Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: Release by M.R. Merrick

Release by M.R. Merrick
Series: The Protector, #3
Published: November 21, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 372

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems. Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates. Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna. One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.
Well, this is definitely not a trilogy.

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Until I Die by Amy Plum
Series: Die for Me, #2
Published: May 8, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 353

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.
As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.
In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.
I was blessed to receive an ARC of this book, and now have written this spoil-free review for anyone interested. Until I Die most definitely surpassed Amy’s first book, Die For Me. At least I think so. I love reading new, upcoming authors and watching how their writing grows and flourishes over time—one see’s it all the time, i.e. J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray to name a few. And Amy is no exception to this; there are beautiful metaphors, rich descriptions, and we discover layers to some characters that we might not have even realized had layers.

Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: Middle Earth Universe
Published: September 21, 1937
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 275

If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) - if you do not already know all about these things - much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period.
For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise.
I read this (along with all other Tolkien collected works) about five years ago, right before I entered high school. I’ve now decided to embark on a journey of re-reading all books, and will update all the posts with my final scores for each book.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1
Published: September 27, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 418
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
I’m trying to recall how I stumbled upon this book. I’m fairly sure it was, quite literally, a random turn of events. I was on one blog I liked, followed a link to another blog I’d never heard of, saw a picture of the cover on the sidebar, and clicked. And read the description. And then eagerly anticipated the release date. That’s it. No star praised review, no avid friend telling me to read it, just the words strung together to sell a book.

Review: The Dark by Heather Self

The Dark by Heather Self
Series: The Portal Trilogy, #1.5
Published: December 30, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 106

Mary Anne Moore doesn't know what she is. She can’t explain why she has lived so long. 
Or why she never gets sick. 
Or why the dreams she has come true. 
She has hidden herself as a lowly servant to the households of Dublin's English elite for decades, until the night that changes her life. Now her sole purpose is the child she never expected to have. She will do anything in her power to keep the black-eyed monsters from discovering him and turning him into one of them.
For Kieran Moore, the dark is an ever-present parasite, waiting to devour his humanity. His mother’s love and the girl in his dreams has kept it at bay for years, but the more time that passes—the longer he has to wait for her—the more it grows. When tragedy strikes, it is all he can do to keep from being consumed by the darkness that infects him. He must continue to hold on to the hope of peace her presence will bring him, because it’s not just his fate on the line, but that of the entire world.

Review: The One by Heather Self

The One by Heather Self
Series: The Portal Trilogy, #1
Published: June 15, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 283
Stranded on Earth two thousand years they’ve waited for the arrival of the One: some to save her, others to kill her. With her birth, the ancient prophecy could at last be fulfilled and the doorway between the worlds would open. Those who know the prophecy believe this event occurred almost eighteen years ago, and now, they’ll stop at nothing to find her.
Seventeen-year-old Eveline has lived her entire life on the move and she hates it. She knows her parents believe she’s the One, and they’ve done whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. But Eveline isn’t fully convinced that her parents’ beliefs match her own. What she does believe is that Leadville, Colorado may be the chance she’s been waiting for. The chance to be somewhere safe. The chance for her to make friends and have fun. The chance to finally date a guy. The chance to be a normal girl, at least as normal as possible for someone not human.
I've always said that what sells a book, for me, are the characters. And it's not as simple as, I like these characters, I don't like these characters. In fact, if I have strong feelings of any sort towards a character, then the author has most likely accomplished their job. If I don't care about the characters, however, then I won't care about the book. And I did indeed enjoy these characters.

Review: Henry IV Part 1 and 2 by William Shakespeare

Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2 by William Shakespeare
Series: War of the Roses
Published: 1596-1599
Publisher: It's a classic, guys...
Pages: 96 and 80

Memorable historical drama concerns rebellion against King Henry led by Harry Percy ("Hotspur") and other nobles, complicated by the king's difficulties with his wayward son, Prince Hal. Superb blend of courtly intrigue, battlefield action, and low comedy featuring Sir John Falstaff, all expressed in fine blank verse and stirring prose.

Whoaza. I mean, just whoaza. 

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul, #1
Published: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Pages: 374
New soulAna is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.No soulEven Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?HeartSam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.
Meadows wound a beautiful tale of new and old. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book not only of such realistic world-building, but such a fascinating subject.