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.
The White Queen was... well... not what I expected. I went in with high expectations because of all the hype over Phillipa Gregory. I really need to sThe White Queen was... well... not what I expected. I went in with high expectations because of all the hype over Phillipa Gregory. I really need to stop doing this because it almost always ends in disappointment which is largely my own fault. I feel like if I hadn't begun reading The White Queen with assumptions on the writing quality I would've enjoyed it more. It was a bit difficult not to though when a critic review describing the writing as 'lyrical' is slapped on the cover. The style and quality weren't poor but I certainly wouldn't describe it as lyrical by any means. It just didn't stand out.
Yes, I'm beginning this review with some criticism, but I did honestly enjoy the book overall. History itself is very intriguing to me and this particular period is one that we don't know a lot about. The mysterious dilemma of the 'princes in the tower' and the shadowed figures of this era's power hunger royal families give it a mystique all it's own.
Gregory does a fantastic job blending what little fact we have with enticing fiction. Her interpretation of Elizabeth Woodville's family life and witchy habits is believable and seamless. However I just couldn't connect to her character emotionally. For the majority of the book she handles each conflict she runs into with such calculating ease that I had a hard time forming any bond. For example: My husband has and is currently cheating on me with what could be hundreds of women. No worries as long as I don't have to meet them because I'm the Queen! I don't think this would've bothered me as much as it did if she didn't constantly emphasize how deep and pure and destined their love was. Maybe if it had been a marriage of purely power and convenience, but this just doesn't work for 'true love'.
I could be completely off base with this one, but personally, it rubbed me the wrong way.
Other than that, it was a quick, entertaining read once I delved into the meat of the book. I most definitely will be picking up the Red Queen to get Margaret Stanley's view on the tumultuous events. ...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
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
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