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  • Stay on Sep. 25, 2011

    I really enjoyed reading Stay. Callie was an interesting character. She was very determined when she was set on getting something done and I admired that about her. When it came to Callie taking care of people and sticking up for herself she was phenomenal! I was so disappointed in Kailen. I had really high hopes for him. :( Oh well. Tha language in the book seemed so proper and then Callie will say something like "I hate your freaking guts!" It was really hard trying to hear the characters voices in my head; some of their actions and way of speaking didn't seem natural. I did think the ending seemed rushed, although it was nice for it to just happen and we can all move on. The way it ended doesn't really leave me with much to expect. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I'm still waiting impatiently for the next book in the series. :)
  • Severance (Volition 2) on Nov. 08, 2011

    Shawn Maravel takes her writing to the next level in the follow up book to Volition. In Volition, readers are left with a sense of foreboding surrounding Alex as he shows a flicker of what could be his true self. Severance was truly an amazing read with so much more action. Alex has a larger role in Charlotte's life.Joel and Charlotte have definitely grown and become different people since the first book. Joel has a new outlook on life and how to live it. Charlotte doesn't ask so many unanswerable questions and she seems more mentally stable. The way Maravel has written her characters in this book really shows their growth with the passing of time. The title was truly fitting and once readers read the story they'll know why. Being able to figure out the answer before the MC did took away from the suspense of the story. Answering the questions the MCs asked did make the foreshadowing, sprinkled throughout the beginnings of the story, stand out. The ending was a surprise and can only cause readers to light up with smiling faces.
  • Amaranth (The Resistance Trilogy, #1) on Jan. 03, 2012

    When I decide how much I liked or loved reading a book I pay the most attention to the ending. The ending of Amaranth is an exception because, even though it ends with the slip of a big revelation in a casual conversation, it caused me to jump up and down whining that it ended too soon. Rachael Wade wrote an incredible story filled with amazing, realistic characters. Camille was vulnerable from her past and trying to make a new life for herself - she did but not neccessarily in the way she wanted. I admired this character for taking the time to work through the bad situations surrounding her and learning to forgive herself and others. Camille's relationship with Gavin was adorable. They were so devoted and made strong characters. The change of perspective in the middle of the story was not expected but it fit nicely with the progression of the story. The next book in The Resistance Trilogy is definitely going to be something to look forward to!
  • Angel Evolution on Jan. 30, 2012

    I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the opening chapter of Angel Evolution. Who is this girl who’s under duress and what’s happening to her? Most times a story that foreshadows a point further along in the story is thrilling because I spend the whole time trying to figure out the outcome before the ending. Unfortunately, the importance of the snake tattoo was lost on me because it was never in the plot physically; it was only in theory, or in stories about the past. I loved the initial meeting of Gabriel and Taylor. It wasn’t one of those cat and mouse games, where the male lead is aloof and breaks the heart of the female lead before he decides he’s totally in love with her. And it wasn’t exactly insta-love, which can just ruin the pacing (make it seem like time flew by and nothing important happened) and intrigue of a story. Multiple perspectives (more than 3) in this book didn’t work for me. Sometimes it’ll make a book more mysterious, but other times, like this, it makes me feel like the story is being stalled before getting to the point. Sometimes I just want to get to the end of the story or only focus on the characters with the most important impact. Angel Evolution definitely has a different take on the forces of good and evil, but it didn’t make my toes curl all the way up to my ankles.
  • Meeting Destiny on Feb. 02, 2012

    The most memorable trait about the MC, Lauren, was her impeccable instincts. They may have put her in some tricky situations, but more often than not they were helpful. I have to admire Lauren on her courage throughout the story. She stayed true to her path when her family and friends worried about her decisions regarding trusting her instincts. Despite her cool sixth sense and amazing boyfriend, Lauren was quite a forgettable character. Even though we are reading her thoughts she didn’t have much presence. I noticed how every time Lauren wanted to explain how she knew the things she knew about people she always reverted back to the failed robbery. Everything was linked to that one event. I just got a little crazy having to hear that same moment retold in about 4 different ways. I understand that Meeting Destiny is the first book of a series so I don’t expect everything to be solved right away. On the other hand, it was mentioned numerous times that Lauren’s goal was to unlock Max when she finally crossed paths with him. She asked and pondered how to do that, but I don’t recall her actively trying to get it done. I feel like what was set up in the beginning of the story wasn’t written in the plot and by the end I was kind of left hanging. I would recommend Meeting Destiny to readers who like the idea of everyone having that special someone and a specific role in life.
  • Between The Land And The Sea on Feb. 17, 2012

    Between the Land and the Sea is a tale of Marina's struggle to find the truth about her mother. Her father sends her away to her birthplace, Aptos, where she reconnects with family and makes new friends. Marina's change in attitude throughout the story came as a surprise. In the beginning she acted like the whiny, spoiled brat she claims she doesn't want to be. Once she settles down and gets comfortable in Aptos her fierce, protective, and selfless side comes out. Despite her fears, Marina navigated through high school like a pro, putting the bullies in their place and sticking with the outcasts. The mermaids were kind of scarce in the story. They weren't right at the forefront but always talked about, being the center of Marina, Ethan, Cruz and Megan's speculation. Between the Land and the Sea is a story for readers who love mermaid folklore and characters who understand the value of love and friendship. *ebook provided by author through Shut Up & Read's Read It & Reap review program.
  • A Diamond in My Pocket on March 21, 2012

    A Diamond in My Pocket doesn’t just have a cleverly named title. In the midst of an action packed, super powered plot, Lorena Angell introduces readers to Calli Courtnae, a determined 16 year old girl with a lot to learn about life. After breaking a world record in track, Callie’s escorted to a compound housing people with the ability to run faster than normal humans, Runners. Calli not only stepped into this world of powerful beings without any knowledge, but at a time when three Runners are being held hostage. Her journey really begins when she’s recruited to the rescue team and charged with a dangerous mission and powers. I really liked the idea of the story. Cosmic energy blasting humans and giving them abilities is not what I’ve seen in YA lit, so it was a fun read. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the different clans of powers, so prepare for many surprises throughout the story! Angell has a knack for creating dynamic female leads. Calli is a strong character from the beginning but as the story progresses, she becomes fearless and selfless. She even comes to accept herself as more than an average ‘muck’. The minor characters kind of faded into the background even though they were with Calli through most of her task. Calli was so independent and hardly ever needed anyone else, except for advice. Most decisions she made were based on what others advised her on, so she wasn’t impulsive or foolhardy. If my life depended on Calli Courtnae to swoop in and save me, I’d be totally fine. She learns to exercise self-restraint in a world filled with pain and death even when she may be able to help. With A Diamond in My Pocket’s ending, I don’t know exactly what to expect will happen in the next book in the series: A Diamond in My Heart.
  • The Emperor's Edge (a high fantasy mystery in an era of steam) on May 09, 2012

    The Emperor's Edge kept me on the edge of my seat. It has the perfect balance of politics and fantasy, and the character relationships were amusing and believable. Even the unique character names added to the flare of a different kind of world where magic may or may not be practiced and no one can be trusted. Despite not being sure exactly how some names were pronounced, the characters' personalities fit well with their given names. Amaranthe, the ex-Enforcer and main character, was definitely admirable.She was a natural born leader, even though her efforts to save the empire had her resorting to illegal activities. She was extremely good with people and her new cohorts understood how focused she was. When her actions led to more trouble she never toyed with the idea of giving up or beat herself up to do better next time. She took everything at face value and learned from her mistakes. Her slightly skewed honor system made the story exciting. I can't wait to continue the EE Series, joining Amaranth and the Emperor's Edge as they work towards exoneration from Emperor Sespian. The story's undercurrent of romance gives me hope that there's more than just action and adventure to look forward to.
  • The Assassin's Curse on May 09, 2012

    Also seen on Lovey Dovey Books The Assassin's Curse is a satisfying novella to read while waiting for the release of the fourth Emperor's Edge novel. The third novel, Deadly Games, ratcheted up my excitement over the characters and their changing relationships. This isn't YA fiction, and I recently stumbled upon Lindsay Buroker and fell in love with The Emperor's Edge. So far there are three novels and a couple of short stories that focus on specific characters. The Assassin's Curse focuses on Amaranthe, the leader of the Emperor's Edge, and Sicarius, the deadly assassin looking for exoneration. I won't say much about their role in the series but their latest adventure establishes them as the main attraction of the Emperor's Edge. I still say those two have chemistry even though it's hard to see. I love how in any situation Amaranthe and her team gets into they always learn something new about each other. Each mission solidifies their resolve and loyalty to one another. I'm definitely ready to get on with the series and read the fourth novel!
  • Arise (Book Three of The Syrenka Series) on Sep. 11, 2012

    Arise, the final novel of The Syrenka Series, overflows with drama, emotions, and action! Since it's told in the perspective of both Kain Matthew and Eviana Dumahl, it better captures the intensity of the characters than the previous two novels. Discovering that both sides of their story will be shared hints at the outcome of the story, but it doesn't quite prepare readers for the drama to unfold. The plot is very straight forward. Amber Garr gets right to the point and keeps the story moving. Revelations from Betrayal are focused on more in depth and they really shake up reader perceptions of the characters. After two novels of getting to know Eviana and Matthew's friends and relationships with others, Arise pushes the bond that readers have undoubtedly created to the limits. Emotion plays a big role in the enjoyment of this novel and readers will not be disappointed. Also published on Lovey Dovey Books
  • Promises (Book One of The Syrenka Series) on Sep. 11, 2012

    Promises is a very promising beginning to a mystical series by Amber Garr. Responsibility, image, and hard decisions for love fall on the shoulders of young mermaid Eviana Dumahl. Her story is tragic and heartbreaking, but will inspire readers with hope. Eviana shows her stubborn and defiant attitude right from the opening of the novel. Once true love shows her the way, she stays on that path no matter the consequences. Her bravery is to be admired, though, on the other hand, her risk-taking lands her in the place she had wanted to avoid: leader of the Dumahl clan. The most fascinating aspect of Promises is that there is so much more for readers to learn about the vivid world the characters live in right along with Eviana. From an inevitable war to creatures once thought extinct, Eviana's journey changes her profoundly. Garr has certainly piqued interest with her selfish heroine turned determined leader and turbulent romances. The Syrenka Series has much in store for readers. Promises has set the series' standard as fast-paced and entertaining making its following novels, Betrayal and Arise ones to look forward to! Also posted on Lovey Dovey Books
  • Betrayal (Book Two of The Syrenka Series) on Sep. 11, 2012

    Betrayal, the second book in Amber Garr's Syrenka Series, is a riot of emotion. The pace is just as easily flowing as book one, Promises, and captures the audience's attention just as well. Garr twists and turns the plot so that events become unpredictable and very telling. Eviana is trying to step up and show her clan that she and Kain are suitable leaders, even in their young age. Eviana's series of training, both physical and mental, aren't enough to prepare her for the truths she learns and the biggest obstacle set in her path, Lucian Sutherland. In between all mermaid matters is Brendan, the love of Eviana's life and selkie. Their relationship has become tenuous and heartbreaking, and is most likely the biggest unknown in the story. There's no telling what's in store for the two with so many reasons for them to not be together. While Betrayal is a great story, it doesn't seem to have as big an impact in the Syrenka Series for the second installment. The plot changing revelation doesn't come until the near end of the story, and everything before it is more of a way to build upon the fantasy world presented and back up the reasons why Lucian Sutherland is a formidable foe. The conclusion of the series, Arise, will hopefully be the ending of all endings! *ebook provided for review and blog tour purposes* Also posted on Lovey Dovey Books
  • The Athena Effect on Oct. 22, 2012

    The Athena Effect is a story that truly endears you to its characters. Derrolyn Anderson, author of the Marina’s Tales series, delights us with Cal and Cal. Talk about an ice breaker! Calvin is the bad boy with a reputation and murky future, while Caledonia comes from an isolated childhood with only her parents, books and nature to educate her. After a tragic accident that leaves Caledonia to live with a distant relative, she gains the opportunity to fully experience the real world for the first time. Coupled with her ability to see and understand the auras of those around her and her aunt’s creepy boyfriend, Caledonia finds that she’s ready to escape back into isolation. Then again, she also finds someone fascinating enough to keep her tethered to a world wherein she wants to remain invisible. Caledonia is a very capable character, capable to the point where she has almost no mental character flaws. The beginning of the story not only tells of her background and paints the picture of the condition in which she grew up, but also lists all the finer points of Cali’s characterization. I was actually really surprised that all the survival skills she learned in the wild still carried to her new life in normal civilization. She’s a little insecure when it comes to being attracted to someone with more experience and a bad reputation, but that doesn’t last long. I did like that Cali is the girl who knows how to fight and survive, and she has a scary temper, too! Calvin is a brilliant contrast to Cali. He’s not exactly a ‘tough guy’, but the guy without a care, a chain of broken hearts following behind him, and a hidden layer that holds dreams and aspirations he’s long given up. He’s the character that portrays more of a change. From avoiding thoughts of the future and commitment to being a devoted boyfriend with a reason to plan ahead, Cal almost outshines Cali. The Athena Effect isn’t too long a story, and it feels as though you could fly right through it. Once Anderson establishes the danger and Cali and Cal’s conflict, it’s pretty much action through to the end of the story. I can’t imagine what will happen in the next story because The Athena Effect seems to have deeper plot lines not yet explored. *Ebook provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
  • Flukes on Dec. 10, 2012

    Flukes is a lovely novel. Sweet and adorable will most likely be the first two words to pop into any reader's head whenever their thoughts turn to Nichole Chase's latest YA novel. Meena lives in the Bahamas with her adopted parents, helping them run their animal shelter, Flukes. Since she's been home schooled her whole life, her biggest worries aren't bullies or boys, but the secret she's hiding. That dynamic changes the moment she meets Blake. Blake is assigned to work at Flukes because of an incident that leaves community service as his only option if he wants to receive his high school diploma. While Meena may believe that staying away from Blake will protect her secret, she learns that maybe her secret isn't in too much danger with him. Flukes flows at a very quick pace filling readers up with romance and mysticism. Blake and Meena ruled this story and every moment that Chase spends on their growing relationship is well spent. However, for readers who love the catch of suspense and strong hints of danger, Flukes doesn't have much of either. The limited amount of conflict in the plot gives the story a breezy feeling, as if anything bad that might happen will be very easy to overcome. Out of the whole novel there's just two or three scenes that provide real conflict in either Meena or Blake's lives and they're short-lived or too simple. The impact could have been much greater on the intensity of the plot, if Chase expounded when it came to relating the issues to readers. Meena's sweetness coupled with Blake's protectiveness takes the novel's romance to a warm, cherishing level. Chase's characters are strong and humorous, giving Flukes a lightness that will make readers sigh with contentment throughout the story. *ebook provided in exchange for an honest review*