I read a raving review for this book on a romance column and was so interested by the unique storyline that I had to buy it! So I went on Amazon to or...moreI read a raving review for this book on a romance column and was so interested by the unique storyline that I had to buy it! So I went on Amazon to order it and found that it was out of print. I kind of panicked because most good books that are out of print are extremely expensive. I found one for a penny, though! So exciting!
Meredith, a landwoman and historian, goes to the Greek islands to study ancient legends about the sea. While there, she comes across Galen, a mysterious and very sexy man with rippling muscles and long dark hair. He claims to also be a scholar and offers to show her around. Meredith soon learns that Galen is different. He can read an ancient language even the most learned scholars can't identify, he has no problems at all with being wet, and he has heightened senses. She soon learns he is a mer-man.
Galen's people and friends are dying of a mysterious illness that apparently only Meredith can remedy. Galen knows this, but Meredith has no idea who she is or the knowledge she possesses. As Galen sets out to gain this knowledge, he falls in love with her and she with him. A lasting bond is formed between the two of them as they begin their journey together to save Galen's people and learn the truth about Meredith.
I just finished the book last night and I must say that it was SO worth the effort I put in to getting a copy of this book in my possession. I loved it! The descriptions Jessica Bryan writes are beautifully written. I felt like I was the one swimming through the water, gazing at all the scenery, and feeling all the feelings the characters felt. I got so wrapped up in the story and the characters that I became unaware of my own surroundings. I was very skeptical of a merfolk romance, but it was amazingly done and I already ordered used copies of Jessica's prequels, also about merfolk. Yay!(less)
You know... This had so much potential to be a good book. I loved the story, the element of suspense, the characters, the humor... It was all great. W...moreYou know... This had so much potential to be a good book. I loved the story, the element of suspense, the characters, the humor... It was all great. What I did not like was that the romance in it was so descriptive and dirty. Nothing was left to the imagination and I found myself jumping over parts because I felt gross and embarrassed for having them in the book. Whatever happened to the sweet, clean romances? I had purchased the other two in the series, but those are being returned to the store and this one is going in the garbage. I'm so disappointed. (less)
I liked it! The writing was very pretty, the details were very descriptive, and the story was unique. I went out and bought the sequel yesterday and a...moreI liked it! The writing was very pretty, the details were very descriptive, and the story was unique. I went out and bought the sequel yesterday and am excited to see what happens next! (less)
Wow. WOW. That's really all I can say for now. It's 1:51 AM and I just finished the book. Maybe I'm just tired, or maybe I'm completely speechless for...moreWow. WOW. That's really all I can say for now. It's 1:51 AM and I just finished the book. Maybe I'm just tired, or maybe I'm completely speechless for once. I loved it. LOVED it. I'll re-visit the idea of formally reviewing this in the next few days, but for now I'm going to have to sit here and figure out how to do it justice. (less)
I really enjoyed this! Luckily HarperTeen sent me a free copy of Illusions (the next book) to review for The Broke and the Bookish blog! It came in th...moreI really enjoyed this! Luckily HarperTeen sent me a free copy of Illusions (the next book) to review for The Broke and the Bookish blog! It came in the mail yesterday, and I'm so excited to start it! (less)
Wow! I really loved this book. I loved it a lot more than I thought I would, actually. People need to stop comparing it to Twilight. Yes, it has its s...moreWow! I really loved this book. I loved it a lot more than I thought I would, actually. People need to stop comparing it to Twilight. Yes, it has its similarities but with all the books in this world, most books have similarities to other books.
I thought the writing was beautifully done. It was very descriptive and I felt like I could picture everything that was going on. I fell in love with Sam and Grace didn't bug me like many female characters in romance novels do. Maggie had an interesting take on werewolves. I liked it.
It was too much of a cliff-hanger for me to be ok with waiting so long for the sequel! I can't wait! Sadly.... it won't be out in time for my cruise this summer. *sigh* (less)
**Originally reviewed at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl**
I love history and legends, and this book sounded very unique and exciting to me. The histor...more**Originally reviewed at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl**
I love history and legends, and this book sounded very unique and exciting to me. The history of the Romanov family has always intrigued me ever since I watched the animated movie when I was a little girl. Dreaming Anastasia's storyline is quite strong. It did not live up to its potential, though. I feel like the entire book was building up to an anti-climactic ending. I mean, the book is quite a page-turner but then it just ends. I wasn't really satisfied. Some of the character relationships had no closure. Yes, there's a sequel, but you need to be given enough information to want to continue with the next book. I was left confused, but at the same time I had no motivation to stick with the series. It's for this reason that I just don't have much to say about it. Haha.
And maybe it's the graphic designer in me, but I could not stand the font that was used for the text of Anastasia's letters to her family. My eyes hurt by the end of every letter and I counted the pages to see how long my agony would last. If you're going to use a script font for 6 pages, at least pick one that's easy to read. Anyway, this wasn't for me. And I'm SO sad, because I was really looking forward to an awesome Anastasia retelling. Oh well! (less)
I liked this one better than Lament, which surprised me. I think it was because I just love James and have always pulled for him. He's got such a grea...moreI liked this one better than Lament, which surprised me. I think it was because I just love James and have always pulled for him. He's got such a great personality. I wish I had a guy friend like him.
I really liked the premise for this story. Nuala's story was intriguing and I loved the protective nature James expressed regarding her. I really liked the supporting characters, especially Sullivan. He sounds like a really awesome teacher and friend.
The story kept me guessing right up until the end. The ending was suspenseful and kept me turning the pages to see what happened. As always, the writing was beautifully done.
Title and Author: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Book one of the Study series)
Publishing Info: Published by MIRA Books, 2005
How I got this book: I...moreTitle and Author: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Book one of the Study series)
Publishing Info: Published by MIRA Books, 2005
How I got this book: I got it for my birthday June 2010.
Why I read this book: I've heard a lot of raving reviews about this book and felt it was about time I sink my teeth into a new series! Oh, and the cover is really pretty!
Much like Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, I was really worried about this book. I don’t usually like books where the main character(s) are violently mistreated. In both instances, I read the back of each book and skeptically thought, “Who on Earth could enjoy such a violent and tragic storyline?” However, I’d heard AMAZING things from friends and fellow book-a-holics that I trusted. I loved The Hunger Games, so I dove right into this book with the same expectations. I loved this one too! Let me explain.
This book is about Yelena, a young girl living in the land of Ixia. She has been convicted of murder, and is therefore sentenced to death by hanging. While lying in her dark, grimy, rat-infested dungeon cell she awaits the noose made especially for her. After living in that cell for just under a year, a guard comes and scrapes her emaciated body off the floor and takes her away. She can only assume it’s her turn to die. However, she is presented with a way to live—a new life. There’s a catch, though. If she’s going to live, she has to do it as a servant in the Commander’s home as his food taster. The previous food taster has died, and since the favorable method of assassination is by poison, the commander needs a new food taster immediately. The code states that the next person in line for the noose has to be offered the position. She accepts, thinking that surely there will be opportunity for escape in the future. Valek, her new handler, takes her through an extensive training curriculum, even poisoning her in the process. She comes through with a complete knowledge of all the poisons and begins her job.
Brazell, the father of the man Yelena murdered wants her dead. Her life becomes an obsession of his and she has to fight him and his guards off along the way. Not only is he after her, but so are some of the other servants she lives with. On top of that, someone has noticed some special powers she possesses and insists on either killing her or training her. If she does not learn to control these powers, she could cause major trouble for not only herself, but the world she lives in. This makes life difficult, obviously, and Valek, takes her into his suite so he can protect her. Along with Valek, she finds a few friends in the castle who help her and teach her new things.
When a conspiracy arises against the Commander, Yelena is forced into the middle of all of it. She has to face the man who drove her to kill, the demons of her past, and the man who just might ruin her future. She also has to quickly discover her true potential in order to help protect those she is bound to by vow and bound to by love. Throw in a ton of suspenseful scenes, some menacing characters, and a love interest or two, Yelena is in for a bumpy ride on the road to self-discovery, love, loyalty, and friendship.
I really loved this book! Yelena is so spunky. You’d think that with the crappy past she had and the dismal life she ends up surrendering to, she’d be all whiny and woe-is-me all the time. She’s a fighter! She takes no crap and she kicks butt a few times! It’s really entertaining and refreshing to see such a strong female character. Here’s this skinny, weak little thing fighting off some of the strongest and most evil people ever. There’s a few lessons I think I need to learn from her. I loved Valek from the beginning. He’s got that hardened, cold, stand-offish persona but you just know there’s a teddy bear in there somewhere. That kind of man is very appealing and you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read about a man like him. The other characters were also likable. Really, the only ones I did not like were the villains (go figure). The storyline was so unique to me that it really pulled me in. I was constantly turning pages wondering how the author would treat the subject matter. It took me way too long to read, since I was on vacation, but it kept calling to me from my carry-on bag or my suitcase. I forsook sleep for it! I do that a lot with books, but not usually on vacation.
I’m really excited for the sequel and am SO excited that I discovered this series late enough to not have to wait for it! I’ll be at Border’s in the morning with the gift card I’ve got stashed away for such an emergency.
Stars: 4. I could not give the book 5 stars, just because I really hated how horrible some of the people in this book were treated. I had a hard time hearing about the sad life of Yelena, as well as the people from her past. I loved the suspense, the little bit of romance, and the unique storyline. I’m so excited to grab book #2! (less)
Oh. My. Gosh. Confusing, beautiful, mesmerizing, intricate, captivating... AHH! The Forgotten Locket brought the entire trilogy around into a full cir...moreOh. My. Gosh. Confusing, beautiful, mesmerizing, intricate, captivating... AHH! The Forgotten Locket brought the entire trilogy around into a full circle. I feel like I need to read all three books again so I can see the connections that I can see now, but had no basis to recognize before. I love this book, and the trilogy. Definitely my favorite ever. (less)
How I got this book: A publicist of Syrie James sent it to me after she noticed how much I enjoyed Dracula, My Love.
Why I read this book: Way before I was even contacted to review Nocturne, it was on my TBR list. I love Syrie’s writing style, and the premise of this book had me at, “Hello.”
Ahh… would you take a gander at that cover? I love it! And best of all, it does a wonderful job of setting the tone for this haunting love story. I love a good romance. I love a good forbidden romance! I gobbled this book up like a bag of my favorite chocolate truffles, and here’s why!
“When Nicole Whitcomb's car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger. Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension. Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding? Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from—but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her— a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change their lives forever. As the sexual tension between them builds, however, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns her host's terrifying secret, there is nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and Michael may be the only one who can save her life.” -(Synopsis taken from http://www.syriejames.com/NocturneSum...)
I was very privileged to receive an invitation to a Q&A with Syrie the day after I finished Nocturne. I will do my best to integrate my questions and her answers into this review without spoiling any parts of the book!
This book is amazing for so many different reasons. Syrie’s beautiful writing never disappoints. How could it, though, when she chose such a wonderful setting for the book? It takes place in a beautiful, secluded area not far from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which I have visited and is very lovely. I asked Syrie why she chose this particular location, as I had never read a book that took place there before. She said, “While doing research for this novel, to make my plot work, I needed to find a very remote spot where a reclusive person could own a fabulous spread and beautiful home, yet was not too far from a ski resort ... and where it was believable that Nicole could actually be snowed in there for four days. For some reason I just knew it had to be in Colorado. An expert on all things Colorado (my cousin, in fact) suggested that particular location, and I am so grateful. I thought it worked perfectly.” I totally agree! I loved the descriptions she used and the pictures she painted. It was an ideal setting.
Next, we have a very sexy, dangerous man who pulls himself out of isolation to rescue a damsel in distress. Michael is a 260-year-old vampire. He has given up drinking human blood and lives in a very secluded Rocky Mountain home to resist any temptation. In his spare time he reads a lot, writes, plays the piano, gardens, takes care of his horses, and works with wood. He is very content with his life, and enjoys his privacy. Seriously, this guy is perfect -- intelligent, well read, musically inclined, sensitive, strong, loves animals, etc. You can’t help but love him. Syrie told me that Michael was inspired by, "…my love for Mr. Darcy! Admittedly, he does share a few of my husband's traits, but mainly it was me conjuring up the type of man I'd fall madly in love with, if I was snowbound with him for four days." She and I clearly have something in common because, aside from the vampire quality, Michael is my kind of man!
One thing that I found so unique about Nocturne is that the entire story revolves around two characters. That’s right. TWO. Yet, it’s not boring or long-winded. I wasn’t hoping for more characters. Actually, I would have been really annoyed if some highway patrolman or Michael’s housekeeper had shown up and destroyed the magic of this chance encounter. I asked Syrie if it was difficult writing a story with only two characters, or if she enjoyed being able to focus more on each one individually. She said, “I LOVED writing about just two characters. As a reader, with many books, I become so interested and invested in the main characters and their stories that I'm tempted to skip all the scenes with minor characters and just get to the main plot. I've felt that way as a writer, too. I thought, what if I just write a book about the two main characters? Could I do it? The challenge was to make them complex enough to keep the sexual tension and the twists and turns of the plot going. I hope you enjoyed the result.” Like I said, I did enjoy it and I really got to learn about and become friends with Michael and Nicole as a result.
Speaking of Nicole… She’s working a job that she has no passion for, but she does it because it’s safe. A traumatic past led her to that decision. At the tail end of her Steamboat Springs vacation, she gets caught in an awful snowstorm. She runs off the road, blacks out, and wakes up in a strange home by a warm fire. Her rescuer is a very secretive, moody, mysterious, and very attractive man. He did not want to save her. In fact, he wanted to leave her out there to die, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. So, here they sit, snowbound in an isolated home for four days. Nicole notices he is a little odd, and as she begins to figure him out she’s terrified of staying with him. She has to decide, though, which is more dangerous? Should she take her chances and brave the deadly blizzard, or take her chances and trust this man to keep his promise and keep her safe?
As the days go by, they have lots of long, deep conversations about life and love. I really enjoyed reading these conversations. It was like I was a fly on the wall of Michael’s cozy study, listening in on their private discussions. I usually get bored with long strings of dialogue and no action, but this was quite refreshing! Syrie said, "I...love that initial period of intense discovery between new lovers. I call it "falling in love through conversation," and it's so important to me that I have placed great emphasis on it in every single one of my novels."
All in all, I loved this book. Yes, the story has been done before, but this take on the subject matter was so well done and so unique, that I did not feel like I had read it before. I was a bit skeptical about the whirlwind romance that took only about 3 days to reach its peak, but this was believable. The characters were relatable. They both had flaws that made them imperfect, but they brought out the perfection in each other. The twists and turns were dramatic, but again believable. The ending left more to be desired, but Syrie said, “…Nicole and Michael’s story is far from over. I'd love to write a sequel to Nocturne. It will depend on whether readers and the publisher request it, so we'll have to wait and see!” I know I want to read it!
I thought I’d end my review with Syrie’s thoughts on her inspiration for this novel, “It must be something in the genes, but some of the most romantic and enduring relationships in my family history began as love at first sight (including my own love affair with my husband.) Maybe that's why I felt compelled to write about the passionate, whirlwind romance between Michael and Nicole in my new novel, Nocturne.”
I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of forbidden love stories, real characters, and beautiful storytelling. Please do me a favor and go buy Nocturne so that Syrie can write a sequel! I’m not done with those two yet! Thanks so much to Syrie James for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Wunderkind PR for sending me a copy of this book to review! (less)
Formal review to come shortly, but in the mean time: Oh. My. Goodness! SO good! It's not as intense as Firelight, but I still loved it. I can't wait t...moreFormal review to come shortly, but in the mean time: Oh. My. Goodness! SO good! It's not as intense as Firelight, but I still loved it. I can't wait to read the next one! (less)
Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today's release...moreOriginally posted on my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl
Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today's release date! They are everywhere! I'm jumping on the "Cinder-lovers" bandwagon and seriously have no idea how to approach this review. Haha! My thoughts feel so unorganized and are conflicting with one another. What can I say that will make my review different? So many people have already covered everything. Oh well! Here goes!
Last year with my first grade class (I taught reading and phonics to a 1st grade class while their other teacher did small group tutoring), we had a fairy tale week and I spent the week reading them different Cinderella picture books. We had a zombie Cinderella, and an Indian Cinderella... and a very modern spin on the story. The kids LOVED it. At the end of the week, we wrote and illustrated our very own Cinderella story called, "Mrs. Bellarella and Miss Janarella." (I'm Miss Jana, obviously. Mrs. Bell was their other teacher.) The story was absolutely hilarious. Needless to say, I'm pretty familiar with Cinderella, and I was pretty excited to hear about a more "grown-up" retelling. I thought that cyborgs and androids were pushing the envelope a little too far, though. I was SO wrong! I loved how Cinder tied in all the elements of the original story, but put a modern sci-fi spin on it! And even though we're talking about a dystopian society with cyborgs and aliens, Cinder was still a completely magical fairy tale. :)
I loved Marissa Meyer's writing style, and very creative imagination! The world she created left me with no questions. The detailed descriptions of the scenery, futuristic mechanics and medicine, people, etc. were captivating to read. I got totally lost. I loved Cinder's character. She's a tom-boy mechanic, and has grease stains all over her ALL the time. Her idea of getting dressed up is putting on a shiny new foot, not a glass slipper. She's spunky, and realistic. She sticks up for herself when it counts, and is not afraid of anything! I pretty much adore the fact that she's always got her head on straight. Perhaps her internal programming is what keeps her grounded, but she just gets it. She knows what needs to be done, no matter what, and she does it! She lets nothing cloud her judgement. You go, girl! Her quirky android friend/assistant, Iko, is hilarious. She's a machine, but there's some kind of glitch in her that makes her more human than most androids. I was enthralled by their story, and really loved reading about their latest projects and schemes.
Prince/Emperor Kai is a little... eh right now. Don't get me wrong, I like him. It's just that as the male lead in the story, we don't know much about him. His conversations with Cinder are mostly small talk, with a few intimate details shared every once in a while. Perhaps he'll become more rounded in the next three books. I do appreciate that there's no insta-love. They both know that there's a connection, but they're not going crazy about it. Meyer is giving them time to develop their relationship, which we will hopefully be able to see in the next books.
My favorite parts were the hidden Cinderella details, and the awesome futuristic settings and technology. Oh, and the ending is pretty breathtaking as well. Twists and turns keep you guessing until the last sentence. I would have enjoyed seeing a little more character development in Kai. Right now, I'm not seeing what Cinder sees in him. Also, the story takes place in New Beijing, but I never would have known if it had not been continually mentioned. I would have liked more Chinese cultural elements, even futuristic ones. Finally, the ending was a bit too rushed for me, and then I fell off a cliff all of a sudden. I'm hanging by a thread here, wondering how the ending snuck up on me so fast!
Regardless of my tidbits of constructive criticism, I can't deny how much I loved the story. Sometimes we have to make allowances and just enjoy the ride, forgetting what we would have preferred. Plus, I'm trying to remember that there's 3 more books in the series! Marissa has plenty of time to turn Emperor Kai into Prince Charming. She has plenty of time to explain more details to me. I kind of like the mystery I've been left with. If we were given too much with this book, the others would end up being fluff. I'm sad I have to wait so long for Scarlet (Book #2). I guess that's the downside of getting ARCs: more time to wait for the next one! Haha!(less)
I can't say a bad thing about this book. I loved it, and I think you should read it. It's got a little bit of everything (romance, sci-fi, action, ama...moreI can't say a bad thing about this book. I loved it, and I think you should read it. It's got a little bit of everything (romance, sci-fi, action, amazing storytelling, perfect characters, etc.) and I think it would appeal to pretty much anyone. I hope Anna writes more adult fiction in the future! And actually, I'd love to read more about some of the characters in this book. Do you hear me, Anna? You've got a request!