Book Review: Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Title: Angel Star
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Series: Angel Star #1
ISBN: 978-0982500538
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing LLC
Pub. Date: May 2010
Genre: YA/Supernatural/ Romance/Angels/Fantasy/Christian
Pages: 256
Rating:  2/5

From Goodreads:  Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.
But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel’s malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.
Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel’s sacrifice collides with another angel’s vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Angel Star, written by Jennifer Murgia, is the story about good vs evil, or light vs. dark.  Teagan’s life isn’t that great:  she has only one friend, Claire, is the object of torture by a group of girls at school, is plagued by nighmares, and her father disappeared when she was a baby.  One day while sitting on a bench, a new transfer student, Garreth, approaches and talks to her.  He seems to shine/glow.  She realizes that not only does she feel strongly for him, he makes her feel safe from the nightmares and the dark shadows that seem to follow her.  Garreth is her guardian angel.  He has watched over her and kept her safe for years.  He is finally allowed to appear to her as a human, but only for eight days.  During those eight days her destiny will be revealed.
I had mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked the chemistry between Garreth and Teagan.  Their bond was beautiful.  Whenever Teagan was worried he would breathe for her, calming her.  It was so sweet.  Their dynamic was the best part of the book.  Hadrian, Lucifer’s brother, is the dark angel.  He tries to corrupt people’s guardian angels so that he can control humans.  Garreth and Teagan are constantly running from him.  When Hadrian starts targeting people close to Teagan, they stand and fight.  While Garreth symbolizes light, Hadrian represents the darkness.  Teagan finds herself drawn to Hadrian and the darkness only to be reminded of her light, Garreth.  This situation is parallel to the good-angel-bad-angel-on-your-shoulders.  Both are trying to pull Teagan in different directions and get her to do something.  It is both an internal and outward struggle for Teagan.
There were many things I didn’t like about this book.  There were times when I was confused as to the location of the characters; one minute they are talking in the car, the dialogue going, with no mention of leaving the car then all of a sudden they are in the park on a swing set swinging.  There were times when I couldn’t tell the difference between her nightmares and reality because she kept “waking up” suddenly in her bed like it was all a bad dream.  I could never tell if the action sense took place in her nightmare or in reality.  I really liked the basic story of Angel Star.  I think Jennifer Murgia could have slowed it down a bit by adding more detail to the action scenes and adding more depth to the characters.
Overall, this book wasn’t for me.  I didn’t really like it.  In all honesty, I only continued reading, and will probably read the sequel, Lemniscate, because of Garreth and Teagan’s relationship.  Their connection was deep, like down to the soul deep.  It was fascinating.  Jennifer Murgia’s idea was fresh and different from many of the angel books I’ve read.

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Angel Star (Angel Star, #1)

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Book Review: Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell

Title: Blood of the Maple
Author: Dana Marie Bell
Series: Maggie’s Grove #1
ISBN: B004RQD3XO
Publisher: Carina Press
Pub. Date: April 2011
Source: Net Galley
Genre: Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/Supernatural/Fantasy/Romance
Words: 78,000
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads: A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie’s Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn’t experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn’t long before craving gives in to need.
In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She’s scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She’s convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she’s not one of the O-positive set, and can’t believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.
When the witch who’s been plaguing Parker’s life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie’s Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

My Reveries and Ramblings: I had such a hard time rating this book.  There were so many things I really liked about this book, but at the same time there were plenty of things that I didn’t like.  Blood of the Maple is about a playboy vampire, Parker, who moves to Maggie’s Grove with his best friend and ghost, Greg.  Maggie’s Grove is one of the only, if not the only, towns in the US that is completely supernatural.  Shortly after arriving, Parker meets Amara, a powerful dryad who lives next door.  They fall in love, but their relationship, and the town,  is threatened by Parker’s ex, an obsessive crazy witch who has been following Parker for years.
Amara is a really powerful dryad who was raised by a kind woman.  For reasons unknown to Amara, but revealed later in the book, the townspeople avoid her.  When they are not ignoring her, they are outwardly horrible to her.  Even though most of Maggie’s Grove hates her, she has a few friends, but she is still very lonely.  Amara spends most of her time in her garden and conversing with her tree.
After escaping from his ex, who was trying to make it so he could only drink from her blood, so they will be together forever, Parker is stuck drinking plant-like blood.  Before Amara, Greg would make a smoothie with a few drops of his blood mixed with certain plants.  After Greg dies and becomes a ghost, they move to Maggie’s Grove, where Parker falls in love with Amara and the final showdown with his ex takes place.
Maggie’s Grove is such a quant town.  It’s like a supernatural version of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.  Everyone knows everyone.  The beings that inhabit Maggie’s Grove are shapeshifters, vampires, psychics, witches, dryads, etc.  When Parker’s ex threatens the town to get to Parker, everyone comes together to fight her.
I loved the fresh take on the supernatural.  The problems I had with this book had to do with all the random sex scenes.  Some were appropriately placed but I felt that others were just unneeded.  Yes, I know this is a paranormal romance-stressing the romance, but still. Having said that, I still liked this book and will definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out.

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Blood of the Maple (Maggie's Grove, #1)

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Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy #1
ISBN: 9780061985843
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub. Date: August 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance
Pages: 352
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.  But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.  So much for normal.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  I really enjoyed this book.  If I had to give a one word review for this book it would be AWESOME.  It was so much fun.  Kiersten White weaved together a fantastic story stuffed with action, suspense, a bit of mystery, romance, and just about everything paranormal.
Paranormalcy is told through Evie’s POV.  Evie grew up in the foster care system, never knowing her parents, until she was 8 years old.  That was when she was almost the victim of a vampire attack.  She freaked out in front of the vampire because she could see through his glamour to the dead corpse beneath it.  This ability caught the attention of the agent “bagging and tagging” the vampire.  No other paranormal or human can see through paranormal glamour.  Since Evie didn’t have a family, the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) adopted her.  Her mother figure, Raquel, makes sure Evie is tutored as well as trained.  At 16, she can successfully “bag-and-tag” a paranormal.  Even though the IPCA is much better than the foster care system, Evie still longs to go to a normal high school, complete with a locker and friends.  The only friend she has is a mermaid, Lish, who talks through a monotone communicator since she can’t actually speak English and lives underwater.  When a paranormal takes the shape of Raquel and starts looking through her office, Evie, who can see through his glamour, tasers him (with Tasey!).  When he drops to the ground unconscious, he turns transparent, like water, but still solid like a person.  Evie succumbs to her curiosity and starts spending time with “water boy,” Lend.  Evie has never seen a paranormal like him, neither has anyone at IPCA, and because of that (and the fact that he broke in) he is kept there.  Lend can change how he looks and can shift into other people easily.  One day is an adorable Chinese boy and the next, the star of Easton Heights, Evie’s favorite TV show.  He also enjoys shifting into Evie’s form.  Although he can’t get her eyes right.  As they spend more and more time together, Evie finds she has a crush on Lend.  Evie’s ex, Reth, doesn’t seem to want to let go.  Reth, a faerie, shows up randomly temporarily kidnapping Evie or burning her throughout the book.  Of course Lend is quite helpful during these visits, coming to her rescue, or at least trying.  Reth also doesn’t seem too concerned about the paranormals all over the world dropping dead.  In fact, he seems more concerned with spending uninterrupted time with Evie.
Evie was such an interesting character.  Her POV was so refreshing and so much fun.  Having grown up in the IPCA, she’s never been to a high school or had any normal human friends her own age.  She’s in her element when she’s on an assignment or inside the IPCA, but she really wants to live a normal teenage life.  After meeting Lend, she gets a taste as to what her life could have been if she wasn’t different.  After being plagued by dreams of a girl named Vivian and learning that she isn’t actually allowed to leave the ICPA, she goes through an identity crisis.  Evie learns that what you are doesn’t define who you are.  She learns that it’s the choices we make that choose our paths and who we are.
Lend helps Evie a lot in Paranormalcy.  While she’s going through her identity crisis, he is right there helping her figure it all out.  When Lend and Evie first officially meet, he doesn’t trust her enough to show her his true form, even though Evie and see it underneath his disguises (glamour).  He is insecure with who he is, as a paranormal.  He doesn’t know where he fits in since he’s one of a kind.  I thought he was so cute!  He was so admirable and such a great guy.  He and Evie were perfect together. They both complimented each other.  Evie could see Lend perfectly.  In fact, she even preferred his true self better than the main form he takes.  There is one scene later in the book when he shows her what he really looks like.  In it Evie thinks he is gorgeous and he is so shy about how he looks, my heart just melted.  When he spoke to her in that scene, Evie heard his real voice and told him that she didn’t think she could go back to hearing his fake voice.  It was such an intimate scene, probably one of my favorites in the whole book.   This theme of beauty on the inside is seen throughout.
Ah, Reth.  I’m not sure how to describe him.  He’s Evie’s ex-boyfriend (well, ex-almost-boyfriend).  Evie, who grew up feeling cold and alone, confused having a crush/like-liking someone with the faerie feeling Reth was giving her.  Reth would always fill her up with warmth, almost touching her heart.  This made Evie scared that he would steal her heart and soul after they “broke up.”  Reth has a terrible temper.  Get him mad and he might kill.  Threaten Evie, and he most definitely will.  He is extremely protective of her.  But Evie would rather never see him again.  I felt like his intentions were good, and I think he cared about Evie, but at the same time I’m not sure.  His actions were a bit on the sketchy side.
Paranormalcy was a delightful read.  I had a lot of fun reading it.  When Evie experienced “normal life” for the first time, it wasn’t odd or unbelievable.  Kiersten White didn’t make Evie naïve, ignorant, and gullible.  She also didn’t make her into that teenaged character who acts like she’s 25, not 16.  Evie was very much 16, but she wasn’t stupid.  Evie was very well aware of her situation and her surroundings.  It was very believable.  This skill made the story so much more engrossing.  I really cared about the characters and what happened to them.  I can’t wait until the next book, Supernaturally, comes out in August of this year (2011)!!!

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Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)
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Book Review: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Title: Tuck Everlasting
Author: Natalie Babbitt
ISBN: 9780374480097
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pub. Date:  1975
Source: Library
Genre: Children/Supernatural/Victorian/Fantasy
Pages: 139
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Imagine coming upon a fountain of youth in a forest. To live forever–isn’t that everyone’s ideal? For the Tuck family, eternal life is a reality, but their reaction to their fate is surprising. Award winner Natalie Babbitt (Knee-Knock Rise, The Search for Delicious) outdoes herself in this sensitive, moving adventure in which 10-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, finds herself helping a murderer out of jail, and is eventually offered the ultimate gift–but doesn’t know whether to accept it. Babbitt asks profound questions about the meaning of life and death, and leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for the perfect cycle of nature. Intense and powerful, exciting and poignant, Tuck Everlasting will last forever–in the reader’s imagination. An ALA Notable Book. (Ages 9 to 12) –Emilie Coulter

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Ooooooo this was such a cute book!  Underneath the innocence and beauty of the story, there was a much heavier undertone.  The story is about the Tuck family. Eighty-something years before the events of the book, they drank from a fountain in the woods.  When they never grew old, or died of injury or disease, they realized it was the water.  At first they were happy and went out and did whatever they wanted, but over time they realized it was more of a curse than a blessing.  Everyone around them grows old and dies and then new people come into the world.  The Tucks will forever be the same.  The two sons of the family, Jesse and Miles, can never have families because of it.  It is so sad.  Winnie Foster, the 10 yr. old daughter of the owner of the woods that the Tuck family lives in, decides to runaway one day.   While walking in the woods she sees Jesse drinking from a fountain at the base of a tree.  After talking for a bit, Winnie is brought to the Tuck’s house.  At first she doesn’t believe that they can live forever and just wants to go home, but she grows to love the family, especially Jesse, and wants to protect their secret.  In town, there is a man in a yellow suit whose heard of the Tuck family and wants to find the fountain of youth by taking advantage of Winnie’s “kidnapping.”
This was such a beautiful story.  Unlike most people, I had never read this book when I was younger.  In fact, this was the first time I’ve ever read it.  I was astounded by how much I enjoyed it.  Even though Tuck Everlasting is a children’s book and for the most part written through Winnie’s 3rd person POV, it can be enjoyed by adults, maybe even on a deeper level.  Winnie’s POV added an innocence to the writing.  As an adult I could see past the innocence right to the seriousness of the situation.  The Tuck’s want to die, or at least grow old and then die.  They would do anything to be normal again.  But they can’t and they force Winnie to realize that without death, there is no life.
“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thush, too.  And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. Thats the way it’s suppose to be. That’s the way it is.  If we didn’t move it out ourself, it would stay here forever, trying to get loose, but stuck.  That’s what us Tucks are, Winnie.  We ain’t part of the wheel anymore.”
“You can’t have living without dying. So you can’t call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.”
I just adored this book.  Babbitt wrote with an illustrative style.  Her word choice and descriptions brought the woods to life.  It was all so vivid in my mind-the world was so lovely and charming.  In 2002, Disney made a movie of the book.  Even though the film is slightly different from the book (Winnie being 15 instead of 10-makes for a good romance-and a few other smaller differences) it captures the spirit of the book, making it a fantastic film.  If you’ve never read Tuck Everlasting, I recommend you do- no matter how old you are, you will love the Tuck family just like Winnie did.

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Tuck Everlasting
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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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Book Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Title: Dark Lover
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
ISBN: 978-0451216953
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: September 2005
Source: Kindle/Paperback/Library
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing their enemies more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood…
The only purebred vampire left on the planet, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But when one of his most trusted fighters is killed – orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate – Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead…
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both….

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Wow! I had heard a lot of really great things about this series, but I wasn’t expecting to love it this much.  It’s a romance book so obviously there’s more than a few graphic sex scenes.  However, the book dives deeper.  I was drawn into a world inhabited by vampires, humans, and lesesrs.  A world where vampires are heroes, humans are blissfully ignorant, and lessers are pure evil.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is about a group of vampire warriors who are as close as brothers.  They protect the civilian vampire population, as well as the humans from the lessers, people who sold their soul for immortality.  The lessers freaked me out.  They were so evil; it was difficult to read some of the parts that included them.  I found myself skimming over some of the Mr.X, the main lesser in Dark Lover, parts.  The lesser are led by Omega, a nefarious villain.  Dark Lover tells the story of Wrath, the Blind King, before he ascends the throne.  After one of the brothers dies, Wrath goes searching for that brother’s half-breed daughter, Beth.  Vampires cannot turn people to make more vampires.  They have to be born.  However, they are born as a “human,” and go through the change in their twenties. If Beth is going to survive the change, then she needs to be around and drink the blood of a male vampire.  Beth had a hard life, from being orphaned to foster care to being very nearly raped; she takes life day by day.  When Wrath shows up, she becomes captivated by him.  She sees the real Wrath under his hard exterior.  Wrath did not plan or want to fall in love with Beth, but he did.  She not only becomes the center of his life, but also the object of the Mr. X’s impromptu plan.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is addicting.  I loved Wrath.  Actually, let me correct that, I love all the brothers.  J.R. Ward is so talented.  These books aren’t only about sex, but also about love.  True love.  Love that lasts forever.  The lessers pissed me off so many times with what they did.  They were/are merciless.  Thank goodness the Brothers fight them.  J.R. Ward made the Brothers into real, three-dimensional characters. Each of the brothers has their own personal demons they have to face.  Those demons define how they act and what they do.  The BDB series has a feel similar to the Underworld movies- very urban fantasy with lots of guns and leather.  Ward changes POV throughout the book, even though the focus of the book is on Wrath and Beth.  I don’t know what I’ll do when the series ends, and there will be no more books.  I’m getting depressed just thinking about it.

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Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)

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Book Review: Seers of Light by Jennifer DeLucy

Title: Seers of Light
Author: Jennifer DeLucy
Series: Light #1
ISBN: 978-1936305032
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Pub. Date: February 2010
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/ Romance/ Fantasy
Pages: 396
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Lillian Hunt has never truly lived. Always sensing more to the world than is easily perceived, she fears that her instincts are stubborn flights of fancy, or worse, mental instability. But some things—disappearing strangers, tangible dreams, and visits from malevolent creatures—cannot be ignored. Before it’s too late, Lillian is ripped from the only existence she’s ever known and thrust into a reality that she always suspected, but could scarcely believe. She must learn the truth about who she is, the powerful beings that wish to destroy her, and the two men who would die to protect her.  Jennifer DeLucy has created a unique, enchanting tale of destiny and the ageless power of love in her debut novel, Seers of Light. DeLucy’s novel charms readers with quirky characters, while sketching a haunting portrait of one woman’s journey on the path of the supernaturally gifted. But be prepared. Once you’ve entered the world of Seers, you will never be the same.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Jennifer DeLucy’s Seers of Light is a journey of love, hope, and courage.  The story follows Lily, a pathcrosser and empath, who is saved by Christian from a vampire attack.  After a brief explanation from Christian, he takes her to Georgia to Abram and the other endowed people.  There she discovers who she really is and her destiny, to battle evil spirits and beings.  She trains with William, the vampire with a soul.  Before their first training session Lily decides to hate him for what he is not who.  He expects and puts up with her attitude stating that she can hate him all she wants just as long as she learns what she needs to survive.  As the training sessions continue, she starts to see the humanity in William.  Christian, seeing that Lily is being less hostile with William, becomes very clingy, even though they are not dating.  He starts to follow her around like a “golden retriever.”  When a coven of vampires located near her hometown starts to threaten Lily’s new happy life, she along with her new family, must defeat them, or die trying.
All the characters in Seers of Light were real.  I found I had a lot in common with Lily.  Although, I don’t think I’m quite as stubborn as she is.  After spending most of her life seeing spirits and being empathetic, Lily is more than happy to go where she is accepted and even admired for her abilities.  She is very kind, but also judgmental and a bit gullible.  Her love interest in the story is William Maddox.  I could talk about William for the rest of my life.  In fact, I’ve reread Seers of Light so many times that I’ve actually lost count, all because of William.  Even after reading it X amount of times I still feel my heart beat erratically whenever he walks in the room, or speaks, or is brought up in the conversation.  Jennifer DeLucy did a marvelous job writing his character.  William is a vampire who got his soul back.  Everything about him is human except his body.  The sentients, other endowed people, around the world aren’t too fond of him, nor is Christian.  Christian spends most of his time voicing his hatred of William to his face.  Poor William.  He is so tortured but still strives to do what is right.  Unlike Christian, William allows Lily to make her own mistakes and decisions.  All I can say is that every time William did something or said something especially cute or witty I pretty much swooned- which was quite often.  Christian bugged me.  There were so many times when he interrupted William and Lily moments that got me out of my seat screaming “Shut up, Christian!” or “Go away, Christian!”  But to be fair, Christian has problems of his own.   By the end, I thought Christian was okay.  Abram was kind of like the head of the house.  If I had to pick an actor to play him it would be Morgan Freeman.  He’s wise and very grandfatherly.  The rest of the characters are beautifully brought to life and fill the novel with an amazing story.
Jennifer DeLucy explores love and courage in her novel.  Love is a huge, and I mean gigantic huge, theme in Seers of Light.  She forces the characters to examine their hearts and what it means to love.  Love takes courage-it is a leap of faith.  As a reader, I felt the love wrapped around the characters.  To love someone, sometimes sacrifices must be made to keep or save that love.  Seers of Light contained every form of love as well as the ups and downs of it.
Seers of Light is one of those books that I can’t recommend enough.  I’ve read this book more than three times (lost count after that).  After every reread, I dreamt about William.  I’m not exaggerating.  I did.  This is the only book that I’ve dreamt about more than once.  It will stick in your mind.  It will make you reflect about your own life and how love has affected you.  The smooth and easy flow of reality and the paranormal is proof of Jennifer DeLucy’s skill at story-telling.  The paranormal aspect takes up a huge part of the book, but it is so completely believable that you barely notice it.  There are so many books where the paranormal is just too unbelievable that it ruins the book for me.  I’m so glad my library didn’t have this book.  By buying a copy (kindle!) I am now able to bring it with me wherever I go.  Which means, William goes with me everywhere 😉   Goodness!  Seers of Light is an exceptional novel.  The characters are memorable, the dialogue is absorbing, the suspense is thrilling, and the romance is truly beautiful.  I adored this book!

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Seers of Light (Light, #1)
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Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush Hush #1
ISBN: 978-1416989424
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Pub. Date: October 2009
Source: Kindle
Genre: Supernatural/Romance/YA/Fantasy
Pages:  417
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her…until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  I read Hush Hush after reading Fallen by Lauren Kate.  Once I realized that there are paranormal/supernatural books about things other than vampires I eagerly grabbed my kindle and bought this book.  I liked it.  It wasn’t for me though.  It was interesting, which is why I read CrescendoHush Hush revolves around Nora, a teenaged girl who lives with her widowed mother.  Her father was murdered before the book begins.  When Patch, a fallen angel posing as a high school student, gets paired up with Nora for class, she tries to make the best of the dim situation.  He makes her uncomfortable and refuses to answer any of her questions.  With Nora’s grade hanging in the air, she follows him and finds out that he is, indeed, one not to be messed with.  Trying to have a normal high school experience, Nora wants nothing to do with Patch.  But with Nora’s life in jeopardy, Patch becomes a necessary part of her survival.  Even if it means giving up what he wants the most.
I started this book hoping it would blow my mind away.  I was a bit disappointed.  Hush Hush was creative and suspenseful.  The only problem I really had with it was Patch.  I just didn’t like him.  He was the typical bad-boy-does-good character.  Patch’s sketchiness was just too much for me.  Sketchy creeps me out. I liked him a bit better at the end.  Although all his secrets still made me question whether his intentions were all good.  Patch’s decisions aren’t so much based on right and wrong but on what he wants and how to achieve that end no matter the cost.
Nora is your typical teenaged girl.  Although I don’t know many teenagers that would go out at night to a part of town they’ve never been in just to get answers for a school assignment.  Some of things she did, I would never do.  It was fun to read, though.  I really admired Nora’s determination and refusal to just sit and let things happen to her.  The scenes that involved both Nora and Vee were fun to read.
Hush Hush was engaging.  The end was very suspenseful and had me page flipping (or kindle swiping) until the very end.  The end took me completely by surprise.  The twist redeemed the book for me.  Patch and Nora’s actions towards the end were touching and dramatic.  Hush, Hush isn’t my favorite book in the world, but still an entertaining read.  It had a bit of everything-love, suspense, mystery, action, and the supernatural.  Becca Fitzpatrick wrote a story about love, sacrifice, and what it means to be human.

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Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)

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Book Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Brightly Woven
Author: Alexandra Bracken
ISBN: 978-1606840382
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub. Date: March 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Romance/ Magic/Adventure
Pages:  368
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.
In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North.       He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.
Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Wow! This was one exciting adventure.  Sydelle lives in a poor small village where there is currently a drought.  It hasn’t rained in 7 years.  One day a wizard, North Wayland, comes and makes it rain.  At his request the Sydelle’s father gives her to North for this service.  Both begin their journey to warn the queen about the upcoming war and who truly poisoned and killed the King.  Clearly upset at being forced from her home, Sydelle tries to ignore him, but actually ends up yelling at him quite a lot.  North ignores her yelling, especially when he’s drunk.  After several messy encounters with other wizards, Sydelle finds it difficult to be mad at him.  Her hatred turns to compassion.
Sydelle is 16 yr. old weaver who has the ability to repair magical talismans.  I really respected her strength and determination.  She also has a habit of attracting the worst sort of trouble.  However, North doesn’t mind rescuing her and playing the part of hero. I just loved North.  He reminded me of Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle (the movie).  On the outside he is strong, stubborn, very good looking, and optimistic.  On the inside, he is cursed and tortured.  Both North and Sydelle are very selfless characters.  Their willingness to do anything to save their country, even sacrifice their lives, was touching.
Magic is a large part of this book.  However, the relationship between Sydelle and North forces the reader to look beyond all the magic, war, and secrets and watch as two people see the good and importance in the other.  Both characters have always felt insignificant and do their best to fight that feeling.  That doesn’t mean the feeling goes away.  Their love and kindness for each other removes their insecurities making them all the more powerful and useful.
Behind this love story, there is a journey involving a war.  The upcoming war is based on rumor, and therefore does not need to be fought, especially since it is a false rumor.  Alexandra Bracken handles the issue of a reason-less war with care.  The threat of many lives lost hangs over the characters giving them a very real consequence if they fail.  It gave the story a sense of urgency.
Alexandra Bracken built a beautiful and very original world.  The countries had their own religions, myths, legends, etc.  She established guilds, abundant resources for the regions as income, and different terrains.  It was all very engaging.  I would love to jump back into the world, even though Bracken currently has no plans to write a sequel.  I adored this book.  The writing flowed easily and Bracken’s word choice and phrasing made Sydelle’s voice clear and relatable to the reader.  Brightly Woven is an enthralling adventure that will leave you eager for more.

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Brightly Woven