Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Accidental Demon Slayer

The Accidental Demon Slayer
by Angie Fox

Lizzie always had everything laid out.  She planned every moment of every day.  Nothing was out of her control.

So when her swearing, Harley-riding, hard-living grandmother shows up one day to tell her that her entire life has been a lie, it's not surprising that Lizzie has a difficult time accepting her fate.

The demon in her bathroom helps to change her mind.

The imps who attack her and her grandmother on the road reinforce her new knowledge.

And the hunky griffin who saves her life definitely opens her eyes.

She's "the Chosen One" who is destined to destroy demons and bar them from leaving Hell.

If only people would tell her how she's supposed to do all that.

Final thoughts: Messy.  Very messy.  I wanted to like this, but I kept losing track of what was going on.  And then I found myself just plowing along instead of going back to figure out what was happening, mostly because I didn't really care.  It takes only four days or so for her to completely change and become a bada$$, but it never really seems real.  It's truly unbelievable.  She's unable to make a real decision and stick to it. She's wishy-washy to the point of being a wet noodle.  None of the characters are well-written and the big bad demon is really not very big or bad at the end.

Rating: 2/5

Sunday, October 13, 2013

You Are Mine

You Are Mine
by Janeal Falor

Serena is a woman in a man's world.  Men own and run everything.  Women are property who must either give birth to warlocks or become "tarnished".  The tarnished are magically spelled to be bald, tattooed, and barren forever.  It is the job of the tarnished to serve the magical community.

At seventeen, Serena is taken to be tested to see how strong her blood is and how much potential she has to produce powerful warlocks.  Once tested, she is sold to a cruel warlock master for marriage.  Serena knows her life will never be good for her.

But when fate hands her into the arms of a barbarian warlock from another land, Serena sees that there may be other options available to her.

Maybe she doesn't have to live in fear of being beaten and hexed to the end of her days.

Final thoughts:  Original world with some fascinating ideas.  Reading about the complete subjugation of women became difficult at times, but it was nice to read Serena's gradually changing views of her own life.  The romance aspect felt a little forced at time, but I really liked Zade as a character.  The end of the book felt a little rushed and didn't quite fit in with the rest of the story.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, October 11, 2013

In the Shadow of Blackbirds

In the Shadow of Blackbirds
by Cat Winters

It's 1918 and the world has gone insane.

Mary Shelley Black's father has just been beaten and arrested for treason.  Mary Shelley escaped out the back just in time and ran to the train station, as her father had ordered, only to end up living with her aunt in San Diego.

And it's not just World War I, the War to End All Wars, that's got the country on edge; it's the Spanish Influenza.

Just about everyone thinks they know a way to ward off the terrible symptoms.  From salt in the nose, to burning sulfur, to keeping a potato in the pocket, everyone has tried everything, and nothing has stopped it.  

Everyone wears masks to try and prevent breathing in the disease.  

It's like walking through Death's playground.

When Mary Shelley arrived at her aunt's, she had hoped to meet up with a childhood friend (and recent romantic interest), only to find out that he has died in battle.

But his soul hasn't left yet.  And in a world where everyone is clinging to life so much that they believe certain people can take pictures capturing the images of the souls of loved ones, even the very practical and scientific Mary Shelley isn't able to remain a skeptic. 

Final thoughts:  I liked this one, but I fought it the whole way.  The real problem was that I kept trying to predict what was going to happen, only to find half of my predictions fly out the window throughout the book.  It was frustrating to think the book would zig when it actually zagged (more than once).  I also got a little tired reading about onions, since that seemed to be the only thing people ate (and that just started me thinking about the horrid smells and awful breath of the people back then).  In the end, when I just relaxed and stopped trying to predict everything about it, it became pretty good.

Rating: 4/5

 Even Mary Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln's wife) believed in spirit photography.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brianna on the Brink

Brianna on the Brink
by Nicole McInnes

Brianna was the girl on top, both literally and figuratively.  She's best friends with the girl at the top of the social ladder and she's the flyer on the cheer squad.

But when Brianna makes the mistake of going home and sleeping with her English teacher's husband (though she didn't know who he was at the time), she goes from the top of the crowd to school slut.

She now must face the consequences of one bad night.

Final thoughts: Yes, Brianna's had a crappy childhood and yes, her mother isn't much of one, but Brianna's choices seem a little unrealistic.  She never really thinks about things; she just reacts.  Her story probably hits notes that many teen girls might find familiar, but the story as a whole just doesn't work.  I'm also bugged by the fact that McInnes seems to think a student in regular English, who has skipped a couple of weeks of school, would suddenly be allowed to move into an AP English class in MARCH, when the test is given in May... and that she could actually PASS that test.  Um... no.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, October 4, 2013


by Kendare Blake

The gods of old are dying.  Hermes is wasting away to the point that he looks severely anorexic.  Hera is slowly turning to stone.  Poseidon is starting to look like the ocean floor.  Demeter is one giant, thin piece of desert spread out over miles.  And Athena is being slowly drowned and destroyed by owl feathers.

They don't know why they are suddenly and truly dying, but they do know the end is near.

They also know that the reincarnated heroes of the Trojan War are the only ones who can help them, even if they don't know how.

Now the hunt has focused on Cassandra, the reincarnated prophetess who had been cursed during the Trojan War with stunningly accurate visions that no one would ever believe.  Her death was hideous and cruel and the very gods who lead her to that awful death are the ones who most need her help.

Can she find her true self in time?  And will she help those responsible for her cruel death thousands of years ago?

Final thoughts: First, just because it bugged me throughout the entire novel, the plural of Cyclops is Cyclopes. With an E. Please fix that, Ms. Blake, because it's really annoying to try and figure out if you're referring to one or more than one.  And, yes, cyclops is the plural of modern one-eyed creatures, but when it comes to the Cyclopes of Greek Mythology, the word has an E.

Ok.  The shifting perspectives had a definite shift in voice, so that was good.  However, I kept having to readjust in each chapter between the two voices, and that got a little tedious.
So Cassandra and Odysseus just happened to have been given their historical names at birth, despite no one knowing who they were then, but Hector and Andromache did not? 
Finally, WHY DID YOU END IT THAT WAY!?!?!  Ms. Blake, you set up this whole set of relationships and family and then chop it all up in one chapter.  That's just mean.

Rating: 3/5


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