Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Today's Book Haul!

"...you can’t run from your past, no matter how hard you try."

"The thing about love, is even when it destroys you, it has a way of mending what is broken. And in the shadows, you can still see the light."
"Can love triumph forever?"

Now the only problem is which to start first!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Revival (The Variant Series, #1)Revival by Jena Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 One minute life is good, happy...normal. In the blink of an eye, it can all disappear. Alex realizes this the hard way when seeing her boyfriend in the arms of another girl initializes a change in Alex herself...one where no electronic device is safe in her presence. Her normal high school existence ceases to exist as she goes from school sweetheart to social pariah.

Only to then be stalked, trapped in a burning building by a madman, rescued by a gorgeous - yet annoying - guy, and transported to a cabin in the wilderness for her own safety. One thing is certain...life would never be the same again. Alex meets others who have special abilities like her own and receives a crash course into a world she never knew existed.

What I liked:
*This book was paced really well and had lots of action. I liked the style of writing - it draws you right in. I found the book very easy and enjoyable to read.

*All the characters are well written. The main character Alex is really likable and I wanted her to find out what had been hidden from her and to find out about her family's past. I enjoyed all of the Grayson family - Declan, Kenzie, Brian and Nate. Their relationships all seemed very real and it was easy to care about them, as they cared for each other. Cassie is a great best friend, and I like how Kenzie fit right in to their friendship too.

*There was enough possible "love triangle" tension building between Nate, Declan and Alex to make you look forward to see what will happen next. Declan tries to not care (but really does), Nate has a lot of secrets (but obviously has feelings for Alex, too) and Alex is just trying to survive and NOT have any of THOSE feelings for either of the two new gorgeous guys in her life.

*I liked the story line. Yes, its a little x-men meets Kyle XY meets Roswell. But, hey I liked all of those too. In the end the story is its own.

What I was not sold on:
*The Agency. Some random "Govornment" agency is aware of the "Variants" abilities and want Alex. They want her enough to go after her, but are terrified of her at the same time. They want her badly enough to lure her to them, but in the end don't keep her...not really explained why they caved so easily.

*So, the 'bad guy' in the plot, Masterson is creepy. He wants Alex too...and has a prime opportunity to snatch her...and doesn't. Stating he has other business to take care of, but he will be back. He generously wants to give her time to finish her regular schooling, as he know Spring Break is almost over??! Huh? How oddly responsible for a raving lunatic.

*Do I like Nate or not? I wanted to like him, but he has SO many secrets. How does Aiden fit into this, and more importantly - how does Alex fit in?? There were a LOT of unanswered questions at the end of the book.

In Conclusion:
This is a nice easy YA read, with likable characters and an interesting twist to a kids-with-powers concept. I would recommend to any who like light sci-fi. I thought it was an enjoyable story and will be looking out for the next in the series.

*I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair review*

Friday, April 19, 2013

Apollyon (Covenant, #4)Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been holding off on this review to give the book time to stew in my brain...really because it was hard to form a coherent thought once I finished.
When I tried, it sounded something like:  "wait, what?!" and then "no way" and moved on to "holy crazy powers, apollyon" with lots of swoon, cursing at random Greek gods and then tears and then it was pure gibberish. No good.

So...after meditation, relaxation classes and a few xanax, lets try again.

Oh. My. Freaking. God.  This book is epic!
I absolutely adore Jennifer Armentrout's brain and thank her immensely for putting her thoughts on paper (or e-book) for my fan-girly, obsessive, stalkerish enjoyment.

This is no filler book to reach the big ending.  This book is full of action, but more importantly it is full of answers to a lot of questions and does help set up Sentinel quite nicely.

Alex is now an Apollyon and we see the evolution of her growing and coming into her own.  She matures and is able to see the larger picture, even when she doesn't like it.  Thankfully, she keeps her snark intact.  Love her.  The full implication of her future weighs heavily on Alex and we see her accepting her new responsibilities.

A lot of this book is about the emotional and mental struggles that Alex goes through on her journey.  Is she strong enough to maintain her independence from the connection? Does she forgive and try to help Seth? Can she forgive herself for what was said and done in her awakening?  Can she forgive Aiden for the Elixer? What is right and what is wrong and where does she go from here?

Aiden lets himself loosen up - not just in front of Alex, but the others in their group as well.  He is able to express his feelings for Alex and things progress in their relationship despite what anyone else may think (this is where things got so swoony in my pre-xanax and meditation moments).  I love this guy. He is just...wow. I seriously turned to a puddle of gooey mush reading about his smiles, laughter and openly discussing his feelings for Alex. And he is still smoking hot in his Sentinel uniform. Is it getting hot in here?!?

Seth is still connected to Alex and angry that she seems to be able to function without him.  I vacillated between really not liking him and feeling sorry for him (in his akasha addicted state).  Sometimes he seemed like a little boy looking for love...and other times he was a real @%$%!  I think he believes he is doing the right thing, and really does care for Alex.  In the end though, I thought he seemed weak...and I pitied him.  For all his power, he isn't strong enough to get past his childhood insecurities to see the possibility of him being used and lied to for other's personal gain. I don't know, maybe there is hope for him yet.

My favorite god Apollo is back, another trip to the Underworld where we get to see Caleb, the (remaining) Furies and other visitors from Olympus make appearances, even Alex's Mom is once more present ...Apollyon really is full of action, adventure, love and heartbreak.

Jennifer Armentrout's writing is stellar, and this book will not disappoint. The entire Covenant series is *amazing*, and this is the best yet.  I am absolutely unrepentant in my concupiscence for Sentinel!  In other words...I can't flipping wait!!

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Reaper's Novice (Soul Collector  #1)Reaper's Novice by Cecilia Robert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Star Review

Reaper's Novice is the first book in the Soul Collector series written by Cecilia Robert.  I would like to thank Ms. Robert for the copy of her book in exchange for a fair review.

The premise of the story is a new twist on the Grimm Reaper, but the head Reaper himself is not a main character in this book.  Instead, we meet Ana - a regular high school girl with normal high school problems.  In order to save her family from tragedy, she offers her services to Grimm (aka Ernest) as his Novice.  In doing so, her life changes irrevocably.  This book is about her initiation into this new world, while still trying to maintain her relationships with her family and friends in the 'real world'.

What I liked:
*The main character Ana was really well written.  She was strong, stubborn and smart...with a huge heart.  Her family and close friends were her entire world.  Zig, Ana's best reaping buddy, was another favorite character.  He was very funny, loyal and obviously cared about Ana a lot.  My other favorite character was Bastian, the High Priest (extraordinaire) of the Draangel (those of Dragon and Angel lineage).  In fact, mostly all of the characters were very well written and developed with clear purpose in the book.

*The descriptive writing and clear creativity used to imagine the Other world (where Grimm and the other beings that co-exist) on the page was fantastic. I really enjoyed reading about Grimm's palace, the Draangel's club, the Mirrorlands and learning about Ana's heritage.

*Even the sadder moments (and there are a few) made me like the characters, and the book as a whole, even more.  Ana is a regular girl who has experienced fear, love, loss, self-sacrifice and pain...yet still manages to put her love of her family first.

What didn't work as well:
*The pace of the book is all over the place.  It is slow in the beginning, but then picks up...only to slow down again, but then takes off once more to the finish.  I started the book and almost put it down as a (DNF - Did not finish)...which would have been a mistake.  You will need to push through the slow bits to get to the good stuff. It will be worth it.

*There are a LOT of secondary characters that you meet through association to Grimm (and are tied to Ana, as you will later discover).  A second story line is introduced and it becomes clear that Ana is more than she appears to be.  It can be confusing with regard to who wants Ana for what purpose.  I hope this gets clearer as the series goes on.

*Rolf.  As Ana's love interest, he did not cut it for me.  From being MIA, to the jekyll-hyde routine (when the truth comes out)...even when he was being sweet, he never inspired the warm & fuzzies for me. (Zig on the other hand...just sayin').

In the end:
Overall this is a great new twist on the Grimm Reaper concept and a good new YA read - with great writing and likable characters - that is a sure bet for your reading pleasure.  I know I will be looking out for the next book in the series!

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Real life has been getting in the way of my reviews and blogging, but I am still reading and will be back shortly to post my latest finds.  Until then, do as the sign says.  Happy Reading!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ha! Yes, this circular logic is one I am very familiar with.