Thursday, May 12, 2016

First Impressions: The Syndicate


Summary: In a future where time travel has been outlawed, a black market exists for anyone with the money, connections, and nerve to request items from days past. As a Runner for one of the underground syndicates that now controls the timewaves, Stassi 2446-89 has seen it all: the fall of Rome, the rise of Hitler, the end of democracy, the establishment of time tourism, and the devastating consequences of it. Her job is to seamlessly slip through the past, in search of items of value to the syndicate's clientele.

Stassi's next assignment takes her to Paris in the 1920’s, in search of a lost manuscript by one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers. She and her partner, Gaige, are swept up in the City of Light during the height of fashion and culture—as alluring a locale as they’ve ever visited. But a seedier side of life lurks beneath the glamorous fa├žade, and the pair quickly learns this run is more dangerous than any of their previous missions.

Because history isn’t playing out as it should be—a first for the syndicate. When the stakes are raised and it becomes a matter of life or death, Stassi and Gaige must ultimately decide how far they’re willing to go to ensure the future as they know it.

What I am Expecting: Honestly, I'm expecting a lot of action and suspense. Stassi seems (at least from the short description) to be fearless and adventures, but I hope she'll have qualities that make her relate-able or human. I'm not expecting the setting to be too futuristic, but I am expecting a lot of time jumps. I know Stassi and Gaige will be the main characters, but I would like a nice, solid set of supporting personalities. I feel like they help balance the story and plot, as well as, provide more dimensionality. I'd also like for Stassi and Gaige to have some time to develop a "relationship". I can't tell from the description, but I'm almost positive the two will get together. I just hope it's not instantly or unnatural. 

Girl of Myth and Legend: Before vs. After the Read


What I Excepted: With this novel, I am expecting a really cool setting. It maybe a little dark, a little mysterious, but not over the top. The plot will more than likely be similar to other books of this genre, but depending on the quality/style of the writer it might feel a little edgier? (I know, I'm just making this all up. Watch me be completely wrong. Story of my life.) Oh! and Korren, the protagonist's love interest will be ultra tempting, as well as, ultra angsty. One can only dream. 

What I got: The setting was, in fact, very cool. The story starts in the everyday world, then Leonie finds herself traveling to another realm(ish, thingy), and, finally, she arrives in this new dimension that happens to be very unique. The plot was actually was pretty creative, it had undertones of the cheesy storyline, but was mysterious and realistic to the characters, and I wouldn't describe it as "edgy". Finally, while Korren was very handsome, it wasn't the only thing Leonie ever talked about. She respected him as an individual, unlike the rest of her kind, and was curious about him and his past. Also, I wouldn't describe Korren as angsty. I feel like with everything that has happened to him and the way he's been treated he is definitely more guarded, angry, etc., but it's so much more than angst. He has a legitimate reason for acting like he does, and while he does change it isn't flawlessly or fast.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Girl of Myth and Legend

Rating: 4 out of 5

Favorite Quote(s): I couldn't pick between these two so I'll put both...

"...you'd better stand back because mine is a fire that will consume anyone in my way, and when it does, I'll rip off that mask you hide behind, stare into those eyes of yours, and all I'll see is pure, naked, unfathomable fear looking back at me."

"I am sacred. I am a coward, and even so I will survive, because nothing can beat me. Break my bones, sorch my flesh, haze my mind, discourage me all you want, and I will survive. I have something stronger, something untouchable. I will survive. But I promise you, you won't make it off this mountain, I'll make sure of it."

Summary: Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.

And things only get weirder…

Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.

Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.

But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.

Review: I really enjoyed this novel!! The beginning was slow, but once the book picked up, I couldn't put it down. (My iPad had to die before I could stop.) 

The world Simlett creates is flawless, not in the sense that it doesn't have faults or darkness, but in the way she's able to depict it so well with so little words. She also beautifully balances the dialogue and the action in all of her scenes. 

The story is told mostly from the point-of-view of Leonie, but there are a few flashbacks and short chapters from the point-of-view of Korren. I found these to be essential to the reader. They help us better understand Korren, a creature with a complicated past and an even more complicated mind.

One of the best things about this book, however, was the intense mystery. You honestly didn't know who to trust. There was not a set "good" or "bad". The plot was compelling and complex which could mean endless possibilities in the future. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Becoming Alpha

Rating: 2.8 out of 5

Favorite Quote: "All I know is that everyone deserves a second chance. Maybe that's really human of me. Maybe that's not how things work here. But I really hope it is."

Summary: One stupid party. One stupid boy. One stupid kiss. And my life was virtually over.

Tessa McCaide has a unique talent for getting into trouble. Then again, it isn’t easy for a girl with visions to ignore what she sees. Luckily Tessa and her family are leaving California and moving halfway across the country, giving her the perfect opportunity to leave her reputation as “Freaky Tessa” behind.

But Tessa doesn’t realize that kissing the wrong guy in her new Texas town could land her in far more trouble than she ever imagined. Like being forced to attend St. Ailbe’s Academy, a secret boarding school for werewolves.

Even if the wrong guy did accidentally turn her into one of “them” and doom her to attending the weirdest high school ever, Tessa can’t help her growing attraction to the mysterious Dastien Laurent.
When vampires attack St. Alibe’s and her visions pinpoint an enemy in their midst, Tessa realizes that boy drama and her newfound canine tendencies might just be the least of her problems.

Review: Tessa is your not-so-average teenager. Sure, her life is as boring as the next girl..wait...It isn't. Tessa has "gift". She, potentially, sees things when she touches people or items. One night, at her father's going away party, Tessa sees a boy in one of her "visions". He is very good looking and seems to be able to detect her presence. After arriving to the new town she'll call home, Tessa has a run in with the mystery boy. Turns out (SHOCKER!) he is real and even hotter in person. A few awkward encounters later, she finds herself becoming a werewolf.

I really liked the beginning of the story. Tessa's power was original, at least the way the author wrote it, and the scenes were well put together. Sadly, this didn't last through the rest of the novel. Tessa's power seemed to fade into the background, almost as if the author had forgotten about it. When it was mentioned, or played a part in the plot, it was lackluster.

Then there was Dastien, the romantic interest. Dastien's personality was kind of all over the place. In the beginning, he was this attractive, nice, semi-geeky kid that loved obscure musical groups then he was a douche, and then he was a domineering alpha male. I'm not saying that, with the right writing, these qualities couldn't come together to form a solid character. They definitely could, but the author just wasn't able to make it work. The same thing goes for Tessa. In the beginning, she's portrayed as this shy, scared girl, but through the rest of the novel, she's sassy and aggressive. 

Simply, the first quarter of the book doesn't go with the rest. It feels as if you're reading a completely different story. That being said, it's still FREE. Check out Amazon!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

First Impressions: Girl of Myth and Legend


What I'm Expecting: With this novel, I am expecting a really cool setting. It maybe a little dark, a little mysterious, but not over the top. The plot will more than likely be similar to other books of this genre, but depending on the quality/style of the writer it might feel a little edgier? (I know, I'm just making this all up. Watch me be completely wrong. Story of my life.) Oh! and Korren, the protagonist's love interest will be ultra tempting, as well as, ultra angsty. One can only dream. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Shadows

Rating: 4 out of 5


Favorite Quote: “I know exactly who I am. It’s everyone else who seems to be having a problem.”

Summary:  It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series.

Review: I started reading this series because I craved a book that involved angels/demons.  I don't know what it is about these type of story-lines, but they always seem to pull me in. I was a little nervous because the cover seemed a bit off. (I know. I know. We aren't suppose to "judge a book by its cover", but we all do it anyway.) It wasn't that the cover was necessarily ugly or bad, it just didn't seem to fit with the summary.

Don't worry, I sucked it up, and after reading a few chapters, I was like "Okay. Yes. Yes. I'm getting into it." The author does a great job of setting up the main character and establishing the mundane world before introducing the angelic world. Most books have a few chapters or a chapter where the protagonist is living out their everyday, normal life, but unlike other novels, I didn't feel rushed. I got to know Gaby, understand how she sees the world, and create my own opinion about her.

I especially  appreciated the way Gaby's special "amnesia" played into the plot. Although,  Gaby was learning and exploring this new world with us, she had a history with many of the characters.  This allowed for a greater build-up of suspense, and allowed for an overall more satisfying story.

Last. but not least, the characters. If you have read any of my past reviews, you have noticed the emphasis I put on the importance of solid literary personalities. Gaby was easily relateable without being  too unrealistically good.  As much as I liked her, Raffe was my favorite character in this novel.  I thoroughly enjoyed his complexity. At first, he seemed to be nothing more than stereotypical bad guy turned good, or bad boy with a heart of gold, but after finishing the novel, I see that giving him such a vapid label would be a cruel injustice.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Chapter One - Continued

...Here’s the thing, when I died I didn’t see a great light, my favorite memories flash before my eyes, or anything earth-shatteringly cliche like that. What I saw, well, I don’t really remember. Truth be told, the whole thing is a little fuzzy. I get bits and pieces, but most of what I know about the whole ordeal comes from what my family has told me. Simply, one day my heart just stopped beating. I was in English class, like any other Tuesday. I felt the corners of my mouth turn up as I admired Mrs. Merlyn's one yellow wall. Though it was littered with tons of inspirational quotes, photos of famous authors, and pages of books you could still see the sunny, lemon paint underneath. It was like the color refused to be drowned out by all the chaos, and instead built upon it. A perfect metaphor for a happy existence--appreciating the imperfections, letting them be a strength rather than a weakness. Maybe I was crazy for thinking a wall could mean so much, I preferred to believe I was a keen observer that saw what others didn’t take the time to see. Brought back to the present by the deep voice of the audiobook Mrs. Merlyn played as she graded the test she had forgotten to look over this past weekend, I heard the not-so-soft voice of Olivia Dunham behind me, telling her friend Margaret about her “puke-worthy” first date with some guy she had met at a club a week prior. I rolled my eyes. Girls. Why were they all so dramatic? Then nothing. Apparently, this was the point in time my lifeless body fell out of the sad wooden excuse for a desk and onto the dirty classroom floor. I think that’s called irony. Anyway, after waking up from that traumatizing experience in the E.R., I found myself in a hospital room. It was standard as far as hospital rooms go. There was a bed, a old, crappy tv, an uncomfortable-looking chair, two doors, and bland, beige walls. At first, I was thoroughly confused. Was that nightmare not a nightmare at all? Why was I in the hospital? What the hell happened? Where was the bathroom because I really needed to pee? Before I had the chance to get my mind together, one of the doors opened, and an ebony face popped out from the other side.
“Well, look who is awake, the walking dead,” said a rich voice tinted with a bit of laughter.
“Hi,” I tried to say, but it sounded a bit weak, which worried me.
He stepped into the tiny space, and I got a better look at him. Dressed in scrubs, he had a shaved head, high cheekbones, and deep chocolate brown eyes that seemed to know things I’d never understand. His pearly-whites were on full display, offering warmth and cheer at an otherwise frightening time.
“Don’t talk too much. You are still recovering. Nice to meet you though, I’m Darren,” he grabbed the clipboard at the end of my bed, “I’ll be your nurse until eight. If you need me, click that button to your left. I’ll take your vitals, answer any questions you may have, and unless you need me, you won’t see me for another half-hour.”
I nodded my head.
Darren did his thing, fast and efficient, but gently as though not to hurt my fragile state. I asked him what had happened to me, and he explained it calmy.
“I can’t tell you much. All that I know is that when the ambulance arrived, they thought you were dead. They couldn’t find your pulse. They tried reviving your heart, and it seemed to work, but your heartbeat was still weak. Dr. Karver’s the specialist. He told your parents that he didn’t know what was wrong, but that something needed to be fixed. That kind of stuff doesn’t just happen, you know. Anyway, they ran a few tests. Apparently you had coronary artery abnormalities. They took you into surgery and fixed you right up. A damn miracle if you ask me,” he down looked at me and smiled again, “Excuse my french.”
I gave him two thumbs up and a smirk. He then took off his gloves and patted my head. When his hand made contact with my hair everything turned to black.