Alaina (@ Reflections of a Bibliophilic Barista)

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Smashwords book reviews by Alaina (@ Reflections of a Bibliophilic Barista)

  • Fire on April 02, 2013

    I would like to thank Heather James for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Heather James created a very interesting world in this series. There are four different realms in the world, each vastly different from one another from the atmosphere to the people that live in each of them. Each Realm has Protectors, those who have special powers associated with their heritage. The Helian Realm (the Protectors powers are related to fire), the Arcan Realm (the Protectors powers are related to air), the Brizan Realm (the Protectors powers are related to water), and the Sephan Realm (the Protectors powers are related to earth). Aside from the Realms being associated with different elements, the people in them all have very similar hair, eye, and skin colors which are different in each of the Realms. The people of each Realm also have very strong opinions about how the other realms behave, dress, and live. I really enjoyed the creative world building throughout Fire, along with the crazy difference in character across the different societies. The story was different from anything I've read before, and it was refreshing to see a new spin on elemental magic. I have kind of mixed feelings about the rest of the story though. I was kind of confused about the difference between the Realms and their people for a while, but it ended up clearing up for the most part within a few chapters. It took me a long time to feel like I cared about the characters (it was somewhere around 85%), which made the story move kind of slowly for me. In the beginning I really thought I would like how spunky and strong Roxy was, and I ended up thinking of her as a pretentious spoiled brat until the last couple chapters. I suppose her attitude fit well with the society she lived in (the Helian Realm, since they were all like that). Jasmine and Brae (from the Arcan Realm) were much more easy to like, but they didn't really do anything to actually impress me for a while either. I will say that I was (actually I still am) incredibly curious about what exactly Jasmine is (I developed a theory pretty early on and now I'm curious to see how close I am).... I won't say anything else because I don't want to spoil too much! I also wish there was a little bit more about the other two Realms and their people added to the story (the Brizans and Sephans). Overall, Fire was a really quick and entertaining read. I liked a lot of things about the world Heather James created and how unique it was. I loved how the people were so wildly different, and got a kick out of how they would use "Flames" or "Air" as an expletive depending on who was talking. The descriptions of each realm and the people in them were also amazing. There were a couple things that kept this at 3 stars for me though. I'm a sucker for romance so I definitely wish that there had been more, it felt like there was a little flicker of it but it was mostly absent throughout the story. It also bothered me a little to read "stood" and "sat" in place of "standing" and "sitting," I'm not used to hearing it so I couldn't help it getting to me. I felt like nothing really exciting happened until almost the very end, but I'm hoping now that most of the details are in place the next book will have more action. I'm definitely looking forward to book two to find out what happens.
  • Wolf Sirens Forbidden: Discover the Legend (Wolf Sirens #1) on July 11, 2013

    I would like to thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review This was a little bit of a roller-coaster read for me, so I'm going to rate it 3.5 stars. There were times I was just so-so about things going on, and there were times that I couldn’t put the book down. I guess part of it has to do with the fact that werewolves are my least favorite paranormal subject matter (although I keep trying my best to find werewolf stories to like). I really loved the mythology added to this story; it’s one of my favorite elements of fantasy stories. The story Tina Smith created surrounding the town of shade and its connection to Artemis, Apollo, and Zeus was very unique and interesting. I loved the idea of the wolves not really being gentle misunderstood creatures most of the time and having people to police them when they get out of hand. The story started out decently paced, but I felt like there was a big gap in the middle that was too slow for me… although there were enough twists in the plot to keep me wanting to keep reading. This was one of those reads that I stuck through the slow parts keeping in mind it was only the first book in a series and sometimes all the set up slows it down a bit. By the last few chapters I was happy I stuck through… this story had one of those endings that had me reaching for the second book immediately. One of the biggest things that made this a three star read for me was that I didn’t really like the main character. In the very beginning I felt for her and the situation that put her in Shade, but through most of the story I just wanted her to stop whining. It wasn’t until the very end of the book that she stopped irritating me. There was also a little bit of insta-love going on which tends to be a big issue for me. But there were other characters that held it together for me… like Sam, Sky, Reid, and Cres… who I won’t say a lot about because I don’t want to give away any spoilers.
  • Wolf Sirens Fever: Many are Born, Few are Reborn (Wolf Sirens #2) on July 11, 2013

    I would like to thank the author for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **Warning: if you have not read the first book in this series my review will contain spoilers** The second book in the Wolf Sirens series starts out with a bit more on the legend and the gods that caused Shade to be the way it is, a couple new characters, and picks up with the Epilogue from book one. I have to say I really enjoy series that pick up without any space in between… that way I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything. The beginning of Fever starts out with Lila somewhere in between mourning and denial about Sky, while at the same time trying to figure out who she is as a hunter. This created a much bigger role for Cres which was a huge plus for me because I love her. I loved the fact that I got more insight into the backgrounds of all the different characters and how they became the way they were at the start of the series. The pace of this book was much quicker than the first one, and I found myself unable to put it down. Lila also slowly changed into a completely different character, and I found myself loving her as she became more and more huntress and less and less whiny teenager. Once again I got to the end of this story and had to immediately download the next one. Tina Smith has a serious gift for riveting endings; she makes you feel like you absolutely have to know what’s going to happen. Overall I enjoyed this much more than the first book in the series because there was a lot more action and different chapters were written from the view of other characters.