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Smashwords book reviews by Hazel G
- Madison's Life Lessons
on Nov. 29, 2011
Madison's Life Lessons is a prequel, by Gracen Miller, for her first book in her Road to Hell series, Pandora's Box. This short takes an early look into the life of heroin, Madison Wescott, and sets the groundwork for whats to come in the series. Written in small chapters titled Life Lessons, it starts off with Madison at age 15 and follows snippets of her life up to where Pandora's Box begins. We see Madison on her journey to becoming a woman, falling in love with future husband Micah Dominus (who obviously has something otherworldly going on), detaching from her overly pious father and her dispassionately secular mother, and having her son, Amos.
I really enjoyed these shorts. They were extremely well written and very emotionally charged. Having read Pandora's Box before this prequel, and knowing how it would turn out, didn't diminish the excitement in reading how Madison and Micah find their way toward each other. I got glimpses into the overall picture that The Road to Hell series is taking and will take in future works. I might have liked Micah in Pandora's Box, even though I wasn't sure of the "why" of his intentions, but these Lessons really gave me an insight into his character and I simply LOVE him more then I did before. I also got a real sense of who Madison was verses who she becomes in Pandora's Box and admit that her character really pulls at my heartstrings.
This is a must read! Im excited the author took the time to put this together for the fans. We get a clearer picture of whats going on and it was nice to have something to tide me over until the release of the next book in the series. This read is nothing short of fantastic! And I really suggest you follow this story on to Pandora's Box which is another amazing read, introducing you to some VERY powerful and interesting characters and a story line that will no doubt leave you wanting more!
- The Next Thing I Knew
on Dec. 09, 2011
The Next Thing I Knew (Heavenly, #1) is the first YA novel in what appears to be a new series by John Corwin. The story starts off with Lucy, a teenage girl who wakes up dead only to realize that she's not the only one floating around in a ghostly form. She, along with a group of friends, try to discover what has happened and try and save the human race from literal extinction. Along the way, Lucy finds love, heartache, the hero we all wish we had inside of us and a new meaning to life.
Im not a huge fan of YA novels but I wanted to give this one a try because it sounded interesting. I wasn't disappointed at all with this book. I found the writing was well constructed and flowed easily throughout the pages. There was enough action and enough plot points to keep you interested and anxious to see what happened next. I really liked all the inventive sci-fi/paranormal type elements as well as the adventurous and heroic nature of the characters. I can honestly say, I've never read anything quite like this story before. I picked it up not knowing what to expect and once started, had it finished by the next morning. The only real criticism I had with this story was the dialogue was at times a bit rushed and juvenile. But again, this is a YA story, so it makes sense it should be written as such.
I think anyone who reads this will find they can relate to something or someone within the pages. I personally hope to read the next one in what has become a great start to an intriguing series.
- Adventures In Funeral Crashing (Funeral Crashing #1)
on Dec. 27, 2011
Adventures in Funeral Crashing by Milda Harris is an excellent read! Its a YA novel about a 16 (almost 17) year old high school outcast named Kait Lenox who likes to respectfully crash funerals. While at her latest funeral, she runs into a bit of a snag as she tries to quietly melt into the background, that leads to her becoming part of a murder mystery surrounding the small town she lives in. She, along with the most popular guy in school, Ethan Ripley, team up in an unlikely pair to solve the murders.
I really liked this book for many reasons. The writing was cleaver and at times funny, it flowed well and the plot was very believable. There was mystery, suspense, romance and heroic adventures. I felt like I could really relate the Kait and what she was going through. It realistically took me back to my own high school years and to that moment when you'd wish the coolest guy in school would look your way and see... you. Kait's character was well developed and very likable. She had a great personality and you could just feel yourself rooting for her.
There were really only two things I didn't like about the story. One, it was WAY to short, coming in at only 140 pages. Second, at times it seemed repetitive. Kait would internalize about the same things over and over. It was a little distracting, kind of like the point was trying to be hammered home.
Other then those two things, the story was really great. I would definitely suggest this to other readers that like stories geared towards young adults.
- My Enchanted Life
on Feb. 28, 2012
I received this book as part of a R2R with PR&UFF from Goodreads! As always, I want to thank the amazing moderators of this group as well as the generosity of the author for allowing me to participate.
This book was a fun and quick read. It comes in at about 180 or so pages. I read it all in one sitting. After Emma turns eighteen, she is bequeathed a house in England by a late Uncle she was unaware she had. Upon her arrival, she quickly realizes things are nothing like the world she just left behind and her new life has taken a crazy turn she's not sure she wants. Faced with all manner of creatures from the supernatural community and budding powers she doesn't know how to control, she has to decide whats important in her life and face who she truly is.
I liked this read. It had some really funny moments as well as touching dramatic moments in it. The characters were unique and I liked the paranormal elements. The authors use of all different type of supernatural characters was refreshing and the story itself was a joy to read. I liked the romance aspect of it as well. (SPOILER) Emma and Matthew were cute together and a surprise given in the beginning of her arrival in England I was sure Randolph was going to be the love interest. (END SPOILER)
Things I didn't like were, all the scenes seemed so rushed. All the action was rushed. Things jumped from one scene to the next with no segue. Also, there was no character building. I didn't even get a good sense of who these characters were or what they looked like. The world building was unique but could have benefited from a lot more detail.
There is soooooo much potential here to turn this book into a fantastic series. I'd love to see more character depth as well as more information on the world they live in if there's another book. The ending left plenty of room for a second novel and I'd definitely purchase it to see where this intriguing story leads!
- Hell's Phoenix
on March 08, 2012
It’ll be hard to express how much I LOVED this book, but Im going to try! After reading book one, Pandora’s Box, I was sure this story couldn’t get any better. I just loved it so much. I loved the characters and I loved the story itself. But however strongly I felt about that book, Hell’s Phoenix just shows how much more talented the author is and how much she’s grown as a writer! Miller once again blows me away, stepping up the excitement, the hotness factor, the action and the story line another ten notches! I was completely enthralled by the writing! We get the return of our beloved characters from book one as well as get a whole slew of new and fascinating characters in book two. Phoenix and Micah burned up the pages with their lusty goodness and add Madison into the equation and all Hell breaks loose! Each scene draws you in deeper and deeper. There are twists and turn, disturbing imagery and enough heat to make you thirst for the next page! Miller’s Hell scenes are full of creative creepiness and her descriptions pull you in and won’t let go!
Hell’s Phoenix is one crazy, wild and stimulating ride from start to finish. Gracen Miller’s talent for executing a story is unique and awe-inspiring. I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who wants to hunker down for an evening or two of sweltering intrigue, fast paced excitement and thrilling entertainment that will leave you wanting to embrace the dark side just to get a taste! And an ending that will make you say, “WHAAAAT?!!?” Yeah, go out and buy it right now along with book one. You WONT be disappointed!
- Angel Evolution
on March 11, 2012
I received this as a R2R with PR&UFF.
I liked this book. It was a fun and interesting read, coming in at about 263 pages or so which I climbed through in one day! I liked the story and the mix up on the demon and angel mythology was fantastic. It could appeal to anyone, leaving religion completely out of the mix. The reason for demons and angles was explained very well and the story had a solid background to pull from. I also liked that there wasn't a clear cut bad guy in the beginning of this story. Everyone had a reason for what they were doing even if you disagreed with it. Each side had family and friend and the ability to love. They both knew right from wrong. It was an interesting dynamic and made it hard to chose sides - at least until the truth came to light and the baddies were a small group of aura stealing power hungry megalomaniacs.
I really liked the imagery of how the sides went to war and the use of soldiers and gargoyles was very creative! In fact, the imagery and descriptions of the demons and angles was very well done! I also liked that each side had different powers. The author did an amazing job with that.
I liked the characters for the most part. I really thought Christopher was well developed and consistent though he was a secondary character. I also liked his relationship with Sam. It seemed genuine and real. I liked the main characters, Taylor and Gabriel, though I think they could have used a bit more consistency throughout as well as a bit more development. Taylor was to "back and forth" for my taste. One minute she was declaring her love for Gabriel and the next she claims she doesn't know how she could have gone off with someone she hardly knows. I also didn't like how she didn't question her roll in killing an entire species, weather they were demon or not, considering she thought highly of Chris. Even with being brainwashed by Gabe, she had great instincts but never thought it was wrong to kill an entire group of people? Gabriel's character was definitely hiding something and you didn't know where he stood, which was the point and it was done well. But I would have liked to have seen more from his character in way of back story. I would have liked to have seen his struggle a little more and heard more from his POV.
I also thought the ending was rushed. Once Taylor and Gabriel got to angel headquarters, things just seemed to roll along way to fast.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It had some questionable and unrealistic moments but the story was very well done and the writing was creative and fun. It also left one heck of a cliffhanger so I will be purchasing the second and maybe the third book to see how this story ends!
- Pandora's Key
on May 22, 2012
Pandora's Key is the first book in The Key Trilogy by Nancy Richardson Fischer.
I really liked this book. It was different, it was exciting and creative and it was smartly written. I love the tale of Pandora's Box and have always had a love of the Greek Gods mythology. This book really put those tales to use with its own spin and story. The writing was great, the imagery was well done and the story itself was plausible. Evangeline was a terrific lead character. She's the reason this story works so well. You can literally feel the changes her life is taking, what she's going through and the heartache she's enduring. The supporting cast of characters were interesting and well written. There was action, suspense, mystery and a bit of romance in this book.
There were a few things that I disliked about the book, but minor given the whole of the story. The beginning was slow and a bit confusing. It took me several "put down and pick back up" attempts to get through the first few chapters because I just couldn't get into it. But Im really glad I kept going because its picks up speed and rhythm and it all comes together. Some of the dialogue was a bit rough and I think Evangeline reaction to her new life was a bit off. I also wish we had gotten more of Raphe and Evangeline together. I would have liked to have seen their love story better developed considering they knew each other before the events started to unfold in Evangeline's life. He seemed to really care about her and love her despite her own deprecating self image.
All in all this book was definitely worth the time to read it. Im looking forward to reading book two!
NOTE - I read this as part of a R2R with Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Fanatics! in Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the moderators as well as the author for allowing me to participate.
- In a Celandine World
on May 25, 2012
In A Celandine World is a fantasy romance written by Catherine Thrope.
I went into the book thinking it was one thing and it turns out to be a completely different experience then expected. And I have to say, it just wasn't for me. The book blurb leads you to believe this novel to be a paranormal type mystery when instead, I found it to be more of a book based on the inner ramblings in the POV of the main character, Willow, about beliefs, the contemplation of her sanity, reality and the possibility of magic and fairy folk. There was a story hidden in there as well but Willow spends the majority of the book wondering if the events around her are actually in her head and what this could mean for her own sanity and reality. The authors use of flowery imagery kept me reading. She has a poetic way with words for sure, but the story itself was confusing, leaving me stumbling over chapters trying to decipher what I had just read and where this story could possibly be going. It wasn't until the end that you understand the reason for everything and by that point I just didn't care. I wish there had been better, more discernible clues hidden in the mystery of the book. The characters were just as mysterious and confusing as the story and I didn't understand their point until the end.
This just wasn't my typical type of read so I may be judging to harshly, but I just couldn't get into the story. I assume by the ending of this novel there will be a second book but I probably wont pick it up.
NOTE: I read this as a R2R with Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Fanatics! A special thank you to the mods and the author for allowing me to participate.
on June 06, 2012
THIS BOOK WAS PRETTY DARN AMAZING! After really getting into the story, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down!
Heather Robbins is trying to escape the small town she lives in where her family history is anything but ideal. Leaving her alcoholic step-father, the memory of her deceased mother and her best friend, Creed, with a promise ring between them, she sets off to St. Louis to attend college. Living on her own in a cute little apartment, she starts the summer semester where she meets new friends, new adventures, makes an enemy or two and meets the incredibly hunky Nick Richards who’s detached composure, easy going monosyllabic nature infuriates but intrigues her … and sets her world on fire. Life is confusing but exciting for the first time. But when she suddenly wakes up to a reality where things have changed and the wonderful life and the new love she made for herself may be a figment of a coma induced imagination, she has to figure out what’s real and learn to accept what she might have lost.
This book was completely different than anything I've read before. It was a bit confusing at first, wondering what was real and what wasn't, but once I got into the story and saw the direction it was taking, I really began to enjoy it a great deal! It drew me in from the beginning and captivated me to the very end. I became lost in the pages and my mind raced to figure out what clues lead to dream vs. reality so I could get an accurate picture of what was happening. It was smartly executed and the writing was inspired.
Heather’s character was a delight to read. She was original, she had spunk and she was compassionate at the same time, taking no pride when her broken thought-to-mouth filter got the best of her. Her circumstances made her stand out and I enjoyed her uniqueness.
Nick.. now what can I say about this mysterious hottie! He was fascinating from the first time we met him and Im so glad the romance between he and Heather was drawn out instead of instant. He had tragedy in his past too, which left him scarred and jagged and watching those walls break down was monumental.
I really loved Creed as well. His devotion to Heather was amazing and heartwarming. I really hope when the dust settles, he has a love of his own and not just a broken heart.
The colorful supporting cast was fun to read, even the class mean-girl, who gets slammed by Heather, much to Heather’s shame.
The Wrap Up:
I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel, Reaction, to be released so we can see what happens next! I REALLY hope we get a positive resolution to the ending of book one, Reflection. When I read the final page, I wanted to scream! Poor Heather.. Poor Nick… Poor Creed! Its just a heartbreaking mess! I kept waiting for the author to reveal how long she’d been in a coma, thinking things might not be so bad… Gah!!!
I think I read Reaction comes out later this year (fall of 2012). Is it bad that I WANT. IT. NOW?!? =)
NOTE: Reflection is a YA contemporary romance written by Jessica Roberts. I read this as a R2R with The Nexus! at Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- Reign of Blood
on July 24, 2012
Creative and Fun!
I really wanted to love this book because it had some terrific reviews. However, after completing this read I had to settle on only three stars.
I enjoyed the overall premise of this story and the world the author created was intimidating and chilling. I loved the character development. The heroine, April Tate, was well written and I liked how mature and warrior-like she was given her young age of seventeen. Surviving the past year of her life through an outbreak and fighting feral vampires would definitely age a person well past their years and the author did a terrific job of showing this. I also really liked the distinction between the different hybrids of vampires. I thought it was cleaver and well done. The love interest, Rye, was intriguing and well described. The ending of the book was action packed and left off with enough of a cliffhanger to interest the reader further.
This particular plot has been done before, but you can recreate an overdone plot and make it your own if it’s done correctly. And all the points were there to make this a great story but the writing fell flat for me. Im not a huge fan of “told” stories. I like to live through the scenes with the characters, not be told about it after the fact and this book had a lot of “telling” in it. The beginning was to slow for me. I felt like the heroines isolation dragged on for too long and I also felt like there just wasn’t enough happening to carry to story forward. Toward the end the action picked up and was really well done but by that point I was pushing myself to finish it. I also didn’t care for some of the dialogue. It felt forced and some of it didn’t make sense.
The Wrap Up:
I think with a bit more editing of the story as well as dialogue, I could have given this book a much higher rating. I’m intrigued enough to want to know what happens next so I’ll probably go on to read book two, Disarming (Reign of Blood 2) that’s scheduled to come out in 2013 but it won’t be at the top of my list.
Note: I read this as a R2R with The Nexus! in Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- In the Middle of Nowhere (Willow's Journey #1)
on July 30, 2012
Simple but moving! A story of family and love...
I liked this book and though it got some low ratings I went in with an open but cautious mind. The story was touchingly sweet yet very sad in some places and bright in others. The emotional facet of the book was strong however it was seemed slow to start and somewhat stalled in the middle.
It follows a year in the life of Willow Flynn as she tries to start over in a new life with her mother and brother after the tragic death of her father and the loss of her mother's employment. Her family life is strained as she feels alone, seeking out new friends, not all of which are healthy or wise choices and coping with her distracted mother and game obsessed younger brother. Everyone is trying to deal with the loss and new situation in their own way and not all those ways are constructive.
Where the story seems to stall is where Willow is going through her weekly routine of school, homework, checking her online page or sleeping. She does have the occasional adventurous night out which always lands her trouble of some sort and her budding relationship with Michael is captivating but I wished there had been more.
Michael is established in the very beginning of the book and makes a very charming introduction, making the reader notice him immediately. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to know more about him but we don't see much of him until the last few chapters because he is out of Willow's social circle due to his illness. I wished the author had of spent more time constructing his and Willows relationship. I would have loved to see them do more together.
The theme of the story was very well done! By the end of the book I was an emotional wreck and was skittish to read the last few pages because I was scared of what the ending would hold. The tension between Willows family was well played out and her character growth from beginning to end was noticeable.
The Wrap Up:
All in all, there were amazing parts and there were slow parts. This story was a tale of love, life, death and teen angst.. hard lessons, ugly truths and the beauty when you let yourself compromise and open yourself to love. I really wish there had been more events to carry this story forward and more development of the love interest, Michael because that's what I felt was at the heart of this story. It just wasn't explored thoroughly, but I do get where the author was trying to take the story and I liked it nonetheless. I'd definitely suggest this book to anyone wanting an emotionally well written but quick read. And I'd be most interested to see a second book with these characters because in no way has their story ended.
NOTE:: I read this as a R2R with We ' YA Books! from Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark, #1)
on Aug. 11, 2012
Fantastic! Great start to a new series! THIS BOOK ROCKED!!!
The Soul's Mark: FOUND is the first book in The Soul's Mark series written by Ashley Stoyanoff.
This book was seriously cool and I enjoyed it a great deal. The writing flowed smoothly, the story was amazingly well done and the characters were fun and exciting.
Stoyanoff does a terrific job painting an entertaining and picturesque background for the world she is creating. Everything from the mansion to the town to the college where her characters interact was captivating and well thought out. I loved the idea of soul marks, what they mean and how they came into play. I also loved the familial feel to the characters and how they cared for and protected one another.
Amelia was a wonderful female lead whose tragic past and the ever changing world she was thrown into kept me sympathetic to her emotional state. Though at one point, her "huffing" over trivial things started to annoy me, the story quickly moved on and her character began to develop.
Mitch, Millie, Angelle, Eric, Luke, Lola, Mabel, Ty and Erin were so much fun! The cast of characters ranged from passionate to neurotic and I loved every one of them, even the antagonists who played their parts well.
There aren't many dislikes for me in this book! However, the beginning started off a bit slow but quickly picked up about three chapters in. Don't get me wrong, the information was necessary for the story set up, but it felt like it dragged on a bit too long. Also, the ending, though very exciting, left me scratching my head at one point. Regardless, I really liked the whole book so these points are minor.
The Wrap Up:
Im totally recommending this book to my friends. I loved it, I loved the writing and I loved the story! All the characters were fun and each one brought a little something special to the story. This was an amazing start to what I feel will be a wonderful series and I'm anxious for the next book!
NOTE: I read this as an ARR with We ♥ YA Books! at Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- Resurrection, a YA Paranormal Romance (The Guardians of Vesturon Series, Book 2)
on Aug. 20, 2012
Amazing second book! Definitely worth the read.
Resurrection is the second book in the series The Guardians of Vesturon written by A.M. Hargrove.
Wow, what a huge improvement over book one, Survival. I really liked this book! I was truly impressed with both the writing and the story.
I loved Vesturon! I want to live there! The author does a beautiful job describing the planet, its inhabitants, their culture, rituals and their technology. This story took a huge leap from book one, with lots of excitement, action and fun!
I loved that we get to see a completely different Maddie in this book. She's stronger, more willful and develops into a terrific heroin. Her need to become independent sent her on a long journey of self discovery and training. The conflict that resulted from these actions between her and Rayn was dramatic and well done! I loved every minute of her time on Vesturon and I loved her and Rayn together! In book one, I was barely tolerable of the characters, finding them immature and poorly executed. Not in this book. There was some serious character development with all the mains and I loved the introduction of new the characters as well.
I still had issues with the dialogue. I mentioned in my review for book one, I found it "contrived, long winded and sappy." That was still the case in this book although not nearly to the extremes as book one. I also mentioned in my review of book one that I thought Maddie's klutziness was just too much, too ridiculous and too silly. I still think that some of Maddie's klutzy antics were over the top but at least we get an explanation in this book as to why. The only other issue I had with this book was how the story was "told" to the reader. Things were glossed over and you were told from a narrative POV instead of reading the action as it happened and Im not a huge fan of that style of writing. I want to experience the events of a book as they are happening to a character, not read about it after the fact or have it narrated in short form.
The Wrap Up:
I really enjoyed this book! I wasn't a big fan of book one, but Im glad I read it because it lead me to this book. I loved the story, I loved the characters, I loved the time on Earth, the time in space and the time on Vesturon. This book was filled with action, laughs, scary moments and lots of fun. I would definitely suggest this book to my friends. Im excited to read book three, Determinant.
NOTE: I read this as a R2R with Making Connections YA Edition at Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- The Tomb
on Aug. 21, 2012
Awesomely epic thrill ride that I just couldn't put it down!
The Tomb is a paranormal thriller and is a stand-alone prequel to the Hunters of the Dark paranormal fantasy series written by Dave Ferraro.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I absolutely couldn't put it down and read through the night to get to the end. I had to know how it ended! So, lets get the techy stuff out of the way. The writing was very well done, the story line was clever and exciting, the characters were relatable and well written and it even had a bit of a scare factor to it, which is unusual for me since I don't scare easily. There were plenty of times in the story where the tensions were high and the visuals the author laid down, actually gave me the creeps and I LOVED it!
Rachel was a terrific heroin. She was young but she was feisty and willful. She didn't let what was happening around her bog her down and keep her from going out and trying to work through the mystery. Her league of heroic friends was a great addition to the story. I loved Daniel, Lucky, Chad, Cyrena and all the other that were thrown into this chilling adventure.
The idea of it all taking place at an archeological dig was a little like "The Exorcist", and I thought I'd be disappointed at that but the author does such an amazing job of not letting you get stuck on that fact and even goes so far as to sprinkle a handful of pop cultural references into the mix to poke fun at the similarities. The suspense and mystery of what was happening was thick and foreboding. I haven't read the Hunters of the Dark series in which this book is a prequel to, so I went in not knowing the details of what this book was about and Im so glad I did it that way. I was left wondering if the events unfolding throughout the story were the effect of demented natural human design or supernatural. The author does a terrific job of concealing the intent of the story until well over half way through the book and I found that thrilling because I didn't know what to expect.
Something else I loved was the author was NOT afraid to kill, maim or bring his main characters to their knees! I loved that we didn't know who was going to survive, who the love interest would turn out to be and who was the antagonist.
With all that being said, I almost hate to put any dislikes in this review. But there was a part of the story that just didn't fit with the overall theme and that was Rachel's side story. It wasn't really part of the overall theme, it didn't have anything to do with the outcome of the story and just seemed to be filler in my opinion. I didn't mind the content of her side story and loved the small snippets we get from her memories, but it just didn't go along with everything else that was happening and I wish it had just been left out.
And lastly, you know that point in all horror movies where you scream at your characters to not separate??? Yeah, well, I was throwing a hissy fit! Why do they always separate? There was one point in the cave where two went one way and one went another and I kept saying over and over, "bad idea guys! Strike now!" but they never listen. Haha!
The Wrap Up:
In short, I loved this book! I'd definitely recommend this to my friends and anyone else who will listen ;) It was an awesome read and Im ready to see what happens next for Rachel and her friends.
NOTE: I read this as a R2R with We ♥ YA Books! with Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- What Kills Me
on Aug. 29, 2012
Awesome start! Keep them coming!
What Kills Me is a YA Paranormal Romance written by Wynne Channing.
Axelia, or Zee as is her nickname, is in Italy for the summer to go to school and hopefully have an adventure or two, but when she meets a handsome boy, things go from a night out on the town to very bad in a split second. She wanted a little excitement on her summer away from home, but life just got real complicated and now she’s a changed girl, people are trying to kill her and a brand new horrifying world has just revealed itself. Being chased all over the country by sword wielding psychos doesn’t leave much time for Axelia to become adjusted to her new world, but things could be worse as she makes new friends and might even find love.
This was a nifty little read. Coming in at about 200 or so pages, this story starts out with Zee as a normal girl living a normal life who finds herself in a dire situation that changes her and her future forever. This story was very well written. It was thrilling, creative and adventurous. I was impressed with Axelia’s character. She was an ever-evolving heroine who started out shy and scared but grew into a brave warrior. The hero, Lucas, was strong, courageous and I liked his devotion to Zee. I also liked how they didn’t get along in the beginning but grew to care about one another as the adventure and journey continued. They were cute and sweet together and a force to go up against!
The idea of how Axelia came to be changed was terrific. I love the lore the author creates and the world she builds is very interesting and colorful.
My only complaint… it was too short and I wanted more!
The Wrap Up:
I’d suggest this book to anyone looking for a quick and exciting YA paranormal read. I really hope there are more books in the works because it left off with an eye popping cliffy and I want to know what’s next for Zee and Lucas! They definitely have more adventures ahead!
NOTE: I read this as a R2R with Making Connections YA Edition at Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- Life of the Party
on Sep. 15, 2012
A Powerful, Tragic, Emotionally Driven Read!!!
This was an amazing read but I think this book has left me traumatized! And not in a bad, “oh my, I need to take a valium and forget the world” kind of way, but in a “I will never forget Mac’s story no matter how much time passes!” way.
This story follows Mackenzie’s slow and painful progression into drug addiction. Along the way she loses friends, family and even a sense of life itself as she skids down the path of destruction in a blind, euphoric, drug induced haze. The author does an incredible job of telling this disturbing story, from her vivid descriptions and powerful storytelling, you get lost in the miasma right alongside Mac and Grey, leaving you shuttering as if you yourself were the addict. I was trapped in this harrowing tale, possessed to get to the end because I had to know how it ended. The writing was flawless, the story was gut wrenching and riveting all at the same time and the characters were compelling!
Im not a cryer. I might feel the pain and live it while Im entranced in a book but I don’t shed tears over it. Well, not until this one. I literally broke down twice during this read. Mac’s loss of relationships with both Riley and later Grey left me reeling through this emotional tragedy. But the downward spiral doesn’t end there. Just when you think Mac’s life can’t sink any lower, the author pulls both the reader and Mac into the depths of despair and I felt like I was drowning right alongside Mac. It proved to be too much for me and I think that credit needs to be voiced to the author. Well done!!!
So why not 5 stars if the book was so great….
And then…. BAM! The last few chapters…A complete 180 in story telling. The author takes this intense and emotionally charged story to a new level, introducing a heavily laid religious message. Riley has found God and he’s showing Mac the way. I have no problem with religious stories. I have no problem with religion of any kind. I have my faith and to each their own. But the last few chapters were riddled with in-your-face scripture passages, religious undertones and preaching. I can see why the ending wouldn’t appeal to all readers. It didn’t really deter me from the book, but it did get a bit preachy and I felt it took me away from the path of where the story originally was coming from.
Also, I was disappointed with the Epilogue. I felt it was the author’s way of cementing the sermon to the reader through Mac’s voice. That would have been fine if I had also gotten a glimpse into what Mac’s future looked like. There was nothing in the Epilogue of what happened between the characters, where they ended up or how life turned out for them. The message of faith and hope was great but I would have loved to have seen Mac, Riley and maybe the others living that faith and hope message. I guess you’re left to draw your own conclusions and have faith that Mac kept up with her sobriety and accomplished the goals she set for herself in life. Im just not a big fan of open ended endings that aren’t a part of a series.
The Wrap Up:
This was an amazing book, no question. Mackenzie’s story was spellbinding and wonderfully written. Though this book was longer than most YA books, it kept a constant pace and never left me bored. I would definitely recommend it to others and especially to those looking for a message of faith concurring hopelessness.
NOTE: I read this as a R2R with The Nexus! at Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- Mobster's Girl
on Oct. 22, 2012
Good read but could have been great...
Mobster's Girl is a YA Romance written by Amy Rachiele.
I liked this book. It was a sweet story about two opposites coming together only to find out they aren't so different after all. I really liked both Megan and Antonio. Megan was sweet and shy but also stern and formidable. Antonio was the quintessential mobster's son. He was learning the family business as the author takes us inside his world rife with violence. But at the same time he's also trying to keep his darker side from Megan. Troy was Megan's best friend and his unrequited love for her was heartbreaking as he realized he was losing her to another.
You get a switch between both Megan and Antonio's POV's which is done very well and allows you to see into both of their worlds. There are shocking and exciting moments as well as secrets to discover in this book, but there was just something missing.
My biggest complaint is this book glossed over events that I felt should have been written out so the reader could experience them along with the characters. I wish there had been more dates between Megan and Antonio or at least more interaction before they both realized they were in love. The relationship, although building from a distance since childhood, just seemed rushed once they connected and since the book itself was so short, I thought the author could have added a few more events to really draw the reader into their relationship. All the right components were there to make this a truly fascinating love story but it just didn't follow through thoroughly enough for me.
Also, I didn't understand the mother's reaction to Megan's pain. She seemed like a caring mom up until that point and then she just sits back and smugly smiles down at her daughter from a haughty perch while her daughter is suffering? Oookay...
The Wrap Up:
Though I enjoyed this book, I wanted more time to get to know the characters. I wanted to spend more time inside their lives but the story was so short, coming in at about 130 pages, that there just wasn't enough time or events to really sink my teeth into them.
Though this book isn't listed as a series, there is a second book titled, Awakening the Mobster, and I was entertained enough that I'll probably read on to the next.
NOTE:: I read this as a R2R with We ♥ YA Books! at Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- Awakening the Mobster (Book 2)
on Dec. 02, 2012
Sweet, Fun and Exciting! A Great Afternoon Read!
Awakening the Mobster is a continuation from book one titled Mobster's Girl and is a YA Romance written by Amy Rachiele.
I like this series. It just keeps getting better! Book one left off with a cliffy and I really wanted to see how the next book would go. I wasn't disappointed. The second book was a great read and I really enjoyed it but I had the same problem with this book I had with book one. I'll start with the good points first.
Awakening the Mobster picks up right where book one, Mobster's Girl leaves off. It's a short read, coming in at about 120 pages. Antonio, Megan, Erin and Vito are on the run from the bad guys. Antonio and Vito are in charge of keeping Megan and Erin safe and between shoot outs, explosions, injuries, jealousy, betrayal, developing romance, new love interests and trying to enjoy the college experience; the guys have their hands full.
I really like Megan and Antonio. I fell in love with them in book one and was in the corner cheering them on. Their developing love is fascinating to read. It's intense and sweet and so much fun. Antonio doesn't put up with any crap on a normal day and he certainly doesn't put up with his girl, Megan, getting crap thrown at her. His protectiveness towards her, her sister and Vito is a beautiful thing.
In this story we also get a little side romance as it appears Vito has an interest in Erin. She's a bit young and was having a really hard time adjusting to the event in this book and though I hate how weak she was, I really enjoyed watching Vito fall for her.
Now, my complaint...
As much as I liked this book, I have the same complaint I had in book one. The writing is like watching a movie in fast forward. Characters come in, they say their bit, they exit quickly. There's no detail, no description and I had a hard time connecting with the scenes. I wish the author would take the time and describe the setting, the emotions and the characters in more descriptive detail.
The Wrap Up:
Awakening the Mobster was a great read. It did start out a bit slow but it was necessary to build up to where it needed to be. Once all that was out of the way, it was -Action.Packed-! Wow! I was really impressed with the author's ability to pull me in and keep me reading through the afternoon. This book, like book one, left off with a cliffy and I can't wait to read book three, Mobster's Vendetta. I'm so excited!! ;)
NOTE: I read this as a R2R with We ♥ YA Books! at Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- The Language of Souls
on Jan. 13, 2013
Short, Sweet and Beautiful...
The Language of Souls is a YA Fantasy Romance Novella written by Lena Goldfinch.
This incredibly sweet and romantic tale is about seventy or so pages long (on my Nook) and I thoroughly enjoyed every short moment of it. Solena journeys to hostile lands in search of an herb that will cure her grandfather’s cough and while there, meets up with would be soldier, Rundan. Her desire to prolong her grandfather’s life causes her to take unexpected risks and his contempt for the violence of war leaves him abandoning a life he secretly hates. Their chance meeting brings them together on a beautiful journey that cultural differences and language barriers aren’t important once the heart becomes involved. They both risk everything for each other even though they are basically strangers making this was a charming story filled with intense scenes and perfectly written characters. I loved the visual backdrop of the story and the imaginative world the author creates. My only complaint, it was way too short. I would have loved to read a full length novel with these two fabulous characters and inspired world. I loved it!
NOTE:: I read this as a R2R with We ♥ YA Books! with Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.
- Forever Fae
on Jan. 16, 2013
Forever Fae is an Adult Fantasy Romance written by L.P. Dover.
First off, let me express how much I admire an author for the amount of blood, sweat and tears it takes to get a novel together and then have the courage to put it out there into the world for people to read and comment on it. I think anyone willing to put themselves on the chopping block like that is to be commended for their courage. With that being said, I want to add a personal note to this author and say, well done! Keep writing and know you have a beautiful imagination that will only flourish as you continue to write.
Because I said I would give my honest opinion for my review, I have to do just that, even though I personally didn’t care for this book, which I will explain my reasons below. But I am only one person. Readers are a finicky bunch. You will have some that love it and some that hate it and some that are on the fence about it. That’s normal and that’s good. It means the writer and readers have both done their jobs. I can definitely see the potential here in this story and I think with some constructive criticism, it could be great.
What I loved…
- I loved the idea of the story. I thought it was completely original to have the Fae courts named after seasons.
- I thought it was brilliant for the Fae to have different skin tone and powers for the different seasonal courts to which they belonged.
- The coming together of Calista and Ryder to change colors and create a whole new seasonal court was very imaginative and well thought out.
- I liked most of the character building in this story. Calista was easy to connect with and I liked her circle of friends.
- I really liked that Alasdair’s was mostly incorporeal and in need of body switching and stolen magic to become a real boy. That was perfectly executed in the story and very enjoyable to read.
- I loved how the author described scenes. They weren’t too flowery or overly descriptive. They were written out creatively and imaginatively and then moved on to the point of the story. So many times, especially new authors, will weigh a scene down with elaborate words, but Dover did an excellent job not doing this.
What I didn’t love…
- I had a hard time grasping the era in which the story takes place, in both writing and in dialogue. One minute I thought they were in modern times and the next, it felt like they were in old world fantasy times. For example, they rode on horses and in carriages but Calista mentioned she had a theater room as well as different colored painted rooms in the castle.
- The characters as well as the story narrator mixed Old-World English and Modern English in sentences, saying things like “Im going to kick your ass…” or “What the fuck…” or calling someone an “asshat” with things like “I shall retire to my room”. The modern and old was explained away with how the mortal world had influenced the Fae world but I think the narrator’s voice should have stayed the same throughout. It was very confusing.
- Another complaint is the writing was a bit formal and uneven. Sentences were choppy and didn’t flow well into the next. It made it hard to read. Some editing and condensing of prose could have made this a much smoother read.
- Some of the dialogue as well as character actions were very immature. Ryder and Merrick would feud at the most inappropriate times. An adult novel should have the male leads exerting their dominance or struggling for the alpha position with confidence and swagger rather than having constant adolescent bickering matches to win the females attention. Several times I just rolled my eyes and wanted to escape the school yard playground.
- I thought the romance was weak. There was a lot of time spent on how much they “wanted” each other physically, but I didn’t see much connection emotionally or mentally.
- I really thought the plot and conflict was a bit weak. I hated how easily things fell together for both Calista’s kidnapping as well as her rescue, the way it was executed and how predictable it was. I saw that coming from the first moment Ryder and Merrick met.
The Wrap Up:
This book had a lot of wonderful points. And for a first time novel, it was really good. However, there were also a lot of things that could have been culled out to make it great instead of just good. It’s not one that I will re-read and I probably won’t go on to the second book in the series. It just wasn’t for me, but I think this author has an amazing amount of potential and I can see wonderful things in store for her.
NOTE:: I read this as a R2R with the Fifty Shades Support Group with Goodreads. As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.