Saturday, August 22, 2015

STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle Jensen

Rating: A
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…

My thoughts on the book:
I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, and it did not disappoint. If you guys haven't noticed, I've been in a fantasy mood lately, and this novel was unique and fit the bill perfectly. The characters were interesting. The plot was intriguing, and the world-building was spectacular. The writing was also beautifully done. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Cécile was a fantastic leading lady, and I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. I also adored Tristan, and reading from his perspective randomly helped me understand him, and trolls in general, more. Both characters were multi-faceted and beautifully flawed. Cécile really made the best of her situation and refused to lay down and die, even when her life was less than ideal. She showed tremendous inner strength. The other troll characters were also intriguing and well-developed. I especially enjoyed the twins' antics. I became really attached to these characters, and I can't wait to see what happens to them in the next installment.

The plot was pretty fast-paced and full of adventures. I loved learning about Trollus, and Jensen painted wonderful pictures of the underground city. The writing was also top notch, serious with a touch of humor. I really enjoyed Jensen's voice. The ending tied up things in this book nicely and paved the way for the next in the series, which I already have on my Kindle. I can't wait to dig into it. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who are looking for something a bit different in YA fantasy. These trolls are different than you'd expect, and Jensen is a talented author. 

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

REAWAKENED by Colleen Houck

Rating: A-
When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

My thoughts on the book:
I really enjoyed this novel. Reawakened is my first book by Colleen Houck, though I'd heard amazing thing about The Tiger's Curse series. I can easily say that I was not disappointed. This book is unique and full of action and adventure with a hint of romance. The characters are multifaceted and intriguing, and the plot kept me engaged until the very end. The pacing was a bit slow in the beginning and middle, but the concept and world were interesting enough that I was kept engaged. I'd recommend this novel to just about anyone!

Lily was a logical protagonist, and I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. Her denial of the situation lasted a long time, but that made it a bit more realistic. Lily is no Bella Swan, and for that I'm grateful. She may not have been kick ass in the way that some of the physically tougher heroines are, and her obsession with her own money got on my nerves, but she was strong and likable in her own way. Amon was extremely interesting, and I really liked watching him learn about our modern world. Some of his actions and reactions were hilarious, and it added some humor to an otherwise intense novel.

The prologue really created the setting for this novel, even though the book itself was set in many different locations. The mood and supernatural world were explained in those few pages, and it gave the book a sense of urgency. The romance was there, and there was a lot of tension and chemistry between Lily and Amon. However, we didn't get much of them as a couple past that. The world-building itself required some info dumps, and it was clear that Houck did her research in Egyptian history and mythology. The pacing, while a bit slow at times, really sped up at the end, and the ending left me wishing it was 2016 so I could get my hands on the next installment. This ending tied up most of the questions raised in this book, but set the stage for the sequel. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a bit different in the YA Urban Fantasy market. Houck's use of Egyptian mythology is refreshing, and a mentally strong, yet vulnerable protagonist is a nice change from the weak minded and/or physically strong girls in most of today's YA books.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

THE VEIL by Chloe Neill

Rating: F
Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

My thoughts on the book:
The Veil is one of the biggest disappointments of the year. I was looking forward to getting a fresh start with Ms. Neill since I tired of the Chicagoland Vampire Series after that ridiculous nonsense with Ethan. I really loved her YA series, but for some reason the publishers and author decided not to complete it. I was hoping that this book would be as intriguing as the early Chicagoland Vampire books, but it was not. There was so much description that I was bored to tears. I actually fell asleep once while reading this book, and it was the middle of the day! I read until the end, hoping that something amazing would happen, but I was let down again. This book had a lot of potential. Unfortunately almost none of it was realized. 

Claire was a pretty dull leading lady. Of course we had a grad student (linguistics instead of English this time), but Tadji was Claire's best friend. Claire didn't stand out much. She could supposedly fix things, but I didn't see her put a single thing back together successfully. Gunnar was the token gay friend, and Liam was a really boring love interest. Sure he's a bounty hunter and that should make him bad ass, but he was just meh. I liked Tadji the best, to be honest, but we didn't get to see a ton of her. 

There was so much description that the pacing was thrown completely off. For some ungodly reason, Neill felt the need to describe every speck of dirt on every single block. And if we happened to return to the same block, she'd describe every speck of dirt AGAIN, like we hadn't just been there 5 pages ago. I get it. New Orleans looks like crap because of what happened. I didn't need it beat into my head by 2-3 page long descriptions every scene. I started skimming over the insanely long descriptions after the first 75% of the book. I just couldn't take it anymore. Not much really happened. Basically boring Claire and dull Liam ran around in circles looking for wraiths and having no chemistry. What happened to the steaming hot sexual tension between Merit and Ethan? Did Neill use all of that up in her other series? There was absolutely nothing between Claire and Liam. Maybe if Claire had quit gawking at her surroundings like some redneck tourist and paid attention to Liam instead of analyzing specks of dirt, things could have been different, but that didn't happen. The ending was so uneventful that I don't even remember it, and I finished the book last night. 

Overall I did not enjoy this book. I know that a lot of people seemed to like it, and I'm sure that those of you who like tons of description and world-building will love it, but the novel just wasn't for me. I think I'll be skipping this series. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

PURE BLOODED by Amanda Carlson

Rating: B
Jessica arrives back from the Underworld to find her father embroiled in a battle against the Made wolves. She and her crew drop everything to join them.

Once she arrives, the threat is after her. Jessica is lured into danger when her adversary takes something precious from her. With help from an unlikely source, Jessica goes up against her creator in a battle that will decide the path of everyone involved. She must war against a new set of foes, ones who could not only steal her power, but could take her soul as well.

My thoughts on the book:
I enjoyed Pure Blooded much more than its predecessor. While there were some awkward spots, and the ending was a bit abrupt for my tastes, this book was entertaining. The nonstop action had a lot to do with me not being able to put this book down, and the pacing was really fast. The character development was lacking a little bit, but the plot developed quite a bit more. This book was a good addition to the series.

Jessica was strong, as usual, and she kept growing in her powers throughout this book. However, her character didn't grow that much. Rourke was about the same, but I do really like him as the love interest. Tyler annoyed me a little bit, and Marcy always gets on my nerves, so that was nothing new. Danny and Naomi were okay, but we didn't get to see much of them. I really liked learning more about Juanita, though. That was a fun part of the story. We also got to meet some new supernatural types, which was cool. The characters weren't as interesting (so far) as their supernatural talents, but that may change in the next installment.

The pace was super fast and a lot happened in this novel. I felt like the last book, set in the Underworld, dragged on forever, but this installment flew by. The Florida part was the slowest, but it went by pretty quickly, too. One thing I noticed about this book is that it wasn't really set up "traditionally." I felt like the climax of the story happened at like 50-60%, and the remainder of the book was falling action and rising action for the next novel. The story itself stopped in a really odd and awkward place. Also, the sex scenes weren't exactly steamy. They were kind of forced and uncomfortable. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book, though it's not my favorite in the series. I will be reading the next installment to see what Jessica and company get up to next. 

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS by Hailey Edwards

Rating: B
While Thierry is away, the Morrigan will play. Snatching the crown from her daughter-in-law’s head wasn’t the motherly thing to do, but Thierry doesn’t mind trading the throne in Faerie for the ratty couch in her Texas apartment. The old crow is welcome to it. But ruling one world is not enough. The Morrigan wants an all-access pass to the mortal realm too. 

An attack on the marshal’s office leaves Thierry shaken…and Shaw missing. Now the fight brewing since Thierry took up the Black Dog’s mantle has landed on her doorstep, and the only way to save the man she loves is to defend the title she never wanted. 

My thoughts on the book:
I really loved this entire series, and while this book was my least favorite, it still was a good ending to this part of the story. From my understanding, the next book set in this world will follow Mai's adventures. Part of me is looking forward to that, and the other part of me isn't, but I digress. The character development in this novel is pretty good, the world-building is well-done, and the writing is decent. The pacing was a bit slow in the beginning, and I didn't really get into the story until about the 60% mark. That's why I gave this novel a B instead of an A.

Thierry is a strong character, and I've enjoyed reading from her perspective. She's a bit temperamental at times, but that just makes her seem real. I also have quite the temper, so I can relate to her pretty easily. She doesn't disappoint in this book. Not only was she unselfish for the most part, but she also learned to appreciate her fae heritage more. I really enjoyed reading her interactions with Mac. Speaking of Mac, he's a terrific character, and I'm glad we finally got to know him some in this installment. I would have liked to have seen Shaw some, but I know his disappearance was key to Thierry reaching who she was meant to be as a person. I also liked seeing Rook evolve over the course of the novel. Mai wasn't in the book much, but she isn't my favorite, so I didn't mind not having her around. 

As I said, the pacing is a bit slow in the beginning, but I think that was to give Thierry's relationship with Mac some time to develop, and that was nice to see. Most of the book was set in Faerie, and it was interesting to see the denizens, both old and new. Things moved along organically, if a bit slow, and I really enjoyed seeing all of Faerie through Theirry's "tour through the seasons." The ending tied up Thierry's story nicely, but left room for the spin-off with Mai. I'll read that one, I'm sure, just to see if I can tolerate Mai better from her perspective. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to fans of Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. Edwards has created a beautiful world with charming characters. 

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Sunday, August 2, 2015


Rating: B+
Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

My thoughts on the book:
This novel was so much better than its predecessor. The pacing was still a little slower than I would have liked, but the book itself was much more intriguing. I liked the cast better this time around, and there was a lot of suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat. It took me awhile to get through this one because of how slow the pace was, but I enjoyed it all. I can't wait for the final book in this trilogy.

Lia grew so much in this book, and I really started to respect her. She definitely used her trials to make her stronger, and she was a tough yet compassionate leading lady. I loved Kaden and Rafe in this book, too. Rafe really came into his own and showed his true colors. I liked that. Kaden still had a lot of growing to do at the end of this book, but he came a long way. I was glad I didn't have to put up with Pauline much, and to be honest, I could have done without her POV. It didn't really add much to the story, and she's just obnoxious. The Komizar was an intriguing and horrific enemy. The Vendan citizens really tugged at my heart strings. 

The plot itself was tightly woven and suspenseful. There was a little romance, but not a ton. This book really played with the idea of morals/goodness vs. doing what one has to do to survive. I liked that. The pacing was slow but steady. The world building was fantastic, and I could clearly picture Venda. The writing was beautiful, and Pearson really had some lovely quotes in this installment. The ending was a cliffhanger, which I hate, but it ended in a good spot. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys good fantasy novels. You won't be disappointed. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

SPIDER'S TRAP by Jennifer Estep

Rating: C-
The next thrilling book in Jennifer Estep’s New York Times andUSA Today bestselling Elemental Assassin series—“an extraordinary series… One of the most intriguing heroines in the genre” (Romantic Times Book Reviews).

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

My thoughts on the book:
I love this series, but to be honest, all of these books are starting to run together. There's not enough character growth or change in plot to keep me interested anymore. I think it's just about time for this series to come to an end. I still enjoy Gin's snarky comments and all of the action and romance, but these novels just aren't exciting anymore. I'm not sure that I'll read the next in the series.

Gin is the same as she always is. Finn is the same as he always is. Owen is the same as he always is. You get the idea. I love these characters, but sadly, they just aren't developing anymore. I think it's time to tell them goodbye. I hate to say it, but it's true.

The plot itself is the same as always. People are trying to kill Gin. Bad guys are out to get her. Blah blah blah. The pacing and writing are good, so I was engrossed the entire time, but I knew what was going to happen because it's the same in every book. The ending left room for yet another sequel, but I kind of hope it just stops. I know it sounds like I didn't enjoy this book, but I did. I'm just tired of it being the same book with new bad guys each time.

Overall, I'd say if you love the series go ahead and read this one. It's a good read and Gin is charming as ever.

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