I was fortunate enough to attain a free copy of Angel Evolution from the author through Smashwords with the help of the lovely ladies at Making Connections at Goodreads.
If you think this is just another book about Angels vs Demons, then you are sorely mistaken. This is an original plot line that deviates from the normal good vs evil concepts. As soon as you begin reading, you are shrouded in mystery. And, although we get Taylor's and Gabriel's perspectives, David Estes writes in a way that slowly reveals the intentions, leaving us stuck in the mystery until almost half way through. Throughout Angel Evolution we get different perspectives, mostly from Taylor, Gabriel or Christopher. This helps round out the story, allowing us to become individually involved with each of the characters. Estes writing is wholly descriptive in such a way that he shows us the inner workings of each character which further attaches us with them. I must admit that Taylor and Gabriel were not my favorite characters, that was stolen by Christopher! The first half of the book is dedicated to the dynamics between Gabriel, Taylor and Christopher as they get to know each other. The second half starts to pick up as things are revealed and doubts acquired, still so many doubts. You are constantly asking, who can Taylor really trust?
I recommend this book to ALL YA fantasy lovers, Angel vs Demon lovers and anyone who is looking for something different! You will not be disappointed! Also, Demon Evolution(book #2) and Archangel Evolution(book #3) are already out so you won't have to wait to see what happens!
Survival is adequately titled, for it is a story about a girl, Maddie, that has an almost uncanny strength(mentally and physically) to survive an onslaught of events. An intriguing and new view about beings from another world, the Guardians. It was refreshing, fun and even thrilling at times. Survival is written in four parts(or Books), the first is where we get introduced to Maddie Pearce as she begins a new adventure at collage. Maddie is honest, cunning, perceptively smart, fierce at times and very determined. Although she is written as a nineteen year old, she comes across younger and inexperienced in some aspects of life. Some readers may find this endearing where others might be slightly frustrated. We also get a look at the psychopath, Darryl, that forever alters Maddie's life. Where Maddie's part is full of emotion, Darryl's is lacking. Not only is it a character change, but the perspective changes from first-person to third-person allowing the reader to get a feel for this crazy, unstable person and what drives him. In Book 2, we get to delve into Rayn's psych, where we get some history about Vesturon and the Guardians. We also get to start with Rayn as he meets Maddie, a positive choice from the author, which gives us more insight into his character and his struggles than if his part started where Maddie's left off. Rayn is honorable, strong, extremely smart and such forth. He is one of the perfect 'heros' that us girls like to read about. Rayn's perspective gives Survival a well-rounded feel and I think the story would be lacking without his thoughts. Although, this is a romantic tale about survival(from many things), I think the readers will feel that this seemed to be more of a back story, setting up plot for the second installment, Resurrection. A good back story, but still a back story. There wasn't a solid sub-plot of evil to overcome until there was only a quarter of the book left. And there was no ending to that sub-plot because it was just beginning, to be continued in the next book. Some may argue that Darryl and his evil ways were a sub-plot, but he disappears until he is needed and ends up leaving the readers with a huge cliff-hanger. There were also things that were mentioned that were just that, mentioned. They were never looked into or explained or brought into the story, but they leave you asking questions like "is that an important detail to keep track of?". A.M. Hargrove does a successful job of drawing her readers in and keeping them interested. I'm almost positive my questions will be answered in the next book! I can only imagine the dilemmas that will be present in Resurrection. Lucky for us, Resurrection is currently out and available for us to snatch up!
I was fortunate enough to receive a free copy of Meeting Destiny from the author, Nancy Straight, through Smashwords. And that wouldn't have been possible without the fantastic group Making Connections on Goodreads!
Meeting Destiny is a dazzling story where it is easy to get swept up in the heart-warming romance and spine-tingling suspense. Nancy Straight's characters display real characteristics, making them come to life right before your very eyes. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster because Meeting Destiny has endless emotions! It's effortlessly easy to become attached to Lauren(and Max, for that matter), as she stays true to herself, rights her wrongs and evolves into herself. Word of advice: Buy all 3 books before you delve into this adventure. You're going to want them at your fingertips when you come to the end!
For a full review, visit my blog at http://readingbythebeach.blogspot.com/20...
The plot line has many twists, leaving the reader to grip the pages as they are left with events that are extremely unexpected. There is never a dull moment as we learn new qualities about all of the characters and watch the story unfold from our viewpoint. The time line of the story allows for everything to flow naturally, not rushed or forced. It adds major points to the overall feel of the book. The sub-plots merge nicely with the entire story, giving it meat. Resurrection is packing way more emotion than Survival, making the feelings it provokes palpable. The reader will be drawn even more into the story, not wanting to let go until the end, maybe even beyond that. A.M. Hargrove knows how to successfully draw in her readers and leave them satisfied, once again!
Awakening The Nightmare is an enjoyable story that continues to pique your interest as you continue to read.
The characters each had their own quirks and mannerisms that make them stand out from each other. Some were more delightful, than others, as is the case with most books. Cory and Nick were likable, but I found myself a little more curious about the secondary characters. I'm crossing my fingers that we will see more of them! Cory is a fierce female protagonist that was fun to read about as she battled the physical and emotional struggles. Nick was a refreshing male character, for me, because the roles were reversed as he was the one wearing his heart on his sleeve as Cory ran away from her feelings. It was a nice change. In my opinion, the secondary characters added immensely to the overall feel of the story, making it more rounded out.
Awakening The Nightmare has a little of each preternatural such as vampires, werewolves, other weres, witches, shifters, demons, fae and even ghosts. A lot, I know, but it works for this book. The mysteriousness of Cory and her past help to sustain curiosity, propelling readers to continue forth in the adventure. The history of each species was added in evenly, never bogging down the story. The downfall for me, was that the writing seemed to fall flat. It was simple and plain, which can work for some stories, but I needed more from this book. The descriptions of the scenery were adequate, but everything in between left me wanting for more. I wasn't transported into the story and I so desperately wanted to be. There was a slight predictability, but also some things that were a sneaky surprise.
Overall, this was a fast, fun read. Loose ends were nicely tied up, but with the set-up of possible future stories of this cast left open.
Werewolves, mystery and love are combined in Howl to make a fascinating and original tale.
I think lovers of werewolf books are use to seeing a normal girl fall for a werewolf boy. In Howl, you will discover that the story is just as good with the roles reversed, it creates a refreshing take on a favorite genre of many. Annalise Grey also has an eye for the intricate details that added immensely to the overall story. The over-bearing, protective nature of the Alpha, the submissive ticks of the pack, the multiple births of the werewolf females, how the wolves act in wolf form. Those are just few. They added an authenticity to the story that is sometimes overlooked by authors.
Sophie was the perfect voice for Howl, in my opinion. The struggles she had to deal with made her an accessible character that was easy to like and relate to. The gradual growth was realistic, adding an even flow to the story. In fact, each character was strong in their own ways, they each had their own personalities that never once blended into the background. Annalise was successful in evoking emotions from each character as the story unfolded. The sense of family shone through with a brilliance that pertained to the 'pack' loyalty that was needed. My absolute favorite character was Tristain, Sophie's twin brother, I loved the emotions he brought forth, the loyalty and love that radiated off of his character.
The plot line was original, throwing me through a loop that was highly unexpected. The mystery was succinctly solved, but giving way to the bigger mystery that successfully set up future books in this series. The sub-plots add to the intrigue as the reader will sense that not all is revealed when it comes to the Mathew's family. There was, however, something that was preventing me from being fully swept away. There were parts that fell flat, for me, things that were unnecessarily over detailed, like a trip to the grocery store. And although the romance between Sophie and Jaime is extremely sweet, I was still left wanting. It never evoked a heart-fluttering response from me. The romance wasn't delved into deep enough, it almost felt that the majority of it was skimmed over, lending a sub-plot feel to the romance. Maybe that was Annalise Grey's intention, I have no idea, because I can also say that there is more between Daniel and Sophie than just simple attraction, something deeper that will remain a mystery until it is revealed. I did really enjoy the story and look forward to seeing how the future books in this series will pan out.
There is no doubt that Annalise Grey knows how to weave an original, interesting tale that will reel readers in. If you are looking for a new, refreshing werewolf story, then I highly recommend Howl to you!
I have to say that I enjoyed the characters along with the plot line, but I found quite a few problems that detracted from my reading experience.
As soon as I started reading Shepherd's Moon I instantly felt as if I missed out on the first book of the series. There was just so much backstory and history that was relayed to us as the reader and had a huge part of the story. I also think that by not being able to 'witness' the past events, it lessened the investment into the characters, I wasn't as effected as I should have been. Also, the repetitiveness was extraneous. It seemed that every time Modnik(the were-jaguar) was brought up that we got a recap of the event that took place pre-book.
There is a broad spectrum of Shifters in Shepherd's Moon, as well as other preternatural creatures. It was fun to see all the different ones as they came to play in the story. For instance, there are vampires, Nephilim, different weres like jaguars, coyotes, wolves, horses, hawks, cheetahs. In other words, Stacy Mantle brought a lot of new concepts to the table that I really appreciated.
Alex as the female protagonist was a strong voice, in my opinion. I liked her determination and fierce loyalty to her pack, but I couldn't figure out if she was 20 or 24, I think each age was mentioned once in the book. I also had to keep reminding myself of her age, she reads as an older woman, and it might have been the authors intention because Alex hasn't had an easy life. She's had to grow up quickly to take on certain responsibilities. She seemed to fumble around a lot with her responsibilities and lacked a certain amount of experience, and that's the one thing I found consistent with her age.
I found the plot line extremely intriguing, capable of pulling me in, but incapable of hiding the inconsistencies that were scattered throughout. For instance, Alex tells us that weres aren't born, they are made, but then she has a were-jaguar in her pack that has had multiple births, currently raising two as jaguar cubs because it's easier to raise them as cubs than humans. They were born, right? So maybe Alex meant that they could be born or created? Or are Shifters different than Weres? I don't know, I constantly had my brow furrowed as I tried to decipher some of the things in this book. But, as I said, the plot line is super interesting, it just needs to be polished up for the full affect of a potentially great story to take place. There were also a lot of misplacement's of quotation marks, or lack of. It was a distraction that took away from my reading pleasure, usually I tend to ignore error like that, but it was a little too obvious.
The romance, in my opinion, was non-existent. The guy that I thought would be the perfect match for Alex was too easily dismissed because she could read his mind and they were best friends since they grew up together. I felt that there was a lot of romantic potential that Stacy Mantle could have cashed in on between Billy and Alex. There was a repulsion/attraction thing going on with Tristan, but there was only one moment where he was attractive to ME as the reader. And don't get me wrong, I like romance in my stories, but it's not a necessity that I need to be able to enjoy a good story.
I should be giving this book 2 stars, but I did actually really, really like it. The characters were fun, the plot line drew me in, but it needs to be re-edited by the author so she can polish it up a bit more. If she does that, then I think she will gain more interest because the story and the series has A LOT of potential. I am extremely curious to see where this series will go, so Stacy Mantle can count me in line for the next installment.
P.S, I was fortunate to receive this book from the author through Making Connections on goodreads.
When Terra Harmony contacted me to review Water, I took one look at the cover and knew that I had to read this book. That and it was already sitting in my TBR pile over on Goodreads. The gorgeous simplicity of this cover drew me in before I even cracked the book open.
Kaitlyn is just an extremely awesome character. The minute I started reading her voice I instantly fell in love with her. She's sassy, sarcastic, fun and resilient to no end. The surrounding characters are a different story all together, and in a completely good way. I found them to be mysterious, never truly knowing their true intentions. You start out thinking one way about a character but then you would be quickly carried in another direction. This was true for all of the characters except Kaitlyn and maybe Alex.
To further my love for Kaitlyn, Terra Harmony wrote Water in first-person. You all know how much I love first-person, and it allowed me to connect to Kaitlyn on a deeper level.
I have always loved stories about elemental power, but Water takes it in a different direction becoming a story about so much more. There's a whole history that comes together piece by piece, not just about The Seven, but also for each individual in the story.
The plot is thick with mystery and struggles just as the characters are. I was glued to the pages, anxious and sad as the pages dwindled down. There were light-hearted, carefree moments, sexy moments, tortuous moments, sad moments; there are so many little things in Water that accumulate to make this an enjoyable, unique read that is addicting. I can also say that I was so focused on Kaitlyn and her struggles to become part of The Seven that I was blindsided by the twists. Let's just say, I'm so happy that Air (the second book in the Akasha series) is already out! The ending isn't really a cliff-hanger, but it still has that little bump that will have you NEEDING to read more as soon as you finish.
If you are looking for a fresh, unique Paranormal or Fantasy, then you need to pick this book up because it will swiftly sweep you away. Reader Discretion: This is a novel written for adults, while it's true that maturity has nothing to do with age, I will say that there are some scenes that will make even some adult readers uncomfortable, but they are necessary to portray a certain level of desperation that turned selfish and evil.
Beautiful cover, right? Plus, who doesn't like Beauty and the Beast? This story is bound to capture a lot of attention. It instantly captured my attention, but I would have liked to see more.
I like this book, the concept derived from Beauty and the Beast was extremely interesting. The story quickly grabbed my attention, making me entranced by the gorgeous words.
"A shattered chandelier lay three feet away, crystal droplets spread like frozen tears across the marble."
See? Gorgeous. Great imagery. Even the characters were fun, without any downright flaws, but my biggest thing with The Curse Girl is that it would have benefited greatly from a longer length. I liked the characters, but there wasn't really enough time to connect with them in a way that would have brought forth an even greater investment. I would have liked to see more of the budding feelings between 'Curse Girl' and 'Beast Boy' that would have lessened the instantaneous feeling that I got. I also would have liked to see a bigger interaction with the the other characters, because of the length, the story pretty much solely focuses on Bee and Will which isn't a bad thing, but it would have brought more emotion and better ties from me, the reader, to them, the characters. In other words, it would have rounded out the story more, adding depth. I know I'm not the only reviewer that has stated that the length should have been longer and honestly it's great how it is, but it would have been beyond fabulous if there was a little more detail. I know this because Kate Ellison has a talented writing ability that draws you into the world that she has created. There were just so many things that could have used more elaboration which would have only added layers to an already great story. Plus, there definitely should have been a more romantic ending!
The plot successfully kept me interested as they searched for the clues to break the curse, even twisting in unexpected ways at times. There were the obvious things that came from Beauty and the Beast, but there were also fresh ideas that made the story as fun and great as it was. There was one huge inconsistency that I found that didn't hugely subtract from my reading experience, but it was a big part of Bee as a character so it did take away from the magic of the story. If you've read the story, I'm sure you'll know what I'm referring to. It is firmly stated that Bee experiences something for the first time in a long while when I precisely remember reading about it happening twice prior to that moment.
A fast, fun read that shouldn't be missed, especially if you are a fan of fairy tales and um, Beauty and the Beast!
Reflection is an incredibly rich story that takes you on a tender adventure of a deep resonating love. An original concept that's purely addictive with characters that stick with you past the last page.
Wrapped in an emotional situation, you are eager yet hesitant to figure out what is real and what is embellished imagination. Heather has become one of my all-time favorite female protagonists. As we travel through her memories right along with her, it's easy to form a connection. It's easy to experience the range of emotions that she experiences. She's just as described as above in the blurb, bright and spunky. She's silly, she's heart-felt, she's cautious, she's many, many things that all roll together to produce an extremely well-developed, jump-out-of-the-page character.
Nick Richards is that mysterious, gorgeous guy that will amaze you with the depth that Jessica Roberts layered within his character. He's not just a pretty face, he's smart and in school for a reason. I was constantly entranced with his character, but more so by Heather and Nick together. After all, this is a love story, but one that could be purely fictitious inside Heather's mind.
Jessica Roberts expertly transports the reader within the pages of Reflection with her seamless prose, captivating, realistic characters, and heart-tugging story. This is a story that you are going to want to get lost in. I was beyond transfixed, easily devouring the savory details.
"Though I enjoyed the energy of morning, the spice of daytime, and the sense of accomplishment that came with evening, there was nothing that pumped me more than the dark blue vigor of nighttime"
Reflection is the type of book, for me, that my mind will always return to. A book that will stay in the forefront of my mind even after I get swept away by another great book. I cannot shake these characters or the story, and quite frankly, I don't want to. They can happily reside in my mind because Reflection is a book that warrants many re-reads just to experience the mind-tickling happiness, heart-stopping sadness and the vibrating eagerness that Reaction(the second book) will be out in Fall of 2012. And believe me, you are going to wish with all your might that the next book was already out.
Highly, highly recommended to all. A book that is soon going to be on A LOT of to-read lists, if it isn't already!
I'm a details person, what can I say? I love the tiny details of a story that make it complete. Infinite Sacrifice is about all those small details, so I was in heaven!
When L.E. Waters contacted me for a review, I was supremely intrigued by the blurb. Reincarnation will always fascinate me, then she succinctly pointed out out that one life involves vikings. Now, they are Dane's not Norwegian, but vikings are vikings so I was even more interested. With that said, I was mildly hesitant only because I wasn't sure how all the lives were going to be combined into one soul without confusion (that's what I get for reading reviews prior to reading a book, I usually read them after I've read the story because I don't like going into a book with preconceived notions). I was wrong to be hesitant, so very wrong!
I was quickly entranced by the writing style as I partook in this unique, fascinating adventure. L.E. Waters captures scenery and dialogue with such ease that it's easy to picture in your head, everything rolls naturally. No stilting, no rushing, no forcing. There are a lot of details to take in as we visit four of Lazrina's (soul name) lives, but I found those details to be easy to keep track of (see, preconceived notion that it would be confusing). It wasn't confusing in the least, but then again, I pride myself on having an eye for those kind of details. Any small details, really. Also, L.E. Waters graciously supplies a chart at the end of each life to help the reader keep track of who was who within those four lives. It also helps that we visit each life one after the other without unnecessary spacing. It helps keep the people, or rather their souls, fresh in the readers mind. It also helps that each soul has at least one thing that helps identify them with each new life. You'll see once you read the book.
The concept was well-crafted, tightly woven together so there weren't any gaping holes. Everything fit together perfectly, like matching puzzle pieces. I cannot even imagine how much time went into Infinite Sacrifice, between the researched history and piecing together the lives of not only one person, but the supporting characters as well. It's really four mini stories rolled into a bigger story where everything ties together to make a compelling tale about the lessons a soul learns throughout their existence. I loved piecing together the tiny pieces to figure out who was positive, negative or neutral, but all influencing Lazrina's soul.
One of the best parts is that L.E. Waters delivers history in a factual sense. She didn't romanticize it, which I greatly appreciated. She wrote about the ways of each life, never masking the ugly with pretty words to disguise the harsh facts. If you betrayed a law, you were killed. If you were a slave, you were owned, with few (if any) sympathizing with you. If you were a female, you had no power, often judged by who you married, owned by the man you married. The harsh realities of history were in your face, and I liked that!
If you enjoy history, read Infinite Sacrifice. If you enjoy reincarnation, read Infinite Sacrifice. If you want a unique, one-of-a-kind story, read Infinite Sacrifice. Or how about you just read Infinite Sacrifice? It's an absolutely amazing story! And, lucky for us, Infinite Devotion (the second book) is already out!
I've had Believe sitting in my TBR pile for awhile and when I had the opportunity to snatch it up on Shut Up & Read, I did. I was eager to start because what can I say? I'm a sucker for vampires vs. vampire hunters. The ultimate forbidden romance, but I have to admit that I had an extremely hard time getting into the story.
The first half of the story I was just not feeling it at all, so I had to set it aside for awhile and consider if I was going to continue reading or not. I did continue reading, and I can say that the story and the writing did get marginally better, but I still wasn't completely satisfied.
Believe has a great concept behind it, it's interesting and very complex. . . there's a lot going on with many characters, but that great concept is hidden behind the many, many mistakes.
1. Grammatical errors. There are a lot of misspelled words, missing words, misplaced words, and some formatting issues and other editing errors along those lines. My eyes were constantly stumbling across them and it prevented me from being drawn into the story. One example, Chapter 20 has the first 3 paragraphs in bold text then every other paragraph after that.
2. Inconsistencies. Major downfall for a published work. I can understand one or two that were missed during revisions and editing, but Believe was riddled with them. It was quite frustrating, especially because I'm a details person, so those details stand-out to me and these were blinding me in the eyes. There's tiny inconsistencies and big ones. For example, I'm pretty sure that Shane's eyes are blue, but they were also mentioned as copper and honey then it was mentioned (18% through) that since he's a vampire his eyes change colors. But then, after that information his eyes are only mentioned as blue. Another example, Andrea wakes up at 6:20am for her first day of work, class starts at 7pm that night. She works all day then leaves work to make it to her class, then after class goes back to work and works again. I guess that's not an inconsistency, but isn't it highly unlikely? I mean that would have been a 10+ hour shift to begin with and then add in the other hours that she worked after class. There are other instances like this where it seems the author either forgot previous mentioned information or made it to her convenience to fit the story. The tiny ones have to do with time, placement of objects, name changes (two characters are mentioned with different names, only once each though). Frankly, there are lot and it extremely took away from the story, this was way more bothersome to me than the grammatical errors.
3. Some things are glossed over so if they may be apparent to the writer, they aren't going to be apparent to the reader. A popular example, Andrea begins waiting tables, she has two guys at one table who she refers to as 'ken dolls' (yes because they are rich and attractive, that's another issue that I won't get into. Massive stereotyping.) then she miraculously knows one of them is named Drake. Some reviewers have mentioned this and Grimm-Weever has been kind enough to explain that Andrea has class with him and it was kind of a light-bulb moment when she remembers his name. It doesn't read like that at all and those little moments are scattered throughout the book. I understand this problem, it's one I have issues with myself. It's hard to convey certain thoughts into words, but it should have been apparent with a re-read or the beta reader.
Believe does not read as a final draft, but as a first draft prior to revisions or editing. There is massive potential, but Believe really needs to be cleaned up and looked at again. The plot gets a lot better as you continue to read. I'm under the impression that E. Leighanne Grimm-Weever is in the process of going through each chapter to rectify the spelling mistakes, but those aren't the only issues that need to be fixed, so I hope she's taking time to go through the whole book. To me the inconsistencies are far worse than the grammatical errors, but I really enjoyed the plot, especially the second half of the story.
Sometimes people just instantly connect and that is what happens in Sweetness. Super, super sweet romance. . . predictable, but still really sweet. However, I didn't like that there wasn't a significant struggle between Jake and Emily. For two people that have deep-rooted issues, they both confided and changed too quickly to squeeze out the emotional side to this story.
I also felt jilted on Emily's history. We are given facts (horrific facts), but there was never a tangible struggle (that wasn't rushed) to overcome or work through these facts. I felt that, as a reader, the surface was barely being scratched. I would have liked to see more of the tiny details of each of their pasts tie into the story more. The main focus was the romance and I felt that the realistic issues were added to give the characters depth, but that depth wasn't explored. It was left untapped. That aching emotion that is so addictive to me was missing, but like I said the romance was tender and my attention was captured for the most part.
With all that said, I did really enjoy the characters. Drake was a quick favorite and I felt that Lindsay Paige did an excellent job in capturing the endearing, exhilirating energy that kids produce. Jake was another great character and I liked the fact that he was a romancer without being a womanizer. And, despite my feelings about the growth of Emily, she was a great character as well, but not my favorite and that is because her growth was just too radical.
Sweetness is a quick read, so make sure you line up I'm Yours for as soon as you're done!
There is no doubt in my mind that Jake and Emily are completely compatible characters. The romance is, once again, very sugary sweet, making you root for them and that all turns out well.
I still have some issues though. For one, I really didn't like that the issues in Sweetness were completely dropped in I'm Yours. There is only one mention of Emily's horrendous past in a long, long winded explanation to her ex-boyfriend Conrad. There was also an incident with a snarky character (Claire) that I thought would and should have made a bigger appearance in I'm Yours, but she was silent in one scene. I was curious to see how they would resolve the bullying issue, but there was nothing. Without those teeny references to Sweetness, there really isn't a continuation plot within this series, which isn't always necessary, but I felt that some of the issues could have been further addressed to give the readers a bit more closure.
And just like Sweetness, I felt that the characters didn't go through enough of an emotional struggle as each new curve ball was introduced. I felt that more time could have been spent on that rather than relaying the driving directions that either of the characters were taking. The important little details that I was left craving were replaced by details that didn't pertain to the story or the emotional aspect.
There was also one major thing that I felt was a little embellished, but that I doubt will be glaringly obvious to most readers. It's kind of something you have to go through to even be able to recognize the embellishment, and it was only mildly bothersome.
As with Sweetness, I did enjoy I'm Yours, I just wanted to be drawn into the story more.
Reading the blurb for First Light, I was instantly attracted and eager to start reading. I could sense the excitement, the struggles and the romance from just that tiny amount of words. You know I love those inner, emotional struggles and First Light did not disappoint! In fact, it way exceeded my expectations.
I was drawn to the two main characters in an instantaneous moment. Kalen and Ronnie, two opposites in many, many ways, but with one major struggle to overcome. Samantha Summers, in my opinion, successfully portrayed Ronnie and Kalen in a way that showcased their strengths, weaknesses, and sheer determination. In my opinion (and I hope others will agree), Ronnie and Kalen are high-ranking favorites. But let's not forget the surrounding characters, because I found them (even the not-so-nice ones) to be just as well-placed, and pivotal. They were very effectual.
There is one major struggle that both Ronnie and Kalen fight with, and that's the choice between following your head or your heart. This is a key factor for the romance of this book and like it says up above in the blurb, can we choose who we fall in love with? Samantha Summers successfully tackles this hurdle with genuine inner turmoil that will appeal to readers without making it cliche or overly done. It added that much needed tension between characters and will also help the reader see the surrounding characters in a new way. The thriller aspect was absolutely phenomenal! I was constantly on the edge of my seat, held in anticipation and trying to predict the ending outcome. There isn't extreme mystery, but that's a good thing. First Light doesn't need that mystery, the thriller aspect mixed with the heart-tingling romance is what this book is all about. As you read, you'll kind of know what is going to happen, but you won't know the specifics. . . that was what I wanted from First Light, so I was happy to receive that. Plus, mystery would have fogged over the glorious details. Well, actually, Kalen is the mystery, but only because he's such a complex character with many layers to investigate. The flashbacks that Samantha Summers provides (from Kalen's past) are extremely important in digging deeper into his character. First Light would definitely not be the same if those flashbacks were missing. They allowed us to get inside his head, see the inner workings of Project Five Fifteen, and witness his change.
There is some action, mostly towards the end, but it's still satisfying. First Light is laying the groundwork for the books to come, it's that necessary first step for a series that I know will be insanely good. First Light is introducing us to the important characters, showing us some of the history that we need, but mostly it's all about that decision to lead with your head or heart. A decision that will fuel the series.
I can openly admit that I'm extremely finicky about endings. A lot of them don't hold up to my expectations, but I can happily say that the ending in First Light is by far one of my favorite endings. It was just pure perfection. I was not left wanting, there was a finality, but it also leads perfectly into the next phase of the story and adventure. Well, that's an assumption since I haven't read the next book, but it's just one of those things that I know. I was grinning ear to ear as I read those last two chapters.
If you are looking for a book to sweep you off your feet with thrilling entertainment and sweet yet scalding romance then read First Light.
I just have one question: When can I get my hands on the second book?
M.L. Ryan gives us a range of characters in Special Offers. The smart, sarcastic female protagonist; the hot, understated male interest; the womanizing, cocky male; the quintessential villain; the loyal friends; and some characters that end up surprising you. A colorful bunch of characters that were extremely fun to read about and really helped round out an already great story. The only issue character-wise that I had was that Hailey considered herself a 'plain jane', that was a little bit of a downer, but other than that she was an awesome character.
"The truth you can deal with, it's all the speculative crap that makes you nuts"
Oh! And I can't forget her cat who was initially named after a Norwegian female swashbuckler. That was an added plus since I'm obsessed with my Norwegian heritage.
There was a lot of hilarious witty banter (mostly between Hailey and Sebastian) that greatly added to the entertainment of my reading experience. Do you ever wonder what people think when you start to laugh out loud while reading? Something that cannot be helped while reading Special Offers!
" 'Hailey, I'm really sorry, but Harrison has some sort of stomach bug and he's currently curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor moaning 'kill me', over and over' "
The concept was absolutely amazing and so unique. It was a little twisty, but without being overly complicated. Basically, just enough (complicatedness) to draw you in and keep you hooked. I must admit that I was initially a little disappointed in the subtle romance that happens between Hailey and Alex, but then I came to the realization that Special Offers is, in fact, the first of a series. I should have done a tad bit more research, huh? In my defense, I was really excited to dive into this story. So, after that realization, I was able to look at the romance in a different light and see that it actually fits with the characters perfectly.
"Seriously, if God had wanted us to to get up when it was still dark out, he wouldn't have given us eyelids"
All in all, Special Offers is a fantastically fun, extremely entertaining read that will have you laughing out loud and eager for the next in the series. I'm anxious to see where the series will take us, especially with the little clue at the end.