Friday, August 31, 2012

Review of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

      Pushing the Limits

      Author: Katie McGarry
   Publisher:Harlequin Teen
   Length: 384 Pages
   Hardcover, via a giveaway
   Rating: 4 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

           No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

          Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


My Review:

The fact that I'm doing a review for this book right now still amazes me. I went on a giveaway-entering frenzy and was fortunate enough to win one of the books I wanted to read most: Pushing the Limits.

           Needless to say, when I got the email asking for my name and address, I nearly flipped my laptop into oblivion out of sheer joy. It is for this reason that I will do my best to give it the fairest review possible. I've been working through a cold for the past few days, so bear with me if I make some wonky comments.

           I'll start by saying that the synopsis, in my opinion, is slightly misleading. I was under the impression that a lot of the book dealt with a hidden romance between a broken girl and a bad boy. The romance, though, seemed to be far from hidden. Yes, there were some conflicts that made it difficult for them to be together, but I never got that "forbidden love" vibe. That said, this is by no means a negative thing. In fact, if the romance had been what I had been expecting, the story may have branched off in a whole bunch of cheesy directions. 

           While I'm on the topic of romance, I'd like to convey just how much I loved the relationship between Echo and Noah. McGarry does a splendid job at showing, through dialogue, how the two of them bring out the best in each other. Many of the comments they shoot back and forth had me laughing out loud, reeling at how perfect they are for each other. I don't normally start a review talking about the romance, but considering it was one of the best, most authentic parts of the novel, I feel it is necessary to make an exception here.

Moving on.

          If you didn't already know, the book alternates between the perspectives of Echo and Noah  every chapter. I didn't know this ahead of time, and quite honestly, it kind of worried me at first. I've never been a huge fan of point of view switches, but both Echo and Noah were such real, likable people it didn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, some of my favorite moments were told through Noah's perspective.

           As for secondary characters, there were only a few that I built a strong connection to. Mrs. Collins quickly became one of my favorite characters. Whether it was her sunny demeanor or her reckless driving habits, McGarry made sure that this woman made an impact on me. She has this way of saying so much out of so little, something that is hard to find in a book. Add the fact that you could see how much she cared for Noah and Echo and BOOM: outstanding character. Other people in Echo's life, however, irked me to no end. Grace, old friend of Echo and now most popular girl in school, managed to upset me any time she was mentioned. I understand in a "I-guess-I-get-why-you're-acting-like-such-a-biscuit" way, but at the same time I felt that she just needed to grow up. Personally, I've never met someone so dead set on being popular, so maybe that's why this bothered me so much.

          Other characters, some only mentioned once or twice, really helped to make the story that much more believable. Some authors forget that there are always additional people in a character's life that mean little in the grand scheme of things. It's all about immersing your reader into a story, and simulating as many aspects of real life as possible can really help to accomplish this. 

          On a different side of things, the language and description that McGarry implements is quite lovely. Her words mesh perfectly together to produce a vivid image in your mind. You could see Echo pulling down her sleeves perfectly, and eventually your mind put pieces like this into your mental image automatically. You're placed entirely into the world of Echo and Noah, almost as if you are a part of their universe.

           If I had to pick my favorite aspect of the book, though, I'd have to mention the book's ability to  evoke some serious emotion-age within you. Pushing the Limits had me laughing, crying, and biting my nails-- sometimes two of these things at the same time. The characters knock loudly at the door to your heart until you are forced to let them in. It's a wonderful thing to see.

          If you haven't yet read Pushing the Limits, do yourself a solid and order it whichever way you can. I was lucky enough to win it, but it's honestly worth any money you may have to pay for it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review of Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout


  Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
  Publisher: Entangled Teen 
  Length: 366 Pages
  Paperback, via
  Rating: 4.5 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

          Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

          The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

           I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…


My Review:

Oh man. Oh-man-oh-man-oh-man.

 I really should've known, the second I picked up this book, that it would become a "problem book." Problem Books lead to me struggling with A.) Writing a review for it, doing it as much justice as possible, and B.) Suffering through months of waiting for my next Lux Fix.

And here I return to a constant stream of man-oh-mans. Ms. Armentrout has done it again, folks. Okay, here we go.

           So if you are a GoodReads fiend such as myself, you know that the reviews for Onyx are through the freaking roof. I thought the 4.44 rating that Obsidian boasted was impressive, but nearly 4.7? That's virtually unheard of. My immediate response to seeing such a high praise rate was rather depressing in retrospect; I couldn't help but think that only die-hard Obsidian fans had gotten hold of the book, so of course they'd love the living hell out of it. I could practically feel the raging hormones bouncing off the reviews for Onyx, all spazzed out after a heavy dose of Alien-crack.

           Well, if you read my review for Obsidian, then you know that I was also one such provider of a hormone-dominated review. I return to you all today, still blushing slightly and yet again fanning myself, to give you another round of flustered ranting. Let's do this.

           Onyx. I'm going to try to sum it up in only a few words, but it wouldn't and couldn't possibly convey just how good the book is: A bigger, better, longer, sexier and more emotion-inducing Obsidian. When I saw other reviewers say very similar things, my immediate thought was along the lines of, "No way, not possible--Nope." As per usual, I was wrong. Very wrong, very stupid and very in for a very big surprise. 

        So, the beginning is nothing too special. Armentrout does a great job at bringing her returning fans back into the world of Katy and Daemon, knitting pieces of the last book's plot effortlessly into the thoughts and dialogue to bring you up to date. I never felt like I was reading too much exposition, which is great. The reader is also immediately treated to extreme Daemon-cuteness-- he puts a cookie halfway into his mouth and I just about kissed my book. 

        As the story goes on, I will say there were quite a few moments during which I felt the need to slam my face into a hard surface. Of course, usually these things were the good kind of face-palm moments, the kind you get when you know something bad is going to happen but it doesn't make watching it happen any less funny/sad/satisfactory. However, if you are someone that gets easily fed up with knowing too much more than the main character, then perhaps you will find these moments kind of annoying. I'll just say this: Katy is kind of clueless about certain thing frequently throughout Onyx, but understandably so. I just had to keep reminding myself that I'd probably think in a similar way to keep any irritation down.

       Obviously, as I've stated before and as I'm sure you would expect if you've read Obsidian, JLA goes full force with all types of tension in Onyx. Emotional tension, fear-induced tension, angry-tension, and the mother of all tension-- sexual tension. Most times, Armentrout manages to infuse scenes with more than one of these types of intensity and the end result is always fantastic: you feel it. You feel the tension inside you, taking custody of your nerves and playing them like a string instrument. It's incredible, and so rare, this ability that Armentrout has developed throughout her works. 

           One thing I wish I had gotten of out of Onyx was a bit more inclusion of secondary characters. I loved Blake, even despite the fact that I flipped back and forth between hating him and liking him. Dee, Adam, Lesa and Carissa, though, were kind of tossed to the side. Again, I totally understand how and why these characters were pushed to the back burner, but I still wished I had seen more of them. I guess I missed them in a way. Just something to consider.

          I could go on and on, (again), about this book, but if I'm forced to depart with one last high praise, I'd simply say this: The humor was spot on. I generally refrain from using silly text-language like lol, but quite honestly that's the best way to describe what I must have looked like reading Onyx. Cooped up on my bed, earplugs muffling out any sound-- and laughing out loud. And trust me, I'm sure it was loud. If you thought Obsidian was hilarious be prepared for some wild guffaws, because the dialogue is marvelously funny. 

           If you haven't yet read Obsidian, or any of Jennifer Armentrout's other fantastic novels, open up another tab right now and order them. Check that little priority shipping box and endure the wait--it's well worth it. If you have read Obsidian, order Onyx. Do it now. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review of Nocturnal by Chelsea M. Cameron


  Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
 Length: Appx. 232 Pages.
 E-Book, via Amazon Kindle PC
 Rating: 3 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

          Seventeen-year-old Ava-Claire Sullivan's mother is dying. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that her greatest solace comes from someone who's already dead.

          Peter Hart saves her one night in a graveyard from an attacker just as strange as he is, and now Ava can't stop thinking about him. She wants to see him again – even after he warns her he's dangerous, and she begins to realize what he is. Her best friends don't know anything about death, but Peter does, intimately. He's waiting for her the next night she comes to the cemetery, and the next...

          But their growing bond comes up against a promise Peter made a long time ago, a promise that could destroy them both. Now Ava has to decide just what she's willing to give up to hold onto the one thing that could last forever.


My Review:

          I'll be honest and say I haven't the slightest clue about where to start on this one. Yes, I did enjoy the book, but there's nothing specific about it that I feel inclined to begin with.

 I guess I'll just start from the beginning.

          So, the beginning felt like an entity of its own, almost detached from the rest of the novel. It slams you right off the bat with some pretty heavy news: the main character's mother is dying. Yes, legitimately dying, A.K.A, no vampires... yet. One would think that starting a novel off on such a down note might not be the best idea, but somehow Cameron still managed to take hold of my attention. As I read on, however, I worried that the entire novel would be based on the morbid behavior of a distraught teenage girl. Negativity seeped into Ava's every thought, which made the first chapters difficult to push through. I came very close to dropping the book, but a little voice in my head urged me to continue. Fortunately, I didn't have to struggle very long. Somewhere after chapter 4 it became a new story, rid of the morbidity that weighs heavily upon the first chapters.

              I discovered pretty quickly, after all of the my-mother-is-going-to-die mantras eventually stopped, that I actually really liked Ava's character. Her thought's lost their angst-y coating and she became someone I could actually see myself being good friends with. You can tell that she really cares for her friends, Tex and Jamie, and that they truly care for her too. In fact, I'd like to note that Tex was one of my favorite characters. She just always exudes this quality of playfulness and sincerity, and  I loved the banter between she and Ava; it felt believable.

            Speaking of characters, I may as well bring up the love interest. Peter. Peter, Peter, Peter. The first time his point of view came up, I didn't like where his character was headed. Something felt really off, and I hated the way his character was presented. Again, like the beginning of the book, it got better  around the third time around, but those first two were honestly just plain weird to read. His character through Ava's point of view, though, I adored. Everybody loves an innocent, clueless soul and that's exactly what Peter is. I won't blow too much about him, but all you need to know if you're interested in reading Nocturnal is that he's not your typical hero. I'll leave it at that and allow you to uncover the rest.

          The world building was nothing spectacular and sometimes I found it difficult to picture certain things. I would've loved a more detailed description of the graveyard in particular, as that was easily my favorite setting. There's enough to outline an image in your head, but the rest is left up the reader.

          Now, one thing I think needs to be pointed out about this novel is that it felt more like an introduction than anything else. Aside from a few set-up-esque plot points, not much goes on. The "climax" comes at the very end, and even then nothing is fully established. I'm really hoping that Nightmare will be different in this respect, as this novel had virtually no central conflict.

          Another thing that the novel lacked was follow up on a lot of essential questions. There were so may side problems that almost none of them were even remotely resolved. Aside from mentions here and there of her mother's illness, the whole idea is pushed completely to the way-side. I almost completely forgot at some point that her mother was ill at all! Further, conflicts within Jamie's life are never examined, and though I understand that Ava has a lot of her own stuff to dwell on, it got to the point where I forgot Jamie even existed. There are other unresolved issues that are too important to spoil, but if you read the book you'll know exactly what they are. The inconsistency is rather disappointing.

         I feel kind of like jelly now after sitting here and editing this, but I shall depart with one last tidbit.   This book, while nothing special, is pretty darn good, especially because it's absolutely free right now. It's definitely worth looking into, and despite the bad rep that vampire's get, (to which, I admittedly contribute), this vampire book is at the very least bearable if not thoroughly enjoyable. I give it 3 tasty brownies :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Current A-List Kindle Freebies!

Check out these great novels available for FREE on Kindle as of August 14th, 2012!

                       Prince of Wolves

                             Author: Quin Loftis
                             GR Rating: 4.13
                             Length: 216 Pages

GoodReads Description: 

           Jaque Pierce was just an ordinary 17 year old girl getting ready to start her senior year in high school in Coldspring, Texas. When a mysterious foreign exchange student from Romania moves in across the street, Jacque and her two best friends, Sally and Jen, don't realize the last two weeks of their summer was going to get a lot more interesting. From the moment Jacque sets eyes on Fane she feels an instant connection, a pull like a moth to a flame. Little does she know that the flame she is drawn to is actually a Canis lupis, werewolf, and she just happens to be his mate; the other half of his soul. The problem is Fane is not the only wolf in Coldspring, Texas. Just as Fane and Jacque are getting to know each other, another wolf steps out to try and claim Jacque as his mate. Fane will now have to fight for the right to complete the mating bond, something that is his right by birth but is being denied him by a crazed Alpha. Will the love Fane has for Jacque be enough to give him the strength to defeat his enemy, will Jacque accept that she is Fane's mate and complete the bond between them?


                            Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
                            GR Rating: 4.25
                            Length: 232 Pages

GoodReads Description:

           Seventeen-year-old Ava-Claire Sullivan's mother is dying. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that her greatest solace comes from someone who's already dead.

Peter Hart saves her one night in a graveyard from an attacker just as strange as he is, and now Ava can't stop thinking about him. She wants to see him again – even after he warns her he's dangerous, and she begins to realize what he is. Her best friends don't know anything about death, but Peter does, intimately. He's waiting for her the next night she comes to the cemetery, and the next...

           But their growing bond comes up against a promise Peter made a long time ago, a promise that could destroy them both. Now Ava has to decide just what she's willing to give up to hold onto the one thing that could last forever.


                                Author: M. Leighton
                                GR Rating: 4.16
                                Length: 57 pages

GoodReads Description:

             Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl--for a princess, that is.

           Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

             In order to save her home, the lives of her family, and all of humanity, Madly must learn to wield her exceptional powers and recapture the Lore before it’s too late and all is lost. But Madly’s only help are her two best friends and the Sentinel, Jackson Hamilton, that threatens both her heart and her destiny. Madly has loved Jackson as long as she can remember, but he is the one thing even a princess can’t have. Can she resist love to become the queen she was fated to be? Or can she find a way to have both?

This novelette introduces you to Madly and prepares you for the quest of a lifetime

                             The Fallen Star

                          Author: Jessica Sorensen
                          GR Rating: 3.97
                          Length: 449 Pages

GoodReads Description:

           For eighteen year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. Up until recently, she has been incapable of feeling emotion. And when she's around Alex, the gorgeous new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Not to mention the monsters that haunt her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. But with Alex seeming to hate her and secrets popping up everywhere, Gemma's life is turning into a chaotic mess. Things that shouldn't be real suddenly seem to exist. And as her world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death.

                        Diary of a Vampeen

                              Author: Christin Lovell
                              GR Rating: 4.00
                              Length: 307 Pages

GoodReads Description:

           Imagine living a human charade for fifteen years and never knowing it. Imagine being provided less than a week to learn and accept your family’s true heritage before it overtook you. Alexa Jackson, Lexi, is abruptly thrown onto this roller coaster and quickly learns that she can’t change fate, regardless of how many lifetimes she is given. She will be transformed into a vampeen on her sixteenth birthday, she will be called upon to fulfill a greater destiny within the dangerous world of vampires, and she will have to risk heartbreak and rejection if she ever wants a chance at love with Kellan, whether she likes it or not.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review of Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout


    Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
  Publisher: Entangled Teen
  Length: 335 Pages
  Paperback, via
  Rating: 4.25 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

Starting over sucks.

        When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

        Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

        You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.


My Review:

          Jumping into Obsidian, I had already finished both Half-Blood and Pure, and thus thought I had an idea of what to expect of JLA's writing. Turns out I was right, and in the very best ways possible.

           I knew going in that the ratings for Obsidian were much higher than those of The Covenant series novels, so I had very high hopes. Upon reading, "Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy," however, I immediately started to picture a million ways this novel could go wrong. If the love interest is to be arrogant or cocky, then the dialogue has to be done right. If it isn't, your stuck hating a character you're meant to fall in love with.

Boy did I fall in love with this Alien. Holy moly, rigatoli. I'm fanning myself as I write this.

           Daemon Black. How he does what he does and gets away with it smiling, I will never know. What I do know, though, is that this little ball of light is one of the best things about Obsidian. Never in my life did I think I would make a statement like that about a cocky character, but it's the truth. There's something very smooth about everything he says and does, something that makes you physically shiver. I give props to the main character, Katy, for resisting him so adamantly. I'm not entirely sure I would've been able to do so myself. 

          This brings me to a point I have yet to make in a JLA novel review, but it seems most fitting to bring it up here. Sexual tension. Armentrout manages to keep everything at the perfect level of intensity without forcing the main characters to make out every two seconds. If you've done any research on Obsidian, then you've most likely heard of the "Laptop Scene." If I was fanning myself before, I'm going to need a wind turbine to cool me off now, because the Laptop Scene was out-of-this-world (shameless Alien reference). That's all I'll say about that, you really just have to read it to understand what I'm saying. 

           I'll stop ranting about Daemon and the feelings he induces now and focus on some of the other characters. For one, I thought Katy was a solid female lead. She's a total book nerd without being an actual nerd and knows how to stand up for herself when necessary. I found it really easy to read in her voice because her thoughts were so similar to my own. Some of her reactions were priceless, and I often found myself laughing out loud at the both of us. I also really liked Dee, Daemon's sister. She's friendly and innocent, but at the same time you know that she harbors a great amount of power. The girls that Katy befriends at school, Lesa and Carissa, also proved to be nice additions to the story. They didn't have any real importance, but their believable personalities made the novel that much more real.

          I'll also say that there was never a moment throughout Obsidian that I found myself bored. Even if nothing major is going on, you're still hooked onto whatever is happening. Ms. Armentrout does a fantastic job with pace and transitions, going from one plot element to another with ease. Your family may notice you haven't left your room all day and question if you've died. They needn't worry; its just that you can't put Obsidian down. 

           I'll end this review by saying this: if you have the opportunity to read Obsidian, do so. Seriously. The chances of you experiencing any form of disappointment are slim, and more than likely you'll close the book with a contented sigh. 

Onyx will arrive at my doorstep sometime tomorrow. Is counting the minutes a bit obsessive?

Review of Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout


 Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
 Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
 Length: 329 Pages
 Paperback, via
 Rating: 4.25 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

There is need. And then there is Fate...

        Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

        When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.


My Review:

           It's taken me a little while to get around to this review. I feel as though there is a lot to be said, but so little that can actually convey what an improvement JLA makes with this sequel.

           So, I'll be completely honest here and say that I wasn't head-over-heels in love with Half-Blood. Granted, I wasn't expecting to be, and I actually enjoyed it more than I anticipated-- but even still. There was something about Half-Blood that kept it just a sliver away from blowing me away. I'm still not entirely sure what it is, or even if it's just one thing. Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy it. I practically devoured it, even. Maybe I just needed to get into the characters more than I was allowing myself to, or maybe it all can be blamed on my post-Insurgent-novel-hangover.

          Whatever the case, Pure did what Half-Blood came close to, but failed to do: Blow me away.

           Everything is bigger and better in this installment. More action, new setting, character development, loss, wit; this novel improved on so many things, I can't think of all them to list. The characters blossom, becoming people you wish you knew in real the world. Alex is still the stubborn, mahem-inducing teenager she was before, but you get to witness her grow as a person. She deals with a lot of heavy stuff, (and some, uh, other stuff as well), and the impact is clearly displayed through her inner dialogue and actions. I loved that.

         Other characters grew on me, too. I'd always loved Caleb, even while reading Half-Blood, and I loved him even more in this book. Surprisingly, I found myself caring for Marcus and Lucien, too. I thought for sure, by the end of the series, I would hate them. I also quite loved the group of students that stay and watch Alex and Seth train; they had little "screen" time, but they felt so incredibly real it didn't matter.

           Now, I'll briefly discuss the love-triangle I hinted to in my review of Half-Blood. After reading Half-Blood,  I become thoroughly worried that the series would turn into some drama-infested love/angst soap opera that just so happened to involve daimons. I am shocked to sit here and write, for the first and possibly last time, that I didn't mind the love-triangle that has formed throughout this series. In fact, at certain times I even loved it, watching Alex bounce back and forth. I think the main reason behind this is that Seth really grew on me this time around. His cockiness didn't simmer down, but it felt more playful this time. He also shows his care for Alex a lot more often, which was really nice to see. And Aiden. Well, I've always loved Aiden. Something about the way I picture him just makes my skin feel nice and fuzzy. I guess what I'm getting at is that the love-triangle is bearable, if not enjoyable, because I adore both of the guys. If Alex were to end up with either of them, I'd be content.

Wop, that was a bit of a rant. Anyway. 

           If you've read any of JLA's novels, then you pretty much know her writing style. Personally, I think she's one of the best at writing teen voices. It's almost as though I'm actually in Alex's brain at certain times, thinking just as she would, reacting just as she does. Pure doesn't disappoint in this department, either. Again, though I didn't think JLA could get any better at writing a teen voice, (meaning, I already thought she was outstanding), she does. Incredible.

           To say that I really liked Pure would be a gross understatement. After reading it, I became a full-on Armentrout fan. This novel really knocked my shoes off, and I will be anxiously waiting to read Deity.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review of The Mayfair Moon by J.A Redmerski

          The Mayfair Moon

    Author: J.A Redmerski
  Publisher: Self-Published 
  Length: 350 Pages
  Kindle PC E-Book, via
  Rating: 2.5 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis: 

           After a nightmarish encounter with a werewolf, seventeen-year-old Adria Dawson loses her sister, but gains the love of a mysterious young man and his legendary family.

           Strange and tragic things begin to happen in the small town of Hallowell, Maine: residents come down with an unexplainable ‘illness’ and some disappear. In the midst of everything, Isaac Mayfair is adamant about keeping Adria safe, even from her sister whom he has warned her to stay away from.

           As unspeakable secrets unfold all around Adria, impossible choices become hers to bear. Ultimately, no matter what path she takes, her life and the lives of those she loves will be in peril. As she learns about the werewolf world she also learns why her place in it will change the destinies of many.


My Review:

           Truth be told, I had to struggle to push through the majority of The Mayfair Moon. At some point about a week ago, it popped up as a recommended novel on GoodReads. I read the synopsis, noted its decent 4.03 rating and set out to see if I could get my hands on a copy. Low and behold, I find it for FREE on Amazon Kindle. I thought, "What the hell, a free novel? With a rating above 4.0? Count me in!" Such is how my journey with the novel began.

           Flash forward a few days and find a frustrated reader, (myself), trying to find a way to review The Mayfair Moon as honestly as possible. I've been staring at this screen for quite some time now, so that should help you gauge what a dilemma this is. 

           I'll start by saying that a 2.5 rating isn't absolutely horrible; on GoodReads, a 2 star review signifies, "It was okay." That was what I based my rating on, not on a oh-god-I'll-never-give-a-book-only-1-star-that's-blasphemy-so-I-ll-give-it-2-and-call-it-a-day basis. I even went a tad further to give it an extra .5 brownies, and I truly believe that the novel deserves it. Anything higher, though, may be pushing it.

Enough talk about the intricacies of book ratings. 

          There were many things that irked me almost immediately about the book. For one, the thought processes and language of the main character, Adria, seemed a bit off. Something about the way she viewed and thought about things felt unnatural and inhibited my ability to immerse myself into her brain. The closest thing I can compare it to would be to infuse someone with an A+ blood type with B+ blood; the body rejects it and things go wrong.

          Another thing that made it difficult to relate with Adria was her reactions to many things. She acknowledges time and time again that she shouldn't be doing or thinking certain things, but goes and does/thinks them anyway. I won't spoil anything, but this became especially annoying when the love interest, Isaac, enters the picture. My rate of face-palming only increased as I read on.

          This leads to another thing I didn't enjoy, (At all): The Insta-Love. Insta-Love is kind of like Insta-Cheese; most times, you cringe at the mere thought of it. If it's served with something that makes the artificial dairy product worth it, however, you'll stomach it bravely and hope for the best. Nothing that was served with this can of Insta-Love was worth it. Whoosh, that sounds harsh. Moving on.

         There were a few things I did like about the book, things that saved it from a solid 2 star rating. Some of the characters, ( Nathan, Harry, Zia), were quite fun and I enjoyed them a lot. The description  and imagery that Redmerski delivers is nice, as well, giving plenty of information to help your brain picture what's happening.

          All in all, I'm really glad I didn't have to purchase this book. Many people seem to have really enjoyed it, so maybe I just couldn't get myself into it for my own reasons. As of right now ( August 12th 2012), The Mayfair Moon is still completely free for kindle on, so if you're in the mood for some Insta-Love with a side of werewolves, have at it. More than likely you'll enjoy it more than I did.

Review of Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout


  Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
 Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
 Length: 281 Pages
 Paperback, via
 Rating: 3.75 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

           The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.


My Review:

           Hema-Wha? You heard correctly-- Hematoi. That's just one of many ambiguously pronounced words found throughout Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Luckily, each copy comes equipped with a mini-pronunciation kit of some of the more challenging terms; you never have to worry about accidentally calling them the Hee-Ma-Toi.

           Now, before reading Half-blood, I would wince any time I decided to skim its reviews. I read review after review about the countless similarities that the novel shares with the Vampire Academy series. I've yet to read any VA novels, but perhaps if I had I would not have enjoyed Half-Blood as much as I did. That said, I think it's unfair to completely debase a series just because it-sorta-kinda resembles another. The world Armentrout creates does not involve Vampires and does not feature any characters used in the VA series. Sure, parallels may be drawn between the two, but it's the readers job to immerse themselves in any book he or she sets out to read. If you know you won't appreciate the similarities, don't read it unless you're willing to give it a chance of its own.

Whoosh. Sorry, had to get that out of the way. Continuing on--

           There were many things I really liked about Half-blood. For one, Alex, the protagonist, manages to pull off both strong and relatable-- something many novels fail to do. Usually it's one or the other, but Alex displays both characteristics. The world building is also quite enjoyable; any time I crack open the book I'm able to picture the beautiful island setting clearly. Not to mention the whole idea behind the Apollyon, (read A-POL-ee-on). I won't spoil anything, but the concept instantly reeled me in. This aspect, among others, gives the book its page-turner quality. It's very easy to watch hours fly while reading this book.

           As for things I'm not looking forward to in future installments, I sense an inevitable love triangle in the works. Again, I shall spoil nothing, but I think it's fair to warn anyone looking into this series that I feel a strong, triangle-y vibe coming my way. As someone who tries to avoid novels with unnecessary romantic complexity, this is something I wish I had known before reading. I'm not certain this will be the case, but it sure seems like it from where I stand now in the series. The great features of the novel, however, help to make up for this frustrating element.

           At the end of the day, is Half-Blood anything special? No. Is it thoroughly enjoyable? Yes. Such is why I give it a 3.75-4.0 rating. If you're looking for a great, immersive and creative series to read, Half-Blood is certainly something I recommend. I already own the first of another series by Armentrout, Obsidian, and I intend to read it as soon as I finish Pure.

Also, I'm Team Aiden so far. ;)

(Seen First on GoodReads)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review of Graceling by Kristen Cashore




  Author: Kristin Cashore 
 Publisher: Harcourt 
 Length: 471 Pages 
 Paperback, via 
 Rating: 3.5 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

          Kristin Cashore’s best-selling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace . . . and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world.


My Review:

          Considering how long it took me to write this review, I can tell you that this book left me feeling pretty conflicted.

          I really, really wanted to love this book. I wanted to put it down, as it seemed so many others had done, lurching for my computer to order the next in the series. You may have gathered by this point that that did not happen. In fact, at times I found it difficult to read it for extended periods of time.

         That said, I can't place all of the fault on the book itself. It's wonderfully written, and I loved how effortlessly Cashore uses a more traditional manor of speaking. Further, her words wove beautiful images inside my head and I was transported almost immediately to Katsa's enchanting world.

          The Characters! Oh, the characters! I loved a good portion of them, namely Prince Po and Raffin, but I felt like I was only given a glimpse of who they were. I adored what I was shown, but to the same length, I felt robbed. After finishing the book it seemed as though someone had dangled an amazing character in front of my face, only to rip it away. At the end of the book, I never got that feeling of loss; the feeling you get when you realize how attached you've become to the characters, almost as though you knew them personally.

          Which leads to another thing I struggled with while reading Graceling-- connecting to the heroine, Katsa. She had all the potential in the world to be an amazing female lead. She's strong, dignified and independent, yet caring and selfless with an inner sweet side. When I read the synopsis, I thought for sure that she would be one of my favorite characters. Unfortunately, though she did possess all of the aforementioned qualities, I never felt I could relate to her. This is one of the central reasons that I chose to give this novel 3.5 stars.

          I never expected to give this book anything below a 4, but alas, here I am doing just that. 3.5 stars is NOT a terrible rating, and I did really enjoy the book. I'm not sure yet if I'll pick up the other two in the series, but I definitely don't regret reading Graceling.

          I'm definitely in the minority giving it anything under 4 stars, so for that, I definitely recommend reading it. Statistically speaking, it's likely that your experience with it will be vastly different from mine. Also, the cover art is absolutely beautiful; every time I look at it, sitting proudly atop my bookcase, I develop a severe case of the goosebumps.

(Seen first on GoodReads)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review of Divergent by Veronica Roth



 Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Length: 487 Pages
Paperback, via
Rating: 5 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

            In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.


My Review:

             Breathe, Rooney. Breathe.

 Divergent. Where to begin?

             Let's start with the leading lady herself, Ms. Beatrice "Tris" Prior. I am delighted to say that I have enjoyed being inside her head for the ride that is Divergent. Many times, good books become "okay" books simply because the main character is difficult to understand, relate with, or in some cases, like at all. Beatrice is a breath of fresh air amidst the stuffiness of a room filled with two-dimensional, bratty, and confusing female leads. It was wonderful to listen to her have real thoughts, slowly transforming alongside the events that weave the plot of the story. You think she's strong, until she proves that she's got even more kick to her than you ever thought.

            Now, let's talk about the romance. One word: moderation. Roth does an excellent job at dispersing romantic moments at the perfect times throughout the book. You never felt smothered by sappy affection and yet you never went too long without the all too familiar sigh departing from your smiling mouth. Another thing, without giving too much away, is that all of the romance seemed natural and unforced-- something that creeps its way into a lot of stories that appear to have romance only because the author feels it's necessary to attract an audience. Again, a nice breath of fresh air.

            As for the other relationships in the story, I give yet another round of applause to Ms. Roth. I found it insanely easy to picture the characters and laugh when they laughed, cry when they cried. You grow attached to them and they don't let you go. Everyone is a person you may find in the real world, which only adds to the realness that envelops the faction-ed world.

           Concept. Truthfully, I was worried. I knew quite well that many authors had attempted to aim for Dystopian/Action/Romance stories and fell flat before leaving the starting line. This was not the case with Divergent. Though many may find it difficult to look past the unlikely possibility that a society could end up the way it is in Divergent, I found it easy to just go with the flow. So long as you allow the words to take your mind, they will. I'll leave the rest of the plot as ambiguous as it was to me before reading it.

            I could rant for so much longer about this book, but I feel I've touched base with most of the things that people like myself look for in a book review. If I haven't made it clear yet in my other points, though, just how perfectly descriptive this book is, I'll stress it again now. Images will appear in your head as though they are of your own imagination, playing out before you. At least, that's how it felt to me.

I don't think I even need to say how strongly I recommend this book. Go read it. Now.

(First seen on