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...

"'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!