Note: some of our members have reported that not all read dates are showing on this page. While we work on making sure they correctly display on this page, you can still view your dates on your review or on the book page.
Allison Sekemoto has spent her life surviving day to day in the Fringe of New Covington, a sprawling vampire city. When she is ravaged by rabids, Kagawa's version of zombies, she is given a choice between death and becoming what she hates most.
This first book in the Blood of Eden series was a likeable read that fell a bit short of my expectations. The idea of mixing dsytopia with vampires caught my interest right away, but while The Immortal Rules is set in the future, it's dystopian aspects mirror another popular series a bit too closely. The beginning of this book is very similar to The Morgainville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. Vampires have contracted with humans to provide them with protection, food, and work in their cities in exchange for keeping the vamps supplied with blood. The exact same statement can be made for Caine's YA vampire series, except the vampires' power extends to the boundaries of the city of Morganville. There is also another key element to Kagawa's vampire lore that is also exactly the same in Caine's series, but it is a spoiler for both so I won't discuss it here. The likenesses between The Immortal Rules and The Morganville Vampires series will be painfully obvious to fans of the latter. This could have ruined the book for me, but thankfully the core structure of the dystopian element isn't the focus of the novel. The story Kagawa tells once Allison leaves the city is one worth reading.
Once Allison gets past New Covington, the story becomes more unique and enjoyable. She spends some time surviving in the outside world alone for a time, but it isn't long before Allison meets up with a wayward group looking for the legendary Eden, a sanctuary for humans devoid of vampires and the threats they bring. This was by far my favorite part of the book. Allison is constantly covering up her vampire nature as she tries to maintain her tenuous alliance with the people and their formidable "man of God" leader. I definitely bonded with these characters and experienced some heart-wrenching moments throughout their journey.
Allison is a breath of fresh air in the YA heroine category. She isn't your average sweet, but misunderstood, pretty princess. Allison begins her journey by becoming what she most hates and proceeds on a progressive and satisfying character arc. This girl is tough and often times stoic in her need to disguise her nature. The best part about her is there is not once an instance of whiny, pathetic damsel in distress syndrome! She is hardly perfect, but she soldiers on and doesn't rely on others to save the day. I'm looking forward to future books staring this badass, lone wolf heroine.
My only complaint about Allison? There is a scene at the beginning of the book that was so cliche I cringed. Allison's vampire sire asks her to pick a weapon from an abandoned museum and what does she pick without fail? Of course! the Asian girl picks a katana as her weapon of choice even though she has no identification with or knowledge of her Japanese heritage. Given, a katana is a generally perfect weapon of choice for any situation, I thought this was just way too obvious and was left shaking my head.
Finally, the book's version of zombies suffer from an unfortunate title. Rabids and rabidism remind me too much of Raving Rabbids.
I couldn't help but imagine a bunch of these crazy cute little guys every time the "rabids" appeared in the book, regardless of their vicious and frightening natures. This is obviously hardly the author's fault, it was just something that messed with my overall enjoyment.
The Final Verdict
The Immortal Rules is a decent start to a new and exciting dystopian series. While the painful similarities to The Morgainville Vampires series are unfortunate and a bit off-putting, the characters, running plot, and lethal heroine will keep readers coming back for more. This could be the start of something beautiful if Kagawa keeps up the excellent character writing and puts a more unique spin on her dystopian world.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for stating any of the above views. All opinions are my own. ...more
Finley Jayne, a young commoner girl, displays a serious case of the Jekyll and Hydes when she is attacked by the rakish son of her employer. Frightened by the violent darkness within her, Finley makes a run for it and is hit by a velocycle in Hyde Park. The operator just so happens to be His Grace the Duke of Greythorn, who has a habit of taking in peculiar strays. Finley soon finds herself in the midst of the grand scheming of the villainous Machinist and discovers the truth about her father and his shrouded past.
While I enjoyed my read of this book, there were a few things working against it that cost the book some serious points.
The first 30% of this book suffers from sluggish pacing. It really shouldn't take that long for me to get into a book, especially one with as much potential as this loosely based Jekyll and Hyde steampunk adventure. The idea is certainly appealing, but takes forever to get going. Once it finally does, the plot twists are so predictable and simplistic that I had the villain and his master plan figured out by the half-way point. Hinting is essential to peaking your reader's interest and keeping them engaged in your story's outcome, but such obvious foreshadowing dumbs the story down. To be perfectly honest it is downright condescending to your reader.
Now, I understand that steampunk is all about the crazy gadgets and technology mixed in with the delightful drama of Victorian era novels, and I love that. However, the first 30% of The Girl In The Steel Corset is over wrought with gadgets, tragic backgrounds, and special abilities. This portion of the novel was really just an info dump wrapped up in shiny gears and cogs that leaves the rest of the novel feeling rushed and empty. Most of the gadgets, back stories and abilities could have been woven throughout the bulk of the novel to make it feel more complete and leave a little mystery to the characters, rather than dumping it all in the reader's lap at the very beginning.
Even though these aspects meddled with my enjoyment, once I finally got to the meat of the story, I couldn't help but be caught up. The best things about this novel are its vibrant side characters and the admirable camaraderie they develop for one another. Although the plot of this novel didn't work for me overall, I definitely found I cared for the characters and looked forward to seeing what happens to them in the next book, which I hear is more satisfying than this one.
My favorite character was without question Jack Dandy. This sleekly charming crimelord stole my heart from the moment he stepped onto the page! Now, I'm not a fan of love triangles, but Jack made this one amusing rather than frustrating with his dark charisma perfectly setting off Griffin's more earnest gallantry. I really hope to see more of him in the next book.
One final thing. I couldn't decide whether the whole "mandroid" thing worked for or against this book. Sam, is referred to as a "mandroid" rather than a cyborg in a completely serious manner. This term sounds hilarious to me and the fact that it is said with absolute seriousness makes it even funnier. Nearly every person I related this to had the same thing to say, "Sounds like some kind of sex robot."
The Final Verdict The Girl in the Steel Corset is an attractive concept that gets messy in its execution, but still retains an endearing quality in its charming characters. The Steampunk Chronicles may very well be a series that suffers from the 'first book" syndrome. Giving the second book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, a chance could be a good investment.
FTC Disclosure I purchased a copy of this book to read in preparation of my review for its sequel. I received no compensation for the views stated above. All opinions are my own. ...more
Fed is an alternate ending to Feed. A What If scenario if you will, that you should not read unless you have already completed Feed
For those of you loFed is an alternate ending to Feed. A What If scenario if you will, that you should not read unless you have already completed Feed
For those of you looking for a spoiler free review, I will say this. Fed is an almost complete regurgitation of the last few chapters of Feed, that exchanges thoughts and dialogue between characters as if they were interchangeable plot mechanisms rather than unique characters. Many passages are word for word what they were in the original regardless of whose point of view it was in to begin with. I felt cheated by this and didn't understand the point of writing an alternate ending if the author wasn't going to give us an alternate experience. Rather than seeing the ending as an entirely new possibility, we saw the same ending through a different set of eyes, with the exact same sentences, descriptors, and dialogue.
Not to mention, the part that was actually alternate to the original events is skimmed over so completely that I was left feeling more ambivalent than the intended devastation.
If this is how the story had actually ended, I would have been completely put off of this series. To be honest, I don't think this series would have continued period, if it had ended this way. It is jarring, unnecessary, and has absolutely no correlation to the events in the following two books. Things revealed to be true in Deadline and Blackout are completely disregarded. And while yes, these plot twists aren't introduced until after the events of this short, they still existed during regardless of whether the reader and the characters were aware or not. The following example is a spoiler from book 2 and this short so please do not read it if you haven't finished both yet. (view spoiler)[i.e. Shaun's immunity to the virus. In this alternate ending, Shaun is hit by the dart instead of Georgia. However we learn in book 2 that he is immune! As Grant gives us absolutely no details to how Shaun actually died outside that van, I can't give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't slip up and forget that little tid bit. Instead of the emotionally charged original ending, we get this sadly flat alteration. George and Rick sit in the van and play, "Is He Dead Yet" and any truly investing details are skipped entirely. I have a hard time believing Georgia, being the badass she is, would have just sat there, with her tail between her legs, trying to shut it all out. (hide spoiler)]
Fed is a weak, and utterly uninspiring rendering of a story that was absolutely perfect just the way it was. And while I love the Newsflesh Trilogy, I can't give this sad little short a five-star rating based on the merits of its predecessors.
This was a story that didn't need to be told....more
Dahlia is a hardworking young lady who compulsively paints the angelic subjects of her dreams that torment her nightly. These aren't your everyday chubby cherubs, these angels are dark, vicious , and downright dangerous. Little does she know that her dreams are actually suppressed memories of another lifetime, and her new friend Belial and her crew are a group of Fallen angels Dahlia used to know very, very well.
I think I'll start off by discussing the kinds of things I look for in a great read. My ideal book is dark, dangerous, exciting, sexy, and thought provoking. I also love when an author can round these elements out with humor. Now, let me explain why Morningstar just didn't do it for me.
While there are darker core story elements, they are overwhelmed with the excessive lighthearted humor. Every time there was a flashback or talk of Lucifer and Dahlia's past, I would get excited and think I had finally reached the meat of the story, only to be disappointed when the silly romp continued on. I can see this kind of thing working for readers looking for a light, zany read, but for me The Fallen spent too much time being hyper and baking cookies, and not enough time being sexy bad-asses. All madness with very little direction made Morningstar a frustrating read. I just wanted to get to the good stuff!
A good romp can do wonders for your character development. Sending your characters off on a shopping trip, having them cook something together, or even letting them throw a house party allows the reader to become better acquainted with the aspects of their personalities that may not be visible in your current plot line. However in this case, Morningstar suffers from too much of a good thing. These character building vignettes shouldn't detract from the overall plot progression, or become the focus of your book and unfortunately in this case, both of these are true.
Of course, this book isn't without it's merits. For the first third of the book I enjoyed the writing style, well delivered one-liners and tender moments between Lucifer and Dahlia that pepper the narrative occasionally. I'm not talking about the gratuitous amounts of PDA. The scenes I'm referring to are the real heart-to-heart moments they have when they are, for the most part, alone. The tenderness of Lucifer and the wide-eyed wonder of Dahilia make for a truly beautiful combination.
The narrative is well written for the most part with the exception of the battle scenes which come off painfully technical.
"A knife came soaring at them. Lucifer caught it and threw it back at the attacker stopping him in his tracks. Furcas jumped on a man to their left. Dahlia kicked at another as he grabbed for them. A soldier stabbed Lucifer in the back. Dahlia screamed. Lucifer pulled the blade out and tore open the man's throat."
As you can see, any excitement these scenes possess is greatly overshadowed by the bland, "He did this and she did that" format. There are very few transitions or descriptors throughout. To be fair, battle scenes are very difficult to write without becoming repetitive if you don't have extensive practice, but with some blocking and the helping hand of a more action oriented writer, these scenes can become pivotal to your reader's emotional investment.
While reading, I mostly struggled between hope and frustration. There were moments when I could see a glimpse of what this book could have been. The material, characters, and history of this mythology that the author had to work with could have made for a truly epic story. I saw potential in the poeticlly written memories and flashbacks, and in my favorite line said by Lucifer near the end of the novel.
"This I deserve but you do not. Within you, you posses the power of Hell. Rage Dahlia. Tear Heaven down."
The Final Verdict While the characters are likeable and the core conflict is interesting enough, there just isn't enough real story. There are very few noticeable plot progression points and the action of the last twenty percent comes much too late.
If you are looking for a lighthearted read filled with colorful characters that is devoid of heavy themes, Morningstar could be the book for you. Unfortunately, it just wasn't my thing.
FTC Disclosure I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for the views stated above. All opinions are my own....more
Calder is enjoying himself in the Caribbean when he is abruptly called back to the shores of chilly Lake Superior by his sisters. Their blood calls them to avenge their mother, and it just so happens they finally found the man who can satisfy their blood lust. Calder is recruited to seduce Jason Hancock's daughter Lily in an attempt to gain his trust and get him alone on the water so his sisters can strike. Everything is going fine until Calder develops feelings for Lily and must fight between his emotions and his animal instincts, or risk losing the only warmth he has ever felt.
Murderous mermaids indeed! This dark take on possibly one of the most fanciful mythical creatures is breathtaking in its morbidity. Lies Beneath was a first for me in a couple of ways. First, it was my very first paranormal romance about mermaids. I hadn't yet taken the plunge into mermaid fiction as it seems to have been met with mixed reactions, but when I saw the cover for this one and read the blurb, I had to give it a go. As a friend recently pointed out to me, I tend to lean towards darker fantasy as opposed to fluffy fairy stories. With that in mind, this really was the perfect introduction to mermaids in popular fiction for me.
The other first that Lies Beneath presented me with was a first-person perspective, starring the male lead. I have read fathoms of paranormal romance from the perspective of the naive, human girl, but never have I come across a YA story told by the seductive otherworldly guy. A tale told by the predator has an entirely different tone. Had the narrative been more traditional, Calder's initial murderous intentions would have been unrelatable and could have very well made this more disturbing than darkly delightful. Thanks to Brown's foresight on this, you get to see their violently beautiful existence through his eyes, rather than discovering a completely alien way of life as experienced by another clueless teen.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about Lies Beneath was that the author stayed away from the Disney incarnation of mermaids and even poked a bit of fun at Ariel. Brown seems to have molded her merpeople around the dangerous sirens found in Homer's The Odyssey; those tantalizing, yet vicious creatures who lured sailors to their deaths in the murky depths. Calder and his sisters thrive off of absorbed energy from humans they drag beneath the waves. Creepy? Oh yes, but the author's well developed mythology and vivid writing style make this a tale about how truly transformative love can be for the soul.
The only issue I had with this fantastic first title in the new YA series was that there were some continuity problems. Especially near the end of the novel when the hectic climax was in full-tilt, I found that certain events weren't explained enough or were just dropped entirely. I don't know whether this was because they will be expanded on in the coming sequel, or if the author lost sight of them during the frenzy and hoped readers wouldn't notice. Regardless Brown's writing style, while wonderfully depictive, reveals that it is still in need of development.
The Final Verdict An impressive debut that fans of dark fantasy will delight in.
FTC Disclosure I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Netgalley and Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for the views expressed above. All opinions are my own. ...more
“Look at us. Amps. We're morons smarter than Lucifer. Cripples stronger than gravity. A bunch of broke-ass motherfuckers stinking rich with potential. This is our army. Our people. Strong and hurt. We're the wounded supermen of tomorrow, Gray. It's time you got yourself healed. New world ain't gonna build itself. And the old world don't want to go without a fight.”
Amped takes place in a future America where technology has managed to help individuals overcome disorders of the brain. Amplification devices are fitted to manage everything from ADD to epilepsy. Sounds great right? Well in a country legendary for its history of discrimination, these devices cause a whole new civil rights movement. It just so happens that people fitted with these amplifiers also benefit from enhanced neural processing and focus, setting them at a cut above the rest. Schools and workplaces are becoming inundated with individuals who are smarter, faster, and stronger than the average American, leaving everyone else in the dust. So, what's an average American to do? Take it to the supreme court of course.
When the supreme court rules that amplified Americans (Amps) are not equally protected under the Constitution, the world becomes a frightening place for anyone with a maintenance port on their temple. There is rioting in the streets and people are being thrown out of their homes as contracts with Amps are no longer being recognized as legal and binding. Enter Owen Gray, a man whose amplification merely keeps him from going into epileptic seizures; or so he thinks.
Amped started off with a bang, hooking me from the very first chapter. I kept saying to myself, "This is it! That epic read I've been waiting for!"
The narrative reminded me so much of Ready Player One that my awesome meter exploded and I started raving to my friends and family about how Amped was going to be the best read of my year. Little did I know...
It literally felt like it was the skeletal outline of a much longer novel. With an idea with this much potential, I was really looking forward to an epic read. While, Amped combines familiar aspects of American history with futuristic technology to create a concept that is wonderfully intriguing, it fails to really follow through. Wilson spends too much time jumping the reader from one major plot point to the next and not enough time developing the core characters and exploring the epic possibilities of cybernetic civil rights.
Amped does have some spectacular moments where you get a glimpse at what a truly remarkable work of science fiction this could have been had the author taken more time to develop his idea. The wasted potential is even more highlighted by the newspaper articles, court rulings, and press releases at the end of each chapter detailing how the events were impacting the nation as a whole. For all its ambitious concept and likeable characters, there just wasn't enough meat to back it up....more
Chelsan is a young girl with the power to raise the dead. When tragedy strikes, she finds herself in the midst of a frightening conspiracy and discovers the truth about her past. Along with her gang of friends, Chelsan tries to uncover the whole truth and reveal it to the world.
I really thought this was going to be my kind of book. All the reviews have described it as a dark and gritty dystopia novel. While there is darkness involved, it was definitely muted by all the inane teenage drama. YA writers of science fiction, dystopia, fantasy, and paranormal romance are constantly having to balance their epic, heart pounding story lines with the everyday concerns of their teenage protagonists. Dating, mean girls, and homework are all things we expect to see these characters dealing with if they are living in a futuristic or contemporary world. The problem comes in when these things pop up in awkward moments. This happened a lot in Riser. Caught up in a life-threatening situation? Who cares! Let's go shopping! Or better yet, let's worry if my crush like, likes me. Yes, that term is actually used in this book by persons older than 11 years old. This part of the book overwhelmed the potentially gritty plot and just left me feeling like the book was just silly overall.
The main character Chelsan is your classic Mary Sue. She lives in a trailer park with her parents, has average looks, goes to a school for rich kids, and has two hot, wealthy guys vying for her attention. Wow, go figure. I'll give Chelsan this, at least she knows who she wants and isn't ping-ponging back and forth between the two. She makes a definitive choice early on and sticks with it. For that I definitely have some respect for her. Other than that I was a bit annoyed with her inner commentary that was constantly throwing me off of the dark vibe I so wanted out of this book. She sure says "ewww" a lot for a girl who has been playing with dead things her entire life. More often than not, the light-heartedness of the dialogue and narration just ruined any grittyness the book had. Here are some examples:
"I couldn't see his face, my sight was too blurred and the angle of the light made him look like a walking black shadow of doom coming toward me." (Black shadow of doom? Sounds like the name of some Dr. Doom wannabe)
"'Sleep.' He sounded like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz." (Honestly, this quote made this particular bad guy much less scary for me)
"He was so cute when he was thinking." (Oh dear lord...)
"It was like walking into a safe haven of awesomeness."(Seriously? This from a straight A student at a prestigious academy of the wealthy who managed to get in based on her academic achievements alone?)
The characters are fairly two-dimensional for the most part and I never really felt a connection to any of them. However there was a scene with Chelsan's love interest, Ryan that got me pretty steamed. The mean girl of the school, Jill, finally gets on Ryan's last nerve. What does he do? He punches her in the face so hard she falls on her ass and has a nasty shiner the next day. Regardless of how cruel teenage girls can be, I think we can all agree that this is unacceptable behavior. So what does Chelsan do? She is totally gaga over the fact that Ryan is willing to beat on other girls for her. As this is a YA book and predominately directed toward teenage girls, I guess the thing that steams me the most is that this is teaching them (1) they do not have to fight their own battles and (2) to romanticize violence towards women. I'm positive this wasn't the author's intent, but the message is loud and clear. Beating on girls is sexy.
Another thing that really put me off this book was the poor editing. If there was actually any editing done on this book at all. I was constantly coming across grammar errors and incorrect vocabulary. I cringed every time I came across a sentence in which the author uses the completely wrong word. It was made even worse by the fact that I could tell exactly which word she had meant to use. Here are some examples:
"They were inhumanly pitch black and they began chanting illegible words." (Speak up! I can't read the words that are coming out of your mouth!)
"He was going to gauge my eyes out." (Obviously she meant gouge... Unless there is some new body modification fad I'm not aware of?)
"Would everyone stop obsessing about my bowl movements..." (Can I buy a vowel please?)
"Perfectly coifed grass separated the parallel lined mansion-sized houses." (No, no, no, no!)
coiffed: past participle, past tense of coif (Verb) Verb:
1. Style or arrange (someone's hair), typically in an elaborate way. 2. Style or arrange the hair of (someone).
As my good friend Wigs said, "What is this English? How does it work? Does it have rules?" This had to be the most frustrating, and admittedly entertaining, part of the book for me. And before all the 4 and 5 star reviewers start jumping all over me, check out the FTC disclosure at the bottom of this review.
The Final Verdict
Riser has an interesting idea that is unfortunately executed poorly. The concept of a character with the power to raise the dead is far from new. If you want to read a YA necromancer story that balances the gritty and fluffy elements well, I would suggest you check out Kelly Armstrong's Darkest Powers Trilogy. Riser still needs some work and a thorough edit.
I was provided with a review copy of this book by the author and IO Tours in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.
Update Shout out to Becca C Smith for taking this review like a boss. It takes a truly awesome person to enjoy a negative review of her own book. Thanks again for your kindness and understanding....more
The Becoming, the first book in a new trilogy and Meigs' first novel follows three main characters as they experience the initial outbreak of the zombie virus Michaluk and fight to survive. Cade, Ethan, and Brandt pick up other survivors along the way, but when Ethan insists on returning to Memphis to find closure with the loss of his wife, Cade and Brandt forge on to find a safe place for their group.
Finally! A strong female lead character in a zombie series other than the Newsflesh Trilogy! I've been reading a lot of zombie fiction lately and I have to say I'm sickened with the amount of wimpy, whiny, practically useless female lead characters. The Becoming was a breath of fresh air for me and certainly for the genre itself. Finally a woman who can hold her own and is just as gritty as the boys. While there were still times I was frustrated with Cade's often overly dramatic actions, I still enjoyed her character.
Really each character Meigs has crafted for this novel is well developed and relatable. For me, there is nothing better than well written, character driven apocalypse fiction and this novel delivers it in droves!
One other thing that really stuck out to me was how much more cinematic this novel felt to me than others I've read of the genre. In the first chapters of the book, the tension is slowly and carefully built, setting the reader up for horror moviesque anticipation for the action to kick off. The tension had me biting my nails as I waited for the first zombie to rear its ugly head. This is one of the first zombie novels that truly made me experience horror rather than simulating it with over the top gore and action. Meigs played on my worst fears from the very beginning, sucking me into her world completely.
I think the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way about this book was the fact that the main characters took forever to catch on to what was happening. As this book is set in our world, which has been saturated with zombie movies, books, and pop culture for decades, I would have expected the main characters to have caught on right away. Instead, they spend the first quarter of the novel going, "This is so weird! I wonder what could be happening?" Umm... duh... A real world example would be the incident in Miami recently where a naked man was gunned down by police as he ate the face of another naked man. Although it has been ruled that the man was incredibly high on an illegal narcotic that caused him to act this way, many people associated the actions with zombie like behavior. No, I'm not insane, I don't think the zombie apocalypse is upon us, my point is, people are smarter than you think. It doesn't take an erstwhile Marine you randomly meet to tell you its freaking zombies chapters later. I really felt this dumbed down her otherwise impressive and capable heroes for me. Really, this may not make much of a difference for other readers, but it is kind of a sore spot for me when it comes to zombie fiction in general.
The Final Verdict
Regardless this was an amazing read for me full of action, true horror, and visceral emotion. Well written and superbly edited, The Becoming is a zombie novel you don't want to miss. Looking forward to the rest of the series!
I was provided a copy of this book by the author and IO Tours in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation for the views stated. All opinions are my own....more
At this moment, after just finishing Deadline, I believe I'm in shock. I don't really know how I will write a review for this book without giving away spoilers for itself and for its predecessor Feed, but I will give it a try. Was this the best book ever? Certainly not. Were there flaws? Quite a few actually. Do either of those factors compare to the grip this series has a hold of me? Do they effect the love I have for the characters that Grant has created? Do they lessen at all the emotional reverberations I feel long after I have put the book back on its shelf? The answer is a loud and resounding NO. The people we love without a doubt have flaws, but the sheer magnitude of the impact they have on our own personal human experience makes these flaws pale in comparison.
This is Deadline to me.
This is the Newsflesh Trilogy to me.
The After the End Times team is back and hot on the trail of the conspiracy that rocked their world in the last book. If you think I'm being incredibly vague here, I am because there is honestly very little I can talk about this book plot wise without giving everything away. Let's just say I was very impressed with how quickly the action got going compared to Feed. Instead of a huge info dump that gets us acquainted with the characters and the world they inhabit, we take a quick moment to catch up with the team, and then are thrown directly into the action. And thank god for the action! Where Feed spent much of its length exploring politics, blogging, and evil plotting, Deadline spends it running, jumping, climbing trees. (Sorry couldn't resist the Eddie Izzard reference ^_^) There is still plenty of evil plotting going on here for those of us who loved that in the previous book, but this time we get to enjoy a faster paced story.
What Deadline has made up for in pace and excitement, it seems to have lack key character development in Shaun. I felt Grant had an almost unlimited amount of potential for Shaun's character here, but she held back for some reason. This was really disappointing for me as I love a good crazy anti-hero, but after being blown away by the ending, I trust that Grant knows what she is doing here. You see, after finishing Deadline I got the distinct feeling that everything that felt like a flaw throughout the course of the novel was absolutely intentional. Every emotion I felt during my read of this book seems to have been directed by Grant's storytelling in an almost subliminal way. To me this proves that Grant understands her core audience and knows just how to play us.
Which leads me to my final thoughts... What exactly does she have planned for us in Blackout? The ending of Deadline completely threw me as did the ending of Feed. So, if Grant is topping herself with each book... what epicness can we expect from the final book in the Newsflesh trilogy? I'm absolutely tingling with anticipation.
The Final Verdict
I think fans of the first book will love the ride and be left dying to find out what happens next.
'Burn a Pure and breathe the ash. Take his guts and make a sash. Twist his hair and make a rope. Use his bones to make Pure soap.'
When I first picked up Pure I was relieved. My review queue was a mile high and I was looking forward to a fast-paced YA read. With all the great press this book has gotten, I figured it was going to be highly addicting and a nice diversion from all the so-so books I had been slogging through recently. Quick and dirty. Easy Breezy. In retrospect, I don't know if anything could have prepared me for Pure.
My initial reaction to Pure was frustration, confusion, and morbid fascination. I hated the narrative perspective. The third-person present tense completely threw me off and made the experience that much more grating. ie. "Pressia is waiting..." I kept thinking, "Who writes like that?" and "Why write like that?" I even considered updating my Goodreads status to make a point as, "Jess is thinking she does not like this book..." I wondered if this was some strange attempt at making "stream of consciousness" the new literary fad, but no, Pure was still understandable, just frustrating. The strange world I had been tossed into without warning had me struggling to acclimate and I spent the first quarter of the book in aggravated confusion.
Then something strange happened. I couldn't even tell you exactly when, but I began to become attached to the characters and the story was slowly drawing me in by taunting me with little peeks at the big picture. Once the main male character Partridge leaves the Dome and begins to experience the outside world, I had a truly awesome lightbulb moment. What I realized was, Baggott meant for her readers to be confused at first. The strange and disturbing elements of the alien world created by the detonations is shocking and the true gravity of the consequences of nuclear warfare could not be better related to readers than to force them to feel it for themselves.
While this book is classified as young adult fiction because it follows teenaged characters, it carries a much more graphic and intense nature than most book in the genre. I have seen reviewers classify this book as "icky" or "just gross", but let's be honest here. What did you expect? This book chronicles the struggles and survival of individuals who have been deeply scarred, mutated, and even fused to the world around them. The weight of the message this story carries was meant to challenge your way of thinking and immerse you in a world where teenagers must be brave, strong, and decisive as opposed to the often more fickle nature of YA characters. Do I recommend this book for everyone. Absolutely not. There are scenes that made me cringe from their graphicness and scenes that I never saw coming from a young adult title. I'm not talking about sexual content. The novel is very mild in that aspect with mostly a chaste kiss that is few and far between. I'm talking about gore and death. There is a particular twist at the end (I won't spoil it for you) that completely shocked me with it's disturbing abruptness. That being said, it felt completely right within the context of the story. As an adult, I was elated that Baggott was not afraid to truly express the gritty, dark nature of her world.
The Final Verdict
Pure is a hauntingly brilliant story that combines the impact of more literary dystopia with the sneaky addictiveness of modern day young adult fiction. This is a story I will not soon forget and I look forward to future volumes in this series with hungry anticipation. I would recommend this book to adult fans of YA and dystopia and more mature teens....more
Seven Habits is definitely not your traditional zombie novel. It was so close to being an absolutely amazing read for me, but there was just one thing that irked me. The book begins with Bosley talking to detectives about the strange turn of events that lead him to their interrogation room. Bosley's chapters are written like a conversation, but we only ever get Bosley's side of the story. I was intrigued by the style, but initially felt a strong distaste towards the fact that this man got his time traveling powers through the heavy, and I mean HEAVY use of drugs. Drugs give you super powers!? Interesting concept, but not one I am entirely comfortable with. It very nearly put me off of the entire book. That is, until I read my first chapter about Ocean.
Ocean is a fourteen year old girl of the future who has never known a world other than the post-apocalyptic one she was born into. As the synopsis says, she suffers daily in her search for food, water, and comfort. I was irrevocably pulled into the story when Ocean was forced to kill her mother to survive. This is where my entire perspective on this book shifted and I realized there was a world of depth here that I had only begun to uncover. I looked forward to each of her chapters with increasing intensity as the story went on.
More often than not, I can make a fairly accurate guess at the final plot twist the author is hinting at throughout the book, but this time, I was caught completely by surprise. I can't really go into it without giving away any spoilers, but I can say that what actually was going on with the underground clan was much more horrific than anything I had guessed at. When it comes to Ocean's story and the final plot twist I have to give Rose a standing ovation. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
One other thing that I really loved about Seven Habits is that it had me questioning Bosley's sanity for half of the book. Taking in the fact that he had been under the influence of a massive amount of drugs and his attitude toward the events leading up to his arrest, I was very nearly convinced he was a psychotic serial killer who had created this fantasy to justify what he had done. I absolutely love a book that keeps me guessing, that keeps my mind racing trying to figure out what is really going on. If you do to, this is really the book for you.
The Final Verdict: I'm really not a fan of making druggies heroes, but honestly it works here in the end. Bosley becomes quite loveable throughout the course of the book and the final twist had me near to tears. The duel stories being told here are some of the most compelling and emotionally visceral I have read all year. The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People is on my zombie essentials reading list. If you love zombies, or just thrilling storytelling, than this should be your next read....more
"If you wish to know how it is that you can dismantle the undead, laugh maniacally, and continue about your existence, then please continue on."
This has been by far the most informative and concise zombie read I've come across. Pretty much everything you could want or need to know about surviving a potential zombie apocalypse is right here within ZAP's pages. I don't care if you don't subscribe to the whole idea of a zombie apocalypse being a potential threat. The ideas, advice, practical information, and tactics presented in this book are potential life savers in virtually any major natural disaster, terrorist attack, or crisis that could happen within your lifetime. While reading, I began to seriously consider getting some of the suggested supplies together in my house as a disaster kit. Do I sound crazy right now? Maybe, but when that mega, California sinking earthquake we've all been hearing about since elementary school finally happens and you run out of food, fresh water, and a power source, I guess we'll know which one of us was the crazy one. But seriously people, I don't necessarily believe that some vicious virus is going to turn us into rabid flesh eating monsters, but I"m not ruling it out either. Better to prepare and be wrong than call everyone crazy now and be the first to get chomped on.
Outside of its survival merits, ZAP is honestly an immensely valuable resource for writers looking to put out some well researched apocalypse fiction. In all likelihood, your zombies will be unique and many of the zombie facts here won't apply, but the basic weapons knowledge, supply lists, shelter acquisition, offensive and defensive tactics, and terrain survival portions of this book will indeed help you not only shape your fictional world, but also teach you how your characters can survive. As a person who doesn't know much about firearms, (I'm more of a Dragon Age kind of girl), I was excited by the plethora of practical knowledge I got out of reading up on each type. I now know what each type of firearm is best suited for. I know this may be obvious to many, but I grew up in a part of California where we had no need for guns and therefore lacked the necessity for such an area of study. I must say as a fan of science fiction, horror, and dystopia novels this came back to shame me in my adult years, but thanks to ZAP, I now have a general idea of how this stuff works.
If these reasons aren't enough for you to add this book to your shelf of apocalypse fiction essentials, I think it is important to mention the overall irreverently funny tone of this guide. Do you enjoy sarcastic, dark humor with a generous dose of geek? If your answer is yes, this should be a no brainer for you. Houchins and Thomas have infused this zombie survival extravaganza with more references to popular nerd culture than you can shake a stick at! When you're not considering taking copious notes, you will be chuckling to yourself and freaking out the people next to you.
Recommendation: I would honestly say if you have any interest at all in the reading or writing of zombie literature, you should seriously think about checking this one out. All levels of zombie lovers will learn something new and yes, Have fun Doing It....more
When Alyson accompanies her new husband Niall Clyne during his voyage she discovers one of the young passengers is the heir to the Scottish throne. Along the coast of England they are quickly overtaken by pirates, the heir is kidnapped, and Alyson is left for dead on the sinking ship by her negligent husband. Enter Jake Maxwell, Scottish knight of the realm and captain of the Sea Wolf. Will rescuing Alyson lead to an epic romance or epic trouble?
After being thoroughly impressed with the previous book in this trilogy Highland Hero, I was looking forward to continuing the story Scott set before her readers and get to know our Highland Wolf, Jake Maxwell better. All I can say is that what I got in comparison to what I had previously read was a bit of a disappointment. For a book titled Highland Lover there was very little loving going on. The majority of the book is bogged down with details concerning Jamie's kidnapping, the journey to St. Andrews, and the legal ramifications of Alyson's marriage making the overall feel of the book come off dry and drudging. We gets hints throughout the book that Alyson and Jake have a thing for each other, but not much happens until the last quarter of the book. This final installment in the trilogy is still well written, but lacks the captivating spark of the previous book. I kept putting this one down and moving on to a different book. I read chapters in between large sections of other novels in hopes I would finally get into it, but it never really happened.
For some reason, in the previous book, the Scottish colloquialisms were charming, but in this book they became cumbersome, slowing down the read substantially. Especially when the group sets foot in the English tavern and decides they need to imitate the speech of the locals. Dear lord! I was struggling to get through the dialogue portions at this point and was grateful when a large portion of narration came along. Don't get me wrong, I love me a sexy Scottish accent, but it was just not happening here.
Besides the dryness of the story and lack of any actual "lovers" until near the end, the main plot revolving around the Scottish throne is never resolved. When the story comes to a close, Jamie is still in English hands and Albany appears to be on his way to claiming Scotland for his own. It was almost like Jake and Alyson got their happy ending so *shrugs* oh well! I'm hoping that Scott did this because she is planning on continuing the development of Jamie's plight in another set of novels, and this may very well be, but it still felt unpleasantly abrupt. Needless to say this is my least favorite installment in the series, but Scott has not lost me yet. I look forward to future Highland romance novels from her matching up to the potential I observed in Highland Hero. ...more
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland meets Greek Mythology when Teenager Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole during her abusive father's funeral and finds herself in the Underworld! Together with her strange and not entirely trustworthy guide, Minotaur, Cora must navigate the Underworld to find her genius brother Lucas. But what's a living girl to do in the land of the dead?
The White Oak suffers from a raw narrative riddled with short, choppy sentences. However, there is an undeniably captivating quality regardless of the overall unpolished feel. From start to finish I was pulled into the strangely wonderful world White has created. The chapters are a reasonable length making it easy to read one chapter at a time during a busy schedule, but you may find it difficult to stop. Cora's surroundings are so unique and fantastic that you will devour many chapters at a time just to see what comes next. Despite its obvious Alice roots, the entire reading experience fondly reminded me of Jim Henson's movie Labyrinth with all the bizarre and fiercely beautiful creatures and locations.
My main problem with The White Oak is that it felt more like half of a book than a whole one. Just as the conflict with Minos began to reveal itself, the story ended. I felt like the moment I began to truly love this tale, it was over and I was left feeling like I had been majorly jipped! There was just not enough actual story and there is no real character development in sight. I never felt like I got a chance to really know Cora as a person. I understand this is going to be a series, but this felt more like a novella companion than an actual first novel in a set. I really would have liked it to be much longer
Although this book didn't match up to my standards with length and polish, I still can't deny there is something magical about this book. An immense potential lingers in the background showing itself in brief spurts throughout the novel. I kept waiting for it to reveal itself during my read, but just as I thought, "Yes! Here it is!" the book abruptly ended. Regardless of my disappointments, you can bet I will be reading the next book in this series. This author has the potential to be amazing, and I want to be reading her books when that happens. ...more
I'm terribly conflicted in my feelings for this book. You see, I was so excited to begin reading. I received this book in a Secret Santa exchange and immediately fell in love with its gorgeous appearance.The hardback version of Miss Peregrine's is stunningly beautiful with its superb dust jacket artwork, inclusion of vintage photographs and letters in each chapter, and smooth, luxurious pages. The publisher succeeded in making the packaging alone worthy of today's high prices. However in the growing cover lust market it seems more focus is being put on making an outwardly beautiful book with less emphasis on the quality of its content. The old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," could not be truer here and ultimately leads to an experience that is downright disappointing.
Theintriguing premise along with the deliciously macabre vintage photos makes for perpetually limitless peculiar plot possibilities. Yes, I'm a fan of alliteration. With this seemingly bottomless well of literary wealth, how the hell did Riggs completely miss the mark? Let me explain.
I'm the sort of reader who loves a deeply visceral and emotionally engaging read. The superficial appearance of Miss Peregrine's along with all the sparkling reviews led me to believe my experience would be like this:
When in actuality, It ended up being more like this...
Scary monsters huh? Cool...
So what happened? The storytelling is at first pleasantly creepy and the inclusion of the strange and disturbing photos made it that much better. I anticipated being drawn in deeper and waited patiently for the core plot to be revealed. To my surprise, and dismay, the actual action/conflict doesn't begin until the last 100 pages! This subsequently led to the author shoving me down a hill and leaving me with brief glimpses of depth as I tumbled toward the end. The first half of the book sets you up and slowly reels you in with cleverly deceptive photographs that never quite pay off and are often awkwardly placed. This ends up slowing the story down considerably rather than enhancing it. The farther I got into the story, the more I cringed each time Riggs planted another photo op. If that wasn't frustrating enough, certain plot twists happen way too late in the story cutting off any actual character development.
Speaking of characters, I enjoyed Jacob's snarky wit and general dry attitude up until he turns into one of the freaking Hardy Boys (with much less sleuthing ability) halfway though. Jacob takes the express route from charmingly cynical to dauntingly featherbrained. I won't go into depth on the shallow secondary characters and their even shallower relationships with Jacob, but yeah... Very unconvincing to say the least.
The sporadic and often random spurts of gore miss unsettling and go straight to just plain awkward. I don't mind gruesome details, but if you are going to do graphic then be consistent! The majority of the book is spent picnicking, making out with an eighty year old teen, and arguing the pros and cons of terrorizing a sweet little village in a time loop. So when out of the blue disemboweled sheep (and people) appear, the general impression comes off as an afterthought.
Finally, I have to say...WHERE THE F*** ARE ALL THE CHILDREN? We are tantalized with creepy photographs of the peculiar children from beginning to end and are introduced to barely any of them! This wouldn't have been such a big deal if I had just gotten even a whiff of the disturbing clown faced twins! There are two separate instances where Jacob finds a picture of them and they are just so damn creepy you would think Riggs wouldn't pass up the chance to use them to his advantage. But no! Not even an honorable mention is made throughout the entire book. Some of the more off-the-wall peculiars are a real treat and helped keep me interested, but this fact alone was not enough to save Miss Peregrine's for me.
The Final Verdict: A promising premise is poorly executed. If only an actual writer had written this... ...more
Amelia, a spinster at 27 is secretly a published author. In order to pursue her dreams, she vowed never to marry. However when Amelia agreed to accompany her dear friend, Prudence to meet her potential fiance, she never expected to become the object of Lord Carnach's desire. In an unfortunate turn of events, Amelia finds herself in a tenuous situation. Marry Lord Carnach or be ruined in the eyes of the ton. Either way she has earned the ire of Prudence who is one of the three people who know Amelia's scandalous literary secret.
Malcolm is a Scottish laird who desperately wants to save his clan and their home in the Highlands by joining the House of Lords. He seeks an obedient and simple wife in Prudence to help him reach his political aspirations without scandal. However when he lays eyes on Amelia, he can't deny the magnetic attraction he feels towards her. Will he be able to tame her into the wife he needs or will their passion consume them both?
While I ate the majority of this book up there were a few things about it that irked me. After tearing through the first half like a mad woman, I started to notice a continuing pattern that at first presents an interesting twist to Malcolm and Amelia's romance, but becomes frustrating after the fourth or so repetition. The whole basis of this book's plot is that Amelia never wanted to be married, but now that she is, she is altogether the wrong kind of wife for Malcolm's political career. I very much enjoy the premise of an unlikely pair finding love and understand that this requires quite a bit of back and forth, "I love him, I hate him." However, instead of feelings and complications evolving over time, the two characters are stuck with the same issues throughout the entire book. Plus, they spend very little time actually considering their situation and substituting actual relationship building for loads and loads of sex. It sort of goes like this...
Malcolm: Are you going to behave woman? Amelia: Are you going to force me into subservience so that I will have no time to write my...letters? Malcolm: (Gets distracted by her breasts) Um... letters? What could you possibly be writing to people about!? Amelia: You know... stuff, the Highlands, London stuff... Malcolm: (Still distracted by her breasts) There's something she's not telling me... Oh well! Bend over darling!
Obviously that's only my abbreviated version of events, but you get the idea. This sort of thing happens over and over again. After half of the book I felt like the romance just wasn't developing and they were trading sex for avoidance of the real issues. Finally at 2/3 of the way through, it has to actually be stated point blank, "I think I'm in love with him/her" by each of them internally in order for you to get the gist that all this bumping and grinding hasn't been for nothing. I feel if the emotional side of the romance was better developed earlier on in the story, this would have been an excellent read for me.
As it stands, this was still a good read, much better than many of the historical romance I've been indulging in lately. I enjoyed the premise of Amelia, who was determined for spinsterhood, lands herself in a marry or be ruined situation. The irony that she is stuck in a situation she would have written for one of her heroines was attractive and I loved reading about how the Highlands and Malcolm were inspiring her to be a better writer. Even though I didn't enjoy the constant back and forth I did appreciate the fact that there were no easy answers here. Everything doesn't magically fall into place and work out in the end. The characters have to work for their goals.
Overall, I felt Scotsmen Prefer Blondes is an enjoyable read read for lovers of the genre and will likely charm less picky readers. ...more
Fifty Shades of Grey huh? Well James has certainly delved into the ethical grey area that's for sure. I know this trilogy has amassed a legion of fans in a fairly short amount of time, however I feel the majority of those fans don't realize their romance/smut fix is actually a re-vamped Twilight fanfic. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, a fanfic is a story written by a fan of a particular movie, television show, video game, book/series of books, etc. These stories are supposed to be written entirely for fun and the enjoyment of fellow fans of said fan base and usually come with a disclaimer that the characters, settings, etc. belong to the original author or creator and that the fan writer is in no way making any profit off of their fanfiction. Popular fanfiction archiving sites like FanFiction.Net require these disclaimers and even have a list of authors/creators who have specifically asked that their works not be reproduced and archived on fanfiction websites. Obviously, people are going to do what they want and write what they want about whatever they want. I myself have enjoyed reading fanfiction for favorite anime and book series. There is nothing wrong with exploring the depths of a world you love, as long as you realize it is not your world in any way shape or form. You do not own the world, the characters, or any of the plot lines therein.
This is where my issue with Fifty Shades of Grey comes in. Originally published as the Twilight fanfic online Master of the Universe, this story was James' attempt at taking Bella, Edward, and their fellow cast of characters, and setting them up in a real-world situation. Trading claws and fangs for whips and chains if you will. This is what we call an AU or Alternate Universe fic in the world of fanfiction. Yes, the characters find themselves in different situations than the original Twilight story, however not by much. There were several instances during the reading of Fifty Shades that I snorted with derision and shook my head because the parallels were so blatantly obvious. If this were being portrayed for what it is, a fanfiction of another author's work, I probably would have enjoyed it. However the case is, James is selling this as her own work. After her fanfic became popular, James decided to change everyone's names, slap a new title on it, and sell it as her OWN work. Some other reviewers who are aware of its regurgitation status are claiming that James has taken out all the Twilight references and made this book undoubtedly her own. This is absolute delusion as the characters, locales, and many of the plot and back story details mirror the original Twilight story almost exactly with only a minor tweak here and there.
The main character Anastasia is clumsy, plain, and works at a ... hardware store... Dear god, i wonder who that could be? It also doesn't help how wimpy and pathetic she is. She is constantly telling Christen no and standing up for herself, only to cave not five minutes later. There is a constant theme here of, "Oh gosh! I can't believe he likes me! How can someone soooooo gorgeous want me?" It gets extremely irritating as I like a strong, heroine who can stand on her own two feet without swooning every time her man comes through a door. There is nothing wrong with drooling over a sexy man, but when you start acting like a brainless husk, well, you've lost my respect. Ana is not the only character who has retained her Twilight character trait roots. She can tell her friend Jose wants more, but she just doesn't see him that way even though he is super muscular and sexy. Mexican Jacob, nice save.
Oh and our copper haired hero is none other than... Christen? He was adopted by a loving family and even at his young age, he is rich and successful and acts like a much older man. He warns Ana to stay away because he is dangerous, but doesn't do a very good job of actually keeping his distance. Stalker much? Oh and he is just OMG gorgeous of course! Literally he is just... the epitome of a beautiful man. No seriously, he's fucking hot, ok? If you're not convinced, James will keep reminding you that he is the hottest man ever without really explaining why. I was surprised he didn't sparkle at some point.
This book read more like a draft than a final product. I quickly got sick of hearing Ana's internal dialogue. Apparently she is not intelligent enough to come up with something better than "Holy Crap" "Holy Shit" "Holy Cow" or "Holy Fuck" She says these phrases constantly throughout the entire span of the book. It was so bad, it felt like she used at least one of these every couple of paragraphs. Also the number of reflections beginning with "I can't believe..." is just over the top. This baffles me because James spends so much time telling her reader how literary Ana is. Ana loves classic novels, especially Jane Austen, and is a graduate with a degree in literature. So why does she come across as a vapid teenager with a very limited vocabulary? Oh yes, that's because she started out as Bella, had her name changed, and underwent little to no character change.
Repetitive, unimaginative writing makes Fifty Shades of Grey a complete slog until we begin to hit the sex scenes. I admit, the concept of the Dom/Sub contract leading into their relationship was intriguing and is what ultimately kept me reading. However, as you get further into the book, you realize the promised BDSM element is a sham. Christen is constantly indulging in what he calls "vanilla sex" even though he insists it is just not for him. James is trying to get across to her readers that Ana is just so gosh darn special that even control freak Christen Grey can't help himself when he's around her. However, she continues to portray Christen as dark, unmoving, and unreachable. And the control freak thing? James continues to remind her readers how much of a control freak he is by having Ana reiterate it over and over and over again in her internal dialogue, emails, and conversations. We get it! He's a Dom! We are not children who need repetition to grasp a simple concept. As the novel goes on, the sex becomes less and less sexy until near the end, it became blase and anatomical at which point I was dying to finish the damn thing so I could get back to quality romance novels.
Overall, it felt like I was reading a fanfiction, probably because I was, but you would think the author and the subsequent publisher who picked it up, would have done some better cover up here. There is just no excuse for the poor quality of writing, shoddy narrative, and uncanny resemblances to another author's work. And what the hell is with charging $29.99 for a paperback copy? How can the publishing company justify that when it is so poorly written? At least do a good edit and take out every Twilight reference. The sad thing is, I probably could have liked this had she been original. The fact that this series has gained so much success riding on the coattails of Stephanie Meyer's empire makes me ill. Seeing a cover on my favorite book website has never made me so furious before.
Angry fangirls, I'm sorry I couldn't like this book. You have every right to like any book you want. On that note, I also have the right to not like any book that doesn't do it for me. If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm happy for you and respect your opinion. Unfortunately I couldn't get past the completely unethical use of another author's material and the inexcusable poor quality for the sake of a cheap thrill. You want to take a shot at me? That's fine, but my opinion on plagiarism and sub par writing is not going to change.
Flat and underdeveloped narrative Choppy sentences Poorly edited Immature style Not Harlequin huh? Well these people sure gasp more than a flustered regency debutante who has found herself in a shamefully compromising position. And what the hell is wrong with Harlequin anyway? Snobs... ...more
After being saved by, and feeling up, a shadowy man in the alleyway behind her home, Miranda dreams steamy dreams of him every night. Three years later, the destitute status of her father forces her to marry The Dread Lord Archer, a darkly eccentric nobleman whose face is perpetually covered with a mask in public. He makes ladies faint in fright at the thought of what deformity he is hiding, but really he cares only for the affections of one lady in particular. The young lady he saved in that alleyway three years ago. The beauty marries the beast in an attempt to pay back her father for ruining him forever as a merchant with her dangerous gift. Can this beauty ever truly learn to love a beast?
I will begin by saying I absolutely adored this book! As a fan of historical romance and urban fantasy, I about died when I read the description for Firelight. A sassy heroine with supernatural skills forced to marry a mysterious masked man with a frightening reputation in Victorian London? Yes please! Usually, I bounce back and forth between a saucy historical romance and a gritty urban fantasy, however in this case, both of my cravings were equally and undeniable satisfied. Callihan's ability to place the reader directly in her world without getting too into the often tedious societal explanations is astonishing. I literally felt like I had jumped straight into Victorian London from page one. The world building is done flawlessly throughout the span of the novel as Miranda and Archer attempt to keep their secrets from each other. The third person perspective jumps from Archer to Miranda nicely offering readers intimate insights on each of the characters and their back stories. I ended up soaring right through this book and was left desperate for more. Not to say Miranda and Archer's story isn't wrapped up, it is, and very nicely so. Now to discuss my new favorite couple...
The chemistry between Miranda and Archer is incendiary! I can honestly say I have never been that hot and bothered over a near-kiss scene before. I mean, they don't even really kiss and I was fanning myself due to my furiously flushed face. The tone set between the two of them left my skin tingling in anticipation of the next heady moment.
“With the suddenness of a cat leaping upon its prey, he leaned forward and caught up her wrist. "Tread lightly, Miranda Fair." His thumb moved lightly over her fluttering pulse, as she stared with her mouth assuredly hanging open in shock, her heart beating furiously within her breast."You know, it's never wise to tempt the devil." His gaze lowered to her hand, still locked in his grip, her fingers glistening with pear juice. "Had I not this mask, I should be of a mind to suck that juice right off of your fingers.”
After ridiculously sexy scenes like this I was dying to get to the good stuff. The frustration Archer and Miranda felt at being so close to each other, but still kept at arms length due to their secrets was so palpable, I ended up writing this short poem to express my own longing.
Oh sweet frustration!
Oh agonizing fascination!
Oh desperately desiring delight!
Oh despair for I am doomed to die without Dread Lord Archer's dark dalliance!
And oh what dreams may come!
Archer's secret was definitely not what I was expecting, and a tad bit disappointing, however I think it is fair to say given such a wonderfully intriguing tool as a masked man, it is easy for what we imagine to be much wilder than reality. All in all, I am thoroughly impressed and delighted! Calihan has been added to my list of must have authors. I don't have too many series or authors that I will go right out and buy without seeing if the library has it first, however anything Callihan releases from now on will be sure to appear on my bookshelf!
To Be Continued? Absolutely! I will be impatiently, agonizing until book two, Moonglow, comes out in August! ...more
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not your teenager's zombie fiction. Grant has put together an intricate and well thought out world for her characters who are just as gritty and strong as the world they live in. I was fascinated by the political and journalism aspects and have great expectations for this series , so much so, that I went out and bought Deadline last week after only reading a few chapters of Feed. I enjoyed how the zombies weren't exactly the main focus of the book, but always lingered in the dark corners waiting for their chance to make a move. Without giving away spoilers, I can say that less than 1/4 of the way through, you realize the zombies aren't the real villains of this novel, but a tool. This concept is what finally hooked me after the extensive info-dump the first part of the book turns out to be.
The Virus I was thoroughly impressed with the intelligent tone and Grant's obvious extensive research. The Kellis-Amberlee virus isn't just some all purpose explanation for why the zombies are around. Grant describes the virus so intricately, if it didn't reanimate the dead, it would sound like something that could be present in the near future. The origin of the virus is described for the reader in great detail making the creation and spread believable by playing on the rash actions of today's extremist groups. The virus is so well developed in fact, that it really is its own character. Dark and sinister, it lays dormant in all living creatures just waiting to come in contact with an active strain of itself. Once it does, it amplifies rapidly inside its host, slowly enough for the host to get near others while still appearing normal, and quickly enough for the one person to have the potential to create a hazard zone the size of a large city. No one is safe, and eventually, everyone will succumb to the virus, even if they die a natural death.
The Pacing & Narrative It was kind of slow to start, but everything that contributed to the slowness was vital information. The narrative can come across a bit dry in spots between the action, however I believe this is due to the author staying true to the voice of her narrator. Georgia is such a 'let's get right down to business' sort of person that this style makes complete sense. One of the best aspects of this book is that nothing feels irrelevant. Not once did I say to myself, "Now that was definitely filler." Literally every scrap of information either helps you understand the world and the characters better or it sets up impending plot twists.
Georgia & Shaun This sibling duo is one of the best I've ever read. They offset each other perfectly with Shaun's mischievous, devil may care attitude balancing Georgia's more dry, goal oriented personality. Or does she balance him?? I truly believe they need each other to function properly. Shaun adds much needed comic relief to the story and often punches up a dry section of dialogue nicely.
I read a lot of reviews for this book before and during my read and noticed almost everyone makes a comment about an implied "relationship" between the two. While I did notice these implications, I didn't' find them as obvious or damning as others did. I felt the implications were fairly light rather than the "in-your-face" vibe I got from some of the reviews. I agree that it does appear there is something going on there, but I don't think everyone who reads this book will notice unless it is pointed out to them. There is never any confirmation of a romantic relationship between the two and readers going into the book expecting one will be greatly disappointed. The occurrences are so light and few that they could easily mean something completely different. The only reason I feel these claims are warranted is because of a statement made by Georgia at the end of the book. I won't get into this further in order to avoid spoilers.
The Twists My God the twists! There are quite a few with two really major ones that will completely throw you for a loop. I obviously can't go into them, however I will say they make this book one of the most shocking and fluid reads I've ever had. My warning to you all is under no circumstances should you read descriptions, summaries, reviews, or the backs of the other two books in the series. These WILL give away major plot points and HUGE spoilers for the first book.
The End A reviewer friend of mine here on Goodreads gave me the same warning that I just gave you all. Unfortunately I did not see it in time to save myself from my own curiosity. Curiosity really did kill the cat, or in this case, the ending for Feed for me. I was so mad at myself and now that I know how it all ends, I'm sad because I know this book would have been even better had I not seen it coming. Let me tell you, you do not want this epic ending spoiled for you so please stay away from the other books or anything about them until you finish this one!
Even with the spoiler, the end still hit me hard and I literally bawled. I had myself a good, soaking wet, snotty, hiccup inducing cry. Not just because of the shock of this plot twist, but because of the way the author handles it. The portrayal is perfect and heart-wrenching and felt so right in its context. Grant stays so true to her characters and I am just blown-away with the entire book.
The Final Verdict Feed truly lives up to the massive hype and deserves every nice thing that is said about it. I really couldn't find much fault anywhere. The writing is fluid and intelligent, the characters are well developed and maintained, and Grant's dedication to making this book absolutely brilliant shines through on every page. Personally, reading this book made me want to be a better writer, blogger, and media consumer.
Zombie skeptics and newbies will find this a nice transition book as it is more focused on the drama and the characters than the actual zombies and gore. Zombie veterans and developing fans will find it a fresh take on their favorite rotting fiends. Everyone will learn a thing or two about virology, politics, and just what it takes to bring us the news. I can not think of a better way to begin a series. ...more
Amy and her parents sign up to be cryogenically frozen so that they can travel to Centuri-Earth and help colonize a habitable planet. Staying frozen for 300 years while traveling through the stars on the ship Godspeed doesn't sound too bad, but when Amy is woken up 50 years early by a rebellious occupant of the ship her entire future is irrevocably altered. There is no way for her to be refrozen without risk of death or extensive damage so she must find a way to be content with living her life on the strange ship with a community of people who are disturbingly different. If that wasn't enough, Amy faces danger from the ship's leader, Eldest, who believes her drastic differences from the other occupants could lead to mutiny. Luckily, she seems to have made a friend in the ship's future leader Elder, a 16-year old boy who has begun to question Eldest and his methods. As a killer threatens the lives of the other frozen occupants of the ship, Amy must find a way to fit in and discover the ship's secrets before it is too late.
I think I will start out by saying, there were many impressive dsytopian elements to this book. Revis sets the disturbing tone of the book right off the bat letting the reader know, no matter what it may seem like on the surface, something is very wrong here. The American concept of manifest destiny will undoubtedly one day extend to the stars, giving humanity hope for the future. And that's just it, voyaging among the stars and heading to a new planet to colonize should reflect hope and wonder. However, Across the Universe manages to delve deeply into the possibility for flaws and the horrific consequences of desperation. Through this work, Revis asks her readers, "When does the need for order and safety override a human's basic rights?" When it comes to saving humanity, how far is too far? The implications this book presents to its readers are truly frightening and the part I enjoyed the most.
Across the Universe has some amazing moments and makes for a great discussion book, however lack of strong characterization and inconsistent pacing may leave more mature readers on the fence. Now, when I say lack of strong characterization, I men that I personally had a difficult time connecting with the two main characters Amy and Elder. While Amy fights for what she believes is right and doesn't let anyone walk all over her, she also has some very childlike qualities. Throughout the book, she calls her dad, daddy and uses "It's just not fair" reasoning quite a bit. She also seems to throw abrupt temper tantrums and her thought process can be aggravatingly immature. If you are familiar with my reviews, you will know that one of my biggest pet peeves is the "damsel in distress" syndrome. Unfortunately, this happens a lot here. Elder or his best friends Harley are constantly jumping in and saving her from brainless men, Eldest, and often times herself. For me, Amy stopped being likeable after she was unfrozen, which is most of the book.
Elder is a bit better. He questions the ethics of the way the ship is run and wonders if there isn't a better way while still managing to come across as completely ignorant, which he is. It's not really the poor guy's fault, being raised with alternative history to make totalitarian forms of government appear vastly better than the other options. Everyone on the ship is monoethnic, they all have brown skin, brown hair, etc. Everyone looks fairly similar and there is a pretty high risk for incestuous relationships, but what do you expect from a population of people that have been completely isolated for 250 years? Differences are to be feared and only prove to cause trouble. Elder can't help but appear numb or apathetic at times due to his surroundings. He is actually one of the only free-thinking people on board. I saw a lot of good development with Elder and am interested to see how he will do in the next book.
The book also suffers from a mild case of predictability and may or may not have a mind-blowing ending depending on how perceptive you tend to be while reading. I had already figured out who was killing the frozen people by this person's second appearance. I did not see the last little plot twist coming, thank goodness, and was glad to have had a bit of a thrill from my reading experience. I just think this book does not live up to its hype and potential. However, taking in the fact that it is difficult to pull off a mind-blowing first-in-series book, I do give Revis props. Across the Universe is intriguing and an overall enjoyable read, I just wish the characters had been more developed.
To Be Continued? - Yes, I will definitely be giving book 2, A Million Suns, a shot. I can see a lot of the problems I had with this book being resolved. ...more
Dr. Gracen Ellison spends her days working in the MedBay of Camp Audie Murphy, but when she's not treating the wounds of her patients, she is pining over Master Chief Jackson Monroe. The federation's no fraternization policy keeps them both from acting on their feelings for each other, but a devastating helicopter crash in the desert will change everything. Could humanity be having its first true close encounter with Gracen and Jackson right at the center of it all?
This charming debut e-novel from author Rhys Astason, offers readers an intriguing mix of genetics bending sci-fi and smoldering romance. Add to that a tablespoon of infectious, wry humor and you've got a truly enjoyable read. I had a lot of fun while reading Water of Life. The main characters are strong and likeable and the scientific roots of the plot set-up may surprise you. For a romance novel, Astason's first book presents readers with an intriguing core concept. I won't spoil it for you, but I think you will find there is a lot more sci-fi in this book than you would expect out of a book the author describes as "a romance with light sci-fi elements." The first half of the book unfolds quite nicely and had me reading straight through in one sitting.
As a heroine, Gracen is sharp, witty, and brave. In a crisis, she doesn't wait for a hero to come whisk her away and make everything alright. Gracen actually ends up saving her hero's ass several times throughout the book. With such a strong heroine, many romance novels would have trouble producing a hero who is man enough. That is not the case here. Jackson is CRAZY hot with all his scars and service tattoos. He manages to be authoritative and stoic without being condescending and chauvinistic. And who doesn't love a sexy older man with the experience and body to make shiver and gasp? I call dibs! I officially claim him first for my book boyfriend harem!
The second half of the book, however, felt rushed and was less detailed leaving me confused. A lot is left unanswered and the "villain" isn't as well developed as I would have liked. I ended up not quite sure why he was doing what he was doing.I also would have liked to know more about the alien lifeforms that appear in the book. Again, no spoilers, so I will just say Astason only gets into their presence lightly leaving the reader very curious. There was so much unanswered actually that I emailed the author and inquired about a sequel. I was very excited to hear her reply:
"Yes to a sequel. I wrote it as the 'pilot' for a series. It was intended to leave questions out there..."
So while the book is short and a lot is left to question, a sequel that is in the works promises to fill in the gaps. Overall, I would have liked to see this book longer and more fleshed out, but as a pilot for a sci-fi romance series, it is still a very fun read. I was not ready to let go of Gracen and Jackson just yet and it looks like I won't have to! I will be looking forward to the sequel to find out more about these amazingly strong, funny, and wonderful characters Astason has created. ...more