Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Goddess and The Thief by Essie Fox Review

Title: The Goddess and the Thief
Author: Essie Fox
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A haunting gothic novel even better than Elijah's Mermaid, The Goddess and The Thief completely captured my imagination--a gorgeous mystery wrapped in an amazing gothic package! Highly recommended!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Alice Willoughby has always loved India. It has been her home since birth. But when she is unceremoniously yanked away from her home, back to cold, dreary England after the death of her father, she finds herself wrapped up in a spellbinding mystery: The capture of a gorgeous diamond belonging to the queen. Trapped on all sides by forces beyond her control, Alice must face her demons and find a way out.. Or else, she might too fall into the darkness..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the sensuous, gorgeous prose that drew me in, now I see that is becoming Fox's trademark
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck, I couldn't put it down in my race to see what was going to happen next
-The constant twists and turns I didn't see coming--I felt like I was breathing hard as the book sped up, unable to keep myself calm
-I loved the creepy, dark elements of Victorian spiritualism that were peppered throughout the novel--I was overcome with chills more than once
-Alice, the strong-willed young woman caught in her social-climbing Aunt Mercy's clutches, who is trying to find a way to banish her demons and find a way back to her true home, India
-Tilsbury, the charming rake that Alice finds herself tangled with, cunning and sly and charismatic
-Duleep
-Queen Victoria, the poor woman who ends up conned in the scheme of the book, the only reason she is involved to communicate with her beloved
-Charles
-Nancy
-I liked the ending--especially the shocking part of it

What could've been better:
-I well and truly hated Alice's Aunt Mercy
-I wish Alice could've made it back to India before the novel ended


Overall, I loved this book--I'm looking forward to more from Essie Fox! Next on deck: Feuds by Avery Hastings!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dollbaby: A Novel by Laura Lane McNeal Review

Title: Dollbaby: A Novel
Author: Laura Lane McNeal
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, tender debut novel chock-full of Southern culture, food, family secrets, and self-discovery, I completely adored Dollbaby--a must-read for fans of The Help and The Secret Life of Bees!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When almost-twelve year old Ibby Bell's father dies, her mother drops her off at her grandmother's doorstep. The two have never met, but when they do, their lives are changed forever. Ibby is integrated into Fannie's strange family: sweet, wise old Queenie, sassy Doll who wants so much more than what she has for her own daughter, and of course, Fannie herself, an old woman who is so much more than she seems. As Ibby grows into a young woman, she discovers that while her family may have secrets to hide, love may be closer than she could've ever imagined..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing of this novel, languid and smooth and as soothing as a glass of Southern-brewed sweet tea--I couldn't put it down
-The hot, sticky setting of 1960 and 70s New Orleans, beautifully and lovingly rendered--I loved the way this book also showed the dark underbelly of this era
-Ibby Bell, the sweet twelve year old that comes to be loved by all who live in Fannie's old house in New Orleans, who grows into a spunky young woman
-Fannie, the woman who becomes a mother to Ibby, and discovers that though she has secrets, she can still be loved
-Queenie, the wise, hilarious woman who gives so much color and personality to this lovely, bittersweet novel
-Dollbaby, Queenie's sassy daughter who comes to love Ibby just as much as the rest--and finds that some of the old house's secrets may pertain to her--I loved the dialogues between her and her mother throughout the book
-The vibrant cast of characters surrounding our family, particularly T-Bone, Birdelia, and Crow
-The ending--it was honestly just perfect

What could've been better:
-There was absolutely nothing wrong with this tender, flawless debut! Amazing!

I loved Dollbaby--highly recommended! Next on deck: Forbidden: Discover the Legend by Tina Smith!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Altaica by Tracy M. Joyce Review

Title: Altaica
Author: Tracy M. Joyce
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Chronicles of Altaica, book one
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Despite reminding me of Princess Monoke, and steeped with magic, political intrigue, and action, Altaica just wasn't for me.

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In the mysterious, magical land of Altaica, a young woman named Isaura looks different than her fellow villagers. Not only that, but she has the skills of a healer--what the villagers call the powers of a witch. When an invading army comes to try and conquer her people, she leads a brave exodus across rivers in order to get to safety, and in the process, finds just how different she may be..

What I enjoyed:
-I liked the whole high fantasy feel of this book
-Isaura, the brave, complex main character
-Pio
-The whole book reminded me a bit of Princess Monoke
-I liked the way the magical elements were Native American-esque

What could've been better:
-The worldbuilding was very vague, and I couldn't really picture anything
-The pacing was really slow
-I couldn't keep the characters straight throughout the whole book, through most of it
-Despite the book revolving around Isa, she was in some sort of coma throughout more than half of the book
-I just didn't like most of the characters, and the plot most of the book just didn't really hold my attention

I think Altaica was a good try into a mystical, high fantasy series, but a lot of things unfortunately fell short. Next on deck: Dollbaby: A Novel by Laura Lane McNeal!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox Review

Title: Elijah's Mermaid
Author: Essie Fox
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A darkly glittering gem that exposes the dark, vile underbelly of Victorian London, Elijah's Mermaid completely took my breath away--a must-read for Gothic fiction fans!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Elijah and Lily Lamb are twins, as close as any two siblings can be. Living a dream life of comfort and fancy with their author grandfather, their lives are utterly torn apart when they meet the mysterious young mermaid, Pearl. When their fates become irrevocably intertwined with Pearl's, and the twins separate, Lily is exposed to the darkly glittering, vile underbelly of Victorian London.. And discovers that just about everyone in her family has something to hide..

What I enjoyed:
-The gorgeous, luxurious prose that captured my imagination from the beginning--Fox is a true master of the written word
-The dark, frightening world of Victorian London, veiled but still very dangerous--it was perfection
-I loved the dark mystery of this novel, and the way it genre-jumped--fans of Wilkie Collins will snatch this story up with greed
-The pacing of this novel was close to perfect--it was breakneck and with secrets lurking around every corner, I was practically breathless
-I liked the way the book shifted from between Pearl and Lily, two different women but equally two strong characters in their own right
-Elijah, the young man who has the misfortune of working for the wrong man, and falling for the wrong woman--to me, he was one of the best characters in the novel
-I also enjoyed the vast cast of characters throughout the novel, particularly Osborne
-Tip
-Augustus
-The ending was perfect--it did perfect justice to all the characters involved

What could've been better:
-At times, the sex seemed almost pornographic and it made me uncomfortable
-The pacing seemed a bit rushed
-I didn't like Mr. Hall at all
-Sometimes Lily seemed a bit needy


Overall, I really enjoyed Elijah's Mermaid--highly recommended for fans of Wilkie Collins! Next on deck: Altaica by Tracy M. Joyce!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco Review

Title: The Girl from the Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A gory, frightening ghost story with real heart, and Japanese roots, The Girl from the Well is a delightful story worthy of Stephen King--and that praise is well deserved!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okiku is a vengeance scepter; a ghost thrown down a well three centuries earlier. Tempering her rage from her untimely death, haunting child murderers to satisfy the rage that lies buried deep within her damned soul. Hers is a solitary existence: That is, until Tarquin Holloway, covered in mysterious, familiar-looking tattoos, can see her. Realizing that a malevolent spirit is attached to the darkly humorous young man, she finds herself drawn into a world of Japanese myth and exorcism.. And the two realize that Tark might not be able to make it out of this alive, as they travel to Japan to rid Tarquin of the dark spirit encased within him..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing of this novel--it was completely breakneck and I couldn't put it down even when I tried
-I loved the way Japanese culture, especially the dark side of it, took center stage in this book--it was definitely refreshing and I enjoyed it
-The revenge spirit that is Okiku--on one hand, a spirit bent on retribution, and on the other, a young woman who died wrongfully before her time--I liked the way she was not a typical ghost, not yearning for a connection, but just content with watching people
-The frightening, often gory scenes in this horror tale--it made it very authentic
-Tarquin, the young man who finds himself wrapped in a dangerous, frightening web of Japanese exorcisms and myth, hiding behind a shield of sarcasm and self-deprecation
-Callie, his young cousin who finds herself willing to accompany her cousin into darkness--at her own expense
-The mysterious legacy of the Holloways, fully revealed as the book progresses
-I loved the ending--it was wonderful!

What could've been better:
-At times the pacing was so fast it was difficult to keep up with


I loved The Girl from the Well--an amazing ghost story skillfully evoking the signature creepiness of Stephen King! Next on deck: Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Queen's Rivals: A Novel of the Grey Sisters by Brandy Purdy Review

Title: The Queen's Rivals: A Novel of the Grey Sisters
Author: Brandy Purdy
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lush, deeply researched tale of the obscure Grey Sisters, I simply loved this novel--highly recommended for fans of Phillipa Gregory!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey all have Tudor blood in their veins. Despite having no royal ambition whatsoever, the girls find themselves caught in a glittering, poisonous web of court intrigue as the people around them seek to use them for their own gain: Jane is strong-armed into a marriage, and later, a crown, that she does not want; all lively, bright Kate longs for is love and finds herself caught up in it, and Mary, a dwarf with a twisted spine and ungainly legs, just wants the ridicule to end.. But when "Bloody Mary", and later, Queen Elizabeth, comes to power, they realize that the boon of royal blood might not be so difficult to erase, nor forget..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing, which was breakneck--I couldn't put it down the entire time I was reading it
-Mary, the old woman who is in mourning for her beloved sisters and friends, narrating the tragic story of the Grey family's downfall, with nuance and black humor--I also really related to her, as even in her own family, she was an outcast
-Kate, the beautiful, vivacious one, so glorious and so in love with the idea of love that it kills her--almost literally--I really felt for her as well, for who doesn't want to be loved?
-Jane, the pious, scholarly eldest sister, forced into a marriage and crown she doesn't want--though I will admit at times her constant obsession with guarding herself against "the pleasures of the flesh" irked me
-I loved the way the family's ascent was documented through two queens' reigns: "Bloody Mary" and "The Virgin Queen's"
-Part of what makes historical fiction so appealing to me is that it is partially based in fact, and this book did not disappoint in the slightest--This was meticulously researched
-I liked, though Mary was old and grey, she got a bit of a happy ending, all was not lost with her, like with her beloved, beautiful sisters
-Guilford
-Adrian
-The girls' father
-The ending

What could've been better:
-As stated above, though it was part of her personality, Jane's constant obsession to become a martyr for the Protestant faith grated on me a little bit--for the most part, she was unsympathetic
-The girls' mother
-Most of the royals surrounding the Greys, particularly Ned Seymour

I loved The Queen's Rivals--a great reminder of what waits for me in historical fiction if executed right! Next on deck: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Seven Weeks to Forever by Jennifer Farwell Review

Title: Seven Weeks to Forever
Author: Jennifer Farwell
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Romance
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Despite a novel idea for the afterlife and a sweet romance, this book just didn't hold my attention--I couldn't relate to the main character, nor did I really like her. I really tried, but this book just wasn't for me.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cassidy Jordan is going to die soon. And hey, she's happy about it, even, because she knows the truth: The Life-After is waiting for her. But there's a catch first: find Riley Davis and be his friend, perhaps maybe even more than that. But she discovers she's in for more: Her ex-best friend, Selena, is sniffing around, and wonder of wonders, she's falling in love. Running from the ghosts and demons of her past, Cassidy discovers that love may just be possible again, if she can open her heart to it..

What I enjoyed:
-I liked the romance in this novel, sweet and chaste one moment and then heated the next
-Riley
-Noah
-The ending

What could've been better:
-I couldn't really relate to Cassidy, in fact, I didn't even like her, she just didn't have any depth and it was hard to sympathize with her
-Selena
-I didn't really understand everything with the Life-After, even after it was thoroughly explained--it was confusing
-The prose, though beautiful, was slow, and I had a hard time getting through the book

Despite a novel idea and a believable romance, this book just didn't work for me. Next on deck: The Queen's Rivals: A Novel of the Grey Sisters by Brandy Purdy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Girl and the Raven by Pauline Gruber Review

Title: The Girl and the Raven
Author: Pauline Gruber
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Girl and the Raven, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A debut chock-full of hot guys, magic, secrets, and action, The Girl and the Raven completely had me under its spell--simply amazing! Highly recommended for fans of the show Supernatural and Charmed!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy Walker just wants her mother back. Struggling to regain her footing after the sudden death of her alcoholic mother, she ends up in the hands her two uncles. Upstairs lives a mysterious, sexy boy named Marcus, and she's drawn to him by some unseen pull, and things start to get even messier when she encounters a boy named Dylan. Oh, and her father is in town, hoping to become acquainted with his little girl.. Lucy discovers she is a witch, and her father is a demon. Drawn into a complicated web of lies, secrets, and magic, she discovers that her life may depend on falling for the right boy..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing of this novel--I was utterly glued to the book and really couldn't put it down
-This novel really has something for everyone, a love triangle, action, magic, family drama
-Lucy, the young woman who just wants to be normal, but it turns out fate has other plans for her--I really enjoyed experiencing her character development
-Marcus, the sweet boy who wants to protect Lucy at all costs, first seemingly out of obligation and then out of something entirely different
-Dylan, the sexy bad boy who wants nothing more than to be with Lucy--despite him acting like a cocky jerk for most of the book, I was rooting for him as well
-Jude, at times a terrifying villain, at others a new father trying to form a relationship with his daughter
-Persephone and Henry
-Lucy's beloved, goofy uncles
-Zack
-I think part of what made this book so compelling was Lucy's heritage, but I'm not saying anything more than that so as to avoid spoilers
-Brandi and Ethan
-I liked the way the book's ending was loose, as if the author were teasing the reader with the possibility of a sequel

What could've been better:
-At times I found myself really rolling my eyes at the love triangle--sometimes it really took away from Lucy
-Lucy herself in the beginning was really asinine and it took me a while to relate to her

Overall, The Girl and the Raven was a highly enjoyable read! Next on deck: Seven Weeks to Forever by Jennifer Farwell!

Coldhearted by Melanie Matthews Review

Title: Coldhearted
Author: Melanie Matthews
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: Coldhearted, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A deliciously creepy, spooky ghost story perfect for a rainy night, I simply loved Coldhearted--I'm looking forward to more from Melanie Matthews!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Edie St. John has just moved to the cold, wintery town of Grimsby after the untimely death of her beloved parents. Distraught and still missing them, trying to get used to her new home, Edie gets lost and somehow finds a way into haunted Lockhart Manor.. And she comes out with a wicked ghost attached. Tristan Lockhart is determined to make poor Edie's life a living hell, especially when she falls in love with a boy named Mason.. And it just might be the death of them, if they can't find a way to get rid of him..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the cold, creepy, Gothic setting of Grimsby--it was the absolute perfect place for a ghost to haunt!
-The pacing of this novel was absolutely breakneck--I couldn't put it down, even if I had tried
-Edie, the poor, sweet girl who ends up with an evil ghost looking over her shoulder, quite literally, who falls in love with Mason Fenwick--I really, really enjoyed her and I sympathized with her a lot as a character
-Tristan, the truly evil, bitter ghost that attaches himself to Edie--this wasn't just some benign specter, because Tristan was a real villain who continually had me getting chills
-Mason, the boy who falls for Edie despite Tristan--I really liked him, too, despite the instalove that surrounded the couple
-Russell, the handsome teacher who ends up falling for Edie as well
-I also loved the quirky cast of characters surrounding Edie, particularly Jules, Quinn, and of course Uncle Landon
-I loved the way I never saw anything coming--this was a heart-racing horror novel that I loved every minute of living in
-I loved the ending and the way it was open-ended--I'm crossing my fingers for the sequel!

What could've been better:
-I felt like Edie and Mason's relationship materialized out of nowhere and I don't think it was realistic, but other than that, there was absolutely nothing I didn't love about this wonderfully spooky debut! More, please!

I loved, loved, loved Coldhearted--a ghost story with substance! Definitely one for the all-time favorites shelf! Next on deck: The Girl and the Raven by Pauline Gruber!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Am The Mission by Allen Zadoff Review

Title: I Am the Mission
Author: Allen Zadoff
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Action/Thriller
Series: Boy Nobody, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: In the explosive sequel to I Am The Weapon, Boy Nobody returns--this time with even more action, secrets, and thrills! I can't wait to see the final book in this stunning thriller of a trilogy!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Boy Nobody has returned. Still reeling from the repercussions of his last mission, he is struggling to figure out who to trust, what to do. In the midst of all this, he is sent on another mission: get close to the charismatic Eugene Moore and kill him before he can do any damage. Forced to put his issues on hold for the present, our narrator succeeds. Suddenly, he finds himself cut off from his superiors.. And when that happens, all the doubt comes rushing back in.. And our hero has to decide what's worth fighting for as he digs deeper into his past..

What I enjoyed:
-I really liked the pacing of this novel--it was breakneck and brutal, and I couldn't put it down
-Our narrator, even more richly developed than before, on one hand a normal boy, the other a brutal, cold assassin--I liked the way he was really struggling with finding his past and remaining loyal to those in power
-I liked what our narrator went up against as well, a man with frightening charisma able to sway young people against a government he sees unfit
-Lee and Miranda, despite their father and their own seeming madness--both were sympathetic and very real
-Francisco, the lost young man who finds his way into Moore's inner sanctum--and obviously is more than meets the eye, just like our narrator himself
-Howard--I love the way he made a cameo in this novel as well
-I loved the ending--I can't wait for the final book in this thrilling spy trilogy!

What could've been better:
-At times Moore had me rolling my eyes--he seemed like a stock character at times
-I wish there had been more divulged on our narrator's past

Overall, I Am The Mission was worthy of its predecessor--a great sequel I really enjoyed! Next on deck: Coldhearted by Melanie Matthews!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo Review

Title: Wonderland
Author: Stacey D'Erasmo
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A contemporary fable about second chances, self-discovery, music, and love, Wonderland is a simply amazing novel--highly recommended!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Anna is forty four, a beautiful musician, if a little older for a comeback. She walked off the music scene seven years ago. Trying her best to make a comeback, running from the demons of her past, readers are granted a front-row seat to Anna's successes, failings, and demons: constant failed relationships rooted in sex, a coke problem, family issues, and her struggle for fame. Guided by her quest for notoriety and as well as personal security, she finds that the only thing keeping her from success may just be herself..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of this novel, smooth and yet breakneck, seamlessly moving from the past and present and back
-Anna, the beautiful, lost, broken songwriter who is trying so hard to find love, security, and validation, even at the "ripe old" age of forty-four--her character development was remarkably clean and rich
-The various characters that surround Anna, Zach, Alicia, Tom, Ezra, and Lila
-I liked the way sex, drugs, and other things were incorporated throughout the story--it was truly rock and roll
-The constant changing landscapes of the novel added richness to the novel, and made it seem real
-I loved the premise of this novel, an older singer trying to find her way back to herself, and her short fame
-Anna's family, lovingly and clearly described, almost sharply--all of the characters, especially them, seemed remarkably human
-I loved the ending--it was absolutely perfect

What could've been better:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this gorgeous, tender novel! Simply amazing!
-The ending--it was absolutely perfect

Wonderland is a simply superb fable about second chances--highly recommended to all! Next on deck: I Am The Mission by Allen Zadoff!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Angelbound by Christina Bauer Review

Title: Angelbound
Author: Christina Bauer
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: Angelbound, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Despite a funny, kick-ass heroine, a hot, sexy alpha male, and creative world-building, this book had me feeling lost and despite its engaging plot, had me yearning for something more. Solid, but not a spectacular read overall.

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Myla Lewis is a quasi-demon--that is, part demon. She thrives on her lifestyle: kicking butt in the arena against souls who want to battle their way into Heaven. But when things start to get a little out of control, even for her, and her world begins to ripple with unrest, she decides to dig deeper into her mysterious heritage, all the while falling for a sexy, obnoxious prince while she's at it.. And she discovers that more than those she loves could be at stake.. Her whole world is about to be turned on its head..

What I enjoyed:
-I liked the pacing of this novel--it was breakneck and I couldn't put it down
-Myla and her hilarious narration, one part a normal teenager with a bad temper and the other a demon with seriously violent (and lustful) tendencies
-Camilla
-Cissy and Zeke
-Lincoln, of course, and his parents
-Walker 
-Armageddon
-I liked Myla's character development from a spoiled demon brat into a hero worthy of the title
-The ending
-Armageddon
-It was a fun mystery, Myla digging into her past

What could've been better:
-The world-building was very vague and I didn't really get it, even as the book went on to explain it
-The constant ghouls coming in and out of the scene--I really couldn't keep track and it was difficult
-I didn't really like any of the other characters from The Great Houses
-Despite the action and steamy romance, this book just didn't satisfy me and I was left wanting something more

Overall, Angelbound was a good read, but frankly it just wasn't my favorite. Next on deck: Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Perennial by Ryan Potter Review

Title: Perennial
Author: Ryan Potter
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A thrilling, fast-paced debut, Perennial had me by the throat and didn't let go--a juicy whodunit peppered with supernatural elements! Highly recommended for adrenaline junkies!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Alix Keener has moved to the wealthy urban Detroit neighborhood of Beaconsville after the recent death of her mother. Haunted by dreams of a sexy, mysterious ghost, she finds herself drawn into a mysterious web of secrets, deception, crime--the least of which happening to be murder. Forced to confront her growing psychic abilities, she discovers that the web reaches far deeper than she could've ever imagined.. And that the only person she might be able to trust is herself..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing of this novel--it was breakneck and had me by the throat--I couldn't put it down!
-The gritty, frightening urban jungle that was Detroit, scary and all too real
-Alix Keener, the clever, funny, relatable heroine that takes center stage throughout this novel--I really related to her, as she was a nerdy, normal girl before everything started
-The swoon-worthy chemistry between Alix and Lewis
-The secrets and lies that peppered the mystery, I couldn't see anything coming and I was frantically turning pages, trying to figure out what happened
-Lewis Wilde, the mysterious, sexy antihero that helps Alix along the way--and just might have a few secrets of his own
-I loved the way supernatural elements were woven so skillfully in with the modern, gritty mystery--it was really believable, despite everything
-The various people that Alex meets, particularly London, her dream guy, Aruna, and Face
-I loved the way all the characters were sympathetic
-The ending--it was perfect, all I can do is beg for a sequel!

What could've been better:
-Despite the fact that I liked the chemistry between Alix and Lewis, I felt like it happened a little too quickly for my taste


I loved Perennial--amazing, highly recommended for horror and action fans! Next on deck: Angelbound by Christina Bauer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi Review

Title: Nihal of the Land of the Wind
Author: Licia Troisi
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Chronicles of the Overworld, part one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A fascinating, delightful debut, Nihal completely swept me away--a great fantasy sure to win the hearts of readers worldwide!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Even in The Land of the Wind, Nihal is unusual. A brave, lively young woman with bright violet eyes and blue hair, she certainly stands out. Not content with finding a husband and tending a home, Nihal vows to become a warrior, whatever the cost. Finding friends in unlikely places, she becomes a beautiful, skilled warrior. But when an unthinkable tragedy falls upon her, Nihal finds herself utterly consumed by war, bloodlust, and revenge. And as dark forces mount around her, she realizes she must figure out what she's fighting for.. Or her life, as she struggles to find her origins, could mean nothing..

What I enjoyed:
-I love high fantasy novels and this did not disappoint, with a quest for self-discovery, adventure, danger, magic, and passion
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I was absolutely glued to this novel and I couldn't put it down
-The main character, Nihal--she made this novel shine, because as it went on, she was deeply nuanced and complex--her character development was a real treat to read and I enjoyed her
-Sennar, the sweet young boy who becomes Nihal's best friend, and maybe perhaps even more in the sequels--he was just as complex as Nihal, and just as relatable
-I loved the way various creatures were incorporated into the plot, cleverly and simply: dragons, nymphs, elves
-The Tyrant, the wicked, mysterious villain cloaked in shadow--I wonder if we're going to learn some more about him in the coming volumes
-The great cast of characters surrounding Nihal, particularly Soana and Livon and Fen, as well as Ido
-The ending was great--I loved it and I can't wait for more from this author!

What could've been better:
-I wish more had been said about Nihal's origins


I loved, loved, loved this beautiful fantasy novel! Highly recommended, especially to fans of Juliet Marillier! Next on deck: Perennial by Ryan Potter!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Forget Me Not by Shawn Martin Review

Title: Forget Me Not
Author: Shawn Martin
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Shadowflesh, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Just as good as Shadowflesh, Forget Me Not completely captured my heart with the unforgettable installment in Addison and Eileen's story--simply beautiful!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Addison and Eileen return, happy and passionately in love, looking forward to a romantic future together. But when a mysterious old man walks into her grandmother's antique shop with a beautiful cameo, Eileen feels she has to have it. But when the cameo is placed around her neck, her beloved Addison finds that Eileen has completely forgotten him, and their deep relationship. Determined to save his love despite the evil forces gathering around him, Addison finds he may have to sacrifice so much more than he bargained more..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved this sequel, it was just as good as Shadowflesh, maybe even better
-The pacing of this novel was completely breakneck--I was reluctant to put it down and finished it in just two short days
-Eileen, the strong heroine of the novel, who loses her memories--I really felt for her throughout the novel, losing her memories and almost losing her beloved Addison in the process, and ends up saving herself
-Eileen's family, especially her sister
-Nicola, Calvin, and Bonnie Fay
-Addison, the sweet, sexy, loving Romeo that has to capture Eileen's heart yet again--I really felt for him too, torn between letting Eileen go and loving her in spite of the pain they were both in
-Rosalyn and the Stonecypher, frightening, very convincing villains--they were just as formidable and difficult to beat as Donelle of the previous novel
-I really liked the way Martin uses different kinds of magic throughout this novels, never cliched and always interesting
-The ending

What could've been better:
-I didn't really like Missy
-Geoff
-Zach, Barrett or any of the other jocks Eileen encounters

I really, really enjoyed Forget Me Not--anyone looking for a dark book with a swoon-worthy romance should check out this series! Next on deck: Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Monster's Muse by Bradford Tatum Review

 Title: The Monster's Muse
Author: Bradford Tatum
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though the idea was intriguing--the birth of a vampire child that goes on to make horror movies, this book did nothing but sicken, disturb and repulse me--it just wasn't for me, though I really, really tried.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Maddy Ulm, does that name sound familiar? No? Well this is her story--the birth of a little girl child turned vampire by a superstitious Bavarian mother. Found by a man known as The Trout and his faithful lackey, Mutter, Maddy goes on to pave the way for the Golden Age of Hollywood's movies. Haunted by the ghosts of her pasts and her undead existence, she tells her story to the reader, and doing so, finds peace, because at least someone knows the truth..

What I enjoyed:
-I really liked the premise as it was really intriguing, I love vampire books, especially when the life of a vampire is just beginning
-The writing style clearly showed skill and sophistication
 -The historical premise of the novel as well

What could've been better:
-Unfortunately, I had to stop because about 90 pages in, it felt like the disturbing sexual nature of the novel kept escalating, to a point where I just could not bear to read anymore--I was really honestly very disturbed by what was happening in the book, and it made me very uncomfortable

 I really tried, but this book was just on a level that I couldn't get to. Next on deck: Forget Me Not by Shawn Martin!

Moonfall by Vanessa Morton Review

Title: Moonfall
Author: Vanessa Morton
Age Group: Young Adult/Teen
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Tales from the Levant, book one
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though a valiant attempt at an engaging fantasy story set in Biblical times, I just wasn't feeling this novel--with too many names and foreign places to keep track of, the unique premise of a pair of twins was bogged down severely and I just couldn't engage in it.

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Moonfall tells the story of twins Rachav and Zaron. When Rachav partakes in forbidden temple wine, the punishment results in Rachav being put in the service of the local temple priestesses. However, Zaron volunteers to go in her sister's place, setting off a chain reaction of events that result in the destruction of all the twins hold dear, and Rachav finds that faith, love, and danger are far closer than she ever could have imagined..

What I enjoyed:
-The premise of this novel was unique--a girl bound in service to a powerful goddess, and her twin volunteering to take her place--it seemed like quite the adventure
-Rachav, the main character, the strong and beautiful young woman who fights for her family and for her own freedom--I really enjoyed my journey with her, and her character development was rich and real
-The ending
-Salma
-I liked the setting of this novel, of Biblical times set in a pagan city--it was really different

What could've been better:
-Even with an extensive character and city name list, it was really hard to follow everything
-Zaron
-Most of Rachav's family and friends, save Nuzi and a few others
-The pacing seemed to be really all over the place and it was hard to follow
-As the pacing sped up in spots, the plot got muddled and sometimes I couldn't follow anything that was happening at all
-The mood of this book was dark and disturbing and creepy--sometimes overly so

I really think this was a good try at a different premise, but I just didn't like it very much--it was just okay. Next on deck: The Monster's Muse by Bradford Tatum!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford Review

Title: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Author: Jamie Ford
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though not as good as The Songs of Willow Frost, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet still managed to rip my heart into pieces and then put it back together--a simply beautiful book, with a sweet, tragic love story at its center--simply amazing!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Henry Lee is an old man now, haunted by memories of what could've been, what should've been, and what wasn't. Burdened by the grief of losing his wife, he finds that the past has caught up to him when a crowd gathers around the old, derelict Panama Hotel. Finding items from nearly forty years ago, the past washes over Henry with its usual mercy--that is, none. Told seamlessly between 1986 and 1942 and onward, he tells the story of Keiko Okabe, the sweet Japanese girl who captured his heart in the middle of a brutal war.. And in doing so, just might heal the wounds his heart has carried all these long years..

What I enjoyed:
-As with The Songs of Willow Frost, Ford has the pacing pitched perfectly--I was desperately hanging on to every word, eager to find out the ending of this beautiful, bittersweet story
-Henry, the old man who has lost nearly everything, and his courage to face the ghosts--and demons--of his past, and in doing so, finds grace and healing and a happy ending that he deserves--I really felt for him as the novel went on
-Keiko, the sweet Japanese girl who is unfortunately caught up in mass hysteria
-I really enjoyed the way Ford so skillfully captured the atmosphere of post-Pearl Harbor hysteria--the fear, anger, and even hatred directed at those who were not directly "American"
-The love story of Henry and Keiko really made this story shine for me--it definitely sold me
-Sheldon, of course
-Keiko's parents
-Marty and Sam
-The bittersweet memories of Henry's beloved Ethel
-The ending--I loved it and it was just perfect

What could've been better:
-Despite Henry's parents being traditional Cantonese Chinese citizens, I really didn't like either of them, particularly his father
-I wish more could've been said about Ethel, and Marty's childhood

For fans of historical fiction and great, engaging love stories, pick up Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and The Songs of Willow Frost! Next on deck: Moonfall: Tales from the Levant by Vanessa Morton!