Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire

Author: K.D. McEntire
Publication: November 15, 2011
Publisher: PYR
Genre: Paranormal
Pages: 300 pp.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher 

Wendy has the ability to see souls that have not moved on—but she does not seek them out. They seek her. They yearn for her . . . or what she can do for them. Without Wendy’s powers, the Lost, the souls that have died unnaturally young, are doomed to wander in the never forever, and Wendy knows she is the only one who can set them free by sending them into the light.

Each soul costs Wendy, delivering too many souls would be deadly, and yet she is driven to patrol, dropping everyone in her life but her best friend, Eddie—who wants to be more than friends—until she meets Piotr.

Piotr, the first Rider and guardian of the Lost, whose memory of his decades in the never, a world that the living never see, has faded away. With his old-fashioned charms, and haunted kindness, he understands Wendy in ways no one living ever could, yet Wendy is hiding that she can do more than exist in the never. Wendy is falling for a boy who she may have to send into the light. 

But there are darker forces looking for the Lost. Trying to regain the youth and power that the Lost possess, the dark ones feed on the Lost and only Wendy and Piotr can save them—but at what cost?

Lightbringer is a YA urban fantasy/romance set in a world a breath away from our own. Similar in tone to Tithe and Unleashed, Lightbringer tiptoes down the line between love and horror as Wendy discovers herself and the darkest parts of the afterlife.

Thoughts: Fascinating. This book has a good balance of light and dark. Since an accident that resulted in the death of her best friend, Eddie's father, Wendy has been able to see ghosts. She also discovers she comes from long line of Reapers. Her mother begins training her early, she comes off as mean as tries to teach Wendy how to do her duty. The thing is Wendy doesn't really want this responsibility and tires of her mother's constant pressure to be a Reaper. 

One night while she is studying with Eddie, she receives a phone call from her mother, which she decides to let go to voicemail as she has studying to do and she feels that the Shades (souls that are fading) can wait. However, this time she regrets not answering that call because she may have been able to change her mother's fate. Now, determined to only reap the souls that get in her way, she will find her mother. 

She meets Piotr, who has a similar problem, someone is taking all the Lost souls and he is searching for clues to locate them. The trail leads him straight to Wendy and they decide to help one another. He just doesn't know that she is the Lightbringer that he thinks is responsible for the disappearance of the Lost. They begin to develop a friendship that leads to much deeper feelings.

Love triangle alert: What about best friend Eddie? Well, he is in love with her, she just doesn't believe it. I am baffled that she chooses to fall for a ghost and curious how this is going to pan out. 

The writing for me is evenly paced, and I like the development of each of the characters. The narration is told from the perspectives of Wendy and Piotr and I think this works well.This is a fantastic ride full of surprises. Wendy makes for a strong heroine and I love the way this is going. So, I look forward to the next book to find out what happened to Eddie.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Author: C.J. Redwine
Title: Defiance
Publication:August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 4 out 5
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Thoughts: Interesting read that has piqued my curiosity. Logan and Rachel are two complex characters, neither is what they seem. He is a tech-savvy geek on the surface but deep within is a fighter. Rachel has it harder because in Baalboden, females are not allowed the extensive education that males are given. Women are meant to be domesticated and Rachel is anything but that. She is spirited, strong-willed and loyal. Her impulsive nature starts something that threatens everything she holds dear, and she must learn to rely on the one person she detests, Logan. Now, that circumstances have brought them together, they may discover they are not as immune to each as they believe. 

Defiance is told from the perspectives of Rachel and Logan. I like that both of the characters are strong and each bring a different talent to the story. I was unaware that this was going to be a series and have some questions. I want to know why the Commander hates Logan so much and the origin of the Cursed One. What the heck is that thing?  Rachel and Logan, together make a great team, especially after they realize that they have misjudged one another. She thinks Logan unfeeling about her situation and he thinks her impulsive, stubborn that she hates him. Each one of them has been dealt a cruel hand by a tyrant ruler, who is greedy for power and control. The world that Redwine has created is pretty cool; my favorite part is the tree hopping because it reminds me of this scene from the movie House of Flying Daggers. These characters are not one dimensional, they have depth and tenacity. The writing is well paced with the speed of the action in the story. I think this is a great fantasy read with courageous leading heroes for both male and female readers.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Author: Jamie Mcguire
Title:Beautiful Disaster
Publication:August 14, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 432 pp.
Audience:18 and up
Rating: 4.5 out 5
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Audio Source: Publisher via AudiobookJukebox

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand. 

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Deliciously Insane. Chaotic. Combustible. Passionate.I began this book by listening to the audio book, which I am still listening to.  By the fourth disc sitting in the car just wasn't fast enough for me, so I had to grab the book and I devoured it within hours. The audio is great but I craved the reading experience more at the moment, I had to know what happened right then even though I just got off of work at 2 a.m. That said this review will be of both the audio and the print version of the book. 

Audio: The narrator does an excellent job of differentiating the gender of the characters. Although, the tone of voice seemed deep for both the male and female, it is easy to distinguish which character is speaking. The production is single- voiced and clear, and the volume is just right. I think this book works well in audio format and the narrator makes the book appealing to the ears. The pace is fast, but I could easily keep up; I liked how easily it flows. It wasn’t until I decided that I was going to get the book that I finally turned my CD player off and got out of my car. My listening experience in no way disconnected me from the characters and I felt like the relationship was sweet between Travis and Abby, whereas....

My reading experience enveloped me in the book in an entirely different way. I wasn't focusing on what I was hearing, but rather digesting and visualizing the events that transpire between the characters. Travis and Abby are truly dysfunctional on so many levels, but that is the beauty of how they are that saves them. As a reader some will become focused on the aggressive nature in the book, but I see all sides. Yes, Travis is too obsessed with Abby; yet she is the key to the one thing he has buried since his mother died: Love. He grew up in a male household with no feminine influence at all, so I can see how his treatment of women came about, even though it's not acceptable. 
This is where Abby comes in she calls him out on his mess and that's what he needs. It was nice to see the changes in him as he pursues a friendship with her. Abby is far from perfect.She is screwed up by the past at the hands of a gambling father, who blames her for his bad luck. She leaves to get away from all that and she sees in Travis the past that she is running from, even though he isn't. The only person blind to the chemistry between them is Abby, until she can't pretend any longer that she has feelings for Travis. No relationship is happy go lucky or perfect, nor is it Edward and Bella(even they were crazy)...sometimes relationships are volatile and disastrous, which is exactly what this is. However, it shows that even in the midst of all they put each other through,they realize that they need each other and that together they work well. No, they do not physically abuse each other but in an effort to make each other happy they hurt each other emotionally. I feel that if they just talked about things they would've saved themselves some trouble. 

We as a society are attracted to chaos. Look at reality TV as a prime example. Though we know its pure insanity, some of us get sucked in because we want to know how it ends. Beautiful Disaster is an intense mess, but the love is beautiful. For me, this book is about the ability to live the experience of how it feels to be in this type of relationship. The writing is realistic and it felt like I was inside the book as events began to unfold. I look forward to getting into Travis's head in the next book. Overall, an interesting read that I recommend to a mature audience. 

Cover Reveal: Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

Book description: 
Expected release: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Goddess Test meets Dexter in an edgy, compelling debut about one teen’s quest for revenge…no matter how far it takes her.

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? 

As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.
Goodreads | Amazon | Indiebound

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Giveaway & Promo Event:Dark Promise by Julia Crane & Talia Jager

Title: Dark Promise 
Author: Julia Crane & Talia Jager 
Release date: July 28, 2012
Age Group/Genre: YA fantasy/paranormal
Event dates: August 27-Sept. 23
Book Description 
Rylie has it all - great friends, dream boy, loving family. But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, her perfect little world shatters. A stranger claiming to be her real mother appears with a secret: Rylie is a faery whose powers will be unleashed on her birthday. Captured and forced into a new life, Rylie struggles to keep everything she loves and discovers a terrifying truth: some promises cannot be broken.

Excerpt from Dark Promise
My mother led her into the living room. The lady’s piercing green eyes rested on me, sending a chill down my back. My father followed her gaze. “Rylie, do you know this woman?” Dad asked.
“No.” I shook my head slowly. “I’ve never seen her before.”
“Rylie, maybe you should go to your room,” Dad suggested, his gaze demanding I do as he said.
“No. If this has something to do with me, I want to hear it.” I crossed my arms and sank against the back of the couch. 
Mom and Dad exchanged a worried glance, but turned back to the lady on the couch. “Please, go on.”
Without taking her eyes from me, the lady calmly stated, “My name is Azura, and I am Rylie’s birth mother.”
My father, who was always a level-headed man, was on his feet in seconds, his face hard. “What are you talking about?”
I felt like I had fallen into some kind of parallel universe. Did this woman just say she was my birth mother? How could she be my birth mother? That would mean I was adopted, but wouldn’t my parents have told me something like that?
My mother shook her head. “Birth mother? Rylie isn’t adopted.” She reached over and took my hand. “Believe me, I’ll never forget the eleven hours of labor.”
The woman sat perfectly still in the blue armchair across from us, with her hands clasped on her lap. “I know it’s hard to accept, but it’s true. Your daughter died shortly after she was born. I switched the infants. Rylie is mine.” 
The wind left me as if I had been punched in the stomach. I couldn’t breathe, and the room spun. I gripped the pillow next to me with my other hand as I clung to my mother.
Silence filled the room for a moment, and then my father exploded. “You need to leave now!” He pointed to the door. “Get out of this house and don’t come back without a court order.” 
The lady smiled sincerely, her face still as calm as it had been when she walked in the door. “Please, hear me out. I realize this is a lot to take in.”
“No! This is preposterous! Nobody died. Rylie is ours.” Dad’s voice was like thunder.
I studied the lady. She seemed so honest and soft-spoken. Why would she pretend something like this? Why would she ruin our family if it weren’t true? And if was true, why was she coming clean now? Something in me believed her even though I didn’t want to. I swallowed hard and rubbed my sweaty palms on my shirt. 
“Let her talk,” I said hoarsely.
“Rylie, you can’t believe her.” Dad looked stricken. 
“I’m curious as to why she thinks I’m her daughter. Let’s hear her out.” I crossed my arms and scooted closer to my mother, comforted when she wrapped an arm around me.
Dad turned back to the woman called Azura, and his frown deepened. “Fine.” He sat back down in his seat and glared. “Talk.”
“Thank you. I’m going to tell you something not many humans know, and I have to trust you to keep it secret for Rylie’s sake.” She addressed the statement to my parents.
Humans? Who talks like that?

MESMERIZED by Julia Crane & Talia Jager

Seventeen-year-old succubus Lily Anderson can’t have a normal life: She isn't allowed a boyfriend, she has no friends, and school is just one mess-up after another.

Lily’s parents send her away to the prestigious Emerson Academy. It doesn’t appear to be any different from the others. That is, until she meets her roommate, Hannah, and a blue-eyed boy named Jake.

Lily makes an almost deadly mistake, and Jake has a mysterious past that has come back to haunt him. Together, they must go on the run from things neither of them understand in order to save the people they love—and each other. But, Jake’s foe is more dangerous than they realized, and it will take the help of friends and family to save the man Lily loves.

She must learn to use her powers for good before it’s too late.

*This is a mature YA. Due to sexual content and some language it is not recommended for younger teens.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Cover Reveal: Gilded Wings by Amy Lignor

The Beloved Angel/Warrior Team from Until Next Time Returns!
When Matt and Emily are sent on their second mission they have no idea how truly dark human nature can become… 

Emily never wanted to face humans again. With the heartache that went on down below, she’s still trying to figure out how to save souls that don’t deserve saving. The only one she wants to see again is Jason - the young man she fell in love with who became the soulmate she simply can’t forget…

Matt was trained to protect and defend the souls down below. Longing to feel the heartfelt emotions that come from being human, Matt wants nothing more than to have just one life - one chance - to live and love the girl of his dreams…

The powerful team find themselves in a brand new century, living in the Gilded Age of New York City. Emily takes over the body of Anya, a young Russian girl who arrives on Ellis Island after a hideous tragedy. There she meets up with a strangely familiar young man by the name of Drew Parrish, who helps Anya survive in an unknown world of luxury, snobbery and…obsession.

What Anya’s inner angel doesn’t know is that the soul she loves is also back. This time around Jason goes by the name of Max Carrow. Once a quiet and kind boy, he’s now part of the ‘Four Hundred Club,’ and wants nothing more than to be among the most admired as he climbs the shaky ladder of society’s elite.

As two worlds merge, Emily and Matt struggle under the weight of their “Gilded Wings.” Not only will they have to figure out who they should fight to save, but they must also face a romantic choice that could destroy them both.

The Angel Chronicles|Goodreads 
Book 1 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Title: Shatter Me
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication: November 15,2011
Audience: 14 and up
Genre: Paranormal 
Source: Borrowed
Rating:3 out 5
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Thoughts: Juliette has been locked up in an asylum for days and then one day she gets a roommate she never expects, a boy, Adam. She is struck with the faint memory that he reminds her of someone she knew when she was younger but believes that is not possible. She is so withdrawn into her mind that though not insane, she is a bit crazy. Now, she finds herself with the choice to be a lethal weapon for the Reestablishment, who have lied about everything happening in their world or to fight. Either choice requires her to do the one thing she doesn't want to do. Hurt people. 

When I began reading this I was put off by the lines drawn through some of the text. I'm not sure what the author is trying to accomplish with this or if she is trying to make Juliette seem insane but it was distracting for me. I am also curious why this character is so fascinated with numbers. Anyhow, Juliette has yet to find her strength; she's too afraid to accept that she has power and is so focused on everything bad that is said about her...that she is a monster, a killer. She could be the difference if war does happen. Her desire not be alone, to be able to have some happiness is heartbreaking and understandable but at some point she has to come to terms with who she is and then she will truly be a force to be reckoned with because in the matters of the heart, we will fight for those we least I hope she does. 

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