Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reading Reflection: Starcrossed

Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1)
by Josephine Angelini
Published May 31st 2011
P. 487
Rating: 4/5

Set on the island of Nantucket, STARCROSSED tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention.

Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?

I guiltily admit that the first few chapters of this book had me so confused as to why so many people loved the story.  I didn't connect to Helen or understand the events in her life, and I wasn't drawn in enough to really care.  I gave serious consideration into quitting the novel.

Then, one line focused my attention: "Meeting his eyes was an awakening.  For the first time in Helen's life she knew what pure, heart-poising hatred was."

What?!  From that point on I was hooked.  I wanted to see why and how this potential love interest, Lucas, elicited such a strong reaction in shy, awkward Helen.  She knew she was different and hid this from her peers, but after the Delos clan moves onto the tiny island she can't seem to control her strangeness or her newly found rage.  Lucas and his family have some of the answers, but not all.

I might not be a total sucker for Helen and Lucas individually, but there's something about the whole premise of the story that draws me in.  My favorite part of this story was actually my confusion.  Not understanding the behavior of the characters because Helen didn't understand.  Then the author slowly integrates information and events to keep you sucked into their plight, answering some questions while creating more.  There are so many past stories, obstacles, and mysteries to be uncovered that I couldn't put the book down. 

I loved the supporting characters too, especially Claire, Helen's best friend. The twins, Cassandra, Hector, Jerry... I liked them all.  They added so many other dimensions to the story.  I can't wait for second novel of the series. 

Teaser Tuesday: 5/15/2012

Teaser Tuesday
May 5th, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
Here is my Teaser Tuesday:

Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1)
by Josephine Angelini

"Meeting his eyes was an awakening.  For the first time in Helen's life she knew what pure, heart-poisoning hatred was." ~ Starcrossed, pg. 44.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reading Reflcetion: Everneath

Everneath (Everneath #1)
by Brodi Ashton
Published January 24th 2012
P. 370
Rating: 4/5 

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

This book left me with mixed feelings.  I love mythology and was looking forward to that aspect of the book, but I didn't find it as prevalent to the story as I'd hoped.  It was still interesting, but not what I expected.  Instead of the story being centered around the story of Persephone, the mythology was used to fill in parts of Everneath... not bad, just not what I expected.

The story is about Nikki, or Becks, and how she sought refuge from her emotions.  She searched for Cole for the sole purpose of having her feelings taken away.  What she didn't expect was what this escape would mean.  It meant a 100 years of feeding Cole her emotions and then six months to decide whether she would be dragged into the Tunnels by the Shadows or follow Cole to become an Everliving, possibly a queen.  Becoming an Everliving meant she would have to feed off people's emotions for eternity, something she couldn't bring herself to do.

Nikki gets six months to return home, return to the friends, family, and boyfriend she left behind and say goodbye for the rest of eternity.  But with every passing day, this gets more difficult.

Nikki, I'm confused about her as a protagonist.  I didn't love her or hate her, but was annoyed with many of her decisions.  I didn't understand them.  I did like how she refused Cole, even though he provided the easiest solution.  She fell for him once, but refused to do it again.  That redeemed her in my estimation, but only slightly.

Now, the boyfriend she left behind is Jack.  The book is segmented into portions about the present day and days before "The Feed."  I loved Jack.  One of my favorite parts of the story was reading about their relationship.  He was strong, considerate, and absolutely perfect.  Actually, I resented Nikki for being so foolish in her decisions and how they affected him in return.  Jack was my favorite character of the book and I hoped everything worked out for him, not necessarily Nikki. 

Now Cole, an Everliving who feeds off human emotions to live forever.  He tactically pursued Nikki, influencing and manipulating a vulnerable moment in her life. That's when she made the decision that changed her life forever.  When he discovered Nikki was different by surviving the feed, he wanted her for himself.  He wanted her to to follow him to Everneath and rule alongside him, but she refused.  For six months, while on the surface, he pursues her and tries to convince her that his option is the best -- she would avoid the Tunnels and live forever.  His strategy ranges from convincing arguments, stalker behavior, vengeful retaliation, and vulnerable pleading.  He is a whirlwind of confusion and my second favorite character of the book.  There's something about him... something underneath the callous and emotionless surface.  I think he really loves Nikki, it's not just a conquest. 

The biggest downfall of this book is that there are really no emotionally charged instances throughout the novel, it's very bland.  I found myself skimming certain areas and forcing myself to return to the lost pages.  However, the storyline itself is interesting enough to keep the story moving forward.  I wanted to know what happened with Cole and Jack specifically -- they held my attention through the book.  Sorry Nikki, but those two boys are what kept my interest enough to give a three rating.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May Reading List

May Reading List: Vampires, Gods, and Monsters
Alright, May is all about Vampires, Gods, and Monsters.  I'm kinda sick of vampire books, but there are a couple that are on my TBR list that need some attention.  However, Gods and Monsters seem very interesting so I'm excited about those genres.

So here's the list...
1. The Immortal Rules (Book of Eden #1)
2. Vampire Academy Series *
3. Half-Blood (Covenant Series)
4. Starcrossed *
5. Everneath
6. Enclave*
7. Destined
8. Oppression*

Reading Reflection: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
by Laini Taylor
Published 27th 2011
P. 432
Rating: 5/5

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I have to admit, after a few pages in this book I was utterly confused.  Karou, the female lead, was baffling.  The book starts off with her natural bright blue hair, her mastery of languages, a charismatic ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, the beautiful city of Prague -- not so confusing, but then...

Karou is an artist and the first few pages refers to her skill, specifically her notebooks filled with pictures of creatures with names, personas, and little anecdotes.  Kishmish, Issa, Twiga, Yasri, and Brimstone -- made up of different animal and human parts -- all creations of her mind.  Or so I thought, even when she says she spends time with them I thought it meant like the time I spent with characters in a book.  No not so much, they really existed.

That's when I was confused, but intrigued with the storyline.  I already liked Karou and her attitude, but things just kept getting more and more bizarre without warning.  She has a necklace that grants small wishes, her drawings are not imaginary, and then a bizarre bird/messenger Kishmish sends her a message while she's in the middle of dinner with her best friend Zuzanna.

And it gets even stranger...

Brimstone is a real creature, who works in a magically hidden workshop and sends Karou on various missions to collect... teeth.  Yes, teeth.  Brimstone and these other creatures have raised Karou her entire life and she knows next to nothing about them.  She loves them, they really are her family, but their entire existence is shrouded in such mystery that it's impossible to fully understand what is going on.  It also adds to the mystery of Karou, she barely knows anything about them, but she also knows less about herself.  She doesn't know where she came from, or how she came to belong to this group.

Now enter Akiva, an unemotional, but of course gorgeous angel-type.  He and his kind have been marking all the doors leading to Brimstones lair.  Why?  Who knows?  Karou doesn't, but she faces him during one of her teeth finding missions.  Apparently, they are not on the same side.  Karou doesn't know why, she's clueless to all this alternate life that goes on around her, but the mysterious tattoos on her palms save her from this battle... another mystery.  Akiva seems confused by her tattoos as well, but he knows their meaning.  From that point on Akiva is drawn to her, but can't explain why.

Now the entire book seems very unclear and confusing.  It's filled with this partially explained otherness surrounding Karou, but without clear definitive answers.  That's the magic of the book.  She knows nothing about her life, nothing, and all these events leave the reader fully aware of this fact.  Then bam... it's a story inside a story.  All of a sudden all these secrets are revealed.  That's when I fell in love with the book.  Everything made sense.  All the confusion turned into an unexpected fairy tale. 

This was a great book, magically written and I cannot wait for the next one to come out. 

Reading Reflection: Forgiven

Forgiven (The Demon Trapper's Daughter #3)
by Jana Oliver
Published March 27th 2012
P. 354
Rating: 4/5

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…

I enjoy this series more with each passing book.  I think it's a case of familiarity with the characters and setting.  I'm emotionally invested with Riley and her endeavors in life.

So the ending of the last book left A LOT of unfinished business.  First, kinda shocking, Riley gave her virginity away to Ori not realizing his true intentions.  He was a fallen angel who wanted her soul -- fun first time.  Right afterwards Lucifer shows up and imprisons him, with the condition that Riley owes hell a favor.  So now she owes heaven and hell.  After her huge mistake, Riley runs to Beck and tells him what she's done only to have him react like a jealous jerk.  Some of the things he says to her makes him plummet on my list -- Bad Beck!

The last scene, Riley escapes Becks home knowing the hunters are after her, and runs to Mortimer's house for help.  Once there, she finds her dad.  Through all the bad that happened those last few pages, when she sees her dad my heart stopped. 

Alright... Book Three
  • I've never mentioned Stewart, a master trapper who is like the wise old guru.  He knows exactly how to handle Beck and Riley.  I love him and the fatherly role he takes in these last two books.   He has a way of dealing with those two and their obvious problem. 
  • Riley finds her dad!  Yay!  He's reanimated, but there's something different about him.  Not to mention he was reanimated by Lucifer himself, there seems to be a point to this at the end of the novel, but I have to admit I almost missed it.
  • The hunters are after Riley to ask her questions in the very beginning of this book.  There are too many coincidences following her: Grade 5 demons hunting her, demons knowing her name, a strange relationship with a fallen angel, etc.  They take in Beck instead, but Riley comes forward to save him even though he was horrible to her the last time they met.  They decide that Riley will be released onto Stewart's custody because their not really sure what to make of her.  The hunters begin to play a more active role in this novel.
  • Some of the hunters are not bad guys, especially Salvatore.  He seems vary laid back and starts building a friendly relationship with Beck and even helps Riley.
  • Justine is an evil seductress, I hate her even more at the end of this book.  Hate her.
  • Um.... Beck and Riley finally start to understand each other.  Again, this book reveals a lot more about Beck.  I start to like him again, especially when he changes his pet name for Riley from "girl" to "woman."  In this book you can see they make the conscious effort to be decent to one another, not pushing buttons and trying to respect boundaries. I enjoyed their relationship in this novel, you can feel the walls breaking down between them.  It's nice.  They would be great for each other if they can resolve their personal quirks (and they try).
I have to say, that I'm so involved in the Riley vs. Beck relationship that I overlooked every other sub-plot in the story.  Again, there were so many in book one that it was hard to keep track.  I think I just focused on this one and let the others slip away.  There was a few more major events at the end of this book, some surprises left unfinished.  So I'll have to read the next book... but I have to reread this last one and focus on something other than Beck and Riley -- or try to anyway. 

And even though I find myself lost in some of the story lines, I like this book.  I really like Riley, so I will continue to read the series to find out what happens.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Reading Reflection: Soul Thief

Soul Thief (The Demon Trapper's Daughter #2)
by Jana Oliver
Published August 30, 2011
P. 339
Rating: 4/5

Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them…

Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there's Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad. With all the hassles, Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether.
But as Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever

Alright, I like this second book better than the first.  My original problem was that there were so many different things going on that I couldn't keep track of every conflict.  Now with this second one, either these problems are being resolved or I finally got them in order (I think the second is true).

At the end of the first book Riley's father -- Paul -- is no longer in his grave, someone broke the wards and summoned him.  Somehow demons also broke the holy water wards around the trapper's meeting and all hell breaks loose.  The unsuspecting trappers are being demolished by various level demons and if it wasn't for tall-dark-and-handsome-Ori, Riley would probably be dead.  Not to mention a group of angels swooping in to save the day.  I have to say that I didn't really understand what was happening at this point of the last book, very confusing -- definite, Huh? feeling going on. 

Along with this violent ending, Simon gets really hurt during the battle and no one thinks he's going to make it.  While visiting him in the hospital, Riley encounters another another angel who says she'll save Simon, but Riley owes heaven a favor.  So she accepts. 

Book two.
  • Let's start off with Simon.  Riley accepts the offer and is debt to heaven so Simon survives, but he has changed drastically.  In the last book his faith guided him, now he swears Riley and her father are working for hell.  He turns into a huge jerk and I felt so bad for Riley.
  • Peter starts taking an active role in helping Riley out with research.  He starts stepping into her world and the definitive line of friendship I didn't really sense in the other book are clear in this one.  I like Peter, his the normalcy Riley needs in her life.  The nerdy, reassuring, BFF, always there when she needs him.
  • Ori.  Where did this guy come from?  He's a major character in this book, Riley's new love interest, but there is something more to him that proves Riley should stay away from guys for a long time.  However, there is a scene with him and Beck and I kinda like how Ori handled the situation.  Beck started his chest puffing and Ori provoked him, not very mature, but Beck seems to be walking an unclear line which he needs to clear up for himself.
  • Beck, oh Beck.  He tries to protect Riley, but is such a jerk in the process all the good intent is lost.  In this book you see more layers to him.  I like him, but by hiding his real feelings for Riley he's just pushing her away.  I understand his concern, he feels responsible for her and crossing that line doesn't seem like a good idea at this point in her life.  But turning that emotion into demands and constraints isn't working. 
  • Alright, Riley doesn't know who took her father and she's on a mission to find his body.
  • Damon Trappers and Demon Hunters do not play nice.  Now a group of demon hunters are coming to town.
  • Along with the demon hunters comes a seductive red-head, Justine.  She and Beck play nice for a while, really nice.  I hated him for it and hated her even more. 
  • Someone is messing with the holy water and Riley is doing her part to solve that mystery. 
  • Riley befriends a witch named Ayden and necromancer Mortimer.
Again there is sooo much happening in this book that it is very difficult to keep track of... too many love interests and problems.  Her latest love problem is huge and forces Riley into another debt owing decision and possibly ruins her chances of becoming a demon trapper and damages other relationships.  Again, I felt bad for her.  Not once in this book do I forget that Riley is a young adult with a lot to deal with.  She handles her situations like a teenager would, some she does great some not so good.  But she tries, that's what I like about this book.  She has the right level of teenage stupidity/naivety, angst, and kick ass drive.   

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reading Reflection: The Demon Trapper's Daughter

Forsaken (The Demon Trapper's Daughter #1)
by Jana Oliver
Published 7th 2011
P. 422
Rating: 3/5

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on...

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?

It took me a while to write this review.  Originally, this was not one of my favorite books this year, but there was something about it that drew me into the characters and storyline.  It was a fun read, and I can see myself going back to it on lazy Sundays. 

Riley Blackthorne is a 17-year-old living in Atlanta, Georgia after the government has basically gone bankrupt.  Her father, Paul, became a demon trapper after he lost his job as a teacher and her mother died of cancer several years back.  Paul is one of the best, and Riley plans to follow in his footsteps.  She is the first female apprentice on the road to becoming a demon trapper.  This is one of the things I liked about this book, she's doing something that isn't exactly typical, breaking barriers, and kicking butt. 

Now, Riley adores her father.  I love their relationship, but he dies early on in this story and it is heartbreaking.  He was such a genuinely good guy it effects a lot of people, especially Riley and Beck.  Beck is a young man only a few years older than Riley, who Paul devoted a lot of attention to, training him, looking out for him, and just being the father Beck never had.  Riley also had a serious crush on Beck a few years ago, and has hated him since.  When Paul dies, Beck feels he must take responsibility for Riley -- which she fights.

Alright, now I remember why it was so hard to write this review.  There are so many subplots and characters I can't cohesively write about everything.  There's a lot that goes on.  Too much.
  1. Riley warding Paul's body until the next full moon or someone can summon his body and use it, like the nice necromancer Mortimer or the really evil one.
  2. Riley trying to make ends meet and survive without parents.  Collectors are hounding her about the debt accrued from her mother's medical expenses. 
  3. Riley trying to prove herself to the Demon Trapper's Guild while under the apprenticeship of someone who drinks a lot and hates her and her father, Harper.
  4. All the demon's seem to acknowledge Riley by name, something that is not usual.
  5. Someone is tampering with the holy water and demons are being catched but not sold through the appropriate channels -- Riley finds this all out by having her BFF hack into her father's disc.  
  6. She still has to go to regular school 3 days a week and maintain her relationship with her non-demon trapper BFF Peter.
  7. She develops a romantic relationship with another apprentice: Simon.
  8. Beck is overbearing with her, trying to keep her safe, but going about it all wrong.
There is soo much going on that's it hard to talk about everything.  I like that she is the first female demon trapper, and really tries her best.  I don't like how she and Beck treat each other, it's very love hate.  Beck tries to be like an aggressive brother, but isn't.  He stifles Riley and she fights back.  I like Simon, he seems so sweet and exactly what she needs after losing her father -- someone to offer support without stifling her.  Now with Beck and Simon it may seem like a love triangle, but I'm not sure.  If Beck shrugs off that overbearing authoritative cloak, maybe.  I might actually prefer Beck to Simon him, he's much more masculine.  The things he does for Riley make him amazing in my book, he just has to lose that attitude.  Not too mention, Peter the so-called best friend, but I'm not convinced.  And... a dark handsome stranger that appears later on in the book, Ori.  He claims to be an independent demon hunter (not to be confused with a demon trapper), he saves Riley and the other demon trappers toward the end, but there seems to be chemistry building there. 

Too many boys!  Too many story angles!  That's what made this book difficult for me, too much!

I still liked it, after I sorted all the ideas and focused, but it was hard.  And there's more to come.  All these ideas go into the next book unresolved and the ending provided even more twists.  I don't know if I can handle more, but I wanna find out. 

All in all, it's an okay read.  I liked the setting and the world of demons created, especially the ninja-clad Magpie -- silly little shiny-stealing demon (hehe).  Is it bad that I want one?  There is ALOT going on, but I want to know how it all works out and will continue to read the series to find out. 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reading Reflection: Angelfall

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1)
by Susan Ee
Published May 21st 2011
P. 255
Rating: 5/5

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Alright, I originally gave this book a 4 rating, but bumped it up to a 5 rating.  There were just so many things that set this apart from my other reads that I had to rate it accordingly.

Penryn is a 17 year-old who is trying to survive after angels descend and destroy humans in the apocalypse.  Her sister is wheel-chair bound and her mother is a paranoid schizophrenic off her meds -- that leaves Pen to handle their survival.  On their plan to move, Penryn witnesses something and is forced to intervene.  She witnessed one of the angels being assaulted by his own... by assault I mean beatings and wing ripping.  By saving this one angel, Raffe, she opened the opppertunity for the other aavenging angels to capture her disabled sister, Paige.  

Pen will do anything to save her sister, even if it means teaming up with the enemy.  Together, Pen and Raffe travel  through California, trying to reach the same place, but with different goals.

Alright, that's the general storyline.  Now the reasons I love this book.  One, I grew up in a very religious home... angels were kinda scary in the stories I was told.  I love how this book turns these beings into the avenging angels found in a lot of the biblical texts: scary, ruthless, and on a mission that often meant annihilating whole areas while only warning a selected few.  Not dreamy-eyed love interests.  This twist on angels was sooo very interesting and familiar.  

Two: I grew up with a family memeber who was a paranoid schizophrenic... that was a wild time.  How the author portrays Pen's mother -- especially during an apocalypse and off her medication -- is very realistic.  I remember the lucidness leaving my gentle aunt's features before a paranoid bout of insanity drove her into wild frenzies.  So I related to this aspect of the book.  I kept imagining her in some of these scenes, and from my experience, it didn't seem too far off.   

Now my favorite part.  Pen and Raffe.  Pen is strong, determined, loyal, and compassionate.  She is a wonderful protagonist with the right level of hardness to help her survive.  It's not overbearing though, not like she's lost all hope and is just making it day to day -- their's still life and compassion in her.  That's what sets her apart in my mind, she hasn't turned ruthless and lost her sense of emotions.  Raffe, of course, is beautiful, arrogant, and tough as nails. However, there are scenes that you can really see how emotionally torn he is by every thing he's faced.  The thing I love about this story is that it's not centered around a growing love... it's a growing comraderie and friendship.  Though these two are on opposing teams, they develop a loyal dedication to one another -- helping and supporting one another in their mission.  Of course, something brews from this, but its not the focus of the story. 

That's what set this novel apart for me so much, it wasn't a love at first sight -- forbidden love -- I'd die for you story.  It was a development of mutual trust and genuine regard, with slight hints of infatuation.  Very well written. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WWW 4/18/2012

WWW Wednesdays

April 18, 2012

Meme hosted by Should Be Reading

To play just answer these three questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you'll read next? 

1. What are you currently reading?

The month of April has been all about Angels and Demons, I like the genre.  Right now I just started reading Angelfall by Susan Ee -- first few pages are interesting so far.  I was mad I had to put it down before I really got into it.  The book has great ratings so I'm really excited... not to mention it only cost $1.99 on my Nook.  I love good books and even better deals. 

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished finished reading the first two books in The Demon Trapper's Daughter.  I wanted to delve right into the third book, but I was waiting for my library to deliver the goods.  Hopefully it'll be here soon, I like to stick with one series at a time and it's ruining my reading flow. 

What do you think you'll read next?

 I actually finished the first book in this series, Falling Under, because my above mentioned book was unavialable... but, again I'm waiting for the second one from the library.  Darn all those other readers who got the book before me (shaking angry fist)!  But... if Dreaming Awake were to suddenly appear I'd drop everything to start reading it.  I loved the first one. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reading Reflection: Falling Under

Falling Under (Falling Under #1)
by Gwen Hayes
Published March 1st 2011
P. 324
Rating: 4/5

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

What a deliciously dark read... that's what I thought throughout this entire book.

Alright, I loved this book.  I was hesitant to read it because of the negative reviews, but so glad I finally did.  I only picked it up out of sheer desperation.  To my pleasant surprise, loved it.  I understand a lot of the other perspectives, the good girl-bad boy-love at first sight-cliche is found in every YA book I read.  But, I come to expect these story lines in paranormal romances. I was very happy to discover no love triangle... just one super creepy/dreamy/stalker-ish/ love interest. 

Theia is a seventeen-year-old high school student who is very different from her peers.  Her mother died during birth and her father is emotionally detached, but extremely strict with her.  They lived in England for a great portion of her life and moved to the United States in her teen years, so she has a British accent -- which I like.  It makes her sound old fashioned, but I believed it fit her character.  She is sheltered, reserved, naive, and just a bit awkward.  She might not be my favorite literary girl, but I liked her.  Especially in the end... finally!

Enter bad boy... Haden.  I can't say much without giving away spoilers.  He's bad, slightly creepy, intriguing, and bad... did I say that already?  I liked him.  I normally prefer the good guy, but there was something about him that was almost haunting, but enticing... that doesn't sound appealing, but it was. 

Donny and Ame were Theia's best friends and I loved them.  They both played their roles very well, they might be my favorite "supporting characters".  I loved Donny from the beginning: brash, emotional, sexual.  Ame grew on me toward the end when she began to discover her own hidden strengths.  Gabe and Mike were the best friends' love interests... and again, they played their roles in this novel amazingly.  I prefer Gabe to Mike and I loved how the importance of his role increased throughout the novel.  The same goes for Varnie, the cross dressing fortune teller turns up at the beginning, but plays an important role toward the end.  This group of characters is one of my favorite aspects of the novel.

My favorite part of this novel was the eerie feeling in some of the sections.  I read a review (I wish I could find it again to credit this person) where the reviewer suggested the scenes were comparable to a Tim Burton movie... they were so right.  The novel begins so drastically, and Theia is so naive/innocent, I found myself drawn in immediately.  Then the novel switches from reality to dark dreamlike scenes, very interesting.  Not to mention the last third of the book, which is amazing.  The villain, plot twist, and choice really tied the book together for me.  It overruled any annoyance I may have developed in the beginning of the novel.

Great read if you can over look the cliche: good girl falls for possibly dangerous bad boy.

One of my favorite quotes was one of the few very funny lines in this novel.
(Donny forced Theia to a club and dressed her in less than virtuous clothing)

"If my future included a street corner and a pimp named Ice Money, I'd be ready" ~ Theia, pg 103 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reading Reflection: A Beautiful Dark

A Beautiful Dark (A Beautiful Dark #1)
by Jocelyn Davies
Published September 11th 2011
P. 390
Rating: 4/5

On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

What the crap just happened? 
Holy hell fire.

Alright, so I was reading this book and I thought to myself: Ah, another Good Boy vs. Bad Boy love triangle... mixed with angels.  Nothing special, but not bad either. 

Skye is a teenager who loves to ski, does well in school, has close friends, and lives with Aunt Jo.  Her parents died in a car crash when she was six and her mother's best friend has been raising her since, but due to her job, Aunt Jo is absent a lot.  Enter two new students: Asher and Devin.  Yes, the bad boy and the good boy who both seem to be warring for Skye's attention.  It turns out Skye has a family history that makes her a high priority case, explaining many secrets, strange events, and why both these boys are desperate to win her over.

That sums up the plot.  Now, Skye.  I wasn't thrilled about her, but I didn't hate her either.  I was actually indifferent to her, which made the book difficult to really get into.  I didn't find the spark... that thing that makes me fall in love with the narrator.  But, again, she wasn't all that bad, just not my favorite. 

Asher... the tall, dark, and handsome bad boy.  I'm tired of the bad boy.  I'm tired of them always winning my literary girls over with their arrogant allure (angry fist in the air) so I had a personal dislike for him in the beginning.  He was charming, handsome, and intriguing -- but I wasn't falling for it this time.  I had my guard up.  Well, I tried to have my guard up, but the bad boys are just so darn captivating I couldn't help myself.  Asher held my interest throughout the novel... no matter how hard I fought against it.  It was those little moments, those little instances that showed he wasn't such a bad-ass after all.

Now, Devin -- the good guy.  Light hair, clear blue eyes, and a calm demeanor.  He was the polar opposite of Asher in every way possible. I was rooting for Devin.  He seemed so sincere, but reserved.  One of my favorite moments in the book was when he let loose a little, had a little fun. 

Alright, initially I wanted to give this book a 3-rating for predictability, love triangle, and less than amazing heroine -- though it did keep me interested throughout the novel.  I thought I was so clever while reading, even rolling my eyes at the obvious sequence of events.  But... then the ending happened.  I read those last few pages and was left with my mouth hung open and staring blankly at the words on the page.  What the heck?!  I did not expect what happened, threw me completely off guard, and I felt like a sucker -- I played right into it just like Skye.  So, it was not as predictable as I expected.  That's what bumped my rating... touche Ms. Davies... touche.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reading Reflection: The Space Between

The Space Between
by Brenna Yovannoff
Published November 14th 2011
P. 365
Rating: 3/5

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped—and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible.

Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie’s whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way

Huh?  I need a minute to compose my thoughts... this might end up being a bulleted format review.  Okay, Daphne -- a demon whose parentage stems from Lilith and Lucifer -- is a peculiar character.  I do have to say that I really liked her, most of the time.  There is something so distant, detached, and unemotional about her, it's unnerving.  But she's a demon, so it works. 

With this sense of detachment comes this brutal, but naive honesty,  I think that was my favorite part of this whole book, something about her personality was so strange, but simple and straight to the point.  Very peculiar. 

There's also Obie and Truman.  Obie is Daphne's brother, well half-brother technically.  He's half-human and half demon.  Unlike the other demons he travels to the world and tries to help people.  In the beginning of the book he decides he wants to stay on Earth, he has fallen in love. 

Truman, is someone Obie is working with.  He himself is half human and half angel.  Daphne meets him briefly at the entrance of hell.  After some interference, Truman is sent back to Earth.  However, Truman is severely out of control.  His mother died, he tried to kill himself, and he has haunting dreams, which causes him to drink heavily, act out-- he's just bad emotional news all around. 

While on Earth Obie goes missing and Daphne tries to find him.  She needs Truman's help, if he can stay conscious long enough to offer any.  The whole story is based on their search for Obie, their growing attraction, Truman finding redemption, and Daphne realizing she doesn't have to be the seductive monster her sisters are.... all while someone is killing demons on Earth.  (Oh, forgot to mention.  Demons can visit Earth, but can't stay for good -- not good for Obie).

I did like this story.  I liked the characters and the initial storyline of Lilith is absolutely amazing.  However, at some points I felt utterly lost, had no idea what was happening, or why.  I'm not sure if I missed information at somewhere or if it was too much for one book, but toward the end I lost some interest.   I think it had to do with Daphne's own reaction to events.  She was so melancholy and detached during significant moments, that I found I was too. 
Then the actual ending, the last few pages, left me positively baffled.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.  I'm all about sappy our-love-will-conquer-all stories, but really?  Strange, strange series of events to show your love for one another.  Again, I feel like I missed something major. 

All in all, it really was an interesting read, though confusing at times.  Maybe I need a reread to clarify some of my major issues.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Reading Reflection:Spell Bound

Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3)
by Rachel Hawkins
Published March 13th 2012
Rating: 3/5

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Ah, the third book in the Hex Hall series.  Again, soooo much stuff happens that it's difficult to write about.  In the last book, Sophie's powers are stripped, or held, by the council.  Her father's are removed entirely.  And Archer is sentenced to die.  This is all right before Nick and Daisy go demon crazy and all hell breaks loose.  The house is on fire while Sophie escapes, her father and Archer are trapped inside.  This is where amazing Cal comes in.  He tells Sophie to use the Itineris to find the Brannicks, where her mother is, before running to the burning house to save the people she loves.  

Okay, and then the third book begins.  Sophie listens to Cal and travels to find the Brannicks, another group destined to kill supernaturals which screams trouble.  She finds her mother there, she also finds that her mother is a member of this group, which means Sophie has found an aunt and two cousins who may or may not wish her dead.  Her father's demon status and her mother's demon hunter gig pretty much explains why they never worked out, conflicting interests... but that seems to change in the end.  Good.  I like those two together.    

Next, everyone survives the fire.  Archer escapes somehow.  Jenna joins a "nest".  Cal and James find their way to Sophie and her mother with minimal damage.  Now they only have to decide how they're gonna stop the Casnoff sisters from creating a demon army.  Not an easy task when the whole island housing Hex Hall has disappeared. 

This task becomes easier when every student from Hex Hall is magically returned to the school: Sophie, Archer, Jenna, Cal, and everyone else from the previous semester.  Sophie and her group are the only ones who really know what the Casnoff sisters are up to, they want to turn them all into demons.  With the help of her friends, family, and Elodie's ghost Sophie has to find a way to get her powers back and save the day.

Alright, I didn't like this book as much as the other two.  First, all that witty sarcasm that I loved went overboard, there were certain times when I felt like enough was enough.  Two, though I like Archer, he didn't leave me swooning.  I liked Cal too much to agree with Sophie's choice.  There comes a point when the bad boy isn't enough -- you need more than wit and looks.  Lastly, a loss at the end leaves me absolutely heart broken.  Though everyone is offered a "happy ending", I couldn't get over this one point.  It left me soooo sad I couldn't get past it.  Maybe that's the reason I didn't love this book as much as the others.  The other ones were light, fun reads.  This one, though witty, left me depressed. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reading Reflection: Demonglass

Demonglass (Hex Hall #2)
by Rachel Hawkins
Published March 22nd 2011
Rating: 4/5

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Ah, Sophie and her crazy shenanigans... I love them.  Alright, in the last novel Sophie moves to Hex Hall -- reform school for wiches, faeries, werewolves, and vampires -- after a spell goes really wrong.  She has a horrible time fitting in.  One, her BFF and roommate is the only vampire and prime suspect for a series of murders/attacks.  Two, the mean girls in school are dark witches who want Sophie to join their coven and when she doesn't their horrible.  Three, she finds out she's a demon not a dark witch.  Her father is also a demon and head of the council, the boy she has fallen for is a traitor working with The Eye (a group whose sole purpose is to kill all supernaturals), she's also being haunted by her great grandmother - who trains her in her powers and is responsible for killings and attacks in the school.

Lots and lots of stuff happened in the first book... the same goes for the second.

In this second novel Sophie is going to spend the summer with her estranged father in England.  I loved Sophie's dad.   I thought he would be some type of arrogant jerk, but he wasn't in the slightest.  He has that same sarcastic humor as his daughter, but British style.  Loved him.

Sophie also finds out that she is betrothed to the hottie groundskeeper, Cal.  She has feelings for Archer, but Cal is pretty awesome.  And he's not working with the enemy so he just seems like a better choice.  There are a couple scenes toward the end that raise Cal very high in my estimation, he is just an overall great guy. 

While in England Sophie, Cal, and Jenna are rooming with the surviving members of the council and Nick and Daisy -- demons.  Sophie and her dad were allegedly the only two demons in the world, so the appearance of these two means that someone is raising demons, not good.  Nick and Daisy seem peculiar and off balance, there's just something about them that isn't quite right.  That point is reinforced in the end of this novel.

So Sophie, and her wit, develops a relationship with her father, practices controlling her magic, discovers some secrets explaining the demons, and jumps into a love triangle with Cal and Archer.  She is a busy girl again and the cliff hanger means she's gonna continue to be busy.  

I love this book.  Again it has alot to do with Sophie and her sarcasm, it is too funny.  It's a great light read, the characters are great, story line alright, and the writing is perfectly simple and easy to follow.       

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WWW Wednesday 4/3/2012

WWW Wednesdays
April 3, 2012
Meme hosted by Should Be Reading

To play just answer these three questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you'll read next? 

1. What are you currently reading?

My reading group at Goodreads just decided that the month of April will be tailored around Angels and Demons, so most of my books for this month will be about this genre.  The first book I decided to read was our book of the month: Hex Hall.  Since this is the first in a series I just grabbed them all off the library shelf.  So far I finished the first one, and I'm halfway through the second one... very light, funny, and entertaining books. 

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I had True Love (and Other Lies) on my book shelf for so such a long time and kept skipping it over.  Finally I just grabbed it and dived in.  It was a funny book, amusing, but it wasn't one of my favorites.  I'm still glad I read it though.

What do you think you'll read next?

I'm keeping right along with the Angels and Demons theme, so my next book is our second book of the month: A Beautiful Dark.  I haven't read anything about this book, not even the cover, so let's see how it goes.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday
April 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

Here is my Teaser Tuesday:

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
By Rachel Hawkins


"I heard the man and woman cry out a warning as I frantically racked my brain for some sort of throat-repairing spell, which I was clearly about to need.  Of course the only words I actually managed to yell at the werewolf as he ran at me were, "BAD DOG!" ~ pg. 19

Full Review Here

Reading Reflection: Hex Hall

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
by Rachel Hawkins
Published March 2nd 2010
P. 336
Rating: 5/5

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

What a fantastic and fun book.  I have to admit, after looking at the cover I thought maybe this is a little too YA for me.   But it wasn't.  It was funny, witty, interesting, and very well written.  A great quick read.

Sophie is a witch -- not a good one.  As in lots of "oops" moments.  After a malfunctioned love spell performed to help a fellow student at prom, she is sent to reform school.  There her classmates include white and dark witches, fairies, werewolves, and her roommate the only vampire.  From the moment she walks onto campus everything seems to go wrong: an almost werewolf attack, rooming with the most hated person on campus, a gorgeous but snarky warlock, the mean girls targeting her, and a typically aggressive and miserable PE teacher.  In other words, typical teenage drama with a magical twist.

Sophie gets into lots of trouble, heaps, but most is inadvertently.  First of all, her mother and father withheld alot of information about herself, witchcraft in general, and where her power originates.  It doesn't help that her father, the one who passed over the magic gene, has been absent for her entire life.  She honestly was unaware of so much, I felt bad for her naivety while the other students knew so much more.  It definitely didn't help her fit into the new school.

However, another major problem is her mouth.  I loved her witty, sarcastic, and funny remarks at every situation.  Fantastic, but looking for trouble.  I related to her inappropriate jokes, at the most inappropriate times.

Now their are a lot of other characters that should be mentioned, but Sophie is by far the best.  Elodie, Anna, and Chasten are the beautiful mean girls.  They want Sophie to join their coven, but she refuses and they react accordingly -- by being mean girls.  Jenna is the only vampire, Sophie's new roommate, possible BFF, and hated by everyone at the school.  Vandy, the sadistic PE instructor who hates Sophie from the beginning.  Mrs Casnoff is the headmistress of the school who kinda grows on me by the end, but there's still something about her.  There's also Cal, the sexy young grounds keeper with the special ability to heal.  There isn't a large mention of him in this novel, but I have a feeling something more is going on with him.

Then there's Asher -- the resident hottie.  He is dating Elodie, but even I wished he didn't.  There are definite sparks between him and Sophie, he comes to her rescue on more than one occasion.  Not only that, I absolutely love their witty banter and general ease with one another.  Their building relationship was fantastic.

Overall this was a great book.  It was a very easy read.  The author did an amazing job with the overall writing of the book, the dialogue being one of my favorite aspects.  Not many people can pull off that amount of sarcasm in one novel.  Loved it.