Category Archives: 2010 Publication

3 Reasons I fell in Love with Anna and the French Kiss Series

So it’s official, I went and fell in love with the Anna and the French Kiss series within approximately 5 hours, after finally (months behind everyone else) jumping on the bandwagon to read. My hands were literally glued to Anna and the French Kiss, which I kept promising myself “one more chapter before bed” and ultimately forgoing sleep to consume the whole book. I read the first two books within the space of a day, and then decided I needed to draw myself away and lasted all of around a week, before succumbing to the calling of Isla and the Happily Ever After. (Oh, and mentally slap myself every time I read Isla phonetically rather than Ey-la – I have problems with saying that name as much as I love it!).

Love-Potion

By the point I reached the end of Isla, this was me; entirely star struck. What on earth had I just undertaken, reading contemporary, fluffy young-adult literature, finding genuine meaning, love, friendship and just all around elation?

So here begins my list of reasons to love the series, rather than composing a review for a set of books most of you have probably read/heard about, and you are honest to god bored of reading another mundane review.

1. THE CHARACTERS

I would literally compare how I feel about all the main characters: Anna, St. Clair, Cricket, Lola, Josh and Isla to how I feel (very nearly) about the Harry Potter characters. They are not perfect, they do have issues and they may not honestly be everyone’s cup-of-tea, however I found them quirky, relatable, fun and most of all likeable. Stephanie Perkins makes real effort to flesh out her characters, give them all backstories and connect them all in different ways, despite the fact that many of them end up living in different cities. Beyond these 6 main stars, she also brings in a plethora of secondary characters to support each individual, add more dimension to their character and make you understand them a little more.

Hermione-Ron-Luna-Ginny-Harry-Neville-harry-potter-7785816-500-277

Just sayin’, six awesome characters here, six awesome characters there..

I can literally probably talk your ear of for a good hour about these characters, but I am going to pick one as my favourite. I have to say it has to be Isla, there was just so many times when I connected with her and understood her.

“Because I thought no one could love me.”

“And why did you think that?”

“Because I didn’t think I was worth loving.”

Hattie takes this in. And then she hits me in the stomach. I yowl in surprise, and she hits me again. “Don’t be stupid.”

Ow.”

“Everyone is worthy of love. Even a dumb sister like you.”  – Isla and the Happily Ever After

YEAH SHE MAY BE A BIT OF A DORKY, INSECURE IDIOT AND YOU WANT TO SLAP HER HERE, but that is okay, I did too and I am EXACTLY the same kind of person. Like seriously, Isla and her nerves (okay, I’m not nearly as bad, but sometimes I do stupid things and make situations awkward). Her doubt of herself, her continual pushing that things are not good enough (school nerd here), and just generally everything about her. Also her inability to handle painkillers – totally me.

“Oh, shit.” I tuck up a leg and smack my kneecap on the table. “Am I acting that loopy?” – Isla and the Happily Ever After

There were so many aspects that I loved, but the part that made me applaud Perkins more was that she made Isla realise who she was without Josh. SHE DID NOT NEED A BOY TO FIND HERSELF. WOOOO FOR FEMINISM. YES. GIRL YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT, GET WHAT YOU WANT AND THEN STILL FIND THE BOY LATER.

Anybody gathering that Isla and the Happily Ever After got five stars from me on Goodreads yet? Winking smile

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

And I realise…it’s okay. It’s okay if St. Clair and I never become more than friends. – Anna and the French Kiss

Although Isla is not the only book that Perkins does this in, she started it at the very beginning with Anna. SELF-REALISATION FOR THE WIN!

tumblr_mxh5sdbEjt1rs5d04o2_500

2. THE SETTING

P6261728P6261732

“looks like a fantasyland castle – wet sand dripped through fingers, both sharp and soft. Bright construction lights are everywhere, and workers are tinkering around its massive spires in dangerously tall cranes.” – Isla and the Happily Ever After

I mean, I literally visited Barcelona this summer, I saw the amazing Gaudi’s church. (My beautiful photography *laughs* – it’s just so tall and I’m so small, there is undoubtedly neck cramp here. Yes it’s also the background of my blog!). THIS IS WHERE ISLA AND JOSH WERE. I mean, I literally love the fact that I was there, and so were they (I do remember they’re fictional, okay). Barcelona has to be one of my favourite European cities, it is just so beautiful. I think this has to also be why I connected to Isla and the Happily Ever After so much more.

We’re splashing towards the heart of Barcelona. Red- and yellow- striped flags – some with the blue triangle and star of independence, some without – hang everywhere from apartment balconies, soaked with storm. The city’s appearance is distinctly Western European, but it’s also filled with colourful architecture and steep hills. Palm trees and leafy trees. Purple vines and red flowers. – Isla and the Happily Ever After

Not to mention Paris, I love Paris. It has been a long time since I visited, but I have plans to go back next year and the majority of the setting was in Paris. It is such a beautiful, romantic city. Just downright being set in Europe won me over from the start because most YA contemporary teen fiction is set in America, and I don’t mind, but occasionally, I want something different, something European.

3. THE ROMANCE

Oh, Etienne St. Clair where are you? Oh, Cricket, the boy next door and Josh the troublesome artist.

I definitely have to say I found it hard to pick between love interests. As much as I loved Isla and the Happily Ever After, I do not think Josh was my favourite love interest. And whilst I think I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door the least out of them all, I do think Cricket was my love, the nerdy boy next door who cared about Lola and only wanted the best. There was just something so geeky and loveable about him.

I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.Lola and the Boy Next Door.

I mean – weeping – somebody come sweep me off that feet with such a line? Perkins just seemed to make it so effortless when she sweeps you off your feet with her beautiful way with words, and carefully crafted romantic proposals.

Perkins does not just craft an easy boy + girl = fall in love and happily ever after. She brings in the fact that people fall in love with people in a relationship and are afraid to leave them when it doesn’t work, but why? She talks about how we might be too afraid to step from our comfort zone. How we might appear to others, but is that truly us? I think despite the fact that this is contemporary romance and at times, fluffy, there are real issues that she tries to deal with subtlety and with love and attention that makes reading these books such a beautiful experience.

“Mademoiselle Oliphant. It translates to ‘Point zero of the roads of France’. In other words, it’s the point from which all other distances in France are measured.” St. Clair clears his throat. “Its the beginning of everything.”

I look back up. He’s smiling.

“Welcome to Paris, Anna. I am glad you’ve come.” – Anna and the French Kiss

There are just far too many quotes to take from all these books (I realise I have taken probably lots from Isla in comparison to Anna and Lola, but there was just something magical about that book for me. 

large

How could I resist the charms of these three guys?

Okay, I will admit this series is not perfect and it seriously has its imperfections, but there is just so much to love. So much beauty in her writing.

But I don’t want to give you this broken, empty me. I want you to have me when I’m full, when I can give something back to you. I don’t have much to give right now. – Lola and the Boy Next Door

This is me and how I am currently feeling towards any other book. This is The Absent Historian signing out on a serious book hangover, after falling in love with Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and then having her heart confiscated by Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Now go read it if you haven’t already.

14 Comments

Filed under 2010 Publication, 2011 Publication, 2014 Publication, 4 Books, 4.5 Books, 5 Books, Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Dutton, E-book, Romance, Stephanie Perkins, Young Adult

Play of Passion

Play of Passion

Play of Passion by Nalini Singh

Series: Psy-Changeling Series #9

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult, Wereshifters

Publication: November 2nd 2010 by Berkley

The Plot.

In his position as tracker for the SnowDancer pack, it’s up to Drew Kincaid to rein in rogue changelings who have lost control of their animal halves- even if it means killing those who have gone too far. But nothing in his life has prepared him for the battle he must now wage to win the heart of a woman who makes his body ignite… and who threatens to enslave his wolf.

Lieutenant Indigo Riviere doesn’t easily allow skin privileges, especially of the sensual kind- and the last person she expects to find herself craving is the most wickedly playful male in the den. Everything she knows tells her to pull back before the flames burn them both to ash… but she hasn’t counted on Drew’s will.

Now, two of SnowDancer’s most stubborn wolves find themselves playing a hot, sexy game even as lethal danger stalks the very place they call home.

The Review.

Play of Passion firmly reasserts my love for Nalini Singh. I found in the last two novels of the Psy-Changeling series that Singh had been lacking a little, but everything is hanging my a thread and the world around the characters is really starting to change. Lots of political alliances are being formed, underground movements and on the surface the tensions and strained and hostility is high between the characters. This firmly entrenches me in the Singh camp of love with Play of Passion. Singh manages to excel not only on the world and political elements and war undertones, but her characters in this blossomed, challenged and set the world on fire. Play of Passion may not have been perfect, but I am incredibly excited about what Singh has in store.

Indigo River is a character I haven’t really recalled all that much from previous novels which is probably not a good thing, but I liked that she was a strong, independent woman. She’s the only lieutenant that’s female of her pack and she doesn’t allow anybody to boss her about. Despite her dominant position in the pack hierarchy she still has emotions and vulnerabilities that Singh really played up for her character. This makes her seem more human and I liked how things crept up on Indigo suddenly and then she realised what she actually needed in her life. I liked that she wasn’t afraid of anybody and that she really fought for what she needed. I hope to see more of her family in future novels because they still felt on the fringe of the story whilst Indigo was being drawn further into the thick of things.

She wasn’t an acquisitive person, but neither was she dead. Blinking open her eyes at last, she couldn’t resists taking a slow tour of his body as he knelt to get something from the pocket of his discarded jeans. Muscled shoulders in shadow, a back so beautiful it cried out to be stroked…and boxers. Plain black and—“Silk boxer while we’re camping?”

Drew… Andrew. Where do I begin? He is sweet, charming, fun and friendly. He genuinely cares about his pack and Indigo. He’s also smart, sensitive, tenacious, stubborn and annoying. Still, I have to say, I loved everything about Drew. He’s not without faults, but that makes him loveable. He sticks his foot in it more than once with Indigo and watching them work things out entertained me greatly. I find that many characters like Drew are ones that I just don’t get, they appear all too good and have every reason to like them, and I usually don’t, which is why I was so happy to like Drew. I think it was his mischievous side that endeared him to me and his nickname of “Indy” for Indigo. I could just feel the affection coming from him and how he cared about every member of his pack particularly the younger ones, like Sienna, she’s a troubled character but he really cares for her and my favourite quote below is him looking out for her. Drew is definitely one of my favourite male protagonists.

That’s all I get after I sent you a whole box of premium chocolate-cherry cookies?” he said, feigning extreme disappointment. “Just ‘good’?”

Furrows appeared between her brows, dark little lines that marred the beauty of her sun-dipped skin. “Drew.”

But when he grinned and took her into his arms, she not only allowed the affection, she slid her own arms around him. It had taken him months of patient care to get her to trust him with her body in that way.”

This instalment does focus quite distinctly on the romance, but the interludes of the outside world with the council, the problems in the pack and the other sub-plots that are running on managed to round the novel and keep the overall under-plot that runs through all the novels moving forward to a point where we are at a edge about to fall into the abyss I fear in the novel which is exciting and certainly makes me want to pick up the next novel in the series. I shall be off to request it from my library ASAP I shall inform you. The romance doesn’t entirely dominant the plot-line, but there was a lack of political intent and movements we’ve seen in some of the other novels which I always like. However I was just in the mood for something light and fun that kept things moving and entertained.

The Psy-Changeling series manages to deal with serious issues and lighten them up all in the same novel with the balance of romance and political movement. I’d say that you keep going with the Psy-Changeling novel because it gets better as it goes along with a few hit and misses here and there, overall I have great love for the series and would recommend them to anybody who has some spare time since there are currently 11 novels out and more in the works. The first novel, Slave to Sensation kicks off the series and I say it only gets better from there onwards. If you like werewolf/wereshifter books this is definitely for you, if you like paranormal it’s definitely for you and even if not, I suggest taking a dabble!

4 books


Nerd Fact: For those of you more curious about everything that’s nerdy behind the Psy-Changeling series, Singh has a brilliant section on her website called, Behind the Scenes where she talks about facts on the human brain, big cats and purring and much, much more! You can find it HERE.

13 Comments

Filed under 2010 Publication, 4 Books, Adult, Berkley, Nalini Singh, Paperback, Paranormal Reading Challenge, Paranormal Romance, Wereshifters

Infinity

Infinity

Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Series: Chronicles of Nick #1

Genre: Urban-fantasy, Demons, Young-Adult

Published: May 25th 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin

At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him.

Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.

Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.

But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.

As if starting high school isn’t hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?

My Review:

Exciting and engaging from the first moment, ‘Infinity’ has a real air of mystery that draws you in and really ensnares you in the action. Nick is a character I have heard from people time and time again that they don’t like him. Honestly, I’ve never had a problem with him, his sarcasm has always humoured me and whilst he can be a little cynical and offensive, his intentions are never bad. Nick is frankly a very likeable character and he unravels deeper in this novel in his own way that creates a greater understanding and might make him more likeable to you.

“What rock you been living under not to know that?”

Some people would probably call that rock “reality”, but Nick valued his life enough to keep that sarcasm inside.”

It clearly felt strange to read this book alongside the Dark-Hunter series, which is Kenyon’s adult series where Nick is first introduced. We jump back in time to when he is much younger and not yet as heavily involved in the Dark-Hunter world; well actually he’s entirely oblivious for the start of the novel and his understanding of the world is rather entertaining to see, especially when reading this alongside the Dark-Hunter series two very different worlds are seen. However, I wouldn’t say it is necessary to read the Dark-Hunter series because this clearly stands on it’s own as a series and whilst those who read the Dark-Hunter series will clearly be able to appreciate Kenyon’s style and versatility to move into young-adult and a separate series that develops Nick (who is primarily a secondary character in the Dark-Hunter series) as his own individual, those who haven’t will still gain equal enjoyment and may be encouraged to venture into the realm of adult books.

Kenyon has to be applauded for venturing into using a male protagonist because so many authors stick to the same female protagonist that becomes a little expected at times and I find a very different experience comes from male protagonists. Most of her adult novels take on a dual tone with male and female perspectives interspersed for each half of the couple and generally the female tone is more dominant, this is all in Nick’s perspective with intermingled scenes from others who are generally the ‘bad’ guys or mysterious creatures who are all part of the paranormal world. I really enjoyed the humour Kenyon managed to really put into Nick’s narrative and it was clear whilst being a teenage boy, his relationship with his mum was really developed and he clearly loves her deeply. The dynamic of their relationship was really evolved and nice to see that Kenyon didn’t put Nick as shying away from his emotions even as a teenage boy and presented him as very much a guy with an attitude who loved his mum.

“I swear you’re the lippiest child on the planet.”

Onto the actual plot, we get lots of characters, but they’re all introduced at different points in a way as not to confuse you so I felt like the plot slowly revealed itself which really allows the smooth flow of the story. The plot is a little slow to start with, but this is all character introductions and setting the scene which allows Kenyon to set this novel aside as a separate series that you are not expected to know any of the characters. Once we get into the bulk of the story and the zombies, demons, vampires and everything else that is hectic, mayhem and paranormal things really get exciting with enhanced cow prods and rocket launchers, there is humour, action and excitement galore. I don’t think I found a point of this novel to be boring once we got past the mundane introduction.

“But once you let me live … your big mistake … now I know you think I’m too cute and fluffy to kill.”

Overall, ‘Infinity’ is a novel that I urge all fans of Kenyon and fantasy young-adult fiction to pick up. Nick is a character that I think is likeable if you enjoy sarcasm and aren’t easily offended, so don’t be intimidated for him because beneath the surface is a “mummy’s boy” who is humorous and caring he just needs to find the straight path. I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series and whilst the recent read of ‘Seize the Night’ has confused by view of Nick and some of the relationships he has with characters, particularly Simi in this novel, but I’m sure Kenyon will enlighten me in the future of both the Dark-Hunters and the Chronicles of Nick since I feel they will both lead to a pinnacle point where they intertwine.

4 books

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

9 Comments

Filed under 2010 Publication, 4 Books, Daimons, Paperback, Sherrilyn Kenyon, St Martin's Griffin, Urban-Fantasy, Young Adult

The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Genre: Chick-Lit, Adult

Published: 2010 by HarperCollins

This is a story about how tomorrow can change what happens today…

Tamara Goodwin has everything she ever wanted and she never has to think about tomorrow. But suddenly her world is turned upside down and she has to leave her glamorous city life for a new one in the country. However, Tamara is soon lonely and longing to return home.

Then a travelling library arrives in the village, bringing with it a mysterious leather-bound book locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What Tamara discovers within its pages takes her breath away and everything starts to change in the most unexpected of ways…

My Review:

Let’s say this was the second time I attempted to read this book and I only made it through because I was reading along with somebody else. Otherwise, I probably would have marked this book as a DNF. As it was, it got a second star only for the last 10% which had a little more, action, but still did not redeem any of the characters or the story. This is my first Cecelia Ahern book and it’s not giving me a great impression, so I believe it will also be my last.

Let’s start with the main character Tamara Goodwin. The name Goodwin is incredibly ironic because there is nothing “good” about this girl, she is spoilt, selfish, downright mean and pretty stupid at times. Whilst the story is narrated from Tamara’s perspective, she is a more changed and mature person. However because most of the time we fall into the Tamara of the present you can’t really see this “new” Tamara and even by the end connecting the narrator and Tamara herself is an impossibility. The two do not form any resemblance and Tamara shows little change as a character that makes it impossible for me to like her. Not at any point in the story did I like her, and the fact that she seemed to garner several love interests for an incredibly horrible girl is absolutely abhorrent. What is so attractive about this girl?!

“Yes, Tamara. Now that’s enough questions. You know curiosity killed the cat.’ She smiled briefly before leaving the kitchen.

‘Boredom killed the fucking cat.’ I shouted at the closed door.”

What kind of person talks to their aunt like this? She never changes and whilst her aunt was neither a likeable character or sane, it still didn’t mean she had to be treated this way. Her aunt reminded me of a Meerkat a lot, because she seemed to scurry around and she was always looking out for something. She was suspicious and she certainly wasn’t a likeable person. Along with most of the characters in the story, none of them seemed to be likeable.

There was only one who I actually liked and that was Sister Ignatius who had a more developed character than Arthur who I liked at times, but lacked any real personality or characterisation to his character.

Sister Ignatius was friendly and a little strange, but she was kind and true and she never lied. Out of all the bundle of the characters she was the only person that remotely had redeemable qualities as a person and she brought a touch of humour to the book. She probably is the reason this story even gets a rating.

“Write what’s up there,’ Sister Ignatius pointed at her temple, ‘and what’s in there,’ she pointed at her heart. ‘As a great man once called it, “a secret garden.” We’ve all got one of those.’

‘Jesus?’

‘No, Bruce Springsteen.’

Besides disliking the characters, the plot was slow and dull. We get such a focus on this book from the title and the synopsis and then really it takes very little action in the whole story. I felt that as a whole the plot would have developed from more of the book and if Ahern had taken a stronger hold of this idea and really allowed it to drive the book. This was what I was expecting and totally what I didn’t get, which really annoyed me!

Not only was the plot slow and cumbersome, but there were numerous plot holes and loops that just didn’t make sense and it became really annoying to follow and spot them out. When reading this as a read-along I think these plot holes became more obvious and only served to damper the little enjoyment I got from this book.

To me, reading this book was certainly more of a chore than an enjoyment and it was not my book. I don’t read a lot of chick-lit as it is, but this has really pushed me away from the genre. Personally, I’ll be steering clear of this book and Ahern in future and would be happy to drop this book down at the charity shop and see the back of it.

2 books

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

6 Comments

Filed under 2 Books, 2010 Publication, Adult, Cecelia Ahern, Chick-Lit, HarperCollins, Paperback

Lover Eternal

Lover_Eternal_ A.indd

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #2

Publication: 2010 by Piatkus

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood…

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin.

Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage’s protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone…

My Review:

Prepare for my gushy-ness over this novel. Okay, it might not be perfect, but it’s from my favourite author, J.R. Ward and it’s my favourite character from the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Rhage. He’s just so dreamy and sexy and ooooh, which is why I love this book so much! So I can’t get much happier when it comes to the re-reading of this novel. To be truthful, the only reason I started a re-read was to re-read this novel. That’s how bad I am!

Nevertheless, I think we’re developing much more on the series from the last novel, Dark Lover and if you didn’t like Dark Lover, I’d still suggest moving onto this one because I think we have a deeper emotional connection and a much more developed plot and the world building continues to be great. The story lines just seem to get better. Whilst I could have done with less of the Lessers again, they really do add to the whole “air” of the novel.

Do you want to know why I love Rhage so much? I honestly cannot summarise him with actual words because he leaves me with none, but I’ve picked my favourite quotes of him to show you!

“Oh, Mary. Will you let me pleasure you? Will you let me take that sweet arousal of yours where it wants to go?”

Yes, he is a man all about pleasing a lady and he’s so suave.

“What you had is nothing compared to what I want to do to you. I want my head between your legs so I can lick you until you scream my name. Then I want to mount you like an animal and look into your eyes as I come inside of you. And after that? I want to take you every way there is.”

Can the room get much hotter? Rhage is all around just a sex machine. However, that is not the soul reason I love him. He’s so incredibly kind and caring and sensitive. He’s been cursed and it dominants his life, but every moment he lives in fear of hurting one of his brothers and then when Mary comes into his life he’s terrified off hurting her. Over this novel we really watch Rhage grow as a person and he comes into his own. I think this is why by far he’s my favourite character because he makes such a monumental change. He may seem like the bad-boy who is hard-core at fighting and has lots of women, but there is a real emotional and tender side to Rhage that Mary reaches out to and soothes.

“He softened his voice. “I’m not going to hurt you. But you don’t belong here, and I want to know who you are.”

Her throat undulated under his hand, as if she was swallowing.”

Not only that, but Ward’s descriptions of everything are so vivid and the words she uses are fancy whilst really working to drag you into the forefront of the setting and really visualise everything. It’s one of the reason’s I really love reading her books so much. One of my friends on Goodreads said to me after I’ve been through a bout of “bad books” don’t I have a few “sure thing” authors who I know will be good, and J.R. Ward was certainly one of them for me to say, yes!

Mary is by far one of the greatest women I’ve read about! She struggles through so much with cancer, losing her mum and yet she always manages to put other people before herself and stay up-beat and strong. I couldn’t pick anybody better for Rhage and not only does she help Rhage, but as you progress through the series, you really see her blossom as a character who reaches out silently to others and really tries to help. It’s a truly beautiful quality in a person and I think to top of my love for Rhage, the two beautiful personalities of their characters mesh well and make for a fantastic book!

“Sometimes, pretending to be normal was the very best antidote to weirdness. Fake-it-until-you-make-it was more than psychobabble bullshit.”

And with that, I shall end my rather short, gushing review of Lover Eternal. This is certainly a love romance to pick up this tissues with and one I should probably have added to my top ten romances I’d think would make it in the real world because Rhage and Mary are so beautifully perfect and this novel has a very touching emotional element to it!

My Rating:

5 books

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

6 Comments

Filed under 2010 Publication, 5 Books, Adult, J.R. Ward, Paperback, Paranormal Romance, Piatkus Books

Ash

AshAsh by Malinda Lo
Genre: Fantasy, Fairies, Young-Adult, Romance
Published: March 4th 2010 by Hodder Children’s
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

Review:

This one is a strange one. I enjoyed the book, but I felt like we had too much mystery about it by the end. Ash is a different type of young-adult novel and I really appreciate how the romance wasn’t at the forefront of the tale. Not only that, but Lo tackles the idea of homosexuality, so you should be aware that Ash touches on the lesbian area. However, this didn’t take away anything from the story and as a read, I actually liked that aspect of the story. Prejudice people will condemn Lo for this, but I think she intertwines it wonderfully with the story and it makes for a lovely ending!

I felt like the first part entitled “The Fairy” was all mysterious and left us with lots of questions, whilst the plot was slowly picking up a pace. Then we fall into part two which makes up the two divides of the novel. The second part is called “The Huntress” and as I’d presumed we veered away from many of the questions posed in part one since Lo took us in a new direction. My problem with this came when we never truly touched on the issues that we saw in part one, and whilst some of our questions may have been answered, Lo left too many questions dangling for my liking. I realise that she may have liked to leave mystery and cared not to further the novel which ended at a very nice point, but it certainly frustrated me and left me pondering.

My greatest praise for Lo is that at no point coming up to the end did I truly know what was going to happen! I may have guessed the direction of the story, but Lo had left so many different threads that I really daren’t presume the outcome and I liked this. I find sometimes reading young-adult novels that they can become too predictable.

On the other hand, Lo’s writing was simplistic and I’d suggest this book be aimed at the younger age spectrum of teens and whilst as adults you may enjoy it, this book is unlikely to broaden your mind in the literature aspect. Such as…

She had dreamed that same dream many times over the course of the winter, but in recent days, it had become insistent.

From the cover I first thought this book seemed very “Alice in Wonderland” and was quite excited to read, since I adore Alice. However, then I saw the word “stepmother” and I began to read. As the tale unfolds, I realised that this was very much not an Alice in Wonderland style story but a fairy-tale recreation of Cinderella. It had the prince, the mean step-mother, the two step-sisters and Ash as the maid. I myself adore Disney films and all the old classics, so this brought back some fond memories. I don’t think the Cinderella style aspect was overdone and the story did take its own direction with the fairy realm and fantasy aspects.

Ash was a very weak character to begin with, but I’m glad to see that she finally made some firm decisions by the end of the book in all aspects of her life. That’s probably why I enjoyed the ending so much because Ash gained firm ground. Whilst throughout the book I failed to make real connection with her because she seemed a little limp and I wanted to shake her with anger. She just seemed to wander and always be searching for something and never working out real answers. This annoyed me because I wanted her to be smart enough to find the answers! I liked her character, but she wasn’t one I put into my top ten favourites.

Sidhean is a man or a fairy who I always felt had more substance. I was waiting for something from him that never came. I suppose this wasn’t Lo’s intended direction, but I still wish this man had given us more answers. He continually eluded me until the end. I liked his character, but I wanted more. His sinister edge was definitely there which really drew me in, but I suppose he wasn’t the ‘love rival’ I should have been rooting for in this instance.

He smoothed her hair back from her face, cupping her chin in his hands, and she was forced to look up at him, his eyes like crystals glittering in the dark. ‘I do not trust human girls,’ he said.

However, one character I hated was her step-mother who was entirely deplorable! She was somebody I’d like to take a crossbow too she was that mean and abusive. Her actions could never be condoned. She makes the step-mother of Cinderella seem like an angel. The step-sisters didn’t get any better and they really made for some snooty villains who deserved everything bad that should come to them. I assure you that you will not and cannot like the step-mother in anyway. Whilst Clara the younger sister may have her redeemable moment, her lack of action is rather inexcusable.

I enjoyed the general plot and this was an easy read at just under 300 pages with quite large print. The fairy aspect I liked and the kingdom Ash resided in which made for a medieval feel, which I feel is a strong part of most of the fantasy I read. I really like the old kingdom, hunting, kings and queens aspect because it reminds me of historical aspects, which is my favourite subject. In addition to this, all the fairy-tales that were interwoven with the tale really added to the historical aspect and I loved that!

‘It is about one of the earliest huntresses in the kingdom, Niamh, who was the daughter of a powerful greenwitch. When the King chose Niamh as his huntress, he asked her to teach his daughter, Rois, to hunt, for he valued Niamh’s knowledge and wanted Rois to know his hands his lands as well as Niamh did. Rois was a beautiful young woman, sweet and strong, and Niamh was impressed with her abilities. As they rode together week after week, month after month, Niamh found that she was falling in love with Rois, and her heart ached, for Rois was promised to the prince of a neighbouring kingdom, and she loved him, it is said, with a purity of heart that Niamh could not change.’

This has to be the favourite of the fairy-tales, which happens to be Kaisa’s too. It’s probably because of the irony of the love tale. Kaisa becomes one of my favourite characters because she’s emotional and undeterred by Ash’s status and she represents that love is love no matter the station or gender. I feel like Lo sends a very important message with this statement.

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot! I found it a quick, simple read that tackled a couple of important issues, whilst not quite fulfilling all the desires I had for it and it really confused me with the fairies, which I didn’t quite like. I’d suggest giving this book a chance, and I think I’ll be taking a look at the prequel of shorts, Huntress.

My Rating:

3.5 books

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

9 Comments

Filed under 2010 Publication, 3.5 Books, Fairies, Fantasy, Hodder Children's Books, Malinda Lo, Paperback, Romance, Young Adult

Lover Mine

Lover Mine

Title: Lover Mine

Author: J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #8

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult, Vampires

Published: November 30th 2010 by Piatkus

Plot:

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. Long divided as a terrifying battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.


John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.

Review:

These books only seem to get better. I have to admit, I have a weakness for J.R. Ward and her books and they are a true pleasure. I find this is exciting in a society where many of us has branded vampire books the “same” or unoriginal now, or even cast them aside after the “disaster” of Twilight, depending on your personal view, but J.R. Ward really brings a refreshing twist to the paranormal-romance sector. Her books continue to engage me and don’t fall at any hurdle. I’ve yet to find one that I didn’t like!

For me, “Lover Mine” was the book I’d been highly anticipating in the whole series since we were first introduced to John Matthew and his history, I wanted to really delve into his life. However his story is not the part I enjoyed the most, believe me, his story is fantastic, mind-blowing, thrilling, hot, emotional; you really have it all! However, I felt like it was eclipsed by the dynamic that was Qhuinn and Blay. You may have noticed my post of the cover which is to be their book, being released next year which I’m very excited about.

Qhuinn and Blay although they didn’t take up a large proportion of the actual book because we did focus largely on John and Xhex seemed to have an aura around them that drew me in and really had me clenching my fists and turning the pages to find out more about them. By the end my heart was certainly in a twist and I’m looking forward to picking up the next BDB book.

This book really links in where we left off from the previous book and I think Ward has a real talent to interlink her stories at key moments to keep the flow of the tale. I don’t feel like we’ve stilted or skipped anywhere along the way across the series that has been detrimental to reading and this flow is really great! It’s also good that the stories are separate entities whilst linking to the whole series and this enables you to read it without having to remember everything from the previous novel. Nevertheless these books are not a series you can just start reading in the middle. They are complex narratives, filled with lots of characters that you need to be introduced in order too.

In this instalment we get some very tense and emotional moments that I enjoyed because although the book is in the paranormal realm we connect to the characters and the situations. I think the idea that Xhex is gone and John is in morning really can connect to a lot of people who have lost somebody.

Another part of the novel allowed excerpts from Darius’ past life and I’m loath to admit that I usually find these parts boring, at least I did in Vishous’ past, but in “Lover Mine” I lapped them up eagerly and found them really connecting to the storyline.

I also felt that we gained a different perspective to Xhex than we’d previously seen and I really enjoyed that! If’ you’ve read any of the other BDB books, I’m sure you’ll understand Xhex is a tough character and whilst we know lots of John’s past, I think this novel worked to develop her past through both John and her. Unlike the other novels which in large focus on the male and developing his past, I felt although this one centred on John, we learnt more about Xhex through him which brought a different twist to Ward’s previous books.

Overall this book is well written, thoughtful, entertaining, light-hearted whilst being deeply emotional and it works really well together. Ward manages to make each novel unique and never feel repetitive like some authors fall into a pattern of repeating the same ‘format’ and I adore that about these novels. For me, there hasn’t been a fault to find yet, and I hope I continue to read on without them. I urge you to go stock your shelves with Ward because you’ll find it hard to be disappointed with her!

My Rating:

5 books

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

1 Comment

Filed under 2010 Publication, 5 Books, Adult, J.R. Ward, Paperback, Paranormal Romance, Piatkus Books, Vampires

Bonds of Justice

Bonds of Justice

Title: Bonds of Justice

Author: Nalini Singh

Series: Psy-Changeling #8

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Futuristic, Adult, Were-shifters

Published: July 6th 2010 by Berkley

Plot:

Max Shannon is a good cop, one of the best in New York Enforcement. Born with a natural shield that protects him against Psy mental invasions, he knows he has little chance of advancement within the Psy- dominated power structure. The last case he expects to be assigned to is that of a murderer targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisors. And the last woman he expects to compel him in the most sensual of ways is a Psy on the verge of catastrophic mental fracture.

Review:

WHAT HAS SHE DONE?!

As of late, the Psy-Changeling series has fast become one of my favourite paranormal-romance series and I’m happy to inform you I still am. However I think this book lacked something for me! It really did not fill up to Singh standards. I’m also missing the Changeling input that we had a distinct feel of in the first 6 books.

My problem with this book was I didn’t connect with the characters. I felt like I was drifting through and I never really understood the connection between the two. I could see the connection and why it was there, but I could fathom the actual reasoning of it. It continued to bewilder me even until the end.

Max was a great male lead, but I felt like he was too closed off and always focused on protecting Sophia. I never particularly loved him when we first met him and I think only his intelligence and ability to work as a good cop was what made me like him.

Sophia I just didn’t understand in concept of the Psy. She was meant to be unfeeling and silent even with her conditioning breaking, she seemed totally normal most of the time except for when she was witnessing the break down of her shields. Also she had this very bizarre problem with Vaughn and this was never explained.

This book is well written, interesting with lots of new leads and excitement. Don’t doubt that the book is worth a read. The general consensus seems to be that most people enjoyed this book. Although there are a few that seem to orientate themselves to my opinion that they lacked the connection to the characters in this instalment.

I believe there is a tendency to rate a book in a series you love highly because you can’t bear to see the series shamed, but ultimately this book dropped in my expectations. I was quite frankly bored of the relationship between Max and Sophia. It didn’t hold enough passion to engage me, and I’m hoping that Singh will be able to redeem herself.

The title personally drew me. “Bonds of Justice” it sounds so exciting and even kinky, but for me this book failed to deliver on both fronts. For me, I only found this excitement in the last 50 pages of the book and when I read 290 pages without that, it can become quite dry.

Overall it was a good addition to the series, but it lacked the sparkle of some of Singh’s previous works.I will definitely be continuing to read the series and Singh still has my faith.

My Rating:

3 booksMore stalking available here:

  • Goodreads
  • Author’s Website

Let me know what you think!

Leave a comment

Filed under 2010 Publication, 3 Books, Adult, Berkley, Futuristic, Nalini Singh, Paperback, Paranormal Romance, Wereshifters

The Mating

Title: The Mating

Author: Nicky Charles

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult

Published: Februrary 23rd 2010 by smashwords.com

Plot: Elise is in ‘love’ with her childhood friend and then gets told for the good of her pack she must date the Alpha from another pack to cement alliances. She is worried and disoriented especially when taken out of her home. She has to learn to fit in there, whilst her new ‘mate’ deals with all the trials of being a new Alpha and facing a series of sabotage attacks against the pack lands.

Review: I enjoyed the read and found myself quickly moving through the book, rather voraciously to discover what would happen next.

However despite the speed with which I devoured the book, I felt it lacked a spark with the female lead. She was too dumb and compliant for my liking. She allowed her ‘mate’ to trample over her too much and she just seemed to accept it as her duty, whereas if she’d followed her gut instinct and been a strong lead much of the story could have been most likely prevented. I could relate to the trepidation she felt because new situations can be uncomfortable for a person, but at the same time for me she needed to assert herself and her position before she dwindled.

Nevertheless I really enjoyed the story and found it was a light, entertaining read for the majority despite my inherent screaming at the main character to speak what she thought and act a little more decisively on her ‘decisions’ or even thoughts. In my opinion she’d redeemed herself a little by the end, but not enough for me to award this story four stars!

For those people who like a little less feisty main character, who isn’t the smartest button then this story is for you, but personally I enjoy having the smart, quick-witted and feisty heroine that I often tend to read about, which is probably why this story lacked the ultimate spark for me. My review may sound negative, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and read it in a few hours, so it didn’t lack pace or action to keep me interested. I just found myself not liking the main character as much as I thought I could because the potential was there she never connected the dots in time for me!

Despite this, I adored Helen in the story, who is more of a minor character, but she rather made the story a little more humourous and touching. She was the ‘motherly’ one of the pack and I appreciated the addition of her character greatly because she gave it a very homely, pack feeling that I can obviously see the author tried very well to create with the idea of werewolf packs.

If you enjoy paranormal romance and a good werewolf story then this would probably be for you!

Rating:

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

Leave a comment

Filed under 2010 Publication, 3.5 Books, Adult, E-book, Nicky Charles, Paranormal Romance, Smashwords, Werewolves