Monday, December 17, 2012

Parallel Visions

Parallel Visions
by Cheryl Rainfield

All her life, Kate has had asthma that's so bad it could kill her at any moment.

All her life, Kate has had visions about the people around her.

All her life, Kate has only had those visions when she's in the middle of an asthma attack.

All her life, no one has believed her.

Until now.

Now there's Gil and he believes her.

But will that matter as her attacks become more frequent, more painful, and more deadly?

Will that matter as she watches her sister be beaten and murdered in those visions?

Final thoughts: The premise is cool, but the writing is sloppy and choppy.  The characters around Kate, especially her parents, keep changing.  They are completely inconsistent.  The dialogue is poorly written and unbelievable.  Kate's relationship with Gil doesn't seem organic, but rather forced to forward the plot.  I really wish this was better because the idea is fascinating.  It's too bad the execution is so poor.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, December 14, 2012

Model Spy

Model Spy
by Shannon Greenland

Kelly James may have an IQ of 191, but she can still make stupid decisions.  Socially awkward (and what 16 year-old about to graduate from college wouldn't be?) and really lonely, when Kelly is asked by a super-cute boy to help him find out the truth about his dad, she jumps at the chance.

And wouldn't you know it!  The one time she breaks a law (and a pretty big one - hacking the government's main database is really, really bad), she gets caught.

But before she ends up in jail, she's recruited by The Specialists.  Now on Team Two, Kelly has joined an elite group of teens with special talents like linguistics, martial arts, theft, and more.

Nicknamed Gigi (for "genius girl"), Kelly knows she has a LOT to learn about being a secret agent.  And with her first mission coming up, she doesn't have time to lose.

Can she save her fave guy's dad and the day all at the same time?

Final thoughts: Complete and total cotton candy.  It's the first in a series of quick-print books that's more formulaic and less quality.  Too many questions pop up from time to time.  If you can relax and go with the flow, it's a quick read.  If you can't, it will set your teeth on edge.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, December 3, 2012

Also Known As

Also Known As
by Robin Benway

Margaret/Maggie/Marg/Meg/Peggy/Margo/Madge has been in the spy business since birth.  Her parents are spies for the Collective and Maggie's been a part of it since her first original birth certificate (and many subsequently forged ones) were written.

With a dozen passports for a dozen different identities, Maggie has spent her entire life helping her parents complete missions.  As a lock picking prodigy, she's finally become so highly respected that she's even given her own assignment.

High school.

In fact, her task is to befriend a fairly good looking boy whose father is about to run a story that will not only out the Collective, but will name names and print pictures of Maggie and her entire family.  If she can't stop the story, her life will be in danger and her job will be gone.

Unfortunately, not even 16 years of life spent entirely as a spy can prepare Maggie for the high school social structure, the boredom of class, and the trials of making friends.

Final thoughts: Total cotton candy book.  It's completely unrealistic and silly in the extreme, though her teen angst and problems fitting in are believable.  The only real struggle was the ending.  I kept expecting a twist of some sort.  The ending was rushed and happened abruptly.  There was no real explanation about why the person had chosen to reveal the Collective's secret or the reason for Maggie's danger.  I needed more closure on that, but it was decent up to that point.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Greta and the Goblin King

Greta and the Goblin King
by Chloe Jacobs

Four years ago, Greta saved her brother from a witch's fire, but ended up getting thrown through the fire portal herself.

Now she's a human in a land that hates humans.  She must disguise what she is every minute of every day, while also making a living.  She's made a name for herself as one of the best bounty hunters in the land, but things are about to change.

The new king of the goblins knows what she is and he wants her for himself. 

There's a dreaded demon who also wants her.

And all of the natives are about to go completely to the dark side, if only for a few days.

Can Greta finally find a way home?  Or will she need all of her skills just to survive the coming bloodbath?

Final thoughts: A basic story with a few nice moments.  There were quite a few telling moments instead of showing, which was good in the beginning since the entire land was completely new, but later became annoying.  I didn't feel the chemistry with any of the characters and I think that's because I really wasn't wowed by Greta.  The land of Mylena was a little bare in its descriptions with no explanation about things like why they all speak English and how, if the land is so dang large, she takes a week to go one direction, but only a few hours to return later.  And, finally, the cover is annoying; it feels like a throwback to 80's fantasy titles rather than something reflecting current tastes and cover styles.  On the plus side, while this is the start of a series, the fact is that this book can stand alone.  There are no cliffhangers or dangling stories.

Rating: 3/5

Waking Up Married

Waking Up Married
by Mira Lyn Kelly

Megan had a plan and love was not part of it.

Connor wanted a wife without love complicating things.

Together, they make the perfect couple.

If only they hadn't figured this out on a drunken night in Vegas.  If only they hadn't gotten married that night.  If only Megan didn't remember a thing about it.  If only Connor wasn't refusing to grant her a divorce.

So now Megan needs to convince Connor to let her get back to her plan and Connor needs to convince Megan that she can have her plan and have a husband, too.

Final thoughts: Cotton candy book from Harlequin.  It's a new book in their new romance series that's formulaic and sometimes dull.  He's uber-handsome, yet business minded; love isn't in the picture even though it's right there in front of him.  She's super-pretty, yet lacks self-esteem and thinks that men will never be able to live up to her dreams even though Connor is everything she's ever wanted.  They have the same conversations over and over again, which is a problem, but there's still a certain chemistry.  This is a book to read when you don't want to have to use your brain much and just need a little escapism to make your day.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Shimmer of Angels

A Shimmer of Angels
by Lisa M. Basso

Since around the time of the death of her mother, Rayna has been able to see angels.  When she discovered that others were thinking she was nuts for seeing them, she tried to hide her ability, but it never quite worked out.

Now she's out of the mental health clinic again after multiple stints over the last three years and she thinks she finally has this beat.  Maybe now, with her meds and multiple therapy sessions, she'll finally stop seeing them.

But fate doesn't give Ray a break.

Not only is she seeing an angel in all his glory, with shining wings and stunning looks, now he's going to her school and he's figured out that she knows what he is.  As an added bonus, there's a second angel with black wings who seems to be stalking her at her new job.

Add in the apparent suicides and the threat of a Fallen angel and Rayna may be only seconds away from getting committed to the clinic forever.

Final thoughts:  Super fast read, but not well done.  My biggest problem is Rayna being committed at all, let alone repeatedly.  Committing someone against her will is usually only done when someone is a danger to herself or others, right?  Rayna admits that until now she's only seen about one angel a month and nothing has happened before this, so 3 years of being locked up?  And how can her dad have her committed with just a journal when she's keeping safe and maintaining a job (although she's extremely clumsy)?  It's completely unbelievable, so it makes the rest of the story kind of stupid.  There's also nothing to explain why the angels suddenly appeared to her and I'm wondering why no one is questioning her parentage.  People are talking about a love triangle, but I have the strange feeling that could get kind of gross in future books.  Does no one else suspect Kade, especially after he Fell from heaven for Ray's mother?  It's poorly written, Ray's extremely panicky and whiny, and her family is barely written, let alone caring.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
by Darynda Jones

For the past two months, Charley Davidson has had a deep and loving relationship with her living room.  She and her couch truly understand each other.  Her TV is her best friend.  And the people at the home shopping channels probably know her credit card numbers by heart.

For the past two months, Charley Davidson has done everything possible to avoid going out, to avoid being around people, and to avoid the chair in her living room with the stain below it.

For the past two months, Charley Davidson has been afraid.  Ever since she was attacked and tortured in her own apartment and her father had her arrested when she was in the hospital, Charley has shut everyone out.

But now a case has come to her.  Charley has bills to pay (and annoying friends and family who don't mind setting up annoying interventions), so she takes the case.

She also goes in search of the love of her existence because he's been avoiding her (for good reason).  And she avoids her father even when he's desperately trying to talk to her (also for good reason).

It's a busy few days for Charley.

And the demons who are trying to kill her definitely don't help.

Final thoughts:  I LOVE Charley!  She's sassy and always has the perfect comeback that's (usually) just short of rude.  Her attitude is only slightly diminished by the circumstances of the previous novel and her reactions are completely believable.  Sadly, this book seemed a little short, choppy, and "light" on the action.  I never miss reading a Grim Reaper novel, but I do hope the next book returns to form.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Painted Blind

Painted Blind
by Michelle A. Hansen

Psyche has always been beautiful and has always hated that beauty.  It has caused her nothing but trouble.  After going away for the summer to model, she returns to find her image plastered on billboards and in magazines.

High school just became a whole lot more difficult.

With the paparazzi and fans following her everywhere, Psyche often finds herself surrounded by crowds of people.  When she's rescued one day by someone who can become invisible at will, she finds that she's fallen completely in love, even without seeing him.

Now she must prove her love to him by never looking at him.  If she can't follow that simple rule, she may lose everything.

Final thoughts:  This was a compelling read and retelling of the Eros/Psyche myth.  It was a fast read and drew me in.  However, upon finishing it, I found myself questioning a large number of things that happened.  Psyche's "friend" is a horrible person who seems to only hang out with Psyche because she wants to catch the boys around her.  She's fickle, selfish, and tricky, yet Psyche thinks only good things about her during most of the book.  The author doesn't explain enough about things like how Psyche got her name (her mother is a ditz and her father's in construction, so why "Psyche"?), why she hates crowds, or why she is so scared of heights.  It's also strange that the moment she has one ad campaign out, she's being followed everywhere to the point where she has to go into hiding.  There are also a couple of Twilight moments with her waiting in the forest after being rejected and having to be rescued, then falling into a deep depression.  Having read the myth after reading the book, a few more things make sense now, but it needs a little work.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Death and the Girl Next Door

Death and the Girl Next Door
by Darynda Jones

It's the ten-year anniversary of the disappearance of Lorelai's parents and she's definitely not taking it well.  Her friends, Glitch and Brooklyn, are there to help her out with comfort and corny behavior.

However, things get complicated with the school recluse, Cameron, starts following Lor everywhere.

And it gets even weirder when Jared, the hottest guy ever to walk the earth, shows up and seems to have a strange connection to Lor, especially after he saves her life.

But Cameron and Jared have a history and connection of their own, and it definitely is not friendly.  Repeated drawn out battles leave both bruised and battered, though they seem to have a strange ability to heal very quickly.

Now all the odd things that have happened to Lorelei over the years may soon be explained; but does she really want them to be?

Final thoughts:  I'm a fan of Darynda Jones and her work with the Charley Davidson novels and her first foray into young adult novels doesn't disappoint.  I really like the bond between Lorelai and her friends.  They have great chemistry and a sense of humor that matches my own.  My only real issue is that this story is very similar to her other series.  It's actually VERY close with the lead female being magical on her own without knowing how or why and a supernatural (and extremely hunky) guy being completely captivated by her.  I think I'd like this much more if I wasn't already a big fan of the other series.  If I didn't know this story already, it would be a winner.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Love Unscripted

Love Unscripted
by Tina Reber


Ryan Christensen, newest celebrity sensation and star of the hottest movie trilogy franchise in recent history, is in a tiny town in Rhode Island to film the second movie.  He never wanted stardom; he just wanted to act.

Taryn Mitchell is a pub owner in that tiny town who is probably the only woman in America who hasn't seen the first movie and has never read the books on which they are based.  She can't figure out what all the fuss is about, but doesn't mind the extra money that comes in from all the fans in the area.

When Ryan almost literally crashes into Taryn's life, the two find each other and discover they have more than just a little chemistry.

Now all they need is the patience and honesty to trust each other, while also keeping away from the paparazzi.

Final thoughts:  It's Twilight mixed with Notting Hill with a touch of Fifty Shades of Grey added... and it's not good.  It appears to be Reber's fantasy about meeting and falling in love with Robert Pattinson while he was filming the Twilight series.  "He doesn't really love his co-star!  All the tabloids are full of lies.  If he just met me, he'd fall instantly head over heels and we'd get married and live happily ever after."  Ironically, Reber has a character just like that IN the book.  On top of that serious problem is the fact that it goes on and on and on.  Did she not have an editor?  I read the ARC from NetGalley, so maybe the hundreds of errors, fragment sentences, typos, and repetitive statements will get fixed (though I doubt it).  Much of what she writes doesn't make sense.  Analogies don't work.  And the whining... OMG, the WHINING!!!  "You've got to trust me!" "I DO trust you."  "Are you sure you trust me, because it doesn't look like it." "I trust you. Geez!" "I've told you everything." "I believe you and trust you.... Hey!  What about this?!?!"  "Oops! Forgot about that.  But you still should trust me."  ACCCKKK!!!!  And, finally, the time issue.  Reber cannot convey the passage of time.  Sometimes a day takes pages and pages and sometimes you think it's the evening of one day and you suddenly discover that it's three weeks later.  Avoid.  Please avoid.

Rating: 1/5

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Beta

Beta
by Rachel Cohn

Elysia has just emerged.  

She is the first truly successful teenaged clone.

She is a Beta.

She has been cloned from the body of a recently dead teen and created to serve the humans of the island of Demesne.  She is not meant to have feelings or want things for herself; she is meant to serve.

When her term of service is up, she will be terminated.  And, in the beginning, she's OK with that.  But as time passes, she develops more and more feelings, remembers more and more of her First's past, and wants more and more things (like mac and cheese, chocolate, and love).

She also realizes that there are few things that her owners want from her that she doesn't want to do.  But she's a clone; she is meant to serve.

However, not every human thinks that clones should be slaves and they are headed Elysia's way.

Final Thoughts: **SPOILER ALERT**
I tried and tried to feel something for Elysia, but I just couldn't.  Her evolution over the course of the book isn't believable and her relationships with others are confusing.  Things make sense in the beginning, but about 2/3 in, things get weird.  Personalities change.  Some of the things that really bother me are:
1) The only way Elysia's "love" feels anything is when he's high, so Elysia makes it her goal to get Tahir drugs as often as possible so that he'll feel something for her.  It bugs me that there's an implicit statement here about addicts and druggies. "If drugs make him love you, then drugs are ok."
2) She's raped and she murders her rapist in a strange set of events, but she gets pregnant from the rape (and pregnancy among clones is supposed to be impossible - I figured she had no eggs or uterus, but I guess that didn't occur to the greatest scientific minds?  They just assumed the clones couldn't get pregnant?).  And then, the same man who saves her life and is fighting to give equal rights to clones insists that she has to carry the rape-baby that she doesn't want.  She shouldn't have to serve others, but she must carry the baby she does not want, did not ask for, and that was conceived in violence?  There's a scary Pro-Life vibe there, especially troublesome in today's political climate.
3) Elysia comes off as kind of a slut near the end because, while she doesn't love Alex, but does love Tahir, she goes ahead and does the "mighty mighty" with Alex because he's there and Tahir isn't.
4) Even with the "surprise" ending (which wasn't much of a surprise), it's pretty easy to see where the other two books in the Annex Trilogy will go.  Having that much telegraphed is frustrating.

Rating: 2/5

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Biting Cold

Biting Cold
by Chloe Neill

Merit has her favorite vampire back from the dead, so things should be pretty great!

Unfortunately, she has to chase after her best friend who is attempting to unlock a magical book that will release evil upon the world.

And even if that turns out ok, there's the diabolical ex-mayor of Chicago who also wants that book and all that's inside.

So much for a happy reunion with her favorite undead supernatural.

Final thoughts: Much better than the last book, which was depressing and confusing.  The initial problem was resolved fairly quickly and the second problem had some good moments.  I really hope Ethan gets over his need to overprotect Merit; she's proved again and again that she can handle herself... most of the time.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sam Cruz's Infallible Guide to Getting Girls

Sam Cruz's Infallible Guide to Getting Girls 
by Tellulah Darling

Sam Cruz has been a major player for a while now. He may just be a high school senior, but he's got all the moves. He has mastered the one-night stand. No sex at his place. No cuddles after. He's the "hit 'em and quit 'em" type all the way. 

If only the girls weren't always looking for something more...

When Sam's best friend, Ally, gets dumped, she begs Sam for help. She wants to be a player, too. Just a few one-night stands with no emotional attachments would really help boost her self-esteem and get over her ex.  So Sam becomes Dr. F@*kenstein and teaches Ally all his best techniques. 

And it works! Now Ally has guys falling at their feet for her... including Sam. 

It so was not meant to be like that. 

Final thoughts: It's cotton candy and it has its moments, but it's not great. The idea of promoting casual sex among high schoolers is a little disturbing and Sam's conversion from player to jealous guy is messy. It's a roller coaster for both him and Ally told in alternating viewpoints. I actually liked Sam's point of view more, but I still with there had been a little more development of his emotions. 

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rockoholic

Rockoholic
by C. J. Skuse

Jody is completely and totally in love!  He's the most amazing guy ever!!  He's the only one who truly understands her!!!

He's rock GOD Jackson Gatlin, lead singer of The Regulators, and Jody knows that if she can just get to the front of the crowd at his next concert, he'll see her and fall head over heels in love with her.

Of course, nothing ever turns out the way Jody hopes.

Sure! She gets the rock god back home; he's now living in her garage.  But it wasn't true love that brought him there; it was her accidentally kidnapping him that did it.

Things are looking pretty bad.

They look even worse when Jackson refuses to leave...

Final thoughts:  Cute concept poorly executed.  Jody is a complete idiot.  From start to finish, she can't seem to make a single decent decision.  The big question is really why anyone would put up with her.  The circumstances of the "kidnapping" all the way through to the end had no believability.  Thank goodness for Mac and Cree!

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Existence and Predestined (dual book review)

Existence
by Abbi Glines

It's not surprising when Pagan sees souls walking around.  She's been able to see them every day since she was very young.  They tend to just walk on by and ignore her as long as she doesn't let them know she can see them.  But even if they realize the truth, the souls can't talk to her and they tend to disappear when she touches them.

However, one day one of them not only spots her quickly, but also talks to her.  He actually begins to follow her around and make comments about the cute guy who seems to like her.

And he also begs her to NOT go in the car and drive off when she becomes extremely upset one day.

He then becomes the first person she sees when she wakes up in the hospital after her nearly fatal car accident.

And from that point on, he's everywhere and suddenly everyone else can see him.

He isn't the only one out there who's interested in Pagan, but he may be the only one who can protect her from what's out there.

Final thoughts:  This one is ok.  There are the Twilight elements again that seem to pop into every YA supernatural book nowadays (stay away from me; I'm no good for you; you'd be better off without me; if you knew who/what I was, you'd run screaming), but it's got its own legs.  I like Pagan, and Dank (despite the truly crappy name) is a good dark and brooding.  My only real problem was the sharp left the book took about 2/3 of the way in, sending Pagan off to a completely different setting for no real reason except to introduce a character who was needed later.  The whole section of the book is just completely unrealistic and out of place.  Even the dialogue between Pagan and the docs seems stupid and contrived.  That stupid set of scenes aside, it was still a decent read.

Rating: 3/5


Predestined (Existence #2)
by Abbi Glines

Through some miracle, Pagan got the supernatural person she loves and he is allowed to stay with her.  They are together as often as possible and things finally seem to be going their way.

But right after they found out they could be together, Pagan's ex disappeared and Dank finally explains that her ex never had a soul to start with, so he's not dead... just gone.

Except in her dreams.

Through her dreams, Pagan finds out that her mother made a deal with the Voodoo spirits and accidentally promised Pagan's soul to the son of the leader of them all.

That son is Pagan's missing ex... and when he comes back for her, Dank is less than pleased.

Final thoughts:  This was a stronger book than the first.  It still had problems, but there were good moments of suspense.  I never felt sorry for Leif, even though Glines worked hard to try and make him sympathetic.  He was just really annoying and possessive.   Gee has won me over in this book, so I'm glad she was introduced in the first book, but still ticked at that initial storyline. Currently, I'm bugged by the fact that people keep forgetting the supernatural characters once they've been gone for a while.  Glines tries to explain it, but it comes off more as an excuse than a reason.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, August 10, 2012

Poseidon : Earth Shaker

Poseidon : Earth Shaker
George O'Connor

After defeating their father and sending him down into a crater that reaches far below the Earth's crust, Poseidon and his brothers are faced with the decision of who will rule which realm.

Hades gets the Underworld.  Zeus claims the Heavens.  And Poseidon is left with the Sea.

It seems like a good fit.  As God of the Sea, Poseidon has quite a bit of power over man without having to be bothered with him much, except when a female catches his eye.

Sadly, despite trying to have children who can continue his line, his children are all monstrous.  When they are ugly, they can be kind, but turn cruel when cruelly treated (Polyphemus the Cyclops).  And even when they are gorgeous, they can be monstrously cruel (Theseus).

Poseidon's attempts to deal with man never seem to end up right.  There is death, destruction, and horror left wherever he and his children go.

But Poseidon won't let anyone mess with him or his children and those who remember that are the ones who will survive.

Final thoughts:  This was not his best.  Like his book on Hera, things are just getting far too confused.  Granted, that's true for all Greek mythology.  There's also not enough information about Poseidon for O'Connor to work with, so he ends up talking about the children, their quests, and their dealings with other people on quests.  Odysseus gets a chunk of the book, as does Theseus.  The artwork is still absolutely amazing and the series is still good for getting people hooked on Greek mythology, so it's definitely worth the look.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars
by Allison Rushby

Josephine Foster, a.k.a. "Zo Jo", is one of the hottest new papaparazzos on the Hollywood scene.  At 16, she's tiny enough to pass for 11, which means she can get in to places that other members of the paparazzi can't.  It's her job to get pics of the celebrities and the more embarrassing the pics, the better.  If she can catch Justin Bieber peeing in a bush, she could get tens of thousands from the tabloids.

Now she's been given an undercover assignment.  Teen superstar Ned Hartnett comes out of seclusion, only to "collapse" in public then go to a rehab retreat in Boston and Jo's been sent in to get exclusive pics.  

With this, she can finally afford the tuition to a photography school and get out of the business for good.  With this, she can finally stop getting stepped on, cursed, hit, and reviled.  

Without this, she might be able to find love... with the target of her assignment: Ned Hartnett.

Final thoughts:  It's cotton candy time!  This is fluffy and mindless.  There are tons of unbelievable situations, but it's still fun.  Of course, there is the frustrating attempt by the author to get into the minds of the paparazzi and "justify" their points of view.  It's made up for a bit at the end, but it was annoying to read the "celebrities need us as much as we need them" and "if the public didn't buy the magazines, we'd quit because we'd be out of work" arguments.  Jo grows and there was a nice little twist in the middle, so it was entertaining, but will probably never be a "must-read".

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hollyweird

Hollyweird
by Terri Clark

Aly just won the ultimate grand prize from EnterTEENment Magazine: a trip to Los Angeles to visit the set of her fave show, Paranormal P.I., and meet hunky star Dakota Danvers live and in person!!!!  She gets to take her best friend since, like, forever... yeah! (but has to take her older sister as her chaperone... crud!).

They head out for the best week ever for any pair of teenaged girls during the summer before their senior year.

It's the first truly good thing to happen to her, or at least the first thing she's gotten excited about, since her mother died in a car accident two years before.

Unfortunately, things aren't that easy.  

Hollyweird's favorite actor is really the Son of Satan and his personal assistant is actually an undercover fallen angel sent by the Big Guy Himself to stop the spawn from whatever deadly plan he and his father have created.

Now Aly must come to grips with the fact that all the supes she's watched on TV are real, her celebrity crush is a douchebag, and her fave guy can't be with her because there are "rules" against that kind of thing.

Final thoughts:  I thought this would be a cotton candy book.  It was supposed to be fluffy, light, and filled with sugary sweetness.  Sadly, it really just ticked me off.  Missy served no real purpose except to cause problems.  Des was there to be the human encyclopedia of supes and convince Aly.  And Aly and Des were just STUPID.  You've been warned that you're about to be confronted with the 7 Deadly Sins.  You even count them off, so we know you know them.  And yet when a complimentary cart of never-ending chocolate shows up, you scarf for 45 minutes of Gluttony?!?!  Then, when you complain to the "management", you're strangely sent to the best suite in the house and waited on hand and foot, not noticing all the Sloth everywhere??  And even after you realize those were bad, you Lust after a man in the woman's shower at the beach and Greedily snatch up allegedly discarded designer clothes, shoes, and jewels (worth tens of thousands of dollars)?!?!!  These don't register as problems to you?!?!  So frustrating.  
God texts!?!?!  
Dozens of made-up words, used only once each, that the author then has to have her characters explain?!?  (Seems more like an "OOH!  Look what I can do!  I can make up stuff!")
Those, plus a rushed ending that had things never foreshadowed anywhere earlier in the book (almost a literal Deus ex Machina... how handy!), and a happy ending for all the good guys with no consequences or real danger, make this a poor choice.

Rating: 2/5

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kill Me Softly

Kill Me Softly
by Sarah Cross

Mirabelle has been raised by her godmothers who have kept her as safe as they can.

No boys. No riding with boys. No sharp objects, especially near boys. And no going to the town in which she was born, Beau Rivage (which is filled with boys).

But these aren't ordinary boys, as Mira finds out when she runs away from homes just days before her sixteenth birthday.

Beau Rivage is a magical town filled with fairies, half-fairies, humans, and curses.  Some curses, like their fairies, are good.  Some curses, like their fairies, are bad.  And not everyone there knows what's going on, especially Mira.

Now Mira needs to find out the specifics of her own discovered curse, as well as the curse of the brothers who both seem strangely attracted to her and attracted by her.  Her birthday is coming soon and there is no time to waste.

Final thoughts:  I WANT to like this.  I want to give it a good review.  It's a very clever idea and there are so many bright moments.  I like Blue and I kind of like Mira, but the story is just poorly written.  Show, don't tell.  I wish more authors would get this and get this right.  Cross has the show in Blue and Mira's relationship, but she tells us everything else.  Mira thinks Blue is rude and annoying when they first meet (which Blue wants her to feel), so she keeps everything secret from him in the beginning, implying that she doesn't trust anyone enough to talk in the beginning.  However, his brother shows up a few minutes later, and after just a moment or two of politeness, she's telling him everything and considering getting it on with him.  We are told that she loves him, but there's really no reason why.  Most of the fairy tales are cleverly woven, but everyone seems to think they have no choice in the matter.  The guy with the Beast curse knows he's going to be a beast and even knows the girl who is cursed to try and save him, but he still believes beastly.  He KNOWS and he doesn't even try to change it; could he not try being nice once in a while?  It's so frustrating that everyone in the town who is cursed knows all the details and yet do nothing to fight it except for Blue.  Even Mira caves.  

Rating: 2/5

Friday, July 20, 2012

Re-Reading

I'm currently on a re-reading kick, getting the chance to sit and re-read some works that I love (many of which are guilty pleasures).  I have a dozen or so NetGalley ARCs on my Kindle, ready for me to read and I will work on them soon, but right now I'm just enjoying the worlds I've already come to love.

New reviews coming soon... promise.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Goddess Hunt

The Goddess Hunt
by Aimee Carter

Kate Winters just became the wife of Henry, also known as Hades, King of the Underworld.  As part of the deal, she spends fall and winter with Henry, but spring and summer out in the mortal realm.

It being her first time out in the world, Kate as James (Hermes) to escort her and they head out to Greece.  But it's not all sipping drinks by the water and getting a tan.  James has taken a slight detour and Kate's relaxing summer has become something much more dangerous.

Initially going to just check up on his brothers, James leads Kate to Pollux and Caster (now Lux and Casey), fugitives in hiding from Zeus (Walter) and Kate's new hubby.  While the visit is supposed to be friendly, it becomes much more serious when the other gods discover where she is and who she is with.

Now Kate must fight Zeus's decree to do what's right, even if it means going against her new husband, as well.

Final thoughts: Reading this and The Goddess Legacy, as well as re-reading The Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted, I now have a much better vibe about this story as a whole.  What I love best is really getting to know Henry in these.  With just the two novels on their own, Henry is hard to get to know, but Hunt and Legacy really let you get into his mind and make him much more sympathetic and helping the reader to understand why Kate loves him so much, with such little time.  I like this novella.  It's a super fast read, but adds so much depth.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Blogger Hop


Book Blogger Hop

How long does it take you to read a book?

A good book = less than a day and then I immediately want to read another book
A mediocre book = slows down my whole cycle, often leading to me not reading for a week or more because I'm reluctant to read the so-so book and I don't like giving up on a book unless it's so horrible I can't stand it anymore (only two or three times ever).  I also hate reading more than one book at a time; I'm just not wired to go back and forth between worlds.
A bad book = these can go either way; I can slog through it slowly or speed through it in desperation to get through to the end.
No matter what, my Kindle has made my life with books so completely different and amazing.  NetGalley has been heaven sent and reading ARCs on my Kindle is so much fun!  If you haven't registered with them yet... do it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Goddess Legacy

The Goddess Legacy
by Aimée Carter

Thousands of years before Kate Winters fell in love with Henry/Hades and married him, becoming the new Queen of the Underworld, the gods had just defeated the titans and had to set up their new council and figure out how to run things.  The Big Six aren't exactly a solid team and there are problems from the start.

Zeus and his sexist ways (he blames his mother who let his father take the lead, so now humans will never follow a woman) decide to give the men the three kingdoms of the sky, the sea, and the Underworld, while the women will be given smaller specialties like marriage, nature, love, etc...  And Hera's not happy.  She believes that the women, especially her since she was the one who helped the most in the war against the titans, should be equal to the men and Zeus's rules are unacceptable to her.

But what she really wants is to love and be loved.  Though she is fond of Hades, he rejects her, so Zeus woos her and she finally consents to be his wife, as long as they are true equals.  Things go well for a while, but then Hera notices a disturbing trend; Zeus is stacking the council.  He's having affairs and bringing in his children, who are devoted to him, to help rule.  Hera believes that he's trying to create a dictatorship and shove her out, so she tries, and fails, to take the leadership from him.

From there, all the other stories in this book take place.  Hera affects all the others and their tales.  From Aphrodite to Persephone to Hermes to Hades, she's never far.  All of their stories intertwine and they are much different than the myths we learned in school.

Final thoughts:  I liked reading these versions of the stories, especially Hades and Hermes.  Hera started out being a little sympathetic, but mostly a pain.  I've often felt bad for Hera in the past and Carter tried to make her honorable with good intentions at the beginning, but she really just came off as self-righteous, a little naive, and kind of whiny.  Her story was interesting, but I got annoyed with how her story so infected everyone else's, setting up the "women ruin everything" plot.  It's sad that it was a female author who perpetuated that idea.  Overall though the book was well written and compelling.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, July 6, 2012

Grave Memory

Grave Memory
by Kalayna Price

Just moments after opening her first office for her private investigation firm Tongues for the Dead, Alex Craft has her next cased dropped on her.  Literally.

A man has jumped off a rooftop to his death just feet from Alex and her Tongues partner.  But what everyone from the eyewitnesses to the police say is an obvious suicide, Alex knows is murder.  

His ghost told her so.

So Alex sets off to investigate his murder, even when no one else believes her, and she comes across a disturbing trend; there has been a string of suicides around the city of Nekros and Alex begins to suspect that they are all connected.

As she gets closer to the truth, she also gets warned away.  Death, who Alex can see and hear, is telling her to run.  Her Fae lover has also become a danger to her.  And the Winter Queen is determined to make Alex a part of her Court, even if that means forcing her through raids against her friends and deception through her oath bound lover.

What's a grave witch (who is quickly losing her vision because of the powers that she must use) to do?

Final thoughts:  A nice addition to the story.  It's not a stand-alone and it ends with a semi-cliffhanger, but it has a solid plot.  I'm getting a little tired of this being in love with two guys thing.  Alex needs to make up her mind about which one is more important to her and drop the other one like a bad habit.  Personally, I say keep Death and drop Falin.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Before I Wake

Before I Wake
by Rachel Vincent

Now that Kaylee's undead, you'd think things would be easier.

She can now become spectral or corporeal at will.  She and her undead boyfriend can be together without her father even knowing.  And she definitely doesn't have to worry about dying... again.

But her soul is still at risk from a hellion who is completely obsessed with her.  Other undeads are disappearing all around her.  And previously dead (absolutely, completely dead) people are starting to appear around town.

It's enough to make any undead girl a little worried, especially when she now has to work with her frenemies without screaming at them (very unproductive) and try to get her ex and her current boyfriend to work together (a herculean task all its own).

Time is definitely running out.

Final thoughts:  This one was starting to tick me off.  Kaylee's coming to grips with being undead, and I get that that's hard.  However, Nash was annoying and whiny, as was Sabine, Sophie, and Kaylee's dad.  And Kaylee herself has gone from being a steady rock of dependent kick-assery to being completely indecisive and gullible.  I kept wondering if being undead also meant that Kaylee had lost her badass-ness.  It looks like there's one book left.  I hope Vincent can bring it all together and make me love Kaylee and company again.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Selection

The Selection
by Kiera Cass

America Singer lives in a dystopian future where the United States is gone, and a new kingdom is in its place, complete with a caste system where you stay in the level in which you're born unless something amazing happens.

Something amazing has happened to America.

Born a Five, she's selected to participate in a contest for the future king's hand.  One girl is selected from each of the 35 provinces in a Bachelor-like competition to become the future queen.

But America has already fallen in love with a Six.  She had her future planned out and this whole contest has put a serious crimp in her plans.

Sent to the palace, she's cleaned up, dressed up, and put up against 34 others.  Only one will get to become a One and marry the prince.  Only one gets to help her family get out of poverty and lift them out of their caste level.  Only one gets to be queen.

America's sure she doesn't want to be that one.  But the prince is a nice guy, the girls are almost all fairly decent people, her Six has abandoned her, and her family needs the money.

Can she do what's right and still find her happiness?

Final thoughts:  Billed as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, this is a dystopian romance that's more fluff than anything else.  The kingdom seems a little too messed up, with attacks on the palace being pretty regular and the country has very little stability, making the desire to have this reality competition for the prince's hand seem kind of stupid.  However, if you just let go of that and enjoy the fluffy cotton candy nature of it, it can be kind of fun.  Don't expect a deep, meaningful tale of warnings about the future.  It's not here.  Just relax and enjoy the ride.

Rating: 4/5

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