Upcoming Reviews and Such

I’ve decided to do something different. Typically, I just review whatever catches my fancy at the moment but I have made the executive decision to review all The Iron Fey series, the Angelfire series, and the Unbinding Fate series. Look forward to reviews on the entire series. Now, since my current upcoming reviews list is almost finished and I have received requests for reviews the new list will be what follows. In light of upcoming final papers of 20 or so pages each, my rate of reviews might suffer but fear not readers! As soon as this semester is over everything will be back to normal.

In other news: Game of Thrones première. Did anyone else notice Jon Snow has gotten a million times hotter? Joffery has become even more wimpy and ugly. That Tyrrell girl looks a lot like Ally from  Pretty Little Liars. Oh and those baby dragons are the cutest. No spoilers here, don’t worry!

unbind(For Sanctify see April 3 entry)

iron d(See April 4th entry for Iron Daughter)

arena 2(For Arena Two see April 5th entry)

dualed(For Dualed see April 6th entry)

entang

-BB

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Review: Oddily- Linda Pohring

1.5/5 Stars

Oddily (Oddily, #1)- Linda Pohring

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Let me preface this by saying how much I abhor writing negative book reviews. It kills me inside because I am a book lover and have so much respect for authors and their creativity, probably because I hope to be a published author one of these days. I hate potential that is marred by lack of editing or beta reading. It sucks, I feel bad, and it’s an injustice to the story. Grammar and syntax errors are likely the bane of every author’s existence.

Plot: Oddily is a tiny, timid girl with a mop of red hair, and an army of tormentors. Since the mysterious death of her parents-Oddily was found in a nasty car accident injured, alone, and left without a trace of her family-she has been from orphanage to foster home. Adopted by a politician only to gain the vote, Oddily is ignored and regarded as a burden, especially to her foster sister Starla. Starla is beautiful, popular, and Oddily’s most vicious antagonist. The first time Oddily met Starla, Starla forced her to stand in front of a floor length mirror and pointed out all of her flaws. Since then Oddily has a complex and thinks of herself as ugly and worthless. Everyday is a new day of taunting and harassment for Oddily and no one dares to stand up to the popular kids to help ease her suffering. On one of these days, Starla tells Oddily that if she sneaks into this haunted estate and takes a picture of the house, they will give her a chance in their group. Oddily is terrified but she will try anything to get them off her back. She climbs through the gate, roams the property, and in her terror, stumbles down a cliff. Oddily is rescued by Maxim and Nexa, two otherworldly, gorgeous twins, and residents of the estate. Maxim and Nexa come from the future, where blonde hair and blue eyes have died out (even though they have them, this is an surprise plot element), and technology is well beyond Oddily’s time period. Maxim and Nexa were warned by their father Nero, that if they were discovered they’d become lab rats, so they hide themselves away from society. Maxim has the ability to erase minds and when Oddily wakes up wipes her memory. However, Oddily stole a pair of technologically advanced virtual reality glasses. Oddily escapes into the virtual world and soon can’t decipher reality from fantasy. Maxim retrieves the glasses but Oddily becomes reckless because she thinks she can’t die. Maxim and Nexa are on a mission to save Oddily from bullying, to protect their secret, and Maxim begins to question his emotions for the meek girl who has threatened their world.

PROS:

  • Maxim and Nexa’s story was really interesting. The shady nature of their father, the creative use of technology, and the growth of their humanity throughout was inventive and I was eager to know more. 

CONS:

  • There were an overwhelming number of grammatical and syntax errors. Unclosed parentheses, wrong use of possessives, plural vs. possessive, your vs. you’re, missing prepositions, swapping of tenses, use of ownership -her own self vs. herself, absence of punctuation sometimes, partial italics, and some strange word choice that didn’t make sense. 
  • Disturbing focus on erections. I don’t know what is most creepy about this, that so much attention is paid to Maxim’s ahem, “arousal” or that the lewd remarks almost always spur from Maxim’s sister Nexa. There’s some bizarre Freudian twin connection that is a step up from incestuous.
  • A lot of the word choice and descriptions are repetitive.
  • Feminism. Oddily’s assertion that she can’t stand up to her bullies and “grow some balls” as suggested by the only two strong, independent women in the book Pepper and Carrie, because she is female and not a boy is really damaging to her character.
  • I find it hard to believe that not a single teacher or staff member of that school notices Oddily’s abuse. Especially a girl being lifted and thrown into a garbage can in a busy cafeteria.
  • Oddily is underdeveloped, she likes shoes and bad pop music.  The plot became more about Maxim and Nexa than Oddily.

-BB

Review: The Iron King- Julie Kagawa

4.5/5 Stars

The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)- Julie Kagawa

Before you guys judge, I admit, I am really late on this one. I have wanted to read this series for a really long time. Hot faeries, can a girl get a hell to the yes! But as you know, I have been busy being a student and whatnot and honestly, other books kept coming up and consuming my time. FINALLY sat down and read The Iron King for the first time and I am so jealous of the other readers who have already read the other books in the series. I am so tempted to skip my schedule and plow ahead but alas, if I say I’m gunna do something I will. Unfortunately, book 2 will have to wait. 😦 Here it goes:

iron king

“Ancient, yes,” Robbie said. “Myths, no. The faery lords are immortal. Those who have songs, ballads, and stories written about them never die. Belief, worship, imagination-we were born of the dreams and fears of mortals, and if we are remembered, even in some small way, we will always exist.”

“I guess the sacrifice of my dignity is the only thing that will save us now. The things I do for love. The Fates laugh at my torment.”

Plot: Meghan Chase lives in the boondocks of Louisiana with her mother, half-brother Ethan, and stepfather Luke (a pig farmer! see side note). Far from civilization, coming from the sticks has a stigma about it that marks Meghan as a backwards swamp chick. Luckily, she has her best friend Robbie Goodfell to save her from the horrors of high school cliques and clichés. Meghan is not a girly girl but she fell victim to the charming good looks of the swoon worthy quintessential popular jock. It’s a day before her sweet 16 and she is determined that this would be the day that he would finally notice her beneath the baggy tanks and cargo pants. Upon arrival at the computer lab where she is supposed to tutor said jock, she gushes to him about his athletic ability, and makes a fool of herself. When she does get around to helping him, the computer malfunctions with first the repeated text of the ominous message that someone is watching her and then a joke about the jock checking out other dudes in the locker room, which of course flashes on all the computer screen in the lab. Meghan is mortified and realizes that her social life is over but is more disturbed by the terrifying creature that flashed above the computer. This is not the first time Meghan has seen something out of the ordinary but she brushes these off as stress induced hallucinations. Meanwhile, her brother Ethan keeps talking about scary men in the closet and monsters under the bed. Meghan is chilled by these images and of course, checks it out but sees nothing so she dismisses it as a little boy’s fanciful imagination. A few days later, Ethan is attacked by their previously lovable family dog. Ethan tells Meghan that it was not the dog that attacked him but monsters. Later, Meghan’s mother suffers a slip and fall accident in the kitchen from a spilled bottle of oil. Ethan starts to change, he becomes increasingly violent and intolerable. Meghan is bitten by her brother, Robbie comes to her rescue and he finally reveals the truth. Ethan has been abducted by faeries and replaced with a changeling, Robbie is really Robin Goodfellow or Puck like in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and that she is the daughter of Oberon. With this new reality that she is half fey and royalty at that, Meghan takes on the extremely dangerous task of rescuing her brother and ends up racing against time to destroy an evil that threatens the entire fate of Nevernever (the faerie world).

PROS: 

  • The power of myth and belief, specifically how they have the ability to bring fantasy to real life is a beautifully magical and a heartbreakingly inspiring concept. How technology is portrayed as sinister, dark, and yet alive and even redeemable is some of the most thought-provoking and poignant writing that I have ever encountered. Serious writer’s envy happening right now. Kudos Julie Kagawa. 
  • I am in love with the creativity. The sheer amount of detail and depth to each description is astounding and almost Tolkien like, though not as philosophically lofty. Each of the characters has very distinct psychological components and emotions that are easy to identify with and help the reader feel connected and to even on occasion, root for the seemingly bad guy. For being faeries, the characters have a remarkable amount of humanity.
  • Puck is hilarious, flirty, and an exact incarnation of Robin Goodfellow. Shakespeare would be proud.
  • The evil characters are so viciously scary that at times you will feel trapped, horrified, and never think of faeries the same way again.
  • Ah, the love triangle. Romeo and Juliet all over again. A wonderful continuation of the Shakespeare theme with a magical twist. Meghan’s raw emotion and her compassion are inspiring. Her fight to the death for her convictions, her love for her friends, her family, and the fate of the world, make her self-sacrificing nature not as annoying and foolish as this can sometimes be in other heroines.
  • Every character, even the smallest has depth, personality, and a purpose, there are no superfluous fillers.
  • The adventure and the journey are not at all unlike Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring. Meghan too is on a mission to rid the Nevernever, a world she has come to recognize as home to those she holds dearest, of evil and corruption from the Iron fey.
  • Some scenes are downright creepy in a very good way.
  • The depiction of high school cruelty and ridicule is almost traumatizing in how embarrassingly real it is. You will feel mortified. Be prepared.

CONS:

  • The weird way Meghan’s mother recovers from her “accident” as if it was no big deal is puzzling. 
  • Meghan’s constant place as damsel in distress is a bit much, however, by the end of the book Meghan finally seems to come into her own.

Sidenote: Pig farmers? Is this a new trend? This is the third book I’ve read lately where this has been the occupation of one of the main character’s parents.

If you liked Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test seriesHolly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales or Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, you would absolutely adore this.

-BB

Review: Vesper- Jeff Sampson

3.5/5 Stars

Vesper (Deviants, #1)- Jeff Sampson

vesp

I couldn’t die. I just couldn’t. It was only then, sitting in the shower, the little textured fish cutouts rough against my skin, that I realized I wasn’t anonymous anymore. Not just for getting crazy at a party, or for dancing wildly at a club. Someone out there, someone I didn’t know, wanted me dead. He didn’t care that I wanted to grow up, figure out who I was meant to be.

I am really unsure how to feel about this book, part of me loves it and part of me just doesn’t quite know what to make of it. Perhaps, because the voice of the protagonist is so strong, her conflicting emotions cause the reader to feel torn as well.

Plot: Emily Webb had one best friend, Megan Reed (Reedy), a girl who desperately tried to fit in with the in crowd and was laughed at. After Megan realized she’d never be part of the populars, she turned to black clothing and anger at the stupidity and unfairness of the world. Emily never really fit in anywhere and merely shadowed Megan, nodding at her bitter, cynical commentary. One night, Emily wakes as if from a daze to find herself dressed like a prostitute (trashy makeup and skimpy clothes) halfway out her bedroom window going who knows where. She is interrupted by the annoying, nonstop ringing of her cellphone. Emily finally answers and Megan tells her that their classmate, Emily Cooke was found shot that night only a couple blocks from Emily’s own house. Suddenly, Emily W. doesn’t feel like hopping out her window anymore. After this incident, every night after 8 p.m., Emily gets gut wrenching pain in her stomach and is taken over by another half of her personality (Nighttime Emily). Nighttime Emily is fearless, flirty, can jump out of cars, has excellent vision, speed, super smell, and is far more daring and courageous than Daytime Emily would ever be. Emily is both scared and excited about who she is as Nighttime Emily and wishes that some of her other persona would rub off on the timid daytime girl. Nighttime Emily has a knack for getting into trouble, she crashes a party, gets wasted, causes a bunch of drama and relishes in the chaos up until she gets a whiff of someone lusty and delicious. This is the first time that something other than Nighttime Emily enters Emily’s thoughts, this is a programmed series of instructions telling her to find the smell, to find others like her. Meanwhile, another student is shot and Emily feels like her life is in danger. Scouring the internet, Emily tries to find a connection between the shootings and herself and stumbles upon a Biotech lab. The lab is connected with agriculture but both victim’s parents worked there. As the changes progress, Emily transitions from Nighttime Emily to Werewolf Emily, she sees shadow people, and is attacked. Emily must fight for her life, find her pack, discover who she is, what she has the potential to become, and who mutated her genes to somehow enable the ability to become a werewolf.

PROS:

  • For once, this story is completely focused on the development of the protagonist and not convoluted with a love triangle or some other sort of high school drama. While the story is set in high school and Emily does have to deal with some snobby cheerleaders it is certainly not the main issue and doesn’t really seem important in light of other problems. This is really impressively done, it almost feels as though Emily isn’t in high school because her internal dilemmas are so overwhelming and her stream of consciousness is so authentic and raw. 
  • Emily is empowering. As a young, sixteen year old girl, her insecurities and the struggle to embrace the other half of herself and not be crippled by the confusion and apprehension that so many teen girls in YA fiction seem to wallow in at least for several chapters. Emily feels exhilarated by her darker, wilder, confident nature and recognizes that this is the woman she wants to be but never had the courage to try. At the same time, it took her turning into a werewolf and being forced into the change to embrace this newfound sense of self.
  • Accurately describes how we often come to conclusions about people based on preconceived notions and stereotypes. Emily slowly comes to terms with this and reevaluate how she sees the world. Emily learns to delve beneath the surface and sift through the layers of personality. Through this she finds that she is not an outsider, that she may have things in common with the least likely people.

CONS:

  • Megan’s complete lack of humanity and cold personality make her completely unlikable.
  • The way that body image is portrayed. It seems that if you show a little cleavage it’s slut city and in order to hide from puberty and the unsightly changes of ones body, baggy hoodies are the answer. Emily’s body image issues while they may indeed be the sort of things a high school girl goes through in accepting her new body and comparing it to other girls, this black and white view was unsettling.
  • A description of what exactly vespers are, how they are classified, and the distinctions between psychs, werewolves and other deviants would have been conducive to grasping exactly what Emily has become.

-BB

Review: Ignite- Kaitlyn Davis

3.5/5 Stars

Ignite (Midnight Fire, #1)- Kaitlyn Davis 

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Reliving a near death experience required chocolate, especially when someone just said you looked like a dead fish in the arms of a god. 

Plot: Kira thought she was a typical teenage girl except for her freaky green with red and yellow flecked eyes. Up until this semester, she’d attended a private school in NYC. When she is forced to return to North Carolina for her senior year because of financial hardship, she is faced with being the new girl in a small, close-knit community and worries about being a social pariah. On the first day of school while frantically searching through the maze of hallways for her home room, she is rescued by a tall, attractive blond named Luke. Luke is goofy, flirtatious, has the same weird eyes, but his personality is infectious and they quickly become friends. Luke introduces her to his posse and she immediately feels like she’s found her place. Like most high schools, the cafeteria is divided by cliques, Kira understands this and assimilates into her group, that is, until her eyes meet Tristan’s from across the room. His icy blue gaze, flawlessly pale skin, and amazing body held her captive. Kira has never felt so physically attracted to someone in her short 17 years. Tristan and his friends are misfits who have a creepy knack for staring at Kira like she’s a piece of meat. One day while at the beach, after just learning how to surf, fueled by an adrenaline high and pride, Kira foolishly tackles a powerful swell and gets knocked unconscious by her board. She wakes in Tristan’s arms, looks into his eyes, and her fate is sealed. Tristan and Kira start secretly dating and keep it on the DL because Tristan has a deep-rooted hatred for Luke and Kira’s interest in Tristan would seem as worse than a betrayal to Luke, it could potentially destroy their friendship. Tristan’s friends are also not happy with their romance, especially Diana. For entertainment, Diana and her crew surround Kira in the auditorium, threaten her life and attack her, hungry for blood. This is when Kira learns the truth, that Tristan and his friends are vampires. In an effort to escape the onslaught of the attack, Kira panics and feels a burning, rushing sensation like molten lava speeding through her veins and just when she thinks she can’t handle anymore heat, flames burst from her hands. This light is too much for the vampires and nearly destroys them. Luke rescues Kira once again and reveals her heritage. Kira, like Luke, is a conduit; she is able to channel the sun’s rays through her body. According to Luke, conduits, like vampires, have been around since the dawn of time. There are two factions within the conduits-the Punishers and the Protectors. The Punishers have fiery red hair, believe that vampires must be eradicated from the earth, that the conduits were created by God as avengers of the human race, and they aim to kill any vampires that threaten this balance. Protectors guard humans from vampires but do not kill because they believe vampires have souls, are redeemable, and do not have to feed off of humans. The shade of their hair indicates purity and closeness to God. Kira’s strawberry blonde hair poses the greatest threat to this system. She is an abomination, born of Punisher and Protector, a match that is forbidden because her blood, if ingested by a vampire could cause immunity to conduit powers. Kira discovers that who she thought were her parents are really adoptive and that her mother and father were slaughtered by vampires when she was a baby. As the world she once knew comes crashing down, Kira struggles to grasp her newfound identity, hone in on her powers as a conduit, and love the very being that she inherently is meant to destroy.

PROS:

  • This is an interesting take on the vampire story. The history and heritage of the conduits, their warring belief systems, and their ethno-cultural survival tactics are really well thought out and inventive.
  • Luke and his friends are the perfect balance to the more dark and serious tone of the story. They have so much heart, defined personalities, and bring wonderful banter and comic relief.
  • Kira is not the stereotypical wallflower in a vampire world. She makes the story her own, has passions, friends, and strong convictions but also has flaws. She is just as confused and insecure about boys as any high school girl. Kira is relatable and someone who the average reader would grow to love and respect as a heroine.
  • The easy way Tristan and Kira love each other despite internal conflicts and external protests from their friends is beautiful and just feels so right.
  • The action scenes are graphically bloody, and the suspense throughout is certainly nerve-racking.

CONS:

  • It was a little slow to start but picks up after a while. Some readers may lose interest.
  • A vampire insight on their origin would have been a good counterbalance.
  • More of Tristan and Diana’s past would have helped to understand their natures and deviations in character, especially why Diana  is so evil.

All in all, Ignite was an enjoyable read, uncomplicated, flowed smoothly, and had a similar tone as Aprilynne Pike’s Wings. If you liked Wings and are not apprehensive about vampires then give this a try. Warning: A bunch of reviews on Goodreads really slam this book as slow and boring, honestly, I really don’t know where that came from but to each their own.

-BB

Review: Lonely Souls-Karice Bolton

2.5/5 Stars

Lonely Souls (Witch Avenue, #1)- Karice Bolton

lonely

I’m not into wasting time, mine or anyone else’s. I don’t know how else to get this through your head. But you’re the only one I’ve ever dreamed of being with. You’ve saved me on so many levels, and I’m forever in your debt, and am willing to wait for however long it takes.

Plot: Triss is meeting her mother at their favorite spot on the beach because she has something important to tell her. Triss just graduated from high school and is planning on joining the Witch Avenue coven soon. She is exhilarated and confused about what her mother wants to tell her and when she cannot immediately spot her on the beach starts to panic. After a thorough search, Triss finds her mom’s purse, jewelry and clothing but there’s no sight of her mother. Finally succumbing to hysteria she calls the police but they come up empty-handed. A short time later, the Witch Avenue Order holds a memorial for her mother where everyone seems to think it’s time to forget and move on, but Triss can’t shake the feeling that her mother is very much alive. Triss’s mother’s best friend Ellsy and her son Logan are her only comfort on this horrific day that only escalates into a nightmare when Triss is locked in a flower cooler and harassed by a lonely soul. A lonely soul is soul trapped in a place like purgatory but it is essentially a void-like, endless hallway. These souls can be used and controlled by black magic. Logan, Ellsy, her Aunt, and Triss are unsure of what to do about the lonely soul but believe Triss’s life is in danger. During the ceremony where she is accepted into the Witch Avenue Order, a gathering of hooded figures attack and Logan is able to battle them off with black magic. The Witch Avenue Order visits Triss later that night and casts her out of the coven for being a liability. On a journey to uncover her past, Triss is forced to flee her home with Logan and hide in the woods. There, they learn spells, healing mixtures, and discover secrets about Triss’s heritage all to find her mother.

PROS:

  • Logan, Triss’s love interest, brings much needed flirtatiousness and comic relief to the story. He also definitely has a hot, swoon worthy look, a bad boy vibe that flirts with darkness, and a charming way of protecting Triss from danger. 
  • The knowledge of herbs, flowers, their healing properties and uses as protective elements was both accurate and informative.
  • The mysterious disappearance of Triss’s mother was intriguing and suggestive, making the reader hunger for the secrets she’s surely hiding.

CONS:

  • Triss is extremely annoyingly self-righteous to the point where her character was aggravating.
  • The love story was too simple, too easy, and really cheesy with big speeches about how love made one discovery one’s self and feel all sorts of crazy emotions. Generally, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing but it was excessive, so it lost some of its meaning.
  • The enemy is not scary, sort of boring, and anticlimactic.
  • The lonely souls were mentioned briefly, showed up a couple of times, but didn’t cause much damage. More emphasis should have been placed on these beings if the book it titled after them.
  • The Witch Avenue coven was barely significant.

Overall, Lonely Souls was pretty average and not something that I would immediately talk about or think to recommend to a friend.

-BB