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ReviewingWonderland

Reviewing Wonderland

"I'm Mad. You're Mad. We're all Mad here." ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland We love to share our love of Young Adult and New Adult books with the world.

5* for Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone -

Daughter of Smoke and Bone -   I know I’m probably a few years behind the game on this book, but in my defense, it came out before I started blogging and therefore before I had such a wonderful network of bookish friends to make recommendations to me. That is now rectified and I have an awesome group of blogger friends that enjoy the same types of books that I do! :) Yay me! Daughter of Smoke and Bone was at the top of their recommended reading list for me. I mean they were practically yelling at me to read this one. See for yourself.

 

Twitter-convo

 

So, yes, I caved. And I am so glad that I did! Daughter of Smoke and Bone was……well it was……..WORDS FAIL ME! It was Awesome, Epic, the absolute Freakin’ Best Book Ever! Ok, give me a minute while I catch my breath.

 

The book is set in Prague, which is fun because I am quite sure I have never experienced this setting before. I imagined small cobblestone alleyways and brick buildings that have weathered time and remained standing. And for some reason, in my mind the city has a rather drab, grayish hue everywhere.

 

Something like this.

 

And living both in this world, and outside of it, is Karou. I fell in love with her from the very beginning. She is confident but reserved, finding it hard to make friends because of the secrets she must keep. But she strikes me as the type of girl that once a friend is made, they are a friend for life. I want to be friends with Karou. She is artsy in personality, persona, and activity. She is covered in tattoos, has a slender build, and long azure hair. Yep, blue hair – I love it! (And I gotta tell you, the first time I saw a picture of Laini, I was like, Yep. Totally fits.)

 

 

Karou works and plays in the world of humans, but her real home is through a magic door that can only be opened from the other side. A door that leads to a small shop of teeth run by an other-worldly chimeara named Brimstone. The chimeara are a race of hybrids, made of various animal and human parts. Although the book is very high fantasy because of this race of beings, they are described in such wonderful detail and given such realistic human/animal characteristics….it was just so easy to see them in my mind and believe they could be real.

 

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

 

I have read tons of books about angels falling in love with humans, or vampires with humans, or other-worldly creatures with humans. But it’s about time someone wrote a good book about a devil and an angel falling in love. The romantic encounter was so sweet. I was rooting for them all along, even before I knew what was really going on. Their love grows slowly, most obviously because they are supposed to be sworn enemies, but it is just so heart wrenching when you learn the whole truth of their relationship.

 

Oh I forgot to tell you about Akiva! How could I possibly forget him?! Akiva is the angel that is sent to earth to close all of the portals to Eretz, the world in which the chimaera and angels live. He is broody, strong, and gorgeous. :) He can cloak his wings while on earth, which is a good thing, because his wings look like feathers alight with fire. As if embers were carved into wings, never fully extinguishing. God, I want to see those wings!

 

This book was large, and yet I still felt as if the story ended too quickly. I wanted more. More of the characters, more of the world, more of Karou, more of Brimstone, more of everything! If you have been putting off reading this story because of the high-fantasy, I am here to tell you it is extremely well-done and does not read like a high fantasy book. Everything is completely believable – STOP WAITING! Go pick it up now. You will not regret it.

Zombie, Incorporated (The Katie Allred Zombie Series)

Zombie, Incorporated - Jill Elaine Hughes Overwhelming feeling after reading this book – “Huh.” The book is split into four main sections: ◦Part One – The First Days: Death Rises ◦Part Two – The Contagion Period ◦Part Three – The New World Order ◦Part Four – The Present Part One is an introduction to our main character, Katie Allred, and follows her journey into adulthood. She is a high-school senior who’s parents have insisted she forget about college and focus on getting a job and moving out on her own as soon as possible. This section of the book is the longest by far, covering 45% of the book in total. Katie is left as one of those ambiguous main characters (otherwise known as the “Bella Syndrome”). There is no real description of her given so as to allow the reader to picture themselves as the main character in the book and better live the story. She is depicted as a bit of a loner in high-school life, keeping to herself and definitely not part of the “in” crowd. She’s had a rather uneventful life and her parents live on the bottom cusp of the middle-class; not destitute but only making enough to make ends meet. This seems to be the only way of life her parents know and is all that they are hoping for from their daughter, inferring a sense of pride in working hard for working’s sake. Katie seems to float through life doing whatever she is told and never questioning it. Or, if she does question it, writing it off as “well, this is just what adults do”. I guess this is where the New Adult category assignment has come from, in that Katie is taking her first venture into adulthood without knowing what that means or how to navigate this stage in her life. Other than this though I would easily classify this book as YA. There is nothing seedy or “mature” in the storyline to make it too much for a YA reader to handle. Maybe that is coming in the next books in the series? Once Katie finds a job at the Zimble Box Corporation she begins noticing strange things in the world around her. She is given a clerical-type job at the company but never really told what she is supposed to do or why. And several of the other employees at the company seem…less than human. But not only is the Zimble company a little “off”. When she is put on a special assignment to learn all she can about the “in” crowd at her school, she starts noticing that things are a little “off” with some of her classmates as well. I don’t want to spoil the book for other readers, so I will not be going through the rest of the parts of the book in detail. You’ll just have to read it for yourself to find out what they entail. On to other items…first off. The synopsis tagline “Twilight. With Zombies.” is really rather misleading. I was expecting something along the lines of Warm Bodies, where a human falls in love with a zombie. But Book 1 has nothing to do with this romance, only hinting at something in the final chapter. In fact, the whole book ended up feeling like a teaser for a bigger story that we haven’t gotten yet. It’s the background, the prequel to a New Adult zombie romance story. I am assuming that all the tormented romance will be forth-coming in the series. But for this book I was left wanting more. More of what I was expecting to get. The Zombies. Now this was a twist I actually preferred in this book. The author took a page from the book of Twilight and instead of death-warmed-over zombies with green skin falling off and blood stained chins, the zombies here look like regular humans. They are able to assimilate into human society and live otherwise normal lives (apart from the need to eat human flesh and brains on occasion). The only indicator to humans like Katie is that these zombie “people” seem a little “off”. But they easily ignore their intuition and write it off. I enjoyed this remaking of a classic monster into something that could be living among us. The writing style used by the author was different than I am used too. The book is narrated in first person by the MC. And the best way I can describe it is that I felt like I was reading the MC’s diary, with dialog. It was well-written, but was almost a re-telling of events that had occurred with the MC’s future thoughts on the significance of them. In some points, it is as if the MC had forgotten to write things down in a while, so the chapter summed up the last fews months in only a few short sentences. All I kept thinking was of my own diary and the many, many entries that started with “I know I haven’t written in a while so here’s what has happened over that time”. Overall, I wasn’t Wow’ed by the book, but I didn’t dislike it either. I was content with the writing and the story, only left wanting more of the romance and the things that are hinted at in this book. I suppose I will need to read the next book in the series to find out where this story is going and if I will like that place in the end.

A Summer to Remember (Seasons, #1)

A Summer to Remember (Seasons, #1) - Jessica Gunhammer Review to come.

Wait for You (Wait for You, #1)

Wait for You  -  Jennifer L. Armentrout, J. Lynn Review coming shortly...

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Review coming shortly...as soon as I can wrap my brain around all the awesomeness of this book!

Zom-B

Zom-B  - Darren Shan, Cliff Nielson Huh. What? I’m having a really hard time writing this review, because this book left me feeling so confused. I grabbed this book because I was looking for something that would be different from my normal genre. I was looking for a thriller with a lot of action. The blurb for this book makes it seem as if the book is going to be about zombies. And I guess it was, sort of. But the underlying overriding theme of the book was actually about racism. The book opens up with an action-packed story about a small town in London where a little boy wakes up to find his mother has become a zombie and is eating the brains of his father. But this is almost a teaser for the book. Because after this it switches over and the next 17 chapters are a story about a young girl named Becky (nicknamed “B”) who is dealing with some interesting problems at home. Here’s where I start having problems with the book. “B” is never fully developed, we are given a rudimentary introduction to “B”. In fact I didn’t know that “B” was a girl until chapter 24! She is portrayed as a rough around the edges kid. She hangs out mostly with a group of boys and only two girls. But the girls are not part of the group that she spends the most amount of her time with. And she’s the tough one out of the boys! The only other thing we know about B is that her father is a raging racist. He is the leader of a racist movement in their city and holds periodic meetings with other individuals who believe that having a Ku Klux Klan in their town would be the best thing ever. Her father also spends a majority of his time beating his wife, where B is left to defend her mother and stand up to her father. The rest of the characters in the book left me wanting more as well. The most we know how about each of the characters is just a small tidbit of either their personality or their looks. Each kid that B hangs out with has been given a nickname, usually by B. For example “Copper” is a little redheaded kid and “Elephant” was given his nickname after some of his friends saw him changing in the locker room after a soccer game. Other than the small tidbits of information, we never really get to know the characters themselves, or what drives them, or what motivates them. We do get a sense throughout the book that B is a product of her environment. She was raised by a racist father who beats her mother and this life has made her the way that she is. She does not work hard at school, in fact, she spent most of her class time sleeping or doodling in her notebook. But even despite this fact, most of her teachers give her C’s, even on projects that she doesn’t turn it. I found the relationship between B and her teachers extremely unrealistic. Even in the worst schools teachers would not turn a blind eye to a student who not only does not participate but is also a disruption in class on numerous occasions. She spends the majority of her time with an internal conflict. On one hand she loves and respects her father and wants to please him; on the other hand she understands at some level that what he’s doing is wrong. Even though her internal voice is telling her that the racist things are wrong, she still outwardly portrays a belief in white supremacy. If the author was looking to elicit a strong response from the readers, he did it. I was disgusted with the things that B and her father allowed themselves to do. Finally in chapter 17 we get back to some action. Zombies attack B’s school and the rest the book follows their fight to get out – alive. This part of the book was exciting, it made my heart pound and I was flipping the pages as fast as I could. I felt like I had finally gotten the book that I was waiting for. Not some underlying social/political slant but just a fun fictional thriller. The descriptions of the zombies and their actions were incredibly grotesque and detailed. It was as if I was standing there watching the carnage and smelling the blood. The other really neat thing about this book was that it includes these wonderfully depicted caricature drawings of what’s happening in the book at various times. So all in all I picked this book up looking for an exciting thriller book about zombies. What I got was a socially charged book wrapped in a thriller package. And one last thing to note, without sharing any spoilers, the ending of this book set it up for a sequel. And yet with the way it ends I just don’t see anything from the story left to tell. I would like to say I am curious to know how the author stretches this into another book, but truth be told, I will not be picking up the sequel.Check out the full review at Reviewing Wonderland

Wanted

Wanted - Amanda Lance From Meagan @ Reviewing Wonderland! Come check us out.There was plenty to like within the pages of this book but, while I really wanted to like it, some areas just fell a little flat for me.Adeline Battes ("Addie") is a typical young-adult protog. She is quiet, unassuming, and prefers studying and reading books over making friends or playing sports. After her mother passed away she took over the household duties and watching over her dad and older brother. Her relationship with her family was enjoyable - they had a fun banter with each other that they used to mask the pain they had experienced together.On a road-trip back from dropping off her brother for a tour of duty, Addie talks her dad into stopping at a convenience station. As she is waiting in line for a coffee for her dad, she has what I considered to be the most believable chance encounter with a mysterious stranger. She didn't ogle him from a distance with thoughts of their future children running through her head. They didn't stand there mesmerized in each others eyes as the whole rest of the world fell away. No. She didn't even notice him until he whispered something over her shoulder about the book she was currently immersed in. Like most females (especially me) when given some unexpected attention, she was taken aback. Then quickly flattered when deciding he was, in fact, pretty nice to look at. The whole interaction felt real, not forced or contrived.Then the action starts. Addie, being a curious creature, decides to investigate a strange noise in a poorly lit back parking area - um, excuse me? Why? - and gets herself kidnapped by....Yep, mysterious guy from the waiting line. Otherwise known as Charles ("Charlie") Hayes, wanted felon and known murderer.I have to pause for a moment and discuss one thing that had me on edge through the whole story. In several places throughout the story, the things Addie is seeing or feeling are described but not really spelled out. I had a really hard time figuring out what was going on in these places. For instance...I heard a deep inhalation of breath, then a button clicked, and I felt an eruption of wind blast my neck and shoulder. Within a minute or two, my chest stopped hurting so much and my heartbeat somewhat returned.This is taken from the part in the story when Addie has been bound and gagged in the cargo area of the kidnappers SUV. Who was breathing? What was the button? It has taken me up until this very moment that the deep inhalation of breath was one of the guys probably lighting a cigarette (they all smoke profusely), the button clicking must be the power windows, and her chest stopped hurting because of the fresh air from the window expelling some of the smoke from the vehicle. Whew....I pulled myself closer and examined the deformity in an attempt to figure out what it was. Strangely enough, it was misshapen in its center and squared at it's ends. I hadn't noticed it my first time here. As I squinted, I thought I saw smeared red blotches in the center of its core. When I realized what the red was, I was almost in a full-on run to get to the platform.Huh...what was it?!?! I don't get it! Grrr.....frustrating.Despite my confusion at some of the story, I was drawn in by the relationship forming between Addie and Charles. I know! I know! He is her kidnapper! I had a hard time getting from the one extreme to the other too. But once I let go of the reality of the situation I was able to just enjoy the wrongness of it. Who hasn't fantasized about a forbidden love? What could be more forbidden than falling in love with your captor. And come on - there are like a hundred movies depicting this very situation!Once I was finally allowing myself to believe that this type of relationship was possible, I completely fell in love for Charlie. He is the kid from the wrong side of the tracks, the one that had no choice but a life of crime due to his troubled upbringing and sordid past. After meeting Addie, he has the desire to become a better man. If for nothing else, just to be the kind of man that she deserves. Awwwww - come on! My heart is all a flutter!So while I had some issues with this book and thought there were parts that could have been better, the story and the forbidden love were enough to keep me interested until the very end. There was just the right amount of mystery, romance and, my favorite, "love to hate" characters. Definitely worth picking up for a quick fun read.

Awakenings (Elemental Series)

Awakenings - Hally Willmott Another stellar book from the authors of Limitless Publishing! I have yet to read a book from this publishing firm that I did not like and Awakenings was no exception. Although I was completely frustrated through the entirety of this book, the ending brought it home for me.The main object of my frustration? -Jacey- The character building was great, you are not only able to picture Lacey but, since the book is written in first-person POV, you are able to get inside her head and really feel what she feels. No, this was not my issue with this character. Throughout the mass majority of the book (16 out of 20 chapters) Lacey is completely in the dark about her family, her weird dreams, even herself. And we are left in the dark right along with her. But the hardest part for me to grasp was that Lacey is dying to get answers to all of her questions (as was I), but every time someone tells her “not now” or “in time” – she just backs down and LET’S IT GO?!?!?!Are You Serious!Now, I am not opposed to leaving some mystery in a story line. I like when a twist in the story plot comes through at the end and blows my mind. The problem I have in this book is that you KNOW the twist is coming, it’s built up from the very first chapter and dangled in front of you as a carrot. I gotta tell you, I almost stopped reading the book because I was so frustrated by this.But, of course, I didn’t stop. I kept on reading. And I am so glad I did!Chapters 16 – 20 are amazing! Once we are able to enter the world of Nemele and meet all of the fantastical creatures that Hally has created – I was totally hooked. This book has fairies, griffins, elves, falcon-ladies, angels, and a whole mirriad of magical beings that are both grotesque and amazing.Now, I am not a fan of dropping popular book references or comparisons to well-known titles. So, instead I’m going to tell you some things from these last few chapters and let you decide for yourself if it sounds familiar….ready?Lacey is from a magical family who takes her away to shield her from the evils of their worldShe starts having episodes of magic that she can not control or understandThe magical world she enters is both old-world and colorfulUpon entering Nemele, she is enrolled in a school for magical beings, which looks like a castle on the insideOk, so it’s slight…but really, I noticed. Not that it turned me off. I am a HUGE H.P. fan!What I love about this book is the relationship between Lacey and Victor. It builds slowly and although there is an element of insta-love here, she doesn’t just throw herself at him the first time they meet. She has had strange dreams as long as she can remember and lately her dreams have included a pair of eyes…diamond sapphire eyes. Whenever she sees them her heart speeds up, she has butterflies in her stomach, and gets an overwhelming feeling of nausea. When she finally meets the man behind the eyes, she is determined to overcome her feelings toward him and present herself as a collected, dependent female.One of my favorite lines of the book comes from Chapter 15. It comes just after Lacey begins to learn about her origin. I just connected with it.I found magic exciting. I didn’t have a problem wrapping my mind around the possibility of it. I’d always been a bookworm and imagined myself into every good book I read. I found the possibility of becoming even remotely similar to any of those characters awesome. I knew I’d enjoy this reality.I cannot wait for the next book in this series. With the way book #1 ends, the next one promises to be action packed.**I received a copy of this book from the author as part of a review blog tour**Check out the full review at Reviewing Wonderland!

The Space Between

The Space Between - Victoria H. Smith **We were provided a copy of this book as part of this blog tour** (Of course, we had already bought it back in March) This book was amazing – cover to cover, every word – AMAZING! It gave me Pretty Woman feels, Save the Last Dance feels, wonderful heartfelt and even some terrified feels. I know I’m not making any sense. But I just can’t seem to stop gushing about Drake and Lacey. “You’re not from around here, and you’re in way over your head.” The Space Between is a timeless love story about a country club guy who falls in love with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. It’s the story of how they met, the circumstances that fostered their relationship, and the society that tried to break them apart. The book dives into the sometimes darker side of society and the persecution that interracial couples still face. I have such a major book boyfriend crush on Drake. He is of Asian decent, born in Korea, but was adopted by a well-off white politicians family as a baby. He grew up with a father that never connected with him and always saw him as a charity case, a PR decision. In an attempt to gain attention from his parents, he acts out as a troublemaker. But underneath the alouf bad-boy, he is a real softy. He never gets into any “real” trouble and is always looking out for his family and loved ones. Wanna know how I picture Drake? Actor, Daniel Henney Um, yes please!! *swoon* Let’s not forget about Lacey though! She is a down-on-her-luck yet strong and independent biracial female. Her mother, a strong black woman and former actress, is succumbing to the cancer that is destroying her body. Her father ran out on them several years ago when her Mom fell ill. At the age of eighteen, Lacey is working odd jobs outside of her normal schedule at the theatre just to support the family and pay for her mother’s increasing treatment costs. Because of what life has given her, she was forced to grow up quickly and does not look kindly on people of privilege who she feels are “throwing away” their advantages. And I couldn’t give you a picture of Drake without throwing in one for Lacey too. So here is what I picture for Lacey… Model, Christina Santini I mean, come on, she is adorable. One last thought to leave you with – Chapter 29….No words. Just feels! “The angle we were at on the hill, the entire city could be seen in the distance; the South Side, the North Shore, and even the West end of town. There were no divisions. No separations. Every part of the city was linked and connected under the sparkling city lights.”Check out my full review and a giveaway to win a signed copy of The Space Between over at Reviewing Wonderland

A Shade Of Vampire

A Shade of Vampire (A Shade Of Vampire, #1) - Bella Forrest What an amazing debut title for this series! I want more!When I accepted this book from a Read It Review It post on Goodreads, I was not expecting much. The book is only around 150 pages long, so I was all set for a teaser novel to get the reader introduced to the characters and maybe spark a little interest in the rest of the series. What I got was a full-fledged, heart-pumping, made my jaw drop novel packed into a smaller package. The length of the book makes it a quick read, but this is not one to skim over. There is so much juicy goodness between these pages, you won't want to miss a moment.Main Characters:Sofia Claremont - I absolutely love Sofia. She has been pining after her best friend for as long as she can remember, but never had the self-confidence to tell him her feelings. Her personal insecurities, however, are hidden behind the calm, confident persona that she portrays to those around her. Throughout the book, we are able to see her internal struggles and fears, making her believable and real.Derek Novak - After coming home to find his mother killed by a vampire, he spent 4 years of his life hunting the creatures that took his innocence away. At eighteen, when his now vampire father changed him and his siblings, he was forced to become the very thing that he hunted . His life became a series of conflicted emotions, a struggle between what he believed and what he had become. When his sisters vision named him as the Prince of the vampires, slated to save his kind from their enemies, he wanted no part.There are two POV's depicted in this book - Sofia and Derek. I was so excited to see Derek's POV! It allowed us to get inside his head and made him so much more loveable. The switching views were extremely well done. Instead of replaying each scene from the other view, or only having another viewpoint when they were apart, the viewpoints changed as each character entered a various scene. It allowed us to see each characters reaction to the situation and built the story line quickly."I found myself intrigued by Derek - even more so than I was before. He was a paradox, a walking contradiction. How he could perform such a violent act with no hesitation in one moment and be as gentle as he was with me right afterwards, was something that left me completely unnerved." - SofiaOk, I know I already talked about Sofia, but I just fell in love with this character. Talk about kick-butt protagonists! Sofia is able to take everything dealt to her and push it right back out. She was kidnapped by a stranger and made to be a slave of a vampire prince in the midst of a vampire sanctuary where humans are no more than pets, play things, for their masters. She also had to deal with her unbidden feelings for her own master. Through all of this, she was able to remain calm and confident, even though her conscience was screaming at her to run away."Somehow, deep inside, I knew...I knew that I could never harm her in that way, simply because I would never be able to forgive myself for it. I may not have enough self-control to keep myself from feeding on others, but with Sofia, I couldn't afford to lose control. She had become my one remaining link to humanity and it was clear to me that her ruin would be my ruin." - DerekDerek Novak melted my heart. You can tell that he was one of the "good guys" before being turned into a vampire. He was a mere eighteen years old when he was turned and some part of his remaining humanity still holds dear the values he had. But that part of him wars with the monster that he has become. Not just a monster, but the Prince of monsters. He has lived with the power of his position for so long that it has become something he learned to accept and use. When Derek Novak speaks, people and vampires alike listened - and obeyed. But when Sofia enters his life, she challenges him, makes him remember his humanity and reminds him that he has the control over his choices.I could not put this book down. It was fast-paced, gripping, and romantic in a strange butterflies-in-your-stomach way. I cannot wait to get the next book in the series - which comes out in April 2013. If you would like to sign-up to receive updates on this series from the author, you can sign up for updates at www.forrestbooks.com.

Water (Akasha, #1)

Water (Akasha, #1) - Terra Harmony The book begins as Kaitlyn, our main character, is trapped by an avalanche while skiing in a remote part of the world. Things like this are always happening to Kaitlyn – hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados – seems everywhere she goes, some natural disaster takes place while she is there. When Kaitlyn awakes she finds herself locked in a scarcely clad white room with no knowledge of where she is, or how she got there, or who is waiting outside the door.After a failed escape attempt, Kaitlyn is taken to a laboratory where she is subjected to countless pokes, prods, beatings, and psychological testing. She is secluded, even though surrounded by several lab workers, no one is allowed to talk to her. Until the seeming leader of her captors comes forward, revealing himself – Micah. He was handsome, alarmingly so. He is also a part of the Seven, a group who use their supernatural powers to help and protect the earth.“In my right hand I have a gift, choose this hand if you want to stay. In my left hand is a key to that lockbox over there…It contains directions out of here, money, and your passport. If you choose this hand, you are free to go.”Ok, so I know what you are thinking, if she was being abused by her captors, why would she decide to stay? I wondered the same thing myself. There is not any real explanation for her decision to stay with this group of men who call themselves the Seven. Somewhere along the way she developed a relationship with Micah, the man whose role is seemingly to “protect” her. However, as part of her training to become one of the Seven, he decides a good distraction technique would be to try and rape her while she is supposed to be concentrating on trying to use her new found powers.“Micah turned to leave me alone with the massive pile of books. I suddenly panicked. “Where are you going?” He paused, looking over his shoulder. “I have something I have to do tonight.” “You’re not going to leave me alone are you?”I was very confused by the relationship between Micah and Kaitlyn. It skipped back and forth from one of fear and hatred, to one of love and devotion without a smooth transition or any rationalization. The whole thing took on a Stockholm feeling for me and left me wondering, why does she keep going back to him? It was almost as if there are two books crammed into one here. One book is a delightful eco-centric fantasy that would be highly recommendable to the young adult reader. The other book takes on a dark, sadistic quality of writing and throws in some highly graphic sexual situations that would be suitable only for the adult reader.“Up until now, most conflict in this world has occurred due to land or border disputes and more recently – oil rights. Can you imagine what kind of conflicts might occur over freshwater resources? How bloody will those battles be? And who will be blamed for the problem?”So we haven’t talked much about the Seven yet or what they do. This was one of the parts of the book that I really enjoyed. In a fresh new take on the traditional superhero, the author gave certain individuals the powers to communicate and control various natural elements – Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Then there is the Gaia (this is what Kaitlyn is), who has the ability to control all four of the elements. Rounding out the group would be the Ardwyad (Micah) who is supposed to protect the Gaia with every fiber of his being and the Medwin (Shawn) to regulate the Gaia’s powers and help her control them. Sound very much like the X-Men group of superheros? Yeah, does to me too. But that’s why I like it. And this group’s main purpose is to travel the world and try to get companies and humans to “go green”. They also regulate the natural forces of nature to help humans and nature live in harmony. Ok, so this was slightly harder for me to buy into, but hey, I was willing too.Final thoughts:I had a hard time with this book. I really liked the premise of the story and was easily entertained by the eco-fantasy genre. However, the romantic interlude left me confused and wanting more. The sexual situations seemed to come out of the blue and were unwarranted. The author could have left out the gritty details of the encounters and made this a title worthy of the young adult/new adult genre. I would have been happier with the rape encounters if they had been portrayed by having Kaitlyn retreat inside her thoughts to deal with the ordeal.I would only recommend this book to those at the high end of the new adult readers, definitely over 18+. Those who don’t mind some darker adult situations and who would enjoy the eco-fantasy story line.

Grishma

Grishma - Kelly Anne Blount I’ve always been a big fan of paranormal books. I crave the escape of reality into a better world with beautiful creatures and a lush environment. When I read the synopsis of Kelly’s book, Grishma, I was intrigued. It seemed to have all the right ingredients: the world of Necoh, a hideous murderous beast, and a girl who is accidentally thrust into the middle of a battle that opens her eyes to a whole new world. This book had everything I wanted in a paranormal book and included romance, mystery, and its fair share of epic adventures.The book begins with the story of Ryder, a boy who is forced into manhood upon witnessing his father’s death at the hands of a hideous beast that has plagued his homeland of Necoh. I love Ryder! He is the epitomy of a young adult hero. Struggling to become a leader, he battles his own internal doubts while trying to show confidence in his decisions. Yet, in light of trying to appear confident, he is always willing to take the advice of others.Enter Brooklyn: a normal teenager whose biggest worry in life is her annoying, yet loveable, older brother Jax and what he will do next to embarrass her in front of her high school crush. Brooklyn first lays eyes on Ryder at a party where he is trying to blend in. The chemistry between them is strong and immediate; a true love at first sight interaction, but Brooklyn shies away from the encounter at first. I struggled to relate to Brooklyn at first, she seemed just a little too contrived for me. But she was not left this way. She grows and changes with the story into a person that I was very invested in. After she is drugged by Grishma, making her think she is the lost Princess Sophie, the author cleverly changed her third-person references to that of Sophie. A very nice way to cement that fact that she really believed she was the Princess.One thing I hate in a book is when the main characters go from meeting/hating each other to suddenly being deeply in love with no back story on how the relationship developed. This was not an issue in this story. The relationship between Brooklyn and Ryder develops slowly, almost painfully slow, but the reader has time to digest and grow with the characters.Ryder's journey to find Brooklyn is joined along the way by several Necohian creatures willing to help. They form a band of unlikely heros who each have something to prove and something to gain. Each of these creatures is a loveable character in their own right. Who are my favorite characters? - Pidifer and Cridifer! They are orvbas, small stumpy creatures, and brothers. The epitomise the meaning of brotherly love and sacrifice. Plus I just picture them as being so darn cute (like little teddy bears, or something)!Every time I thought I had this book figured out I was thrown a curveball! The rise and fall of action is so well placed it maintained my interest throughout the entire story. Ryder and Brooklyn cross paths so many times only to be pulled apart again!This story is reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia, written with a modern young adult theme. I even picture Grishma as a cross between Aslan and Buckbeak (the hippogriff from Harry Potter) with a serious mean streak and a manipulative personality. With all of the original creatures, this is one of those stories that would make an epic motion picture! (One I would be first in line to see)I highly recommend this book for fans of the Chronicles of Narnia but who are looking for something with a modern romantic twist. There are some adult situations portrayed in the story, but they are subtle. I would recommend this book for ages 15-18 (and for those young at heart). :-)A sequel to this title is already in the works and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!

The Sweetest Dark

The Sweetest Dark - Check out the full review on my blog!This story follows the life of Eleanor “Lora” Jones, an orphan in London during 1909. Although the story takes place in the past, the author gives the characters and events a modern feel. So much so, that I often forgot that this was set in 1909 until it would be mentioned. Personally I liked this aspect of the book because I am not much of a historical fiction fan. From the very beginning you feel for Lora. She is found wandering the streets alone, with no memory of her past and without the ability to speak. When no one claims her, she is sent to the Moor Gate Orphanage. Here, she eventually regains her ability to speak and learns to live in a society. All is going well, until she begins hearing things that other people cannot hear. Music. It’s everywhere. And there is a voice, a type of inner monologue that she cannot control and that has a deviously twisted personality. Lora is forced to undergo some rather radical “prescriptions” to attempt to rid her of her afflictions. This is one of those parts in the book that we are vividly reminded that it is still 1909. Yikes. The author has an amazing ability to paint a scene, her words take on a lyrical quality that had me mesmerized. One of my favorite passages was just after Lora left the Moor Gate Orphanage to start a new beginning at the Iverson School for Girls in Idylling: “Victoria station was cavernous, a fairy-work construction of wrought iron and steel and great canopies of glass, with locomotives that heaved and puffed into their slots by the platforms like groaning overstuffed beasts.” I can picture the train station as clearly as if I were standing there with Lora, smelling the must in the air and feeling the sticky warmth as the steam rolls through. Upon arriving in Idylling, Lora meets Armand – the Duke of Idellying’s son and bred into privilege. More on him later because the next person that Lora meets is Jesse. *Swoon* I love Jesse! He is wise beyond his years and so gentle with Lora as she makes her way along a path of re-discovery. Jesse is actually the person that helps Lora discover why she hears music that no one else can hear and where that voice is coming from. She is a Drakon – a person with a special ability to Turn at will into a dragon. Of course, with any really good paranormal ability, controlling it takes practice and patience. Jesse is all too happy to help Lora practice Turning, especially when she returns to being a girl, without her previous clothing intact. For those who do not follow Shana Abe’s writing, she has a complete adult series on the Drakon that you can check out by clicking her author link above. This book brings the world of the Drakon into the young adult genre in a way that is both effortless and exciting. Because I love all things young adult, I am happy to see this wonderful author bringing her abilities into the genre.

The Runaway King (Ascendance Trilogy Series #2)

The Runaway King - Jennifer A. Nielsen Sage/Jaron return in book two of the Ascendance Trilogy - this time on the brink of war with Avenia. The only problem is that no one believes him when he tells them that war is coming. Jaron gets attacked and then has to run to save his country. Jaron then does the unthinkable.... he joins the ones against his country, the pirates. What is going on? Jaron must save his country and try to survive the adventure he has placed in front of him. Roden returns as well, with thoughts of revenge against our King. Will Sage be able to save his country, or will he die in the attempt?This book was amazing! I couldn't put it down and had it finished in two days. I was anxiously awaiting the second book in this trilogy (preparing myself for the inevitable let-down of a second book). This book was nothing I was afraid of and everything I hoped for. Captivating! Jennifer Nielson brought in the craziness of adventure with turns and twists and non-stop action! Nice twist at the end of the book that I really liked. Loved the book, and I highly recommend this series.-Kaylee**I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.**

November Snow

November Snow - Shannon A. Thompson My Synopsis:In a post-apocalyptic world, in the year 2089, some humans are born different. They think of themselves as gifted, possessing a wide range of abilities like invisibility, controlling fire or ice, or harvesting energy from the world to bend and shape as needed. Those humans who are non-gifted fear the gifted, their unknown origins and abilities making them a target for hatred, ridicule, and most often death. Most often gifts will manifest in a child at a very young age and, when discovered, the children are either killed or left out on the streets to fend for themselves. The luckiest of these children find shelter in “flocks” and form new familial bonds with their flock leaders, often times still children themselves at the ripe age of eighteen. The flocks are forced to keep themselves hidden from society, rarely meeting anyone from another flock for fear of divulging who they are to the wrong person. The upcoming presidential election gives the people of Vendona a choice between Logan, who despises the “bad blooded” children and is hell-bent on eradicating them, or Henderson, a gentle spirited man who sees the gifted for what they are: children.Main Characters:Serena – At seventeen years old, Serena is second in command of the Southern flock. She has the ability to sense and absorb the energy of other bad bloods, allowing her to call upon others powers whenever needed. She is one of the few children that chose to leave her family home before they discovered her secret and often revisits her family home.Daniel - At nineteen years old, Daniel is the leader of the Northern flock. He has the ability to heal himself and others, making him nearly indestructible. As the leader of the Northern flock he is torn between his secret past and ensuring the safety of all his charges.Calhoun – An ex-soldier with a battle wound leaving him with only one arm and the only non-gifted adult who cares for and watches over the bad bloods. He helps Daniel and the Northern flock whenever they are in need.My Opinion:The synopsis and reviews of this book pulled me in, promising action, adventure, fantasy and romance: all the makings of a great young adult book. Being the first published book of author, Shannon Thompson, and published when she was a mere sixteen years old, I expected the story to be slightly immature but perfect for young adult readers. I was shocked by the explicit violence, language, and political theme I found in this book. In my opinion this book should be listed in the New Adult genre, but as expected, the writing style and prose used by the author is probably too immature for those over the age of 18.Literary perfectionists would have a heart attack at the state of the grammar and spelling in this book. (I did purchase this title from Amazon, so this was the final released version). I am including some of the worst offenses below, these are direct quotes from the book:“I never took the time to think on how the Henderson’s someone replace were feeling about having to have their only daughter.”“He was really hard to read, but then again, people aren’t meant to be read, books are. Daniel wasn’t a book, but if he was, he defiantly would have been a bestseller.”However, amongst the immature prose and unintelligible sentences is a story line that is extremely promising. The author was able to build the characters into people the reader could identify with and root for. The story didn’t really go anywhere for the first two-thirds of the book and then was wrapped up quickly in the last third with a nice pretty ribbon (this is definitely NOT a dystopian novel). The author could have condensed most of the story into a much more manageable 300 pages and not lost any readers. I would probably only recommend this book to readers age 16-18, but I am anxious to see what the now twenty-something writer is producing. If this early work is any indication, I would think her current work would be something special.

Losing It (Losing It, #1)

Losing It - Cora Carmack I haven't pulled an all-nighter for a book in a long while. A stressful job, two small children, and just life in general usually have me falling asleep after only a few chapters. But Losing It was wow, just wow! I want to re-read it; then re-read it again, and again. :) The characters are so well written that you feel everything they feel. I laughed at myself, felt my cheeks redden from embarrassment, fell in love, cried, and so much more! If this book is not on your TBR list, it should be; in fact, move it to the top of the list.

Fire prophet (Son of Angels, Jonah Stone)

Fire Prophet (Son of Angels) - Jerel Law Book Two: Sons of Angels series By Jerel Law Synopsis Jonah, Jeremiah, and Eliza Stone are quarterlings, one-quarter angels. Their parents are nephilim, the product of a union between a human and a fallen angel. Half-angels and quarter angels are under the great and mighty Elohim. You may know him better as God. The fallen angels are back again determined to destroy them all. The fallen angels fell from heaven to work for Abaddon, the evil of all evils. The kids discover many new powers and skills during specialized training, as well as gain some new friends with unique gifts of their own. Epic battles are waged between good and evil during their quest to find the key to defeating Abaddon. Will they be able to push back the attack of fallen with the help of Elohim, or will the quarterlings and nephilim be wiped out? My Opinion This book was super cool! The story took on many twists and turns, but I was still able to keep up with ease. The book actually references a lot of Bible verses and passages making it a great read for introducing or enriching religion in a fun and entertaining way. It is perfect for those who crave adventure; many scenes are like battles in the Bible. Each character and story line is very spiritually based. The under tone of the story is that there is only one true God, who strikes down all evil, and helps his children in times of need. This is all balanced with plenty of action and heart-stopping scenes. Very impressive, very well done, and I really enjoyed reading this book! -Kaylee