Book Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Published: 2010
Publisher: Razor Bill

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

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I wanted to like this story, the concept is one that I haven’t seen a lot of, and the fey/changelings are something that interest me. However, I just could not get into this book at all. There are so many questions left unanswered, and everything is mysterious, nothing gets explained and all of the characters seem to know what’s going on, but there aren’t any resolutions or forward movement.

Mackie is one of the biggest problems for me. He’s vague and a bundle of walking contradictions. His changeling status makes it so he can’t handle loud noises, yet his favorite place to be is in the pit of a rock show? Or on stage with the band. He can’t touch metal, but he drinks beer from a can. The author spends so much time making him so different from everyone else, and then doubles back and breaks her own character rules. I really couldn’t get behind his voice, or his actions–or really bring myself to care what was happening to him. He’s got a crush on Tate (who is her own bundle of off putting characteristics) and yet he wants to hang out/make out/score with the hot/slutty girl of the school.

Also, can we stop with the slutty characters? You can have sexual characters, just please no slut shaming in books. It really is off putting, and shows no respect for the characters themselves. It distances me even further from this story, because this particular character was only referred to by how hot she was/how easy she was. I did like Emma–she was a character that seemed so fleshed out compared to the others. She had motivation and drive and distinction from everyone else in the story.

I’m not out to trash this book, or anyone who enjoyed it. I couldn’t get into it. There were moments that showed promise, but then something completely removed me from the story. The concept is neat, and something that we don’t see a lot of in the book world. I just wanted more from it.

Overall: pink2 Skip this. It’s frustrating and disjointed.

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Book Review: Lunacy by R.A. Sears


Title: Lunacy
Author: R.A Sears
Published: December 2012
Publisher: Darq Deviant Press
Disclosure: I won Lunacy off of a Facebook contest. All opinions are my own–the author did not ask me to review in exchange for this book, it was a gift.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Kacea Meade is your average high school senior: a bit of an outcast, a good student, and looking forward to graduation so she can move on from little Elm Valley, New York. Or so she thinks. Unbeknownst to her, Kacea has a dark destiny heavily entrenched in magick, creatures meant to dwell only in nightmares, and Ragnarok: the Norse apocalypse.

Jynxx Davison, Kacea’s classmate and long-time crush, has his own unnatural calling that is brought to light through her awakening. With their relationship just starting to blossom, a cloud of tragedy hangs overhead, threatening all she holds dear and forcing her hand. To keep her family and friends safe from these eldritch beings with godlike powers, can Kacea leave everything she’s ever known behind and trust in the word of a vampire?

picadillypink I could not put this down. I quickly fell in love with the main cast, two characters stole my heart completely, and at one point I was texting a friend going “THIS CHARACTER BETTER NOT DIE BECAUSE RAGE”. Lunacy is a fast paced read that is dense with world building and blazing imagery. I’m a visual person, and I really appreciate it when authors books are lush with description and images that can stand on their own.

Kacea just wants to finish high school and get on with her adult life. She’s smart, quirky and has a good group of friends that she can count on. She’s been crushing on Jynxx since middle school, and it seems that fate has brought them together. Their chemistry is off the charts, and melts the pages without being too explicit or hurried. Kacea is a strong female character, who knows what she wants and can stand on her own. Jynxx is a character that falls into the ‘tall dark and handsome with a tragic past’ but this is expanded and doesn’t fall into the trope territory.

I love the take on werewolves here, and the werewolf mythology that’s presented. Speaking of mythology, the subtitle of this book is The Ragnarok Legacy, so there’s Norse mythology intertwined with the world of the wolves, Kacea’s seemingly human world and with the addition of vampires it’s certainly jam packed with supernatural elements, but it doesn’t get cluttered. Everything works together and blends beautifully. I’m really interested in where this story goes as it ends on a cliff hanger (con #1). There is a novella that bridges between book one and book two. Book two isn’t out yet, so I’m going to wait somewhat patiently for it.

My only complaint about this book is the sheer amount of characters presented. It’s got a massive cast, both main and support and what I like to call mainsupport (those who are support, but have more of a storyline than the support cast normally do.) At times I had to stop and figure out who was who, making sure I had the right characters in the right place. I have a feeling that these characters will be important down the line, but it was kind of intimidating at times to have so many in the book.

Overall: pink4 I’m chomping at the bit for the second book, which isn’t out yet. I have the novella somewhere in the house so I’m going to be tracking that down as well. It’s a great read full of action, and really amazing lore. If you’re an anime/manga dork like I am, you’ll find little Easter eggs and connections.

Book Review: Half Bad by Sally Green


Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Published: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

Easy.

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Oh, Half Bad, I wanted so very much to like you. So many people talked about you, you have glowing reviews, and normally you’d be something that I would reach for. I only finished you because I have completion issues. My major problem with this book is it takes SO LONG for anything to happen, that by the time it does I was bored and wanting to put it away. I felt no connection to Nathan at all. I don’t know if that’s from the first few chapters being written in second persona narration, or if he’s just that flat.

And there’s the other kicker. Nathan is half white witch, half black witch, hence the ‘Half-bad’ title of the book and his branding. He doesn’t distinguish himself from anything else. There’s no swaying to either side, he’s staunchly in the middle, with a supreme (though rightfully earned) hatred of the white witches. I do think it’s a cleaver play that while the black witches are traditionally portrayed as evil–the white side, the traditionally good witches, are vile and disturbing on so many levels. I guess it’s a perspective thing. The best thing about this book for me was Gabriel. He was a breath of fresh air and lightened things up a bit. It’s irritating when the secondary characters are more rounded out and have more of a personality than the main character.

There’s insta-forbidden-love without any context, and fulfillment, and the ‘love interest’ is missing for three-quarters of the novel only to come back in the last few chapters as a pawn/bargaining piece. I wanted so much more from this book, I really did. There’s so much violence and hatred toward the main character, and there’s so little development/action that I find it incredibly frustrating.

Overall: pink2 Don’t buy into the hype. Seriously not sure if I’m going to pick up the second in the series.

Book Review: Breaking Free by Brandy L. Rivers.


Title: Breaking Free
Author: Brandy L. Rivers.
Published: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Goodreads.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
They say that dreams can come true, but as a Dreamwalker, Devlin had yet to experience anything but nightmares. Then again, the druid had been held by sadistic vampires and dark mages for twenty years, forced to do their bidding. Newly escaped, he stumbles upon a dreamrealm where he can’t resist a little werewolf.

Jamie just wants someone to call her own. She feels like she’s been waiting for an awfully long time, when a man who teases her memory begins to visit her while she’s dreaming. From the moment she feels his turmoil, she’s drawn in, wanting nothing more than to heal his broken soul.

Before Devlin can decide what to do, he has to make a trip to Edenton. His first goal is to make sure someone who can’t remember him is safe and happy. The little werewolf of his dreams happens to live there, and she’s even more irresistible in real life.

When you’ve been taught all your life to run, what will make you change? Can Jamie convince her mate to stay and fight? Will he risk everything to have what he needs? Or run to save them all?

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I could not put this book down. I devoured it in a matter of an hour and a little bit, and it blew my mind. Devlin is by far one of my favorite male leads of anything I’ve read this year. He’s strong, smart, sensitive and tough. He’s been held prisoner for years, but some seriously nasty villains, and despite torture and terrible things happening to him, he remains true to himself–a healer not a fighter. Which just makes me so happy.

Jamie is another great character, she grew on me pretty steadily throughout the novel. I really love their chemistry together, and the fact that the female character was the stronger in the relationship. Devlin is not an alpha male–but it works so well with Jamie who pulls him out of everything and works to make their world better. This is the fourth book in a series, but it didn’t feel like I was coming into the story mid-way. Characters from previous books show up and are mentioned but there’s enough context to determine who is who without giving away their stories.

Overall: pink4 I loved this. I’ve already purchased the other books in this series.


I was given a copy of this book for honest review.

Book Review: Night’s Embrace by Brandy L. Rivers

Title: Night’s Embrace
Author: Brandy L. Rivers.
Published: April 2, 2014
Publisher: self

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a
Synopsis:
It all started with a song.

Roxana Nights was late to another gig, thanks to her first love, and drummer. It’s been years since she left Jordan, but he won’t let her go. Then she hears a voice that pulls her under a spell and changes her whole world.

Trevor Malone just moved to Seattle with his band. Music is his only passion, until he lays eyes on Roxana. He’s never felt anything as strong as the pull to her. Now he needs to find a way to introduce her to his world.

There’s only one problem. A rival clan won’t rest until they’ve taken Trevor’s down. Unwilling to let old grudges die, they target Roxy. Trevor will do anything to keep her safe.

Roxy learns that the world she writes is closer to reality than she ever imagined, and that not all monsters are evil, though some are ruthless.

Will love stay strong when the past comes out? Can they survive the centuries old vendetta?

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I LOVE this book. This is my first time reading anything by Brandy Rivers, and I’m kicking myself for not getting into her books sooner. She’s got an impressive way with words, and her characters are to die for. Trevor is a great male lead, alpha male, without being over the top, and Roxy is a wonderful female lead. I like that she’s strong and can speak her own mind, but at the same time has issues and things that she needs to keep close to herself. Their chemistry together is off the charts. There’s insta-lust, but being that there are shifters/mates involved I’m not too upset by that.

This is a spin off of another series by the same author, but it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into the middle of a story already in progress. A few characters from her main series do cross over, and it just makes me want to read the other books even more. The story itself was great. There was tons of action, a bit of mystery and all around great writing. I loved Roxy and Trevor and how their relationship grew. I seriously cannot get enough of this book. I’m tracking down the other stories written by Brandy and I’ll be sharing them with you guys.

Overall: pink4 It’s a fast paced, sweet urban fantasy featuring shifters. Amazing characters and scorching scenes and chemistry between the two leads, plus it’s set in one of my favorite cities. I could feel the Seattle vibe and it made me want to go up and get lost in the city for a day (though at this point, it’s hard for me to get lost in the city). Great story and I highly recommend it.


I received a copy of this for review.

Book Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle


Title The Outside (The Hallowed Ones #2)
Author: Laura Bickle
Published: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Summary:
One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

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I have mixed feelings about The Outside. On one hand I really enjoyed it–when I sat back and just read it for entertainment’s sake. On the other hand I was rolling my eyes at the ‘cure’ against the vampires and the fact that even in the most basic sense it wouldn’t work. There’s just no way that the way the glowing people got their glow would work in any stretch of reality. Not to mention the positive/negative thoughts influencing the environment and in turn humanity v. vampires. My science brain was side eyeing most of this story pretty hard.

I do really love the different explorations of faith v the vampires. The Pentecostal Pastor encounter was terrifying, though the snakebite that one of the characters endures and then is healed simply by prayer? Oh, my science brain started to roll its eyes once more. The Catholic take was amazing, and really well written. I liked how Katie was exposed to different faiths, in a way affirming her own faith. Yes there is a lot of religious tones in this story, and often the reader is smacked over the head with them. But Kate is experiencing the world for the first time, and the world is going up in flames. She’s going to cling to what gives her comfort–her faith, and the Amish take on God and faith.

There’s lots of character growth. Katie grows as a person and starts to form her own world view. Alex bothered me for about 90% of this book, most of the times I found him condescending and overbearing, up to and including his want to make bend to his will in a rather serious situation. Elijah makes an appearance and his character doesn’t bother me as much this time. He too grows and changes for the better. These characters are scared, and it shows. People do rash things in drastic situations, and this is what adds realism to this story. I was happy with the way the story ended, but I found that there’s a third book coming out, so I’m interested to see where the series goes from here.

Overall pink3 If you can ignore the weird science/overblown faith and read it for enjoyments/continuation sake it’s entertaining.

Book Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle


Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Published: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Summary:
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

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I am in love with this book. I couldn’t put it down. I started it in the morning while keeping my mom company (She had surgery and gets bored easily) and I read through it in a couple hours. I fell absolutely head over heels for this world. I love the insight into the Amish world, and the fact that it feels authentic. Katie is an amazing character who comes to stand on her own. This is something that I found really great to read, because of her societal obligations to the Amish church and the way of life.

Katie grows so much through this novel. Her interactions between her family and the other members of her faith and the English are so well written and thought out. This book hit so many good buttons for me. She’s a strong female character who grows, and while there is romance, it doesn’t go the way it would normally go in a YA/NA novel. I like the vampires in this novel, and am so thankful that we’re slowly turning the page back to monster vampires–the blood thirsty creatures of horror. These vampires are fast and brutal and disturbing. Vampire lore is also respected in this novel which I appreciate so much.

Overall: pink5