Friday, August 30, 2013

SWEET LEGACY by Tera Lynn Childs

 
Rating: A-
Release Date: 09/03/13
Synopsis:
The stunning conclusion of Tera Lynn Childs's Greek mythology–based Sweet Venom trilogy is perfect for teen fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series.

The girls cannot hesitate as they seek the location of the lost door between the realms, even as monsters and the gods of Olympus descend on San Francisco in battle-ready droves.

Greer must use her second sight to step up and prevent anything from stopping her sisters' mission, even though a god is playing with her mind. Grace wants to trust her adopted brother, Thane; but will his secret put the girls in even more danger? And Gretchen has trained her sisters to stop the monsters, but her role as a huntress comes with more responsibility than she ever imagined. What will the girls' immortal legacy be? Three teenage descendants of Medusa must unite to restore balance to the world in this action-packed series with plenty of romance.

My thoughts on the book:
Sweet Legacy is an excellent conclusion to this unique and action-packed series. Childs does a fantastic job of wrapping things up for all three sisters and leaving the reader both satisfied with the ending and sad that it's over. This is by far the best in the series, illustrating how the characters have grown and the plot has developed over the course of the trilogy. Furthermore, this book managed to be even more action-packed and intense than the first two! The pacing is super fast, but never rushed, and Childs throws in lots of plot twists to keep the reader on his or her toes. This is one novel (and series) you won't want to miss.

Each sister has grown immensely over the course of the novels, and I am most impressed with how much braver Grace has gotten. She's still the softest of the bunch, in my opinion, but she isn't a complete doormat anymore. Gretchen has softened some, but she's still a complete bad-ass. Greer really shows her strength in this installment. Thane surprised me, but his true colors finally show. Nick grew on me some, and I absolutely adored Grace and Milo.

The plot is full of action, suspense, and romance. The fate of the world literally depends on these girls. Childs writes excellent fight scenes, and I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout this entire novel. Some of the plot twists genuinely surprised me, and the pacing is so fast that I flew through this book. The ending wraps everything up nicely, and the entire book is well-written.

Overall, I completely enjoyed this novel. I love mythology, and I love Childs' take on it. This book and series are unique and full of adventure. If you like mythology of all, this series is a must-read for you. And if you enjoyed the first two books of the series, then you will absolutely LOVE this last one!

Pre-order Sweet Legacy!
 

Feature and Follow #37


This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

Please state in the post if you're a new follower or old follower. If you don't tell me that you are following, then I don't know that you are. Therefore, I'll not follow you back. I would like to follow each and every one of you back, so it is important that you clearly state that you are following me and not just stopping by. When someone says, "just saying hi!" or "just hopping through!" then I have no idea if you are following or not. That means that I may or may not return the visit, depending on how much time I have. The people who state they are following me will definitely get a visit and follow back. Also be sure to leave a link back to your blog, otherwise I won't know where to go to follow you! Thank you.






Q: If you could only have ONE – one book – for the rest of your life. Don’t cheat…what would it be?

A: Oh, this is a tough question! I'm torn between Written in Red by Anne Bishop and Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. But since I can't cheat (hmph! haha) I guess I'll go with Written in Red because it's a longer book. Therefore, I wouldn't end up reading it quite as many times and hopefully wouldn't end up getting tired of it.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

MIST by Susan Krinard

Mist
Susan Krinard

Rating: F
Synopsis:
New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard launches her first urban fantasy series

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….

Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.


My thoughts on the book:
I wasn't sure what to expect with Mist, but I felt like the concept was unique and was willing to give it a try. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it very much. The writing was subpar at best and terribly bland at worst. The characters are not well-developed, and come across more as cookie-cutter characters instead of real beings. The pacing is slow as molasses, and the plot is a lot more dull than the synopsis lets on. The mythology is unclear, and it seems as if the author expects her readers to be Norse experts already. I just really did not like this book at all.

Mist is a boring and unlikable character. I really didn't care what happened to her in the least. She was apparently perfect, because the way she was written, she had no faults, and she knew it. So yes, she was conceited, too, which to me is a fault, but apparently to the author that's a wonderful quality. Whatever. Gabi, the Latina character, is a bit of a racial stereotype, and I did not like that either. It's never okay to stereotype people, and any time I read a book that does that to a character, I automatically don't like it. In short, the characterization was terrible. I'm just going to stop talking about it now so that I'm not irritated about it all over again.

The plot was so boring. The mythology was correct, I guess. I'm no expert, even though it seemed that Krinard expected me to be. I had to constantly Google references. When working with an obscure branch of mythology, it's best to explain things a bit better. This also extends into the world-building (obviously), so I felt lost quite a few times. The pacing was so slow, and I had to force myself to finish this book. The only reason I did force myself to read this is because it was sent to me for a review, and I refuse to review a book that I haven't read. Also, I really did not like the writing. It was bland. Furthermore, if I had lower self-esteem, this book may have actually made me feel bad about myself because of its delusions of grandeur that tried to make me feel stupid for not being a Norse expert and/or perfect like Mist. As it stands, I just got irritated at an inanimate object for talking down to me, haha.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. I didn't like it, and if it's a series, I certainly won't continue it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

OMENS by Kelley Armstrong

Omens
Kelley Armstrong

Rating: A+
Synopsis:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong begins her new series with Omens, featuring a compelling new heroine thrust into a decades-old murder case and the dark mysteries surrounding her strange new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.


My thoughts on the book:
I had extremely high expectations for Omens, as Kelley Armstrong is my favorite author in the world, and this book actually managed to exceed those expectations. With strange, yet endearing, characters; an intriguing and unique plot; and a rich setting, this series is set to be one of Armstrong's best. While different from the Women of the Otherworld series, this novel shows that the Cainsville series will be just as enchanting. I could not put this novel down because I was dying to know all of Cainsville's secrets, which still have not been divulged. Needless to say, I'm already counting the days until the release of the second installment.

Olivia is a fantastic main character, and I really enjoyed learning about this new world through her eyes. While she's still a skeptic (and skepticism usually ends after the first novel), it is clear that she's not completely discounting the explanations of the Cainsville residents. With her money and upbringing one would expect Olivia to be a spoiled brat, but she proves herself as a decent, albeit morally flexible, person. I feel that the moral flexibility is due to the fact that she's trying to find herself along with the fact that the situations that require the moral flexibility are ambiguous. There really is no right or wrong answer for many of these occurrences, and while the reader may be quick to jump to a judgment, Armstrong does an excellent job of playing devil's advocate through Gabriel. Speaking of Gabriel, I think I'm in love with him. No romance really developed in this book. Armstrong seems to be focused on building friendships before romance, which is a nice change in literature. However, I am totally shipping Gabriel and Olivia, and I really hope they get together. Gabriel makes some decisions I don't agree with, but overall, he seems to be a decent person in his own way. He's a strong and unique character, and I enjoyed getting to know him. The other Cainsville residents are mysterious, and I am not quite sure what's going on with them. I'm going to wait and see it through at Armstrong's pace instead of utilizing the hints in other languages that she places along the way. I feel that she knows this world best and knows when to reveal its secrets. Olivia's adopted mother is a useless waste of space (what you'd expect from an heiress - and what I expected from Olivia), and James is just a shallow skeeze, in my opinion. I really didn't like him at all. Yucko.

The pacing for this novel is perfect, and the mystery will keep you guessing until the very end. Armstrong throws in so many twists and turns that I got literary whiplash! I couldn't put this book down, and I spent 2 nights staying up until the wee hours of the morning reading it. I am obviously paying for that today, but it was well worth it. I love the setting and that part of the novel (and series) is set in Chicago. Living in the area, it's easy to picture what Cainsville would look like. I love how the city seems to have a life of its own. I also found it interesting that there are no churches in Cainsville because the gargoyles (who are supposed to protect against evil) also protect against organized religion. This sounds like an idea I can get behind, and again brings up a lot of existential thoughts regarding right and wrong. Also, Armstrong touches on, and challenges, settler colonial ideals a couple of times, which I enjoyed. This novel has many layers and will keep you engaged on many different levels.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone. If you love mysteries, New Adult, or Paranormal novels, then you will enjoy Omens.

Order Omens!

Waiting on Wednesday #33

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted at Breaking the Spine. Here is the upcoming release that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for! 

This Wednesday I am waiting on Pawn by Aimee Carter. I absolutely adored the Goddess Test series, and I am looking forward to see what Carter can do in this new series. While it seems very different from her first series, it also sounds amazing. Is it November yet?!


Release Date: November 26, 2013
Synopsis:
YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING. 

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Spotlight: BLOOD ENTANGLED by Amber Belldene

Blood Entangled (Blood Vine #2)
By: Amber Belldene
Synopsis:
KOS MARAS’s orderly life is in shambles—he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night he watches over a temptingly beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. He is convinced love cannot last a vampire-long lifetime and an entanglement will only cause them grief, but he doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

From a long line of blood servants, LENA ISAAKSON is destined to serve a vampire, but a string of humiliating rejections thwarts her pleasure. When Kos shows her kindness, she hopes he will claim her. Instead he proves himself a coward in the face of love and sends her to serve another.

Will the dark seduction of a rakish new vampire finally bring Lena the pleasure she desires or deliver her into the hands of Hunters who want to destroy everything the Maras family has worked for?
Links:
About the author:
Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book.  As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.
Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion.  She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths.  Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.
Author links:
Excerpt from Blood Entangled:
She called out the moment she saw him. "I'm not going." His father's cook—no, former cook—sat on Kos's sofa looking fierce and lovely.
"Hello to you, too."
She seemed fine—no scent of fear, pulse slow and steady—surprisingly calm and composed. For the first time since she'd called, he took a full breath, because she was safe and unafraid. She drew her long legs up underneath her on the couch. That was good—he found them immensely distracting. She crossed her arms over those awe-inspiring breasts, which was also helpful.
"Come on, we've got to go." He pointed his thumb at the door.
She pouted. "I said no."
When had she grown so stubborn? Dropping into a squat with his elbows on the coffee table, he peered into her eyes, the same dark blue as the ocean outside. "You're not safe."
"I feel better than I have in years. Away from Andre, I'm my old self. I won't go back. I have friends I can stay with in San Francisco. Take me to Santa Rosa and I'll get a bus."
Krist i svi sveci–by Christ and all the Croatian saints, she was difficult.
"Good chance the Hunters know your name,” Kos said, “which means they can find you anywhere. It's possible they'll even tail us from here."
"I won't go." She shook her head and crossed her arms more tightly.
If her resistance weren't so infuriating, it would have been cute. Kos set his jaw and put on his most determined expression. "You will."
Her mouth opened in surprise, but she still said, "No."
Damn, she had a way of making him tense. He rolled his shoulders. Reason wasn't working, neither was coercion. He had one more option.
"Lena, do it for me. I'd never forgive myself if something happened to you." It wasn't strictly manipulation if it was true.
"What do you mean?"
He leaned over the coffee table. "In Croatia we lost four members of our household. I promised I'd never let that happen again. Please don't endanger yourself and put me through that a second time."
She inched toward him, still hugging herself tightly.
"Please?"
At last, she dropped her arms to her sides. "Okay. I'll go if I can borrow one of your books."
"I have loads of books at Kaštel too. You're welcome to any of them."
"But I like this one." She touched the cover of A New Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell where it lay on the coffee table.
"You do?"
"I like the one about the footsteps." She blushed, her eyes aimed at the book.
A lump formed in Kos's throat—the poem was a favorite, about how Kinnell's young son appeared every time his parents finished making love, to climb between them in the bed where he was conceived. The last time he'd read it, it had stirred longings for impossible things, so he'd abandoned Kinnell entirely.
Lena thumbed the pages of the book where it lay on the table. She still didn't look at him. "It got me thinking I might not want to do the whole blood servant thing anymore. Maybe it's time for me to leave household service and have a normal life."
"I understand that feeling, but the decision will have to wait. I'll help you find a job, with humans or vampires, but first we need to keep you safe."
Her head tilted, but she finally nodded and grabbed her overnight bag.

Monday, August 26, 2013

SPIES AND PREJUDICE by by Talia Vance

Spies and Prejudice
Talia Vance

Rating: C+
Synopsis:
Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either. 

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death. 

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.


My thoughts on the book:
Spies and Prejudice is a quick and light read. For those who are tired of the typical Dystopian and Paranormal novels, but are looking for something outside of the ordinary contemporary story, this teen spy novel is for you. For those of you who want a bit more depth and relationship development in your novels, you may want to skip this one. While I enjoyed this book, it definitely did not stand out. The spy content made it a bit different from the regular contemporaries, but at the end of the day, this is just another YA romance with the usual insta-love.

Berry is a strong and straight-forward heroine, both qualities that are rarely done right in YA literature, but Vance nails it. Berry never comes across as bratty or overly dramatic, and I really liked that about her. She does seem real, though, because she misses her mom. She acts like a teenager without acting like an annoying teenager. She should have stood out more to me, really, but for some reason I never fully connected to her. I can't figure out why, though. Tanner and Drew, the two love interests, form the typical and over-done YA love triangle. It's clear from the start who Berry likes, and of course, Berry makes up her mind instantly, though she doesn't act on it right away. One is good, one is bad, the roles reverse, nothing special here. I'm not going to completely spoil it and tell you which is which (there are plenty of times throughout the novel when it's not exactly clear), though. I also was a bit annoyed at the hokey naming of the characters. "Strawberry Fields" and "Mary Chris Moss," really? Some people may find the names cute, unique, and even chuckle-worthy, but I found them annoying. It looked as if the author was trying too hard to be clever, and it just fell short. 

The plot itself is reminiscent of the Heist Society books, except Vance didn't do as good of a job making it believable that teenagers would be this involved in spy work. For some reason, I just didn't buy that these characters would have access to, and actually care about, all of this confidential information. The romance, as stated previously, was lacking development, in my opinion, though Vance does throw in quite a few twists and turns with the characters (and romance). I saw them all coming, but at least things weren't exactly straight-forward. The pacing is pretty spot-on, and I didn't feel like anything was rushed or that anything dragged on endlessly. The ending ties things up nicely, but leaves room for a sequel if the author so chooses. 

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to people who enjoy spy books and to those who are looking for a light read with (sometimes cheesy) humor. This is one of those novels that will appeal to certain personality types and completely annoy others. I fell more to the annoyed side of the spectrum, but I could see what the author was trying to do. While her particular brand of humor didn't appeal to me, I can see it appealing to others. 

Order Spies and Prejudice



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #33


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the past week. 

This week's haul is a small one. 

Won:
A Darkness Strange and Lovely
By: Susan Dennard
Synopsis:
Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

Check out my review of it here!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Feature and Follow #36



This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

Please state in the post if you're a new follower or old follower. If you don't tell me that you are following, then I don't know that you are. Therefore, I'll not follow you back. I would like to follow each and every one of you back, so it is important that you clearly state that you are following me and not just stopping by. When someone says, "just saying hi!" or "just hopping through!" then I have no idea if you are following or not. That means that I may or may not return the visit, depending on how much time I have. The people who state they are following me will definitely get a visit and follow back. Also be sure to leave a link back to your blog, otherwise I won't know where to go to follow you! Thank you.








Thursday, August 22, 2013

CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight
Sarah J. Maas

Rating: A+
Release Date: 08/27/13
Synopsis:
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.


After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?


My thoughts on the book:
I went into Crown of Midnight with impossibly high expectations, and Maas somehow managed to exceed them. This book is fantastic, not to mention the best novel I've read all year. Crown of Midnight is even better than Throne of Glass, and I didn't think that was possible. The character growth in this novel is astounding, the plot is intriguing, and the ending left me wanting more. Maas' writing is wonderful, and she maintains an air of mystery throughout the entire book. The pacing is perfect, and I love each of my favorite characters even more now. Crown of Midnight cannot be missed. 

Celaena becomes an even more complicated character in this novel, and while she is a bit selfish at times (and called out on it by several people), she grows immensely. I really enjoyed learning more about her and watching her grow. Chaol completely and totally won my heart. I still like Dorian, but I simply adore Chaol. He is the most selfless, strong, intelligent, and caring character in the novel. We get to learn more about him and his past, too, in this installment, and the more I learn, the more I love him. He's just amazing *dreamy sigh*. Dorian needs to grow a set, but he's trying. He does grow a lot as a character in this book, and he is becoming more likable. However, he's still so naive and weak that he just doesn't make a good match for Celaena, in my opinion. Like I said, I still like him, but I don't like him for her. The king is even more awful this time around, and we get to learn more about how he colonized and oppressed so many nations. We are also introduced to some new characters, such as Roland, Dorian's creepy cousin, and Archer, the courtesan. Each character, regardless of how big of a part they play in the book, is well-developed and unique, which adds a feeling of reality to this fantasy novel. 

The plot is intense, action-packed, and full of mystery, suspense, and emotion. I could not put this book down. As the story unravels, many of Celaena's secrets come to light. Every time I thought I knew everything there was to know about her, another secret was revealed. Just like in Throne of Glass, Maas puts Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian through so much that it's hard to tell if they'll all make it to the end or not. Also, there is a lot of emotion in this story. I laughed and cried several times while reading this. Because Maas' characters are so real, it's easy to become attached to them and care about what happens to them. When something bad happens, I end up crying right along with the characters. When something funny happens, I laugh right along with them, too. The pacing is spot-on, and Maas' writing is beautiful. The descriptions and continued world-building are clear, and it's easy to picture the world in which Celaena and company live. I enjoyed the political angle of the story, too, and I was happy to see that colonization and oppression are addressed. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, and while many of the questions brought up in Crown of Midnight are answered, new questions are introduced in the last chapters. So now I'm counting the days until the next installment is released. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to absolutely anyone. This series is one of the best that I've ever read. If you haven't read Throne of Glass yet, you're missing out. If you've already read and loved Throne of Glass, then you have to pick up Crown of Midnight on August 27. You will not be disappointed. 

Pre-order Crown of Midnight today!



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

CONSUME by Melissa Darnell

Consume
Melissa Darnell

Rating: A
Release Date: 08/27/13
Synopsis:
Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert's joy—and despair. By changing the Clann's golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape. 

As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, Tristan and Sav face a new threat—a fracturing of the all-consuming bond they share. To fight for peace, they must forge a new trust and risk everything to take down their deadliest enemy, even as they must run for their lives. Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love—and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.


My thoughts on the book:
Consume is a perfect ending to the Clann trilogy, and the best book in the series. The characters continue to grow in this installment, and the plot is full of romance and suspense. I was hooked from the first page and was sad to see this book, and series, end. I enjoyed my time in this rich world. However, the ending is satisfying. Darnell leaves the story in a good place, and I can't wait to see what she creates next.

Consume alternates between Savannah's and Tristan's first person points of view. Through the characters' narration, we get to know them better. Savannah is extremely level-headed and grown-up in this installment. I really enjoyed seeing how her character changed and grew until she reached her full potential. She's strong and won't compromise her values for anyone, including Tristan. Tristan, on the other hand, has a tougher time evolving, but guys usually do grow up more slowly than girls do. He becomes a really mature and intelligent character by the end, though, and I really like the person he grows into. Savannah's mom got on my nerves, as usual, but her dad really grew on me. I wish we'd gotten to see more of her friends, but that's okay. There really was no way to fit them into the plot more than Darnell did. 

The writing is good and Darnell's explanations are top-notch. She really allows us to understand how vampires in her world work, and I liked that a lot. The settings varied, and there wasn't much focus on place, really. I could picture what she describes, but she doesn't describe a whole lot in terms of the environment. The plot more than makes up for that oversight, though. It's complex and well-written. Darnell manages to take a stand against blind hatred without getting preachy, and while there isn't much mystery, there is a ton of suspense. I really didn't know who would make it to the end and who wouldn't. The ending itself ties things up nicely and is satisfying. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who is looking for something a little different than the standard vampire fare. Darnell has created a wonderful and intriguing world with well-developed characters that you won't want to miss. 

Pre-order Consume!



Waiting on Wednesday #32

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted at Breaking the Spine. Here is the upcoming release that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for! 

This Wednesday I'm waiting on The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead. I absolutely love this series, and I can't wait to see what happens with Sydney and Adrian next, especially with how Indigo Spell ended!


Release Date: 11/19/13
Synopsis:
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #8

Hey everybody! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week, I'll be listing the 
top ten things that makes my life as a blogger easier. 






10. Scheduling posts - everyone knows that life is busy, but blogs don't write themselves. Therefore, whenever I have a tour stop or a review that needs to be posted in the future, I schedule my posts. Most weekends, I try to get all of my reviews lined up for the entire week. Sometimes that works, and sometimes that doesn't. Usually my weekends are pretty busy since I work during the week. Anyway, scheduling posts makes my life a lot easier. It ensures that I don't miss my post dates, and that takes away a lot of the stress of blogging. 

9. My Kindle - If I had a physical ARC of every book that I've reviewed in addition to the ones I like enough to buy, then I would have no room left in my house. I love the fact that I can read a book on my Kindle, and if I enjoy it, then I can add it to my collection. It frees me up to try more types of books that I may not have tried otherwise and allows me to post a lot more reviews. 

8. Net Galley/Edelweiss - Along the same vein as the Kindle, these two sites make requesting ARCs much easier and less time consuming, which frees up time to read and write reviews. I prefer e-ARCs to physical ARCs since I always buy the books I like, anyway. It's the least I can do for a book well-written.

7. Blogger - I can write HTML. In fact, I used to be really good at it. I'm a bit rusty now, and if I had to format every single post I wrote, I'd probably never get a review written. I love the compose option on Blogger where I can just stick things where I want them and the HTML is written for me. 

6. Rafflecopter - When I host giveaways, it is important to me that picking a winner and managing the entries is quick and easy. That's where Rafflecopter comes in. The simplicity of it makes it my go-to for any giveaway I have. 

5. Photo editing software - I like to make my own buttons and banners. I'm not the best in the world at it, but it's fun for me and allows me to sharpen my skills (and believe me, they need it). I used to have Photoshop on my old computer, but I recently upgraded to a Mac, so I'm not sure what software I'll be using now. Any suggestions are welcome. 

4. Twitter and Facebook (and Networked Blogs) - Twitter and Facebook allow me to promote my posts even further, reach out to authors I love, and communicate with other bloggers. I have everything set up to update my Twitter and Fall Into Books FB page as soon as a new item posts, which frees up time. It also helps me spread the word about my blog. 

3. The library - a lot of times I don't want to be responsible for reviewing every book I try. If I'm hesitant to try a novel, unsure of the genre, or haven't heard anything about it, I don't want to be expected to review it. Therefore, the library is a fantastic way to try new books. I don't have to buy them if I don't like them, and I don't have to finish and review them if I don't like them. Also, I've discovered some amazing authors through checking out random books at the library (Kirsten Gier, Kelley Armstrong (this was a long time ago), and (most recently) Anne Bishop). 

2. Good Reads - this site is amazing. It allows us to share reviews, talk about books, and maintain lists of books we've read and want to read. I pull a lot of my content (synopses and cover photos) from Good Reads. Everything I need for a review is right there in one place. I don't know what I'd do without this site.

1. My readers/followers - You guys are one of the main reasons I do this (aside from wanting an outlet to discuss books in a largely illiterate world). I love reading your comments and your blogs and seeing what you all think. I love fostering discussions about literature instead of just spouting out my opinions like they're the gospel. Thank you for reading and for commenting. You make this worthwhile. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

WRITTEN IN RED by Anne Bishop

Written in Red
Anne Bishop

Rating: A+
Synopsis:
No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.


My thoughts on the book:
I saw Written in Red in the library and thought it looked intriguing and unique, so I, of course, thought I'd like it. However, I was not expecting this to be one of the best books I've ever read. Written in Red is a one-of-a-kind concept with rich characterization and in-depth world-building. Bishop pulls off the multi-character POV expertly. The plot is action-packed, dark, humorous, and full of suspense. The book is fast-paced, but nothing is rushed. I was hooked from the first sentence and was sad when the novel ended. I did not want to leave the world and characters that Bishop created. I haven't enjoyed a book this much since I picked up Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, which is my favorite book EVER. 

Meg is one of the most complex and beautifully written characters I've ever encountered. She has this innocence about her that makes her vulnerable, but she's not weak. Her kindness, compassion, and willingness to sacrifice herself for others make her incredibly strong. She is tormented by what she is, but she is not bitter. I really loved watching her learn about actually LIVING in the world instead of seeing pictures of it. Simon is swoon-worthy, tough, but he has a heart of gold somewhere underneath all the claws and fangs. He evolved quite a bit over the course of the novel, and I hope he turns into a love interest. Henry is a big teddy bear. Sam's situation broke my heart, but he's also strong, and I can't wait to see him grow even more. The police officers are refreshing in that they do what they can for the greater good instead of for political motivation. Even the bad guys had depth, which is something you don't see very often. Every single character in this novel, even the most minute secondary character, is well-developed and has a personality. I grew incredibly attached to all of them, and I can't wait to see what Bishop has in store for them next. 

There were several things that stood out to me while reading this novel. The first was that there is no romance what-so-ever. Yes, there is an implied sex scene or two with the bad guys, but the leading lady does not have a romantic interest... yet. I think she will have one, but the relationships develop slowly and organically. Nothing is rushed, and there is no instant, undeniable attraction between any of the characters. I actually found that refreshing. I wasn't sure that I'd enjoy a book like that, but I really love the building of friendships and exploring the dynamic of the relationships between the Others and the humans. Bishop shunned all of the "normal" conventions and formulas of Urban Fantasy and created her own rules, and it worked exceptionally well. 

Another thing that stood out to me was that Bishop gave almost every character a unique voice and allowed the reader to see each character's point-of-view. Normally that would drive me insane and I would hate it. Generally I hate multi-POV novels and try to avoid them, but she made it work. I do not have a single complaint about how she handled anything. I actually enjoyed getting to know each and every character personally, although I am aware that if it had been any other author writing this that the act of getting to know these characters could have been incredibly tedious. I'm not sure how she did it, but Bishop's characters are simply captivating, and I wanted to know more about each of them. 

The world-building was top-notch. Namid was enough like the planet we live on that it made sense to me, but different enough that I was able to achieve a willing suspension of disbelief. Bishop also plays with notions of colonialism and what would happen when the colonizer becomes the colonized. I found it hard to have much sympathy for the humans, even though I am human, because of how they attempted to colonize the terra indigene's land. 

Speaking of the terra indigene, Bishop really outdid herself with these creatures. The shifters had more animalistic qualities than human qualities, and I really loved that about them. They were brutal and efficient, but they cared about those who showed them kindness. Also, each type of shifter adopted traits of the animal it shifted into. I know this is attempted in other novels, but these shifters really and truly embodied their animals. I don't even know how much research into animal behavior had to be done in order for Bishop to accomplish this, but she did a fantastic job. 

I could go on forever about how much I loved this book, but I think I'll end my review here so that you can go and pick up your own copy and learn about this amazingly unique and wonderful world that Bishop has created. If you like any kind of Fantasy at all (Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, YA Fantasy, High Fantasy, whatever), you must try this book. You won't be sorry.