Apr 16, 2015

Need to be Reading...

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden. 

After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.

Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows. Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from the Big Easy, but someone or something is draining life from its residents.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.

This book just flew to the top of my TBR list. I'm not promoting it because the author asked me to or because I'm participating in a book tour or because I'm a nice person.

I am genuinely excited about reading this book, and I wanted to pass it along, pay it forward, spread the news. So check it out, view the trailer, click the GoodReads link and add it to your shelf. 



Mar 31, 2015

Review: Opposition by Jennifer Armentrout

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

Finishing the final book in a series that you've followed for years is always a bittersweet moment which may be why I took my sweet time in getting around to Opposition. I've loved Daemon and Katy from Obsidian, and it breaks my heart to have to let them go.

That being said, I could only manage to pull three stars out for Opposition. I feel like the last book in a series can either make or break a series... And I can't quite put my finger on it, but I wasn't blown away by this last book like I was with its predecessors.

To put it frankly, I felt bored sometimes. I always loved the banter between Katy and Daemon, but this time around, I wasn't feeling it. Sometimes it seemed that I was reading the same scene over and over again... They worship each other... They're desperate for each other's bodies... Daemon has a one-track mind... yada yada yada... I love romance, and there were a few fantastic and heartfelt moments between them, but for the most part, I just couldn't get as into it...

The dialogue also bugged me. Most of the characters have this immature and, honestly, almost annoying way of speaking. Even Lotho, the supposedly badass, sort of evil Arum talked like a stereotypical 14-year-old girl... No offense to 14-year-old girls... I can appreciate goofiness or lightening the mood, but it all felt a little stilted...

What I loved about the book was the sacrifices that the characters were willing to make for each other... And how the love and memories between them were stronger than any other power that tried to overcome them.

Throw in a few unexpected surprises and a heart-attack-inducing ending, and you've got a solid finale.

Maybe my reluctance to say I loved the final Lux novel has more to do with me than the book. Maybe my preferences or tastes or whatever you want to call it are changing. 

If you read and loved Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series from book one, I can say with a decent amount of confidence that you'll enjoy the finale. 

3.5/5 Stars


Mar 12, 2015

Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all...a love story.

The first few words of every story are always the hardest to write. It's almost as if pulling them out, putting them on paper, commits you to seeing it all through. As if once you start, you are required to finish. And how do you finish when some things never end?

This. Book. Just... You know when you love an author so much that you don't even read the excerpt to see what their next novel is about, you just read it? That's how I started The Law of Moses, and if I didn't love Amy Harmon before, I think I might be obsessed with her writing now. 

One thing I can say for certain is that Harmon isn't afraid to break your heart. And I don't mean a couple of tears here and there... I mean the full on sobbing and needing time to grieve and get over your pain kind of shattering. But after all that, she finds a way through her characters to allow you to come to terms with what's happened and even find happiness amidst a tragedy. 

Georgia and Moses come together in a way that most young people do. But Moses is different. He's hidden and mysterious and does things that make no sense, things that get him into serious trouble. But he's innocent, and I think Georgia sees that, and despite all the warnings, she can't help but want to break through to him, know him, and see what's beyond the sarcasm and harsh words he insists on using. 

Whatever it was, when Moses came to Levan, he was like water - cold, deep, unpredictable, and, like the pond up the canyon, dangerous, because you could never see what was beneath the surface. And just like I'd done all my life, I jumped in head first, even though I'd been forbidden. But this time, I drowned.

Most of Amy Harmon's books seem to have a touch of paranormal to them, and it's an element at the core of The Law of Moses. It seems to be the reason for everything. Bad and good and all in-between. 

"You seeing things that other people can't doesn't make you the problem, Mo. It just means there are fewer secrets. And that can be dangerous."

Moses has a gift or curse, depending on what moment you're seeing in his life. And while this novel is definitely a love story, I think it's mostly about Moses and what brings him to come to terms with who he is. 

From the moment that he and Georgia meet, her world revolves around him in some way or another. Even though she'd like to, she can't let him go, not completely, and it's not only this connection, but the incredible loss between them that, surprisingly, saves them both. 

Nobody told me that resisting would feel like trying to breathe through a straw. Futile. Impossible. Unrealistic.

I'm going to stop there because I've been as vague as I can manage and honestly don't know what else to say without giving away vital details. I'll finish by saying that Amy Harmon is an incredible storyteller and her writing literally makes me have to stop and take a breath sometimes. It's just that beautiful. 

Read this book. 



Mar 9, 2015

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

It's been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain. 

Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. 

When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back...

I have a soft spot for stories about angels, fallen or otherwise. Maybe it's because the topic of them can be somewhat controversial or heated. Or that the possibility of them truly existing is far greater (to me) than any other kind of supernatural being. Also, it could be that the term "angel" shouldn't exactly be synonymous with sweet and innocent. 

Whatever the reason, I love the complexity that comes with angels. They are expected to be full of faith and duty, to follow the laws set before them without the leisure of free-will. But the possibilities of what would happen if they were to demand and take that free-will are endless and somewhat terrifying. Humanity could be completely obliterated, but...

Humanity has a way of surviving doesn't it? I think it has something to do with its ability to make those around it fall completely in love with it - the good, the bad... everything about it. It's endearing and addicting and it provokes a sense of protectiveness in those who come to know it. 

Maybe I'm going off the deep end with this review, but books that explore "what-ifs" tend to do that to me. Specifically dystopian novels that have a touch of the biblical.

What's my point? I love this book. There's so much unexpected that it seriously blows your mind.

The world of angels vs. humans... It's epic, and Penryn is the kick-ass character at the center of it all. She just wants to take care of her family, but finds herself, begrudgingly, playing the hero. She is courageous and determined, but has an attitude and a strong will. She has her priorities straight despite the difficulties she's faced with, and I admire her for that. 

Penryn's relationship with Raffe is hilarious and a bit tense. They build this gradual trust and bond that gets stronger with every situation they bail each other out of. It's awesome to watch these two undeniably different people become close in a way that is realistic and believable. Nothing about their relationship is forced or rushed, and with the epidemic of insta-connections, I found it refreshing. 

The world-building is incredible. From the intricate and political society of the angels to the rebellious and growing group of humans ready and willing to fight for their home... It's madness. Then there's the little things like Penryn's nearly broken family and Raffe's longing to be whole again. It's emotionally taxing... but fulfilling at the same time. It really is one of those stories that has it all.

Read it. 



Mar 7, 2015

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

I know there is or was a certain amount of drama surrounding this book, and due to my recent ignorance of the goings-on in the book world, I'm happy to say that I was allowed a reaction based strictly on the content of the story.

Honestly, my impression is aligned with the majority. While The Selection was a quick and easy read, I can't say that offered a whole of inspiration or stimulation. 

What did I expect? I was looking for something along the lines of a dystopian version of the bachelor, with the addition of blood, rebellion, and maybe a few catfights. What did I actually get? A watered-down and obvious love triangle that left me emotionally empty - as in I didn't feel a thing. That's really all there was to it.

Which really sucks, because this book has so much freaking potential. The concept is fantastic - a world full of castes and royalty and oppression. Alas, the world-building was less than stellar, so all in all, it felt forced and fell flat. The transition from the world's past to the present is less than streamlined, and when we do get some background, it's thrown at us via a history lesson. As in an actual history lesson that the girls attend. 

Does the history lesson explain all that we need to know? Not really. So not only do we not get to feel and experience this world as it is, but the information we do receive doesn't exactly line up or answer all the questions of how and why. 

I tried to get to know the characters in an effort to like them, but there was really nothing to them. America doesn't really have any substance of which to speak. She stuck up for her maids and took out her aggression on Maddox, which was kind of cool, but I couldn't really tell who she was. She'd label others shallow and stuck up, then turn around and act the same way towards them. This happened constantly, and her hypocrisy made it difficult to take her seriously.

And the love triangle! I don't mind a good love triangle, but I couldn't feel this one. When you can't connect to the characters, how do you pull for one side or the other? Maddox is all surface material and Ash... Well.. we don't really get to know him either. I guess what it all boils down to is that there is no depth to the characters, so I really couldn't care less what happens to them or who America ends up with. 

There's a slew of other characters, but they aren't worth mentioning. Most of them get kicked out by the end of the novel anyway (I'm not spoiling anything, promise). I think it's supposed to be a monumental moment in the book, but I did little more than *shrug* and ponder the fact that the story had ended and nothing had really happened. 

I may or may not read book two in hopes that things get better. Like I said, the concept is there, it's just poorly executed in this first book of the series. Maybe this was a foundation novel and the really juicy stuff comes later? Could be... 

But for The Selection itself, I'd have to rate: