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Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2013

REVIEW: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead




They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won't give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri's face join Lissa's. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.


Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back...and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead's international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series.

Book: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Release Date: December 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Young Adult
Series: Vampire Academy, #6
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

When I finally read Last Sacrifice, it had been way too long since the last time I'd picked up a book in the Vampire Academy series, and I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to follow much of the events since it had been so long and I remembered that the plot had gotten especially complicated in the previous novel, but I was able to jump right back in without a hitch. Yay!

Rose and Dimitri are one of my favorite couples ever, and I really loved getting back into their relationship, but I was also worried that one of my favorite characters in the series, Adrian, would end up getting neglected or worse. I won't say what happened with all of that drama, except that I was really satisfied with what happened and Mead managed to stay true to the characters really well.

I was really happy with how the series ended, but my reading of the book was somewhat tarnished by the fact that it was an ending to one of the series that really got me into the Paranormal YA genre. Although I'm super sad to see VA go, I have read and enjoyed the first book in the spinoff series--review coming soon--and I can't wait to see what more Mead has to offer in the future, especially since she's ended so many series lately.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

REVIEW: Girl Steals Guy 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.

Book: Girl Steals Guy by Kelly Green
Release Date: October 21, 2011
Format: eBook
Genre: Paranormal / Young Adult
Series: Borrowing Abby Grace, #2
Obtained: From the author, in exchange for an honest review
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

The Borrowing Abby Grace books are all really short, and I think that they're meant to be more along the lines of episodes from a tv show than individual movies, so my review is going to be pretty short accordingly.

I obviously love this series, since I gave the first book five zombies as well, and I can never put them down once I pick them up, which often leads to a few hours of sleep lost. However, because of their length, it's never more than a few hours, which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time, because I want more Abby, and could this sentence be any more of a run-on, because I really don't think it could.

So. Abby herself is definitely the strongest point of the series. She's an amazing, adorable, and super fun character who helps suck you into the book immediately, which is necessary since there are no pages to waste on a boring introduction in books this short!

I honestly have zero complaints about this series, and anyone looking for a quick, fun, and/or easy read should definitely check them out, because they are all of the above and a lot more!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

REVIEW: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin



A NEW ORIGINAL SERIES, NOW ON HBO.

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

A GAME OF THRONES

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.


From the Paperback edition.


Book: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Release Date: January 1, 1996
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

Several years ago, back when I was a freshman in high school, my creative writing teacher recommended that I read A Song of Ice and Fire, and I devoured them, but when I decided to do a reread of the series at the beginning of this year (2013) along with a friend who is reading them for the first time, I realized that I had never reviewed them. Also, that I forgot a lot of the characters' names and other million of the other tiny details that make the land of Westeros so rich and engrossing. So, it was almost as if I was reading A Game of Thrones for the first time.

One of the things that a lot of people find to be intimidating about A Song of Ice and Fire is the length of the books. A Game of Thrones is pretty lengthy, and they only get progressively thicker from here on out. However, this is one of the best parts of the series, in my opinion, because it means that every time a new book comes out I get a lot more to read! I consider myself to be a pretty fast reader, and it sucks to read an amazing book in a day and half or so and then have to wait years for the next book to come out. This is even worse in most fantasy series, since the wait times between books are often exponentially longer. At least when the books are over 1000 pages, they take a little bit longer to get through.

Another part of A Song of Ice and Fire that I love is that there isn't really one set main character. A huge number of different characters get to tell their part of the story in each book, so odds are in your favor that at least a few chapters will be from your favorite character's point of view, which is always fun. My favorites are Theon Greyjoy, Sandor Clegane, and Jaqen H'gar :)

Since I actually have nothing negative to say about A Game of Thrones, I'll just mention one of my other favorite parts of the book before this review starts to get too lengthy: there is no strict line between good and bad. Most people would say that Starks = good and Lannisters = bad, but it isn't that simple. The Starks, especially Catelyn, can be cruel and spiteful at times, and Tyrion Lannister is one of the most sympathetic characters in the series, in my opinion. Even Jaime Lannister has his moments, as does his sister, although hers are considerably fewer.

If you're an avid reader of the fantasy genre, or just dipping your toes into the shallow end of the pool (that was kind of a weird metaphor), you should definitely check out A Song of Ice and Fire, but only if you're willing to put up with a pretty long wait between books, since GRRM isn't the fastest writer around (although very few amazing fantasy writers are [ahem, Lynch, Rothfuss, and your ilk, I'm looking at you]).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

REVIEW: Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis




Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD's Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit.

Like the rest of America, Scranton's got an uneasy 'live and let unlive' relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that's when they call Markowski. He carries a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

Book: Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Occult Crimes Unit Investigation, #1
Obtained: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

I picked up Hard Spell mostly just looking for a quick, easy read, but what I got was so much more than I was expecting! It was definitely fast-paced an exciting, but also a lot deeper than I thought it would be. The most welcome surprise was the amazing friendship between Stan and his new partner,  Karl Renfer, who I absolutely adored.

I've heard some people complain about "swearing and sexism" in this series, but I didn't really notice anything terribly offensive, although I do understand where the overly-sensitive might find reasons to whine about a good book.

As far as fast, fun supernatural detective series go, this one, IMO, is up there with The Dresden Files in terms of awesome. I am definitely hooked on this series, and I can't wait to get to the second book, which is staring eagerly from my TBR mountain in the corner of the bedroom. I DEFINITELY recommend it!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

REVIEW: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward




Few authors give readers such a “powerful rush”* as #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward does in her phenomenal books of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Now she returns to that fiercely intoxicating world in a new novel of a woman’s journey from terrifying enslavement to an erotic rapture that proves equally dangerous…

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

Book: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

I read the first four chapters of Lover Unleashed back in 2011 when it came out originally, but that was around the time I was getting really tired of PNR in general and vampires in specific, so I had to put it down before I decided to give up on the series altogether. I'm really glad that I gave it some time, however, because I still love the BDB and I can't wait to get back into the series with the next book, which is already out.

Now that I'm getting back to all of my old favorite PNR series, the Black Dagger Brotherhood books were an obvious choice to read ASAP, and Manny and Payne's story didn't disappoint, although I feel like Butch and V really stole the show with a little competition from Qhuinn.

Some of the sex scenes made me laugh, TBH, but they weren't as annoying as I've read in other PNR series, and I could mostly skim through them without missing anything important after the first few (for obvious reasons, if you've read the book).

I had kind of forgotten some things about the Lessening Society and the new vampires that have been introduced lately, but Lover Unleashed did a great job of easing me back into the BDB world without confusing the crap out of me, which was pretty awesome.

I'm not even going to bother with recommending the BDB series because pretty much everyone has read them already, but if you haven't checked out the spinoff series Fallen Angels, those are also really good.

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.

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.

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.