(Originally reviewed (plus there's a guest post by Jessica Brody and a giveaway!) on the blog)
I love mysteries and I love survival stories. Unremember...more(Originally reviewed (plus there's a guest post by Jessica Brody and a giveaway!) on the blog)
I love mysteries and I love survival stories. Unremembered is both, plus a little science fiction. You really can't go wrong with this one!
1. I love the mystery and frustration that comes with memory loss stories. I mean, OH MY. I was getting so terribly frustrated that Sera/Violet could not remember anything! But at the same time, I was tearing through those pages in the hopes that she would remember. And the intrigue and danger that came with not remembering was really exciting.
2. This story flows really fast, but not so fast that you can't keep up. I loved that.
3. I really liked Sera. I thought it was really cool that, since Sera did not remember anything, we got to learn about her past right along with her. Sometimes an author throws you into a story and has to teach you what a character already knows about his or herself. That can sometimes end up being tedious and frustrating. With Unremembered, though, we get to experience everything with Sera.
4. I really liked the very little I got to learn about Zen in this story. I'm hoping he plays a more dynamic role as the trilogy unfolds, because I really like what I know about him so far. I hope we get more of his own back story, rather than his past with Sera. I want to know him. And I was hoping for more romance. We get glimmers of it throughout the story, so I know the potential... and I want more! I can see book #2 being amazingly good.
5. The sci-fi aspect is really cool and unique. I won't give too much away, because I loved not knowing about it when I started the book. Let's just say there are some evil people, associated with an evil plan, who go to great lengths to get back what they claim is theirs. It was so exciting!
Overall, I loved Unremembered. It's definitely a step or two away from the books I usually read, and I loved this change. I'd recommend this to people who enjoy a little bit of everything in their stories: romance, sci-fi, mystery, survival. It's the beginning of a promising trilogy, and even though I know we are all really beginning to tire of trilogies, but this one is worth investing the next 2-3 years in.(less)
I swear, the creativity behind this trilogy is amazing. I love the unique take on aliens and other worlds. I also really like Belle's writing style an...moreI swear, the creativity behind this trilogy is amazing. I love the unique take on aliens and other worlds. I also really like Belle's writing style and attention to detail, even though there were several typos throughout the book. There are some gorgeous passages that I actually re-read, involving dreams, galaxies, and even descriptions of the changing seasons. I'm really excited to see where the next book goes, as yet again, I'm left with a lot of questions!
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!
I was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was v...moreI was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was very happy when it was requested that I post this review now, rather than wait for the month of the release. Put this on your Christmas lists, guys! I think you'll enjoy it. :)
First off, I really loved the story. The premise was interesting, and I like how I had to keep guessing and trying to figure out what was going on. I liked the tactic the authors used--to not tell us what Claire or Alec are for quite a while. All these crazy things start happening, and people are not who they say they are. I felt like I was just as lost as Claire was, which was exciting. I wish the back of the book did not mention angels. It would have been more fun to not have had any clue at all.
Alec is an amazing character, and I'm not going to tell you what he is. It's fun to discover that on your own. He's a mix of bad boy and sweetheart, which I love. He is so sweet with Claire. He's also mysterious and dangerous, yet soft and romantic. He's at Emerson Academy to escape his old life and create a new one... if that's even possible. He enjoys his isolation. As soon as Claire pops up on the radar as someone the Elders should be investigating, his hiding place is discovered and he ends up having to take drastic measures to protect her from those who wish to destroy her.
I'm not going to tell you exactly what Claire is either, but she's something forbidden. Haha. Her entire life should not even exist. She starts noticing changes and has to learn as she goes, because not many have ever been in her position. There's no manuals on how to be herself. Man, this is painful to explain without spoilers, so I'm moving on! She's sweet and wishes to be noticed by this one guy she's had a crush on for years. Of course, he barely notices she's alive. When Alec comes along, though, she begins to gravitate towards him right as this crush starts to gravitate towards her. She's torn. She doesn't embrace the love triangle, like so many YA girls end up doing in books. (Like... did Bella have to act so upset to be marrying Edward, but fling herself into Jacob's arms when he showed up late at her reception? Sorry... I just saw Breaking Dawn yesterday.). She does a lot of thinking, and follows her heart. She seems smart. She also uses her talents to help people, like a classmate who needed a push in the right direction. Those are two main reasons why I like her. She didn't bug me, which often happens to me with YA heroines. I feel like I'm saying this a lot lately. Maybe authors are starting to write better heroines in general?
I liked Claire's friends a lot. They looked out for each other, and spent a lot of time sitting and chatting about all kinds of things. Friends usually end up bugging me too. They can so often be petty, catty, etc. I wish I had good friends like them when I was in high school.
There were several plot twists that made me go, "Whoa! I definitely wasn't thinking THAT would happen!" I've noticed that as I read more and more of one genre, books begin to become pretty predictable. I mean, how many love triangles do we see? How many evil villains do we see? How many cliche plot twists do we see. A lot, a lot, a lot. These twists were not something I foresaw. I enjoyed being outsmarted by a genre that I've pretty much figured out.
Of course, the sweet kissing descriptions were just as good as the ones I've read in Syrie's other novels. I love romance!
My only possible constructive criticism… I'm not sure if it's because the book is part of the YA genre (which I've never read from Syrie), or if it was because she co-wrote it with her son, but there were parts of the novel that were totally Syrie, and other parts that did not sound like her. I could tell that two people wrote it. I'm not sure if it's because her writing style and Ryan's were not blended seamlessly, or if it was just that I'm used to reading adult fiction from Syrie instead of YA. In either case, it's not a huge deal… just an observation. If I had not read other works of hers, I doubt I would have noticed anything at all. I've just come to recognize Syrie's literary voice because I like it so much!
I asked Syrie if she and her son were planning to write a sequel, and she said that in their minds, it's a trilogy. However, HarperTeen only committed to one book. They have great ideas for the next two, though, so hopefully Forbidden is well-received, and they can continue the story. I'd love to know more about what's in store for Alec and Clair. Actually, I'd love a prequel, too. Throughout the story, we hear little bits about Claire's parents. I'd love to read about their story as well. It has the potential to be a pretty beautiful story.
I definitely think that the book will appeal to more than just YA readers, and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that the characters are not annoying and certainly don't fit into the stereotypical high school student formula. I think it also helped that Alec had a certain maturity that seemed to influence the other characters, and that brought on more mature conflicts and issues. I'm 24, and a lot of YA novels I read make me feel pretty old. Haha. I know I'm not old, but in a totally different place than most YA characters. I didn't feel like this while reading Forbidden, and I forgot they were all highschoolers. It was refreshing.
In short, it was a wonderful book. I quite enjoyed it, and only took about 2 days to read it. Hopefully this team gets to continue the story! While it can totally stand on its own, there are plenty of ends that are just a tad loose, that could use some tying up!(less)
**I received this book free through netgalley. The following review is full of my honest opinion...more(Originally posted at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)
**I received this book free through netgalley. The following review is full of my honest opinions, and was not influenced by netgalley at all.**
I really loved this book! Ever since I read The Hunger Games, I've been devouring dystopian novels. I honestly never thought I'd find one I liked as much, but this one came pretty close. The story was extremely exciting and had me hooked within a few pages. I became quickly invested in the story and the characters, and fell off the face of the Internet until I finished!
Aria's world is crazy. These Realms take her and her people, The Dwellers, anywhere in time and in space that they wish to visit--from medieval encounters with the knights of the roundtable, to mysterious forests, to the Paris Opera House. All they have to do is think, and they are transported there. It's all marketed as being real, but so much better. They live in domed pods with white ceilings, and never see the sky. The outside world is filled with deadly diseases, savages, and cannibals. Nobody wants to go out there, but Aria (named for her lovely singing voice) is forced out there after being blamed for a crime she didn't commit. When she runs across Perry, she's in desperate need of help to survive and return home to find her mother who has become unreachable at her scientific research lab miles away. Perry also desperately needs her help, as his nephew has been abducted by her people. A very unlikely duo sets out on a treacherous journey in search of a way to beat the odds.
My favorite character is Perry. He's very dynamic, with lots of layers that are slowly peeled off throughout the story. His back story has lots of interesting details, and I grew to find him completely captivating. His ability to sense what a person is feeling has made him extremely mature and sensitive. It has also caused him to care very deeply for people. Even though Aria is his enemy, he can't block out her feelings of pain and sorrow over the possible loss of her mother. He tries so hard to stay away, but can't help himself from trying to console and understand her. Aria sees him as a dirty savage, but softens as she realizes that he is just as capable of loving and losing someone as she is. As they begin to recognize that they're both human and are both going through the same thing even though they come from different worlds, their hearts are softened towards one another and a special bond forms. Aria's pretty strong, considering she was exiled from the only world she knew and thrown into a disease-ridden wasteland, ravaged by cannibals and deadly electric storms. She learns a lot about herself in this story, including where she came from, her powerful desire to survive, her ability to handle scary situations, the gift of her voice, and her desire to love. I liked her, but not as much I liked Perry and his best friend, Roar, who tags along mid-journey and becomes a character you grow to adore. Another character I was surprised to grow attached to was Cinder, an orphaned boy who's a lot more special than he realizes.
The writing was mesmerizing. I was totally immersed in the vivid descriptions of the land, the Aether (which made me picture the magnificent skies of Vincent van Gogh even before the author mentioned Starry Night), the advanced, limitless technology, the Realms and their virtual worlds, and even the pungent smells of the cannibals (ick!). Perry's inner struggle with feeling the feelings of others was beautifully written. The author explains his interpretations so well, that it's like a window has been opened to his mind. I could feel and understand Aria's fear when she was dropped in the Death Shop. It can be hard to write emotion, but Rossi did a wonderful job. I could feel the love as it grew between Perry and Aria. Nothing was forced or instant, just believable. I could feel Cinder's inner confusion and Roar's sense of mischief and humor. It was like I was there, along for the journey. I'm so sad the book is over! I can't wait to rejoin my friends in book #2, with a pretty vague release date of 2013.
I would definitely recommend this to futuristic dystopian lovers who enjoy action and sweet, innocent romance. I'm so proud of this 2012 debut author! Her first book is amazing, and I know it will only get better from here!
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)
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)
Mythical creatures in love with humans are all the rage right now… Vampires, mermaids, werewolves, fallen angels, beasts, fairies, immortals, etc. are...moreMythical creatures in love with humans are all the rage right now… Vampires, mermaids, werewolves, fallen angels, beasts, fairies, immortals, etc. are flooding the shelves of bookstores everywhere. I had never heard of a story involving a dragon before, so I was quite intrigued. The story of Jacinda and Will grabbed me from page one and had me reading long into a night I should have spent sleeping instead of reading. I’ve often wondered if my bookishness is detrimental to my health and personal well-being, but I digress! Back to the subject at hand… I’m having a hard time reviewing this book, and I’m not sure why. I’ve written a review probably 5 times already, and I’m still not happy with it. Maybe it’s because the story has a lot in common with other YA Paranormal romances out there. I’m not saying it’s not worth the read, I’m just not sure what I can say about it that’s new, other than the fact that we’re dealing with dragons. I’ll try! Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:
“Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life, until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.”
Jacinda’s glowing orange skin and intricate wings are not all she has going for her. All Draki have a special talent. Some can breathe underwater, some can control human minds, and some can fly extremely fast. Jacinda breathes fire—a talent that was thought to have died out long ago before she was discovered. Thus, she is extremely valuable to pride. Things were planned out and set in motion for her to marry the Draki prince, Cassian, and create a ton of little fire-breathers just like herself. This unappealing future, mixed with her rebellious nature, mixed with the fact that she barely came home alive after being tracked and shot by a group of hunters prompted her mother to sneak Jacinda and her non-draki twin sister, Tamra, out of the pride and move to Arizona. Her mother chose Arizona because drakis can’t survive in such dry and barren conditions. Jacinda’s draki would eventually die off just like her mother’s, and they could live normal, safe lives as humans. Jacinda was not ok with this and did everything she could to keep her withering draki alive. Then, she saw Will—one of the hunters she encountered the night her mother forced them to flee. He was the one who stared into her draki eyes that night and let her go, leading his family of hunters away from her. They lock eyes in the hall at school, and an instant connection is made. He ignites the draki within her, and she captivates him for a reason he can’t quite figure out. Even though he’s the one who keeps her draki alive, she has to constantly fight her attraction to him (and resist his to her) and keep her distance. She can never let him know what she is without risking the lives of all those she holds dear. The hunters can never find out their best-kept secret—that draki can take on human form.
I really enjoyed this book! First off, how refreshing is it to finally have the girl be the paranormal one? Yes, there are a few mythical heroines out there, but we all know it’s usually the guy. It was fun to read how a girl deals with being different. Jacinda is SO driven by her emotions. She goes through highs and lows, and she’s always freaking out about everything. She’s not calm, cool, and collected like our mainstream paranormal heroes in other novels. I’m not saying she’s spastic and annoying. She certainly handled things better than I would have. I just enjoyed reading about her inner struggle rather than a guy’s, like I usually do.
This book moved really quickly! The tension built up fast, and I found myself trying to read faster than my brain could handle. There was no lollygagging in this book, and I really enjoyed that about it. I never got bored.
The romance between Will and Jacinda was believable, but maybe not for their age group. I never thought of them as high school juniors. They have a very mature relationship, which I was happy about, as I have a hard time enjoying the whiny teenage romances. Even though the romance did not seem realistic for their ages, the high school life was pretty real to me. I remember when I moved to a new high school, I struggled with fitting in. I was picked on. Jacinda went through the same motions I did, and I felt for her and could relate to how she was feeling. She was a total fish out of water, with only one friend who wasn’t even really a friend—more like a person to sit with and talk to. High school’s really hard, and Jacinda dealt with it.
Unfortunately, there were not a lot of characters to like in this book. There was an overabundance of villains: the alpha of her pride (who wanted her for selfish reasons), her mom (who lied to her frequently, and tried to kill off an important part of Jacinda), her sister (who should have tried to be more supportive of Jacinda’s situation), Will’s family (who were complete and total jerks to Will, and almost perverts towards Jacinda), the school bullies (who tried to make her life a living hell, and even attacked her). I’m not used to only liking the two main people. I guess the author chose to do this in order to emphasize the odds against Will and Jacinda, but I really wanted to like more people!
I loved that Jacinda was so true to herself, against all these odds. She didn’t just sit back and let her mother get what she wanted (a draki-free Jacinda). They argued and fought all the time. Her mom kept so many secrets from her, and then when she finally told Jacinda the truth, she wasn’t even nice about it. This woman is just not a good mother figure—and I found her character to be a bit hard to believe sometimes. I know she was trying to protect Jacinda, but she rarely ever showed any compassion, empathy, or even love.
For the most part, I enjoyed the writing style. Several reviewers have mentioned that the book was laced consistently with sentence fragments, which got rather annoying. I totally agree. This is definitely not a book for people looking for pristine literary writing. I had to re-read and re-think some of the passages, just because my mind was not following the choppy writing style. It helped to add to the suspense, but it detracted a bit from everything else. Other than that, the action scenes were done very well and the author’s descriptions left little to be desired. She gave me enough information to be able to picture everything in my mind, but not so much that my mind couldn’t take a few liberties and allow my creative juices to fill in the gaps.
So, why the 5-star rating? Good question. Regardless of a few complaints, I loved the premise, the story, the character development of both Jacinda and Will, the fact that Jacinda is such a likeable heroine, the descriptive passages that painted pictures in my mind, the fast-paced storyline that kept my eyes glued to the pages into the wee hours of the morning, and the fact that now I think dragons are sexy. I must warn you, the book has a total cliffhanger ending. If you’re not the type to wait around for months and months to see what happens next, wait for the sequel, Vanish, set to come out in September of this year.
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)
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)
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)
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.
August 11, 2010 - Do I seriously have to wait a freaking YEAR for this book? Why can't I find an awesome series after it's all been released so I don'...moreAugust 11, 2010 - Do I seriously have to wait a freaking YEAR for this book? Why can't I find an awesome series after it's all been released so I don't have to learn patience?
July 20, 2011
Well, I just finished it... I hate endings. Especially endings of trilogies that I've invested years of my life into. Did this book end the way I had hoped? Almost. Anyone who has read this, knows exactly what I wished had been different. Final books always scare me, because I worry greatly for the characters I've grown so attached to. Will they be happy? Will they leave? Will they survive? Will they be safe/ok? I lost some friends with the ending of this trilogy.
As always, Maggie's writing was riveting. I loved her literary style, especially in this book. Forever had a lot more poetic moments than I remember the other two having. I enjoyed that.
This book is a tricky one to review, because I've got so many feelings without a way to explain them. I'm sad and happy at the same time, and both of those emotions are being caused by many different events within the story, and within the entire trilogy. It's the kind of ending I really can't figure out how to even discuss. I really, really loved parts of it, and I hated other parts. Overall, it was my least favorite of the three, but that's almost always how it works out. Things have to end, and not every book in the world can have everything work out the way everyone wants.(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)
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)
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. 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 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)