Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Thrall by Jennifer Quintenz

Welcome to Braedyn Murphy’s life. She’s a typical—if shy—sophomore navigating the slings and arrows of high school life with her two best friends, Royal and Cassie. Then a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door, and Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time. 

But Braedyn’s normal life comes crashing down around her ears when she learns she’s a descendent of Lilith, the mother of all demons - and that she might play a critical role in an ancient war between the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Lilith. Turns out the right answers aren’t always clear or easy. And as for “good” and “evil” – it all depends on how you choose to act. 

Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes. 

My Review:

I have been so lucky to pick such awesome books to use for my A to Z challenge. Thrall is no exception! 
An example of how good this one was? I usually don't read the excerpts from next book that are found at the end of a book. I figure eventually I will get to the next book and I don't want to be left hanging. In the case of Thrall I kept reading. I just had to get a bit more of the world and characters Quintenz has created. 

Let's start with her characters, because they are awesome. I loved Braedyn. She just feels so real. Yes she makes mistakes, but most of them are based on her belief that her actions are going to help, not hurt, the people around her. Also her reactions to things were so human. But it wasn't just Braedyn.  I kinda got attached to all the characters, even the bad ones. The way the author wove them all together, their interactions, all just made the story even better.

The world the author created that hides inside our own is well done too. The Daughters of Lilith, the Sons of Adam, and their intertwined history definitely pulls one in. Quintenz builds their worlds with enough information to satisfy, but also with enough left out to make the reader want to keep reading to find out more, a delicate balance to be sure. 

The story, while part of a trilogy, could easily stand on it's own. Yes, there are unanswered questions at the end, and there are definitely threats that are still there for the Guard. But the ending isn't so much a cliffie as it is a lead in to the second novel. A novel I REALLY hope gives answers to certain questions that I'm dying to know about! The story pulled me in though from beginning to end and as I said I just couldn't get enough.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sleepers by Megg Jensen

An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her. 

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy? 

My Review:

Sleepers left me a little torn. The majority of the book I liked. 

For example I liked Lianne. You can see her grow throughout the book as she realizes her magic and where it could take her. I also liked Mags. Usually I have issues with characters who cheat. But I felt sorry for Mags, and she was so pure about it. (I know that sounds weird, but read the book and you'll understand)
I was intrigued by the story. The idea of three babies being sent on a mission to overthrow their oppressors, but knowing nothing of it 'til their 16th birthday. It brings the idea of a sleeper cell to a whole new level.  

The issue I have with the book didn't come 'til basically the end. So I'm going to try to explain it without giving away too many spoilers. Here goes.

The ending, mainly the last few pages just bugged me.  First they say they are going away, which makes perfect sense, because of what's going on.  Then they say they will eventually fight back. I guess I just didn't understand what exactly they would be fighting for.  The leaving made sense. They wanted to get away from both countries. But what exactly would they be coming back to fight? The Fithians treated them like crap, not all of them, but the majority, why would the come back to save them from their own people? Yes the Dalagans are not what the adoptees were led to believe they were, but still. Leaving both countries behind made sense, the fighting back, not so much. Not to mention how they felt they were going to be able to do that anyway. But I assume that will be revealed in the next book.

Overall I liked the book. It held my attention and I liked trying to figure out where the author was taking me to next. I was even surprised by a few of the twists and turns that were taken. If given the opportunity I would read the second book in the trilogy. Again, it was only the very end the bothered me. 

If you've already read Sleepers I'd love to know your opinion on the book. Especially the part I have issues with at the end. If you haven't read it, Sleepers is currently free on Amazon, so check it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver

Before Riley Blackthorne can take on Grade Five demons, she has to trap her very first. Her debut solo trapping experience should be a breeze, just a harmless Grade One after all. But throw in some dippy hippies (whose peace signs and Patchouli really aren't driving any demons away), one mischievous demon, and a run-in with the police, and Riley might not be able to pull it off...

My Review:

Despite the shortness of the story, it literally took me less than 15 minutes to read, I really enjoyed Retro Demonology.  
I think the book offers a really good window into Riley's world and into her mind as well. I love the "retro" fad that is sweeping her city.  People completely immersing themselves in a particular time period sounds like so much fun!There are the demons. The reader only gets to meet a Grade One, but the introduction is just enticing enough to want to meet more. Then there is Riley herself. She is funny and entertaining. 
Overall the story definitely drug me in and kept my attention to the last page. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for a Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice

A QUEST OF HEROES (BOOK #1 IN THE SORCERER’S RING) revolves around the epic coming of age story of one special boy, a 14 year old from a small village on the outskirts of the Kingdom of the Ring. The youngest of four, the least favorite of his father, hated by his brothers, Thorgrin senses he is different from the others. He dreams of becoming a great warrior, of joining the King’s men and protecting the Ring from the hordes of creatures on the other side of the Canyon. When he comes of age and is forbidden by his father to try out for the King’s Legion, he refuses to take no for an answer: he journeys out on his own, determined to force his way into King’s Court and be taken seriously. 

But King’s Court is rife with its own family dramas, power struggles, ambitions, jealousy, violence and betrayal. King MacGil must choose an heir from amongst his children, and the ancient Dynasty Sword, the source of all their power, still sits untouched, waiting for the chosen one to arrive. Thorgrin arrives as an outsider and battles to be accepted, and to join the King’s Legion. 

Thorgrin comes to learn he has mysterious powers he does not understand, that he has a special gift, and a special destiny. Against all odds he falls in love with the king’s daughter, and as their forbidden relationship blossoms, he discovers he has powerful rivals. As he struggles to make sense of his powers, the king’s sorcerer takes him under his wing and tells him of a mother he never knew, in a land far away, beyond the Canyon, beyond even the land of the Dragons. 

Before Thorgrin can venture out and become the warrior he yearns to be, he must complete his training. But this may be cut short, as he finds himself propelled into the center of royal plots and counterplots, ones that may threaten his love and bring him down—and the entire kingdom with him. 

My Review:

I wasn't sure about A Quest For Heroes to begin with.  It felt slow to start with and I wasn't sure if I would really get into it.  Fortunately for me, I was wrong. By the end of the book I was so hooked I didn't want the book to end.
Let's start with the characters. Rice does and awesome job at filling them out. Thor, the main character, is convinced he will become a knight, and with his attitude and honor, it is hard to believe that he won't become one in future novels in the series.  Gwendolyn, the king's daughter, is an interesting combination of strength and weakness. You can see in her also the potential to be great, but her disinterest in ruling definitely looks like it will play a part in where her future goes. Even the villains, and there are quite a few, are fleshed out. Not all their motives are revealed before the end of the book, but their characters aren't paper thin.  I thought at first that Thor's perfect knight attitude might annoy me eventually, but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't.  If anything it kinda grew on me and made me root for him even more.
Then there is the world itself.  Rice has impressively built his kingdom in the ring.  While fleshing out this world to the reader, he also drops intriguing clues to the world outside the ring.  I am definitely interested to see more of the world in future books.
The story is definitely strong.  Even though it is Thor's story, it is told from multiple points of view.  Seeing how they are all weaved to together is a definite treat.  I like to try to guess which way an author is leading me.  When an author takes a turn I might not expect, but that still keeps the story interesting and keeps me wanting to read more, it is definitely a plus. The story itself ends with a cliff hanger.  I don't want to spoil the novel, but it wasn't a happy ending. Lots of strings were left untied and the future of its characters is definitely uncertain. But I was so wrapped up in wanting to see what would happen to Thor that, while I was frustrated there wasn't more book to read, I was hooked.  I need to read March of Kings and see what happens.  As this is only the beginning of the series I'm sure that book won't end in a neat little bow either, but as long as it is as well written as this one, I'm sure I won't mind too much.
I think this looks like an awesome series.  Male or Female I think the reader will definitely enjoy it.  I wouldn't recommend it for too young a crowd though.  There are some topics that lean towards the deeper end.  Nothing vulgar or erotic  or anything, but I would recommend if you plan to give this as a gift to read it first before giving it to anyone under 18.  But despite that I think this novel was awesome and definitely recommend it. Also it is currently free on Amazon!

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Perry Road by Emi Gayle

In 2132, “We the people ...” means nothing, and it hasn't for a hundred years.

Like all the citizens of the American Union, eighteen-year-old Erianna Keating is not to ask questions. She is not to believe anything except what the A.U. tells her. More importantly, she's not supposed to know what she doesn't know, nor that she's a pawn.

Like everyone else, though, she is, and like everyone else, she is a hundred percent oblivious to what's going on.

Or is she? Are they?

Erianna thinks going to Perry Road and joining the national registration program is her next step toward adulthood; the 2132 candidates for adult-classification, though, are in for a big surprise. Especially Erianna.

Thanks to Zane Warren, an awkward but hot guy who won't shut up about a history that doesn't—or shouldn't—matter anymore, Erianna will know. Will learn. That includes finding out what actually happens after registration and doing something, anything, about it.

Fixing what went wrong, what caused the U.S.A. to split into two countries, though, is not on Erianna's bucket list, but as she faces her future, she must decide whether to fall in line with the American Union's plan for her, or to consider that Zane might not be wrong, and the time for revolution begins now.

My Review:

Perry Road is an awesome read.  

I love the characters. I love the story. I love the world.  

That's it, reviews over go buy the book. 

Oh sorry you want to me to tell you my thoughts on everything. That's fine too. lol. But really With writing so many reviews, especially in April it feels like I'm just saying the same thing over and over and over.... You get the picture. But I've realized when I like a book, I tend to like it for the same reasons I like other books. The same could be said for when I dislike a book as well. Sometimes I find reviewing books I've had issues with easier. (At least the writing part of them) I have specific things that I disliked and I can elaborate on them. Should be the same with a book I like, right? For some reason no. I can tell you why I loved the characters, world, etc. But after a while it feels like I'm saying the same things I've said about other books. Than when  I REALLY like a book it feels like all I'm doing is a advertisement for the book. Comments about things I like sound like commercial slogans. Very depressing, at least from a reviewing point of view. 
April is especially hard because I'm doing so many books in such a short time.  Usually I choose from books that have been floating around my kindle for ages. But they were books I chose, not ones that were sent for review. I tried to set it a bit different this year, but I only got a few review requests that specifically asked to be part of the A to Z challenge. Since I picked out the books at one point there is obviously something in them that appealed to me so I tend to get an overwhelming amount of 4-5 star reviews. At this point I feel like a broken record. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to read something bad. I just don't like to sound repetitive. 

Whew! Sorry had to get that out of my system. lol.  Don't worry I will give you more than a twenty-six world review. So let's get on with it, just forgive me if I sound a bit repetitive. Thanks!

Perry Road really is an awesome read. 

I think the world pulled me in at first, more than the characters. Gayle has done a bang up job of creating the two separate countries in what once was the U.S.A.. The set up of Perry Road and how it is run really intrigued me. Finding out about the secrets that are hidden beneath the surface intriqued me even more. The author also made it believable how the system is falling apart and why so many of the citizens don't see it. (or refuse to) Won't say anymore on the subject since I think I've already given enough spoilerage. 
The characters at first weren't my favorite.  The book is told from Eri's POV, so you don't get to see into the other peoples heads. But what I could see made me dislike them. I really hated Cam. She was a snot. She uses and manipulates Eri for her own personal gain. But I think I kinda hated Eri herself even more for letting herself be abused by Cam. Obviously Eri grows out of this mind set, and starts to come into her own. Otherwise I wouldn't have enjoyed the book half as much. But it's one reason why the world trumped the characters for the first part of the book. By the end of the book I have to say though that I really had gotten attached to Eri and Zane.  
The story itself had it's own twists and turns.  The ending obviously is a lead in to the next book, but I kinda expected that. While I expected there to be something rotten with the whole government system too, I didn't expect some of the other twists that were thrown in.  I want to see how Eri handles those twists.  (Again trying not to spoil anything) Especially since she really isn't the push over that she was at the beginning of the book.
I've heard that this book has had some argument over it's content and political views. Honestly I didn't see it. Maybe because I'm not overly involved in politics in the real world. *Shrug* Don't know. I think that it is a solid book.  It has interesting  characters, great world building and an intriguing storyline. I enjoyed it. I think if you haven't gotten a chance to read it yet then you should. I don't think there was anything truly vulgar or incendiary in the book. 
If you have read it I'd love to know what you think.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

My Review:

After finishing this book I really need to remember why I didn't read it in the first place.  I mean it's been sitting on my Kindle for months. I just kept passing it by.  I think because the cover is similar to a book that I really wasn't interested in, so maybe I just thought they would be the same. *shrug* No idea, but I'm definitely glad that I finally read it!
Open Minds pulled me in and wouldn't let me go even after I finished the last page. I loved Kira. I wanted to punch the readers in the head for treating her like crap when she was a zero! Not to give too much of a spoiler, but I think the only part I didn't like about her was how she let herself get manipulated by Simon. But her being manipulated I think was necessary for her growth, so I forgive it.  I do have to say I think Kira is a way better person than me, if I could jack into peoples minds....that would be AWESOME!!! I don't think I'd jack the people who I care about, but random annoying strangers, most definitely!
The world Quinn has built is amazing too. Plus it's really believable. Ok, maybe not the whole mind reading/mind control thing. (Although anything could happen, right?)  But the way that people reacted to things, like the jackers, in her world.  You know for a fact that if people suddenly started to read peoples minds that there would be all sorts of distrust and biases running around.  The idea of people being put in camps...not that unbelievable. ' But wait', you say, 'this is America, the good old U.S.A. we wouldn't do that!'  Um yea, we already did. During WWII Japanese Americans were sent to camps, in AMERICA! Don't believe me? Google it. So that when the reader finds out about  Kira's great-grampa being sent to a camp it is utterly believable.One of my favorite scenes, not to spoil too much, is how Raf reacts to her secret. It shows how even someone is a close friend can react with fear and distrust.

I really loved this book. I want to get the rest of the trilogy, and the only reason I'm holding off is I have to finish this challenge. If I get them I will read them immediately and right now I still have books to finish for A to Z. As soon as April is over though...I'm so getting them! Right now Open Minds is still free on Amazon, definitely recommend grabbing it while you have a chance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for The New World by Patrick Ness

In this dramatic short story -- a prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy -- author Patrick Ness gives us the story of Viola's journey to the New World. 

My Review:

I haven't read the Chaos Walking Trilogy yet, but if it is anything like this prequel then I really need to pick it up. 

This short prequel follows Viola and her parents as they prepare to land on their 'new world'.  She bounces between the present and her memories of her time on the transport ship months before. 

I don't know whether I like Viola or not, at least not yet.  I don't dislike her, but she is a brat for most of the story, and the story's length really prevents her from showing any huge personal growth.  But even though I'm not sure if I like her or not, I can definitely say that by the end of the short story the author brought me to tears because of her.  

I also found myself with the deep seated need to know what happens to her next.  The author did a great job of giving 'just enough' hints about the new world, as well as the first wave of settlers, to really make me want to find out more.  I mean I have ideas....but nothing concrete and I really want to know if I'm right or not. I'm also curious to see what Viola does in the intervening time between when she has reached the new world and when the transport ship finally arrives. 

If, like me,  you haven't read any of the Chaos Walking Trilogy I think that you should definitely pick up The New World and give it a try.  As an added bonus it is currently free on Amazon.