Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Excellent Followup

Hunted  2.99
Book #2

Yet another terrific and exciting read. This one starts off a little slower than the first, but quickly escalates to a full on fantasy action drama. The followup progress quite nicely through the main plot, and while quite a lot of questions are answered, we still have some road to cover before reaching the end.

If you haven’t read the first book, Chosen, I recommend starting there. The drama and intrigue builds with each book, and it would best to start from the beginning to avoid any confusion.

In this book we get more car chases-plane chases, intrigue, and holy-shiz moments than you can shake a stick at, as we draw closer to discovering the secrets behind this unique fantasy thriller. Two weeks have elapsed since Emma & Will made their heroing escape from the Vinco Potentia compound. On the run and looking for Jake, they soon realize they’re going to need a better plan.

Another arrogant and possessive man enters Emma’s life, just as she and Will require assistance. He knows her “real” name and more about her than even she does. What’s even more disconcerting is her undeniable draw towards this stranger, she knows absolutely nothing about. Yet another unknown variable and a possible wrench in Emma’s already complicated love life.

And just when I thought Emma couldn’t get any more emotional, she outdoes herself once again. This lady must have cried and whimpered more, through two books and a one month time span, than I’ve cried my entire life. Hopefully she’ll find happiness by the end, and have no more cause to sulk, whimper, cry, and stamp her foot like a petulant small child.

In summary, this was a terrific followup, if you can get past the protagonist’s “issues”. She is annoying at times, but not enough to deter me from enjoying this book or continuing with the series. Yet another curt ending, just short of a cliffhanger.  I would have preferred to wait out the series end, prior to delving in, if I knew this before hand.  Still, I look forward to reading more in this world and reaching a conclusion hopefully soon.

Warning: Some Violence, Sexual Content, & Swearing (more than the first book)
3-Sacrifice (Mar 2012)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, January 22, 2012

5-Star Cheap Reads

Chosen  (1.99)
Book#1

This one starts off fast with Emma Thompson, a single mom, on the run with her 5yr old son. Powerful men are after them, and they won't stop until they are captured. For three years Emma has been on the run from these men, and she can only guess as to why. But it doesn't mater, because the most important thing in her life, is the one thing she is willing to die for. The book starts just as Emma and her son are making yet another quick dash before the "Bad Men" can catch up to them. Emma will do anything to protect her son, even when it means accepting the help of a stranger.

Written in 3rd person POV, this book is well edited and super easy to read. The plot turned out a lot more interesting and complicated than I first expected. Prophesies, gifted children, secret societies, evil politicians, and a hunt for those that some think will change it all. The world building towards the end was excellent and I can't wait to learn more and possibly unravel the full mystery of this world. The romance builds quickly, but it's endearing and believable. The male protagonist's easy cocky wit had me liking him right from the start and kept me smiling throughout. Emma is a bit on the histrionic side, but all considered, she is allowed some caring-on after what she goes through.

I kept passing on this one due to its unimaginative cover and name.  However, after reading the book, the cover and name does make sense and fits quite nicely.  The only negative I can come up with is the book's curt ending. It seemed like a good place to stop without a gaping cliffhanger, but it definitely felt like it was cut short. Maybe it's just a good sign that the book left me wanting more. No problem, since the 2nd has already been released.

In summary, this was a damned good read that was so quick and engaging, that I might have read it a little to fast before finding myself at the end. I can't wait to read its followup, and find out what happens next.

Warning: Violence, Sexual Content, & Rape (However nothing is described in explicit detail).

3-Sacrifice (Mar 2012)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Future Release Review: Emerald City

Emerald City (Apr 10, 2012)
If you're looking for a fresh new and exciting fantasy read, than this book probably isn't for you. Emerald City is little more than a YA romance, with secondary fantasy elements added. I had no idea that this was a YA book until I reached the end, since it isn't marketed as such. Those who know me, know that I rarely read those types of novels for a variety of reasons.

The main plot centers around a chaste romance that sometimes borders on extreme sweetness. There is quite a few obstacles for the main couple and protagonist to overcome, but I can't say there's much in the way of surprises or originality to make this book a standout among others. It is relatively well written and seems to strive for depth through the protagonist's life struggles, but it provides little to the genre or to its readers by the end. I can't say it ends on a satisfying note either, but that may just be a product of YA fantasy. It's unclear if a followup is planed.

Towards the end there is a bit more action and a new fantasy subplot is introduced. However, with little time remaining, this subplot barely has time to evolve before the book begins to wrap-up. As you can imagine, this was more than a little frustrating, especially after waiting all that time for something to actually happen, other than the main couple making doe-eyes at each other. Having said all that, I do have to concede that it was a fast read and I did enjoy the romance at the beginning, that is, until it became sickeningly sweet and I knew that this book didn't have much more to provide than that or a underdeveloped and unoriginal fantasy plot.
*****
Olivia's sad, solitary life in Seattle comes dangerously close to ending one fateful night, if not for a neighbor saving her in the nick of time. Curious about her mysterious rescuer, she seeks him out in hope of getting some answers, but instead finds something she never thought she'd have again.

In summary, if you're a sucker for a mild YA fantasy romance, than this book might be for you. However, I really would have liked it to have provided more, like a bit more edge, a fresh storyline, and maybe a satisfying ending that provides some sort of closure.

Content Note: No sexual Content, No swearing, and just a mild amount of violence.

An ARC of this book was provided to me via NetGalley. This book is set to release on April 10th, 2012.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Monday, January 16, 2012

The reviews can't be wrong, right?

Book#1

I felt compelled to read this book, after numerous recommendations from friends and glowing reviews by a majority of readers. Well, I should have trusted my initial instincts, because this book really didn't do anything for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a great Zombie read, but this just didn't compare to any that I've read in the past. It truly wasn't for me, because even though it was a rather short read, I kept on wishing for it to be over already. I found to be rather pedestrian and cliched throughout.  

Everything you would find in a "B" Zombie movie, along with bickering spouses. But instead following the "B" movie paradigm in offing the most annoying characters first, we are subjected to them until the bitter end.  There is no dept or originality here, and little in the way of character ARC.  These books utilize gimmicks and cliches to draw readers, as evident with the covers and the PSA epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter.  Using these cheap devices wouldn't bother me as much if these books had more to offer than a couple of one liners and a B-tagged zombie plot.  However, since so many people give these books high marks, there must be something I missed or failed to recognize during my read.
****
Meet Sarah and David.

Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they're on the verge of divorce and going to couples' counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things - the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counselor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client's throat.

Meet the Zombies.

Now, Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But, just because there are zombies, doesn't mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don't eat their brains, they might just kill each other.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sins of the Demon Review

Sins of the Demon
Book #4

If I had to sum up this book in one sentence, I would have to say it's fairly good, but truly never satisfies. The writing and editing is in-line with the rest of the series, and the pace was decent enough, so what went wrong? This book felt more like a filler novel. Yes, we learn a little more about a couple of the characters, but not much more than that, other than a mystery subplot that's predictable and distracting from the main series plot.  My biggest gripe is with the huge cliffhanger ending. I'm never a fan of cliffhangers, especially when a book stops right when it gets interesting and introduces a new subplot. I call this reader torture.   

Another issue I had with this book is with the dialogue. Too many exclamation points and strange/forced conversations by the protagonist. There was also an inordinate amount of unnecessary cursing towards the end. Maybe it's just me, but I also find the protagonist grossly inappropriate and unbelievable as a functioning member of a police department. I know if I said stuff like "I'm freezing my t*tts off", I would have a problem at work. Yes men say stuff like this all the time, but working in a predominantly male field, I know that it's still not okay for women to speak that way. Is it fair? No. But that's how it is.

One other thing that I noticed is how closely the protagonist sometimes sounds like Rowland's other series protagonist. This is mostly noticed close to the beginning of the book.

In summary, I did enjoy the book, but not without some issues.  I suggest holding off reading this book until book five's release if you can, due to the ending cliffhanger.

Warning: Mild Violence, Cursing, (But no sex and little sexual content)
-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Future Release Review: Horizon

Horizon  (Jan 24, 2012)
Book #3/Final?

I can't help but feel emotionally exhausted and spent, every time I finish one of these books. Self-contempt, atonement, and redemption, set the tone in this post-apocalyptic somber tale. Those who have followed these books know that the zombie sub-plot is only a small part of what these books are about. An introspection into love, life, and humanity is the main focus.

The book starts off fairly slow and you’re left wondering if this is just another “Life in the Box” type sleepy novella. As in, not much happening but more of the same post apocalyptic day to day stuff. Without giving anything away, yes things do progress in this book, and end with what seemed to me as a finale.

One month has passed since the events that end the last book. It took about a quarter of the book before things started to get truly interesting. From there, it’s back to being an edge of your seat thriller that doesn’t let up. The ending brings about definite conclusion that is both satisfying and a bit somber. Still, there still room for more in this world, but not without possibly ruining this perfect conclusion.

Another well written and thoughtful book, but poorly edited. At least the version I received. Lots of mistakes, mainly dealing with the characters. A few inconsistencies, one specifically with a being person killed one chapter and coming back a few chapters later, was too strange to ignore.

Overall, another great chapter to a well thought out and meaningful series.  I definitely recommend this book to anyone already following these books.

This book is set to release on Jan 24th, 2012.  I received an ARC via NetGalley.
3-Horizon (Jan 24, 2012)  

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Richelle Explains

Posted on Richelle Mead's Blog, in response to Shadow Heir:

"Warning: I'm going to talk about Shadow Heir. And while I won't be giving away any specific details, there may be some general spoilery stuff. So, perhaps you should avoid this post if you haven't read the book yet...but come back to it once you've finished SH.

Anyway, if you've read SH, you probably know that the ending resolves some things...but not others. Obviously, this troubles some people since there's a big, big question left open there. I had a couple of reasons for ending it it in that OMG way. One is that I kind of like leaving a little mystery at the end, kind of like in the 1980s Flash Gordon movie when Ming's ring starts glowing. (IS HE REALLY DEAD? IS HE COMING BACK?). I don't always want to have every single detail neat and tidy at the end of a series. It can feel a little too perfect. I like to think about things afterward and leave a few open doors. Many have asked if I have plans, on some far off day, to wrap up some of the remaining mysteries.

My answer? You never know. :)"
******
I read this post a couple of days ago, and all I could think was that she really doesn't get why her fans are upset. It's not the opened ended questions at the end that really irked a majority of readers. It's about the decisions made by the protagonist.  Those decisions and the ending pretty much nullify all progress made by the protagonist and trashes the entire series.  This is the reason why people are upset.

At least this answers a few questions I had about why she did what she did. It wasn't a brilliant of a move on her part, she was just too lazy or busy to finish the series. I count myself as having a pretty good imagination, but I don't pay good money or invest my precious time for an author to leave to me to fill in the blanks.  My suggestion would be to find a better editor or get a real fan (not a yes-man) to read her books before they are published.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Friday, January 6, 2012

Future Release Pick

Firelight  (Feb 01, 2012)

A thoroughly engaging and satisfying book, that is part paranormal gothic romance & intrigue and part fairytale. Being a big fan of contemporary fantasy, I didn't think this Victorian Paranormal would interest me much, but with its rich & vivid descriptions, romantic build, and intriguing plot, I fell for it hook line and sinker. The author truly has a talent for building sexual tension to a boiling point. The relationship between the main couple is white hot, and are definitely now on my list of favorite literary couples.

 The plot itself isn't exactly original per se, but I have to say that the delivery and execution were so spot on, that I was able to enjoy it and just take it for what it is, a pure and unadulterated guilty pleasure. Those who don't want to commit to a full series, will be happy to know that this book can be read as a standalone. The ending nicely wraps-up and concludes the main couple's storyline, however a subsequent book is scheduled and will continue one of the supporting character's story.

My only issue with this book were with some of the poorly transitioned scenes. It would have helped to have some space between scenes or a marker denoting the change.  However, I must state that since I received an ARC, this issue might be moot in the purchased copy.
*****
Written in third person POV and set in Victorian London, Firelight is a Gothic retelling of Beauty & the Beast.  Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

In summary, I whole heatedly recommend this book to anyone looking for a well written/constructed and thoroughly satisfying Paranormal Romance or adult Fairy Tale.

Warning: Violence & Strong Sexual Content.

This book releases on Feb 1st, 2012.  I received a ARC via NetGalley.


-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top Reads: Caged

Caged  99¢
Book #1

This the first book in a thrilling new UF series, that is both very engaging and sometimes very hard to take. A well written and edited book, which has an equally gripping beginning that does’t quite let up, until the very end. The content also seemed quite fresh for an already overwritten genre. I also couldn’t have predicted what ends up occurring, based off the first quarter of the book. Overall, a very good start to promising new UF series.

Written in first person POV.  After the death of her parents, Ruby awakens from a lifetime of shadows and finds herself alone, thrust into a world of lies, deceit, betrayal and the supernatural.

As her quest for truth continues to come up short, she realizes that maybe some questions really are best left unanswered.When her true identity is finally unveiled, she is forced to choose between two of the mysterious men who continually seem to crop up in her life. She chooses poorly.

I just had a couple of issues with this book, specifically at the beginning. One being a abrupt and poorly transitioned flashback (one specifically).  There were also a few too many song and music references, in relation to real life. The author obviously loves music, and believes that books should have their own soundtracks. Another issue I had was the less than realistic reactions by the post traumatic protagonist.

Overall this book is definitely worth the notice for anyone interested in a fresh new UF read and isn't too sensitive to serious content. The references are there, but it is mostly treated in a YA manner.

Warning: Violence, Abuse, Assault, Reference to Gang Rape, Rape (However nothing is described in detail), Some Mature Content.

2-Haunted (Jan 31, 2012)
3-Framed (Mar 2012)
4-Scarred (May 2012)
5-Fractured (Fall 2012)