Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast



Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.


Zoey Redbird's life could not get much worse.  Sure, they saved Stevie Rae's humanity but everyone is beyond pissed at her, Neferet has lost her mind and fallen off the path of the Goddess, and the only person she has to rely on is Aphrodite and she is no longer a fledgling.  Aphrodite is now Nyx's human prophetests and her latest visions see Zoey dead.  The only bright side is that her and Heath's imprint is broke and she now has zero boyfriends as opposed to the very confusing three boyfriends.   When a new guy, Stark, shows up at the Tulsa House of Night, Zoey plans to steer clear, that is until he died in her arms after they had a deep and serious connection.  But as we all no not all that die at this House of Night stay dead.  So much for things being uncomplicated.  Untamed is the fabulous fourth installment of the House of Night series that has magic, friendship, good vs evil, and uniqueness that will blow your mind away.


As a dog person I love that there is a dog at the House of Night that is so over flown with cats.  Dutchess adds a friendlyness to the book that only dogs have in real life.  Her love and loyalty for Stark is literally heart breaking and she is in some seriously funny parts of the book that literally had me laughing my butt off.

Aphrodite has been through some major changes throughout the series so far.  She started out the 'hag from hell' we all loved to hate.  But slowly, you begin to see behind her tough exterior and realize that she's actually kind of awesome.  She is smart, smart assed, loyal, and strong.  She is the only person that would help Zoey when everyone else abandoned her and she is the only person, besides Zoey, that Neferet can't read.  She will fight tooth and nail for the people that she cares about.

There are several new characters in this book that are awesome.  Particularly Darius, Stark, and Shekinah.  Darius is a Son of Erebus warrior that we don't completely get to know yet but he's protective and smart and probably the only person, besides Zoey and Stevie Rae that actually likes Aphrodite.  Stark is the new kid at the House of Night.  Hot and Cocky but smart and sensitive he seems like an awesome guy.  Plus he's a dog lover!  He is also gifted by Nyx which is why Neferet seems so interested in him.  Shekinah is the High Priestess of all High Priestesses.  Her power is amazing, power, and even for the reader a bit fightening.

The House of Night books are in my top five favorite series of all books so far.  Have any of you all read them?  Got mad love for the House of Night vamps?  

The House of Night Series is written by P.C. and Kristen Cast.  P.C. cast has written several series and she has received several awards for them.  Kristin Cast is P.C.’s daughter and has written a few other series herself.  She currently goes to college in Oklahoma, where they both live.  To learn more visit www.pccast.net.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Incendiary by Amy A. Bartol

**Spoiler Alert: If you haven't caught up with the other books in the Premonition series, then you may want to hold off on reading this review.**
"Cold, fine drops of rain fall softly on my cheeks as I emerge from the darkness of the ship’s interior to the gray, overcast sky of the main deck. Pulling my dark pea coat tighter to my body, the wind lifts red tendrils of my hair. I walk slowly to the railing overlooking the water. 

I catch my first sight of the Irish coastline; its craggy landscape makes me shiver in dread. I find it difficult to imagine now how the Gancanagh had made this their home for so long without anyone realizing it. The cold, moss-covered edifices practically scream their presence. As I study the shadows between the falling-down stone, I imagine creeping shapes of undead Faeries grasping the rock, waiting for our ship to draw nearer to their position. 

Tipping my face up, I let the rain wash over me. It bathes away the frigid sweat of fear that has broken on my brow. “You don’t know how fiercely beautiful you are, do you?” A quiet voice behind me asks, causing me to stiffen and fix my eyes on the rocks along the shoreline."
Once again, Evie and her friends are attempting to find a way to eradicate the Gancanagh while trying to keep Brennus from getting his hands on Evie. But this time, there are some new players to help Evie, Reed, and the gang, even though they want to control everything about the situation - including Evie herself. Can Evie and her friends manage to stop their enemy, while still keeping Evie safe from these newcomers? Incendiary is the fourth book in Amy Bartol's Premonition series.

As with the other three books in this series, I enjoyed the relationship between Reed and Evie, but this book provided another relationship that I grew to enjoy just as much as the main one. Russell meets a new character in this book who becomes very important to him. It was nice to finally see another character share a bond similar to the one that Evie shares with Reed in this series. Also, the familiarity of these characters will always be a plus for this series for me. I love how easy it is for me to relate to them while I'm reading.

Even though there were things that I liked about this book, Incendiary had a few things that I didn't particularly care for. For starters, I don't like that the plot in this book is the same that it's been for the past three books - trying to eliminate the Gancanagh and keep Evie from Brennus. After three books that have focused on this goal, I feel like it's time for the characters to move on to something new, and I'm hoping that they do in the next installment. This was something that nearly kept me from finishing Incendiary. I just felt like the plot was tired and it made me want to stop reading altogether. Another thing I didn't really enjoy was the fact that a new character was introduced in this book who is supposed to be Reed's rival for Evie. Like Russell, this new guy is connected to Evie's past - she just doesn't remember. What I don't like about this, aside from the fact that it's already been done in this series with Russell, is that it gives the impression that everyone is in love with Evie. This is something that really took away from my enjoyment of the book, too.

I rate this book: 


I really wanted to like this book. And I'm still holding out hope for the next book in the series. But there were just too many things that bothered me and made me want to quit reading Incendiary. As always, please don't take my word for it. If you've read the other books in the Premonition series, then I still want to recommend that you keep reading. Hopefully, you like it better than I did. And, if you're like me, maybe the next one will make up for it.

 Amy A. Bartol lives in Michigan with her husband and their two sons. Her family is very supportive of her writing. When she's writing, they often bring her the take-out menu so that she can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when she talks about her characters like they're real. They rarely roll their eyes when she tells them she'll only be a second while she finishes writing a chapter...and then they take off their coats. They ask her how the story is going when she surfaces after living for hours in a world of her own making. They have learned to accept her "writing uniform," consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at her nerdy bookishness whenever she tries to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get her, so they are perfect and she feels blessed. Check out her website: http://www.amyabartol.com.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: Dolmarehn by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson

**Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read Faelorehn yet, then you'll want to hold off on reading this review.**
"A year ago, Meghan Elam learned that she was Faelorehn, a being of the Otherworld. Immortal. Now she must juggle her life in the mortal world with the one she has started to build in the Otherworld. However, keeping her identity secret from her friends and family while trying to avoid a wrathful Celtic goddess is no easy task.

With the help of the intriguing Cade MacRoich, Meghan will learn that not only does she come from a place full of magic and wonder but that she, too, is far more powerful than she ever thought possible."
Meghan's had an interesting year, to say the very least/ She's discovered the answer to why she's been so different from everyone in her family all of her life -- Meghan's an immortal Faelorehn from the Otherworld.  She's also just barely survived her confrontation the Morrigan, an ancient Celtic goddess who resides in the Otherworld and is bent on killing her and taking her magic from her. And, on top of all that, Meghan is struggling to deal with her growing feelings for Cade MacRoich, the young man who has not only given her the answers she so desperately desired, but has also protected her from the Morrigan's creatures for the past year. Throw in the fact that she's just starting her senior year of high school, and things couldn't get any more complicated for Meghan Elam - or so she thinks. Dolmarehn is the second book in Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's Otherworld trilogy and it, like the first book in the series, will leave you craving more of Meghan's story.

I rate this book: 


Quite often, I will read the first book in a series and then have to put the series aside because the second book hasn't come out yet. As a result, I will usually forget about a series for a time while I wait for the next installment. This is exactly what happened with Johnson's Otherworld series. I read the first book, Faelorehn, and loved it, but I had to put the series aside as the second book wasn't even remotely close to coming out yet. More than six months later, I remembered the series and finally got my hands on Dolmarehn. And I'm so glad that I did. This book reminded me of everything that I loved about Faelorehn and made me just as eager to continue the story as I was before. I instantly fell back in love with the relationship between Cade and Meghan in this book. With this series, I quickly became invested in the lives of both Cade and Meghan; this left me rooting for them as though they were actual people, instead of just characters in a book. 

Something else I really enjoyed in this book was Johnson's development of Meghan herself. It's always nice to see such a strong female character at the center of the story. It was also refreshing to watch Meghan transform into that strong character throughout the course of the plot in Dolmarehn. Seeing everything she's gone through in a year's time in the story, it was nice - and quite a relief - for her to be able to stand up against everything and come out stronger than ever. Not many authors are capable of developing their characters in such a way, but I think Johnson has done it quite well. I also loved Johnson's inclusion of several other Celtic gods and goddesses in Dolmarehn. In the world this author has created, the Otherworld is ruled by these ancient gods and goddesses whose histories are rooted in the legends of the ancient Celts of the mortal world. What I found so interesting about this particular aspect of the story was the fact that legends mentioned in Dolmarehn are ones that readers can look up on their own, to learn more about them. It's always refreshing, at least for me, when there's a bit of history tied in with the fiction.

While I genuinely enjoyed this book, there was one thing that I didn't particularly care for while I was reading it. As I said, Meghan really transformed into a strong character, but reading her thoughts while that transformation was taking place did tend to get a bit repetitive. The character would often cycle back to the same worries and fears multiple times throughout the novel, which got to be a bit painful to read after a while.  Regardless, I wholeheartedly recommend this series to any and everyone who is willing to check it out. If you haven't yet read Faelorehn, then you should pick that one up first, obviously. If you're anything like me, that'll be all you need to convince you to continue the story with Dolmarehn

Jenna Elizabeth Johnson grew up and still resides on the Central Coast of California, a place she finds as magical and enchanting as the worlds she creates. She received a BA in Art Practice with a minor in Celtic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. It was during her time in college that she decided to begin her first novel, The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding. Reading such works as Beowulf, The Mabinogi, and The Second Battle of Maige Tuired in her Scandinavian and Celtic Studies courses finally inspired her to start writing down her own tales of adventure and fantasy. She also enjoys creating the many images and maps for her various worlds. Besides writing and drawing, she is often found reading, gardening, camping, hiking and bird watching. For more on the author and her books, and for contact information, visit www.oescienne.com or her blog www.jennaelizabethjohnson.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: Indebted by Amy A. Bartol

**Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read Intuition, then you may want to hold off on reading this review.**
"I hang my head in sorrow for just a moment when I know I am truly alone. I feel like I’m going to my execution, just as he had said. Then I move forward again. I hop a fence of fieldstone and cross a field dotted with Queen Anne’s lace. Goose bumps rise on my arms as I pass the cluster of windmills that I have seen in a dream. The scent is sweet in the field though, not the scent of heat, like it had been when it was forced upon me in visions. I gaze down the hill, beyond the small, whitewashed house that I knew would be there. The church looms dark and grim with its rough-hewn, timber fa├žade, capped by tall, oblong spires reaching to the sky. Black, ominous clouds have collected above the roofline, as if Heaven is showing me the way."
Evie and her friends are on the run from Brennus, the leader of the Gancanagh who will do whatever it takes to secure her as his queen. Reed will do whatever necessary to keep that from happening - even if it means refusing to let Evie in on his plans to protect her from the beings who are pursuing her. But his actions soon cause Evie to make decisions that put her directly in harm's way so that she can protect the ones she loves. Now that she's been cut off from everyone she's tried to save, will she be able to survive in the strange environment of the Gancanagh long enough to make it back to the friends that have so quickly become her family? Indebted is the third book in Amy Bartol's Premonition series.

I was really excited to read this book, considering how much I enjoyed the first two books in the series. And, in some ways, this book didn't disappoint in that regard. Something I liked about this book was how familiar the characters had become to me throughout this series. They were a big part of what kept my interest in the story from dwindling. And I still enjoyed how Reed and Evie's relationship developed throughout the course of this book, too.

Even though I love the characters and I really loved the first two books in this series, Indebted didn't flow quite as well as the previous two books. The story itself felt rushed and scattered throughout much of the book. But, what really bothered me more than anything was the way that Evie would always do things to get herself in trouble. I felt like a lot of the problems she had, she brought on herself and it was something that really annoyed me while I was reading this book.

I rate this book: 


As always, the reviews posted here are strictly the opinions of the reviewers. And we certainly don't want you guys to miss out on a book that you may actually enjoy solely because of the ratings that we give here. So, don't take my word about this book - check out this series, and see for yourself. After all, everyone has a different opinion when it comes to books. If you haven't yet read any of Amy Bartol's Premonition series, then you should pick up Inescapable first. If you've read the first two books, then be sure to check out Indebted. You may like it better than I did.

Amy A. Bartol lives in Michigan with her husband and their two sons. Her family is very supportive of her writing. When she's writing, they often bring her the take-out menu so that she can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when she talks about her characters like they're real. They rarely roll their eyes when she tells them she'll only be a second while she finishes writing a chapter...and then they take off their coats. They ask her how the story is going when she surfaces after living for hours in a world of her own making. They have learned to accept her "writing uniform," consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at her nerdy bookishness whenever she tries to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get her, so they are perfect and she feels blessed. Check out her website: http://www.amyabartol.com.