Sunday, December 18, 2011
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a new(ish) series by Laini Taylor. This is a fantasy story about a teenage girl named Karou, who attends an art school in Prague. She lives a fairly lonely existence. The only people she has in her life to call family are Chimaera, otherwise known as monsters.
I really don't know how to rate this book. It's wonderfully written and imaginatively creative. This world is different from any I have read about in any other book. On the other hand, I felt bored a lot of the time. It was just slow moving for me. Also, I suppose that I am not really into mythical creatures in the way that I'm interested in the paranormal. Sometimes I wonder, what's the difference? I'm not sure what line divides the mythical genre from the paranormal. I supposed the attraction to paranormal is the fact that these creatures are often considered beautiful or sexy. I just can't feel myself connect with a character that has antlers and hooves on their otherwise human looking form. Oddly enough, I can connect with characters who turn furry every full moon. But...moving on...
Karou leads a sad life. She is really nothing more than an errand girl for her guardian, Brimstone. She is sent on dangerous and/or illegal missions at her young age, which can make a girl feel uncared for. She doesn't really feel like she has a choice though, so she lives her days running “errands” while trying not to get too close to other humans. It's not a life that I would want to lead, but Karou is more brave and outgoing than I am. Her potential love interest isn't introduced until about half way through the book if I remember right (but don't hold me to that, I got done reading this book a couple of days ago and facts flee my mind rather quickly). Akiva notices Karou and is quickly intrigued by her, but also considers her to be the enemy. During their first encounter, they try to kill each other. I mean, really, who doesn't love that? It wouldn't be interesting if it was all sunshine and rainbows from the beginning, would it? I love seeing how the dynamic changes from trying to kill each other, to being attracted to one another.
A lot of the characters in this book were just bizarre to me, so I had trouble relating. I did really, really like Karou and Akiva though. These are great characters. Throughout much of the book, Karou is trying to figure out who and what she is. Nobody will answer her questions about how she ended up with the Chimaera – it's sad to not know where you came from. Akiva has this ice cold outer shell, but it melts away around Karou.
As the book goes along, the mystery and intrigue grow. Not until I got toward the end, did I realize how wonderfully written this book is. Once you see how things fit together, you'll be in awe. Then, you're hit with a frustrating cliffhanger ending. So, how to rate this book? The first half, I would give 3 stars. The last ¼ or so, I would give 5 stars to - so I think I will meet in the middle and go with 4. I am very interested to see how this story plays out, and am looking forward to the second book in this series.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, 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 still. Normal.
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.
I'm sure everyone already knows this, but Paranormalcy is the first book in Kiersten White's Paranormalcy trilogy. It's a young adult paranormal romance, and I'm sure that I'm the LAST person on the planet to read this. But... if you didn't already know, it revolves around 16 year old Evie. She doesn't know who or what she is, and she has been living at the International Paranormal Containment Agency for most of her life. She is the only one that has the ability to see through the glamours of paranormals. It's this ability that leads her to capture a shape-shifting paranormal that Evie later develops feeling for.
Sadly, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this book. I'm not sure what I expected but I've only heard great things about this book so I think that set my expectations too high. I guess I expected an amazing romance for one thing. There weren't really even any sparks. The character of Lend, who Evie falls for, is a nice guy but lacks something... I felt like he was a weak character, and there wasn't really much storyline for him. He was stuck in a room throughout most of the book and that was a little bit boring.
Evie is a typical teenage girl, except for the fact that she traps vampires instead of going out with friends on a typical night. The author did a good job at setting a teenager tone throughout the book. Actually, I thought it was a little bit on the cheesy side but I guess I was probably a little bit cheesy when I was 16 too. I feel like I'm being way too hard on this book. I guess since I am 30, it feels weird to read from a teenage point of view. Many young adult books seem to have an older tone throughout, but this book sticks to the age group it was intended for.
I think Evie is a character that lots of girls can relate to. I would have no problems with my young teenage daughter reading this (though I don't have a young teenage daughter yet, I'm just saying). Overall, this is a well written and well structured book. Even though it didn't quite live up to the hype in my opinion, I am still interested to know where the story goes and I will soon be reading the next.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Author: Tatiana Vila
Source: received from author in exchange for an honest review
An ancient book, a seventeen-year-old girl and an exotic boy from a supernatural world hold the key to freedom for a long-oppressed race, but that freedom could come at the cost of the human world.
Seventeen-year-old Kalista is suffering from a broken heart, so when her playwright father proposes they move their lives from New York to New Mexico because he is in need of inspiration Kalista is 100% on-board with him. New Mexico proves to be the perfect balm for her wounds and she is just starting to feel some of her old spunk when Tristan Winfield comes into her life and pulls all of her barriers down. Kalista is captivated by Tristan's unusual silver eyes and feels an inexplicable connection to him, which begins to manifest itself in her dreams with bizarre images of a waterfall and an orb.
While searching for an explanation for her troubling dreams, Kalista discovers an ancient book which holds the secrets of a supernatural race of creatures. But when Killings hit town, she realizes her finding has come at a high price. She's in the middle of a power struggle now, and a secret seems to be wrapped within the pages of that book. A secret she and Tristan are part of...
17 year old Kalista and her father move from New York to a small town in New Mexico. Most teenagers would probably be upset about this disruption in their lives, but Kalista is suffering from a broken heart and thinks that a fresh start might be just what she needs. Things seem to be going well – she makes friends quickly and even meets a handsome boy who intrigues her. Her life gets a little crazy though, when she finds out that some legends are actually true and paranormal beings are living amongst humans.
Tristan and Kalista both feel drawn toward one another, yet they both go back and forth from acting hot to cold toward each other. Kalista seemed to have a big issue with Tristan lying to her, yet she lied to everyone around her. Other than that, I really liked these 2 characters. There were definitely some sparks between these two and they seemed really good for each other.
There were some chapters devoted to a character named Caleb that had me confused throughout most of the book. The connection was revealed at the end though, and I'm really interested to see what happens with that storyline in the next book. I still feel a little confused though. Tristan still seems to have a lot of secrets and I never did figure out exactly what a ylem is.
The last chapters were great and definitely left me feeling surprised. It looks like we have to wait until April 2012 for the next book in this series. I'm dying to know what happens next, the wait just might kill me.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Author: Edie Ramer
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Genetically created to be broodmares, Phyrne Galaxy and her mother, aunt and cousin don't need men, they need freedom. They escaped from the warring planet of Kergeron to Earth, where Phyrne’s aunt's vision of winning money in a New Jersey casino comes true. Too bad her aunt's precog didn't show the hoods waiting outside with guns. But Phyrne has her own weapon, more powerful than bullets. She's ovulating.
Phyrne turns up the heat, taking out more than the crooks in her wave of sexual torture. FBI Special Agent Hawk Higgens, running to protect the women, is brought to his knees, too. Caught in her procreative spell, Phyrne ravishes Hawk.
Being seduced by an alien and left half naked and unconscious in the back of a surveillance van changes Hawk's life. He joins the Foundation, a privately funded agency that hunts aliens. Six years later, the reason for his career change pops back on the radar in a tea shop in Kentucky. The woman whose face still haunts his dreams has an addition to her family – a five-year-four-month-old daughter.
At the same time, two Kergeron warriors are sent to Earth bring the women back to their home planet. With an ex-FBI agent and two alien warriors on her trail, Phyrne's calm life running the Tea & Comfort shop is about to get shaken, stirred and screwed.
This is a cute story about 4 women who escape from their planet Keregon to find freedom on Earth. The main character in this story is Phyrne, whose superpower is her ability to make men mega-horny with her strong ovulating hormones. After seducing Hawk, an FBI agent, she ends up pregnant with his baby.
One of my favorite characters is Hawk, who is an all around great guy. He spends 6 years looking for this woman who seduced him – he can't get her out of his mind. When he finds out that he is a father, he stops at nothing to keep Phyrne and his daughter safe. The characters in the book are very likeable, I was even interested in some of the secondary characters.
My main issue with this book was that I didn't feel fully satisfied. For starters, there are 2 steamy sex scenes in this book but they are quickies. There isn't any romantic love making where the characters connect. Also, during the whole book, the women are all in danger so there really isn't time for any romance between Hawk and Phyrne. There was a potential romance for Phyrne's mom (which I was very interested in), but nothing ever came about it. Another issue is the ending, I just felt like it was rushed and there were some loose strings. I really don't know if this book is part of a series or not – if so then these things may get tied up in the next book.
Not only was this book about finding love, it's about family and that unbreakable bond. The women in this story are family and I enjoyed the interactions between them. I recommend Galaxy Girls to anyone that likes sci-fi or paranormal romances.