Review: Stork by Wendy Delsol

Publication Date: October 12th, 2010
Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover, 355 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars


Goodreads SUMMARY

Family secrets. Lost memories. And the arrival of an ancient magical ability that will reveal everything.

Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women tasked with a very unique duty. But Katla’s biggest challenge may be finding her flock at a new school. Between being ignored by Wade, the arrogant jock she stupidly fooled around with, and constantly arguing with gorgeous farm boy and editor-in-chief Jack, Katla is relieved when her assignment as the school paper’s fashion columnist brings with it some much-needed friendship. But as Homecoming approaches, Katla uncovers a shocking secret about her past — a secret that binds her fate to Jack’s in a way neither could have ever anticipated. With a nod to Hans Christian Andersen and inspired by Norse lore, Wendy Delsol’s debut novel introduces a hip and witty heroine who finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life.

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I have had this book fermenting in my currently reading shelf – a week? a week and a half? Maybe even two. It’s one of those books that I couldn’t really fault for its inability to whet my reading appetite. During those sporadic moments when I was finally able to give it my undivided attention, I found Stork to be just mildly interesting.

To be honest, I was a little reluctant to read this book because the MC seemed like someone I’d avoid reading. I’m not at all interested in fashion so the synopsis put me off a little bit. To my surprise, Katla turned out to be a refreshing character. She’s quirky and funny with a voice that was genuine to her character. Having just relocated from sunny California to wintry Minnesota, you could say that she’s like a fish out of water; completely out of her elements. I liked how this girl didn’t sound like a complete wuss while she whined about how cold it was. I was also prepared to read someone so vain but was glad to find out that she really wasn’t. 

Her romance with Jack – though destined,  didn’t feel like it was one of those be-all, end-all type of relationship. It wasn’t as far-fetched, so the eye-rolling took a break the entire time I was reading this book. 

Forgive me when I say that the fundamental retelling of the legends in the book bored me – and it wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine. It’s just something that I wasn’t at all interested in. The majority of the book dealt with this retelling so for the most part, I was just forcing myself to read. I’d bought a hardback copy of this book previously then Candlewick had sent me another copy for review. I never liked giving tepid reviews, because to me, it feels like I never really gave the book a chance. I just wish I enjoyed this a bit more than I did. 


Review: Breathe by Abbi Glines

Publication Date: May 16th, 2011
Wild Child Publishing
Format: Kindle Copy
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


SUMMARY

Sadie White’s summer job isn’t going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother’s increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother’s job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn’t spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn’t impressed by Jax’s fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship’s never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can’t breathe without Sadie.

But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to without each other breathe again?

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To be released on 12/13

Believe it or not,  I read this right after The Vincent Boys. So naturally, I have not quite come down from the scintillating high of reading such an awesome book. Breathe was Abbi Glines’ first published work. I’d recommend reading this first before The Vincent Boys. The stories are not related in any way; I just think that this book is a good introduction to Abbi’s works. After reading both of Gline’s books, I can honestly say that I’m looking  forward to  Existence’s release. 

Abbi Glines’ debut featured a sort of  rags-to-riches story about a girl who lived her whole life poor. Sadie’s mother seemed to be reluctant to grow up so she’d had to be the one to take care of her. Her life lessons include being smart about boys and keeping people far away enough so she’d never have to depend on anyone but herself.  With her mother being pregnant, Sadie had no choice but to take over her mother’s job of a housekeeper for the rich. When she found out who her employer was, she needed to reiterate to herself  that food, rent, and a sibling on the way was more important than to be caught up in Jax Stone’s world. Unfortunately, being involved with Jax proved to be inevitable.

This was such a sweet story; with believable characters and albeit, predictable plot. I’m not going to take anything away from Abbi’s writing; I thought she did a marvellous job, considering this was her debut.

My grievance was the less than impressive Jax Stone. He certainly didn’t fit the rockstar typecast. I expected a bit more angst from this guy, perhaps some moody tantrum throwing. But this guy was zen as zen can be. So much so that he felt underdeveloped. I guess it’s difficult to bring more personality into a cast when the book is being narrated by another. Also, some of his dialogues were…a bit cheesy. Perhaps it was the song writer in him, but I found myself cringing at some of the stuff he’d said and his song lyrics were just as fromage heavy.

I’m also disappointed with the resolution of the conflict. It felt a bit rushed to me. I’ve always been fond of grovelling males in a novel and had expected one here. Sadly, Sadie accepted Jax’s reappearance in her life quite easily.

I think this is still a good read for those looking for contemporary romance. If you can get over the cheese, you’ll definitely enjoy this.

Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Publication Date: October 21st, 2011
Kindle Edition
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY

Being the good girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ashton Gray has grown weary of playing the part to please her parents, and to be worthy of the town’s prince charming, Sawyer Vincent. Maybe That’s why she’s found herself spending time with Sawyer’s cousin, Beau, while he’s away for the summer camping with his family. Beau is nothing like her perfect boyfriend. He’s the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, dangerous in ways she’s only day dreamed about, and the one guy she should stay away from. 
Beau never envied Sawyer his loving parents, his big nice home, or his position as quarterback. He loves him like a brother. Which is why he’s tried everything in his power to keep his distance from Sawyer’s girlfriend. Even if he has loved her since the age of five, Ashton is Sawyer’s girl, so therefore she’s off limits. But when Sawyer leaves for the summer, Ashton, the one girl Beau would move Heaven and Earth for, decides she wants to get into trouble. Stabbing the one person who’s always accepted him and stood by him in the back, is the cost of finally holding Ashton Gray in his arms. Is she worth losing his cousin over?…. Hell Yeah.

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I have a confession to make. I uploaded Kindle on PC at work because of this book. I wasn’t going to, I swear! But I kept reading some glowing reviews that I just had to check it out myself. As soon as I got to the first two pages, I pretty much kissed productivity goodbye. I’m awful, I know! I have to uninstall this program before the IT gets wind of it. Can you imagine how much trouble I’m going to be in? I shudder to think.

This is quite possibly one of my favourite contemporary lit of the year.  It was so addicting that I barely noticed the time passing. Before I knew it, a work day had passed and 8.5 hours were spent…well, not working.

Meet Ashton, Sawyer and Beau – best of friends since they were kids. Growing up, Ashton and Beau were the quintessential trouble makers and Sawyer was the one who’d had to constantly bail them out of trouble. They were inseparable until Ashton and Sawyer became an item, forcing Beau to the sidelines. Ashton changed dramatically from the wild child to the prototypical preacher’s daughter just to keep the perfect veneer that everyone expected from her. They eventually grew apart, to the point that Beau didn’t even know who Ashton was anymore. Heck, some days, Ashton didn’t even know Ashton anymore. But deep inside, Beau knows that the real Ashton he loved from afar and for so long was still hanging around her goody-two-shoes persona, bursting to come alive. All he had to do was help her realize that perfection is as fabled as unicorns.

I’m a sucker for bad boys, and man Beau played this character to a T. He’s mischief and swagger and compassion all rolled into one frustrated hot mess. Unlike every other bad boy characters I’ve read as of late, he didn’t make me want to yank my hair out in utter aggravation. He didn’t go out of his way to be a jerk to Ash. In fact, I actually loved the way he needled her to bring out her true personality.

I think this is the FIRST ever love triangle that I could honestly say I truly enjoyed reading. I’ve figured it out that the annoyance usually come from a character whose feelings waffle between the other two sides. It drives me up the wall! But here, Ash’s reluctance to be with Beau stemmed from the fact that she would be the reason for the possible wedge between Beau and Sawyer. I thought her selflessness was commendable. She was willing to valiantly walk out of the boys’ lives for their sakes.

The romance between Beau and Ash was sizzling hot; so hot that I’m not quite sure if this fits the YA tag. But I’m not the tag police so I couldn’t really care less. Just a heads up though, there was a word that was used that I don’t really think is suitable for the YA audience. I won’t even mention it. And please don’t think that I’m conservative. I’m far from it. Heck, I don’t even know if this book is being marketed as YA, so maybe this little reminder is moot.

Anyway, I really love this book. The writing was fresh and straightforward. I couldn’t ask for a better book to risk getting in a whole slew of trouble at work.

So why the four star rating? There were some minor…very, very, very minor editing miscues (bare instead of bear, and since instead of sense). I have a Kindle copy so maybe the paperback copy will be different.

Review: Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel

Publication Date: July 24th, 2012
Delacorte Books
Format: EPub from Net Galley
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY

At 7:45 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving break, a bomb goes off at Edison High. Nine people die instantly. Fifteen are critically injured. Twenty-two suffer less severe injuries. And one is blinded. Those who survive, struggle to cope with the loss and destruction. All must find new meaning for their lives as a result of something they may never understand.

Lurlene McDaniel’s signature expertise and finesse in dealing with issues of violence, death, and physical as well as emotional trauma in the lives of teens is immediate and heartrending.

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Ripped from the headlines, Red Heart Tattoo is a story of people coming together after a couple of attention-hungry kids set off a bomb in a high school. And in the centre of the chaos was Roth; a tattooed senior with a reputation for inciting malice. Roth has been attracted to Morgan for what seemed like an eternity.  But Morgan was on the opposite spectrum of Roth’s world; she’s popular, president of the students council and was the other half of the ‘IT’ couple in school. That didn’t deter Roth from trying to catch her attention either way, however and Morgan would do just about anything to calm her breathing every time she catches Roth staring at her like he was flaying her skin. When the senseless violence happened, they found themselves at the centre of it all; Roth was the hero, Morgan, the straight A student whose blindness was brought on by PTSD. 


This is the story of coping – to perish or to strive. A story about hope and how a traumatic event can change a person. From the beginning of the novel to end, the characters’ metamorphosis was astounding. Roth, for example was a completely different person. Gone was the arrogance, the egotism that you’d know of him at the beginning of the novel. Physically he was still Roth, tattooed, pierced and perpetually disheveled. But on the inside, he’d become responsible and a person who actually cared. This was basically the theme of the book: what would become of a person after going through a harrowing experience. It wasn’t just the physical damage that was costly. These are high school kids – fragile in some ways. Adolescence is hard as it is, compounded with this trauma and you’ve got yourselves a succession of appointments with a therapist. 


I wish this book was longer. I wish there was a sense of contentment when I finished this book. It wasn’t rushed or anything, but I wanted to read more. There were characters here that barely scratched the surface of who they were and who they could be. But I understand. It’s difficult to end this novel with rainbows and unicorns. This novel wasn’t about a couple of kids who got bullied. These was about them being bored and lacking the attention at home and school. Senseless violence, no matter what the motive, is still senseless. There’s no valid reason. 

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publication Date: December 6th, 2011
Entangled Publishing
Format: EPub Galley
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. 

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

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Katy and her mom are starting over. Far from the memories of her deceased father, they relocated in a small town somewhere in West Virginia. It’s not so bad, really. As long as Katy’s within close range of a library, as long as Amazon ships in her area, and as long as she has access to the internet to post her book reviews on Katy’s Krazy Obsession, she’s all set. When she finds out that her neighbour is one hot piece of…pie, she was more than happy to swallow down her introvert tendencies and borrow some sugar next door. Unfortunately, within seconds of meeting the tall drink of water that was her neighbour, she quickly figured out that he’s the “holy trinity of hot boys” – beautiful face, beautiful body, horrible attitude. Then things started to happen – weird things, impossible things that she soon found herself dragged into Daemon’s world…which turned out to be out of her world. Literally. 
Aliens? Really? 
Seriously. Aliens.
Don’t scoff yet. We’re not talking about little green, cone-headed creatures with oblong onyx eyes. Nope. Far from it.
We’re talking – hot, model-types; the kind of aliens that you want abducting you in the middle of the night, begging them to do some experimental er, probing of the non-scientific variety. Uncouth, I know. But I can’t help it and I’m not going to apologize for it either. You’d say the same thing if you’ve met Daemon Black.
Ms. Armentrout’s future release combines scintillating, frustrating, romance interspersed with rousing action sequences in between. Be prepared to be taken for a dizzying ride that doesn’t give an inch or allow for some recovery time.  I don’t think I ever took a breath until the very last page. The action sequences were done in such a way that were both highly imaginative and simplistic.  I didn’t have a hard time envisioning what was going on. The suspenseful elements didn’t only come from the actual aliens’ chase and fight scenes but from the romance as well. Half the time, I was holding my breath because I didn’t know whether Katy would unleash violence toward Daemon (like I wanted to!) or suck face with him till he’s breathless (like I wanted to!). It was frustrating.
Speak of the devil; Daemon Black incited some pretty spastic, exasperating reactions from me.  Talk about Jekyll and Hyde! He just might be the very first literary character that got me saying, Lord, have mercy! in one scene then Lord, give me strength in another. I was constantly on edge and eagerly anticipating which Daemon would show up. Frankly, the infuriating side of him is the one I found the hottest. I’m just quirky like that. 🙂

Katy was hardly the shrinking violet in this book. She did have some insecurities but when push come to shoved, this girl kicked some major alien derriere. How could I not relate to her? She’s a freaking book blogger! It’s practically like reading my life…except I’m married…and I don’t have alien neighbours (though I suspect my neighbours are!)…and okay, so we have NOTHING in common except for the book blogging thing. Whatever. I love this girl. She’s refreshing, funny and selfless. 

Obsidian boasts an inventive and ingenious plot. The characters were drawn with depths which made for an even more enticing read. If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world read (get it? heh) then Obsidian’s romance, humour and a touch of sci-fi is just what you need. 

Incidentally, I was ready to forego seeing Breaking Dawn today because I didn’t want to stop reading. That’s a big deal. Lol. 

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Want to win a copy of Obsidian? YES? Here are the rules:

  • Leave me some love on the comments.
  • I have a number in mind (0-499). The closest guess wins a pre-order of this awesome book. 
  • Open Internationally where Amazon or The Book Depository ships. 
  • I will not be held responsible for lost or damaged goods during shipment.
…aaaand go!

IMM #15

In My Mailbox is a weekly event over at The Story Siren, which showcases the books we’ve purchased, borrowed and received in the mail this week. This is the fifteenth episode of HOARDERS, Books Edition.
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For Review:


Big, big, HUGE thanks to Entangled Publishing for the awesomeness that is Obsidian. I’m very eager to start this book!

Net Galley

 Reckoning by Lili St. Crow
Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher
Awaken Me by Emily Gossett
Exiled by RaShelle Workman
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Deviant by Adrian McKinty
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
The Lightbringer by KD Mcentire
The Veil by Corey Putnam Oakes
Destined by Jessie Harrell
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber & Bookmark (signed)
What’s in your mailbox?

Winners Announcement

Hello there. 
Just a couple of winners announcement to get out of the way and a whole lot of Congratulations are in order. 
The lucky winner of 4 new titles from November’s new releases is:
Gabriella Mullens!
She chose to receive the following four books:
Destined by Jessie Harrel
Touch by Jus Accardo
Legend by Marie Lu  &
A Love by Any Measure by Kilian McRae

Congratulations, Gabby! 


Earlier, I posted a review of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and as it garnered a five-star rating, I gave a copy away. The winner was: 
Emily Lin

Congrats, Emily!!!

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publication Date: November 15th, 2011
Harper Collins
Format: Paperback, 338 pages
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars


SUMMARY

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

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If we were to play word association with this book as a reference, these will be the words that will promptly come out of my mouth: Rogue. Untouchable. Deadly. Beautiful. Sad. Lonely. Powerful. 

This book blew every single one of my expectations which initially left me feeling uneasy. You could not possibly write the first few chapters of this book so exquisitely and be able to keep the same consistency throughout.  But you know, there are only a few instances wherein I’m more than happy to say I’m in the wrong. 

ROGUE. This really is the story of Rogue – that X-men character who can siphon powers with a touch of her hand. But in Juliette’s case, she doesn’t  gain any powers when she touches another person. She simply gets a high from the feeling of draining a person’s life force. I had doubts about how the romance aspect of this book would be handled but the more I got sucked into the story, the more trivial it had become. 

UNTOUCHABLE.  With her beautiful words, the author did a tremendous job of projecting what it was like for Juliette growing up. I was able to sense the desperate fear she felt every time someone would be close enough. 

DEADLY. Juliette is a walking, talking torture device. I don’t think I needed to expend any more time and words on how lethal she is. Imagine going about your life unable to touch anyone purposely or not because your skin is designed to injure and kill. I think I’d readily give myself up and commit myself to an asylum. 

BEAUTIFUL. The thing about Juliette is, she projects a raw and primitive beauty that can only be attested to being in isolation for years. Even now, if you ask me what she looks like definitively, I can only tell you what I can imagine: Green or blue eyes, matted, disheveled waist-lenght hair and in tattered, grubby clothes. I think this is one of the things I liked about the author’s writing. She didn’t dwell too much on being descriptive about Juliette’s physical beauty focusing instead on the ugliness of having to feel like a monster all the time. But to everyone around her, she’s the perfect weapon of choice – just an unassuming girl with a beautiful face. To some, her constant self-loathing dirges may come across as whining but for me, it’s what ultimately makes her good – she’s conscious of her humanity no matter how cruel life had been for her.  

SAD & LONELY. Words couldn’t be more apt to describe her existence and yet she was very accepting of the fact. Actually, this was the underlying theme and tone of the book. Perhaps it was because the setting was in an undefined future where the world lay in shambles and there were palpable bleakness all around. I can only ascribed this to the author’s lyrical and more often, poignant writing. It added another layer of tangible gloom and despair to the over all ambiance of the story.

POWERFUL. There was an added twist to Juliette’s abilities that made her doubly astonishing in my eyes.  Hands down, this girl superseded every single powerful, admirable literary heroines on my list. 

The romance in this book was steamy as sin – delectable and perhaps a bit risqué in this genre. I wish this was written for an older audience because hot diggity, Adam and Juliette oozes with sexual chemistry. Theirs didn’t happen overnight; heck, these two had practically been in love with each all their lives even though they’ve been separated for most of them. They hardly ever spoke but there was a mutual awareness even in their separation. This made their unusual reunion even more enthralling. Adam Kent knows the right words to say. He made my toes curl in giddy happiness and sigh gratuitously like a freaking teenager. This boy is an unadulterated heartthrob.

There are a lot of awesomeness to this book: characters that were both loveable (Kenjie, James) and hateful (Warner); a thrilling suspense that will constantly keep you on edge, and an open ended plot line that paves the way for the subsequent books to the series. Personally, I don’t like the major secrets that Juliette ended up keeping from Adam. I see a major heart fail in the horizon that I’m left feeling simultaneously excited and anxious for the instalment. 

This is one of my best reads of the year. To some, the stroked out words would be deterrent to their enjoyment and as is the prose that uses too much metaphors. But I take it for what it is: a book written by a talented author. I couldn’t care less if this book was overhyped. Frankly, it deserved all the attention it got. 
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Five star review? You know what this means, yeah? Eight letter word, starts with G, ends in Y. Want a copy of Shatter Me? Be the right commenter on queue and you’ve got yourself a copy of this fabulous book in paperback! 

Rules:

  • Answer this question: When TAHEREH MAFI runs out of things to read, what other ‘reading materials’ she indulges in?
  • I am thinking of a number. Be that commenter on queue. 
  • This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY.
  • I will not be held responsible for lost or damaged items during shipment. 
  • Contest will be open until a winner is determined. You can enter as much as you like.
Good luck!

Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Ace
Format: Kindle Copy
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY
There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies. 

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden. 

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

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It’s not very often that I indulge in Urban Fantasy and I tend to be a bit picky with this genre. I also have a tendency to abandon a series simply because I get bored with the same old plot lines. But once in a while, there’d come a book that completely catches me unawares. The Shadow Reader comes from a massive line of UF that’s out there. It’s got romance, action and all the paranormal elements that rightfully earned its UF tag. But let me tell you where I find this book unique. 

See that kick-ass looking, sword-weilding heroine on the cover? Yeah. Forget about her. Don’t shake in your boots yet, she’s not that tough. She doesn’t go around kicking ass and taking names down while she’s at it. Nope. All she is, is a glorified cartographer. She finds fissures, sort of doorways to the fairy world. Anywhere. Anytime. Give this girl a pen and paper and she can find your fairy butt. And that’s why the two opposing factions of the fairy world finds her useful, valuable – so much so that the rebels has been hot on her trail since she discovered she has the sight and the built-in fairy world GPS. This is where the story begins; McKenzie on the run from the rebels to no avail. She was kidnapped with the intent to sway her to join the rebellion. 

This book is action packed and while fairy books rarely get my mojos going anymore, The Shadow Hunter certainly did a good job of luring me into its fantastical world. I read this entire book at work. I should feel ashamed but I don’t 🙂 It was an afternoon well spent. 

I LOATHE love triangles. I really do. This has that dreaded, hated two words. But hold up. I have a theory. I am rooting for the guy that McKenzie didn’t end up with. I will not let this go. This is just the beginning of the series. I have complete faith in McKenzie that one day, she’ll wake up and realize her erroneous choice. And I think this is where this book failed to get it’s full five stars. You can’t just fill the pages with laments about how wonderful Kyol is and then show all the things that make the other guy appalling and McKenzie ended up choosing what’s-his-face anyway? No ma’am, sell me another one because I sure as heck am not buying. I’m firmly resolved that all the supposed-tingles McKenzie felt while she’s near that guy is but the same sensations she’d feel if say, another fairy creature would touch her. *crosses fingers* Okay, I admit, Kyol is annoyingly principled and loyal to a fault…and sometimes blindsided by his misplaced devotion to the court…and had always placed McKenzie second but she’s never really demanded she goes first. And I refused to believe that a person who’d been in love with a guy for ten whole years can just walk away from all the time and emotions and pieces of herself she’d invested. I just can’t accept that. Ten years and all they got was a tearful haphazard goodbye? Gah. 

While McKenzie’s choice gave me an agonizing headache, in circumspect, it’s also the very reason why I NEED to read the next book right now. I have this ache in my chest that refuse to go away until Kyol’s world righted on its axis again. It’s sad when I’m more interested about the supporting character rather than the MC. And though McKenzie is an admirable character, there is something fickle about her character that I can’t seem to shake. I have hope that this is just a phase she’s going through. And really? Stockholm Syndrome? Please. Weak, girl. Weak. 

Regardless, The Shadow Reader’s world was so easy to get lost into. I like that this was not set in a forest or in an enchanted kingdom. I love that there were no summer court and winter court and dark faes. There were just two factions. 

This book is a hit and miss and love and hate all at the same time. If you can get over the love triangle element, there is a distinct possibility that you’ll enjoy this as much as I did. 


Review: The Willows: Haven by Hope Collier

Publication Date: October 1st, 2011
Soulfire Press
Format: Paperback, 284 pages
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY

When tragedy strikes, seventeen year-old Ashton Blake sets out on a cross-country road trip, leaving the comforts of Malibu for the mountains of Kentucky. Along the way, she encounters Gabe Willoughby—the mysterious drifter with eyes like the sea and a knowing smile. Getting to know Gabe raises questions about her past. But no secret can be buried forever, and Ashton soon finders herself in a world where water is air and myth becomes reality.

Just as Ashton comes to accept her newfound heritage, she’s summoned to fulfill a treaty laid down centuries before — a treaty that will divide her love and test her loyalty. In the end, her future isn’t her biggest concern, her humanity is. To run may mean war, but is she strong enough to stay?

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This book started out great for me. The air of mystery surrounding the beginning of this novel left me anxious and filled with uncontainable eagerness to devour it in one sitting. I’ve read quite a lot of books and I’ve always found that the set up for the story is usually the yard stick that measures how much it will keep me at attention. And for the first quarter of the book, I was positively excited to find out more.
Unfortunately, the pacing of this book sputtered that I soon found myself disinterested in the story. I seem to encounter the same problem when I read retellings of legends and myths. The author must be able to partake information in a way that will keep their readers engrossed. This was a huge stumbling block for me with Haven. I couldn’t keep up with the information overload. Ashton’s reaction to Gabe’s revelations didn’t help matters either. There was a lack of alarm on her part and was almost too accepting of the fact that she was a half-human. That’s not only time in the book where I found Ashton’s knee-jerk response to Gabe’s actions a bit questionable. Something happened toward the end of the book that I could not divulge where Ashton found herself betrayed. I felt that I harbored more anger than she did. She was easily placated which put her character in a weak light.
I never understood how quickly relationships developed in certain books and Haven has that insta-love syndrome as well.  Ashton proclaimed her love for Gabe so quickly. There was no built up. I can understand Gabe’s ardor toward Ashton because he’d pretty much watched her since infancy. But Ashton had only met Gabe for maybe a couple of days, tops. It’s a make or break factor when I’m reading a book. It’s also a hard sell so I’d have to be completely in love with the story before I can be convinced.
For originality’s sake, Haven’s myth is definitely unique among the books on my shelves. I’ve never read anything about nymphs and tree people before.  I also liked the world Ms Collier created – combining the modern with touches of whimsical elements in a fairy tale kind of way.
Overall, I wish I enjoyed this book a bit more. I wanted to love the characters but couldn’t. I was looking for some depth and found none. Perhaps if given a few more pages, this book would’ve lived to its potential.