Monday, September 8, 2014

The Syrena Legacy Series Book #1: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

First it was vampires, then it was werewolves, then it was zombies, and then it was witches. Now it’s mermaids – I’m sorry Syrena – turn in the paranormal book world. Of Poseidon was one of those books that I found randomly at the bookstore one day, read the summary and added it instantly to my reading list. None of the libraries around me had the book, the digital library didn’t have it, and I wasn’t really in the mood to shell out big bucks for a book that I wasn’t too sure about. However, the iBook store held a sale last year and I picked it up. I read it last December, but because I didn’t remember what happened – I’ve read a lot of books since then – I decided to reread it now that the whole series is out.

Emma McIntosh feels like her life is just one embarrassing moment after another and when the book begins she’s experiencing one of those moments when she literally runs into the most handsome guy on the planet. He kind of unnerves her because of his gorgeousness and because he has purple eyes just like hers. It doesn’t help either that her best friend Chloe keeps insinuating things that make her red all over. They go their separate ways and Emma and Chloe go into the water where Emma starts berating her friend for her comments.

Galen – the guy Emma runs into – watches her and starts to wonder if she is like him and his sister. He can’t wonder long as a shark attacks Chloe and Emma goes down with her. Barely five chapters in and you’ve got a mystery of what Galen is and the death of a character. As the book unfolds, Emma discovers that she isn’t one hundred percent human that Galen isn’t human either and that she might be falling for him too. Just like he’s falling for her even though he’s there to bring her back for his brother.

I liked this book, really I did. Emma’s temper and her exclamations of ‘ohmysweetgoodness’ were quite entertaining. Her relationship with her mother was definitely anger worthy – again what is it with YA books and parents being totally irritating? And the tension between Galen and Emma was just aggravating for 280 pages. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the Galen’s POV chapters. For some reason, the tensing in his chapters was very weird and threw me off.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Good story, good intrigue and good tension. Just wished that the tensing had been consistent.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic or support your local library!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Night Huntress Series Book #2: One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

When we last left Cat Crawfield, she was running away from her vampire lover Bones so that she could work for a secret organization that takes out vampires within the FBI. When One Foot in the Grave starts, it’s been four years since that day and Cat has become the top agent within this organization. The case she is working on that night has some old ties to her former life. Ian, the vampire she’s sent to destroy, turns out to be Bones maker. She lets him go as an old debt to him and goes on her merry way.

The problem is she intrigues Ian and he doesn’t like things he can’t have so he is starting to hunt her down so that way he can add her to his collection. Not to mention the other vampires who have contracted hits on her life for her former profession as the Red Reaper and she’s gotten herself into a sticky situation. That’s why when Bones shows up at her friend Denise’s wedding, she has a full on panic attack. He’s been hunting her down for years. He’s angry with her for leaving him, but he still wants her. What’s a girl to do?

At the end of Halfway to the Grave I was angry with Frost. I think in my review for that book I stated that why did author feel the need to split up the main couple of a series at the end of the first book or during the second? So when I started this book I was a little skeptical as to how this was going to go. I wasn’t expecting Frost to jump four years, but I’m kind of glad she did. The time jump allowed for Cat to already be ingrained in her new life and when Bones finally showed up it also allowed for the much loved sexual tension that I adored in the last book. On top of the sexual tension there was also the intrigue that one of the vampires in Ian’s line is Cat’s father, who also turns out to be Don’s – the head of Cat’s team – brother. Family reunion much?

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I didn’t think it was possible for me to love a second book more than the first in a series, but this book proved me wrong. The relationship between Bones and Cat still makes me swoon, add in characters like Tate and Annette and I’m just in adoration.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library.

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

So things have gotten strange since we last left Pembrook Hall. The two other estates that Austenland have occupied have either been sold or rented, Mr. Wattlesbrook has become an even worse drunkard, and it seems that Austenland is on its last legs. At least that what Charlotte, Austenland’s new resident, has come to observe in her first few days on the property.

Like the narrator in Austenland, Charlotte has been unlucky in love, but not as unlucky as Jane was. Charlotte was married to a man named James and had two kids with him. But Charlotte was more successful and made more money than he did, and he decided to cheat on her. Now divorced and sharing custody of the kids, Charlotte has decided to pick up a different hobby other than spying on her daughter’s boyfriend. She finds a list of goals that she made when she was a teenager, and one of them was to read Jane Austen. One weekend while the kids are with their father she picks them up and falls instantly in love. Finding the need to go on vacation, she talks to her travel agent and she recommends Austenland.

When she gets there it’s just like an Austen novel, but this time there’s a hint of mystery and romance when Mr. Mallery catches her eye.

The only redeeming qualities this book had were the fact that it was short, some parts were funny, and the air of romance was quite enchanting. Otherwise, this book kind of falls flat like its predecessor and even the added mystery of what’s going on with Pembrook Hall doesn’t really save it.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Charlotte needed to grow a backbone, and even when she does it’s because she’s fallen in love. I liked that Miss Charming made another appearance and the character of Eddie was fantastic.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

In The Constant Princess, we were introduced to the character of Princess Catalina of Spain who through many tribulations finally became Katherine Queen of England. In The Other Boleyn Girl, we are introduced to two girls – actually three – who ruin everything for not only Katherine, but for the way the world worked as well.

Mary Boleyn is thirteen and married when the book begins with the beheading of someone that the king was close to. Mary is befuddled that the king didn’t stop the beheading, thinking that he would have offered clemency. She asks her mother this, and her mother tells her that that is not how it works in the court and if she continues to think that way then she is a fool. A year later, and Mary’s sister – Anne - has come back to the English court from France. By this time Mary is fourteen and has caught the wandering eye of the king. He flirts openly with her and the family begins to plot. Mary is commanded to woo the king and become his mistress, by this point Katherine is becoming infertile and the king is losing his patience with her. He must have a son to take over his throne.

After getting a girl on her, Mary does produce a son, but by this point it is already too late. While Mary was in confinement, her family commanded Anne to detour the king’s affection, so that way his thoughts were always on Mary. But when she comes out of confinement, she can tell with just one look that the king is besotted with Anne and another plot by the family is formed. This time it goes for all the marbles.

This is the third time I’ve read this book and I’m always astounded by how for such a smart woman Anne surely acts stupid and reckless. Personally, I’m astounded by all of the women characters in this book. The king is not a faithful person, so why do you keep demanding it of him? And why do you act surprised when he strays? My only explanation that I can think of is that they wanted to believe that they could be the one to hold him. It didn’t really work out, did it?

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I really don’t understand how Henry and Anne couldn’t have worked out. They were perfect for each other! They were both vain and wanted the whole world to revolve around them. I felt bad for Mary who had to watch the death of her own sister, thinking – like at the beginning of the book – that the king would offer clemency at the last minute. Hadn’t she learned her lesson?

Bookshelf worthy? Considering how many times I’ve read this book, yes!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

So back in 2005, I read this book because of the movie. I remember back then that I absolutely loved this book because not only did it show a side of Japanese culture, but it was also a well-told love story. I really want to know what the fourteen-year-old me was thinking, because this time around I literally want to claw my eyes out as I was reading this book.

This book tells the story of Chiyo – Sayuri as she is called later in the book – as she struggles through her life and tries to become a geisha. At a young age she is sold to an okiya by her father and separated from her sister. Thrown into this new world, she is shocked to find that one of the mistresses of the house – Hatsumomo – hates her because she thinks that one day she will be her largest rival. In fact, this geisha does everything in her power to make sure that Chiyo never becomes a geisha.

Much to her dismay, Chiyo does in fact become a geisha, a very successful one at that, and kicks Hatsumomo out of the house for everything that she has done. But the reason that Chiyo becomes a geisha is because of a man named the Chairman who she runs into one day when she was down on her luck and set in being a maid for the rest of her life. He shows her a bit of kindness, and as it turns out gets her help from one of the most successful geisha of all time.

It’s a beautiful story, really, but the details and side stories are just overdone. Seriously a chapter that could have ended in five pages went on for fifteen because of either descriptions of unnecessary items or a side story that was just filler. Also Chiyo is quite gullible. At the beginning when she tries to run away and Hatsumomo tries to help her escape she forgets the one lesson that Auntie taught her. Hatsumomo would never help her, ever. Little Miss Stupid indeed.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. The story is good, but there was just too much detail that wasn’t really needed.

Bookshelf worthy? Anyone want my copy?

The Luxen Series Book #5: Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The world is going to hell. War of the Worlds? Forget about it. The Luxen have landed and they don’t want to leave anytime soon and they’re destroying everything in their wake. Kat, Archer, Beth, and Luc are tucked away in the cabin not sure what to do. Dee, Dawson, and Daemon are gone, they left when the Luxen landed. Not sure what they’re next move should be Katy is blown away when she learns that Beth is pregnant and Archer and her go out to get supplies. This is where they run into a group of Luxen destroying things and assimilating human bodies. Archer and Katy are about to escape and get the hell out of dodge when she feels Daemon, but instead she runs into Dawson.

The next thing she knows she’s waking up in a mansion surrounded by Luxen who are less than friendly, even her best friend Dee is against her. Turns out that the Luxen are all connected by their thoughts and when the new guys showed up, the leader infiltrated all their thoughts and brainwashed them into thinking that humans were evil and deserved to be subjugated. So what does that mean for Dawson and Daemon? It doesn’t look good when Katy finally sees him again, he treats her like she’s nothing but human trash and their love was nothing. Like Katy, I think my heart broke for a second when he treated her like that, but I knew that the brainwash hadn’t taken him over, he was just acting that way.

As the rest of the book plays out, Katy, Daemon, and Dawson get away and meet up with Archer and Luc at an army base. The army’s grand plan to get rid of these Luxen – who are also revealed to be working with the Origins – is to drop giant EMP bombs over cities they are believed to be lost. Katy and company realize that this isn’t the best plan. By doing this, the army is making refuges of humans and setting civilization back. So they come up with a plan, a really insane plan, to get the Arum to help them out.

As usual, Armentrout combines sci-fi with a touch of romance and drama. The Daemon/Katy moments were just… fluff overload and I just wanted to curl into a ball and bawl my eyes out at how cute they were together. The ending, like most endings, nearly killed me twice. Not only do you have that character’s death – hey I’m all about being spoiler free sometimes – but you also have the attempted killing of that character too. My heart rate jumped a few times in the last fifty pages or so. I loved the ending, especially with Katy’s ‘room of precious babies.’ She’s a true book nerd ‘til the end.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Beautiful ending. Everything was tied together beautifully and this little side story that Armentrout wrote was just as aw worthy as a bunch of kittens.

Bookshelf worthy? What’s up with the new covers? My eBooks look odd with this cover and then the original four.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hush, Hush Saga Book #4: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

After everything Nora has been through, she has one last task to complete before she can fly off into the sunset and be happy with Patch. She has to lead the Black Hand’s Nephilim army to war against the fallen angels. If she doesn’t, she and her mother will die. But, if she does, the archangels won’t be so pleased with her and Patch. What happened to normal seventeen-year-old problems?

At least she isn’t alone. She’s got Patch, she’s got Scott, she’s got the Black Hand’s right man Dante and shockingly she even has Marcie. Yeah, that’s right, Marcie is on Nora’s side, or at least, she’s helping Nora so she can find out who killed her father. Okay. Dante is an interesting character. He’s kind of a hard ass as he helps to train Nora so she can lead the army to war if it comes to that. But something about him just isn’t right. That something is revealed when he forces a mysterious drink down her throat.

It’s devilcraft. The substance that Hank Millar was using to help fuel his Nephilim powers and that Patch and Nora thought died with him. Apparently not. Hank entrusted the devilcraft to Dante and Blakely, and Blakely has been working on weapon prototypes that will destroy the fallen angels. There’s also the drink that basically supercharges the Nephilim’s powers. Dude.

Okay, so honestly, the only reason I didn’t one hundred percent love this book was because of Nora’s decisions and the ending. After a brief tussle with Blakely, he ends up stabbing her with a devilcraft infused knife. The problem with the stabbing is that there was so much devilcraft on that blade that Nora becomes addicted to it. Reading about her trying to overpower the addiction was painful. I actually liked Nora the last book and part of this one, until she became addicted to the devilcraft. She should have known better. As for the ending…well, if you’re into the whole ‘perfect ending’ thing, then you would have liked this ending. But I didn’t. I love when books end perfectly, really, I do, but it ended too neatly and easily. Seriously. Nora’s final plan backfires, all the fallen angels are sent to hell, and Dante is after her head. How can things end well after that? Well, apparently, Dante is the devilcraft prototypes, so with help from Scott, Nora is able to kill him, which in turn kills the fallen angels who pledged allegiance to him to get out of hell. Patch possessed Rixon to get out of hell, and Nora and him go off into the sunset together, because as a final gift from the archangels – Detective Basso, who knew? – Patch can now feel. Wow.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Nora has come a long way from her character in the first book. She’s grown stronger, but she still makes some bad decisions. The ending was great, but it was gift wrapped a little too well.

Bookshelf worthy? After a year of sitting on my shelf, I finally read it. Yay!