Book Review: Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren

9935444Title: Torrent
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Series: River of Time #3
ISBN: 978-1434764294
Publisher: David C. Cook
Pub. Date: September 2011
Source: Publisher/Author
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance/Christian Fiction
Pages: 388
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series. 

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times. But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Right now, there are 2 types of people in the world: 1) those who have read The River of Time series and 2) those who have never read it. If you are in that second group, then please do, these books are epic.

(SPOILER ALERT=some spoilers)
Okay, now for those of you in that first group, get ready to feel like you will burst from all of the emotional energy you will have while reading this book. It is pure epicness.
Even though the central goal in the beginning is to get Fortino back. That is just a small battle in the whole war. Actually this book made me realize how big this really was. In Waterfall, we aren’t really aware of just how high the stakes are raised, everything is tense, but life does go on. In Cascade, we are made aware of the waging war, but it still doesn’t hit us. It’s not until book three, Torrent, that we fully acknowledge the scale.
In Waterfall, Gabi is brought into the past, unprepared, and even a bit naive (not much though). Throughout Waterfall and Cascade she learns that in order to survive and protect the ones she loves, she has to make choices and sacrifices. Almost every one of them are not easy. Most are dangerous and life threatening. But through all these experiences she learns that life is short, and is meant to be lived. Gabi is tested, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In Torrent, Gabi starts to feel the stress from everything she has done. All the exertion, all the fighting, everything pushes her to her limits.
What I love most about this series is Ms. Bergren’s ability to really pull the reader into the book. Every chapter had me screaming, crying, smiling, and jumping out of my seat. I started this book while on a plane and I think the kid sitting next to me thought I was crazy. I was so into this book that I completely forgot where I was and started tearing up, making exclamations out loud, and moving around in my seat when the energy from all the suspense was too much to take sitting still. There were so many of these moments throughout the book, that it never lags. The pace is perfect!
Another reason why I love this series, is the characters. All the characters grow and change throughout the books. As a reader, we are only keyed into Gabi’s thoughts and feelings. Like every normal teenager, she is constantly questioning everything: her faith, her relationships, her morals, etc. Ms. Bergren takes the reader on the adventure with Gabi, which is so cool!
The Plot: Ms. Bergren doesn’t disappoint at all. After reading Waterfall, I had no clue how Cascade would hold up. Well, it exceeded all my expectations and more. Then, I began to feel the same about Torrent. How would this epic series end? With a bang? Or with disappointment? I was seriously hoping to love the ending. And….I DID! I was constantly left guessing what would happen next; Torrent was completely unpredictable. In fact, when books get too suspenseful, I usually end up sneaking a peak at the end (please don’t yell at me!). It took everything, and I mean everything, I had not to do this. I love this series too much, to ruin it for myself.
The action, was a huge bonus in this book. Seriously, it is action-packed up until the very end. I’m not exaggerating. Just when you think its all over, its not. Which is GREAT!
Now onto our swoon-worthy heroes.
Dear Marcello, ahhh, my love. I love him! I do, but about half-way through, I decided to accept the fact that Marcello and Gabi were made for each other. So my sights moved onto Greco. Oh My Gosh! Lord Greco is now my favorite swoon-worthy Italian man in this series. He completely shocked me with his loyalty. I didn’t really like him in Cascade, but I loved him in Torrent. And now I’m gushing just thinking about him. Ahhh.
Ms. Bergren, you are my hero! I love this series. In fact, the second I finished Torrent, I said “This series is better than Twilight!” (Please Twi-hards, don’t kill me!) I love Twilight, but the writing, plot, characters, and setting of The River of Time series were all so much better. This series is definitely one of my favorite series EVER. I can’t recommend this these books enough! It deserves 5 BILLION Kisses!

BIG Thank-you to Ms. Bergren and David C. Cook for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Torrent (River of Time, #3)

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Book Review: Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Title: Everlasting
Author: Angie Frazier
Series: Everlasting #1
ISBN: 978-0545114738
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub. Date: June 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Romance/Adventure/Fantasy
Pages: 336
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.
On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.
The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.
Beautifully written and feverishly paced, Everlasting is an unforgettable journey of passion, secrecy, and adventure.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Several months before Camille’s marriage, she goes on one last voyage with her father.  Just before reaching their destination in Australia, Camille discovers a secret her father has kept for 16 years-her mother did not die during childbirth and she is still alive. Before Camille can extract more information from her father, the ship goes down with her father-leaving Camille in the care of Oscar, her father’s first mate.  He agrees to go with Camille to see her mother and get the map to the stone of Umandu.  If Camille can get to the stone before her father’s rival, then she can bring her father back to life.  With the help of Ira, their Australian guide, and Monty, Oscar and Camille travel through the wild Outback.  With each day comes a bunch of near-death experiences and fast paced action scenes.
I wanted to love this book.  The first half of the book was a bit disappointing.  There were a few really juicy scenes that I loved, but overall, I thought it was okay.  The second half blew me away.  I found myself flipping rooting for Oscar and Camille.  I loved their relationship.  Oscar was constantly caring for Camille.  He saves her life many times throughout the book.  It’s so cute.  My absolute favorite part of the whole book was actually in the beginning when they were on the ship and the storm was bringing it down.  Camille ran on deck and was scared.  Oscar embraced her and said “My Camille” calming her and letting her know that he’d keep her safe.  It was just TOO cute.  My heart was melting!  Basically whenever Oscar opened his mouth I was melting.  He just had that effect on me.  I found Camille, while ahead of her time with her independence, quite selfish at times.  I thought choosing to marry Randall instead of pursuing her interest in Oscar, at the beginning of the novel, because her father’s business was failing was honorable of her.  However, there was one scene where I wanted to slap her.  She basically was wondering why she couldn’t marry Randall and still continue her thing with Oscar.  I mean come on!  That is so selfish.  She only decides it wouldn’t work, not because its wrong, but because she thinks Oscar wouldn’t like to be considered second best.  But I other than that I thought she was brave and had a back-bone.  I loved Ira.  He was so funny-kind of like an uncle.  He stuck with them through their journey even though he would get nothing out of it.
While I was disappointed with this book, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a swashbuckling adventure.  Everlasting read like a movie.  I literally could see everything very clearly in my mind, including music!  Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets Titanic.  It was great.  I liked Everlasting and will definitely be reading the next book when it comes out.

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Everlasting (Everlasting, #1)
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Book Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Title: Bayou Moon
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #2
ISBN: 978-0441019458
Publisher: Ace
Pub. Date: September 2010
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal
Pages: 447
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: Cerise Mar and her clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect. But all is not as it seems.
Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge-and Cerise’s life.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Bayou Moon is the second novel of Ilona Andrews’s The Edge series.  It follows William’s story two years after the events of On the Edge.  William is sent on a mission by The Mirror to find the object that Spider, the villain, is looking for.  On his way to the Mire, a swamp area in the Edge (where Spider is), he is forced to travel with a homeless-looking girl, Cerise.  He later finds out that it was only a disguise.  As soon as he sees what she really looks like, he wants her.  Then, when he sees how she fights, he wants her more.  Cerise’s parents were handed over to Spider by her family’s enemy.  After running into several creatures and hunters looking for her, William decides to stick with her, for the time being anyway.  Nothing is as it seems.  Lies, blood, and death surround Cerise as she tries to find her parents and destroy those that get in her way.
Ilona Andrews floored me with the amazing characterization in this book.  William was so complex!  He is a changeling-both human and wolf.  There are times when he acts and thinks like a human.  However, with every strong emotion, the wolf comes out-maybe not physically, but mentally.  Whenever this happens his thoughts go from normal and rational to “I want….” and “Must have…..”   Very primal.  Cerise notices when he switches to wolf-mode.  She can see it in his eyes, but she doesn’t know that he is a changeling.  Andrews juggles the two mind-frames very well.  Changelings, in their fundamental nature, act on instinct, not thought.  William always has to remind himself that he is also human and he cannot just take what he wants; he has to ask for it and be ready for rejection if it comes.  This was very sad yet admirable.  He really wanted to be with Cerise for most of the book.  He always reminded himself that women didn’t want him; he was a monster that could not be loved.  William had to deal with a ton of inner conflict, besides the wolf/human one.  He was always scared that once Cerise found out who he was, she wouldn’t want him anymore.  Before he can be with Cerise, he has to come to terms with his past and that it does not define him-his actions define him.
I felt so bad for Cerise.  After her parents are kidnapped she has to lead the family in a battle not only against their rival clan, but also Spider.  Meanwhile, her younger sister is slowly going insane-thinking she is a monster who deserves to live in the woods.  Because she is the new head, she has to hold her emotions in so that the family respects her.  The only person she truly lets in is William.  She trusts him, and loves him.  Because he looks like a Blueblood, noble of the Weird, she calls him Lord Bill when she first meets him.  Even though it was just used to mock at first, she continues to call him this as the story progresses.  I love the nickname, its so cute.  It has a teasing/flirty edge to it in the book.
There were a lot of different elements mixed into Bayou Moon.  First, there was a lot of gore, violence, and family feuding going on.  The action is suspenseful and bloody.  The fight scenes were depicted with a great attention to detail.  I felt like I was in the middle of them.  There were times when I was definitely shutting my eyes and muttering “ew.”  Second, there was romance.  William and Cerise’s relationship was intense.  There were a lot of “almost” scenes.  They were both obviously attracted to each other.  Cerise even admits to her family that she loves him, but he can’t take a hint.  William is very straightforward and doesn’t understand flirting.  He also doesn’t believe she wants him so he always pulls himself back when he wants to kiss her (or more).  This leads to many tension filled scenes that had me screaming “Just kiss her already!”
I liked On the Edge a bit better than Bayou Moon.  Not too sure why, but Bayou Moon is still a great book.  It’s emotional, action-packed, and romantic.  The other characters, besides William and Cerise, are for the most part three-dimensional.  There were so many, I thought I’d get confused (especially within Cerise’s big family) but Ilona Andrews did such a great job writing them, that it never was the case.  Rose, Declan, and the boys from On the Edge appear briefly at the end-which was nice.  All in all, I thought Ilona Andrews crafted an excellent book.

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Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)

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