Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: Morning Star by Desiree Finkbeiner

Many thanks to the author for allowing me the opportunity to read and review her book

Morning Star (Ethos, #1)



Genre
Paranormal Romance
Series
Ethos (Book 1)

Publication Date
March 28th, 2012

Publisher
Hydra Publications

Available At

Format
Ebook







When a mysterious stranger interrupts Brianna’s mundane routine, her eyes are opened to the dark underbelly of reality… immortal rogues, ancient conspiracies, prophetic revelations, savage tribes, mammoth dragonflies… 


She’s thrust into a race for her life when Kalen, a warrior from Ethos, discovers that she is harboring a secret… a secret that he’d give his life to protect. 


There’s just one little problem… they are tempted by a forbidden romance, which threatens to compromise a divinely appointed mission. They are faced with a choice… love eternal, or the end of the world…


Review
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Desiree Finkbeiner created a fabulous world that came to life through bright, vivid imagery. I instantly became lost in the enchanting world of Ethos and can't wait to go back.


The main characters, Bree and Kalen, were definitely likable, perhaps even lovable at some points. I wasn't completely swept away by either of them. One problem that I had was that there was a huge emotional struggle between Kalen and Bree that should have lead up to an intense emotional scene, but I found that scene to be lacking in the intensity that should have been present. I felt that they gave in too easily for such an important struggle. It also seemed that Bree's diction, for the most part, was more old-fashioned than it should have been for a 21 year-old woman living in the 21st century. Bree would comment on Kalen's diction (a lot) but I found that hers matched Kalen's more than it should have (which wasn't a huge problem if she didn't keep ragging on Kalen). But, they were each great characters and although I wasn't completely swept away by them, I could still feel the emotions that Finkbeiner was trying to portray. I must say though, that my favorite character was Athena. Once you read Morning Star, you'll see why. 


I loved the concept that Desiree Finkbeiner introduces to us in Morning Star. She took a popular genre and crafted it to make something that came across as new and refreshing. I was riveted to my seat as each new aspect was produced and I was constantly anxious to see how everything would play out. There were expected twists, but also a lot that weren't expected. Finkbeiner definitely has a knack of keeping up the suspense without drawing it out in unimaginable lengths. I'm ready to dive back into Ethos and begin from where we were left!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler

The Shapeshifter's Secret
Genre
YA Paranormal Romance

Publication Date
June 12th, 2012

Publisher
Cedar Fort
~Sweetwater~

Available At

Formats
Hardcover
Ebook
                                             





Julia is finally discovering what–not who–she is.


Like any sixteen-year-old, Julia's used to dealing with problems. From her overprotective father to her absent mother to a teacher who definitely has it in for her. But everything changes when Julia's reactions become oddly vicious and angry---more animal than human. This action-packed adventure has it all: humor, romance, and a plot that will keep you guessing to the very last page.


Review
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


There was plenty of mystery within The Shapeshifter's Secret that fueled my intrigue and kept me interested, but I was just not wholeheartedly invested in the characters.


For one, I felt that the romance aspect was greatly lacking. I felt that the characters both fell in love too simply and this may be due to the fact that they weren't together very often. Plus, the whole time I was reading, I kept getting this feeling that this is only a prelude to the real romance which will take place in future books. I may be completely off base with that assumption, we all know what happens when you assume, right? 


I was not a huge fan of Julia, but she did have great moments. She was completely unrelatable to me and I'm usually a reviewer that can relate to a lot of characters. The big thing that bothered me was Julia's obsession of the evil entity. I just didn't find it natural or normal as she kept trying to find a connection. I'm hoping that this was a process to show Julia's growth and to strengthen her resolve in the books to come. I don't blame her for being curious, but it was just too much for me. 


However, the wheels in my head were in constant motion as little clues were strewn every so often, revealed at perfect moments to keep my interest piqued. The world that Heather Ostler created was beyond fascinating and even though I didn't love the characters, I loved the world and plot enough to be curious about the next book. 


*Received my copy from NetGalley*

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)Series
Lies Beneath
(Book 1)

Genre
YA Fantasy Romance

Publication Date
June 12th, 2012

Publisher
Random House Children's Books
~Delacorte BFYR~

Available At
Amazon
Barnes & Nobles

Formats
Hardcover
Ebook





Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.


Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars!


There are so many great things that Anne Greenwood Brown did with Lies Beneath that kept it refreshing and original. I was instantly blown away and eager to read every word as the story unfolded. 


First, male point-of-view, do I need to say anything more? Probably not, but I will. I am so damn, unbelievably happy that male pov's are on the up rise. Oh, but that's not all. Usually we get saddled with the humans side of the story while the 'paranormal' person is cast in a dark, mysterious light (not a bad thing, I might add). Well, meet Calder. He's dark and a little mysterious and most importantly, he's a merman. And the story is told through his voice, which was absolute perfection. Also, this is the non-romanticized version of merpeople and I absolutely loved it. Brown casts them in a completely different light that portrays them in a much different way. It was fascinatingly eerie. 


I loved the fact that Calder questions the nature vs. nurture thing. Am I a product of nature or nurture? It's such a profound question for him and it simply added to his depth, forming more of a connection. Lily was fabulous. Slow to trust, fights her attraction towards Calder and is just plain human(in a good way, fleshed out). I felt like I knew her. 


I don't often need pretty words to transport me into a story, but Brown has a natural knack for writing that the prose was beautiful in itself. Descriptive. Vivid. Brilliantly flowing from sentence to sentence. I was mesmerized.


I'm recommending Lies Beneath to everyone. It was such an adventure that I was reluctant to say good-bye, but at least I (or we) can be mollified that there will be more to come.









Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers, #1)


Series
Nightwatchers 
(Book 1)

Genre
YA Paranormal Romance

Publication Date
May 29th, 2012

Publisher
Harlequin Teen

Available At

Formats
Paperback
Ebook



I don't do dangerous.  Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. 


Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me....


Review
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


There are some awesome characters in Dark Kiss. Kraven and Bishop will be fast favorites as readers flock to their desired 'team'. One's a demon and the other is an angel, but don't let that define them. There are layers upon layers of Bishop and Kraven that Dark Kiss only allows a glimpse of. The surrounding characters were also well done. Between Zach, Roth, Connor, Stephen, Carly, and Natalie; they all have genuine characteristics that will endear them, make them suspicious, or a little of both. As for Samantha, was she my favorite female protagonist? No, but she is absolutely likable and had moments that made her shine. For the most part, I really enjoyed her voice. I have a feeling that Samantha is going to keep growing stronger as a character.


I completely loved the plot. I love when an author is fully capable of crafting a story that has twists and mystery that you didn't see coming, but should have. Sometimes the unanswered questions can be left unanswered for too long, but in Dark Kiss it was a more natural flow that captured and kept my interest. The romance was tingle inducing when it had the possibility of ending up in the 'insta-love' category. The struggles were tangible and helped make the romance glide in a more realistic way portraying the connection between them. 


I labeled Dark Kiss as 'potential love-triangle' (meaning: possible love-triangle in the next installment) and you know how those drive me crazy, unfortunately not in a good way. There are a few that are well done and actually add the wanted tension instead of making me want to pull my hair out, so. . . I'm kind of interested to see how Michelle Rowan will play this out.


Wicked Kiss is the next in the series, and I'm curious to see what will happen.



*Received my copy of this title from NetGalley*

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

I received Something Like Normal from the publisher through NetGalley



Something Like Normal

Genre
YA Contemporary Romance

Pub Date 
June 19th 2012

Publisher
Bloomsbury Children's Books


Available At
Amazon
Barnes & Noble


Format
Hardcover
Ebook








When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother's stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he's haunted by nightmares of his best friend's death. It's not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he's had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis's dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.


Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars!


The first thing that grabbed my attention was the cover in it's beautiful simplicity. Then I read the blurb, noticing that it would be told from a males perspective, I was instantly hooked. There is something about reading from a males point-of-view that just makes me so incredibly giddy.


Travis is a unique voice, he's blunt, and like mentioned in the blurb, he has a dry sense of humor and his sense of honor is amazing. I fell in love with Travis Stephensen the instant he walked off that plane and into my life, as a reader. He's suffering from post-traumatic stress, something that can happen to anyone. He's extremely fleshed-out, he's so real that he could be any of the real-life Marine's walking around on this planet. In fact, each and every character is real, they have qualities that are real, struggles that are real and a camaraderie that is real. Trish Doller does an exceedingly great job of NOT romanticizing the relationships that Travis maintains, be it with his mom, dad, brother, Harper, Paige, a fellow Marine or whoever else. They just are, they just happen, and everyone and everything flows together with perfection.
Something Like Normal has a raw gritty truth staring you in the face, impacting the emotional level up an infinite magnitude. Trish Doller doesn't gloss over the abrasive facts, she doesn't breeze by the embedded layers. This is deeply intense, I had tears dripping down my face the whole time I was reading, even in the happy moments. Heart-wrenching and uplifting at the same time. The romance between Harper and Travis lends a sweetness to the unyielding harshness that is Something like Normal. Trish Doller rose above by choosing to write in Travis's voice. His thinking wasn't hidden behind lyrical, descriptive prose, it was straight to the point, simplistic bliss. It was brilliantly genius. There wasn't any mystery to wade through, the story was laid out right from the beginning, yet another wise choice from Trish Doller. Something Like Normal, didn't need the extras, it was just a story that needed to be told.
I recommend Something Like Normal to every single reader of both genders(well, maybe 16+), it is a book that needs to be read. There is some mature content, but in this book it is a necessity. Also, highly, highly recommend to anyone who has family, friends, loved ones in any military. This is an extremely eye-opening novel that shouldn't be missed.


I've been to Doller's blog (click here! Absolutely gorgeous!) and I've read the little snippets (one or two sentences) that she has placed all over of her next projects. I will tell you now that Trish Doller is going to be a HUGE hit among readers. She exudes natural talent when it comes to writing and those snippets, they have me anxious to read everything and anything that flows from that beautiful mind.