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Thursday, September 29, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Blood (Mercian Trilogy) by K. J Wignall (ARC)

Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary: Will has been struck with the sleeping sickness since the 1200's. He goes through periods of sleeping and waking, sometimes waking up years later to feed and be awake awhile before slumbering again. When Will awakes this time, he kills what appears to be a junkie living in and abandoned warehouse. He's certain he will not be missed. However, before Will feeds, the junkie tells him some vital information to his destiny, Will sets out to uncover the information within his journal. It's cryptic and yet Will is certain his destiny is about to be revealed but he won't be going alone. A runaway named Eloise is connected to him in a way that Will isn't sure about just yet.

My thoughts: This book sounds very intriguing and the idea is good but I feel like we get off to a rather slow start. Here we have a vampire that isn't your typical vamp. He mostly hibernates all of the time and only kills certain people, the people that he knows won't be missed. He almost has a conscious that makes him this goody two shoes.

I think what makes this a little more on the boring side is that this vampire has lived for over 700 years and yet, his back story from living all those years isn't so fascinating. We're told briefly about time periods when he sleeps and awakes again and what it was like then, but we're not really told much of anything else.

We are reminded however at how lonely he seems to be, how he continues to do the same thing time and time again when he awakes from his 'sickness'. He refuses for the first 75% of the novel to refer to being a vampire anything other than his sickness and then randomly launches into calling himself the undead just before he meets the vampire that created him in the first place.

It took such a long time for this story to come together. I didn't actually get excited about the possibility of a second book until the very end when one small event turns out to be something rather large and very important to his future.  And, this is when we realize that people are lying to him and even after 700 years, this guy is way too trusting of everyone.

This isn't a bad story but some parts of it just make it a difficult read for me.
Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to review this book.
Monday, September 26, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan (ARC)

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: Sasha's life comes tumbling down around her when her father is killed. Desperate to find his killer, she agrees to attend the meeting of a secret group called "The Ravens" a group that worships an evil being known as Eryx. When she gets there, her mother's ex boyfriend allows the group members to toss stones at her. She's evil, or so they say, but her mother's ex knows she's not evil, she's what is known as Anabo or the daughter of Eve. Sasha is special, but so is the dark and mysterious boy that comes to save her. When her mother is sent back to Russia, Sasha is sent to live with relatives in Colorado and she learns that her family is hiding some pretty dark secrets and secret desires that leads to a pretty big downfall for her family.

My thoughtsI had high hopes for this book and was really hoping that it would turn out to be a five star novel for me but it just was not. However, there weren't too many things that really threw me off from this book other than this book turned out another male character that was dominant, possessive and willing to be a jerk over a female that didn't want much to do with him. Of course, we're supposed to feel bad for this guy that doesn't know how to act or behave around girls but he so badly wants her. And of course, he's a complete gentlemen. You know, the usual type of guy we see in teen paranormal novels now. Also, Sasha, the main character eventually gives in to his charms. It's really becoming the same old story line even if the plots of these books are all different. To me, this relationship reminds me a lot of Twilight and Twilight was a book that I just couldn't wrap my mind around. The characters and plot in this book are so much better however, it's just the relationship that really messes with me. 

However, the story was really original. It's definitely something I've never read before which makes it a good plot. I really hated Sasha's family because one by one, they all turned to the dark side and then went on a rampage, berating her and threatening her. She just didn't get a break and that made me feel bad for her. It was depressing to see people that we thought had good things going just give it all up for one empty promise from a being that none of them truly know. I guess it shows you that everyone has some sort of price if only the bad guys can figure it out, then you will eventually give it all up for the bad guys. No one is immune in this book and I like that the author wasn't afraid to go after characters that other writers might have ignored because of their relationship with Sasha. It's fresh seeing someone not afraid to really manipulate their characters.

All in all, not a bad book. I just am getting tired of the same old character plot line. I want to thank Netgalley for this book!
Saturday, September 24, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey (ARC)

Cold Kiss
Rating: 5 out of 5
Cold Kiss
Summary: Wren has lost the love of her life in a tragic accident. She grew up in home where the women have magical powers but now her mother doesn't talk about them any more. Wren uses these powers to her advantage. Grief stricken, she decides to raise Danny from the grave. She can't deal with losing him after losing so many people in her family. However, the person that comes back from the dead isn't really the same Danny she used to know. He's different and he becomes more different each day as he uncovers memories from his death and his life. Wren must deal with an ever changing Danny, a new love interesting, her mother and the fact that maybe she'll have to let Danny go once and for all.

My thoughts: Cold Kiss delves into something that not a lot of books want to touch on, death, loss and grief. The only difference between real life and what the main character Wren does, is she's able to reverse the process of death. She's able to reunite with her love after he dies.

For me, what really made this book really special is how the book touches on the topic of death and grief. We first meet Wren reminiscing about how she met her boyfriend Danny. We also get a glimpse into Wren's not so normal life at having magical powers. The book starts getting real when we find out how Danny died. It's painful really, knowing that Wren is grieving, her friends are grieving and then we see the lives of teenagers so terribly messed up because they're guilty because they feel responsible for Danny's death.

Wren, distraught over losing Danny after having lost so many people in her life already, decides to bring him back from the dead. And really, isn't that something all of us wish to do at some point? Make it so the person that we've lost can come back? However, when Wren brings him back, Danny is different. He slowly starts to remember things about his passing and Wren tries to hide it. This brings us to the point that even if we could bring them back, we shouldn't because they wouldn't be the same. They never will. Death is a part of life that all of us have to accept.

It's really a painful choice that Wren has to make when she decides that she has to finally let Danny go. She remembers more and more about their time together which really, to me as a reader that has gotten comfortable with Wren's character and her relationship with Danny, painful. It's really heartbreaking because now Wren has to let go of him all over again.

This really is a painful story of love and loss and accepting what is. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to review this book.
Thursday, September 22, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Demonglass (Hex Hall Book #2) by Rachel Hawkins

Demonglass (Hex Hall)
Rating: 5 out of 5

Demonglass (Hex Hall)Summary: After killing her demon grandmother Alice at her school Hex Hall, Sophie is determined to travel to England to undergo the removal process. She wants to ensure that she'll never turn into a blood thirsty demon like Alice. When Sophie's father and head of The Council comes to take her to Council headquarters, he works hard to convince her that demons can in fact control their powers. Of course, demon hunter Archer Cross and previous love interest pops up and let's Sophie know that things aren't quite right with the two other demon residents at Council headquarters. Archer and Sophie travel back to the island where Hex Hall is located only to discover that someone has been using the other side of the island to raise demons and if The Council isn't doing it and The Eye (magical being hunters) aren't doing it, then someone is up to something very, very bad. 

My thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with this book, the second in the Hex Hall Series. I read the first and while it was interesting and likable, I wasn't too impressed. I decided to read this one to see how it turned out exactly and, wow! This one just blew me away.

While I read Hex Hall a long time ago, it was hard to remember everything that happened, but thankfully, Hawkins did a good job at putting some reminders in so you're not completely lost when key parts of the story come into play.

This one is a much bigger thrill ride than the first. Sophie ends up with her father in England which is a completely different dynamic. Instead of seeing the strained relationship with her mother, we finally get to see the demon side of her family and how her and her father can relate to each other after they've been apart for so long. While Sophie is afraid of becoming a terrible killing machine, she meets other demons when she assumed her and her father where the only ones. We're left with hope knowing that Sophie could never turn out to be a bloody thirsty monster. It really makes me like Sophie much more likable.

I feel that Hawkins grew so much between writing the first book and then this one. I really became enthralled with the plot and the mystery that was beginning to unfold. We learn that Sophie really can't trust anyone because instead of caring about her as a person, they only care about her magic.

My only big complaint with this book is the ending! We have to wait until next year to read the next book and it's going to be a long wait!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Rating: 4 out of 5
Summary: Helen spends most of her life attempting to get by without being noticed. Being noticed tends to give her really bad stomach pains, way worse than anything she's ever felt before. When a new family moves into town, Helen begins to see weeping, bleeding woman around them. They whisper things to her and tell her they must die. When she attempts to kill Lucas, one of the most attractive boys from the Delos clan, both families try to put it behind them. Lucas and Helen try to avoid each other at all costs, that is until someone attempts to kill Helen. When she runs off assuming the Delos family wants her dead, she flies. Yes, she begins to fly and promptly faints, meaning Lucas must rescue her. When the successful rescue finally puts an end to the furies, Helen learns something very startling about herself: she is a demigod descended from a Greek god. And more importantly? Someone wants her dead.

My thoughts: When I first started this book, I really wasn't sure what to think. I've never read a book about demigods before. I like mythology so I wasn't worried about the fact that I would hate the part of mythology. I was more worried that a story line about demigods would be too annoying or too silly for me to enjoy. However, I really enjoyed this book. I mean really really enjoyed it.

My main complaint at first was not the main character Helen, but her friend Claire. She came off as overly pushy and kind of a bully. I began to wonder what a character like Helen, so shy and reserved was doing with someone like Claire. The two just didn't seem to fit together well as friends. Then, as we got to know Helen more, I started to hate that she was such a pushover. She just let people get away with treating her horribly because she'd rather not be noticed. She just seemed to fall in line and try to keep everyone happy too much. It really is an annoying trait to just roll over all the time.

Then, things became interesting when Helen and her father's friend are attacked. Once Helen realizes her powers, she starts to become more interesting. It's like a veil is lifted and Helen can finally reveal her true self. Finally, we start to see someone that is confident, powerful and can make her own decisions without letting someone tell her what she can and cannot do. I enjoyed seeing Helen work on developing her powers. I really became to like Helen, so much in fact, I was very disappointed to her her crush and fellow demigod tell a relative that he would never touch her, in such a tone that was really heartbreaking.

I found it very easy to get into this story and I really enjoyed reading it!
Sunday, September 18, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Dark Parties
Rating: 4 out of 5

Dark PartiesSummary: Neva lives within a sphere, or better known as Protectosphere, a city within a large sphere that is controlled by fear, lies and harsh punishments for those that do not conform or follow all of the rules. The problem is, the city within the sphere is slowly falling apart. The population is dwindling, and forget about brand new items, as everything is recycled, and recycled to death. Convinced the government is lying, Neva (a daughter of a government official) and her best friend Sanna throw a 'dark party' meant to recruit for an underground rebellion against the government. Slowly, as things unfold, Neva realizes that she must question everything. Her friends, her parents and the life that she knows. Clearly, not everyone is telling the truth.

My thoughts:  I found this book to start out a tad slow. However, once it picked up, it began to really make the story more interesting. While this sort of reads like other dystopian novels, I feel that this one is a little more imaginative than others. 

We have the typical dystopian world with the government controlling the citizens and lying to them about the world they live in. However, the main character Neva actually gets a moment to experience part of the world that is rumored to exist, but no one really knows about. I think my favorite description was about the Women's Empowerment Center. While this place is rumored to exist, and the name doesn't sound so terrible, we actually learn that it's something more dark and sinister. A place where women are shipped off, to live a drugged up existence while constantly pregnant to keep the society within the sphere alive. It's really startling to think about women lying within a drugged a coma with a baby growing inside them, only to have the child delivered to a good, patriotic family to care for the child.

I was slightly disappointed that the books namesake, Dark Parties only ever occurred once. Because the races within the sphere are quite blended, everyone really looks the same. The teens decide to throw a 'dark party' in the dark stripping away everything so they are just who they are. We only experience a dark party in the beginning, and we hear about them slightly throughout the tale, but no more parties occur.

My biggest disappointment was the ending. We are set up for something great. As a reader, I truly wanted Neva to find out what happened to her Grandmother. I wanted Neva to get the life she always wanted, but the ending is so ambiguous we really don't know what happened. We're left wondering what happened to Neva and the people that helped her. The suspense leading up the conclusion drags on for awhile. Things look up, then our hopes get dashed several times before we finally are presented with the ending. All in all, not a bad book but I really would have liked a better ending!
Friday, September 16, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)
Rating: 4 out of 5

Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)Summary: Emma leaves her drunken abusive stepfather and the press that wants nothing more than to continue talking about 'the accident' that almost cost Emma her life. She moves in with her aunt that is able to pull strings and get Emma enrolled in a private, upscale school. Emma will practically have to start over with her only friend being her cousin, Ashley. However, things get weird, Emma starts falling for Brendan, a very popular, very attractive guy that every girl wants. When strange things start happening around Emma, like exploding streetlights, she seeks out a practicing witch for help. With a protection spell cast, her life returns to normal, that is until she realizes the pendant she's been wearing around her neck actually means more than just a token reminder from her brother. It means she's cursed to die a horrible death.

My thoughts:    This book really reminds me of another book I've read. It was Amber Frost by Suzi Davis. This book pretty much has the same concept: two star crossed lovers that have had some sort of curse placed upon them that separates them. When those two lovers meet, something gigantic could happen. In this case it means that Emma, if her and her boyfriend become too close, she could die.

This story revolves around a locket while Davis' story revolves around some ancient tattoo like symbols that are on her boyfriend's back. The concepts are a bit different but still quite simliar. With that being said, I'll move into the story itself.

I found the story to get off to a slightly slow start. I was starting to wonder why I was reading about Emma and her move to live with her aunt and her life that created those issues in the first place. It's really almost painstakingly slow. Then, things begin to pick up. The story begins to unfold and we have the typical boy likes girl, girl likes boy, it's so very painful for those two to be apart, things happen fast but for some reason, boy doesn't want to push girl too far. Of course we have bits of magic and curses and ancient texts too.

It's really not a bad story when you dig deep and ignore all of those strange fluffy parts. 
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Shelter (Blood Haze Book One) by Tara

Shelter (Blood Haze: Book One) A Paranormal Romance
Rating 3 out of 5
Shelter (Blood Haze: Book One) A Paranormal Romance
Summary: Alice is a vampire. A vampire that has been home schooled her entire life. That changes when her mother decides that she should spend her last year attending public school, much to her dismay. However, her life changes when on her first day, she's invited to a party and meets Kai and older guy, and very much a recluse like Alice herself. They quickly become attached to each other and Alice discovers that Kai's home life isn't the best. His mother abuses him and eventually kicks him out of the house. Alice's family takes him in but Kai is possessive and finds it hard to let Alice go out with friends. When Max, another new kid in town starts to show feelings for Alice, Kai storms off for weeks. When Kai and Alice go to Max's New Year's Eve party in an attempt to smooth things over. Things do not go as planned. Max is a hunter. And he's determined to get Kai out of the picture so he can have Alice to himself.

My thoughts: While this story has a good plot line, I think the story is pretty poorly executed. To begin with, there is a lot of telling instead of showing. The actions of Alice, the main character read something like this: My phone rang. I picked it up. It was Will. I answered it. I said. He said, etc.

Also, I was highly disappointed with the vampire part of this book. While Alice and her family are vampire's, the actual story line revolving around this aspect of their lives is really downplayed. In the beginning we are introduced to what vampire's do, how they act, how they feed and how they age. The beginning back story is interesting and had me intrigued but it quickly became a little flat and boring. We're launched into Alice's story abruptly with no understanding of what really lead her mother to make the decision as to why Alice was to start attending school alongside humans. We just know Alice was home schooled and suddenly, with her last year, her mother is sending her off to school and that is that.

And why must all of the human character's Alice encounter minus the two snobby girl's that seem to hate her for no apparent reason have poor self esteem. And why would these two characters be so inexplicably drawn to Alice and seem to want nothing more than to bend to her will? And why are all of the guys that are romantically interested in Alice possessive to the point where they're aggressive and almost abusive with her? It's not attractive.

If you're really interested in a vampire story, this really isn't a strong one until the end. Then the only thing we're really subjected to is the world of vampire Hunters and the Vampire's they want to kill. The second story might probe deeper but I doubt I will read the second to find out.

I received a copy of this book from a Library thing giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
Sunday, September 11, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater (ARC)

The Shadowing: Hunted
Rating: 5 out of 5

The Shadowing: HuntedSummary: Callum has an uncanny ability to see ghosts. He sees them everywhere he goes, school, the street and the woods around his house. This ability he keeps a secret from everyone including his grandmother, the grandmother that raised him after his mother died. However, weird things begin to happen, a dark creature seems to be chasing him as he walks home from school and children start dying horrible, gruesome deaths. When Callum caves and reveals this information to Melissa, a classmate, she's more than willing to help. Then, Callum is accused of murdering the school bully, people saw him do it. The thing is, he was with Melissa the entire time. That thing whatever it was, stole Callum's face and it won't stop until it's finished the job but not before Callum's grandmother reveals a very important thing about him; the events that are happening now are all about him.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It was dark and creepy with beings that come straight from horror movies. Callum of  course is your typical loner teen with abilities that he keeps hidden from everyone. He sees ghosts but that's not the only strange thing about him. Callum is a lot more special than he thought and when a strange creature begins to hunt him and other children around the area, Callum has to confide in someone. He picks Melissa, a girl that's interested in all things dark; ghosts, vampires and witches. To his surprise, she's not shocked, she becomes a willing battle partner. I liked their relationship and for once I was quite glad to see that these two characters didn't have a rushed kissing scene, neither declared their undying love for each other. They just were. They were two characters caught up in something neither can control and neither want to be involved in. That alone made this novel a very refreshing read.

It's also refreshing to see a boy have to deal with mystical powers and strange otherworldly beings because usually, we read about females that must deal with these things, females and a boy that wants to desperately protect her because he loves her so much. This book is just a refreshing read and not to mention, quite creepy. Overall a great read. I am really looking forward to the next! I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Thursday, September 8, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel by Ellie James (ARC)

Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly NovelSummary: After the death of her grandmother, Trinity Rose is sent to live with her Aunt Sara. There, some of her 'friends' take her to an abandoned home with the leader of the pack, Jessica setting Trinity up for a cruel joke. What Jessica doesn't know is that Trinity can see things that many other people cannot. She has psychic visions and dreams and Trinity sees Jessica in one of the rooms pleading for help. When Jessica disappears, Trinity begins having dreams about Jessica calling out for help; dreams where she can almost see where Jessica is. When she talks to the cops, they think she is involved, only telling them because she feels guilty. However, some people believe her; people like her Aunt that know her mother too had visions. Visions that ended with her death and the death of her husband.

My thoughts: For instance, Chase, her love interest. From the beginning of this book, Chase seems to have an odd obsession with Trinity. That's fine, but the fact that he is quite pushy, constantly after her and all of the conversations she seems to have with Chase revolve around him saying her name over and over again as they're talking. She talks and he just replies with "Trinity". This doesn't happen once, it happens practically the entire conversation. She says a sentence, Chase interrupts with "Trinity", she continues to talk and then he breaks in again with "Trinity". I really got tired of hearing her name over and over again.

This also reads like a terrible romance novel. Trinity wants him, she likes him and then suddenly retreats into herself with Chase pulling her back out and then we start the conversation with Chase saying nothing but her name over and over again.

When Trinity is blamed for the disappearance of Jessica and blamed for being involved, those parts were played off too well. Of course, Chase comes to the rescue and they go off to find her. When they do find Jessica and the kidnapper makes his grand appearance, the scene is over rather quickly. Also, there is no motive or real reveal as to whom the kidnapper is or as to why he wanted to take Jessica in the first place. Also, we never find out why Jessica left and how she ended up coming across this man either.

There were too many things left up in the air, not to mention the relationship Chase and Trinity shared. It was really quite frustrating. Not a bad read but it definitely could be better.

I received this book from Good Reads for an honest review.
Monday, September 5, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: 4 out of 5

OutlanderSummary: Claire, a war nurse and her husband Frank are taking a holiday in Scotland. Frank is researching some of his relatives while Claire takes in the scenery and local plants and herbs as she's interested slightly in herbal uses. When Claire visits a small stone circle with a man that is helping her check out local plants, she decides to take her husband, whom in turn wants to visit again to watch the local druids perform a ritual. Claire returns to check out a plant she saw at the stones and is transplanted through time, about 200 hundred years in the past really, to a time where wars are ravaging the countries. Claire helps a Scottish highlander only to be taken by them as they're not sure if she really can be trusted. Before long, Claire finds herself married to Jamie, a strong but very much in trouble Highlander. At first, the marriage isn't something she wanted, but before long, she begins to forget about her husband Frank and when presented with a chance to return home, she decides against it. Deciding that she'd rather stay with Jamie, she risks her life trying to save him.

My thoughts: Well this turned out to be better than I expected. It got off to a slow start. The relationship Claire and her husband had was kind of annoying. I really felt Frank was sort of a flat character. Claire herself wasn't that great with him but things got better when Claire traveled through the stones and ended up in Scotland in the 1700's.

I think Claire fought a long time with the fact that she had in fact, gone back in time. I feel as if it took her quite a long time to figure that out. Then again, I'm not sure how I'd act if I were transported back in time either. I really enjoyed seeing Claire in a different time however. I think she adjusted to the different time rather well. Maybe a little too well. She fell right into jobs and places easily. Not to mention, she was considered a healer in a time when women healers probably really weren't held in high regard.

While I really enjoyed the relationship Claire had with her new husband, Jame, a Scottish Highlander, I was sort of disappointed when Claire chose not to try going back in time when she had the chance. I wanted to see how she would react going back to her time, being with her husband and if she would choose to go back to be with Jamie and give up living in her own time again.

All in all, this turned out to be a lot better than most of the book led me to believe. I am considering reading the rest of the series now.
Saturday, September 3, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Shattering by Karen Healey (ARC)

The Shattering
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Shattering
Summary: Release Date September 5, 2011 Keri is always prepared for everything but she's not prepared for what to do when her only brother Jake, commits suicide. Her family struggles with his death only for Keri to become reunited with her old best friend Janna that has something shocking to tell her. Jake's death might not be a suicide after all but something else entirely. Keri and Janna, along with Sione, a boy that also lost his brother in strange circumstances work together to find the killer's. They don't expect to come across magic and a coven of witches that just want to keep their town of Summerton safe.

My thoughts: The beginning of this book was a little confusing at first. I really expected something different entirely so it was shocking when things seemed relatively normal in the beginning. It was a bit slow in the beginning but things began to pick up especially after we meet Sione and he shows Keri and Janna proof that there are more suspicious death's in the area. I think the most shocking things in this story are the culprits. I really didn't expect some of the characters to be involved. It's revealed early on whom one of those characters are, but the others are kind of strange people to include.

The ending is just about heartbreaking too. When Keri finds out the truth about her brother Jake, it's quite sad and as a reader, I didn't want it to be true. I wanted a better ending for Keri than what we were given but it makes for a good story. I received this title from NetGalley for review. 
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