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All posts for the month September, 2013

5 stars to UNCHAINED by J. Lynn

Published September 20, 2013 by elenafx

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Between the pissed off creatures that want demon-hunter Lily Marks dead and the fallen angel who just…wants her, Lily is about ready to trade in forever for a comfy job in a cubicle farm.

The fact that she and Julian are civil to one another is enough to have her thrown out of the Sanctuary, but she can’t shake her not-so-angelic stalker or how he brings her dangerously close to ecstasy.

Her forbidden relationship with Julian provides the perfect fuel for suspicion when a traitor is discovered to be working within the Sanctuary. Lily quickly finds herself hunted by well, everyone.

Her only hope is to discover the real traitor before she loses everything–and she’ll need Julian’s help. That is, if Julian is really there to help her…and not destroy her.

Yeah, being a Nephilim isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.

 

 

So here’s the thing. I’ve read all books by Jennifer L. Armentrout/J. Lynn. All fifteen of them (and I’m not even counting the short novellas). I’ve come to realize that she’s my favorite author, ever. So, of course, I’ve been waiting for UNCHAINED to come out for more than a year, I think. I’ve had high hopes for it and as expected Jenn did not disappoint one bit. The woman’s a freaking genious.

UNCHAINED introduces readers to its world and its characters almost immediately. I was sure this book was going to be da bomb from the first chapter. Books with such good first chapters simply don’t go unnoticed or suck butt. The story unravels quickly, from multiple points of view. The different POVs were a tad confusing in the begining of the book but still intriguing and vivid as hell. Jennifer L. Armentrout sure knows how to write. Her books really feel like they’re going on in front of you, like you’re actually seeing it. Especially in UNCHAINED with all the vivid action and sex scenes, her writing style just got me hooked. I honestly couldn’t put the thing down.

The charcters in UNCHAINED are all amazing but it’s hard to pay anyone else attention when Lily and Julian are running around. Lily Marks is a Nephilim. She’s trained to kick butt and be a plain badass. But it’s more than her badassery that made me love her. She’s snarky, protective, loyal. Lily’s the kind of heroine that I absolutely admire. She doesn’t put up with anyone’s shit but she’ll sacrifice even herself to save those she loves. Life has been a bitch to her but she’s up and running without being broken. She’s vulnerable but strong as hell. Julian, on the other hand, is a Fallen and absolutely off-limits to Lily since, you know, they’re enemies. They’re supposedto be killing each other off. However, for the last eight years, Julian has been shadowing Lily clearly showing way more interest in her than he should. Julian’s a fascinating character. He’s so well-written. He has the hundred of years old depft but also a young male’s hotness that will make get all hot and bothered. Julian’s protective, sweet, patient, loyal and did I mention hot as hell? I’m not even going to talk about Julian and Liy’s chemistry. Too hot to even comment on.

We also have a lot of scenes in Michael’s POV. Michael’s a Nephilim but he doesn’t know it. He’s also the reason the whole story starts. He’s in the center of everything but we have no idea why. Michael’s inner sarcasm made me laugh so much my stomach ached. He’s a great character, very protective, funny and sweet. Seeing his point of view was enjoyable. I also love him to pieces. Τhe other secondary characters are absolutely awesome. Badass and funny as hell.

If you’ve read previous books by Jenn and you liked them then you’re bound to like this one too. Fans of paranormal will devour this. But be careful; this is an adult book so if you’re uncomfortable with graphic content then I don’t think this book is for you. UNCHAINED’s unique, quick, dark, humorous and sexy as hell. Jennifer L. Armentrout did it yet again!

-Helena

4 stars to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Published September 20, 2013 by katheryn13

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The not

e was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.”

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

 

Review:

I’d been meaning to read this for years, and I’m so glad I did. The writing is fantastic, so in-depth and really brings the story to life.

Most of the book was set in Prague, and that excited me because not often do you get books set in another country outside of the USA or even Britain for that matter. Some parts were even in Morocco.

Karou was an interesting and humbling character. She wasn’t irritating in the way some heroines in books can be, and she didn’t just sit back and wait for anyone to save her. She fought her own battles. But for her whole life she’s been kept in the dark about who she is and where she comes from, and after a while that would start to grate on your nerves, so when the intriguing Akiva finds his way to Karou by accident, they spark some kind of attraction.

Unfortunately, they’re enemies.

And with the portals that can transport anyone from Brimstone’s workplace to the human world  being tagged one by one, something bad is going to happen. The angels are planning a war.

Over the coming chapters, you get more of an insight into who Akiva really is, and why he’s so interested into Karou. He has a secret. Actually he has several, but only one really makes a difference and finally he realises he’ll need to tell her.

I daren’t say anything else because some of it gets really spoilery.

My only comment is that I found some of the flash back/alternate character POV chapters a bit…dull. Not to mean the writing was bad, because really, oh my god, it was not. But because I’d become so attached to Karou’s POV that when it changed for so long, I missed her. In the end, I forced myself to read it. The worst part about it is that this was the last few chapters. I knew I couldn’t give up this close. I found to enjoy it and got used to the change.

That ending. Wow. I just…I can understand why it happened, why that character did what they did, and I can understand the other’s feelings, but dammit. >_<

So I highly HIGHLY recommend you read this, because the romance, the action, the intense thrill of the ride, will keep you on your toes.

This is a telling of angels and demons  in a fun, enticing, original way.

Kat

 

5 stars to Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins

Published September 13, 2013 by katheryn13

Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

 

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Evil, and Sweet Peril was no different in that respect. Although there was far less sexual tension in the beginning, I loved the interactions between each of the Neph and the relationship between Anna and her father grows much more.

Anna has a visit from a spirit, telling her she might be the “one”. I want to make a joke about being the “chosen one” but that’s not going to happen. Nope. *sniggers*

Her father goes on a mission to find allies, so they can build a Neph army, which is scary to Anna but she goes through so much in this, having to battle her feelings for Kaidan and both Kope, who she cares for but it’s clear where her heart lies.  Travelling all over the world to escape the whisperers and the Dukes, not to mention keeping up her party girl image at school is taking its toll on her.

There’s a lot less Jay and Veronica in this, which is a shame, but so much more of the twins (Ginger and Marna) and Blake.  They meet new and some old Nephilim’s. Kope and Anna are sent to far off countries to persuade other Nephs to join them, and a girl named Zenia adds some punch to the mix.

I can’t fault anything writing wise, and the tension was hyped up, especially with Kope’s feelings put out there. I’m not a huge fan of him, but then it doesn’t matter. He’ll never win. *evil laugh*

The sexy moments between Anna and Kaidan are just as heated, and even more so because they’ve been apart for so long. It’s so sweet and romantic how far they’ve come and how much Kaidan has changed. He’s finally opening up and it just made me “Awwww!”.

The drama amps up when the Dukes turn up unexpectedly and the Neph’s hide, witnessing something awful which changes everything. Someone is onto them and now the battle has really begun. I wonder what’s in store for them next. Hopefully a full out war, because I sense that’s coming.

As I said, I really enjoyed this, and I’m pretty sure you will too if you loved Sweet Evil. If you haven’t read this yet, go do it, because you won’t be disappointed.

Kat

3 stars to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Published September 12, 2013 by katheryn13

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

Review:

I’d seen plenty of people on twitter raving about this book, and how great it was. So I was excited, hopeful, and bought it pretty quickly.

Unfortunately for me, this didn’t live up to its hype.

I’ll explain.

The main character, Tana, is a likeable enough girl. She wakes up in a bathroom in a farmhouse, having drunk the night away at a party that held lots of raving teenagers. Until she finds everyone dead.

The beginning of the book was easy enough to get into and I found the opening creepy, hope that the rest would live up to the great start. Sadly, Tana’s behaviour was a bit too…calm. I know, she was freaking out, but the actions afterward were a little too weird, and if I’d been her I’d have legged it half way to China Town.

She saves her ex-boyfriend and a vampire. What normal person would do this? Tana, apparently.

I really thought the pacing was too spread out, and I found myself waiting for something to happen. Little bits caught my attention, and the book was set out over about 4 days? But nothing really grabbed me until the last quarter and that disappointed me.

On the other hand, I loved Gavriel. He was a very old but very young looking vampire, and had that bad boy image. And his connection to Tana was sweet, even if he was crazy half the time. Actually, he reminded me a lot of Myrnin from the Morganville Vampire series (by Rachel Caine, You should check it out.) Anyway, he had that edge. He’d start rambling off Shakespeare one moment, and in the next would talk absolute sense. And Tana is drawn to him. The romance was slow. Too slow in my opinion, but since I guess it wasn’t the whole point of the story, I’ll let that go.

Don’t get me wrong, there were small sections that I really enjoyed.  Valentina and Jameson were two of my fave characters, but Midnight and Winter irritated me to no end. But most of the characters didn’t really hold much interest to me and they might as well not have been there.  Tana’s will to stay by Aidan even though he lost control was brave of her but he got on my nerves when he started keeping a certain thing from her. The vampires were gruesome and scary in parts, and the author didn’t shy from detail. The usual attributes for them were used, and the twist of them being on a TV show was interesting.

The one thing that I noticed, and what others have said in reviews, is that just as something good was happening, the scene would liven up and then… the next chapter would be a flashback. And I thought a lot of the flashbacks were not needed. I don’t need to know about a person’s past if they’re not going to be in it much or it’s going to be relevant. The look into Tana’s sister, Pearl, and what was going on at home was nice to see, but little bits just took me out of the story. As for the writing in general, there was absolutely nothing to fault. Easily read, although some of the modern culture references like  social sites, etc, were maybe not needed, but otherwise it wasn’t a heavy read.

For me, the best part was at the last few chapters when everything heated up, and that’s what made me give this 3 stars. I was really looking forward to this book and I have enjoyed Holly’s other works, so I thought this would be something great. Unfortunately nothing truly hooked me and I finished it feeling deflated. I wasn’t sure if this was a stand alone, and I’d hoped if it wasn’t, then that was the reason for lack of action, but apparently it is, which made me wary.

If you enjoyed Curse Workers, you might well enjoy this. I know there have been mixed feelings from other people, so like with most books, it will or won’t hit the right spots.

Kat

4 stars to Rebel Heart (Dustlands #2) by Moira Young

Published September 10, 2013 by katheryn13

Saba has rescued her kidnapped brother and defeated the fanatical Tonton. But the price to be paid for her violent victory is terrible. Jack has disappeared – and can no longer be trusted. A new and formidable enemy is on the rise in the dustlands. No one is safe. And Saba must confront the terrible secret hidden in the darkest depths of her soul.

 

 

 

Review:

After having adored Blood Red Road so much, despite the odd writing style and there-lack-of quotation marks, I had no idea when the sequel would be out, and therefore was SO happy when I saw it in store.

I didn’t check reviews on goodreads until after I’d started. (which, I will admit, is not always a good idea in the first place) Until that point, I’d expected  Jack to be in this steadily throughout. That is not so, and this is one reason why I can’t give this 5 stars, If anything, I’d give it 3 and a half, but I’ll get to that.

The book starts with a small section from Jack’s POV, although in third person and written decidedly better. As in, it was far easier to understand. But then it changes to Saba’s POV for the rest of the book. Which is great, because she’s someone who I really liked in the first book, and continued to in this.

But her brother. Lugh, is now saved from the Tonton and the Pinches (who are now dead.) but no one knows what happened to him whilst captive. He won’t talk about it, and from what I can tell, he is one moody son-of-a-bitch throughout this whole book. He’s obnoxious, rude, negative (my god is he!) and just plain bossy towards his sister, Saba. Emmi, on the other hand, is strong, wise, and cheery. Which is good, although as she says, she is only 10.

What I didn’t understand is why Lugh was treating Saba like he owned her. It bugged me to no end, when she had her own ideas, her own plans, and he would just come right and say she was being stupid, or it wasn’t going to work, or that she was crazy. Two or three times he called her a liar, and that did not sit right with me. She wanted to get to Jack. She loves him, he loves her, or so she believes, and everything will okay once they’re back together.  He promised he’d wait at the Big Water after going to find Molly to deliver the sad news about Ike. Which was fair enough, to me. But Lugh, clearly jealous of Jack having had Saba’s attention, dislikes Jack. If not loathes him, and therefore continues to spout pessimistic views about what Jack is “really” like and what he’s “really” after.

I like that Saba manages to keep a strong head and tries not to let her brothers harsh words get to her, even when certain obstacles get in her way, she carries on. She struggles on in her mission to get to where they need to go. Defying her brother’s wishes every turn they took, and ignoring him when he sulked or became angry. She got to the point (and so did I) where she didn’t care if she left him behind. He was a burden, a dark cloud constantly putting her down.

She’s suffering from terrible nightmares, even sleepwalking and seeing spirits, things that are not there. She’s plagued by Epona who wants to be set free, but Saba just thinks the dead girl wants her to die, to pay for what she did.

The gang are led to a small settlement. I can’t remember the name, but some lady who can read the sky, helps Saba. Or at least tries to. But things get crazy when they find out different things. The Tonton have regrouped, changed their ways and are moving the old, the helpless, out of their homes and moving healthy, young people in them. All this because of The Pathfinder. Who this Pathfinder is, well, there are wonderings scattered around, but most thing it’s DeMalo. Or at least Saba does.

I won’t say anymore, because I’m pretty sure I’ve said a lot as it is. But I will say I wasn’t quite as “into it” this time as previously. I found Lugh (and Tommo, for that matter) to be extremely annoying, which took away some of the “fun” factor, and the lack of Jack severely toned down the romance, in my opinion. Although…there is SOME romance. There seems to be somewhat of a love squared? Although in Saba’s opinion it’s more a Love Whatever. Because her feelings are so messed up, when things are not what they seem, she doesn’t know what or who to believe.

I’m curious to know if there’s a third book, and if so, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to base heavily on Lugh. Judging by the very last page. (no spoilers. Promise) But anyway, I did somewhat enjoy this, even if because of the highs and lows and the adventure they all went through. They meet up with several other people, including the infamous Molly, and some friends of hers. Maev comes back, which was good since  I really liked her,  and others along the way. There’s also a new animal addition by the name of Tracker.

I would recommend this if you enjoyed the first book. Definitely if you loved it. I’m not sure if I’d known Jack wasn’t a major part in this, whether I’d have been so eager to read it, but never the less, he does actually become a piece in the game, so it was sort of worth it for me. I’m glad I did read it. *apologises for the rambling*

Kat

5 stars to United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter

Published September 9, 2013 by katheryn13

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

Review:

I am freaking out right now.

I just finished this beauty in 8 hours.

The quickest read in…well…forever.

I LOVED IT! And if I had my way, I’d rate it 5MILLION   stars! :D

Okay, so I have loved this series about a special spy school for girls for nearly three years now? And I cannot believe it is now…over.

There’s just something heartbreakingly sad when you turn the last page of the last ever book and know that that’s it…there’s no going back (well, unless you re-read. But we all know that’s not the same thing.) and there’s just no more. I didn’t want this to be it. I still don’t. I guess I’m in denial.

Cammie. Bex. Liz. Zach. Macey. And many, many others. All of whom I’d love to name but it would take time and…well…you know. They have all had huge adventures one way or another, and some have been hurt, some have found love, some have had tragedies in the family which can never be restored. And I have felt their pain, felt their love, felt their camaraderie, like they were my own friends, my own sisters as it were. Except Zach. Bro, you’ll always me mine. (Cam just doesn’t know it yet. :P)

I cannot get over how well paced, how…ohmygodthisissuckingmeinsomuch, it was. If you squint and tilt your head to the side you might be able to read that. lol

Every page, every chapter brought something new and exciting, thrilling, scary, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and I just didn’t want it to end. *sniffs*

An interesting turn of events was when political events (albeit made up) were involved. Powerful figures under attack, and people in The Circle still on the hunt for Cammie and Co. No one was safe in this last story of the series.

Catherine, Zach’s mother, was just as crazy as ever. But it was rather sad to see/hear why she had gotten to that state. In the end, I felt sorry for her.

School time was coming to an end and that meant growing up, future plans. I was rather hoping for more romance between Zach and Cammie, but I guess because so much WAS going on, it might have been a bit out of place for them to be all “hey let’s have a quickie?” Although since they were all 18, that wouldn’t have been such a crime. Would it? *winks*

Characters who had appeared in previous books pop up to say hi, which was nice, even if it did take me some time to remember them. Some people, who thought to be good guys, even turned out to be bad. Which isn’t such a shock in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re reading it, it does take it out of you. You’re like WHAT? NO WAY! And then the pity goes out the window.

I honestly don’t know what else to say other than this has to be one of my favourites in the series, and one of my favourites of the year! I have never read a book so fast, and that is a testament to how well written, how gripping this was. I love Ally’s writing and I can’t wait to see what she has next on the agenda.

I won’t spoil anything about what happens, because trust me, it would take away from the shock factor and/or the drama, so just trust me….it’s a whopper of an ending to the series and sweet, too.

Gallagher Girl signing out for the last time. xx

Kat

3 stars to Death and Detention by M.T. Harrte

Published September 8, 2013 by katheryn13

In a sleepy Mississippi town, a slew of mysterious murders are setting the town on edge, and everyone is worried they will be claimed as the next victim. Seventeen year old Jessica St. Claire, a normal girl living in an abnormal place, dreams of finally being accepted by her world renowned family of necromancers and will do just about anything to prove she is worthy of the name St. Claire.

The bodies keep multiplying so the police finally turn to Jessica’s detective brother to aid in the investigation. When a Do Not Reanimate clause prevents him from using the family gift, Jessica seizes the opportunity to prove she can crack the case without it.

Teaming up with her best friends, she embarks on a mission ranging from questioning a withered Civil War Veteran to breaking and entering. Her own life ends up in jeopardy when she stumbles too close to uncovering the truth. Catching a glimpse into Death’s mirror and seeing her own reflection, Jessica must now call on more than her wits to stay alive.

The murder mystery notwithstanding, Jessica must pass all of her classes and avoid another Saturday detention if she is to graduate.

Review:

Feeling like an outcast in her own home for not having inherited the family power of Necromancy, Jess jumps at the chance to help her detective brother solve the case of the serial killer who seems to be targeting girls of a similar description as herself. With the help of her shape-shifting and witch best friends, Onyx and Pru, the three girls desperately try to juggle a murder investigation, high school and their own family problems.

Death and Detention was a quick read, very well paced and due to the comical personalities of Onyx and Pru it gives the reader some relief from the heavy drama surrounding the girls. Despite the paranormal activity of the town, the characters actions managed to stay realistic and grounded (well, except Pru’s little sister, Gracie, who has the tendency to climb the walls…literally) 

Some parts seemed to go off track, however, and a feeling of inconsistency made it hard to concentrate. It would go from serious to girly and happy in a matter of pages, with no real reason. There was a small amount of romance involved, but it wasn’t exactly the main point of the story,

Despite all this, because of the language used in this, I can’t really give it a higher rating. I found the phrases and wordings the author used were jarring and  it often took me out of the book, therefore made it incredibly difficult for me to get through.

For example, “I felt like poop, warmed over poop, which I assumed wasn’t a very good feeling at all” and I felt the text speak “mayb u wrk eith me 4 a while?” in the first chapter set the tone for me.

All in all it wasn’t the worst book I’d ever read, and it certainly has an audience, although I’d suspect a younger audience than what you’d initially think. It’ll be interesting to see what the author comes up with for a sequel. This was a good attempt, and given it was self-published, even more so. I admire anyone who can get their work out on their own, and this is no exception.

I’d like to thank the author for sending us a copy to review.

Sophie