to characters whose lives they envy than a characters who has just as many issues as they do. Overall though I really did enjoy reading this book and I would recommend it to others who enjoy young adult urban fantasy novels. It's an excellent debut novel from a writer I look forward to reading more of. There's an obvious talent in the writing and the ability to weave a page turning story. I only hope that the characters become a little more believable in future works. (less)
Marina Vanderpool is the half human, half mermaid child of a mermaid a...moreRECEIVED FROM: The Author For Review
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Marina Vanderpool is the half human, half mermaid child of a mermaid and a Nobel prize winning scientist. She lives a life that most people only dream of and has four years to decide whether she wants to be a child of the land or the sea. Though she's made her choice to stay with her human family before, she can't deny that the sea and her mermaid sisters call to her. Marina becomes like a rope in an emotional tug of war between her sea siren sisters and her human friends and family. Neither wants to share her or give her up and she isn't willing to turn her back on either. When her secret is exposed during a terrible accident everyone she cares about is threatened. Will she be able to protect them all? Can she even protect herself?
Anderson makes a brilliant return in the second story in her Marina's Tales series. Her characters start to really take shape in this story. Marina has an addictive personality, she's slightly self centered and on the dishonest side. Evan is clingy and though protective definite leaning toward controlling in his need to protect her and keep her. Aunt Evie is manipulative. Cruz, is WAY self centered, it's almost like he thinks the world revolves around him. Meghan get's a bossy side. Now if you've read my review from yesterday you'll actually understand how this is an EXCELLENT development in Derrolyn Anderson's work. In the first novel her characters were just too perfect to feel real. In this tale she provides them with flaws, makes them human for the reader allowing the reader to become a little more attached to each character through their flaws.
In this tale she also begins to reveal a little more of what the mermaids' abilities really are. The revelation of their abilities really puts a nice explanation on why every character's life in this novel seems so perfect. It's not just chance, it's magic. Of course, now I need to half mermaid to be my friend so I can lead that kind of life. In The Moon and The Tide Anderson takes the flaws from her first novel and puts a couple of explanations on them to make them seem more realistic because of the mermaid magic woven into the story. She also explains that Marina's lavish lifestyle was created by design to make her immune to persuasion in the form of bribery. She was raised to not value wealth so that she could never be manipulated by wealth. I don't know if this spin and explanation were initially planned by the author when she plotted out the series or a clever way to clean up constructive reviews from her first work right after it was published, however what she's done in this novel really works.
She did have a couple of hard to believe scenes, like one where Marina and Lorelei take out some burly bad guys, which did lower my rating a tad. Overall though it was a fast paced and well told story that I really enjoyed reading.
She also has a wonderful way of addressing the issues of sex with teens, she doesn't deny that the idea appeals to them, that they're tempted and close to crossing that line. However she also doesn't cross that line with teen readers and condoning premarital teenage sex. I'm not sure if she plans to in future novels, but so far she's keeping the book right where it should be for teen readers without making the teens seem like they're oblivious to hormones.
Anderson is not a writer to be missed in the young adult fantasy genre. The Moon and Tide is a wonderful tale of mermaids, love and adventure, and for the price it would be a serious mistake to pass over this series. (less)
Gytha Raouille is betrothed to the heir of Saitun manor who she believes to be Willaim Saitun only to lear...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Gytha Raouille is betrothed to the heir of Saitun manor who she believes to be Willaim Saitun only to learn two days before her wedding he’s died as has his heir so according to the contract she’s to marry Robert Saitun the heir of his heir, a weak willed man controlled by his Uncle. Though she’s not pleased it’s her duty. The day before her wedding a large red haired stranger arrives, stirring an interest in Gytha she’s never felt before. When she’s learns the man is Thayer Saitun, The Red Devil and supposedly dead heir of William she is initially pleased with the arrangement, that is until he stares at her with a look of disgust when he learns he’s marrying her. She’s never had anyone not be pleased with the way she looks before. Thayer doesn’t want a wife, especially not a beautiful one. He knows he doesn’t possess the face and form to keep women interested and having a beautiful wife for him is like asking to bear the shame of cuckolding. It’s something he wants no part of but has no choice in. It matter not that Gytha appears sweet and naïve and acts as though she’s interested in him. He understands well the deceiving ways of women and has no desire to be played for a fool again. Though the two marry as is arranged their relationship is tenuous at best because Thayer refuses to trust his own wife. When he is repeatedly besieged by assassination attempts and other outside forces threatening his position the last thing he needs is to be fighting within his home as well as outside of it, but can he get past the scars of his past to see the love in front of him?
Okay so I have to say I’m a little shocked at this novel, not about the story I guess it’s just that the name Hannah Howell is synonymous with Highlander romance. When you pick up a title by this author you expect that someone is going to have a kilt in their closet, not that that’s a bad thing because if I didn’t like Highlanders I wouldn’t have picked up a Howell title. However, this isn’t a Highlander romance. Oh it’s a historical romance, that’s certain but the characters and the setting are clearly English. I mean yes we have red headed male lead, but he’s not Scottish, he’s most definitely English and I kept waiting at the turn of every page for a Highlander to pop out of the woodwork, but all I got is a few creeping in the woods in a sneak attack against the male lead who’d been sent to stop them from robbing people. Their appearance in this novel was villainous at best which is just completely out of character for what I expect when I pick up one of Howell’s books. Don’t get me wrong, the books was excellent, she’s a best seller for a reason, it just wasn’t what I was expecting when I picked up the book. When I glanced through the reviews on Goodreads I noticed I wasn’t alone in not getting what I expected picking up this book, though none of the reviews claiming that were for the same reason I mentioned. Apparently people have somehow gotten the idea that because of the title of this book it’s a retelling to Beauty and the Beast, which it isn’t in any way that. While the hero isn’t your common dashing, his looks make a woman swoon sort of guy, that isn’t because he didn’t something wrong, or that he used to be handsome it’s because in that time period redheads, most especially redheaded men weren’t really considered attractive to the English. He’s also a warrior who’s spent most of his life as a knight without land or title forced to hire out his sword, as you can imagine that’s led to more than his fair share of scars and broken bones, including a more than once broken nose that healed a little crooked. While he’s not considered the most handsome man in England and the shallow do view him exactly as he views himself – an ugly man, he’s not a beast. His views of himself are close to that of a beast, for one he’s a very large man and secondly the above named features aren’t considered attractive during his time period. Heck even in ours he doesn’t possess what is normally seen as the ideal features, you don’t see too many male models or actors with flaming red hair and tons of scars. Gytha is definitely considered a beauty, to the point she almost considers her looks a curse, but while she’s wed to him through a contract she’s by no means trapped with him. She’s attracted to the man from the minute she met him even before she learned he was the one she was supposed to marry instead of the man she’d thought she was marrying. She’s quite happy with the arrangement for the most part except for some of his actions which are pure male stupidity. There’s no curse or being locked away in any castles like the classic fairy tale and it’s only really bears similarity in title. I know many fault the book for the title being the same as the fairy tale, but my personal thoughts are if you’re going to buy a book based on title alone then you deserve to open it and find something you weren’t looking to read. No place in the synopsis on Goodreads or the back of the book does it say this is a retelling of the fairy tale, some readers bought it because they assumed it was and you know the saying about assuming things right? No need to recount that here. No I won’t say that I read the back of every book I read, some of them I read because I said I’d review them and certain authors it doesn’t really matter to me what the book is about because I know if they wrote it I’m going to like the book. Howell is one of those authors for me. There are a few others like that and with those authors I’m pretty much never disappointed in my purchase, so for me with them there isn’t a need to read the back of the book before buying it. But in my personal opinion to buy a book for no other reason than its title is well to put this as politely as possible not very bright and you deserve to disillusioned if you do that. I also don’t see as how it’s fair to the book to discount the author’s work because you’re too lazy to read the synopsis before making the purchase, but then again that’s just my personal opinion and if you’ve read many of my reviews you’ll know I’m nothing if not opinionated and brutally honest. Okay I’ve had my little rant about what I felt were unfair reviews, not because the person shared a different opinion of the work, because if everyone on earth agreed with everything I said or felt wow I’d be bored, but because of their reasons for tearing about what I felt was a great book. A book should be judged on how it’s written, not on a lack of reading the synopsis before buying and an anger that you didn’t get what you thought you were buying.
Anyway back to the things I usually talk about in a review. While the love story was a central plot line there was a lot more to this book than just the leading characters falling in love. Gytha’s marriage contract was made when she was only a baby with the former Baron of Saitun that she would marry the heir to Saitun Manor. Her contract, which was sealed by the king was not with a specific man but with a line of cousins, arranged for the purpose of uniting her family to Saitun family. The former Baron apparently had a son and two nephews as wards, the son being the initial heir, but his two cousins Thayer and then Robert his named heirs if he didn’t bear any sons before his death. So when her initial betrothed – William dies and she’s told his heir Thayer is also dead she learns only days before her wedding that she’s to marry Robert. Robert is basically the whipping boy of his uncle from his mother’s side so while she doesn’t really look forward to that, she’s just accepts that she planning to marry a puppet instead of a man. That is until Thayer shows up the night before her wedding planning to attend the wedding of his cousin William only to find that because he’s not dead, he’s to be the groom instead. As the story progresses the stories of both men’s deaths came from Robert’s Uncle who has been trying to have them killed in order to secure the property and title for Robert, because Robert would actually only be a figurehead if this were to happen. So as they travel to their properties they’re repeatedly attacked as Robert’s Uncle continues to try to achieve this goal. There are a couple of other smaller subplots that tie more into the love story than as a separate point of interest, but this most important of the secondary plots. Because of this the book is filled with action and suspense making it in my opinion a real page turner. The other subplots weave nicely into the characters insecurities and though interesting wouldn’t be as interesting if the love story wasn’t there. The setting as always with Howell’s books is vividly described and the story is well written. It’s a fast paced, close third person historical romance.
I’ve mentioned a little about the characters in my paragraphs above, but I’ll give you a little more detail here. Thayer is a well developed and believable character, not only does he possess physical attributes that are considered unattractive he’s had a past that had poured salt in the wounds of his insecurities. When he was a young man he fell in love with a beautiful woman at court and thought he would marry her when he earned enough money to buy land. The two were loves and he genuinely thought she loved him as much as her, not only did she laugh at the idea she pretty much told him he was hideous even if he was good in bed and the she’d played with his emotions for pure entertainment value. She even attempted to kill the child that was conceived in their joinings. So he took the babe to raise and brokenhearted avoided her as best he could. Since then the only women he’d bedded were one he’d paid to do so and they basically made it clear it was all about the money. He was insecure to start and then badly burned. When he finds himself married to a woman more beautiful than the first he’s sure she’ll be just the same no matter if she acts like that or not. He’s so frightened of facing that kind of pain again he keeps making excuses as to why her behavior is different and will eventually change. She hasn’t cuckolded him yet only because she hasn’t be exposed to the court. She’s defending his appearance because she doesn’t want to look bad. She stayed with him because of the wealth and his title. At first he even thinks she’s faking the passion she seems to have for him until he sees undeniable proof of that. He’s completely blinded to the idea that she might be attracted to him or that she loves him. I mean there’s no doubt the man wants to make her happy and does whatever he can to do so, but he doesn’t trust her and completely shields himself from her. Underneath all those insecurities and hurts is the really great guy that everyone else sees but him. The only thing he really sees is that he’s an intelligent man and a great warrior. He’s got a lot of positive points but it’s his insecurities that make him so easy to love and relate to. It’s also his insecurities that lead to most of the conflict between the leading characters within the novel.
Gytha is equally well developed, but she doesn’t enter the novel with well any real emotional scars and at first glance she seems near perfect so it take a little while for her to be easy to relate to, but eventually you do find her likeable. Gytha is beautiful, men flock to her, (much to her annoyance) they compose songs and sonnets about her beauty and for the most part she wishes they’d leave her alone. She see her appearance as a gift from God, something to be appreciated, but not dwelled upon. She knows that it will fade eventually with age or some other mishap, but she also doesn’t see that as a big deal. None of the men she’s met have ever really stirred anything in her, oh many are well made, but there’s no real spark there. What she really wants is love, and someone who sees beyond how she looks but she knows her duty to her family will marry as expected. When she sees Thayer something stirs in her even before she knows he’s the one she’ll be marrying instead of Robert. She loves his eyes, and it’s the first time she’s ever really been attracted to the features of any man. Though she’s got quite the temper and she’s fairly free spirit most of Gytha’s emotional scars come directly as a result of Thayer’s behavior. She gets over them faster than most people would which does make portions of her character hard to believe. But she does have her fault like stubbornness and pride.
Some of the secondary characters are also fairly well developed such as the villain, Robert’s Uncle Pickney as well as Gytha’s cousin Margaret and Thayer’s best friend Roger and his son Bek rounded out the well developed secondary cast. While there were other secondary characters they were more filler because there was a character that needed to be there but not really important to the plot.
Overall the book was an enjoyable historical romance filled with love, adventure danger and humor. I‘d recommend it to readers who enjoy the genre as it fit neatly into its category romance. I mean as interesting as it was it’s not one of the books from Howell that I could see myself reading repeatedly, as I think it would feel less interesting on a secondary read than it does on a primary one, but for the initial journey the story is in my opinion pure enjoyment.(less)