on Aug. 24, 2011
**Minor spoiler alert**
If sad stories make you weep then you’re going to be in big trouble with Megan’s Way, an emotional rollercoaster if ever there was one. Megan is a single parent and she is dying from ovarian cancer and worried about how Olivia, her fourteen-year-old daughter, is going to handle it. Anyone who has children will be able to relate. Even though my daughter is grown now, I imagine life would still be difficult for her if something were ever to happen to me.
I enjoyed reading this novel even though I ran across a few areas that I believe could have been fleshed out more. Butting heads with Mom is typical teenager. They all have to try to spread their wings before they are ready and Olivia is no different. But she ends up getting kidnapped and almost raped when she spreads her wings in the wrong direction. Only a close relationship of the paranormal kind with her mother keeps it from taking place. Still, it’s a traumatic event and yet we never hear another word about it. Since Megan did end up gouging the man’s eye out during the rescue, I would have thought it deserved more time. It should have had a longer reaching effect on Olivia. Considering how the novel ends, I also would’ve liked more information on how Megan and Olivia could have this strange connection.
A lot of time is spent building toward this mysterious ritual Megan and her best friends have every year. The way Megan was going on about it, and her not wanting Olivia to take part, had me thinking something big would be taking place. Nothing really ever comes of this either and I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want her daughter there, especially since it would be her last time. Because of the way this novel began in the prologue with the fortune telling, I think I was anticipating going in the direction of paranormal at the ritual. I have to say I felt a bit let down. But, these two parts were the only ones that bothered me. I love the mystery involved with Olivia’s father and it even manages to take me by surprise at the end where Megan’s best friend Holly was concerned. I won’t give this one away. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
The writing is very good, the main characters 3D and real. Olivia acted a little older than fourteen in my eyes, but then again, she’s an only child who is watching her loving mother die. If that doesn’t make you grow up fast, then nothing will. Without the problem areas I mentioned above, I would have easily given this novel five stars. There is no way to read it and not shed a tear or two along the way. For me, it took the whole box of Kleenex to get through. I'll look forward to reading more novels by Melissa Foster in the future.
Harold Finn—Ninja Warrior by Paul Donovan is a fast, fun read, with quirky characters that easily held my attention right from the first page. Harold appears to be an average, somewhat bumbling, office nerd at the beginning, but we soon learn he is much more than that. After he and his lifelong friend Connie stop for Chinese food one night on their way home from work, Mr Doshi, the owner, tells Harold he is the Ninja Warrior, one they have been waiting for.
These characters remind me a lot of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” stories by Christopher Golden in the fun way they interact with one another. Harold becomes the Ninja Warrior in much the same way Buffy became the vampire slayer. It’s the way these characters work off each other that makes the novel so much fun to read, a perceived lightness to otherwise dark and dangerous circumstances.
When Connie’s parents are killed under odd conditions, Harold must hope he has learned enough from Mr Doshie to keep him and Connie alive. Their boss, Kendall Kirch, doesn’t care who he has to eliminate in order to proceed with his evil plans, even pulling the plug on his own father at the hospital. He ordered Connie’s parents killed and will think nothing of adding her and Harold to the list.
I would have liked more information to be given about this mysterious warrior—where did he originate from, why Harold? Was he born the chosen warrior, or did it come later on in life? This part was more or less passed over, but even so, the characters still each had separate 3D personalities and I was easily able to picture the scenes. There were some issues with editing that I found mildly irritating. I felt the text could have used one more round of editing to catch the occasional typo and a few issues with punctuation before it was released to the public. Though I took note when I ran into these places, they weren’t enough to seriously take away from my enjoyment of the story. Without the editing issues taken into account I very likely would have given Harold Finn, Ninja Warrior five stars instead of four. A highly entertaining read and I recommend you take a look. For sure I’ll be watching for the next novel by Paul Donovan starring Harold Finn and Connie Stinson.
Dark Matter is the second in a great new series by author Christie Rich. I have found the story so far to be a fast, fun, and an interesting new take on the world of fae. Definitely high on the sexual tension scale for all you hopeless romantics like me.
So recap book one—Rayla finds out she is an Elemental, or one who can influence the elements. But there is a catch. She needs to bond with one of the fae lords before she can gain access to her power. Enter four hot men who are all trying to win Rayla over to them, only she’s not sure she wants to be tied to any of them.
Dark Matter finds two of her prospective lovers caught, tortured, and held captive on an island in order to lure Rayla in. It seems there is a group of people who have been experimenting with Elementals through genetics and they have plans to impregnate her in hopes of producing the first male Elemental. They figure she will eventually show up to try to rescue her two favorite fae lords and when she does they can trap her the same way they trapped the lords. This part is interesting and kept the tension level up throughout the story. Rayla also manages to gain access to some of her power without having to bond with one of the lords.
In the first novel I had a lot of trouble connecting with Rayla in a believable way when it came to some of her thoughts and actions. Relationships with family and friends were shallow and didn’t come across well, sometimes downright irritating. Minor characters tended to be two dimensional and flat. There were also quite a few typos and punctuation errors that tended to trip me up. In this second novel both of these problems improved a great deal. I still have trouble connecting with Rayla in some of her actions, but I was more willing to forgive her in this second story. Her relationship with her best friend Cassie is coming across better and I loved watching her relationship with Heath develop (a hot new lord). I’m not so sure I’d be so wishy-washy about choosing one of them, but this is not a fault in the story, only a difference of opinion.
Bottom line—I enjoyed the novel quite a lot. The first one pricked my interest and this one worked to build on it. I very much look forward to book three and I’m hoping Rayla will make up her mind soon and choose one of the guys because she’s driving me as crazy as she is them. For all you fantasy romance lovers out there, this one is well worth your time and dollars. They remind me a little bit of Laurell K Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series, though thankfully without all the graphic sex.
Rayla is an Elemental, but she doesn’t learn this about herself until after she leaves home for college. She also finds out that Elementals are wanted/hunted by fae lords as prospective mates. Elementals are able to bond with a fae lord and it increases the power in both parties. Rayla has four lords who are serious about courting her. Most Elementals can only influence one element. Rayla can manipulate all of them, though she hasn’t learned how to control it yet.
There is not a lot of action in this first novel. We meet Rayla, a few of her friends, and the lords. We spend most of this novel learning about the rules associated with the fae and Elementals, and also with Rayla as she gets to know each of the lords. I’m a hopeless romantic, so this part was great, the sexual tension hot, and descriptions very good. If you’re seeking a lot of action over romance however, it might not be for you.
My number one test for any novel is judged by how fast I read it. If I’m still struggling through after a week or more, not good. I read Five by Christie Rich in two. It would have been one if outside life had kept out of the way. So this gives the novel an automatic top score in stars. But then I have to take into account editing, typos and such. This tripped me up quite a few times, more of a distraction than outright irritation, but I do hope for better when I read the second novel in the series.
I also ran into a few problems where character development and believability are concerned. Rayla and Cassie are supposedly best friends, but I felt through most of the story that they more or less just tolerated each other, which didn’t work for me. I also questioned Rayla’s willingness to accept all this weirdness with hardly a blink. I know how I would’ve reacted if placed in her shoes and this was nowhere close. Her attraction to the fae is believable enough when she is in their presence. I get (and liked) the power they seem to hold over her. What I couldn’t get was why she still thought well of some of them out of their presence. She seemed to fall into and out of love too easily. The aunt who raised her also didn’t come across as loving, or even fearful about the danger Rayla had put herself in. She almost came across more as an afterthought, which I thought was strange. So these are the two greatest faults with this story in my opinion–editing and character development. I’m going to take one star off for each– though probably more a 3.5. It is still a fast, fun read and I have no problems recommending it to my family and friends. I’m looking forward to part two.
Genesis by Christie Rich is the third novel in this series about an Elemental named Rayla Tate. So far it has been my favorite. In “Five” the first of this series, we are introduced to Rayla, who is an Elemental, or one who can manipulate the elements. She was raised in the dark about Elementals and the fae realm she’d soon get thrown into. We are also introduced to four fae lords, all of who are hoping to win Rayla’s heart and convince her to bond with them. The first novel wasn’t action packed, but I did enjoy a lot of the world building and the beginnings of a romance. It was a fair set up to the next in line “Dark Matter”.
In the second novel we learn more about each fae lord as Rayla tries to choose which one to bond with. We also meet a new one here. Action was better in this second novel, as well as the characters behaving in a more believable manner. Editing in the first novel wasn’t the best, a few typos and such tripped me up more than I would have liked. “Dark Matter” had fewer problems and for the most part I enjoyed it.
In Genesis we find the characters developed even more. I found myself able to connect with the main character in a way that I had not in the first two. The tension is held well from start to finish and the action is better in my opinion. There weren’t as many slow spots that tended to make the text drag. It should be enough for those who want more than straight romance in their stories, though things are definitely still hot between Rayla and the lords here. The romance part has been a high positive for me in all three novels and is what first caught and held my attention in “Five” and “Dark Matter”. I personally don’t mind a small lag in action if it helps to build up the romance part of things. I believe there is a balance in this third novel that wasn’t in the first two.
If I had to pick a downside to this series, and especially in book three, it is Rayla’s constant questioning of the lord she finally ends up choosing. (You’ll have to read for yourself to learn which one.) I actually found myself getting irritated with her a few times. I didn’t mind problems cropping up to keep the two apart, but I didn’t like her constant questioning of his motives. I wanted her to grow up, take charge of her life, and stop acting so confused. But, all in all, this was a minor point and not enough to make me stop reading. I would like to give Genesis 4.5 stars but half stars aren’t available. I think Christie Rich is getting better with each novel and I’m definitely looking forward to book four.