Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review–Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning

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Darkfever (Fever #1)
 
by Karen Marie Moning
Summary:
"My name is MacKayla, Mac for short. I'm a sidhe-seer, one who sees the Fae, a fact I accepted only recently and very reluctantly.
My philosophy is pretty simple - any day nobody's trying to kill me is a good day in my book. I haven't had many good days lately. Not since the walls between Man and Fae came down. But then, there's not a sidhe-seer alive who's had a good day since then."

When MacKayla's sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death - a cryptic message on Mac's cel phone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Ma is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed - a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae...
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister's death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho...while at the same time, the ruthless V'lane - an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women - closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac's true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book - because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control both worlds in their hands...


Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library.

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Review:

Oh. My. Gosh. This series is amazing and incredibly addicting. I have had a couple of people recommend the series to me and I finally ended up looking it up on my local library’s site and saw that it was available to borrow. I could not put it down the moment I started.

I loved that the book was set in Ireland, but the main character wasn't Irish. Mac reminded me a bit of Sookie Stackhouse in that she was peppy and enjoyed sunshine and all things girl. But when push came to shove, she was fierce and protective of those she cared about. She ended up in Ireland, far away from her Georgia home, to find out what happened to her sister, Alina. Alina studied at Trinity College in Dublin, was murdered and found in an alley, and her case went nowhere fast, leaving the family with no answers.. Mac thought her case was swept aside because of her family being so far away and that her presence would make the police work harder.

Mac had no idea what kind of can of worms she was opening by going to Dublin and poking her head into the murder of her sister. By demanding answers, she drew attention to herself and discovered more about the world than she ever wanted to know. There was something awful happening in Ireland and Mac was an essential part of it. Ireland is rich with legends of the Fae and in Mac’s world, they weren’t just legends anymore. The Fae were incredibly real and dangerous.

I highly recommend the series. I could not put the first book down. My library card expired while reading the first book and I wasn’t able to borrow any more books. Instead of waiting to renew my card after the weekend, I had to keep going and bought the rest of the books. I couldn’t wait to devour more books. It’s a must read series if you like anything paranormal.


5%2520star

"...one must break with one's past to embrace one's future. It is never an easy thing to do. It is one of the distinguishing characteristics between survivors and victims. Letting go of what was, to survive what is."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review–Shadow of Night (All Souls #2) by Deborah Harkness

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Shadow of Night (All Souls #2)
 
by Deborah Harkness

Summary: IT BEGAN WITH A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.
Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library,she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.
Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.
Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...


Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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Review:

After rereading A Discovery of Witches and loving it, I decided to take advantage of a kindle sale and pick up the sequel in preparation for The Book of Life, which was due to release this month. Shadow of Night has a gorgeous cover that has been catching my eye for months. I couldn’t wait to begin.

I should start by saying that I love the conflict in A Discovery of Witches. I love the present day conflict that Matthew and Diana were faced with. I understood the drive and desire to use Diana’s time-spinning abilities to send them to the past, but I didn’t think it was a very good decision. I also didn’t realize the ENTIRE FREAKING BOOK would be set in the past. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy Shadow of Night as much as I was hoping to.

The whole time I read Shadow of Night, I kept thinking how dumb it was for them to have tried to hide in the past. I was 100% sure the characters would somehow manage to screw up the present by doing so and I was also pretty sure that they were in over their heads. Matthew was a completely different person when he was alive in the 1500s and it was agonizing to watch him keep up appearances with his friends. To discover that he had his hands in just about every pot in that time period and was a powerful spy aggravated me because why on earth would he ever believe the two of them could safely hide in the past when just knowing him was dangerous and brought attention to people. Did they think they could hide their vampire and witch love affair any more efficiently back then? The 1500s is a time period I’m not terribly interested in. The conflicts bored me, partly because I knew they didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things other than keeping things bearable so that the two of them could get out and back to the present unscathed.

I did enjoy the part of the novel involving Matthew’s father. I enjoyed getting to know him as a character and watching Matthew and Diana prove themselves to him. It was sweet and interesting. I also enjoyed watching Diana learn more about her abilities, once she was able to find people who could help her.

While I did enjoy the way it ended and I am still invested in the story, I can’t help but be reluctant to pick up the last book. It took me what felt like forever to finish the book and I need a break. The novels are so wordy and so much happened that I felt was unnecessary in the end. I do recommend the series, but Shadow of Night was just… okay.

3%2520star

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review–A Discovery of Witches (All Souls #1) by Deborah Harkness (A ReRead)

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A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)
 
by Deborah Harkness
 
Summary: A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.


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Source: I purchased a hardcover.

Review:

Sometimes it pays to reread a book. I read A Discovery of Witches back in 2011 when it first came out and, while I can’t remember why, I only rated it 3 stars. I don’t know if I expected something else when I first read it, but I remember being disappointed. The second book in the series has caught my eye in just about every place I see it. I kept telling myself I needed to reread the book and find out if it really was disappointing or if I just happened to read it when I was in the mood for something else.
As it turns out, I loved A Discovery of Witches the second time around. I could hardly remember what happened, so the story was refreshing and new to me in a way. I knew a little bit more of what to expect and I was in the mood for a good paranormal story with tons of history and connections. I feel the need to defend the book now that it has captivated me so much.
While the second half of the novel is a tad more focused on romance, it was completely clean, which is quite rare for a non YA novel. Each moment that Diane and Matthew were together, their connection grew and that connection mattered to the plot, which is also rare for any kind of paranormal romance novel. The rich history and the character’s love of that history was seen in just about every page of the book, which was awesome.

I really liked the characters. Diana was fairly wholesome, but she was also fierce and quirky. Her family was loyal and were just like I would always have imagined a witch family to be. Matthew, though a bit too… white collar.. for my taste, was a wonderful character. He was intelligent, mysterious, protective, and I could see why the two connected. Their personalities fit together nicely and they both had similar educational curiosity. Matthew’s family intrigued me. I loved hearing about his past.

I sensed a conspiracy of sorts as the novel progressed. The way the groups of supernatural beings were segregated seemed weird when none of them were really threats to each other. Why were they so against being friends with each other? I’m anxious to see how the series progresses and I can’t wait to find out more about the Congregation and how it came about. What happened to have created rules so strict?

I love how the author was so well versed in history. By having characters so excited about events, novels, and people in the past, I became excited when I read about it. I appreciated the little bits of things Diana noticed.

I know I only rated this book 3 stars the first time, but I don’t understand a lot of the negative reviews, and would say this even when I thought it was just an okay read.. I have no idea why anyone would get any Twilight vibes from the book. Just because a novel features a romance and a vampire does not mean it’s the same story. I understand that Matthew was one of those more sleek and elegant types of vampires and so was Edward, but that’s kind of a persona that vampires would be expected to have. Of course the more wild and animalistic kinds of vampires are also common, but not all vampires have to be Eric’s of True Blood, either. And why do these people who hate vampire romances keep reading vampire romances? I don’t understand. I realize that we all pick up the wrong book sometimes, but if seeing vampires in books makes you throw your hands up and claim it’s just like Twilight, I’m not sure why you read paranormal romance novels in the first place. Just saying…


A Discovery of Witches was an elegant paranormal romance with other supernatural conflict, a rich history, and beautiful writing. I definitely recommend it and I am very glad I decided to try it again. Sometimes, you just gotta be in the mood for something!

4%2520star

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review–Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home
 
by Carol Rifka Brunt
 
Summary: In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them.
1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.
An emotionally charged coming-of-age novel,
Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.

Source: I purchased a paperback.

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Review:

Tell the Wolves I’m Home was a fantastic story about family ties, love, and growing up. While it’s not YA, it is narrated by 14 year old June shortly after her gay uncle passed away and set in the year 1987. She was very close with her uncle and had no idea how she was going to cope with his loss.
June was a weird kid, but I think that made her likeable. She had a strained relationship with her sister, Greta, which came about shortly before their teen years. Finn, June’s uncle, was also her godfather. They spent time together, shared a love of art and music, and June was afraid no one else would ever understand her after he passed. She was aware that he had AIDS, but knew little else about it, as most of the world in that time period.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home captures what it’s like to be a kid and not know the true picture of things. June wasn’t a dumb girl, but there was a lot she didn’t know about her life, mostly because of her family covering things up and hiding information. When Finn died, a strange man appeared at the funeral and everyone seemed to know who he was except June. Those kinds of things that families tend to keep from their children are the things June had no clue about. I loved watching her grow up and figure out that things aren’t always what they seem and that people aren’t always who you thought they were. I’ll never forget the moments that turned by all knowing parents into ordinary and struggling people and June definitely experiences these.

I loved the direction of the book once June met Toby. That moment made June’s perspective change and the growth of her character began rapidly.

I definitely recommend the book. It is a wonderful story that really captures love, loss, family, growing up, and identity. There was only one area I was disappointed with and that was the character of Ben because I wished for more closure with him. I really liked him, despite the fact that was only in a couple scenes. Other than that, it was a wonderful story.

4%2520star

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review–The Humans by Matt Haig

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The Humans
 
by Matt Haig
 
Summary: The critically acclaimed author of The Radleys shares a clever, heartwarming, and darkly insightful novel about an alien who comes to Earth to save humans from themselves.“I was not Professor Andrew Martin. That is the first thing I should say. He was just a role. A disguise. Someone I needed to be in order to complete a task.”
The narrator of this tale is no ordinary human—in fact, he’s not human at all. Before he was sent away from the distant planet he calls home, precision and perfection governed his life. He lived in a utopian society where mathematics transformed a people, creating limitless knowledge and immortality.
But all of this is suddenly threatened when an earthly being opens the doorway to the same technology that the alien planet possesses. Cambridge University professor Andrew Martin cracks the Reimann Hypothesis and unknowingly puts himself and his family in grave danger when the narrator is sent to Earth to erase all evidence of the solution and kill anyone who has seen the proof. The only catch: the alien has no idea what he’s up against.
Disgusted by the excess of disease, violence, and family strife he encounters, the narrator struggles to pass undetected long enough to gain access to Andrew’s research. But in picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, the narrator sees hope and redemption in the humans’ imperfections and begins to question the very mission that brought him there.

Source: I purchased a hardcover

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Review:

The Humans was an interesting novel about an alien sent to destroy sensitive information and those who might know about it by stealing the body and identity of the man who discovered the information. But somewhere along the way, the alien understood more about humans and ended up caring about his family and human life.

There were many aspects about The Humans I enjoyed. The alien discovered the loyalty of dogs, the beauty of music and poetry, and the joy of love and family. It was great watching that all unfold. However, I already know this story and how it goes. Of course the alien who previously thought all humans were violent and greedy discover differently when they understand our complex emotions and the power of love. Of course logical beings wouldn’t understand until they get a closer look. How many alien takeover stories have explored this? At least a handful.

I had a lot of hope that the author would take a previously exhausted concept and give his refreshing twist on it, like he did with vampires in The Radleys. I turned the pages eagerly, anticipating some wonderful sociological, psychological, or philosophical themes that would set The Humans above and apart. Unfortunately, it never happened. The Humans was much too short to have explored any one area of humanity enough to be enlightening. The plot was incredibly predictable as a result with no real reward.

If you need a reminder that humans are good, then perhaps you should read The Humans. It reads like a novel for those people who are tired of seeing so much violence and greed in others and need a reminder that, despite our faults, we are good in many ways and not all of us are horrible.

But that’s about all I got from The Humans. I wanted a lot more. Humans are complex and the premise leaves a lot of room for further exploration of our habits, history, behaviors, and emotions. While I may be cynical, I also happen to love humanity and all of our faults. I have a soft spot for villains and terrible things in fiction. I am, as most of us are, drawn to violence. I can relate to and understand greed and am not perfect myself. I get frustrated, but I’ve never really thought violence and greed were our worst qualities on a daily basis, so The Humans was not for me. It didn’t explore the greatest issue I have with humanity: ignorance and utter lack of motivation to be smarter, which is what frustrates me on a daily basis.

3%2520star

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cover Reveal–Between the Stars and Sky by David James

James_RevealBanner

Available this September, Between the Stars and Sky is a vivid contemporary novel from Young Adult author David James.  Lyrical and romantic, Between the Stars and Sky is a heart-stopping, contemporary read for fans of Maggie Stiefvater and David James.

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Summary: 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.

Releases SEPTEMBER 2014

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FIND THE PLACE WHERE LOVE IS INFINITE


About the Author: author photo b&w 
David James writes books about stars and kisses and curses. He is the author of the YA novel, Light of the Moon, the first book in the Legend of the Dreamer duet, as well as the companion novellas, The Witch’s Curse and The Warriors Code. A Legend of the Dreamer anthology, Shades of the Stars, was released July 2013, and includes the exclusive novella, The Enchanter’s Fire. The final book in the duet, Shadow of the Sun, will be released in 2015. Living in Michigan, he is addicted to coffee, gummy things, and sarcastic comments. David enjoys bad movies, goofy moments, and shivery nights. 

Author Links: Blog Facebook Twitter
 
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday–TV Shows

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Top Ten TV Shows
 
 
 
I’m going to try NOT to pick shows based on books at all.

1. Falling Skies on TNT. An alien apocalypse show? Sign me up.The Mason family and other survivors fight and survive. It’s an epic drama.

2. Defiance on SyFy. Another alien apocalypse show, but in a totally different way. It reminds me of Star Trek being that that are tons of different aliens, a crew of people (though they are in a town), and there’s always a new adventure.

3. The Originals on the CW. I never ever expected to love The Originals, but I prefer it over The Vampire Diaries completely. Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah have lived long enough to be complex and awesome. They are all villainous, but they have such great reasons. I’m so intrigued.

4. Being Human on SyFy. I haven’t seen the UK version, but I love the US version. A vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost live in a house together and try to be normal.

5. Orange is the New Black on Netflix. A drama about women in prison? I was intrigued, but I didn’t expect it would be so awesome!

6. Vikings on The History Channel. A show about Vikings and a certain family. They pushed to explore other areas of the world and change things. I love seeing how their society differs from Christian settlements.

7. Teen Wolf on MTV. I don’t know why I love the show so much, but it’s one of my teen guilty pleasure shows, like The Vampire Diaries.

8. Orphan Black on BBC. I like weird shows with science fiction elements and the main character of this show is a clone.

9. Family Guy on FOX/Adult Swim. I LOVE Family Guy. I think it’s one of the funniest shows on television.

10. The Big Bang Theory on CBS and TBS. There’s tons of tropes I hate about the show, but I do love how geeky it is. Sheldon is my favorite character. I wish Penny wasn’t portrayed so great and the geeks were given a little more self respect, but I do love that it’s one of the smarter sitcoms.

11. (Because I can't forget this one!) The Following on Fox. A professor of English who kills people and creates a cult based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe? YES!

No, didn’t mention Game of Thrones, Under the Dome, The 100, or The Vampire Diaries. I didn’t want to include books that were turned into shows. There’s also great shows that aren’t on anymore that I didn’t include. And funny shows like The Colbert Report. I couldn’t include them all!

Review–Nero (Made Men #1) by Sarah Brianne

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Nero (Made Men #1)
 
by Sarah Brianne
 
Summary: Nero is the king of Legacy Prep, living a life of power.
Elle is the school’s punching bag, living a life of fear.
The only good girls Nero knows jump in his bed when he tells them to.
The closest Elle has come to a bad boy like him is in the cafeteria line.
The mob boss gave him orders to find out what she knows.
Her mouth is sealed.

I just want to be a fu**ing made man.
I’m just a fu**ing waitress.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.

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Review:

One of my favorite indie authors is also part of an editing team, which means she encounters awesome indie books that I have never heard of. She has introduced me to amazing series and authors and she recommended Nero to me.

I loved Nero. I was definitely craving a steamy contemporary romance and this book did not disappoint. Although the characters are in high school, Nero is NOT a YA novel at all. It was much too graphic in certain areas for that. It totally suffered from tropes like having a weak heroine (although Elle’s ability to take crap from others and her loyalty to Chloe seem more like strengths to me), a total alpha male who was terribly controlling and malicious, and parents who have NO clue what is going on. But I expected that going in. I mean, read the synopsis. And I loved it.

Nero was steamy, violent, and addicting. Nero himself was mysterious and interesting. I enjoyed watching him unexpectedly fall for Elle and I loved watching her let him into her life. I loved his crew of friends, his horrible and violent nature, and his fierce overprotection and jealousy. I loved piecing together Elle’s past, how she ended up at the lowest rung of the social ladder and why.

Let me be clear, Nero is one of those novels that isn’t doing feminism any favors. It is totally ones of those romance novels that take things way too far. Nero is as violent as he is controlling, but there’s a time and place for awesome romance novels that explore that whole dominant and alpha male thing and Nero was amazing as it was.

4%2520star