September 27, 2012

Book #105 - Rapture (Fallen #4)

Rapture (Fallen #4), Lauren Kate
paranormal romance
Started 9/13/12
Finished 9/19/12

It's always with some measure of satisfaction that I reach the end of a series. Depending on how good the series was, that satisfaction is accompanied by sadness (because it's over), happiness (because it ended well), or pride (because I finished a series that I hadn't thought I would). When I came to the end of Rapture... I honestly just felt a little confused for awhile.

(Some of this may be spoilerish if you haven't read the first three Fallen books.) Luce and Daniel have found each other again and now they have to band together with their friends to try and stop Lucifer from erasing the past and present as they all know it. Meanwhile, Luce continues trying to put her past lives together to try and figure out who she is now. And whether she and Daniel have a chance to break the curse.

I don't quite get the ending, to be honest with you. All four books led up to the final moments. The big showdown. I wanted some satisfaction. A beat down on the big bad. And, instead, it all just sort of... stopped. Then God said some stuff. And it was pretty much over. Really? I was left wanting a lot more.

There were some elements of the finale that were somewhat satisfying. Luce and Daniel's relationship came to a happy place, I guess. Their angel and half-angel friends too. So, all good things. And, most of the book was really action-packed - the most action-packed of all the books in the series. Which I certainly appreciated. But, I think it was all that action and drama that made the final ending that much more of a let-down. I just feel like Kate could've done better.

In any case, I am proud that I finished a series that I one thought I might not. I thought I wouldn't go past the second book. I am glad I stuck it out. Really.   

September 26, 2012

Book #104 - Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1), Anna Banks
paranormal romance
Started 9/17/12
Finished 9/18/12

Of Poseidon has the distinction of being my very first mermaid book. I've read about vampires, werewolves, witches, faeries, demons and angels - no mermaids. I was wondering how the author would get around the under water part.

Emma runs into (tee hee) a hot guy at the beach, and soon after realizes that not only is he not what he seems, but neither is she. Now, she is on a quest to find out exactly where she came from and what she's capable of. And Galen is willing to go to great lengths to be together with her.

Of Poseidon is told mostly from Emma's point of view, but Galen's is in there too. It was a bit strange and distracting that Emma's POV was told in first person and Galen's in third person present, but I got used to it after a little while.

The story is pretty predictable. Most of the secrets were easy to figure out early on. Which was a little disappointing. However, the mythology of the story was interesting and unique. I liked the description of the abilities of the Syrena and discovering which of these abilities Emma possessed. And, there were a few questions left unanswered, especially the big question that was raised at the very end of the book.

Although the romance developed rather quickly for me, it was sweet and satisfying. I really like Galen and his Syrena brethren. And, he works really well with Emma. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the story develops in the second book. 


September 24, 2012

Book #103 - Cursed

Cursed, Jennifer L. Armentrout
paranormal romance
Started 9/13/12
Finished 9/15/12

I know I'm reading a good book when my own reactions to the story mirror the characters'. When they get angry, I want to throw something. When they are sad, I'm bawling like a baby. When they're scared, my chest gets tight and it's hard to breathe. Somehow, Jennifer Armentrout has the uncanny ability - moreso than any other author I've ever read - to do this to me. Cursed is amazing.

Ember's little sister has the extraordinary ability to bring the dead back to life with her touch. Which she did when Ember died in a car accident. Only, that act changed Ember forever, because now Ember's touch kills. Her school life is torture, and Ember is struggling to keep her little family together. Then, a blessing in disguise shows up in Hayden Cromwell, a beautiful boy who shows up to kidnap Ember and her sister - and in the process of doing so, touches Ember and lives to tell about it.

Although Ember is taken from her own personal hell, she's dropped in another of sorts. Her new housemates are so scared of her, they treat her horribly. Her sister seems to like her new caretakers better than Ember. Hayden runs very hot and cold. And - oh yeah - someone's trying to kill her. The question is, can Ember gain enough control over her touch of death to live and love like a normal girl?

This was a very emotional book for me. Ember goes through the full range of emotions. Armentrout was amazing, as she made me feel it all. There were so many times when I was crying right along with Ember, when my chest was tightening up as Hayden got close to her, and when I was so utterly furious, I wanted to scream. I honestly don't know of any other book that has elicited this type of reaction from me. For that reason alone, this is a 5-star book.

The characters were so multi-dimensional that I swear they could've stepped off the page fully formed. The setting and concept of the town ruled by the head honcho and Hayden's adoptive dad was unique. If I had to get nit-picky and name something that was less than perfect, I could only say that the bad guy was pretty predictable; I figured out who it was from nearly the beginning. And, the concept of a girl who's touch kills everything but a certain cute boy has been done (Shatter Me and Jenny Pox to name a few). But, everything else in Cursed was so amazing that I didn't care at all about that. Honestly - go out and get this book now. You will not be sorry.   

September 21, 2012

Book #102 - Passion (Fallen #3)

Passion (Fallen #3), Lauren Kate
420 pages (audiobook)
paranormal romance
Started 9/4/12
Finished 9/12/12

Moving right along down our Fallen journey is Passion. And, sadly, that was the one emotion that was NOT evoked while listening to this book. Annoyance, irritation, extreme frustration - those were all broiling under the surface. Passion - not so much.

Luce, in her infinite wisdom, decides to travel via announcers to visit her past lives in order to wrap her brain around hers and Daniel's romance for the ages. Luce wonders whether Daniel loves her just because the curse tells him he has to, or whether it is real. Also, Daniel won't ever give Luce any answers when she asks him for them, so she figures she'll take matters into her own hands. As she bounces from life to life, she picks up bits and pieces of hers and Daniel's story and starts piecing together what really caused the curse. And, maybe how it can be broken.

First of all, the concept of this book is a good one. In my very humble and inconsequential opinion, it was in the execution that things fell flat. The idea of Luce visiting old versions of herself and Daniel through the eons is kind of cool - the settings and circumstances were all different as were Luce and Daniel themselves. But, for the love of all that is holy, it went on FAR too long. So, Luce has been life hopping for roughly 7,000 years. And, after the fifth life she observed, we'd only backed up 200 years or so. I didn't count them, but it seems as if we bounced through some 20 odd lives. It just went on and on and on.

And, as we bounced around in the past, it seemed like it was the same thing over and over again. Luce declares that she loves Daniel and that she always will. But, whine, whine, does he really love me, whine, whine, what isn't Daniel telling me, whine, whine. It was so frustrating.

The crazy thing is, I really love romances. They're sort of my bread and butter. Some would probably argue that the Fallen series is about a romance to end all romances. So, why did I find it so gag-worthy? It was just so over the top. I just felt that Kate was too descriptive, too verbose, too flowery - it made me cringe more than once over the course of the book.

However, Passion is a means to an end. At this point, I'm invested enough in Luce's and Daniel's story that I feel like I need to make this all worth it somehow by seeing it through. Check back in a few days for my review of the final Fallen book, Rapture.

BIG NEWS - Opal (Lux #3) Cover Reveal!

If you've been hanging out here at The Dust Jacket for any length of time, you know what a big fan of Jennifer Armentrout I am. I think I've read (and loved) everything she's published. So, I'm very excited to help Entangled Publishing promote what will surely be a new addition to my bookshelf come December 11, 2012. Without further ado, I give you Opal, the third book in Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series.

No one is like Daemon Black.
When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love. 
After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

Follow this link to an ~~~ EPIC CONTEST ~~~ Announcement. 
You will want to bookmark this page! 

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog

That cover is totally squeal-worthy, right? So, give me some comment love. What do you think of the cover? Did you see what I saw? And, how about that new, torturous plot description? From what unlikely source is help coming? What friends will become enemies? I think December is way too far away.

September 20, 2012

Book #101 - Deity (Covenant #3)

Diety (Covenant #3), Jennifer L. Armentrout
360 pages
ARC - release date November 6, 2012
paranormal romance
Started 9/11/12
Finished 9/12/12

First of all, I want to send a big shout-out to my girl Kay from K-Books, without whom, the reading of this fan-freaking-tastic book wouldn't have been possible. At least right now. I would've had to wait until November like most of the rest of the world. Which would've been torture. So, thanks, Kay.  

It's been a little over a week since I finished Deity, and I'm still wallowing in my post-amazing-book funk, so forgive me if this review makes no sense. Jennifer Armentrout has, once again, reduced me to a pile of ooze from the epicness that was this book.

The best thing about Deity is that it didn't succumb to "middle book boredom." In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. You know how the first book in a series is exciting because you meet all the players and the world they live in and the problems they're facing? And, the last book is exciting, because it's the final battle and the wrap-up of all the loose ends. And, sometimes (ok, many times) the middle book (or books if it's longer than a trilogy) is just kinda "meh." It's only the bridge to carry you from the first book to the last.

Yeeeeaaaahh. That's SO not Deity.

The action and epic revelations start a dozen or so pages in, and from there, it builds and builds until, in classic JLA fashion, you're left hanging with a big WTH???? at the end. So many questions and so many problems were resolved that, as a fan, I was unbelievably satisfied and happy. And, yet, so many new questions and problems were created as the situations unfolded that I'm left bereft and wondering how on Earth I can ever wait until next spring to find out what happens next.

All the characters, who all had so much life even before Deity, are so much more vibrant and colorful now. Even the supporting characters like Lea, Luke, Deacon and Marcus elicited strong reactions and emotions from me. And, the main three - Alex, Seth and Aiden - I just can't say enough about how incredible they are. Alex is as strong, kick-ass, and vulnerable as ever. Seth makes me feel more stabby than any other character I've ever read about. And Aiden. Well, he is so yummy, I could eat him with a spoon. 

No - Deity was anything BUT boring. Even though it is technically a "filler" book, it is integral to the overall story arc and really amazing all on its own. I just don't even see how Deity could be topped. Best book of the year for me.

September 19, 2012

Covers, Trailers and Teasers - Oh My!

What a week this has been for me! I saw the cover of the final book in a favorite series of mine. The trailer for the final book in my favorite fantasy series was released. And, a teaser for the cover of the third book in a series by one of my favorite author was seen. Ok - you're confused. Let's start over.

1. If I Should Die (Revenants #3) - Cover Reveal 
    Due out in May 2013

I'm so excited for the final Revenants book to come out! I've only recently been introduced to this series by the very talented Amy Plum. It's a fantastic story set in a magical city with amazing beings and a wonderful love. The end of the second book left readers picking their jaws up off the floor while wiping tears from their eyes. It was insanity.

I love this new cover and the heart displayed very prominently around the title gives me hope that one of my favorite book couples will find a way to defy the odds and be together. I can't wait to see how their story ends.

2. The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) - Trailer Release
    Due out October 23, 2012

I'm not a fan of high fantasy. The Seven Realms series is the exception to my rule. I found this series after reading Cinda Williams Chima's Heir Chronicles series. As I recall, the first book in the series, The Demon King, was a little slow to start, but boy, when it took off, it was a rocket! I blew through the rest of book #1, The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2) and The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3) in the span of less than a week. Chima's ability to tell a story with broad, luscious strokes is unparalleled. This is an amazing series for high fantasy fans, and even for non-fans like me.

The trailer for the final book in the series - The Crimson Crown - was just released this week. Thankfully, my wait for this book is nearly over.

3. Opal (Lux #3) - Cover Teaser
    Due out December 11, 2012

Does this teaser scramble your brain??

I have very exciting news! If you want to see the new cover of Opal (Lux #3), come back to Krista's Dust Jacket on FRIDAY of this week for the whole hot tamale. I'm so excited to help Entangled Publishing spread the word about the awesome Lux series!

Book #100 - Bared to You (Crossfire #1)

Bared to You (Crossfire #1), Sylvia Day
360 pages
erotica, adult romance
Started 9/10/12
Finished 9/11/12

First of all - I remember in the beginning of 2011, I was hanging out on a parenting Web site and saw a mom who said she was aspiring to read 100 books that year. At the time, I remember thinking, "No way - that's impossible!" I love proving myself wrong.

Back to business. I read Bared To You, probably for the same reason that many people have. It's a "If you loved 50 Shades of Grey, you'll love this too!" book. And, I did love 50. A lot. And, honestly, I've kinda missed my 50 fix. After reading Bared to You, I can see why it's recommended for the fans of the 50 series.

Eva is poised to start a new life. She's moved across the country to New York to start her dream job at an ad agency. She has a great apartment with her best friend. She's finally starting to move past the horrible demons in her past. And, then she runs into Gideon Cross in the lobby of her new office building. I mean, literally runs into him. And, they both instantly know there's something between them that's intense and exciting. But, although insanely rich and devastatingly handsome, Gideon is just as messed up as Eva is. Time will tell whether that's a good thing or not.

Yes, the similarities are striking. Gideon is ridiculously rich and confident. It appears he's been abused as a child. He has control issues and stalkerish tendencies. And, he likes to have sex. A LOT. Eva has just graduated from college and has secured her first job. She has a serious lack of self-confidence. And, after meeting Gideon, she realizes she likes to have sex. A LOT.

But, Bared to You, is no Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, one might argue that Bared is better written. And, I wouldn't put up much of an argument. But, Bared to You is missing a certain something. Fifty has a sort of excitement and happiness underneath it all that I felt was missing from Bared to You. Bared was heavy and much darker than 50. I felt like the world could've been developed more fully and colorfully. This guy is stinking rich - I want to read about that! It's part of the fun!

I really liked Gideon, but some things he did and said didn't jive with what I had in my mind. He gave in to certain things way too easily. A powerful man like that wouldn't capitulate so easily to a woman he barely knows. And, Eva - ugh. I don't get that woman. She flipped out over the tiniest things and let some major things slide. There didn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. It was infuriating.

All things being what they are, I did enjoy Bared to You. There are a lot of secrets yet to uncover (and a lot more sex to have too, I bet). I do anticipate reading the next Crossfire book. 

September 18, 2012

Book #99 - Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1), Tahereh Mafi
368 pages
Started 9/7/12
Finished 9/9/12

I thought this book was going to be like Jenny Pox (which, I really didn't like). I picked it up anyway, mostly because of the hype and because many of my Goodreads friends seemed to really like it. So, I didn't know a lot about it except that it was about a girl who could kill people with her touch.

Yeah. Okay. Shatter Me is NOTHING like Jenny Pox. Think Hunger Games meets The X-Men, and you're getting closer to the ballpark. Juliette is a strong, resilient, slightly nutty girl who has been through hell and back. She can kill people with her touch - can you even imagine what that is like?? So, most people are afraid of her. There are two that are not. One is a boy from her past, who is inexplicably dropped into her present in the strangest way. The other is ruthless, heartless and fascinating and wants to use Juliette as the ultimate WMD.

Shatter Me completely captivated me from the very first page. The writing style was so very unique, with the crossed out lines and the sentences that sometimes read almost like poetry. It was such a remarkable way to get the reader inside Juliette's head. I felt so much for her, and I don't think the book would've effective captured my emotions if it had been written in a 3rd person POV.

Adam and Warner - wow. Adam is awesomesauce with extra awesome. And Warner is the bad guy that you struggle to hate. I LOVE it when that happens, don't you? He's horrible and cold, but gosh, sometimes he has these moments when you think that maybe he's not so bad. Maybe he can be rehabilitated. Maybe there's hope.

I am anxiously awaiting the next book in this amazing series!

September 17, 2012

Book #98 - Sweet Evil (Sweet Evil #1)

Sweet Evil (Sweet Evil #1), Wendy Higgins
453 pages
paranormal romance, urban fantasy
Started 9/5/12
Finished 9/6/12

The copy of Sweet Evil that I read this month was signed by the talented Ms. Higgins herself at a book signing I attended a few weeks ago. At the time I saw her, HarperTeen had not yet decided to pick up any subsequent books in the Sweet Evil series. Happy, according to Wendy's blog, HarperTeen has now agreed to print the Sweet TRILOGY! Hooray and congratulations, Wendy!

Anna is weird. She's a goody-two-shoes (where did that phrase ever come from, anyway??) on crack. Which, it turns out, is a good way of putting it since her mom was an angel of light and her dad is the demon of substance abuse. Till this point in her life, it appears her angel side has dominated her life - no lying, no trouble, no partying. No boyfriends. And then she meets Kaiden, the son of the demon of lust (oh yeah), and he tells her who she really is. Now, Anna is on a mission to meet her dad and to discover her place in her life. And, Kaiden REALLY wants to help.

Ok - I'll admit. For about the first third of the book, Anna bugged the crap out of me. I get that she was supposed to be acting inherently good. She's projecting her angel side - and, therefore being the exact opposite of her demon side. But, honestly, it was a bit much. Here's what I don't get. If she's 50% angel and 50% demon, how is it that the bad stuff hasn't shown up as much as the good stuff?

It's an interesting concept though, isn't it? What would you be like if you were half good and half bad? If you had the two extremes inside you, which would win out? Or, would it depend on the situation?

Kaiden - he's exactly how I would picture a demon of lust. Which is a good thing. :) I like how he didn't wuss out when he realized he was in love with Anna. He still did his job and acted like an ass some of the time. I wouldn't expect a demon to change his spots, even for a pretty girl. Not that I don't think he will before the trilogy is over - I'm just glad it's not an instantaneous thing. That would be a little too unrealistic for the story.

The world and the rules its built on were revealed at a nice pace. The world is interesting - the concept of demons being in charge of different horrible things in our world is cool and creative. I'm interested to see where Higgins takes this in the next book. Which is, as yet, untitled and not due out for a very. Long. Time. Now THAT is sweet TORTURE!!

September 13, 2012

Book #97 - The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1)

The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1), Julie Kagawa
379 pages
ARC from NetGalley - release date October 23, 2012
urban fantasy
Started 9/2/12
Finished 9/4/12

How I have missed the Nevernever. Everyone who knows me knows that The Iron Fey is one of my all-time favorite series. I've read everything that Julie Kagawa has written (that I know about, anyway). So, when I saw that NetGalley had an advance e-copy of The Lost Prince from Kagawa's new Iron Fey spin-off series available, I did my happy book jig, and clicked the "yes, please" button.

Kagawa's new series follows Meghan's younger brother Ethan. Ethan is no longer a five-year-old boy. Thirteen years have passed, and Ethan is now an 18-year-old cynical, cranky loner who likes to wear his shirts inside out and carry salt around in his backpack. Needless to say, his social life is non-existent as is any semblance of a normal relationship with anyone. His traumatic time in the Nevernever has scarred him - he sees faery creatures all the time, and they know he can see them. They've damn near ruined his life, and his sister has been MIA since she became the Iron Queen and got married. Ethan, bitter and pissed-off, vows to never ever engage anything from the Nevernever again.

That is, until a new breed of creature starts stalking him and he and the school reporter are forced to escape to the Nevernever. Now, Ethan is forced to face his sister and her family for the first time in 13 years, as well as all his fears that he's worked so hard to tramp down. And, the real question in, can he find it in himself to align with the faeries against a new threat?

Although I missed Meghan and, especially, Ash, I was very glad that The Lost Prince kept its focus on Ethan. Meghan's and Ash's story has been told. And it was an entertaining one. But, this is about Ethan's journey and those new characters that he comes in contact with. The extra nice part is that some of our old favorites do still play a prominent role, which succeeds in tying the two series together.

Ethan is a really complex character. You have to feel for the guy - he's had a hard time of things since Meghan left him. And, we know why she did it. But, only Kagawa could make me feel anger and irritation toward a character that I love so much. I feel so badly for Ethan - that he's had to endure so much because of the choices Meghan made.

Kenzie was a welcome edition. She is spunky and accepting and soft and daring. I can't wait to see how Kagawa will get her out of the seemingly impossible situation that she's in.

My only complaint, and it's a small one, is that I never felt entirely connected to Keirran. He seems to dwarf the other big personalities in the book - even those who only appear for a short while like Puck and Ash. He seems superficial and not fully developed. Perhaps this was done on purpose. The next book in the series is called The Traitor Son, so one can only imagine that it's referring to him. Maybe Keirran will go 3D for us in the next book and really show readers what he's all about.

All-in-all, this was a really exciting start to Kagawa's Iron Fey spin-off series. I can't wait to add it to the rest of my collection!

September 12, 2012

Book #96 - Torment (Fallen #2)

Torment (Fallen #2), Lauren Kate
452 pages
paranormal romance
Started 8/23/12
Finished 9/2/12

Have you ever read a book, and not loved it, but didn't have a good reason why? You couldn't point to a crappy character or a boring plot line or any other number of things that go wrong with books from time to time. It just doesn't grab you, for whatever reason.

So, in Torment, Luce has started a new school - Shoreline - on the California coast. It's a very highbrow school for well-to-do kids, as well as the children of angels and mortals. Daniel plants Luce there because her life is in danger, and this is a good place to hide her from their enemies until he can come up with something else. Being away from Daniel is torture, but Luce finds herself learning about things she can do and making friends.

Her moments of fun and clarity are, however, few and far between as she struggles with the separation from Daniel and her frustration over her continued ignorance about their curse and what it all means.

Let's start with the things I LIKED about Torment. I liked Shelby and Miles. They were a welcome introduction to our cast of characters. And Miles was a fun distraction for Luce. I also liked the scenery that was Shoreline. The backdrop was interesting and Lauren Kate painted it beautifully. And, that Thanksgiving dinner at the end was hilarious. In such a serious, heavy book, it was a welcome change - it made me laugh in places, which was unexpected.

And, now for the less than stellar parts of Torment. Luce and Daniel drove me frickin' nuts. When they were apart, Luce pined for him to the point that I got so utterly sick of hearing about it. Then, when Daniel showed up, it was the same thing every time - "I love you. I adore you. Tell me stuff. You won't? Ok, then. I'm mad at you. Go away." Again and again and again. It was exhausting. And annoying.

Torment was a very ping-pongy book for me. One moment I'd be enjoying the book, and the next moment, I'd be irritated. Then, I'd be back to enjoying it again. It was very confusing. It was those enjoyable parts, though, that has drawn me forward. I mean, I've read two of the four books in the Fallen series now. I want to see those two crazy kids end up together and happy. So, onward and upward.

September 10, 2012

Book #95 - Storm (Elementals #1)

Storm (Elementals #1), Brigid Kemmerer
353 pages
paranormal romance
Started 831/12
Finished 9/1/12

I had the pleasure of meeting Brigid Kemmerer twice in August at book signings. At the first one, I bought Storm and had her sign it for me, and then due to the business of life and a backlog of other books that I had to read, it sat on my shelf until the next signing three weeks later. I read the novella, Elementals (Elementals #0.5) that came in the back of Storm. And, suddenly, I was wondering why I hadn't read this book immediately after buying it.

Michael, Gabriel, Nick and Chris Merrick are four brothers who can control the elements. That comes with a price - most people who know about them want them dead. But, Becca Chandler sees beyond the powers to the person underneath, especially when it comes to Chris. Chris has been treated badly his whole life though, so he has trouble warming up to anyone outside of his family. The new kid, Hunter, takes those holes in Chris' affection toward Becca to his advantage. If only every girl could be so lucky, right?

Storm was such an exciting book! I loved the idea of the brothers' powers and how they tap into them. Usually when there are people with powers like that, those powers are kept secret from everyone. Not so in this case - there are people who know about them, and those people are scared. It gives the story a different twist, and a definite twist on the "bad guy." In this case, the bad guys are normal people.

Kemmerer created a strong female character in Becca. She's tough and doesn't take crap from Chris or his brothers. Which is amazing since his oldest brother, Michael, is a real ass to her a lot of the time. Her dad has been nonexistent for most of her life, and when he shows up out of the blue, she gives him nothing but a hard time. Good for her, I say. And, even though her social status is in the crapper thanks to the biggest jerk face in school, she still shows up and seems to want to fight for what's right. I like that.

The Merrick brothers are a complicated lot. Their abilities haven't made their lives easy. I'm glad that Kemmerer didn't make things easy for them. Impossible challenges make books so much more interesting. Sometimes it feels like authors allow things to be hard for their characters for so long, and then all the bad guys just step aside to make way for a happy ending. Don't get me wrong. I like - no, NEED - a happy ending. But, I don't want it to come to easily, either. Luckily, Kemmerer also recognizes this too. Ah - a kindred spirit.

This is definitely a must-read. It's paranormal without being too out of orbit. The characters are strong without being total jerks. Bravo, Ms. Kemmerer. 

September 6, 2012

August Book Report

August was such a fun month! I lost my book signing virginity by attending not one, but TWO multi-author signings! Needless to say, my book collection has grown exponentially in just one month. Definitely a good thing. In between schmoozing with famous authors, working and mothering, I still managed to read a lot of books!

Books Read - 12
Books Read To Date - 97
Total Pages Read - 37,217
Favorite Book of the Month - Until I Die (Revenants #2)

I have to add a caveat to this month's book report. I re-read three books early in August - Obsidian, Half-Blood and Pure - in preparation for reading the next books in the Lux and Covenant series. Since I read them in the spring, I didn't post a second review for them. But, technically, I did read them, so I included them in my totals. I'm almost at 100!

My favorite book this month was Until I Die (Revenants #2). I read both Revenants books in August, and I loved them both. They were so different from what I usually read - it was a nice treat. And the story, characters and setting were so alive and exciting, I couldn't get enough. It will be a long, impatient wait until the final book in the series is released in May 2013.

September 4, 2012

Book #94 - Until I Die (Revenants #2)

Until I Die (Revenants #2), Amy Plum
357 pages
urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Started 824/12
Finished 8/30/12

How can you say enough good things about a book that keeps you up half the night, trying to figure out what is going to happen next? Several days after I read the last two words in Until I Die, I still found myself thinking about it!

Until I Die picks up right where Die For Me (Revenants #1) ended. Which I love. I hate it when books skip a ton of time between installments. I feel like I've missed a lot of the story. Vincent and Kate are together, but that is not without its problems. As they try to find a solution for those problems that they both can live with (literally), everyone around them is bracing for a new fight with the Numa.

The Revenants series is about complex and fascinating people, is set in a magical city, and is steeped in some amazingly creative and unique mythology. So, really - is there anything else you need? Plum has painted some truly interesting characters with her writer's brush. Each of them has a different personality and voice in the story. I find Kate and Vincent to be totally believable. Kate has the difficulties one would expect from a 17-year-old girl who is in love with someone who's not quite human. And even ever-patient Vincent loses his cool every now and again as he grows more and more frustrated with the cards life has dealt him.

That ending!! Amy, how could you do that to me? It was exciting and heart-breaking and infuriating all at the same time. I have my own theories and wishes for book #3, but I know that no matter what happens, Plum will not fail to deliver another amazing read.

September 3, 2012

Book #93 - Fallen (Fallen #1)

Fallen (Fallen #1), Lauren Kate
452 pages (audiobook)
urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Started 8/8/12
Finished 8/23/12

Fallen has been around for awhile now. Heck - it has almost 100,000 ratings on Goodreads. That's a HUGE number. It seems like most people either loved it or hated it. So that, of course, made me naturally curious as to which end of the spectrum I would fall. Before even starting it, it has a big positive in my book - that cover. I mean, have you ever seen a more gorgeous cover? The big negative is that it's a big angel book - I mean, it's ALL about angels. And, of all the paranormal creatures that are written about, angels are my least favorite.

Lucinda Price has landed herself in a scary reform school after her former boyfriend was killed under suspicious circumstances. When she arrives, she's inexplicably drawn to one particular boy - Daniel. Love at first sight? Maybe. But, it feels like something much, much more than that. She enlists the help of her new friend Penn to try and find out his secrets. Meanwhile, her interactions with Daniel run so hot and cold that she starts thinking that perhaps her affections should go to another - Cam. As the shadows grow and the drama surrounding Daniel and Cam comes to a head, Luce is left wondering if love is enough.

So, the results are in, and I am one of the few that fell sort of right in the middle of love and hate. I didn't love Fallen. There were a lot of problems for me. The beginning was interesting. The end was exciting. Everything in between was pretty blah. There seemed to be a very large chunk of time where the characters didn't really do anything and the story didn't go anywhere. It was pretty much this, over and over and over again:

Luce:  "Where's Daniel? Oh - there he is!" *sigh* "Isn't he gorgeous?"
Daniel:  "Crap. There's Luce."
Luce:  "Daniel, I think I love you. Why do I love you?"
Daniel:  "Luce, you don't really love me. Stay away from me. On second thought, don't. Wait - never mind. Stay away. I don't like you. Crap. I think I love you. It's complicated. But, I can't tell you why."
Luce:  "Huh?"

It got a little old after awhile. Ok - it got a LOT old. Because, honestly, it was that same basic exchange just in different settings - the cemetery, the library, the gym - I got bored.

But, when stuff started happening, and the backstory from the beginning started coming together, I was reengaged. If you can make it through the middle without giving up entirely, it's like you're rewarded for that at the end. You have the epic battle between good and evil - love and hate. It's pretty cool.

I never felt extremely connected to any one particular character. Luce, Daniel, Penn - even Cam - all felt very flat. Like caricatures of who they are supposed to be. I wanted a girl to root for. One I wanted to be like. I wanted a guy that made me swoon a little myself. I wanted that plucky side-kick that gave me some comic relief from what is otherwise a heavy story. And, I wanted a bad guy that I hated to hate. I didn't get any of those things, really. It's like, they were all 50% there, but that's as far as they got. It was disappointing.

All that being said, Fallen did help pass the time during my commute for two weeks. I was left wondering what would happen with Luce and Daniel. And, yes, I did go to the library and get Torment (Fallen #2) out a few days later.