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Thursday, January 31, 2013

REVIEW: Sin Undone by Larissa Ione




HER TOUCH IS DEADLY

As the only female Seminus demon ever born, master assassin Sinead Donnelly is used to being treated like an outcast. She spent decades enslaved, and now vows she'll die before she'll relinquish her freedom again. Then Sin's innate ability to kill her enemies goes awry: She creates a lethal new werewolf virus that sparks a firestorm of panic and violence. 


HIS HUNGER CAN'T BE DENIED


Half-werewolf, half-vampire Conall Dearghul is charged with bringing in Sin to face punishment for the plague. And she's no stranger: He's bound to her by blood, and the one sexual encounter they shared has left him hungering for her raw sensuality. Worse, Sin is the underworld's most wanted and Con soon learns he's the only one who can help her . . . and that saving her life might mean sacrificing his own.

Book: Sin Undone by Larissa Ione
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Demonica, #5
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (3 Zombies)

After how awesome the first four Demonica books were (or at least, the fourth was; it's been a few years since I read the first three), the "conclusion" to the series was a huge letdown. I use the word conclusion lightly because the series is being continued in the spin-off type thing featuring the four horsemen of the apocalypse, so it isn't really much of a conclusion at all.

I didn't like Sin in the previous book, and my dislike of her only continued in Sin Undone. She wasn't my kind of character at all; she was a huge Debby Downer, whiny, and constantly blaming everyone else for absolutely everything. She didn't make me hate the book necessarily, but she definitely didn't make me love it, either.

Con was likeable, but eerily similar to the Seminus brothers. In fact, most of the book was like that; likeable, but somewhat bland and repetitive. I'm definitely glad that I read it, but I don't think that it's at all a representation of the quality of the series as a whole.

Overall, Sin Undone was a very forgettable book, but I would still recommend it to anyone who has already started this series because it's an important segue into the spin-off series as well as a conclusion to some of the story arcs left dangling in the previous book.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Reading Update

 
Reading Update


Last week in books:
  • Didn't get any more of The Midnight Mayor read :( Again.
  • Finished Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione.
  • Read Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
  • Read Body and Soul by Jordan Castillo Price
  • Still can't find Daemon Eyes :/
  • Started reading Sin Undone by Larissa Ione.
This week in books:
  • Read This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost.
  • Finish Sin Undone. As of the time this post was written (Sunday night), I'm more than halfway through, so there's a good chance I'll finish before this post even goes live.
  • Read Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione, a spinoff of the Demonica series.
  • Figure out where Daemon Eyes is hiding. Carry-over from last week.
Wishful thinking:
  • Read the last 3/4 of The Midnight Mayor. This will happen eventually.

That's all for this week. What are you planning on reading? Any good books you've read lately?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

REVIEW: Body and Soul by Jordan Castillo Price




The PsyCop boys are back! Policeman Vic has yet another new partner at work, but the really scary thing in his life is spending Thanksgiving with Jacob's family. The domesticity of the holiday is followed by a little light house-hunting, and it's a relief to get the call to go back to work.

The urgent case means that Vic and company have a serial kidnapper on their hands, and it will take every resource they have, and every bit of their talent, to solve the mystery. Grab the third PsyCop book today!


Book: Body and Soul by Jordan Castillo Price
Release Date: October 20, 2007
Format: eBook
Genre: Mystery / Paranormal Romance (M/M)
Series: PsyCop, #3
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

I didn't think that Body and Soul lived up to the glory of the first two PsyCop books, but it definitely didn't suck. The strong point of BaS was the characterization, IMO, and it was a HUGELY strong point. I loved the developments in Vic and Jacob's relationship, as well as the introduction of Vic's new partner.

The downside to the amazing character development was that the mystery plot was kind of halfhearted. It felt rushed and unimportant, especially in comparison to Vic and Jacob's dramatic house hunt, which ended spectacularly, I might add.

I think that because these books are so short (BaS was less than 150 pages!!) it is harder to fit a good mystery and relationships into them, but Price always makes it work well enough to make me happy.

While the PsyCop novels may not be the deepest, most intellectual books, they're fun and adventurous and great for someone looking for a quick read. Before you pick up this series based on my recommendation, though, keep in mind that they are very adult and M/M, so if that kind of thing makes you uncomfortable, then you should probably pass on these.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

REVIEW: The Shadow by Kelly Green


Smart and sassy Abby Grace is a seventeen-year-old with a talent for getting out of trouble. Sent to repair the lives and loves of teenagers on the edge of disaster, Abby is the perfect girl for the job. She has everything going for her… except one thing: a body.

This fast-paced and exciting episode is the first installment in an ongoing mystery series with a supernatural twist.

Episode 1

When Abby Grace wakes up in the back of a van, she has no idea who she is, how she got there, or why anyone would want to kidnap her. After escaping her masked captors, she hurries home, only to discover that she unknowingly left her younger brother behind in the van. Unable to answer the police’s questions with her memories gone, she retreats to the safety of her bedroom where she tries to reconstruct her life. Just as she is settling into the belief that things will one day return to normal, she looks in the mirror—and sees a stranger’s face.


As Abby learns next, she has become a Shadow, sent to inhabit the lives of strangers in trouble. With nothing to go on except the vague hints of her cute but maddening Guardian, a 19th century ghostly teenager named Will, Abby sets out to rescue the missing brother. But she will need all of her intelligence, fearlessness, and wit, because if she fails to find him in time, she will remain trapped in this unfamiliar body forever.


Book: The Shadow by Kelly Green
Release Date: October 17, 2011
Format: eBook
Genre: Paranormal / Young Adult
Series: Borrowing Abby Grace, #1
Obtained: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

I picked up this book mostly because the author had sent the ebook to me recently enough that it was toward the top of my emails and I didn't have a clue what I wanted to read at the time, but I was truly shocked by how much I loved it.

Whenever I finish a book at night--which is when I usually finish books, for some reason--no matter how late it is, I make myself read at least the first few pages of the next book I'm going to read because I'm a lot less likely to procrastinate if I've already started it. So, when I started reading The Shadow at around 2am, I expected to read a few pages and go to sleep like a normal human being. Instead, I stayed up until 5am reading, and finished the book during breakfast the next morning. I just couldn't put it down.

What really hooked me was the amazing pacing. There was never a slow moment, and therefore, never a moment when it felt like a good place to put the book down for the night! I was so shocked when I looked at the clock and saw what time it was!

Abby was a cute character, and I can't wait to learn more about her in the later installments of this series. I've already read the second, and the third is very high up on my list of books I need to read ASAP. Needless to say, this series has me hooked, and I definitely recommend the short, fast-paced books to any fans of YA lit.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekly Update

 
Reading Update


Last week in books:
  • Didn't get any more of The Midnight Mayor read :(
  • Finished Blameless by Gail Carriger after starting it for the first time in late 2011 and picking it up again (finally) this year :)
  • I managed to lose Daemon Eyes somewhere in my bedroom, so I didn't get to read that at all. Still looking for it :'''(
  • Read the first quarter of Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione. It's great to get back to this series, especially since it's been several years since I read the last book.
This week in books:
  • Finish The Midnight Mayor. For reals, this week.
  • Finish Ecstasy Unveiled.
  • Read Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward. 
  • Go through all of my books and figure out where Daemon Eyes is hiding.
Wishful thinking:
  • Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione
  • Body and Soul by Jordan Castillo Price
  • Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

That's all for this week. What are you planning on reading? Any good books you've read lately?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

REVIEW: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder





London, 1861.

Sir Richard Francis Burton—explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman; his reputation tarnished; his career in tatters; his former partner missing and probably dead.

Algernon Charles Swinburne—unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade; for whom pain is pleasure, and brandy is ruin!

They stand at a crossroads in their lives and are caught in the epicenter of an empire torn by conflicting forces: Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier, and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labor; Libertines oppose repressive laws and demand a society based on beauty and creativity; while the Rakes push the boundaries of human behavior to the limits with magic, drugs, and anarchy. The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack, and to find out why werewolves are terrorizing London's East End.

Their investigations lead them to one of the defining events of the age, and the terrifying possibility that the world they inhabit shouldn't exist at all!

Book: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
Release Date: April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Genre: Alternative History / Fantasy
Series: Burton & Swinburne, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

Before I read this book on a whim, I had been reading mostly paranormal young adult, and I was reading really slowly, but I couldn't figure out why. After I flew through Spring Heeled Jack, I realized that had tn tired of YA and needed to switch genres for a while, and steampunk was as good a genre as any. I'd always enjoyed it, even if most of the good ones happen to be quite a bit longer than the average book.

My favorite part of SHJ was seeing familiar historical figures up close and personal. There were some very recognizable names sprinkled throughout the book, as well as some more obscure ones, and the history nerd in me gave a little squee of joy every time I spotted one.

I'm not quite sure why the series is called Burton & Swinburne, because the later wasn't involved in much until the very end, but he was definitely an awesome character once he got more page time. I hope he's a larger part of further books in the series.

If you're at all a fan of alternative history or fantasy, I would definitely recommend you give this book a try!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

REVIEW: Need by Carrie Jones




Pain shoots through my head. Fireworks. Explosions. All inside my brain. The white world goes dark and I know what's about to happen.

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you'd have to fear.

Book: Need by Carrie Jones
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Young Adult
Series: Need, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucket (2 Zombies) (DNF)

This book is something I think I would have loved in middle school, but at this point in time, I couldn't stand it. It seemed cheesy and drawn-out, and like it wasn't really going anywhere. I don't want to be too much of a Debby Downer and just go on and on about why I hated this book, but I'll discuss a few of my major issues with it in this review.

First off, Zara was too insensitive and self-centered to be likeable. She went on and on about how sad it was that her stepdad died and how horrible her life, then got mad at her mother for her completely reasonable actions, without ever stopping to think that she just lost her husband. I think that trumps stepdad by a long shot.

Another thing I didn't like was that Zara had insta-love with almost every single guy she went to school with. Speaking of insta-emotions, Megan hated Zara on sight for absolutely no reason.

I'm not sure if any of these issues were resolved later in the book, but I stopped about halfway through because I couldn't stand Zara's whining any longer. Honestly, this book really reminded me of Twilight in a rip-off kind of way. I don't recommend it at all.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekly Update

 
Reading Update


Last week in books:
  • Finally got to my re-read of A Game of Thrones, which was just as amazing as the first time I read it. I didn't review it on the blog for some reason, but I will this time around.
  • Got almost 1/4 of the way through The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin.
  • Completely abandoned the read-a-thon I was doing :/
This week in books:
  • Finish The Midnight Mayor, which is taking me forever for some reason.
  • Read the second part of Daemon Eyes by Camille Bacon-Smith (it's two books put together).
  • Read Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward.
Wishful thinking:
  • The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
  • The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller
  • Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione

That's all for this week. What are you planning on reading? Any good books you've read lately?

Monday, January 7, 2013

My First Bout of Books Read-a-Thon!


Bout of Books Read-a-Thon


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books 6.0 team

My goals for the read-a-thon are as follows:
  • Read at least 200 pages a day. I can't really set a book/day goal because of the varying lengths of my choices.
  • Watch a maximum of 1 hour of television a day.
  • Read at least two hardcopies from my TBR shelf instead of cozying up to my Kindle the entire week.
I'm going to list ten possible books to read this week because I want options, but I'm only aiming to read around five. These are my choices:


1. The Innocent Mage

2. The Midnight Mayor
 

3. A Game of Thrones
 
 
4. The Hunchback Assignments
 

5. The Blade Itself
 

6. The Way of Shadows
 
 
7. The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
 
 
8. Assassin's Apprentice
 

9. The Name of the Wind
 

10. Lord Foul's Bane
 

 
Happy reading!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

REVIEW: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch


In his highly acclaimed debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a band of daring thieves led by con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off.

After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long—and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.

This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele—and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior…and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.

Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors…straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb—until they are closer to the spoils than ever.

But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough . . .

Book: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Release Date: July 31, 2007
Format: eBook
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, #2
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

The first book in the Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, The Lies of Locke Lamora, was my first review of 2013 and favorite book of 2012, and its sequel Red Seas Under Red Skies was my last book of 2012! I am absolutely in love with this series, guys!

The first half of The Lies of Locke Lamora had a lighter tone than the second half, and Red Seas definitely read more like the second half. Locke spends most of the book in some really dark places, emotionally. I don't want to spoil Lies for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but the events of Lies are definitely foremost in Locke and Jean's minds throughout Red Seas, and I'll admit to shedding a few tears at times.

While Locke was very much the glue that held the Gentlemen Bastards together in Lies, Jean really steps up in its sequel. He and Locke have some problems in their epic bromance, but they're definitely stronger for it.

I'll be honest, I really missed Camorr in this book, but I'm still hopeful that I'll get to see it again in future books. It was great getting to see more of Locke's world, but nothing can quite compare to the corruption and camaraderie of Camorr.

This is a great sequel to an amazing book that EVERYONE should check out as soon as possible, especially fans of fantasy settings!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

REVIEW: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch


An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. Born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora dodges both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains, neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected family of orphans “Gentlemen Bastards.” Locke grows to lead, delightedly pulling off one outrageous trick after another, infamous as the Thorn of Camorr—no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. But the Gray King is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game—or die trying.  


Book: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Format: eBook
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (6 Zombies)

Welcome to my first review of 2013!! I'm very excited for the new year, and one of my resolutions is to post more often, so this is a good start! I figured that it would be good to start the new year off on a happy, 6 zombie note, with my favorite read of 2012. So, without further ado, here is my review of one of the best--and last--books I read in 2012.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is pretty much a cross between Game of Thrones and Ocean's 11, and it blows both of them out of the water. Locke is hands down my favorite character of 2012, which no one will be surprised about when they read this book. He's my dream character, a thief with morals, and a priest, too!

The summary I found on GoodReads is a bit misleading in regards to Chains--he is priest, but not of Perelandro, the god whose temple he operates from. Chains and Locke are both priests of the nameless 13th god, the Crooked Warden, who is the god of thieves. I really enjoyed learning about the different gods and goddesses and the entire religious system that the characters of this world operate under. It was quite intricate and cool! In fact, one of my favorite aspects of this series is the culture involved in the world building. The city-states of Camorr, Tal Verrar, Vel Virazzo, etc. at so complete that I could easily imagine an entire world going on around Locke and his friends.

If you've read many of my reviews, you probably also know that I'm a big fan of bromances, and Locke and his fellow Gentleman Bastard Jean had one hell of a bromance! I loved all of the side characters, as well, and the the bonds that cemented Locke's gang together were so awesome to read about.

Another cool thing about this series is that the characters' actions truly do have consequences. When they get into fights, they get hurt; when they go up against some of the most powerful figures in Camorr, not every comes out alive; injuries don't heal overnight. It was quite refreshing to read about fallible characters for once.

Even if you aren't a huge fan of fantasy, The Lies of Locke Lamora is a book you should definitely give a chance. It was my favorite read of 2012, and if you pick up any of my recommendations to read this year, this should be the one. Happy reading, and happy 2013!

Look forward to my review of the second book in the Gentlemen Bastards Sequence, Red Seas Under Red Skies, in the near future!