Friday, October 24, 2014

All Things Halloween Review - Passion

Passion (Fallen, # 3)

By: Lauren Kate

Published: June 14th 2011 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2011)

420 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Angels, Demons

Source: Borrowed the paperback from friend, Paula (Thanks PB!)

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*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Luce would die for Daniel.

And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn't need to be that way....

Luce is certain that something - or someone - in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime...going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel...and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history. Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames...forever.

Sweeping across centuries, PASSION is the third novel in the unforgettably epic FALLEN series.

I borrowed Passion from my friend Paula somewhere around 2 years ago! (More like 3 at the time of this posting.) WHOOPS! Super bad friend, I know. My bad. I was torn between wanting to finish this series and knowing that I wasn’t excited about this book in particular. I initially liked the idea of two people (okay one person and one semi-fallen angel) being soul mates, continually being reincarnated (or the human continually being reincarnated), and finding each other lifetime after lifetime; however, a couple of things have made this subject not as appealing as it once was. 1) Being a Christian sometimes I find it annoying that angels in fiction never seem to behave in reverence to God as I believe they would in real life. Obviously there are true fallen angels in real life, yet that is the difference between angels and demons. And my point being that there for a while it seemed like every “angel book” I read seemed a bit too rebellious and too far fiction for me. 2) YA Paranormal books where something supernatural brings the characters together yet the characters can still choose to fight their supernatural connection began to abound—at least in my own reading. Like the too far fiction of angels vs. demons, I began to question what the point was of having a supernatural connection to another being if those characters weren’t going to end up together. 3) I really hate time travel books. I’m really not 100% sure WHY I hate time travel books, but I’ve yet to read one where I didn’t find it annoying. So all of that sums up how I felt about starting Passion and why I put it off for so long.

Because it’s been so long since I read Torment, starting Passion left me a bit confused. I’m sure I still missed some connections between the previous books and this one, but that’s okay. I got the gist of the story. Truthfully on top of my other hang ups I’ve already discussed, Luce was beginning to get on my nerves with how much she was questioning Daniel and their relationship. Granted, Daniel was never really a fountain of information for Luce and often left her with more questions than answers in the past. But when you’ve lived thousands of years constantly being reincarnated and continually falling in love with the same person over and over again, how do you question that deep down. And also truthfully I skimmed a lot of Luce’s narrations. However, the further I got into the book and the more Luce learned about her past lives with Daniel, the more willing I was to dig in a little deeper instead of just skimming the surface. Luce learns some critical things about her love for Daniel and about his love for her, but it sure seemed like it took her a long time to learn them.

Daniel, on the other hand, I was more able to connect with. I can’t remember if he’s ever really had a narration separate from Luce in the previous books, but I felt like I was able to see him as a character much better through Passion than Luce. I will say that I liked the contrast between Daniel and Luce. Whereas Daniel’s love has continued to grow for Luce throughout each incarnation, Luce’s love for Daniel has had to begin anew each time. Daniel has all the information of lifetime’s past, but Luce is essentially a blank slate. Luce wants Daniel to share his information with her so bad, yet Daniel knows that doing so in the past has essentially caused her death and he wants to get as much time with her in this lifetime as possible.

I pushed myself to continue to read this one when I might have otherwise put it down because I wanted this officially read, marked off my list, and given back to Paula. That being said, if I needed to put this one down more frequently it probably would have resulted in a lower rating. Each incarnation that Luce or Daniel traveled back to was a bit of the same thing over and over. “Oh no, you’re dressed for the wrong time period. Must find you some proper clothes.” “Oh look, there’s your former self.” Watch from a distance or meld into your former self to experience everything first hand. “Oh look, there’s Daniel’s former self.” Make out. “Whoops, you died….again.”

Passion was better than I expected it to be. It wasn’t as bad in all of the areas as I expected. Lauren Kate’s angels and demons, even Lucifer, appear to have a reverence for God or at the very least, there seems to be certain underlying rules that were more true to life than many other YA paranormal fiction I’ve read in the past. Luce and Daniel remain true to their love for each other in every reincarnation which makes their supernatural curse bond serve a purpose. And while Luce’s travels to the past were a bit of an annoyance to me, I’m glad she was able to learn the lessons she needed to learn. Daniel’s trips back were a bit less frustrating in general.

Passion gets 3 Stars from me. I can’t say I loved this book, but it was more bearable than I was expecting it to be. And finally I can cross this one off my list and move on to the series ender, Rapture. Have you read Passion? What did you think? Let me know! *Side note, I really like all the covers for this series, minus this one. I’m not sure if it’s the girl herself or the way the cover was done, but she looks a bit fake in this picture. Anyone else see what I’m seeing?

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

All Things Halloween Review - Mortal Heart

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassins, # 3)

By: Robin LaFevers

Expected Publication: November 4th 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

480 pages

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!!!)

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

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*Note: The above links to Amazon, Book Depository, and Booksamillion.com are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has.

You guys, I am so sad that this series is over. I have absolutely fallen in love with this series and with these characters. I want more. Robin LaFevers has definitely made my list of authors to check out more of her work. Must do so immediately.

Before I discuss the book itself, I’d like to say that while I’m totally not complaining—I’m truly just happy to have been giving the opportunity to read and review Mortal Heart--but the egalley version I had used a special version of Adobe that I could only read on my computer. This super sucked because I had to put it down a lot more than I would have otherwise. I would have been reading it on my phone and kindle at every opportunity, but with the version it was that wasn’t possible. Again….not complaining….just commenting.

Mortal Heart had everything that I fell in love with in Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph plus some. I love the strong females that Robin LaFevers has created. This convent of assassins dedicated to serving Death. They’re all skilled in so many ways and smart to boot. Ismae and Sybella both have dark pasts filled with abuse from various men in their pasts. Annith has a past that includes abuse, but her abuse didn’t come from any man. I loved how real Annith was. Despite how much love she bears for her sisters at the convent, she’s insanely jealous that she hasn’t been called on to serve Mortain by going out on a mission of her own. When the abbess resorts to sending out a much younger novitiate, Annith decides that’s the last straw. She must confront the abbess as to why she has been passed over.

The answer that Annith is given—that she has been called to be the convents new Seeress—doesn’t make any sense to Annith. She hasn’t shown any particular skill in this area. The abbess is hiding something, but Annith just doesn’t know what it is. We know from the previous two books and the interactions that both Ismae and Sybella have had with the abbess that there is definitely something going on that she’s not sharing. There’s some deception involving her. Once we got to Annith’s story, I felt like the big secret wasn’t that much of a secret, but I wasn’t 100% confident in my guess either. I’m always happy when this happens—when the author can give me enough to let me feel like I’m ahead of the crowd, but keep me from being fully confident in my conclusions at the same time.

With each of these stories, I’ve been impressed with the romantic relationship that develops. Each time the romance has been slow building and based on much more than outward appearance. Substance and relationship is built before any major attraction is kindled or acted upon. Annith was “faster” than either Ismae or Sybella though (and yet slower at the same time). I absolutely loved Annith’s relationship. This whole aspect was much more of a mystery than the previous two books and so I won’t even tell you the name of Annith’s significant other just to keep you in suspense. Just know that I LOVED this part.

As I’ve mentioned in both reviews of the previous two books, Robin LaFevers chooses each word specifically. She doesn’t just write and hope everything fits and makes sense. Each word is handpicked—or at least appears that way. This adds an authenticity to the series that puts it on a whole new level than it would have been otherwise. While period language can cause me to stumble over sentences when reading the classics, this just doesn’t happen with her. Her sentences flow in just the perfect way. I love how much actual history she brings in, yet tweaking it to fit her own needs to move the story along.

But perhaps my favorite aspect of this entire series is the relationship that these girls have with their god. While I’m always hesitant when reading books that aren’t about God, I hate when books throw in the fact that a specific character doesn’t believe in God at all. And the relationship that these girls have with the god of Death is so symbolic that I couldn’t help but think Robin LaFevers was writing about the Christian’s relationship with God. My favorite quotes always revolved around each girl’s interaction with Mortain, and I loved the symbolism that I pulled out of this book (whether it was what Robin LaFevers intended or not).

Once again, here are too many of my favorite quotes--I couldn't stop:

-...Mortain is a far more gentle god than most people give him credit for...

-...compassion is as different from pity as as a feast is from crumbs. Compassion says that I, too, have felt this and I offer you the knowledge that it can be endured so that you may draw strength from that knowledge and survive. Whereas pity--pity makes one feel smaller.

-He simply plucked the arrow from his chest, then bowed and thanked her for reminding Him that love never comes without cost.

-Wholly bathed in sin, and still seeking redemption in spite of it. It puts my own smaller sins in perspective and makes me proud to serve a god who is so forgiving.

-"I am just overwhelmed by the immensity of Mortain's grace. That even if we are lost or wandering, He will find us--always, He will find us--and try to bring us home."

-I try every way I know to lever my body against his, to upset his balance or cause him to shift, even a bit. But every time we touch, it feels far too much like a caress. Every time our bodies slam into each other, it feels like an unspoken promise.

-I do not have a specific prayer I wish to recite to Mortain. I never do. It has always been my custom to simply open my heart to Him so He may see and know all I that I am feeling--the good along with the bad, my grand thoughts as well as my small ones. I do that now, and peace washes through me, clearing me of my doubts and renewing my sense of purpose.

-I pray so that I may know my heart.

-It is hard to tell if that is a note of anguish I detect in his voice or if it is merely my own longings reflected back at me.

-...this cold, calculated desire for revenge I hold in my heart feels much more human than divine.

-As I tell my tale, I realize he listens to me in a way that few others do. I can feel him listening, and I fear he hears things I do not even know I am saying.

-"Jealous? Of that old man? Nay, it is just that if anyone is to hunt you, it should be me."

-"I do not want a love if I must bind it to me in such a manner, for does not the very binding of it make it less like love?"

-And most important, I will teach them how to love, for in the end, that has been the greatest weapon of all. It has proven stronger even than Death.

Mortal Heart gets 5 stars from me. This may just be my favorite in the series, which is pretty odd for me to enjoy the last book better than the first. It was a brilliant series ender that answered all of my questions while leaving me wanting more too. I sense a book hangover because of this one. Have you read Mortal Heart? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on All the Rage

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

All the Rage

By: Courtney Summers

Expected Publication: April 14th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller

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*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--In her hardcover debut, from the author of Cracked Up To Be and This is Not a Test, comes a powerful new young adult novel. 

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now—but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

I absolutely loved This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, and I can't wait to get my hands on All the Rage.

This feature is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten New Series I Want to Start

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten New (to me) Series I Want to Start.

  1. The Storyspinner (The Keepers’ Chronicles, # 1) by Becky Wallace
  2. The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, # 1) by Melinda Salisbury
  3. Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy, # 1) by Victoria Aveyard
  4. Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles, # 1) by Amanda Hocking
  5. Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, # 1) by Josephine Angelini
  6. Six of Crows (The Dregs, # 1) by Leigh Bardugo (not pictured)
  7. Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles, # 1) by Gena Showalter
  8. The Young Elites (The Young Elites, # 1) by Marie Lu
  9. A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, # 1) by Claudia Gray
  10. Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, # 1) by Katie McGarry (not pictured)

There are plenty of other series I want to start, but most of them are old. I already cheated as it was. OOOPS! Oh well. What about you? What new series do you want to start? Let me know!

Monday, October 20, 2014

All Things Halloween Review - Pretty When She Dies

Pretty When She Dies (Pretty When She Dies, # 1)

By: Rhiannon Frater

Published: November 24th 2008 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

238 pages

Genre: Paranormal, Vampires, Horror, Urban Fantasy

Source: Kindle Freebie Deal

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*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Amaliya wakes under the forest floor, disoriented, famished and confused. She digs out of the shallow grave and realizes she is hungry...

... in a new, horrific, unimaginable way...

Sating her great hunger, she discovers that she is now a vampire, the bloodthirsty creature of legend. She has no choice but to flee from her old life and travels across Texas. Her new hunger spurs her to leave a wake of death and blood behind her as she struggles with her new nature.

All the while, her creator is watching. He is ancient, he is powerful, and what's worse is that he's a necromancer. He has the power to force the dead to do his bidding. Amaliya realizes she is but a pawn in a twisted game, and her only hope for survival is to seek out one of her own kind.

But if Amaliya finds another vampire, will it mean her salvation... or her death?

I think it’s possible that I might be in a reading slump. Or well…I think I was in a reading slump at the time I read Pretty When She Dies. Unfortunately. Since I’m scheduled in advance this review won’t go live until quite some time so hopefully I’ll be out of my slump by the time this review is posted. (I did get out of the slump, but I think I'm edging back into one! Sheesh!) Anyway, I think I would have enjoyed Pretty When She Dies more had I been in a different place with my reading life. I was browsing all my titles in my possession, looking for a short book that I would be able to read quickly and I decided on Pretty When She Dies. It being one of only two that I had under 300 pages at the time, I picked it up. Also, I can’t really remember the last time I read a vampire book so I was kind of excited to return to the genre that started it all.

I loved the very beginning of Pretty When She Dies. Amaliya wakes up buried alive and turned into something that she doesn’t know or understand. I loved how disoriented she was. And I was struck with the writing from the very beginning. Her creator watches her rise and feed for the first time. He stays long enough to tell her that he’s going to be watching to see how she handles her new life but that he won’t interfere or help her out at all. The next section was necessary but slow moving for me. Amaliya needed to establish how alone she was in the world, but this section of the book felt like it would drag on forever. Eventually, Amaliya makes her way to Austin where she meets up with Cian, another vampire who happens to have been created by the same vampire as Amaliya. Once she made it to Austin, Pretty When She Dies picked up speed for me, thankfully.

Cian has never really embraced his vampire self. Being forced to turn against his will and losing his wife and two children have damaged him. He’s made a life for himself in Austin, but he’s working so hard to be human—or as human as he can be. Unfortunately, Amaliya brings out the vampire in him like he’s never experienced before. Despite being engaged to a human, Samantha, Cian and Amaliya are drawn to each other. Their connection isn’t easily severed.

But the thing is, Cian and Amaliya’s creator likes to play with his creations. He has all kind of twisted games that they have to endure. Amaliya being his newest creation has just drawn his attention back to Cian. Things get heated, battles are fought, the series must go on. While everything is wrapped up by the end of Pretty When She Dies, Rhianon Frater adds just enough unrest to have need of continuing the series.

Pretty When She Dies is one of those vampire books that brings the heat to this genre. It wasn’t overly graphic, but in this series blood mixes with pleasure. Amaliya has a colorful vocabulary, which is a nice way to say that she drops a lot of f-bombs. While the beginning sucked me in, the middle of Pretty When She Dies dragged for me, and the end had me skimming a bit. Overall I’d happily give Pretty When She Dies 3.5 Stars. Have you read Pretty When She Dies? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.