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Dare You To

Dare You To

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Series: Pushing the Limits #2

Genre: Contemporary, Young-Adult, Romance

Expected Publication: May 28th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

The Plot.

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things.The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all…

The Review.

Dare You To is a contemporary novel as equally engaging as McGarry’s Pushing the Limits. However, Dare You To didn’t quite push the same buttons as Pushing the Limits for me, but despite this, I loved it all the same. I found that I engaged with the characters and their story and after the introduction took a while to assimilate with because the introduction felt a little stilted, but from then on out the novel was a whirlwind and it kept me hooked from start to finish playing on my emotions and making me smile as well as cry. I think the reason that I didn’t truly connect with McGarry’s Dare You To as much as Pushing the Limits because I felt that Pushing the Limits had more layers to it with the mystery and dynamic that it didn’t seem to be entirely romance centric and whilst McGarry draws in other elements in Dare You To with deprived neighbourhoods impacting upon the characters and their ideals and how the environment can manipulate the individuals. However, Dare You To lacked the mystery that pushed me on to read and devour and the romance took a major part of the story that reminded me it was contemporary. Despite this, I think McGarry reminded us so much why we love her characters and how well she allows the words to flow together.

I know so many people expected Beth and Isaiah to be together, and whilst I did, I actually preferred this route to that which McGarry took and the justification she gave in her novel for her decision. I think the choice she made for Beth and Isaiah represents how well she understands her characters at their deepest level and the progression they need to become who they truly are. Beth and Isaiah I felt would have restricted each other and McGarry addresses this factor in the novel because they had their ups and downs, but the friendship I think they’ll sustain will hopefully be a strong enough bond. After all, Beth never felt invested for me in Isaiah in book 1 and that troubled me, so I’m actually glad McGarry took a different direction. I urge you to not let this put you off reading Dare You To because of the couple she chose because the direction doesn’t take away from the novel at all.

Beth is a character that I struggled to like. I just couldn’t wrap my head around her decisions because she was on a path of self-destruction from the start and I just wanted to shake her, but I guess part of this was her love for her family and I appreciated that McGarry didn’t allow her to give up so easily. Beth was a stubborn, tenacious character with a rather broken spirit and that needed somebody to help rebuild her to a whole rather than like Isaiah, I felt he would have allowed her to spiral further into destruction, Ryan didn’t allow this. I liked that Beth always stood up for her beliefs, but at the same time her proneness to running annoyed me because it felt like a cliché for a lot of novels and she was such a strong character that she had the ability she just chose the easy way out. Most of all, I loved Beth’s spunk and her fashion sense and self-expression that really made her the diverse character in the small town so she wasn’t conforming to the way people expected her to behave. And the fact that by the end on her own terms she managed to form bonds and friendships between the other characters made me smile because truly, her tale of isolation was heart-breaking! This quote actually broke my heart a little bit at how innocent and endearing Beth could be at times despite her crusty exterior there was a girl I just wanted to wrap up and take away from all the hurt and pain.

“With a room like this, I bet he buys rand-name cereal.”

Ryan is a male protagonist that I really liked. If you’re worried about not liking him, he’s an easy character to worming his way into your heart. At first he seems like the player, but beneath the surface and the POVs splits between him and Beth really enabled you to uncover his thoughts. I liked that McGarry continued the theme of POV switches like she did between Noah and Echo is Pushing the Limits because it created consistency and enabled us to really understand both characters. Ryan seems to be rather one dimensional to start with and this is why I struggled with the introduction, but I guess McGarry tries to incorporate the theme of mystery around his family, but I don’t think she achieved it as successfully with Dare You To it felt more of a slow unravelling of the plot rather than mystery. However his character built up as we went along and despite some of the things he did and his first intentions he was a very sweet, caring character and he’s passionate about what he loves; baseball and writing. It’s so infectious.  And with Beth’s help, he eventually stands up for what he believes in.

“Baseball isn’t just a game. It’s the smell of popcorn drifting in the air, the sight of bugs buzzing near the stadium lights, the roughness of the dirt beneath your cleats. It’s the anticipation building in your chest as the anthem plays, the adrenaline rush when your bat cracks against the ball, and the surge of blood when the umpire shouts strike after you pitch. IT’s a team full of guys backing your every move, a bleacher full of people cheering you on. It’s … life.”

Beth and Ryan worked well together as a couple and I thought they challenged and pushed each other to change and do what needed to be done rather than they felt comfortable with. She really makes their characters to be real and not unrealistic Mary Sues.  I think this is truly where McGarry shines when she depicts the true relationships of characters and not something fluffy and unrealistic that some contemporaries I feel play on, which is why I can happily award her novels more than 3 stars because they appear to have more dimensions than one.

Oooh, McGarry also manages to write despicable character who you really hate. Gwen is a character I definitely despised. From the moment I met her, McGarry clearly showed us why we shouldn’t like her and she continued to build the case uncovering sub-plots that related to Lacy, Beth’s friend which I think it would have been nice to have seen explored more.  There was just something about Gwen that really grated against me and I’d be surprised if anybody liked her. She was just so self-centered and I liked how Lacy saw straight through her and supported Beth in the right direction. My only annoyance was how Beth allowed Gwen’s poison to get to her and that was the only real element of McGarry’s novel that I found unrealistic. I just didn’t understand the irrationality of her actions, but I like to think Beth used it more as an excuse than anything.

“Gwen,” I say in return. Reaching the concession stand, she sweeps her hair over her shoulder as she refocuses her attention. I keep staring, trying to remember why we broke up.

“Drama!” Lacy purposely blocks my view of Gwen’s ass.”

– Man much, Ryan, staring at her ass?

One element of this novel that I didn’t like was the reappearance of Echo and Noah. I adored their relationship in Pushing the Limits, but I don’t think McGarry captured the dynamic the same in bringing them back for a snapshot in this novel and that disappointed me. I didn’t want to see them in Dare You To if they appeared different because they seemed tainted by their environment in the destructive environment and Pushing the Limits seemed to show a new direction and I felt like they’d taken a back-step. Maybe it was just me, but I’d have rather McGarry had eclipsed them entirely from the novel and not allow them to encroach on Beth and Ryan’s novel because Beth didn’t really get on well with either of them and I felt that the connection relied with Isaiah who wasn’t seen that much to say that they had such a close friendship. Thus, I expect to see Beth in the next book because of the dynamic Isaiah and Beth had.

For those of you wondering about Isaiah, he gets his own book, Crash Into You to make up the third book in the series and I’m very much looking forward to this one to summarise the little troupe, hopefully with happy endings because whilst McGarry delivers with an emotional rollercoaster, I don’t think she’ll leave you in despair.

Overall I really enjoyed Dare You To and fully expect most people to fall head over heels in love with it, if not more than Pushing the Limits, but for me, I think there was something special and new about the development of Pushing the Limits that didn’t quite touch Dare You To. However, I recommend the novel without reserve and I am eagerly awaiting the next because McGarry is an addiction all on her own.

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected e-copy provided through NetGalley thanks to Harlequin Teen.

~ 4 Books /  5 Books ~

Nerd Fact

So personally, I know very little about baseball except it involves bases and sounds like an English version of rounders. Therefore it being Ryan’s love, I thought I’d look up some facts about it.

It involves nine players on either side and you basically have to hit a ball and run around the four bases at the corners of a 90-foot diamond. With turns of batting and pitching, which I’m sure most, if not all of you know.

However, the early form of baseball was being played in the mid-eighteenth century in England with the first reference in A Little Pretty Pocket-Book by John Newberry and immigrants brought it to North America where they developed the modern version and by the nineteenth century it was seen as the Unite States’ national sport.

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 4 Books, Contemporary, E-book, Harlequin Teen, Katie McGarry, Romance, Young Adult

Contemporary Blend #3

Vanilla on Top

Game for Marriage

 

 

 

    Versus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla on Top by C.J. Ellisson                                Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson

Series: Walk on the Wild Side #1                                                Series: Game for It #1

Published: January 11th 2013                                                     Published: January 11th 2013

As you know I’ve recently developed an obsession for Entangled Publishing books, particularly their Brazen collection and here are two more, very different books to add to my collection. So I thought I’d try and mix something up with my review and do a little bit of a rating system.

  Vanilla on Top Game for Marriage
Seduction 7 / 10 9 / 10
Angst Levels 8 / 10 4 / 10
Fun 6 / 10 8 / 10
Male Candy 6 / 10 8 / 10
Sexual Adventures 8 / 10 7 / 10
Strong Female Character 8 / 10 6 / 10
Plot 6 / 10 6 / 10
Set-up for Sequel 4 / 10 7 / 10
Clichés 7 / 10 6 / 10
Overall Rating 6 / 10 8 / 10

Mini-Reviews

Game for Marriage

Game for Marriage was an awful lot of fun and exactly what I needed to put a smile on my face and make it stay there. It had very little angst as it focused on a fake wedding between a super hot, quarterback, Jared and struggling artist, Sheridan. They have lots of laughs and problems, but they tend to work them through with minimal pain and angst that can get a little oppressive in the contemporary genre. My favourite quote from the book has to be…

“No, not really. My grandma said she was like Elizabeth Taylor. I guess Elizabeth was once quoted saying she was in love with falling in love. My grandma said that described her to a T.”

Jared was all around sexy, he had me drooling and sighing in all the right places and he was certainly the man for me. I couldn’t have wanted anybody else. He balanced confidence, arrogance and the ability to let loose as well as being serious to give him a fairly rounded character. He plays the “bad boy” appeal, but beneath the surface he genuinely cares about Sheridan and watching their relationship blossoming is exciting.

It’s not perfect, they’re not perfect, but Game for Marriage has to be a fun, flirty read and my only complaint is it was far too short. I felt that the author could have added more to flesh out the time period because she seemed to skim over it all very quickly to cram it into the time period and that she would have gained much more in adding in a few more details just to give substance to the characters and the plot as we moved through several months in a very quick time.

Overall, I recommend this to contemporary and romance fans alike and somebody looking for a little fun.

4 books

Vanilla on Top

Vanilla on Top takes on a very different approach to the contemporary genre, and it wasn’t quite what I expected. It was nothing alike to my recent read, Game for Marriage but I appreciated the differences and found Vanilla on Top to be a refreshing addition to the contemporary genre. Vanilla on Top focused on Heather our main character coming out of herself from a rather downtrodden character to somebody with confidence, esteem and authority and whilst she still had her doubts, it was enchanting to watch her progression since the story focused around her character.

“Turn it off,” I say, with a challenge in my tone. I sit up straighter and stare into the depths of his caramel eyes. “You want someone to tell you what to do?” He nods, his calculating gaze on me as the phone continues to ring, “Turn off that damn phone,” I bite out, pretending I’m issuing a command. “Now.”

Vanilla on Top very much entwines business and pleasure and we get a lot more angst as we look at relationships, confidence and personalities and changing images, but it works for the novels approach and whilst it felt well placed in Vanilla on Top it hasn’t in previous angst novels. Heather and Tony have sexual encounters a dozen, but the real entertainment comes when they realise who the other is and how they develop from there on out.

I loved how Heather took the control of the novel and whilst it isn’t entirely my thing, she was very much an assertive woman and she knew what she wanted. I like how she teased Tony, yet again the typical “playboy” which to be honest, I didn’t really see it.

I didn’t like the supporting characters in Vanilla on Top and I felt very little time was given to developing their characters and especially if they are to be in the sequel to this as a series, which I fear they will. I found that the secondary characters changed their attitudes a lot and were very self-centered and unsupportive of the protagonists so I didn’t take to them at all.

Overall, Vanilla on Top was an interesting read and I may read the sequel, but I haven’t fully decided.

*Quote taken from an uncorrected e-arc provided through Netgalley by Entangled Publishing.

3 books

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 3 Books, 4 Books, Adult, C.J. Ellisson, Contemporary, E-book, Entangled Publishing, Karen Erickson, Romance

Sister Assassin

Sister Assassin

Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

Series: Mind Games #1

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Young-Adult

Expected Publication: February 19th 2013 by HarperTeen

The Background.

Some of you may know Sister Assassin more commonly as Mind Games, the American version of the book with an entirely different cover.

However on with the book, I felt like none of the synopsis really captured the book for me or they have away too much. Sister Assassin is undoubtedly full of mystery (and unfortunately for me it was full of confusion). I went into reading the book without really reading the synopsis and in a way I am glad, because for me it told you everything that I didn’t expect in the novel and that would have detracted from my enjoyment.

Sister Assassin focuses on the relationship between two sisters, Sofia and Annie (Annie being the older) and how they have abilities (not the only people in the world) and how these are used to help them survived. They are trapped in a vicious circle of heart-break, betrayal, pain, hurting and this is all confined within a school that is designed to “mould” the girls and ultimately use them. There’s lots of subterfuge and excitement along the way and a little bit of romance. However the novel is driven by the two sisters and their relationship and the extent in which having these powers will mean they have to go to.

The Review.

Sister Assassin unfortunately is not a novel I enjoyed, and I am sure I will be one of the rare few and it is not often that I feel that way. For me, the problem with Sister Assassin lay not with the structure of the narrative which switches between Annie and Sofia, the two protagonists and sisters and jumping from present to past. This did discombobulate me, but I learned to deal and pay close attention to the time frame, it was the characters themselves that truly grated on me. Despite this, I think Sister Assassin has an awful lot to offer as a novel and that is its true selling point, I have not read any of Kiersten White’s other novels, but this one contains, fantasy elements, mystery, romance and lots of thrills and action. My brain was constantly ticking over to try and find out what was happening and it wasn’t so overly complicated that I couldn’t figure out things.

Sofia and Annie are two sisters who supposedly love each other and care very deeply. Annie is the older sister and this took me a while to figure out, since it didn’t seem to be entirely clear for me (or I likely skipped this part for some unknown reason). Still, this confused me as to the real dynamic of their relationship as sisters for the first half of the novel because the time jumping failed to lay the foundations for their relationship and I couldn’t get a connection to the two. I thought Sofia was the older sister purely because of the way she acted and then it took me by surprise since Annie appeared to be the child. Unfortunately for me, first impressions count and it’s hard to remove them after that. I didn’t like the sisters in all honesty. I felt that they were both destructive towards each other and despite all this caring and their environment  being destructive they were not healthy for each other. There seemed to be little vindictive digs between the two and a hatred that made reading sour for me. Whether this was Kiersten’s intention to rebuild something between the two of them, I felt that it was too far gone to truly be fixed and that the girls were so damaged that it twisted my stomach.

“Why? And thanks to Keane’s rules, I can’t visit her or even call her without being spied on. How could she do this to me? To us? She used me.”

When the novel is called Sister Assassin I fear that the title is slightly misleading because it creates the idea of a duo. This is not to be seen because the title Mind Games I feel is infinitely more applicable to the novel and that the characters within the novel play mind games upon the girls because Sofia and Annie are far from being equals. They are used against each other and manipulated and this is what I didn’t like because it slowly disintegrated their relationship and left a sour feeling in my gut. I hated how the siblings who had to rely solely on one and other were dragged apart and how they both got the idea they were of lesser value to the other. I liked the initiative of White to take on this dynamic, but to use the girls to abuse one another so emotionally that they became even more frayed grated on me. I don’t think I’d have minded so much if I felt that something positive came of this, but it just felt pointless.

Even without liking the destructive relationship between the girls, I neither liked their personalities. I felt that both of them were self-absorbed and choosing to blame themselves too much for every problem. Everything was me, me, me, and they didn’t look for each other.  They failed to communicate. This may all seem to be part of the dark, twisted novel that definitely gets points for being gritty and full of hardship, I just couldn’t connect with these whiny, characters that seemed to emphasise so much about not doing it that they eventually would. Not everything fails though because they do both have redeeming moments in the fact that they eventually seem to reach a point of resolution that doesn’t fully give an ending to their relationship just represents their intelligence and bond. It didn’t leave me satisfied enough to give this book a higher rating, however I believe that a lot of people will truly appreciate the novel and its ending for its subtle cleverness.

Having said that, Sister Assassin takes on a unique, brave approach in the young-adult world and it is quick read at just over 200 pages, pushes forward an action packed and thrilling novel that will tick an awful lot of boxes for people with a desire for heroines that push themselves into the thick of things and still manage to show vulnerabilities, I just couldn’t connect with the characters or appreciate them.

The romance in Sister Assassin frustrated me beyond belief because I was rooting for all the wrong things. I think this left me disappointed and I couldn’t understand the characters and their actions. I’m not for happily ever afters in every novels because this isn’t what Sister Assassin delivers and with such a title it’s not really what I expected, but neither am I for entire paths of destruction or stupidity. I just felt like wringing the characters necks. Having said that, the love interests that we gain and note the word “interests” however this is used with the utmost care and it does not really create a love triangle, it much more becomes a pinnacle of direction of choice for Sofia who is the focus of this novel much more. Despite this, I couldn’t connect to either boy that she has in her life nor truly like them. There was always undercurrents that left me unsettled from all the characters and this book.

“I wish she were my dog and I had an alcoholic father and I was the type of girl that Adam could date and rescue and fall in love with. I wish my left arm didn’t hurt so much I wanted to die…”

The one element of Sister Assassin I wish had been focused upon much more was the school and the whole dynamic surrounding this. I feel like we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface and White eluded to so much more and she left me rather disappointed if I’m honest with her eventual unveiling in Sister Assassin and this is the sole reason to my contemplation to pick up the next novel when I didn’t truly connect with this one. However I feel like there is lots of potential on a mystery and political front that can be dragged from the school and the direction White is taking her novel in. Maybe if she’d allowed herself to continue this one I may have been able to engage more with her direction. However at the moment I feel isolated from the characters and her direction.

The other point to note is the narrative. We split between both Annie and Sofia and then from past to present and you have to pay close attention to the changing time frame. It can certainly draw you away from the novel, but eventually I managed to get into the narrative after a while and looking out for the specific changes and I think the time frame added to the subplots of the novel and the complexity to slowly unveil the events and different elements that are contained in Sister Assassin to make it so dynamic.

Overall, I don’t suggest you ignore Sister Assassin, but I suggest an air of caution. I know plenty of people who have adored this novel and I feel I will be a black sheep in not liking this, but I found it hard to change my mind by the end of the novel despite its improvement. For me, White has lots of lost potential here in Sister Assassin that I don’t think she used in the right way for her characters to work in a believable, damaged way without everything seeming to be one abuse after another between every relationship that led to a breakdown. I’ve found it hard to truly put all my feelings into Sister Assassin because I really felt rather ambivalent by the end and whilst I appreciate the ending I still couldn’t find myself to like it more. However just to show you that there are people who loved it, check out  Rebekah’s review at The Reflections of a Bookworm here and Tonya’s from The Midnight Garden’s review here, both who gave the book four stars.

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected e-arc copy provided through NetGalley thanks to HarperCollinsUK

2 books

Nerd Fact

The use of a different title and cover is largely due to the HarperCollins UK buying the publishing rights for Mind Games and choosing to take a different marketing approach to the UK market, nothing exciting really. I think whilst the Mind Gamestitle is less apt, the tagline fits perfectly to the novel. This is the American cover that some of you may be more familiar with. 

This year both Mind Games and Sister Assassin will be released to America and the UK, Australia etc on the same date, because of HaperCollins UK buying the rights, so all those UK buddies will not have to wait to get their hands on this!

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Filed under 2 Books, 2013 Publication, E-book, Fantasy, HarperCollins, Kiersten White, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter

Mad Scientist's Daughter

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Genre: Science-fiction, Romance, Adult

Expected Publication: February 7th 2013 by Angry Robot

The Plot.

“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.

But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

The Review.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a novel that moved me to tears. I truly did not expect to feel so emotional about a robot. I mean a robot to me has always been metal pieces controlled with complicated electronic circuits inside and sometimes, occasionally the robot may have a system that allows responses. However, Finn is a robot like no other. He was human, he felt human to me and ultimately I couldn’t displace him as not being human and this humanity that surrounded Finn made his story all the more heart-breaking because whilst our protagonist is following Cat growing up from a very young age to her later years which works surprisingly well across the novel, I felt that there was a strong focus through the novel on Finn and that viewing the world through his eyes would have really changed the workings of the novel because I would love to get into his mind and delve further because he has a complex character that is still hard to pinpoint by the end of the novel. I am frankly enamoured with Finn and this is probably why I sobbed quite a lot when reading The Mad Scientist’s Daughter.

“His eyes loomed steadily in the buzzing light of the porch. His skin was much too fair, sallow beneath the swath of black hair that flopped across his forehead.”

Don’t get me wrong, this novel is far from being faultless, but I did really enjoy the novel. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a gritty novel that whilst it delves into the world of science-fiction, it touches on friendship, relationships, loss, grief and a changing world. It isn’t full of flowers and happiness, Clarke shows her versatility as an author as she takes on loss of close family relations, abusive relationships and coming to terms with your feelings for others and the meanings that truly lay behind these. I think the cover perfectly encapsulates the kind of desolation that The Mad Scientist’s Daughter delves into and the moon that becomes a very vital part of the story. If you are looking for a happy novel, then The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is not it and I suggest you run far away. However if you want something that’s gritty, emotional and an all around rollercoaster, but still manages to end of a moment of hope and love then pick up The Mad Scientist’s Daughter because I don’t see how it cannot fail to wow.

Cat is the protagonist of this tale and she’s a very complex character. Her relationship with her parents is rather turbulent, but I am thankful to say they are not absent. They show concern for her and whilst they aren’t always present they genuinely care for her welfare and their actions dictate that they only endeavour to give her the best with pushing her. Despite all of this, Cat is not a happy character and she comes with her fair share of her problems. Personally, her isolation as a child with only her robot tutor, Finn, for company and then her friendship group of rather unstable, gothic junkies through high-school lead me to say that this clearly influences Cat’s rather wild behaviour. She’s not an easy character to get along with and whilst I can’t say I liked her, I could connect with her and I found her issues and feelings moving and turbulent. She clearly felt conflicted throughout the novel about Finn and what he can actually be to her, after all, he is a robot and she can’t fathom his nature. It’s rather sad their relationship and the pushing and pulling that takes place and it’s always one of my favourite aspects of a romance to see a rocky path to love and these two take a real roller-coaster. Cat through the end of it, manages to stick to her beliefs after being a very flighty and indecisive character throughout particularly when she lost herself. I did like that she seemed to have matured and found a semblance of who she truly was by the end of the novel and this allowed me to like her more by the end.

“You’re welcome.” He regarded her with his dark eyes. Cat crawled forward on her bed and reached across the chasm between them to pull the chair, with him in it, closer to her.”

The one thing that I didn’t like about The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is that we had very little background to the state of the world and what had happened. Clare seemed to skip straight  over this and I was always hoping that we get some idea of what this “destruction” was and the extremes temperatures they had which all led to the robots being brought in to rebuild the world. I felt we had a great lack of world building for the past and this was Clare just seemed to drop. Everything else about the novel excelled because it was so character driven with fantastic, primary and secondary characters, but the history of the world seemed to vanish. For me, with this, Clare’s novel would be in a whole other league, but nevertheless I still enjoyed it immensely.

Finn is a robot and that will not change no matter how much humanity you apply to him and this was an interesting concept to deal with. I can see how this may make some people uncomfortable in reading because of that, but if you look at the perspective of his behaviour and his feelings then he’s not just a hunk of metal. You need to push aside him as a robot, and look at the romance and Finn as a person because he can be moving and he raised emotions in me. He was a character I grew to respect and love and he’s the reason I kept crying. If it were not for Finn, I do not think The Mad Scientist’s Daughter would be quite the same and I’m afraid my favourite Star Wars robot, C-3PO has been replaced by a new one who’s after my heart. Clare clearly excelled with Finn’s character and I think she worked wonders on the angle of the robot. She also followed this up with protests and underground groups working to gain rights for robots and the changing environment of the world meant that robots were being accepted and I liked the political aspect of the novel and Finn’s character because he was clearly entangled with these elements.

“I can’t tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind,” he said. “I can’t… There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was… a start.”

Clare does a fantastic job of building up secondary characters and relationships outside of Finn and Cat because the novel does focus on their relationship it does not solely revolve around it. Clare builds a world up around Cat, so we can only see the world and the people that she connects with. Outside of this we are blank, but because Cat seems to run into lots of people it actually works surprisingly well because we don’t feel confined to just a few characters. The strongest characters I feel are Cat’s parents and in particular her father who plays the strongest secondary character in the novel, but this is probably important because he is the “Mad Scientist”. I didn’t think this aspect of the novel was played on strongly enough about him being the “Mad Scientist” because whilst Cat dealt with issues from other teenagers it was never truly explored. The meaning of this name is implied, but it’s never stated obviously and I think Clare could have explored it a lot further to a greater advantage of her novel.

Through The Mad Scientist’s Daughter Clare presents her versatility of an author to broach both into Young Adult fiction and Adult fiction as you may more commonly know her as the author of The Assassin’s Curse and this novel is incredibly different. I like that the two novels were very different and reflected two entirely different meanings and that she didn’t try to apply the style of The Assassin’s Curse to The Mad Scientist’s Daughter because she made them two entirely different things. If I’m honest, I enjoyed The Mad Scientist’s Daughter more because I thought it was more developed in meaning, but that The Assassin’s Curse has the stronger world foundations. Either way I recommend both novels without reserve, but suggest if you prefer young-adult that you stick to Clare’s The Assassin’s Curse.

Overall, whilst I can nit-pick at The Mad Scientist’s Daughter and I do not see it as a perfect novel, it is one that I could connect and enjoy despite my emotional outbursts and this is what makes it one of my favourite releases of the year so far. Perfection does not always equate to enjoyment in my opinion, so I think despite the few points of contention that you may have with The Mad Scientist’s Daughter or people’s queasy reaction over Finn as a robot, you shouldn’t disregard this novel because it is definitely a stunner in the making. There are lots of brilliant elements that The Mad Scientist’s Daughter manages to encapsulate with the emotion, the characterisation, the politics and the pacing that whilst this novel pushes being quite lengthy keeps it moving and kept me reading. I’ll be looking out for more works from Clare because she’s an author to watch out for.

*quotes taken from an uncorrected arc e-copy provided by Angry Robot via NetGalley.

5 books 

 

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 5 Books, Adult, Angry-Robot, Cassandra Rose Clarke, E-book, Romance, Science-Fiction

Forbidden

Forbidden

Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult

Series: The World of Nightwalkers #1

Published: October 30th 2012 by Ballantine Books

The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.

When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . . not without risking the very survival of the Bodywalkers.

 

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The Assassin’s Curse

The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Genre: Fantasy, Young-Adult

Series: The Assassin’s Curse #1

Expected Publication: October 2nd 2012 by Strange Chemistry

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

Review:

It took me a while to come to my conclusion on this story, but then I realised that I really adored the novel. This book really left my thoughts in a muddle because it was entirely unexpected. We start out seemingly simplistic with a runaway girl on a camel and then the story blossoms into one of wit, adventure, magic and most of all friendship. It’s truly stunning! Not only that, but this is a novel where the cover doesn’t deceive you about the story, it is truly beautiful and captures the essence of the tale.

My connection with the main character was instantaneous; I truly found it hard not to love her. Ananna has to be one of the best female characters I’ve read! She was independent, strong, fiery and her humour really had me giggling away. Since she took on a more dry, sarcastic tone to her humour, I found that I could really appreciate her character.

“Well, I think we should discuss the matter further.” I stood up. “This don’t just effect you, you know. I had plans. And they didn’t involve tiptoing around so some assassin wouldn’t get a headache.”

When you first meet Naji, it seems that he holds much of the power in his hands being some great assassin and having all these abilities that he’d be above Ananna. But when she talks to him, she brings him to her level and thus we watch their friendship evolve and blossom over the novel. There is an undercurrent of romance, but most of this falls on Anaana’s side, since it’s in first person perspective, it’s hard to gauge Naji’s response whilst he remains so elusive. The romance in this story takes a very back seat and even by the end of the novel we still seem to be waiting for more. Since this is part of a series, I expect future development on the romance to take a stronger tone to the future novels. However, it doesn’t take anything away from not having a strong romance and I think this shows the versatility of the young-adult genre.

Naji was a very mysterious and confined character. It seemed like getting any information from him would be like pulling teeth, so Ananna’s humour was very much needed to balance out his surely behaviour. Particularly when he became difficult.

“We’re close,” Naji said.
“Close to what?” I was hoping he’d trip and give me some kind of hint as to where we were headed.
“The canyon.”
“And what’s in the canyon?”
“A river.”
I didn’t even care that he was weaseling out of telling me anything important. “A river?” I said. “Water?”
“Water generally comprises a river, yes.”

Whilst he might have been a little bit abrasive and surely, he was cute and insecure and I really wanted to cuddle him and beat the bitch who was mean to him with a broomstick. The poor lad was besotted with the river witch and I didn’t like her one bit. Although, my view was probably ever so slightly influenced by Ananna’s hatred of her too. 

Naji thought he was a strong “hero” but didn’t overtake the story with swooping in so many times, since Ananna was equally capable of saving him. Therefore I felt Clarke really brought a balancing act to the novel between their characters.

I though the plot was fast, action packed and thrilling. The setting changes were exciting from the dessert on a camel, to the canyon on a river boat or on an island full of dangers. There wasn’t a moment where we were simply drifting in boredom. I appreciated the ever changing setting and pace of the novel from fights to magical cures and emotional trauma.

“Maybe he’s turned into a fern and I was ripping him into shreds in my fear. I dropped the fern and I stepped back, almost stepping into the fire.”

The magical aspect of this novel was strong, and Ananna’s naivety of magic and sometimes the boundaries was really amusing. However I felt like we could have delved more into the magic aspects and the spells and Naji’s assassin’s world. However, Clarke explains the secrecy, but I feel like I really need to know more about this to understand Naji as a character. For me, it would be interesting to view the world through his eyes for the second novel because I feel like then we’d uncover more of the world and the magic that surrounds it.

I may have a desire for knowledge of more about the worlds and the magical spells that Naji performs, but the writing itself was beautiful. Clarke crafts a scene that brings the smells, the streets and the sea to very life and it wraps you up and really drags you into the pages of The Assassin’s Curse.

Clarke has set up a thrilling debut here, with a lot of potential for more in the second novel. I urge you to pick up this fantasy novel when it hits the shelves because pirates, magic and adventure can be found in abundance and the novel is not corny at all.

My Rating:

4 books

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Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

* Quotes are taken from and uncorrected proof copy and may change in the final draft.

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The Darkest Day

The Darkest DayThe Darkest Day by Britt Brury
Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult
Series: Immortal Heat #1
Publication: July 3rd 2012 by Grand Central Publishing

 

ALL-CONSUMING DESIRE . . .
Izel Campbell was raised to believe she is an immortal Fionn with the magical skills of persuasion. But when she travels to Scotland to visit her ancestral home, Izel discovers that she is actually the world’s last living human. Forced to run for her life, Izel crosses paths with Kelvin Kerr, the Campbells’ greatest foe-and the most magnificent warrior she has ever seen.
BURNS BRIGHTEST . . .
A thousand-year-old battle chief of the Kerr clan, Kelvin lives only to avenge his father, who died at the hands of the bloody Campbells. Honor demands he kill the Campbell heir, but when he learns that the lovely Izel is both Campbell “and” human, Kelvin is torn between duty and desire . . . ON “THE DARKEST DAY.”

Review:

I’d heard some very positive things about this book before I even began reading, so I had hopes that it would reignite some of my passion for the paranormal-romance genre. I have to admit, this is the genre I read the most books for and truly adore reading books in. So I was hoping for something new and different and I certainly got it. I’ve never read the books that reside around highlanders or any of those sorts, but this is set in Scotland with a world full of paranormal creatures and just one remaining human. The premise for this story already had me hooked from the very first moment. At that point I’m just going to revert to the cover and I can I say, I drooled just the tiniest bit. A man holding a sword, with a toned, tanned body, can it get much more enticing?

From the very first moment this story had drawn me in and I found myself picking up a pad of paper to jot down a few quotes I liked—this is the first time I’ve done this. In large it was to help writing my review, but still, the fact that I wanted to do this, surprised me. One of my favourite quotes from the first few minutes of reading was…

“Too bad her cell phone didn’t work. Otherwise her Maps app would have taken her straight there.”

At this moment I knew we were in modern world, but then we seem to revert into a medieval setting with the castles and swords. It was so bizarre to see it meshed together, mobile phones, castles and swords. It took me a while to get my head around because when you get drawn into the trekking across country by foot and then suddenly Kelvin whips out a mobile phone it certainly caught me out. However it all becomes part of the story and you get really integrated into the world. I think it’s a fantastic idea to see modern and medieval all together and Brury took on a challenge and combined it perfectly!

The world itself is made up of four realms, The Earth Realm, The Cypher Realm, The Low Realm and The High Realm. A particularly useful feature was the glossary at the back to really go into depth about these. We didn’t really go into much detail about the four realms in the story, but I’m hoping this is something Brury will build on because I really appreciate a solid world. From the glossary we get a lot more information and some fun little descriptions about the worlds than Brury reveals in the whole of the novel and I found this a little disappointing. I want to be immersed in the four worlds whilst I’m reading not when I get to the end. Hopefully Brury will rectify this for the future and not leave us with some great little quotes at the end instead.

“Hell is not where a dark soul goes to rot…it is where an evil soul goes to thrive.”

See?! I want to know why she couldn’t have given us this IN the novel rather than as an addition at the end. I would have adored to read some world building to truly top this novel off.

Kelvin. He was melt in a puddle, oh-my-gosh worthy. Kelvin takes the dominant male to a whole different level, but he also has a sensitive side that comes across as the novel progresses. He’s also a dumbass male and needs to be reminded, hit and left to ponder his misdeeds for a while, but that only adds to the entertainment. He’s Scottish and Brury never lets you forget this with the accent she creates and upholds the whole way through the novel. And even whilst he’s Scottish, I could still understand him and imagine the voice in my head. I really love being able to do that! I thought he was a really strong male lead and you have to remember he’s a typical male so his thoughts are very sex related, but it’s not bordering on an obscene level.

“ But just the thought of tasting her olive skin and sucking on those crimson lips made his cock throb. He couldn’t remember ever wanting a female this bad.”

I liked that Brury didn’t take the obscenities and sexual language to an unbelievable or crass level which piqued my interest and kept me reading. Rather I felt absorbed and integrated in the passion of the moment. Everything felt intense and butterflies-in-your-stomach worthy. I really felt like the romance evolved over time, went through realistic challenges and whilst sex was used as an anchor and escape route, isn’t that all part of human nature in pushing aside problems with sex?

The creatures Brury created were not your vampires—although these got a mention—or even a werewolf but we had Fion and Pooka as the two main breeds. They each have their own paranormal aspects which get unveiled as the book goes along—I wouldn’t want to give too much away describing them—and they really add to the unique creation of this book!

Izel is a female character I found believable and a little bit tedious at times. I wanted to throttle her and say “GODDAMMIT STOP CRYING AND JUMP THE MAN!” However she had valid reasons for most of her behaviour and I did really like her character in the end. She was cute and quirky and she ended up being a little bit of sturdy no-shit character by the end of the story. I appreciated that about her because she developed as a character and really blossomed on her own.

To add to all the fabulous romance, steamy sex scenes, action and thrills, this book had some real humour and quirkiness for me that was brought with Kelvin’s cheeky character.

“I did no’ see a photo of a man in there. Can I assume—?” “That is none of your business.” “Aye, so no man.” His face stretched into a victorious grin as his eyes roamed over her body.”

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and found it a refreshing change in the paranormal-romance sector. I hope to see more from Brury soon and I don’t think you’ll find her disappointing!

My Rating:

4 books

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Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

* Quotes are taken from and uncorrected proof copy and may change in the final draft.

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 4 Books, Adult, Britt Brury, E-book, Grand Central Publishing, Paranormal Romance

Pushing the Limits

Pushing the LimitsPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Genre:
Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult
Expected Publication: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen

 

So wrong for each other…and yet so right. No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Review:

I just couldn’t put this down! From the very first moment I began this book I was drawn in and it literally became an addiction to finish. I stayed up late into the early hours of the morning to finish this book and I can safely say it has been an awfully long time since that happened! The last book I remember doing that with was one of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress books.

Whilst I wouldn’t call this book the perfect piece of literature (which I don’t believe there is) and it did have faults, I found that this book really evoked a response and an eager need to read in me, which I feel like I’ve been lacking in quite a few of the books I’ve read lately. So the refreshing feel this book brought me, certainly moves towards its appeal!

The models on the cover are close to how I depicted Noah and Echo in my mind, and I think it represents their relationship well.

Noah and Echo were two fantastic characters! Echo is a troubled teen girl, but I didn’t feel any of the usual rather annoying teen problems. Through Echo we tackle the issues of mental health and the view of the world. We look at the social pariah status she obtains from rumours and how popular people who were once her friends discard her for her choices. I think McGarry crafts Echo’s character to tackle issues in society in an emotional and realistic way. Not only does Echo move along a real journey over the book, I felt like I connected with her whilst reading.

We constantly split between both Echo and Noah’s perspective and this disrupted me at first, but then it began to flow really well and integrate the emotional response of both teens to get a rounded view on the plot.

Noah is a bad boy. However he has a side that is really in need of comfort. I’ve seen people point out that not everybody in foster care can end up in such a situation, but obviously his parents death had a profound effect upon his life and thus crafted his lifestyle choices. I don’t think Noah is a stereotyped foster care case, but he is a representation of a population of children that fall through the cracks in the care system. I found Noah suave and cheeky and whilst his mind might have been sex focused, he never pushed Echo passed a point she didn’t want to. He also stopped things when he recognised her inexperience which I really enjoyed seeing because it showed that teenage guys can be responsible.

They are two very endearing characters and their search for “normality” and a place to call safe and home is something that everybody wants and McGarry really brought this contemporary young-adult novel down to a level that could connect across the young to the slightly older generations! Whilst I wouldn’t recommend this book to my nan, I’d say anybody up to your thirties/forties is still likely to enjoy this!

This book is certainly emotional so be prepared for a roller coaster of a ride. You might need a tissue or two because I know I did! Also, be prepared to hate Echo’s parents. I can safely say, Ashley was the wicked step-mother in this story. She pretended to be nice and friendly, but somewhere beneath that it really felt like a facade and even by the end of the story, my feelings towards Ashley were not ones of kindness. Her father has redeemable moments and I could appreciate his character by the end, but they are certainly not loving parents that you could wish to be your own!

However, my favourite adult figure has to be the therapist Mrs. Collins who was smart and witty and always had Echo and Noah’s best interests at heart. I had to laugh at her road rage and driving skills, especially upon Noah’s many recommendations to teach her how to drive. For me Mrs. Collins was the saving of both Noah and Echo and she really was my third favourite character!

The only think I’d have to say against this book would be sometimes the pet names Noah seemed to create for Echo could be a tad overbearing. However, I think this is more McGarry trying to reflect teenage thinking because it seems the rage for you to call you girlfriend “baby” or “cutie-pie” or something else sickeningly sweet.

I can safely say I adored this one! It has to be one of my favourite young-adult novels of the year and I will be rushing out to get a copy for my shelves when it comes out. I suggest you do the same too! All I can say is, McGarry has certainly made an entrance with her debut novel.

My Rating:

5 books

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When Darkness Hungers

When Darkness HungersWhen Darkness Hungers by J.K. Beck
Genre:
Paranormal-Romance, Adult
Series: The Shadow Keepers #5
Published: June 26th 2012 by Random House Publishing Group

FBI agent Alexis Martin knows that vampires exist—because one of them killed her sister. Assigned to investigate a series of bizarre homicides in Los Angeles, Alexis believes the murders are the work of rogue vampires—perhaps even the monster responsible for her sister’s death. Now she finally has a chance for retribution. Even better, Alexis receives unexpected help from a sexy stranger as hungry for rogue blood as she is. Serge is a centuries-old bad boy who stays off the grid—keeping his secrets, his hunger, and his heart safe from exposure. A new breed of vampire that feeds off other shadowers, Serge finds sweet torture in Alexis’s arms. Loving her is a chance to be free from the hiding, the loneliness, the secrecy. But the truth about what he is, and what he’s done, may banish him to the dark confines of his own private hell—and destroy the beginnings of their love.

Review:

I’ve never read any of the books in this series so I can’t speak for the rest of the books and how it interlinks with the series. However the premise for this sounded great so I just had to scoop it up of NetGalley! I’m glad to say I did because it was a very good paranormal-romance book and I think I may have to invest in the previous books to this series.

Lets start with the bad parts first. There aren’t many. I felt like this was predictable a lot, but I guess when you come to read paranormal-romance books you expect the guy to get the girl and all to end happily. So that probably is something I’m going to have to accept, but nevertheless it can make the reading a little redundant at times. I also found aspects of the plot to follow my assumptions and this makes it a little tedious. Although I’m quite perceptive at times, but it still makes me feel like J.K. Beck could have altered things a little to make it less of what we expect and more spicy and new.

However, on the good side I found the book well written and engaging throughout. It was enjoyable and full of action. We integrated lots of different aspects that I haven’t read in other paranormal-romance books with the FBI, paranormal divisions in government made up of other creatures and little gangs of vampires. It certainly made for an exciting read when we had many different aspects dragged into this book to keep a changing scene regularly.

Alexis was a strong female character and I appreciated her kick-ass enthusiasm and personality. She was set upon tracking down the killer of her sister and avenging her. Her morals were strong and she could fight for herself. We witnessed a build up of history and a tragic past. I suppose that could become predictable for most heroines these days since they tend to have to have a reasoning for their behaviour. She wasn’t all that smart at times, but her physical strength tended to overrule this and I enjoyed the aspect of her training herself to be a fighting machine. I found that she didn’t push Sergius away in a whiny way because she hated vampires, but she accepted him and who he was and this allowed me to enjoy the novel more.

Sergius was the character I fell deeply in love with. He was a tormented, sexy man who never believed himself good but recognised the world as it was. I found it very easy to fall in love with the man and he certainly swept Alexis of her feet. He was a brooding man, who could easily seduce Alexis and me! The seduction was rather satisfying and not overdone or crude which I appreciated. I felt like we lacked a real build up to the actual relationship, but this was probably due to the whole relationship being a whirlwind one of instant attraction. At the end I don’t think we covered a real talk to satisfy my need of their relationship being solved, but it fitted well-ish together to be appreciated.

I appreciated the novel starting in the past where we witnessed Sergius in his youth as a vampire and a key event that has moulded his life. It also allowed us to see characters that would be seen in the future and create real problems and I enjoyed being able to link past and present together. It also added to the ability of being able to reflect the length and torment of Sergius’ long life.

Something that I thoroughly loved was Beck bringing lots of the paranormal aspects and creatures into this story. We concentrated more on witches and vampires in this one, but other creatures were mentioned and lingered upon to open the world up wider. I feel that sometimes in the paranormal-romance sector we focus on a single type of creature and don’t witness the intertwining of the paranormal world and I really enjoyed reading about more than just one supernatural creature. It was nice to see a broad width of the paranormal scope rather than a sheltered view.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and happily read it. Whilst it wasn’t mind-blowing I’d be happy to read the other books in the series! A nice addition to the paranormal-romance genre. I’ll also be looking out for the next novel in the series out later this year!

*This was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for a review*

My Rating:

3.5 books

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Embrace the Dark

Embrace The Dark

Title: Embrace the Dark

Author: Caris Roane

Series: The Blood Rose Series #1

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Vampires, Adult

Expected Publication: July 1st 2012 by Spencerhill Associates, Ltd.

Plot:

Enter a world of blood-starved mastyr vampires and the rare women who can satisfy their deepest needs…
How can he resist his blood rose…
Gerrod, mastyr vampire of the Merhaine Realm, never thought to have his blood-needs satisfied by a mere human. But Abigail is no ordinary woman. She stuns him with her telepathy as well as the richness of her blood. However, her human DNA makes her an unacceptable mate. Yet how can Gerrod turn her away when she alone has satisfied his blood-starvation for the first time in a hundred-and-fifty-years?
Will she fall to temptation and give herself to a vampire…
When the dreaded enemy of all realm-folk, the Invictus, attacks at a fae wedding, Abigail’s simple human life gets turned upside down. She doesn’t know if she has the courage to pursue a path that means giving herself body and soul to a mastyr vampire. Will she return to her normal existence in Flagstaff, Arizona? Or will she embrace the dark…
Embrace the Dark is the first in The Blood Rose Series.

Review:

I just can’t continue…

This book had such a great premise and I was really excited to start it. I thought this short novel was really going to grip and thrill me and I felt like it fell too far flat on it’s face. In general most of the short stories I’ve read haven’t been fantastic and I’ve been searching for one to wow me because surely every short story cannot be dreadful? I know as a child I found many fabulously written ones, and now it seems for an adult audience authors simply cannot provide.

Unfortunately when I began to read, I found it stilted, hard to bear and just drab. There was moments that looked like they were about to be fantastic where we were just introduced to Abigail and she seemed a strong, independent woman and then suddenly she’d just thrown this all away and jumped on the Gerrod bandwagon. Personally I just couldn’t finish which is a rarity for me, usually I’m resilient and push my way to the end, but with this one, I couldn’t do it. I managed to get over half way through this short novel and then skim read and just gave up, it really didn’t thrill me. That’s probably the biggest disappointment that nothing was exciting or adrenaline pumping, it felt more of a fluffy romance tale.

Gerrod as a character was perhaps swoon-worthy and redeemable in the sense that he cared about his people and had a conscience, but he just didn’t work for me. There wasn’t a spark that made me yearn after him, nor did I find Abigail’s sudden epiphany that the male protagonist is wonderful and kind and other fluffy things. He starts out to be a brooding man with problems and this seems to vanish from the start of the story. I just couldn’t understand him… He didn’t stick to his traits and the gushing that eventually came from Abigail was surprising.

Especially when the two have very little emotional connection and suddenly we find ourselves drawn into their bed and euphemisms passing easily between them while they engage in intimate acts, that was really upfront and a little bold for this story which had been flowing at a sedate pace until then.

It felt like the author forgot the characters and plot she was writing and just turned them into perfect people who were suddenly in love. Abigail for me gained a Mary Sue quality and along with the stilted writing I found it hard to engage with the story. Nothing really drew me in and I couldn’t find something to latch on and enjoy.

For me this is a poor example of paranormal romance when I compare it to the likes of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Psy-Changeling series that I’m currently reading, it’s probably safe to say the high expectations I had would not be met.

I’d suggest bypassing this one and moving onto something more time worth. That’s not to say it’s irredeemably terrible, I just couldn’t face to read any more.

My Rating:

 1 book

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