Beautiful Demons is the first in a new series, Peachville High Demons. From the moment I began reading, I was drawn into the world and life of Harper Madison. She was such a sympathetic character from the very beginning, and I was totally pulled into her story, practically unable to put it down. The book was well-written, and kept me on the edge, wanting to know all the secrets of the story. The characters were interesting and truly made the story fresh and riveting. The ending left me with questions, lots of questions, and many things were left answered. But instead of leaving me wanting or feeling unsatsified with the conclusion, it left me desperately wanting the next book! A definate must-read! 4.5 mugs!!
Inner Demons (Peachville High Demons, #2)
on Feb. 25, 2011
Inner Demons is the second book in the Peachville High series by Sarra Cannon, and just as good as the first! Once again, I couldn't put the book down. The first book, Beautiful Demons, ended with an excellent cliffhanger and I couldn't wait to get back into the world of Harper Madison! I like the fact that I can't entirely figure out everything that is going on and where things are going within the story. Just when I get to the point of thinking I know which side is good and which is evil, there is an unexpected twist that complete changes that for me. I absolutely love being surprised by a book and I like the fact that the good vs. evil theme is somewhat ambiguous in the series so far.
Sarra's writing has a way of snaring you from the opening sentence and fully keeping your attention throughout the book. Her descriptions are vivid and graphic without being overly so, a perfect balance. She brings the characters to life and makes the reader feel as though they are friends with the characters. Harper is an extremely likeable girl that is easy to relate to, and Lark is one of my favorites of the supporting roles. Drake, while protrayed as a bit of an obnoxious jerk, is completely believable as well. I love when an author can create totally realistic characters in the midde of a paranormal story.
And, once again, Inner Demons, left me with another surprising cliffhanger that makes me frustrated I have to wait a whole day for the next book, Bitter Demons, due to be released tomorrow!!
Sarra Cannon has quickly become one of my favorite authors with her Peachville High Demons series. Bitter Demons is the third book and the series, and my favorite thus far. Cannon is brilliant at weaving suspense and intrigue in her stories. She keeps you guessing throughout the story and the twists and turns are always unexpected and fascinating. The plot thickened in Bitter Demons and I couldn't put it down!
Harper and Jackson are the perfect teenage couple, facing adverisity in the struggle to find their way through neverending and confusing conflict. Harper has been thrown into a world she knows nothing about and doesn't know whom she can trust. You can feel her frustration as she tries to find out more about her own past and the future that everyone is forcing upon her. Jackson has secrets, secrets he doesn't want to acknowledge and as you find out more about him, he becomes a completely sympathetic character. In most popular paranormal fiction, demons are the bad guys. I like that in the Peachville High Demons series, it isn't that black and white. As the twists and turns in the plot, the lines between the demons and the witches become blurry, never entirely sure which is "good" and which is "evil". That just adds to the suspense of the story.
I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series, Shadow Demons, due out later this year!
Despite the controversial title, Dating My Vibrator isn't the smutty tale you would expect. Instead, it is a collection of nine short stories about dating after a long marriage. Some of the stories, some sad, some a little bit of both! Tyrpak's sense of humor with subjects and situations that I myself am all too familiar with was refreshing and fun.
The first short story in the novel, Downhill, cracked me up, mainly because I have been in that situation myself. Tyrpak captured the situation and the feelings perfectly. Rock Bottom, the second story, was much sadder, and again,... I could relate. The next story, Not Nirvana, was both sad and extremely funny, once again perfectly capturing the conflicting emotions post-divorce. I didn't have a Dharma Dan in my life, but the story was absolutely hysterical, and more than a little creepy to know that these stories were based on real experiences! Dust of Souls was another heartwrenching story, but I felt it was a powerful one, perfectly depicting the loneliness that post-divorce life can bring. A Tiny Romance was one of the funniest, starring Sam, a post-divorce man who has sworn of women and romance. Double Date described every creepy, sketchy guy I dated, and made that particular story all too relatable! Phantom Library was definately different from the rest of the stories and I am not really sure I understood that one fully. It was very poetic and interesting to read, however. The final story in the collection was the titled story, Dating My Vibrator. This was my favorite in the collection, the one I most related to. Involving bad dates with a hypocritical guy who completely misrepresented himself, I came away from it shaking my head in sympathetic understanding!
All of the stories were very well-written and so relatable to anyone who has been through a divorce. I highly suggest reading this fun collection!
I have been a huge fan of this series since the very first book, and they just get better and better. Shadow Demons is the 4th book in the series, and it is also my favorite, The plot ensnares you from the beginning, with lots of twists and turns, mystery, and suspense. One of the most intriguing things about the books in this series is the fact that, from moment to moment, you are never quite sure who is good and who is evil. Shadow Demons is no exception. At one point, you think you know exactly where that line is drawn, and then the story twists and you realize that perhaps you were wrong. It makes you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. It is one of those books that just has to be read in one sitting because you are hard pressed to put it down and walk away from it.
Cannon creates characters that are very realistic and believable, drawing you into their own stories, Harper is a great leading lady in the plot, really pulling the reader into her story. She was so well developed that you very often felt the very same emotions that she was feeling within the storyline. There were moments within the story when she was dealing with Jackson and his refusal to come clean with his secrets that I felt her frustration and just wanted to slap Jackson on her behalf! Jackson, although somewhat frustrating at times, was also a sympathetic character that you couldn't help but like. Even the less likeable characters, like Lydia Ashworth, were able to pull you in emotionally, even if because you were angered by them.
As an avid fangirl of the series, I highly recommend the entire series (Beautiful Demons, Inner Demons, Bitter Demons), as well as the new Shadow Demons. The next, and sadly last, book in the series, Demons Forever, will be out sometime this fall and I will be first in line to get it!
Set in rural West Virginia, Monster Story is definately what the title tells you, a true monster story. The action starts from almost the very beginning and doesn't let up. Fairly early on, the reader knows what, if not who, the monster is, but that realization is almost secondary because, at heart, the monster is what the title says, a monster. Plain and simple. But without giving that plot point away, the monster is created to be something very different than those in most fiction, which was a refreshing take on it. The emphasis was definately on the monstrous and it made the story that much more thrilling. The setting of the hollows, hills and woods of West Virginia were described so richly and added a great deal to the creepy, spooky, and scary tone of the story. It also helped build the suspense to the point that every little noise made me jump as I read this! This is definately NOT a book for the faint of heart, because there is a fair amount of blood and gore, an integral part of a great horror novel.
But what really made this book were the characters. The interaction between Christy and her best friend Graeme was lively, and at times very humorous. That unexpected lighthearted humor helped keep the book from being overly dark at times. Tess and David had moments in the book that were loving and tender and that added a nice note of hope to the story. I also loved the unusual characters of Belle and Jaba, unusual in that they are a dog and cat respectively. But, animal or not, they each played their role both in the dark parts of the story and in providing some humor and lightness.
For me the most powerful scene was the final scene. I found myself almost in tears as I turned the pages waiting for the conclusion. I can't say very much more without spoilers, so I will say no more other than that it was a fantastic ending to a wonderful story!
The Tribe was unlike anything I have read and was a fun read. When the story opened and I realized that the initial conversation was taking place between cats, I was intrigued. Well over half of the story is told from the point of view of the cats. Abandoned years ago on a rural farm, the tribe of cats has survived by their wits, with no "two-legs" help. Over the years, the tribe has grown out of control and few of the cats remember "two-legs" as being anything but cruel. So when a young couple moves into the farmhouse, the entire tribe is scared and confused. Tia, as the oldest cat, is the tribe's elder and, with her best friend Bella, rules the tribe. But even Tia is out of her league when it comes to the humans, so she turns to Daca, a formerly domesticated house cat, for help.
Being an owner of two very particular cats, I really liked this book. It was eye-opening in spots, to think of what my cats must think of the things I do or say. The banter between the cats was often light and funny, but there were definately some poignant moments as well. The author created an entire society within this tribe of cats. It was different, being emotionally involved with the cats, but as you followed their story as they learned about their new "two-legs" and began to trust them, you truly did become invested in them. This is definately a book for anyone who loves cats!
Half-Inch is a rather thought-provoking story of a woman who has been pushed to the limits by her abusive husband. Despite their impending divorce, Pammy has realized that she will never be free of him and his abusive ways. For years, obsessed with crime drama TV, she has fantasized about being rid of him,... permanently. The story follows Pammy, as she she is struggling to get out from Bobby's control. Years of abuse have left her scared and meek, but with a hidden strength even she didn't know she possesed.
There is a lot going on in this story, deep emotions, and complicated situations. I had doubts as to whether or not a novella of this length could adequately show those things. But it definately did. I felt as if I knew Pammy, her frustration, her desperation, her fears. Despite the fact that she was planning a murder, it was impossible for me not to feel for her and root for her. I am not really big on murder as a solution in real life, but in the context of the story, it was empowering for Pammy even to just think and plan for it. And it wasn't at all difficult to intensely dislike her overbearing and cruel husband! There were several twists and turns in the story, as well as unexpected bits of humor here and there. The biggest twist came at the end of the book, which I won't share for fear of spoiling a great and interesting ending!
Mama is the epitome of a thriller, with lots of twists and turns, monsters, and a healthy amount of gore! While primarily a horror novel, there was also the underlying story of a family and their struggles in life. Both stories worked hand in hand and each made the other better and more complex. The action was non-stop, and so was the creepy factor! Mama and her children were very unique villians, and absolutely make me want to rethink any possible road trips in my future.
I think the characters made this story for me, as much as the plot. The Conover family is headed back to Illinois after Jeff's career as an actor has hit a dead end. His wife Lee, although she won't admit it to her husband, is more than happy to not live the Hollywood life. Alison is your typical angry teen, furious at what she sees as her father's failure and how it is "ruining" her life. Of all of them, 9 year old Michael was my favorite character. He was sweet and smart and just a lovable kid. Mama and her family, even though the villians of the story, were relatable in their own way. Mama came from a different world, a world in which you had to be hard and cruel to survive. In her own way, she was trying to teach her own children an important lesson. I never thought I would find a murderous villian a sympathetic character, but there were definately shreds of humanity with Mama and her kids.
I think this was a very unique twist on horror, with a very engaging plot. I wouldn't recommend it for the under 17 crowd necessarily because of the level of gore, but I definately recommend it for those who love a good, creepy read!
Confessions of a Call Center Gal is the debut novel of author Lisa Lim, and it is a fantastic start to what I hope is a long line of books. I loved just about everything about this book! I was hooked from the very beginning and just couldn't put it down. The book is a wonderful mix of humor and even some sadness and bittersweet moments. Maddy and her best friend Karsynn are fresh out of college and neither girl can find a job. Sick of living off of her mother and completely bored, Maddy decides to visit Kars in Idaho, and that visit becomes a permanent move when the girls get jobs as customer service reps in a call center.
There were times when I was just laughing out loud at some of the phone calls Maddy recieves in the call center. I frequently went back and reread them just to giggle some more. There were others that were sweet and cute, even some that were heartachingly sad. Much of the book centers around the call center itself, and the people Maddy meets there, but there is plenty to the story outside of it as well. Maddy's crush on Mika, a co-worker, was fun to read about, although there were times that I just wanted to scream at them to get to it and get together! But the inevitable bad timing and misunderstandings just added to the anticipation of the story. There was a subplot with Kars that injected a bit of seriousness and no small amount of sadness into the story, and my heart wanted to break for her.
The characters in this book were wonderful and easily believable. Definately in the light-spirited tone of the book, near the end of the book there was a memo sent out in the call center that had character names that had me laughing hysterically. All of the characters were great, although I think Truong and Hilary were among my favorites of the supporting cast. I had a perfect mental image of Hilary that stayed trhoughout the book, and Truong had me laughing out loud!
This is a fabulously fun read that I highly recommend! The characters are great and the call center stories will give you an entirely different point of view. A really fun book!
Red is the latest novel from Kait Nolan, not part of the Mirus series, and I think it just may be my favorite so far! The story had a little bit of everything: romance, twists and turns, teen drama, action, unexpected villians. Loosely based on the Red Riding Hood tale, Elodie and her father have lived on the edge of society for the last several years after learning about a curse that has been passed for centuries along the femaie line. When nothing happens as the curse says it should, Elodie begins to question the truth of the curse. But eventually, things begin to change in her, things that can only be explained by the curse. Meeting Sawyer, and falling for him, seemed to happen at the worse possible, especially when it becomes clear that someone is trying to kill her,
Elodie is such a strong character, and I love that. She accepts her fate and the responsibility that comes with it, always putting those she loves ahead of herself. Sawyer has problems and secrets of his own, but is inexplicably drawn to Elodie. The two together are a great couple, lots of romance, without being overly steamy. Sawyer is strong, but never overbearing, a fine line that is often crossed in YA romance. Instead, his strength is in the form of support and guidance, a refreshing change.
One of the things I love most about Kait Nolan's books is that, while the paranormal is the main thrust of the plot, there is so much more to the story. Elodie's problems with Amber had nothing to do with the paranormal side of the story, but was a really emotional subplot that had me feeling for Elodie. The back and forth between Elodie and her dad and between Sawyer and his dad were also a huge part of the story, even without being focused on the paranormal.
The action is non-stop, and the twists and turns are fantastic. The unexpected bad guy completely threw me and I loved that! Definately pick up this book and give it a read! It was FABULOUS!
Limerick is the second book in the trilogy and my favorite. This is novella-length, at roughly 55 pages, but, in my opinion, the length does not detract from the story. The story is full and the characters are fully formed.
There is far more action than romance in this book, but that fit with the direction of the story. I like that this book doesn't necessarily follow the "good vs. evil" formula of most fantasy. There is that theme, of course, but the lines aren't clearly drawn. There were times when those who were supposed to be "bad" were cast as "good" and vice versa. It kept the story interesting and the plot engaging. Definitely a little bit darker. Next up is Oathbound.
My review: I truly loved Winter Queen, the first in the Fairy Queens trilogy. I am a big fan of all of Amber Argyle's work (author of the Witch Song series) and this just might be my favorite thus far. I love the author's writing style and the rich worlds and characters that she creates. She is phenomenal at drawing readers into her world and making it feel real. Despite the otherworldly elements to the book, it felt possible. Seeing things through Ilyenna's eyes was like seeing them for myself. I love a book that I can lose myself in and this was one of those books!
Ilyenna is a fascinating character, truly more layered than the average woman of her time and social status. I love the fact that, as a person, Ilyenna seems real. She isn't portrayed as a strong, perfect heroine from the beginning, but one with uncertainty and fear and a lack of self-confidence. What was beautiful about her was watching her find her strength. Darrien, while clearly NOT a character a reader is going to feel for, is one that still draws the reader in. He is that character that we all just have to hate but one that is still more than just the bad guy. Rone was also a wonderful character, and one we the readers could root for, although I wish there had been more of him.
The author's worlds are amazing. They are layered with the kind of details that are not overpowering but that give the world a sense of realism. There are some Viking elements recognizable in the descriptions of the environment, as well. The creation of the culture was seamlessly done, making it feel is if we were just being reminded of things we already know instead of feeling like a lecture to learn a new culture for the new world. That made reading much more engaging. I also loved the use of the theme of Balance in the book, that the Universe must have balance in all aspects of life.
This is not an average "fairy tale," not as light as I expected based on the cover alone. There was darkness and brutality and angst along with all of the adventure, mystery, and intrigue. It was not overdone, but it is definitely a part of the story. Even though the story was much darker at times than I expected, there was no shortage of romance and hope and love, which I truly enjoyed.
Things to love about Winter Queen...
--Ilyenna. She was created to be real, despite all of the fantasy elements. She was flawed and often unsure and that made her character very three-dimensional.
--The world. The author creates amazing worlds, combining elements that we can recognize from reality with new world elements. Everything about this world is vivid and graphically imaginable.
Things I wanted more of...
--Darrien. Even though his character was not at all likeable, I think it would have explained a lot about him if we had known more about his relationship with his brother.
--Rone. I loved him and I wanted to know more of his story, apart from Ilyenna.
--The fairies. I thought they would play a more prominent role in the story. They were important, but they were able to play their roles from a more detached distance from the main story.
My recommendation: Even if fairy tales aren't your thing, I would recommend this book. There is brutality and violence, as well as some sexual content. The violence is mild in that it is not overly described and the sexual content is even less detailed but alluded to. An excellent read!
This book has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, but the subject matter is so different from a lot of contemporary YA fiction of the non-paranormal genre that I was intrigued. Sometimes these intense subjects can be glossed over or sanitized for the YA book, so I was interested to see how that was going to play out in this book.
The underlying "secret" of this book is a dark subject and one that was probably as tough to write as it was to read without getting extremely emotionally invested in the main character. Oakley is clearly a girl who is haunted by something in her past, but we don't know what that was for much of the book. The hints were subtle and that made the reveal that much more shocking and upsetting. An interesting twist to this story was the fact that Oakley doesn't speak. At all. For that matter, she has virtually no communication with anyone of any kind. Her isolation was so complete that, although she had a cell phone for texting, she never used it. Every night, Cole texted her and she always answered him... but never sent them. I didn't understand why that was until the end, which I won't share for fear of spoilers. That isolation made me wonder how the story could possibly progress well with a character who had no verbal communication. How can she maintain friendships and relationships, trapped in herself the way she was? The answer was simple. She couldn't, not really, outside of her brother and her best friend Cole. It was tragic, her isolation.
There is romance in this book, and it is touching and sweet, but I think that the rest of it was more of the central focus of the book. And I liked that. I liked that there was much more to the story than teenage romance and angst.
This is a story that is, in my opinion, character-driven. There were characters I loved and there were others that I hated with a passion. Like in real life, there were points at which I hated/loved a particular character and then later in the story, my feelings would flip. Oakley's parents are a perfect example of this. As a mom, I felt like their hands off approach was a bit unbelievable. But as the story progresses and you learn ore there are questions that get answered and make you understand.
Things to love about Silence...
--The subject matter. Not that one can truly "like" the subject matter, but I liked how it was handled throughout the story.
--Knowing Oakley. As I said, I wondered how Oakley would be as a well-rounded character without communication and I was truly impressed with how much of a non-issue that turned out to be.
--The relationships and characters. Whether you loved them, or hated them, they evoked a response and that is important.
Things I wanted more or less of...
--More Cole. Technically, the chapters of this book are done in POV-style, chapters for Oakley and chapters for Cole. But Cole's POV doesn't come into play until Chapter 11, more than halfway through the book.
Some quotastic goodness...
--Silence consumed my whole life ; it suppressed things I could never express. My silence was responsible for my family’s happiness. Silence was my prison (1).
--We couldn’t be together. I would never be good enough for him. He was perfect , and I was broken (18).
--I loved her so much. More than anything in the world. Enough to let her go (211).
My recommendation: This was a moving story that I think is more than worth a read!
I love dystopian fiction and this novel did NOT disappoint. What I found most interesting was the blend of themes that are woven together in this story line. The world of Beyond New Eden is post-apocalyptic, what is left after a war that devastated the entire world. At first the world inside the dome seems as close to utopian as possible. It is a peaceful, ordered society. Class systems do not exist in a society of clones, each person the same as the ones before and after them. But we soon discover that, as with most utopian worlds, there is much that is dystopian in nature.
Adam and Eve 142 are at the center of this books, two paired clones. A horrible tragedy causes them to be banished from the city for six months. During the six months that they are gone, they discover that the world outside is not as much of a wasteland as they were taught, even finding other humans that have survived, even flourished.
The characters are fantastic, the foils between those inside and outside New Eden fascinating. Those inside the dome are not devoid of emotions, but they are seemingly dampened, especially when compared to those in the outside settlements. It is through those other humans that Adam and Eve learn more about themselves and humanity itself. Their romance was very sweet and innocent as they discovered what it really meant to be human.
Things to love...
--The world of New Eden. It was perfectly created.
--The emotional growth of Adam and Eve.
--The secrets and twists.
Things I wanted more/less of...
--More explanation of the supplements.
--More explanation of why the lifespans are the way they are.
My Recommendation: I loved the twists and turns, the intrigue of the story line. The ending suggests that there is more to come and I hope that there will be! I gave it 4.5 mugs!
This review originally appeared on my blog: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=10091.