Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Boyfriends

I have a long list of acceptable responses..

BreatheBreathe by Elena Dillon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great new YA book by Elena Dillon - 3.5 Stars!

I was immediately drawn into this story from the first page.  Heck, the first line: "Most days I can almost forget someone murdered my sister."  I mean, who can resist finding out what happened after that kind of opening?!

I liked the main character Jasmine a lot.  She had an inner strength and beauty that she did not recognize. Her family is starting over in a new town on the opposite side of the country. Jas had to deal with fitting in to her new environment, going to a new school and making new friends.  She had taken on a lot of responsibility for her younger brother and sister as well.  Her relationship with her siblings Caedan and Lily was funny and realistic.  I liked her Mother and the dynamic they had as a family - especially a family that had gone through what they have.

Jasmine ended up falling (literally) for one of the hottest guys in school, Easton.  He was a gentleman...and sweet, gorgeous and very swoon-worthy. His brother Trenton, was adorable and their entire family is large, loving and loyal.  (I would hope that Dillon would explore more with these characters - as Chase and Trenton surely have stories to tell!) OK, Jas and Easton's relationship  was a little on the insti-love side, but I was willing to look past it in this case and still enjoy the story. Easton was protective, honest and very understanding with Jas.

This book had a little of everything - the 'new girl' finding her way, good friends doing normal high school stuff, parental relationships and sibling rivalries, romance ... and a darker element of suspense and mystery involving sinister text messages, phone calls and flowers.  Jasmine discovered her nightmare of the 'Monster' was also to become her reality.  Could she save her family and friends?  Could she save herself?

I had not read much YA with suspense and mystery, but I did enjoy this book very much. I liked Elena Dillon's writing style and character development.  I look forward to reading more from this author in the future!

*An ARC was received in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

To Stand Beside HerTo Stand Beside Her by B. Kristin McMichael

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review*

Leila is a courier, and a really good one. She is strong, resourceful, courageous and compassionate. She has a lot of friends, but also a lot of enemies in kingdoms across the land - whose leaders wish to possess her. Leila is able to get out of almost any situation...but it wasn't until she met King Nalick that she found a reason to stay.

I enjoyed reading this book, and really liked Leila, Nalick and Anatolio. The story was fast paced and full of adventure and twists. It was a unique YA/Fantasy story line and did not feel like something that I have read before.

I did wish that I could have gotten a more personal perspective into what the characters were thinking (I have a personal preference for stories written in 1st person and this book was not). I wanted to know more about Nalick and Anatolio. I wish there was more of a build up in the relationship between Leila and Anatolio, as he is such a large part of the story. The last 1/3 of the book seemed a little rushed and a lot of major events were glossed over with little or no detail. The end of the book, while not a typical ending, was not an issue for me. A little sad, a little awkward maybe. There is definitely room for the author to pick the story back up and continue in a second novel.

Overall, it was interesting and a good read. I would recommend to anyone who likes the YA/Fantasy genre.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jordyn (A Daemon Hunter Novel, #1)Jordyn by Tiffany King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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This is the first book in the Daemon Hunter series, but is also a spin off of the Saving Angels series...which I did not know originally (and have not yet read). I did not feel that I had to have already read that series first however, as I understood all that was happening in this book without it. (Though, perhaps beneficial if you want to connect more with the secondary characters.)

Jordyn is the main character and she is a witty, sarcastic, snarky female (yes, ok sometimes a little whiny too)...who could kick some serious Daemon (and Angel) ass. I liked this girl - her quick wit and banter between other characters made me LOL on a number of occasions.
Jordyn doesn't remember her past, and is always being told how "special" she is. She has powers that are unknown and still developing as she finds herself. She has amazing strength, endurance and fighting skills to go along with her confidence and bravery. Despite her abilities, and her friends and 'family' that surround her, she feels alone.

Emrys - a Soul Trader, wise-ass, and general bad influence on Jordyn (facilitator of place traveling and tattoo accrual). However, there appears to be some real connection between the two as their romance grows. He was actually really very sweet to Jordyn - and is the one person in her life that makes her feel "normal". Yes, it was slightly on the insti-love side for me...I would have preferred more build up and back story. We have yet to see what Emrys' is really up to.

We also meet Jordyn's friends and family...Guides and Protectors, and an Arch Angel. They were nicely developed in this book, but I did not have any real connection to them (which may be why you would consider reading the Saving Angels series as well).

Overall, I was happily surprised to have like this book as much as I did. I enjoyed the characters and the dialog. I think the book was a little short (I just wanted more!) and I think there could have maybe been a little more story to the romance development ... as well as the Soul Traders interest in Jordyn.

I will definitely be reading the next book and am looking forward to continuing Jordyn and Emrys' story.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Black Moon (Paige Tailor, #1)Black Moon by Jessica McQuay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author, Jessica McQuay, for a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Paige couldn't help but question her sanity. What other explanation could there be for her hearing a conversation held barely above a whisper in the back of a classroom full of students? What about coming home to find one of those very classmates lying in wait in the darkness of her home, ready to attack her?

Confused, frustrated and feeling every ounce of her social ostracism, Paige confides in the one person she's always been able to count on: her mom. But when her mom reveals a deeply rooted, unbelievable family secret, Paige discovers her world is filled with more than she ever imagined possible. A world where fairytales live alongside nightmares and secrets are the glue that binds them together. Suddenly no one is who they seem and Paige is faced with more questions than answers. Can she survive in a world filled with creatures scarier than anything she could imagine and where deceit runs as thick as blood? Or will the truth send her over the edge?

My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit.  Its different from what I have been reading lately and a nice change.  I have read other books about the Fae, and other supernatural creatures co-existing...but not quite like this one.  I must say there was a lot about the story that was unexpected...and not in a bad way.


What I liked:
The description of the settings - especially the Fae lands of Varulean.

I really liked the character of Naialah.  I wish I knew more about her, but I liked her strength and attitude and the way she dealt with Paige's childish tantrums.

While I was waiting for the big bulgy-muscled male fairy to come along (maybe Kheelan, since he was introduced...but never mentioned again) to be the friend/love never happened.  Instead we meet Naialah, a female...not really sure what she is...but non-Fae as Paige's instructor and friend.  It ends up, I was ok without the big bulgy male lead.  It was hinted at that there may be more than friendship involved with Naialah and Paige - and while never stated outright, it seemed apparent that something is there.  It should be interesting to see how it is handled and how this relationship develops in future books.

The description of Paige's grandparents. They oozed disapproval and disdain at their half-Fae granddaughter and her antics.  The grandmother is much colder and aloof - very Faery Queen like.

What bothered me:
Paige's mother.  The relationship is kind of superficial, though we are told that Paige tells her everything.  When revealing the big "secret" to Paige about her being part Fae, she lies about why she hasn't been back to her home world of Varulean in telling her daughter she had been banished.  Truth is that her grandparent's had paid to have Paige's father killed because her mother refused to go home and instead stayed on Earth's plane, living with a shifter and having a child together. Even knowing this, Paige's mother decides now that Paige knows the secret, its time to go back and visit.  Which is just confusing, as she had just said she was banished...and hence should not have been allowed back.  Right?  Anyway, to go back knowing the truth was just wrong in my opinion.  I mean, did she think her parent's had changed that much?!

The werewolves.  They are there, one is angry and wants to hurt Paige. Why? They are all following her. Why?  Their purpose is never detailed in this book, at all.  The pack Alpha is dead and he really didn't have much of a purpose...and it appeared to me that he was really ineffective as a pack leader.  Why were they employed by the King and what end?  What happened to the remaining wolves?

I didn't connect with Paige.  I thought I might in the beginning, but her actions were terribly immature and thoughtless.  She was kind of disrespectful and egocentric.  I guess some teens are like that though...I just could not connect and I didn't really like her that much.

In conclusion:
An overall good read that was different and enjoyable.  I hope that future books are able to clear up some of the questions and issues left unresolved here.  I would definitely read more from this author.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

*Happy Dance*
Thank you Harper Collins Publishers for my ARC of Period 8 by Chris Crutcher.  I am looking forward to reading this as soon as I finish my current book (another ARC of Prophecy Girl by Faith McKay).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cam's Cookies Rock My World

Wait for YouWait for You by J. Lynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
**4.5 STARS**

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First, I was so happy my blog got to be a part of the cover reveal for this book...and incredibly happy that it was released early! I love JLA's books and was SO looking forward to reading Wait For You.

Second, I am a HUGE fan of both Aiden and Daimon (because, lets face it - Jennifer Armentrout can create totally crushable, swoon-worthy hotness in her male leads) and, though I have a hard time believing it possible, I love Cam even more. There, I said it.

What I loved about this book? Everything. The story, the characters (both lead and secondary), the setting, the humor, the drama, the relationships. All of it.

This book contains some serious issues that are both horrible and realistic, but written with respect and handled really well.
Our MC Avery has been through hell, at the hands of a boy and her parents - lived through heart-breaking sadness, loneliness, experienced hatred and was treated as an outcast. She is incredibly strong and resilient. A survivor.
Cam. *Swoon, Sigh, Repeat* He is perfect in his imperfections. A real guy you could run into in the world (yes, please). Incredibly confident, loyal to family and those he loves, funny, sweet and beautiful. He has his own past and can be kind of ...well, a guy. But, that only adds to why he is so lovable. And he has a pet tortoise. I heart Cam.

Even the secondary characters were great - Brit, Jacob, Ollie...loved them all. I include Rafael in this category too...he rocks.

There was no insta-love..but rather an aggressive effort at NOT being in a relationship (at least for Avery) outside of friendship. I loved the friendship she and Cam shared - the stargazing, the movie watching, the egg cooking, the baked goods eating buildup of sexual tension was awesome. There was plenty of laughs and back & forth banter...and when they finally fall into each other, plenty of sweet kisses and swoony moments. *Swoon, Sigh, Repeat*
Oh, and yes...I would eat Cam's cookies anytime, any place. You heard me.

What I took from the story is that no matter what may have happened in your past, it does not dictate your future. You can decide who you are, and who you want to be...nobody else, and no past event can define you - unless you let it.

Go get it, read it, love it...but know that Cam is taken. So are Aiden and Daimon. No, really...mine.

*Minor warning to those who notice these sorts of things...there are a lot of grammatical errors present in the book (wrong words used, tenses, punctuation etc). I normally don't notice these things much (because honestly, I mess those up regularly myself!) and the fact that I did notice at all may say something...about the editing. But, honestly it did not detract from the story for me, and my love of the book as a whole.*