Michelle Muto's Book of Lost Souls was a great YA read for many reasons. There may be some parents who turn this book down for their YA to read simply because the main characters are witches, demons, vampires, werewolves, and other super natural beings, but that would be a unfortunate mistake. The main focus and lesson of this story depends on none of these things.
Ivy is a typical teenage girl. She is crazy about a boy who seems to not know that she even exists. She has very loyal friends who she is very loyal to in return. She makes some very serious mistakes and takes some wrong turns along the way, but she learns from them and they make her stronger and a better person in the end. Who couldn't benefit from a story like this one?
Michelle brings this all together in a wonderful way. Ivy is a very passionate young woman who has had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that her dad is gone. Because of the circumstances behind his leaving Ivy and her mother, she also has a hard time trusting anyone who seems remotely like him. There is also the fear that she is just like him, which is a fear shared by others throughout her childhood. Basically it is the love and support of her friends that help Ivy overcome these fears, and help her to move beyond them.
There was enough action, suspense, budding romance and mystery in this story to please just about everyone. The mythology of all of the supernatural beings involved fit with the characters in the story flawlessly.
In closing, I must confess that I did win this book and didn't purchase it. It was, however, a book that I had been following and intended to purchase regardless. At the price that it is currently offered at Amazon, it might as well be free and is well worth the dollar amount for the experience.
I am very happy that Michelle intends to continue Ivy's story. There are many places that the characters can go from where The Book of Lost Souls left off.
If you are looking for a story with strong characters, a great life lesson, with a little humor, mystery, action and magic mixed in, The Book of Lost Souls will not disappoint.
Mike Wells did a great job of packing so much action into such a quick read. Brie and Kyle were great main characters and my only complaint is that I wanted to know more. I will definitely read any sequels written for this book. If you like total twists when it comes to endings and you have a couple of hours to kill, this is the book for you. Trust me, once you start reading, you won't want to put it down until you see how it ends.
In Leah's Wake was a tough book for me to read. Not because it wasn't a good book, it was. It was just brutally honest, especially when reading it from my perspective, the mother of a teenager girl.
Leah is the oldest daughter of Zoe and Will and she has a younger sister, Justine. Leah is a good kid, she is a soccer star, a good student and is part of a great and loving family. Seems perfect, but nothing is what it seems. She feels pressured by her dad to be the perfect soccer player down to playing for the perfect college - Harvard no less. She is pressured by her mom to be the perfect daughter and student and then she has her bratty younger sister Justine looking up to her. Way too much pressure. Leah is looking for an escape, and she finds it in her older "cool" boyfriend Todd. All it takes for Leah to spiral is to make a couple of really bad decisions.
Terri gives all the family members a voice in this book, which really adds to the perspective. I think if you only got one point of view it wouldn't have been as powerful a book. As a parent it would be really easy to blame all of the unfortunate events that happen in this story on Leah. With the different perspectives you realize that every member of the family holds some blame in the events that unravel the threads keeping them in one piece.
Will blows up too fast at times and reacts rather than thinks, he's also rarely there, which doesn't help at all. Zoe is either too strict or too lenient and feels sorry for herself most of the time. Justine wants to make everyone happy and unwittingly justifies some of Leah's bad decisions. And Leah, of course, makes some really bad decisions and she can't seem to turn herself around. Through all of the bad actions and decisions made by these characters, there is good in all of them. There are times that you even find yourself sympathizing with Todd who obviously should have no redeeming qualities.
In Leah's Wake makes you stop, think and count your blessings, especially as a parent. It would be so easy for any "good kid" to travel down the wrong path with the wrong group of kids.
Terri's writing of Leah's perspective struck me the most I think. An unknowing reader may think that it was sometimes sporadic and didn't make sense. However, if you are reading it from the same perspective as I was, you completely understood. There were days that my daughters would change moods by the hour or even minute. As I read these little mood swings in Leah's voice I almost had to say "Aha!" out loud.
In my opinion, Terri did a wonderful job of capturing the dynamics of this family. Even though it was a hard book to read from an emotional standpoint, it was well worth the time spent and should be on every parent's TBR list.
I first found out about I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs from a fellow book blogger - aobibliosphere
The description enticed me and after reading the first chapter I was totally hooked.
The story centers around two college freshmen who have been best friends since elementary school, Alex and Seth. Alex is the only person in the world who knows Seth has a secret. Seth is gay and doesn't want anyone to know. Alex has no problem keeping the secret, the only problem is he's not only her best friend, she's also in love with him.
You can see the problems facing these two characters. That's the premise that drew me to this book. I had no idea how far the book would draw me in once I started. Once I began, I couldn't stop. I started reading and finished in one evening. Not sure exactly how long it is page wise because I read it on my Kindle, but the length doesn't matter. The depth of feeling you get from these characters is what's important. And boy is there depth.
I have read books that have made me tear up a little, but there were parts of this story that made me actually cry. Granted, it was late and I was tired, but I think if I would have read this book in the middle of the afternoon my reaction would have been the same.
This book deals with prejudice, family, friendship, loyalty and love and holds nothing back. Reena does a wonderful job of bringing all these emotions to the forefront. The story is told from Alex's point of view, but you have no problem at all sensing the emotions of the other characters as well. The aspect of gay prejudice is handled wonderfully, but it goes even deeper than that. It is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone.
I had heard a lot of chatter about this book on Twitter before I finally broke down and bought it. Everything I heard was good, so I figured it would at least be an entertaining read if nothing else. That my dear readers is an understatement. Merrick starts Exiled off with a bang and things don’t slow down much throughout the rest of the book. Not only that, but it’s a great story with spunky characters that have a wealth of personality and new twists on some old paranormal mythology that fit perfectly in the world that Merrick creates. Have I got you convinced? Well then, allow me to continue….
Chase’s story just about broke my heart. His exile was particularly cruel because of how it was dealt, but I’m not going to spoil anything for you. You need to learn to loath the character in question all on your own and trust me, you will. Because of his exile, Chase had to fend for himself, with the support of his mother. It made it harder for him to trust anyone other than her, but it also made him stronger than he would have been if he would have remained sheltered within the Circle. He wasn’t a perfect hero, but he grew during Exile and became a totally different person by the end, which made it possible for the reader to relate to him even more.
Rayna does have secrets, but not many she is purposely keeping from anyone. Most of her secrets she doesn’t even realize. I’m sure that as the series continues we will find out many more. She is nothing like any other person that Chase has ever met and it’s great watching their friendship and trust grow throughout the book. She could easily be a totally broken character for all she’s been through, but Merrick gives her loyalty and strength to overcome all of it. I think it’s safe to say that Rayna may be one of my favorite YA heroines that I’ve read this year.
Merrick also has quite a group of supporting characters that add a lot to the plot of the story and keep it moving. Of course there is Chase’s mother, Tessa; Marcus, another hunter with a mysterious past; Willie (who is probably one of my favorite characters) a demon who can’t catch a break and Vincent, a vampire who is easy to hate. There also others, but besides the ‘bad guys,’ these are the main characters that the story centers around.
Merrick’s descriptions of the worlds he has created make it easy to vividly picture the character’s surroundings. I’m always amazed when an author describes a setting that is not like anything that you’ve ever seen. You know that it doesn’t exist anywhere but in the author’s imagination, yet, as you’re reading you get totally lost in the description and take for granted that it’s reality for now and you don’t question it. That’s magic and Exiled is full of it.
Exiled starts with a bang and ends with one too. The climax is powerful and I’m warning you now, there will be tears. At least there were for me. It doesn’t exactly end in a cliff hanger, but it is obvious that Chase’s story is far from over. After the Epilogue in Exiled (which evoked more tears by the way) I literally can’t wait until Shift, the next book in this continuing series, is released.
Okay readers, I know I gushed. You also know if you’ve read any of my other reviews that I save the gushing for the books that I really, really like and Exiled is obviously one of them. It’s got a little bit of everything for anyone who enjoys YA books. Hopefully my gushing will entice a few of you to give it a try. I, for one and glad I did and sorry I waited so long to read it.
Bone Dressing: The Dreaming
on Dec. 08, 2012
I really enjoyed Bone Dressing – the first installment in Michelle Brooks’ Bone Dressing Series. I couldn’t wait to get more of Beau and Syd, not to mention T.J. and Sarah. I was even looking forward to more confrontations with Mr. ‘A’. What I wasn’t expecting was to be even more enthralled with this story than I was before.
The Dreaming continues the story of Syd and her quest to right wrongs that that occurred in past lives. The concept is totally unique and that combined with Brooks’ descriptive writing style, a flair for action and her flowing dialogue make Syd’s story genuinely entertaining. How entertaining? Well, for this review I decided to try something a little different. Since I don’t really think that I can do the book justice by just talking about it, I thought maybe I should just let the book speak for itself.
So, do you like books that start with bang? How’s this for an opening paragraph?
“Shit! What the hell are you doing?” My body slammed up against the ship’s central mast and bounced off, not slowing down the slightest bit with the sudden change of direction. Immediately I ricocheted against Beau’s chest before crashing right back into the mast, the salt water splashing off the solid wood post, stinging my eyes like a hive full of hostile bees. My eyelids slammed closed in a last-ditch attempt at self-preservation. God, my eyes were on fire! It felt like they were going to burn a hole through my skin and go rolling across the deck any second.
And then there is the romance. Oh yes, the romance. There is a an undeniable attraction between Syd and Beau that transcends time.
As our lips met, the world simply ceased to exist. There was just this moment, Beau, me, the water lapping at our bodies, caressing us with its cool blessings of life and love. Beau’s hands slid up my shoulders, weaving into the hair at the back of my head, pulling me desperately deeper within his kiss… within his embrace… within him.
How about the macabre? An aspect of the story that is so dark it’s actually mesmerizing?
My head turned suddenly, following a couple who’d just come around the path from behind me. They were dressed up like a bride and groom. A rotting, decomposing bride and groom, yes, but a bride and groom nonetheless. Deep, dark eye sockets gazed longingly at one another, full of love and adoration, despite their current decrepit state. As they joined the crowd of dancing bodies he took her bone-drawn hand, twirling her into the center of the skeleton ball.
So, are you convinced? Like I said, I really liked Bone Dressing, but I was even more impressed with The Dreaming. I’m thinking that this is one series that is just going to get better and better with each installment. It has a little bit of everything. Romance, humor, mystery, magic and more than enough action. Because of the language (mainly from Syd… Beau just can’t keep her mouth under control) and the sexual situations and violence, I wouldn’t categorize this as YA. Maybe older teens or New Adult, but definitely not younger teens. Book 2 is a lot more intense in every way, but that intensity was an integral part of The Dreaming. Anything less wouldn’t have stayed true to the characters or the story.
The Bone Dressing Series will include 7 books so there is a lot more action in store for Syd, Beau, T.J., Sarah and Mr. “A” in the coming books. The next book in the series is The Awakening and I can’t wait to see where in the world or the past, this cast of characters ends up next.