Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: When the Sea is Rising Red

Synopsis: After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend Ilven kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it.  

My Review: When I first started reading this for some reason I was under the impression that this was a Victorian Era novel.  Which is halfway accurate, but I somehow missed the whole supernatural aspect.  Not to worry though, still loved it.  

Felicita is a member of the magical elite of Pelimburg, the city that was named after her esteemed family that has since fallen.  She is a War-Singer meaning that she can control the very air around her to do her will, but since she is a girl she is only thought of to be married off.  When her best friend Ilven, from a neighboring House kills herself to escape from an arranged marriage, Felicita can't help the idea that sparks from her friend's tragedy.  She fakes her own death and escapes into the city slums below.  

After falling in with a group of rag tag orphans led by the enigmatic Dash, it seems that Felicita has found a new home, until a corpse washes up on the shore.  As the body count grows, its clear that Ilven's death has risen a horrible magical being from the depths of the water, that will soon threaten Pelimburg.  Dash wants to destroy the social caste system of Pelimburg and is willing to do anything to do so.  Felicita must decide whether to stay by her new friends or protect the family she abandoned.  

What I really liked about this novel was that the author was so unapologetic about everything that happened.  Well...maybe unapologetic isn't quite the right word.  Maybe, nonchalant is better.  Oh those two girls are lesbians? Ok, that's cool.  Felicita just lost her virginity? What, it was bound to happen sooner or later. It was just refreshing.  Drama free.  It was like I was in this nice  happy little world free of overblown emotions.  It was nice, I gotta say.  I just felt like Felicita was so down to earth.  She realized that shit happens and that you can't beat yourself up over every little thing.  Sometimes you just have to move on and try to do better.  Dwelling over every horrible thing that happens gets you no where.  Once again, it was just nice.  

Though Dash was kind of the main love interest, I just liked Jannik so much better.  Maybe it was because he was a vampire...and well, vampires are just better, but I liked him as a person way more as well.  While Dash is a conniving little bastard with a hidden agenda, Jannik can actually relate to Felicita.  In a privledged house, but unable to do what you want because of your gender.  Vampire House's are matriarchal instead of patriarchal and so his idiot of a sister will have all the power of the House while he is basically her glorified servant of a brother.  He was just so nice too.  Maybe I 'm a sucker for those kind-hearted, sullen, black haired, mysterious guys but hey.  What can I say? Dash was a douche, and even though I say that I still can't bring myself to totally hate him.  He had his reasons, is all I can say.  

Truthfully though I kind of just wanted Dash and Jannik to just kiss and make up.  God.  Those two. So Iri and Nial and Lesley from the Wicked Lovely books? It was like one of their weird love triangles where they all love each other.  Weird, but somehow that always seems to work.  O.o

Anyway, I really enjoyed Felicita as well.  She was a very refreshing MC and I greatly enjoyed her narrative.  I really hope there is a second book, cuz I really want to know how it plays out.  The ending left me wanting more.  The only criticism I have on this was that I wish the story was a bit more fleshed out.  For instance, the elite magical caste.  You barely get to see them using magic.  It's there and all, but it's rarely used.  Same with the different caste systems.  It's explained, but I wish why they were so hateful towards each other was more fleshed out.  And especially with the vampires! Vampires are rather different in this world too, so I wish they had been explained more.  All in all, the background and information was just adequate enough to get you through the book. Just wish there had been more flushing out.  It would have moved this book from good to great.  I really enjoyed this book, but I feel like it was more geared towards my taste.  I like dark, unusual worlds and non-traditional characters.  Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I greatly enjoyed it. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Review: Balthazar

Synopsis:Haunted by memories from his first days as a vampire, Balthazar has spent hundreds of years alone—without allies, without love. When he emerges from his isolation to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, Balthazar has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Having learned of Skye’s powers and the remarkable effect her blood has on vampires, he plans to use her for his own evil purposes. As they stand together to fight the evil vampire, Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by Skye...just as Redgrave realizes that he can destroy Balthazar once and for all by taking her for his own.

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart.

My Review: Usually I don't like deviations from the MC's of the original series.  But I loved Balthazar so much in the Evernight books that I just had to read this, and I'm glad I did.  Honestly, I think I liked it more than Evernight.  Okay, not the first book of the series, cuz that was amazing, but all the following ones just weren't as good ya know? The plot for Balthazar was just as intriguing and fast paced as Evernight. 

Balthazar has always been one of my favorite characters.  He's kind and loyal and incredibly caring.  Coupled with the fact that he is one hottie hunk and is a bad ass vampire, you can't get any hotter than that.  He's always struggled with his vampire nature and his past has always been a big mystery.  I'm really glad that we got glimpses into what made Balthazar the man he is today.  Most of the chapters alternate from the present to different points in his past.  We find out what his life was like before he was turned, how he was turned, and consequently how he killed Charity. 

I really liked Skye as well.  It took me a bit to remember who she was from Evernight, but everything eventually clicked in my mind.  I really liked the fact that Gray wrote from Skye's POV as well.  It was refreshing to get a human perspective on all of the supernatural events that were happening.  After Evernight Academy burned to the ground, Skye went back home, however she wasn't welcomed with open arms.  The death of her brother a year prior still haunts her family.  Her parents are never home and refuse to speak about her brother and completely ignore Skye.  Her old school now thinks she's a snob and her ex-boyfriend is with the girl he dumped her for.  On top of it all, ever since she let Bianca possess her she's been having strange encounters with the dead.  Wherever a person has died violently she relives the experience.  Stranger still is what happens when vampires drink her blood.  Soon Redgrave, Balthazar's sire, is after her and Balthazar will stop at nothing to keep her safe. 

The attraction between Skye and Balthazar is electric.  Loved every second of it.  Skye knows what she wants and goes after it, that's for sure.  Balthazar feels just as strongly, but he is well versed in the inevitable break between them that will occur.  Balthazar ultimately breaks his "no humans" rule though, because Skye becomes the most important person in his life.  I really loved these two together.  I love Bianca and Lucas too, but so many things get between their relationship.  It was nice to have a relatively simple love story.

With all the vampires after Skye you don't really get to know much about her unusual ability.  The first book is just the tip of the ice berg, I can tell you that.  Now that the Redgrave threat is over, Gray can really explore Skye's ability.  I'm so glad this wasn't just a one shot type of book.  I loved the character's so much that I just NEED more.  A great addition to the Evernight universe that is for sure.  Can't wait for the second one!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sleepers Cover Reveal!

You all know how much I adore Megg Jensen's books.  And it's time for another great one! Megg is re-launching the first book of her Swarm Trilogy, Sleepers with a brand new cover.  I haven't gotten to read Sleepers yet, but boy am I doubly excited now. 

Isn't it gorgeous? Absolutely love! XD And it's only 99 cents right now! Don't miss out on the great deal!

Synopsis: An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?

Review: The Vanishing Game

Synopsis: Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

My Review: I have to say, when I first started reading this, I was severely creeped out.  Fifty pages in and I couldn't stay up too late reading this at night.  The author definitely plunges you right into the story.  When Jocelyn first receives the letter you can only infer from the synopsis as to what it really means. The beginning kind of jumps abruptly from the letter to Jocelyn trying to find Noah.  Everything is explained when Jocelyn tells Noah about what has been happening. Not a day back in her childhood town and her car has already been stolen along with most of her possessions.  Noah is her only hope of getting back on her feet and finding out whether or not her brother is still alive.  

Facing the horror of Seale House is more difficult than Jocelyn ever expected though.  Not only is she starting to hallucinate and black out while in the house, but some of Seale House's nightmares might be real.  When some troublesome kids run her out of the house she comes face to face with one of her childhood friends from Seale House.  Except it isn't a happy reunion, he wants to kill her.  But he is the least of her problems.  Someone else is out there stalking her, waiting for the right time to get to her.  

As Noah joins her on her search for Jack, they discover the first set of clues.  Their childhood games of hiding clues has now turned into a race to find Jack before whoever is chasing them catches up and finishes the job.  As the identity of their pursuer is discovered, the company Jack worked for is implicated in the whole mess.  Did Jack fake his own death to hide? Or does he have something the company wants? 

I have to say I was completely sucked in from beginning to end.  I couldn't say for sure what was going on the entire book.  I did end up guessing the plot twist, but I honestly didn't think I was right.  I was just throwing out completely ludicrous plot twists in my mind and ended up guessing it.  Though I have to admit I was NEVER for sure.  There seemed to be so much contrary evidence.  For one minute I was sure Jack was dead, the next that he was alive, and the  most of the time I just plain didn't know.  Definitely kept me on my toes the entire story.  

I really liked Noah too.  Despite all the shit going on around them, Noah and Jocelyn connect.  He wasn't your typical heart throb.  He was a very complex character and I loved his tough guy attitude and yet he was incredibly smart.  Usually computer programmer and taekwondo don't mix, but I liked it XD

I really liked the ending as well.  It wasn't picture perfect, if you get my meaning.  It still had a good conclusion and Jocelyn was trying to move on and live her dream.  I definitely would say the author left a possible opening for a second book, but I don't really know where she'd go with it.  I just think that Jocelyn's story isn't over yet.  This was definitely a refreshing read.  Haven't read something that got me this spooked in a while.  The clues were fantastic and clever and just really added to the mystery of the story. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: Dreaming Awake

Synopsis: She fell for him in a nighttime world. But the time for dreaming is past—and the here-and-now can be just as fragile their love…

When Theia Alderson first encountered a mysterious, handsome boy in her dreams, she never imagined how finding Haden Black—and falling in love—could change her life. To save Haden, Theia sacrificed everything. And the dangerous bargain she made could have lasting repercussions.

Now Theia has returned to Serendipity Falls, and she finds herself struggling with the same deadly hungers that have tortured Haden. When students at their high school fall prey to a mysterious illness, Theia can’t help but wonder if Haden’s control is slipping—and how much longer she’ll have a grip on her own.

And still the nightmare realm of Under won’t let them go. Someone from Haden’s past is determined to destroy Theia from the inside out, starting with those closest to her, forcing Theia to choose between family and friends and a love that may have been doomed from the start…

My Review: When I first read Falling Under I was pleasantly surprised.  It took a turn that I did not expect and I highly respected the author for that.  It's not easy now-a-days to put a fresh spin on a YA novel.  As much as I ended up liking Falling Under, I have to say that Dreaming Awake fell flat for me.  As so many planned trilogies are, the 2nd book is filler.  

Theia has been altered by Mara's blood and has become part demon herself.  You'd have thought that this turn would have simplified Theia and Haden's relationship.  NOPE! I was so excited because I thought things were going to finally get REALLY heated between them.  It was a total psyche moment.  Turns out that Haden can't take her virtue because it consummate his demonic side and he'll loose his humanity.  Ya.  Exactly.  I know you're making a funny face right now as you read.  

As far as plot, it was okay.  Theia is struggling to hold onto her old self and integrate her new demonic side.  Wanting to eat your classmates souls isn't exactly easy to cope with.  Instead of being totally overbearing, her father is now just ignoring her.  Add to it her lack of a true love life and some of her classmates suddenly looking like the walking dead, Theia has far from escaped from Mara's influence.  Things get even more complicated when Theia finds out that Mara has been dating her father and eating away at his soul.  

I still love all the characters.  Though Theia pulled a dumb move with "I need to stay away from you, because I could never forgive myself if you lost your humanity because of me." I LOATHE Edward Cullen guilt trips! Ever notice that? Horrible logic! But Haden of course doesn't back down because he's Haden and he's awesome XD 

The final showdown in Under was very well done.  Theia finally stops running from her "evil" side, so to speak, and accepts all of herself, the good and the bad.  I liked the fact that the author switched POV's towards the end as well.  I thought it really added to the effect.  

The one thing I cannot forgive though, is the killing off of my favorite character.  I am not naming names.  However I will say I was utterly devastated and bawled my eyes out.  It was a pointless killing! I felt like it was one of those times where the author felt like they needed to make it more dramatic so they should make someone die.  It added nothing to the story, the rest of the characters' don't even dwell on it that heavily.  There wasn't even a funeral! See why I'm upset? It was just unforgivable in my opinion.  

Ok, rant over.  Overall, it was still decent.  Plotline wasn't too bad, I still like all the characters, and the conclusion of it actually went somewhere, so I was pretty happy.  Still felt like it was filler.  And some of the conflicts just felt like they were added for shits and giggles.  I don't know.  Maybe that's just me.  I'm excited for the third one though. With how this one ended, I am REALLY interested in seeing how things will play out. 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Severed Blog Tour!

Hey guys! Today I am happy to participate in a blog tour for Severed by Megg Jensen.  I've been an avid fan of Megg's books ever since I read Anathema.  Heck I read the second book of the series while I was in Europe.  They're that addictive! I am super excited to read the conclusion to this trilogy (soon as finals are over and it is MINE) To help celebrate the release of the concluding book to the Cloud Prophet Trilogy here's a little fun video.  Here is Megg sharing some of her secret obsessions!

Remember Anathema is free right now on Kindle and Smashwords! Don't miss the chance to get your hands on this awesome book! You can purchase Megg's awesome books HERE!