Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Awakening by Catrina Burgess - 3.5 stars

Book 1 of The Dark Rituals
Awakening by Catrina Burgess
3.5 stars

We have Colina, a former healer. When her family is brutally murdered before her eyes, she knows she needs to get her revenge. She decides that becoming a Death Dealer is the only way to get back at the monsters who stole her family from her. It so happens that the men who killed her family also want to kill her so she needs defenses fast.

In this world, people know about different magic groups, or Guilds. Death Dealers have an understandably bad reputation. The connect to the spirit world and force the spirits to become their slaves. It's pretty disturbing but the main character, Luke, is able to justify why they're not so bad. I can see it from both sides of the spectrum.

I understand the need for revenge and I liked the concept of a good person gone bad. There were a couple of twists and I liked the darkness required of becoming a Death Dealer. Colina is instantly attracted to Luke and she was a little obsessed with him. I found this part annoying. She'd just met the guy! If the guy is hot, of course she has to fall in love. ::Eye roll:: There were a lot of cliches throughout the whole thing.

Warning: character death in the end. It was a definite surprise. Still, I didn't really care about it. I had no emotional connection.

The world building was lacking. When I'm reading an alternate universe book, I want to know what's going on. How does society work? What is the culture? What are the powers involved? Is magic considered good or bad? World building is important for me. I need to be able to be immersed in that world. There is a fine line when you're building such a universe. Info-dumps are terrible. But if you do it just right, it's a smooth transition.

This book was okay. Apparently that's not a popular opinion. It was well written but I just didn't enjoy the story line. It's unique but mostly I was bored. It was a quick and easy read for me but I found it slow and there was a little too much insta-love. I'm not planning on reading Possession.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Raining Embers by Jessica Dall - 4 stars

Book 1 in the Order and Chaos series

Raining Embers by Jessica Dall
4 stars

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I went into it with an open mind and I found it really enjoyable. I like the premise of Order and Chaos living through human hosts.

We have two main characters, Briar and Palmer. Both have grown up with some form of a physical disability. Palmer has a hearing problem; he can only hear one thing at a time. Briar is plagued with the smell of rot in her nose, especially during summer. After they are kidnapped, we find out there are reasons behind these disabilities; they are the manifestations of Chaos and Kosmos. Each has their own special abilities and they have been kidnapped so they can learn to use those powers.

The beginning was very slow. I wasn't really sure where the book was going. Briar is the spoiled rich girl living in the palace who likes to get drunk, apparently to help with the rot smell. Palmer is a poor little orphan who just wants to graduate from the Church and leave. There wasn't much world building. We aren't given much of a history. We don't know why the upper class has two last names. We don't really know anything about how the government and the Church functions. Basically, you just have to focus on the characters and not the world they live in.

Once Briar and Palmer are kidnapped, their disabilities disappear and suddenly they're living in a mansion learning to control their power. Then a secret is discovered and Briar and Palmer are on the run with a little girl, Rosette, who has her own special ability.

Palmer was hard to connect with. Briar seemed more fleshed out and had a wider range of emotion. I don't know if this is because of who they are as Order and Chaos but I found myself enjoying the parts from Briar's point of view more than Palmer's. There was some romance between them in the end but it wasn't a major component of the plot.

Overall this book was really good and I would recommend it for people who like fantasy. I'm not sure if this falls under YA or New Adult. Either way, I liked the plot and I am looking forward to the next one.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop - 5 stars

Book 2 in the Others series

Previous Others Series Reviews

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
5 stars

I read this book months ago and I've reread it many time since. After perusing Anne Bishops' website, I've discovered more about the Others' world regarding the layout. We start out with a preface again, introducing us to the world of the Others. This is for readers who may not have read the first book or to give us a little reminder of how everything is set up. Since it's book 2, you can skip it.

This book picks up right after Meg gets home from the hospital in book 1. Simon and Meg have become closer and now share bed every night. This relationship gets complicated after Simon being woken up and shifting back to his human form during the night. The tension that develops between the two affects the whole Courtyard. This is unsurprising as Meg is a key part of the Courtyard.

We see new sides of Simon and his confusion towards his feelings for Meg. He's a wolf that's suddenly having feelings for a human. It's obvious that he loves Meg just as she loves him but their relationship is complicated. You really feel for Simon and Meg. They don't understand what's going on.

There are new characters introduced and the tension between the humans and the Others continues to grow. The Humans First and Last movement that was casually mentioned in Written in Red is now more prominent. There are more and more issues with the drugs known as Feel Good and Gone Over Wolf. These drugs are contributing to the hatred growing between the two races.

I like that we see more character growth in all the primary and secondary characters. I did really miss having Sam in this book. He's so cute and you can't help but love him. I also really like Nathan. He's the watch wolf and we rarely see him in human form but he has a personality anyway. There are many humorous parts which compliment the dark and tense parts as well.

The Others series is one of my favorites in this genre, right up there with Kate Daniels. The world building is excellent and the characters are well developed. This was easily 5 stars. My only complaint is there isn't much fan art out there for me to fawn over.

Next up: Vision in Silver. What's going to happen next?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Must Remember by Colleen S. Myers - 4 stars

Book 1 in the Solum Series
Must Remember by Colleen S. Myers
4 stars

I got this book through NetGalley and after reading it, I will definitely be buying it.

This book falls under the New Adult genre. I was pleasantly surprised as I was reading this. It's a bit of Sci-Fi and a bit of Fantasy mixed together. There's humor that you wouldn't expect either. I was laughing out loud which is extremely difficult. There is sarcasm, romance, magic, action, aliens, and more.

Elizabeth/Beta is our heroine and the narrator in this book. I love the nickname Myers chose for Elizabeth. I've seen Beta used as a nickname. I found it clever. Beta is a college girl and her entire world ends one day when everyone around her stars going crazy. That was how the book opened. That whole first chapter had me going "What the hell am I reading?!" Then she wakes up on another planet with two suns in a uniform she doesn't recognize with no memories of how she got there.

Some books that have amnesia dive me crazy because they tend to drag it out. Beta gets flashbacks and dreams that slowly clue us in without ruining the plot. In fact, I found that Myers paced the plot and action quite well. She didn't info dump us on too much and allowed the characters to describe the world.

One thing I did have a problem with was the love triangle. I'm just not a fan of them. We do know who she prefers pretty early on but she kept going back and forth which is annoying. Thankfully she chose by the end of the book so it wasn't too drawn out. Of course, the rejected guy won't be giving up that easily. I'm on team Marin.

The character development for Beta was great. Things weren't dragged out and when she started getting bored, she decided she wanted to do something about it. But she was very real. The memories that began to return scared her and at points she was very human in not wanting to remember the pain.

I enjoy fantasy more than sci-fi and the fact that this was both made it great and unique. I love the elemental magic that was included and I love the jatua. They are tattoo-like markings that appear on a person's skin. They are basically the person's story. I just found it cool.

I'm excited for the next book, Can't Forget. Must Remember didn't end on a cliff-hanger exactly, but it's enough to make you want more. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magic, aliens, or romance.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin - 1 star

Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin
1 star

I don't like giving 1 star but the more I write this review, the more I don't like this book. This is not a YA book like I thought it would be when I read the summary but a NA. The New Adult genre is a difficult one. You have a character that's between a teenager and an adult and the author has to find the right balance. I don't believe that balance was found in this book. I had a hard time not rolling my eyes while reading this.

Forbidden love? Check! Love triangle (quadrangle)? Check! Annoying (slutty) best friend? Check! Soul maters? Check! I'm sure there are more cliches I can add in there. I don't have a problem with a lot of cliches but throw them all together and it's just painful. Things were so predictable when it came to the relationships in this book. Almost everything was predictable.

PJ is our protagonist. She's a Seer and her best friend, Bryn, is a Guardian. PJ isn't allowed to be with anyone but a Gate Keeper or a Seer descendant. No lowly Guardian for PJ. But who is PJ in love with? You guessed it, Bryn, the lowly Guardian. But we can't forget about the slutty best friend, Jenna. She's a Speaker, she can speak/read any language. She's also second-class to the beloved Gate Keepers and Seers. Don't get me wrong, I like that there are levels of power and the fact that the Gate Keepers and Seers are snooty. That makes for a interesting complication. This wasn't. We were never given a reason why Speakers and Guardians are so lowly. Hell, we aren't even told why these special humans exist! On top of that you have dragons. Yes, dragons. Oh, and "aliens" who come through the gates take over people's bodies. What's a Gate? I don't know.

Every character is flat. There isn't any depth to them. The entire plot focuses on PJ and the three love interests. Romance is basically the only plot point. There isn't any real character development. There's no real movement throughout the story. There's very little action. Everything focuses on PJ and how she loves Bryn but he's forbidden. I wanted more than that. I wanted some reason to be emotionally invested in these characters or this world but there wasn't anything for me to care about.

The plot Dyllin was trying to write just didn't come through. It needs to focus less on PJ and her love struggles and more on the end of the world plot point that was introduced at the end. Overall this book just wasn't for me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rereading and more

I'm having a hard time reading new books lately. I've actually been rereading a lot. I'm in this weird mood and I find rereading is useful when in these little ruts. I have specific go-to books for time like these. Harry Potter, Kate Daniels, The Others, and a few others are the ones I tend to gravitate towards. Audiobooks also work wonders.

Of course, rereading doesn't give one much time to review new books. It can be a bit frustrating. It's like I have writer's block for reviewing. Very odd. Since I'm not reviewing anything at the moment, I thought I'd share some pretty cool fan art that I've come across during my frequent visits to Deviantart. It is a wonderful place. I'd definitely recommend anyone to check out the artwork people post.

Peter and his Shadow by FlyingMilkPig
Peter Pan

Magic Mornings by Qinni
Harry Potter 

Heir of Fire by annalise
Throne of Glass
The Promise of the World by StickyLeaf
Howl's Moving Castle

through the looking glass by LanWU
Alice in Wonderland

The Book Thief by Laura M
The Book Thief
Hanging t
Dear Tom by Soylent Green
Harry Potter

Distorted Beauty by Blanca Morelos
The Lunar Chronicles

Monday, March 16, 2015

Written in Red by Anne Bishop - 5 stars

Book 1 in the Others series

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
5 stars

I recently discovered this book thanks to @has_bookpushers on Twitter. I inhaled this book and then moved on to the next book within days. I stayed up way to late but it was so addicting I couldn't stop reading.

This world is another unique one. There are vampires and shapeshifters but there are also other creatures that don't have names. They are known as the terra indegine or Others. The Others despise human and consider them "clever meat." They lease the land humans occupy by on the continent of Thaisa. I think Thaisa is North America in Bishop's world. There are some clues even though every country and city have different names than the real world. Bishop includes a description of the world for her readers which lays out the setting without turning into an expository essay.

We have multiple points of view and all of them are in Third Person Limited. Our main protagonist is Meg Corban. She's a difficult kind of human. She's what the Other's consider "not prey." She doesn't have the prey smell and she has a child-like innocence. She's a sweet blood. This is because she is a Blood Prophet or cassandra sangue. Meg escaped from a compound full of other Blood Prophets and winds up in the Courtyard in Lakeside. Blood Prophets have the need to cut and once the skin is cut, they see prophecies. If they speak, they feel an orgasmic-like euphoria but if they don't, all they feel is an excruciating pain.

This book...I can't believe I didn't know about it sooner. The I love the setting, the plot, the characters, everything. Even though it's set in an alternate universe, it's not hard to follow. That makes things much easier to understand. Bishop manages to explain things without the reader feeling overwhelmed with details. I love when an author can do that.

Meg's view of the world is so different and I love it. She thinks differently and that has an impact on everyone in the Courtyard. Simon, the leader of the Courtyard is a Wolf and Bishop managed to capture the essence of the Wolf and the other terra indegine shapshifters. They don't think like humans and Bishop is able to show this. I loved it. I loved the relationship/friendship that forms between the two. There is actions and fights and there Bishop doesn't hold back on the descriptions of kills.

I love this book. There isn't a heavy romance element and I find that refreshing. You can see the budding relationship between Meg and Simon but it's slow to start so we'll see what's in store for them. The world so interesting and addictive. I just want to know more. Anyone who is a fan of fantasy and alternate universes would love this book. It's like Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews or Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter sereis. The world is different yet still familiar. Ah, so amazing. Definitely a must read.