Friday, October 24, 2014

Review–Industrial Magic (Women of the Otherworld #4) by Kelley Armstrong

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Industrial Magic (Women of the Otherworld #4)
 
by Kelley Armstrong
 
Summary: Meet the smart, sexy—supernatural—Women of the Otherworld. This is not your mother's coven…
Kelley Armstrong returns with the eagerly awaited follow-up to
Dime Store Magic . Paige Winterbourne, a headstrong young woman haunted by a dark legacy, is now put to the ultimate test as she fights to save innocents from the most insidious evil of all…
In the aftermath of her mother's murder, Paige broke with the elite, ultraconservative American Coven of Witches. Now her goal is to start a new Coven for a new generation. But while Paige pitches her vision to uptight thirty-something witches in business suits, a more urgent matter commands her attention.
Someone is murdering the teenage offspring of the underworld's most influential Cabals—a circle of families that makes the mob look like amateurs. And none is more powerful than the Cortez Cabal, a faction Paige is intimately acquainted with. Lucas Cortez, the rebel son and unwilling heir, is none other than her boyfriend. But love isn't blind, and Paige has her eyes wide open as she is drawn into a hunt for an unnatural-born killer. Pitted against shamans, demons, and goons, it's a battle chilling enough to make a wild young woman grow up in a hurry. If she gets the chance.


Source: I purchased a paperback from a used bookstore.

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Review:

Industrial Magic was awesome. I sense a pattern with the books in the series. The first book introduced characters, the second book was the high stakes adventure, the third book introduced another set of characters, and the fourth book was their high stakes adventure. Naturally, Industrial Magic was full of adventure, violence, drama, and romance. It was fun, thrilling, and unpredictable.

I loved Paige and Lucas in Dime Store Magic and I knew the plot was gearing up for something quite large. I’m eager to see what happens to Paige and Lucas as the series goes on, though I realize the next book will be a new character with new adventures. Still, I got to see Elena, Clay, and Jeremy in this book, so I’m hopeful the pattern of older characters joining the new ones will continue.

The witch world that involves vampires, sorcerers, Cabals, demons, bodyguards, and necromancers was a complicated one, but I loved the connections and complications. Lucas attempted to avoid his father’s legacy, the Cortez Cabal, but his attempt to do justice brought him to Miami to help solve a case. From there, the plot thickened.

Lucas and Paige worked really well together and I still love them as a couple. I liked Jaime, though it took me awhile to warm up to her, and I even enjoyed the bits with Cassandra, despite hating her in Stolen. Vampires had their own issues and it all made sense once you thought about it. Cassandra wasn’t a bad person, but she was so disconnected with everything because of her age that it made sense for her to be a bit more callous than other supernaturals.

I highly recommend the series. I have to stop for now and move onto other series because of time, but I love that I can stop on a good spot and return to the series at any time. It’s a long series, but it’s separated into pairs and I know when I pick up book 5, I won’t be lost. It’s an awesome urban fantasy/paranormal series and I’m so glad I picked it up!

4%2520star

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday–New Series

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Top Ten New Series I Want to Read

1. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the series and I picked up the first couple of books.

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I bought the first book and I’m excited to see what the buzz is about.

3. Talon by Julie Kagawa. The cover is incredibly intriguing.

4. Starbound by Amie Kaufman. I have These Broken Stars and I think the cover is pretty. I’d like to read it.

5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu. I still have to read the Legend trilogy, but I have a good feeling this one will be good.

6. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I think I just like the cover, but the book is bound to be awesome!

Honestly, I’m waiting on more series to conclude than starting new ones. I try to start series that already have a few books out or I try to read more stand alone novels. I’ve gotten kind of burned out from waiting on all these books.

Review–Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld #3) by Kelley Armstrong

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Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld #3)
 
by Kelley Armstrong
 
Summary: Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world's most powerful elite organizations- the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige's wildest antics can't hold a candle to those of her new charge- an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil... and evil is all too willing to claim her. For this girl is being pursued by a dark faction of the supernatural underworld. They are a vicious group who will do anything to woo the young, malleable, and extremely powerful neophyte, including commit murder- and frame Paige for the crime. It's an initiation into adulthood, womanhood, and the brutal side of magic that Paige will have to do everything within her power to make sure they both survive.

Source: I purchased a paperback.

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Review:

I had no idea the Women of the Otherworld series continued with other characters after Stolen. I thought the series would be from Elena’s point of view the whole time. I suppose that’s what I get for not reading the synopsis of books when I commit to a series. I’ve had Bitten and Stolen on my shelf for literally 2 years and never read them because I wasn’t ready to commit to a 13 or so book series. To find out I could have read those two, stopped, and could have pick up the rest of the series AT ANY TIME was so aggravating to me. I have to mentally commit to long series and 9 times out of 10 a book in a series ends with some sort of cliffhanger. You know, maybe I’ve just been reading YA too long and not enough adult PNR and Urban Fantasy because I’ve noticed they normally end in some sort of satisfying way.

Anyway, despite my initial outrage that Dime Store Magic was from Paige’s point of view, I kept going. Next thing I knew, I was on the edge of my seat. I think I was more invested in Paige’s story then I ever was in Elena’s, so I guess the change of narrators wasn’t an issue. I did a complete 180 and now I’m actually excited for other point of views I’ll get in the future. I loved the plot and I loved the way the witch coven worked. The idea that witches hid, were fearful of being discovered, and valued secrecy over aptitude and power seemed so logical! What an awesome perspective to show in a series about witches. I’m intrigued by the future of the coven based on their fear and Paige’s willingness to explore any avenue to gain power in a non threatening and evil way.

Lucas is not like many PNR male romantic interests. He’s kind of dull, totally wordy, and such a nice guy. But I thought he was the cutest thing ever and I, like Savannah, picked up on his interest in Paige and started rooting for them to do more than work together. I loved the way they worked together and the way their relationship unfolded. It’s certainly not the kind of relationship you’d enjoy if you’re expecting super sexy alpha male PNR, but I liked the contrast from Clay and Elena’s relationship.

I feel like Dime Store Magic has a lot of negative or middle of the road reviews because not many people liked Paige or Lucas and thought they were dull, but I enjoyed the book more than I imagined I would. I didn’t like Paige much in Stolen, but I realize that a witch who was always taught that other magic was evil by a coven who hid spells that worked would be a witch who was frustrated, somewhat weak, and misguided. It’s in Dime Store Magic that we see her grow out of it, uncover the issues within the coven, and gain the strength to choose knowledge over fear. I don’t know how anyone could be bored with that!

I will definitely continue the series and I kind of love that the books seem to be in pairs in the series. I feel a lot less pressure to trudge through all of the books and it’s nice to know I can finish Paige’s story and move onto other books before returning to this series or I can continue to devour the series. I have choices. I recommend the books so far and I can’t wait to read more.

4%2520star

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review–Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2) by Kelley Armstrong

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Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2)
by Kelley Armstrong
 
Summary: It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong's debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman and the only living female werewolf.
In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the "other races" and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals - witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves - are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match.  Source: I purchased a paperback from a used book store.

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Review:

I enjoyed Bitten, but I admitted that I wasn’t sure where the story would go in the next installments. And when I began Stolen, new types of creatures were introduced. I felt like I went from a story about only werewolves to a story involving everything with no warning. But I kept reading, curious to see where the story would go with the new creatures. And I’m glad I did.

Stolen was incredible and devoured it. I loved the plot and I thought it was interesting to see Elena cope with being held captive in the strange compound. She had to think about her alliances and figure out how she was going to get out, along with coping with the new creatures she learned about. Suddenly, she wasn’t the only powerful female in the world.

I thought Stolen was an improvement from Bitten because there was so much action and so much hanging in the balance. However, I do still wish I had more werewolf background before being introduced to new creatures in the world. I also wonder how future novels will be able to top the action and dire situations in Stolen.

One of the more exciting things about Stolen was finding out about the existence of other types of supernatural beings, some of them women like Elena. I thought she would bond with some of them and for awhile, it appeared she understood Cassandra. I was a little disappointed by the direction of the book after Elena’s capture in this regard. All of the powerful women turned out to be less than ideal people and I kind of hate that because I thought maybe Elena could would benefit from having some good powerful women to befriend, learn from, and give advice to. And if that isn’t the point, I’m confused about the name of the series.

I definitely recommend the series so far and I’m excited to continue, despite my concern about where it will all go. It’s always like this for me at the start of a long series.

4%2520star

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review–Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong

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Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1)
 
by Kelley Armstrong
 
Summary: Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.
So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.


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Source: I purchased a paperback from a used bookstore.  

Review:

I watched the show Bitten on Syfy first. I have had the books on my shelf for ages, but it wasn’t until I spent an afternoon watching my recorded episodes of the show that I realized I had to pull these books off of my shelf and read them. I knew from reviews that the show had changed a lot of aspects of the characters and plots, but a lot of it was the same, so it was easy to fall right into the book.

Bitten’s premise was unique. Elena was the only female werewolf and one of very few people to survive being bitten. And of course, it ruined her life. Some reviews of the book hate that Elena followed a pattern of hating her otherworldliness and trying too hard to be normal, but I actually understood it. Elena wasn’t born into a life and desperately wanted out. She was forced into it, struggled with her feelings about it and thought that she could try to carve out a normal life for herself away from the Pack.

I enjoyed Bitten and will definitely continue the series. I’m really eager to see where it goes. I felt like Bitten had a satisfying conclusion, so I’m a little anxious about what will happen next and if I should have bought so many of the next books in the series.

Sometimes, I think a person’s opinion about a movie or show has a lot to do with what they experienced first.. because I think I like the show better. There was a lot more in the show about dynamics of the Pack, history, backstory, etc that the book didn’t have any of. Even Elena’s life in Toronto was more thought out and rooted. I don’t know if the show borrowed from the other books too in the first season or if they just made stuff up, but I really need some more backstory of the characters in order to love this series. However, I have discovered most urban fantasy/paranormal series I read I am always a bit Meh and on the fence for the first 1 to 2 books, so this is nothing new. I will continue on and see how I feel!

 4%2520star

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review–Between the Stars and Sky by David James


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Between the Stars and Sky
 
by David James
 
Summary: Between the Stars and Sky is a vivid, standalone contemporary novel from Young Adult author David James.
In the small, lakeside town of Huntington, the Firelight Festival marks the end of summer. A time to laugh, to live, to love. And for Jackson Grant, it is a chance to begin again.
But there is a darker side to the Firelight Festival, a deadly tradition known as the Firelight Fall. A secret game. A legendary lie. A test of bravery. Those who fall risk everything, and Jackson is on the edge. Until he meets a girl who pushes him over.
For Jackson, falling for Sarah Blake might be as dangerous as jumping in the Firelight Fall. As summer burns away, Jackson and Sarah ignite an unstoppable love game. For her, his heart is on fire. And soon, Sarah shows him life, saves him from loss, and opens his heart to an infinite and wild love found between the stars and sky.
Lyrical and deeply romantic, Between the Stars and Sky is a poetic and heart-stopping read for fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and E. Lockhart.


Source: I received a digital copy of the book from the author as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

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Review:

Like the author’s other novels, Between the Stars and Sky was lyrical. The writing was very poetic and descriptive. You could highlight just about every sentence because it just captures something so deep. Not a single word was wasted or used to describe some silly little action. And like the author’s other books, Between the Stars and Sky was mostly from the male point of view which is something a lot of readers probably aren’t used to in contemporary (or any kind of) romance. Jackson was vulnerable, hopeful, poetic, and incredibly romantic. I love the author for this reason because he is never afraid to show off the sensitive and vulnerable side of a guy’s emotions when he’s falling in love.

Despite enjoying the book, I do warn that you really have to be in the mood to read the book (or any of the author’s books). His books can’t be read quickly or halfheartedly. They demand a slow read because each sentence tries to linger. It can be frustrating if you’re in the mood for a straightforward story, but it can be beautiful and inspiring if you’re in the mood for his lyrical prose.

Between the Stars and Sky is like a piece of super rich chocolate cake. You have to take slow bites and savor each one or it will be much too rich and heavy to enjoy. And if you’re in the mood for quickly snacking on M&Ms, you won’t enjoy it or appreciate it at all. That’s the best way to describe the book.

I recommend Between the Stars and Sky, especially if you’re a fan of introspective prose. The characters don’t just reflect, they live inside of their emotions and feelings. They treat each moment like it could be their defining moment and aren’t afraid to be romantic about it. Nothing about the characters is ordinary or run of the mill, which can be a nice change from the other cotemporary romances on the market.

4%2520star

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book to Movie Review–Gone Girl


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Gone Girl
 
Movie Summary (from IMDb): With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

Book Review:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Book to Movie Thoughts:

I went to the theater on opening night. I wanted to sit in a theater with people who had no idea what was going to happen next. I was afraid over time the plot would be spoiled and everyone would know the plot within a few weeks. Having watched the reactions of people reading the book, I expected the same sorts of shock and disbelief in the theater.

The movie was pretty good. The casting of Nick was perfect, as Ben Affleck played the likeable husband that you also can’t stand because he’s such a schmuck. I think every character was casted perfectly except for Amy. And she was only half bad because she played the other half of her role perfectly. I knew it would be hard to be satisfied with the chosen actress because her character was so complex. I thought the movie turned her into a colder, bitchier version of herself in her diary and it made the rest of her personality easy to predict. The book was so much better in this regard.
The movie captured so much of the twisted plot and characters of the book. In almost every way, it was well done. Only minor changes were made, mostly to the details of certain events, but the overall event was still much the same.

I only have two complaints. One, the biggest twist and most major moment was so predictable in the movie. Maybe I just knew it was coming. Maybe Amy’s diary had more of an impact on me in the book. But even the people I was with guessed the next part and that was such a disappointment. The twist in the book floored me absolutely and I wanted the movie to do the same. The movie did a better job in forming the final moments of Nick and Amy, but missed the mark with the beginning of the lives and the impression they gave to one another and to the audience.

My other complaint involves another aspect of the book that the movie didn’t quite hit. The writing was incredible. Nick hit the nail on the head with so many of his reflections on life, marriage, and today’s world. Amy’s cool girl passage was so spot on. And the movie tried to hit those moments in the narration, but I think it was hard to do it as well as the book. For that reason, I think skipping the book in favor of the movie would be a huge mistake. You just don’t get Nick or Amy without the book.

As I suspected, the internet is filled with Gone Girl spoilers and disgruntled people who were mad enough about the ending to spoil it for everyone else. I’m glad I saw it before any of that happened. I don’t understand what it is about twists that gets everyone so mad, but those same people complain about predictability. The movie audience is a lot harder to please sometimes than readers, but both seem to prefer endings and stories that follow a pattern instead of breaking the mold and that’s a shame. Gone Girl was awesome!


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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review–Between the Spark and the Burn (Between #2) by April Genevieve Tucholke


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Between the Spark and the Burn (Between #2)

by April Genevieve Tucholke

 
Summary: The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.
The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own …

Source: I purchased a hardcover

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Review:

Between the Spark and the Burn was the conclusion to the series. I wasn’t sure if I would read it, but I was left with a lot of curiosity after Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. The characters and the abilities they have were intriguing.

Between the Spark and the Burn was pretty well done. While I still have the same issues as I did with the first book in terms of how it was written, I was already expecting the same writing style, so it wasn’t hard to adjust. Sometimes, I felt like Violet’s narration worked well even though it was so simplistic as times. I’m conflicted about it, but the writing style had me flying through the pages and maybe that’s the point.

This duology is creepy without being enveloped in a million plot points. Sometimes, horror books are so full of the unbelievable and the endings always end up being convenient or some events seem far fetched once explained. But these books are so subtle. Crazy things happen, but the books don’t try to shove explanations down my throat. Everything just lingers. It’s like biting into something and letting the flavors roll around on your tongue for awhile. It’s that kind of story. And maybe, if you think about it too much, you might decide it doesn’t make much sense. But at least it doesn’t try to.

I recommend the books, but I think you have to like horror and lyrical prose. Not blood and guts and ghosts horror, but the eerie and unknown horror. The Poe-like horror. These books are weird and incredible and full of emotion. After reaching the end of the duology, while I enjoyed this installment, I wish it would have been a standalone. No answers were given and I would have preferred the way I felt at the end of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea to the way I feel now. But I suppose I’m glad I read both.

4%2520star