Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

6644117Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
ISBN: 9780373210084
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub. Date: January 26, 2010
Source: Kindle
Genre: YA/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Pages: 368
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

 

My Reveries and Ramblings: I first read The Iron King a year ago, before I even knew book blogs existed; before I was really into reading.  This book shocked me with its amazing-ness (yes, I’m well aware that this is not a real word-but oh well).  I didn’t think I would love it as much as I did.  Since then, I’ve read this book at least 5 times.  I LOVE IT!   Not only did I love it, but my sister (who is extremely picky when it comes to books and almost never reads) loved it too.
The story begins with the protagonist, Meghan Chase, making it through high school.  So far, she’s had a pretty rough life.  Her father disappeared/left when she was younger; her mother remarried and had a baby, Ethan.  Her family is dirt poor, she is underappreciated, and is the loser at school.  The only bright spots in her life are her best friend Robbie and her younger brother Ethan.  On her sixteenth birthday, Ethan is kidnapped and replaced with  a changeling.  With Robbie’s help, Meghan ventures into a world filled with faeries and other creatures to rescue her brother.  What was supposed to be just an ordinary rescue mission turns into something much more.  Meghan learns the truth about her birth, her family, and who she really is.
<<SPOILTER ALERT-START>>
Meghan Chase is such a great character.  She’s not really talented at anything; however, she is a good person and a very strong character.  She risks everything to save her brother.  When she meets Ash, the winter prince, he is puzzled at how she allows her emotions to influence her decisions.  Through the course of the book, Meghan learns that she can make a difference; that she isn’t invisible; that she is wanted.  She also grows up (through all three books).
Ash, the Winter prince, is just sooooooo hot.  (Note-the sidebar on the left has my Team Ash button!!!)  Seriously, every time he walks into the room/scene I get butterflies.  I just love him.  You’d think after having read this book so many times, that would go away-it does not.  When I re-read The Iron King last week, I was just giddy the entire time.  By the way my absolute favorite line of his is: “Touch her, and I’ll freeze your testicles and put them in a jar.  Understand?”  Ha ha.  When I first read that line I laughed so hard.  But in all seriousness, Ash is a very quiet and calculating character.  He never lets his emotions show.  The thinks rationally; well, at least he did until Meghan entered his life.  Over the course of the book Meghan and Ash have a TON of obstacles they have to overcome.  It definitely doesn’t help that Ash and Robbie are out to kill each other.
Robbie, Meghan’s best friend, is actually Puck from the Summer Court.  He was ordered to protect Meghan Chase and keep her from discovering the truth.  Well, its safe to say, he failed.  But it was all for love.  He is so very weak when it comes to Megan.  Its kind of cute, but still, I like Ash better.  However, Puck is just so funny.  Almost anything he does or says gets me on the floor in tears.  Even though I am completely Team Ash, I feel bad for Puck.  He really does deserve to fall in love.
<<SPOILER ALERT-END>>>
Ms. Kagawa fills her novel with fantastic characters, including a sharp-talking cat.  I love every one of them.  Ms. Kagawa’s imagination is so vast and vibrant.  Her world is amazing.  I was pulled in, just like Meghan, and was taken on a journey, one that I will most likely never forget.  Think Alice and Wonderland meets A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.  I highly recommend this book (series) to anyone who loves YA/romance/ supernatural books.  If you do, you’re going to love this!

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The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)

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Book Review: Abithica by Susan Goldsmith

11050827Title: Abithica
Author: Susan Goldsmith
Series: Abithica #1
ISBN: B004WOYNGC
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Pub. Date: April 2011
Source: received an ebook arc copy from the author

Genre: Supernatural/Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/YA
Pages: 287
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads:  What if you knew you were about to be torn from your body and replaced by an imposter in a seamless switch forever separating you and the one you love? Would you do whatever it took to stay? Even if YOU happened to be the imposter? Abithica must borrow all that she is from others: names, lives, even bodies. When she switches into the troubled life of Sydney Turner, she breaks the rule that has sustained her, the one thing in her control—never get attached. Lane Riley has no idea he’s fallen for Abithica, wearing Sydney Turner’s body and that a future with her is impossible. Desperate to stay with him, Abithica uncovers the mystery of what she is, only to learn she’s a pawn in a battle over souls, and that she’s probably one of the “bad guys.” What will happen if she refuses to leave Sydney’s body?

My Reveries and Ramblings: Abithica is the story of a spirit/being/whatever you want to call her for right now(not giving anything away) who is thrust into people’s bodies taking over their lives.  She stays with her host until she has completed whatever needed to be done.  She sees her predicament as a punishment from God.  She sees herself as a parasite or demon.
The book opens in Arizona with Sydney collapsing into her food at a restaurant because the spirit being mentioned (in the previous paragraph) has just entered her body.  As Sydney, the spirit starts trying to improve her life starting with Sydney’s damaged relationship with her mother, Faith.  At first “new” Sydney is having a hard time because the real Sydney is being resistant.  During a trip to Faith’s work (at the mall), Sydney meets Lane and his much younger sister, Shae.  It’s love at first sight for “new” Sydney and Lane.  However, “new” Sydney is very resistant because she doesn’t want to hurt him when she leaves Sydney’s body.  Also, she is scared of falling too hard because she knows it will all be ripped from her.  Besides the romance, there is also an element of danger from the gang that Sydney belongs to, the Legnas.  They are a dangerous gang that brands their members and like to kill, a lot.
Abithica takes the reader on a journey with the protagonist as she discovers who and what she is.  She discovers her real name at the end.  Poor girl.  Every time she forced into a new body she forgets most of what happened before.  However, the one thing she does know is that she wants to fall in love and stay that way.  That is her greatest wish/dream.  This is impossible, though.  To prevent herself from getting hurt she decided that she would never get attached.  Of course Lane changed that.
Lane is just * gush * amazing!  He knows there’s something different about Sydney as soon as he meets her (I’m talking about “new” Sydney).  No matter how many times she pushes him away he comes back even stronger and more cling-y (in a good way).    He loves her so much.  The most beautiful aspect of their love is the fact that he loves who the “new” Sydney is-meaning he loves the spirit inhabiting Sydney.  (Yes, I know, it sounds confusing on paper, but it really isn’t).
The novel contains many other great characters.  Among them are Shae, Lane’s adorable little sister; Faith, Sydney’s shoe obsessed mother; the ever helpful Father Gabe; and Marge, a saint-like doctor.
When I started Abithica, I was enjoying it.  But about half-way through, OMG! I was hooked.  There were moments where I was screaming at my computer screen (ebook), yelling at the characters.  Then there were moments where I was on the verge of tears.  The protagonist’s voice easy to read.  I felt a connection with her-there were moments where I could completely relate to her.  Mrs. Goldsmith did an awesome job with the writing.  Even when she wrote through Shae’s POV, it was readable at the same time as sounding like a little girl.
Now, even though I really really liked this book, there were a few things that just didn’t click with me.  I didn’t like reading the Legnas parts of the book-but I think this is just a matter of personal taste.  I never like reading the antagonist’s POV in any book.  Also, Lane annoyed me in the beginning.  He was talking about marriage very VERY early on in their relationship- they had only gone out a few times together.  But, of course, I was able to come to terms with it, and even accept it later on in the book.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to all who love a good romance.  Yes, it is Christian Lit., but it’s not overwhelming (which is good).  Also, I seriously read the last 50 pages four times-it was just too fantastic to not reread! I can’t wait until the sequel.

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Abithica

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: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Awakened
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
ISBN: 978-0451219367
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: September 2006
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, a deadly turf war rages between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion-until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future with her.

My Reveries and Ramblings: First things first:  Black Dagger Brother series by J.R.Ward is OUTSTANDING! Okay, got that out of my system, now on to the review.  This book was hard to get through.  Zsadist rescues Bella after she was kidnapped in the previous book, Lover Eternal.  Zsadist was the only one who didn’t give up.  Everyone else assumed she was dead since she was kidnapped by lesser.  The lesser who kidnapped her, David, wanted her to be a replacement wife since she looked so much like his dead wife.  When Zsadist finally finds her, she is beaten to a pulp, unconscious, and has David’s name etched into her stomach.  The brothers bring her back to the main house.  There they try to get Zsadist to leave her alone, but he won’t.  He insists on caring for her.  After Bella awakes she tries desperately to get him to want her.  Zsadist does want her! His past keeps him from doing anything.  The other brothers are also hesitant to allow Zsadist to spend time with Bella.  The other story arcs are also in this installment.  Phury’s character and history are discussed.  J.R. Ward also shows life in the Wellie-Tohr-John Matthews family.
J.R. Ward wrote such amazing characters in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. All the characters are so complex-especially in Lover Awakened.  For romance novels, these have a ton of depth.  Zsadist is a very tortured character. Having been a blood and sex slave (I’m leaving out all the gruesome details….and believe me its quite horrifying) before being rescued by Phury, Zsadist finds sex revolting.  He is mentally as well as physically scarred by his past.  The abuse he suffered caused him to think he was dirty, evil, and impure.  When Bella wants to be with him, he refuses.  He thinks she is too pure, good, and beautiful to be soiled by him.  Over time, however, Bella breaks down most of the walls that Zsadist built.  This huge change, from feeling hatred to love, causes Zsadist to become confused.  He spends most of the book sorting through his issues.  J.R. Ward also used a bit of symbolism in Zsadist’s eyes.  The eyes are windows to the soul.  His soul and state of mind were reflected in the irises of his eyes.  Phury, Zsadist’s brother, also loves Bella.  He is torn between his love for his brother and his love for Bella.  She is the only female that has ever threatened his vow of celibacy.  However, when he sees the transformation happening to Zsadist, he backs off, but not happily.
After being kidnapped, Bella has some issues, although no where near as terrible and complicated as Zsadist’s.  While she was being held captive by David, she prayed, hoped, and wished Zsadist would come for her.  After ending up with the brotherhood, Bella tries everything to be with Zsadist.  At first she’s not that successful because whenever she gets close to him, he pushes her away.
David, the main villain in this story, was sick and twisted.  Ugh!  I hated him….awful…terrible….evil…..I could go on forever.  Before becoming a lesser he was married.  He was physically and emotionally abusive to his wife.  When she died, his insanity got worse.  After joining the lessers he started looking for his “wife.”  One day while searching Mary’s house for her he saw Bella walking across the yard.  Since she looked like his dead wife, he kidnapped her.  He never raped her, because, well, he can’t really feel anything like that down there so it would be pointless.  But he did use her as a punching bag.  He’s very violent so whenever he was upset, or angry he would take it out on her.  He would then follow the abuse with an “I love you.”  Poor Bella.
This series is amazing!  I’ve been getting these books from the library, but after this one I’ve decided to go ahead and by the whole series.  Every time I had to return one of the books, I wanted to cry.  Lover Awakened is my favorite in the series so far.  Zsadist, who was more of the villain on the good side, turned into the true hero-so touching.  This book is very emotional.  You might find yourself crying, laughing, and screaming.  A side note:  Zsadist and Bella’s story reminded me of a rated R and slightly altered version of Beauty and the Beast.  I highly recommend this series.

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Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)
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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: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Eternal
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #2
ISBN: 978-0451218049
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: March 2006
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads:  The Barnes & Noble Review

J. R. Ward returns to the shadows in Caldwell, New York, and the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood in her second intense paranormal thriller that will have new fans and old begging for more.
Once again, the plot revolves around a band of highly trained vampire warriors who have been targeted for extinction by the Lessening Society, but this time the spotlight is on Rhage, the best fighter, the most voracious lover. As a result of a curse by the Scribe Virgin, Rhage is left with an inner demon unlike all others; Mary, the mortal woman he meets falls in love with, has been cursed by her own kind of inner demon — cancer.
Readers will love their evolving relationship, at turns passionate, tender, and fierce, as well as the heart-pounding pace as the two try to escape their enemies. Again, a glossary introduces the reader to the structure and history of this new world. Ginger Curwen

My Reveries and Ramblings: I did not expect to love this book.  I guess I thought that it would be too similar to all the other books I’ve read, even though I loved the first BDB book, Lover Eternal.  I was so wrong.  Rhage is different from Wrath as well as the rest of the brotherhood.  He has his own demons to face, personality, and way of thinking.  The character depth in this installment surprised me.  There was definitely more of it in this book than in the first.
Lover Eternal is Rhage and Mary’s story.  Rhage meets Mary when she and her vampire friend, Bella, take John Matthews, a 23 yr-old mute guy, to see the brotherhood.  At this point Mary doesn’t know her friend is a vampire and that John Matthews will eventually turn into one.  Since John Matthews doesn’t speak, Mary goes to be the translator using ASL.  That is where she meets Rhage.  Rhage immediately falls for her, but Mary pushes him away because she has cancer and will most likely die.  Despite her best efforts, she falls for him and moves into the house.  They have a very bumpy relationship.  Mary is constantly having second thoughts, mostly due to her worsening health.  Rhage’s inner beast/curse wants to come out whenever he is around Mary, putting her in danger.  The lessers are also planning on taking Mary.
Goodness, I was gushing throughout the entire book.  What Rhage does to keep and save Mary was just so amazing selfless.  Now that’s true love! I’m not going to give anything away, but its just sooooo cute.  Also, the mystery behind John Matthews, the pre-change vampire with the mark of the brotherhood begins.  Zsadist story line with Bella starts out in this book and will continue in the next, Lover Awakened.  There were many moments in this book that tore at me emotionally.  I find cancer to be very scary, even though I’ve never had it.  Mary’s struggle with the disease was frightening.  Even though J.R. Ward didn’t go into too much detail with it, I still found myself getting nervous and scared.  Rhage was there for her, which was so nice.  Mary needed to stop pushing him away.  At one point, I remember saying out loud “Come on! Stop it already.  He loves you.  Deal with it.”  Rhage and Mary fought quite a bit, which annoyed me because he was trying to help her.  At the same time it was realistic because couples sometimes fight no matter how much they love each other.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is about love and fighting for what you believe in.  This isn’t just a romance novel (and series).  J.R. Ward created complicated characters.  That’s one of the best things about this series.  I haven’t read too many romance novels, mostly because the characterization is just not there.  Many have flat, clichéd characters.  The mythology surrounding the world J.R. Ward built is multifarious.  The characters inhabiting the world are full of personality and refreshing.  Their decisions are ruled by their past and who they are as individuals instead of a formula created by an outline of what is in a romance novel.  These books do have romance, don’t get me wrong.  There is plenty of erotic love for everyone.  But there is so much more to these novels then the sex.  This is what makes them unique.
I thought this book was fantastic.  I liked the first one a bit more, probably because it was the first and my introduction into J.R. Ward’s exciting and remarkable word of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  She created an engrossing story filled with love, pain, passion, and violence.

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Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #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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