Crave (The Clann, #1)

First Lines: The last day I was fully human started off like any other April Monday in East Texas.  Oh, sure, there were all kinds of warning signs that my entire world was about to come crashing down around me.  But I didn’t recognize them until it was too late.

I actually forgot this was on my to-read list.  I mean, I knew the cover once I saw it, but I forgot I had wanted to read it.  I found it on my library Kindle loan site as I flipped through to find something to read.  It sounded interesting, so I picked it.

Savannah was a normal kid growing up.  She had best friends, but then one day those best friends all turned against her.  On the same day.  For no apparent reason.  But she tried to bounce back, ignoring how her best friends turned into her biggest bullies.  Well, all of them except Tristan Coleman.  There’s just something about him…something that Savannah can’t stay away from, no matter how many times she’s warned.  And Tristan, well, he feels the same.  So what happens when it turns out there’s a very good reason for them to be kept apart?

Ok, so I was totally into the first 10% of the book or so.  Like, nearly obsessive.  I did not want to put it down for any reason.  I was that absorbed into it.  It was awesome.  And then I found the major plot point that this was all leading toward and I felt like I’d hit a wall.  My inner monologue went something like, “Ah crap.  It’s another one of those books.”  So yeah.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled, but I kept with it because I have a really hard time leaving books unfinished.  And also, it was still a pretty good read.

The story is told between Savannah and Tristan’s perspectives.  Which is totally fine.  But I wish the first couple of times, this had been denoted better.  The first time it flipped, I had no idea.  It wasn’t until I got a little ways through it I went, “Now hold on.  Why is she suddenly seeing herself as though she’s a different person?”  That’s when I realized that the italic name Tristan was meant to be a heading, not her reaction to him coming down the hall.  And really, anyone could have missed that.  I had no idea we were flipping perspectives at all, let alone right there.

One of my favorite things about this story was the timeline because you see, there actually was one.  Whereas many stories will take place in as short a time as a few hours or a couple of days (sometimes including a romance of undying love that managed to “mature” in this short timeframe), this story actually took place over about a year or slightly more.  Which I liked because it felt more realistic.  Yes, there are times I complain about the longer timeframe, but that’s because they use it in a way that doesn’t make sense to me.  This one does.

As for Savannah and Tristan, I liked them.  There were other characters who were interesting as well, but these two were probably the best.  Reflecting back on it now, I don’t really think I necessarily liked or connected with them for a while.  But now that I’ve finished the book, I really do want to see where the series goes from here.

And even though I wasn’t a fan of the plot twist in the beginning, I certainly warmed up to it.  I really liked it by the end.

Overall, it was a pretty good read.  It flows well and I felt like it could plausibly happen.

*Gasp* Trying Not to Hyperventilate!

Oh my gosh, guys, you have no idea the feels I have been having this week.  First of all, I win this in a giveaway (so I’ll be reading this as soon as it comes in the mail):

And then there’s this:

Screen shot 2013-04-30 at 4.25.08 PM

AAAAAHHHH!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Rachel Vincent Tweeted me back?!  AAAAAHHHHHH! (*breathing too quickly to be helpful*)  Seriously?!  Dude, my day has just gotten so much better!!!  (And yes, I realize that it’s from April 26, but the email letting me know it was there ended up in my spam box.)

You know what this means, right?  It means there is a chance Rachel Vincent has seen my blog!  Oh my gosh, and now I’m fangirling all over this!  GAAHHHHH!

(All of you reading this are probably going, “Girlfriend, you need to calm down”, but I can’t!  I’ve never had an author that I freaking LOVE do anything as remotely cool as Tweet me back!  Though they have signed books for me and I’ve freaked out just as much for that too.)

I’m so excited!  My friends, this is going to be a great summer if this stuff keeps up.  And seriously like, you have no idea.  I have read just about every Rachel Vincent book that’s come out (except for the ones I haven’t gotten to yet because of school).  But I will catch up this summer!

Blood Bound (Unbound, #1)

First Lines: Only tw0-thirty in the morning, and I already had blood on my hands.  The most messed-up part of that?  It was the hour that bothered me.

This has literally been sitting at the top of my to-read list for a year.  I just never got around to it, finding other books to read.  But finally, I started going through Kindle books I had available to me and snagged onto this one (probably a bad idea so close to final week, but I did it anyway).

Liv is a bloodtracker, someone who can find nearly anyone with a single drop of their blood.  In a city run by very powerful syndicates, it can be deadly to have powers as strong as Liv’s are.  So she trusts no one.  But when an old friend’s daughter goes missing, Liv is bound by a powerful oath she made as a kid.  She has to find the child, and she won’t be able to rest until she does.  But this means working with her ex, Cam.  Cam is just as dangerous as Liv is, and with a prophecy working against her and Cam, it’ll take everything Liv has not only to find the child, but to survive.

Ok, so this isn’t YA, for starters.  It’s by Rachel Vincent (who wrote the  Soul Screamers series), but it’s not for young readers.  It’s got heavy language and a few scenes that are…well, let’s just go with “steamy”.  So yeah.  Keep that in mind.

I thought this was a super fascinating read.  I mean, besides being set in an alternate world where gangs of Skilled (the word for people with powers) rule the city, the lore behind it all was fascinating.  There were so many rules to follow, so many little things that these characters had grown up with that I would never consider being something to worry about.  That’s always fun.

And I really liked the characters.  Liv kicked some serious butt.  She was not someone you’d want to mess with if you didn’t have to.  I loved that she was spunky, strong, yet had a soft heart.  Strong exoskeleton, mushy insides.  And other characters like Cam, Anne, and Ruben were all equally fascinating in their own way.  I even had to respect the bad guys because they were so clever.  And there was usually one redeeming quality about them, at least.  That made them seem more real, even if they were total scum otherwise.

The mystery was incredibly intense to say the least.  It encompassed the whole book, growing and expanding as it went.  I saw a lot of the twists and answers before they were explained, but there were just as many that I didn’t see.  It was fun to read because it was so intense.  I didn’t want to put it down if I didn’t have to.

Really good.  Seriously, why did I wait so long to read this?

While He Was Away

First Lines: I won’t let the Oklahoma wind whip our words away.  They can get lost when David and I fly along like this — him driving his red motorcycle, me holding on tight to him.

I’ve been reading a lot of paranormal stories lately, and I thought it was time for a change of pace.  I was getting sick of all the predictable plot lines in paranormal stories, and I wanted something realistic for a change.  So I grabbed this for my Kindle and went at it.

Penna and David have been together for 8 months, beginning to date shortly after she moved to Oklahoma.  But just before David met Penna, he signed up for the Army.  Now, he’s off to Iraq.  It’s going to be a long year for the both of them, but it’s just a year, right?  Penna can make it.  She’s gonna try.  But it’s going to be harder than she thought.  It’s hard to keep in touch with him.  It’s hard to see all the places they’ve been together, places that are special, without him there.  Her mother and other people don’t think they’ll be able to handle the distance.  But Penna knows they can do it…can’t they?

This is actually rated fairly low on Goodreads (3.36), which surprised me.  Most people said they thought the book was boring, but I didn’t see that at all.  This book is more than just a love story.  It’s a story about finding yourself, about understanding yourself.  There’s a huge plot line with her mom that I won’t give away.  But I liked it a lot.

No, I didn’t think the book was the greatest thing I’d ever read.  The first chapter is a little weird, but it sets up her relationship with David really well.  I think some people find this book boring because it actually kind of plays out like real life.  And there’s the whole thing about Penna always waiting to hear from David.  There’s a lot of waiting.

But like I said, I saw this as playing out like real life.  Penna’s 18, David’s about 19, I think.  They’re kids.  (And yes, I realize the irony of this as I am not even five years older than Penna.)  They don’t fully understand what they want out of life.  Know how I know that?  Because I’m still in that phase.  So I saw Penna’s indecisions, her constant changing of things she liked to do as something normal for her age instead of lost plot lines, as some people suggest.

I liked that this story was so much more than Penna pining after David.  It covered some of the dark sides of war, for sure.  Granted, this story is from Penna’s perspective, not David’s.  She only knows what he tells her.  But you can still tell it’s war.  And Penna grows as a character throughout the story, which was fun to watch.  It was a story about more than Penna, but about other people who have boyfriends/girlfriends/wives/husbands/mothers/fathers/sons/daughters in the military.  I can totally respect that.

So in the end, I really have no idea why this was rated on Goodreads as low as it was.  Amazon has it at a 4.  Regardless of the reviews, I really thought this was a good read, one that helped me understand maybe a little more what these girls go through and what maybe I’ll have to expect this summer as I enter into a long distance relationship myself.

Sophia: Within

First Lines: It was another normal day in Sophia’s life.  She had been sent to the principal’s office twice, but this was no surprise.

I received an ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for a review.

When I was contacted about this book, I was smitten with the plot.  It sounded so interesting!  I wanted to get started on it as soon as I could.

For hundreds of years, there has been a secret mission passed down through the generations.  See, the Greek gods never truly disappeared.  Not all of them anyway.  And Sophia may be one of the strongest of them all, in her little New England town.  The Men of Ages have been wandering the Earth for centuries, keeping their ancient war going.  Sophia may be the only one able to stop them, but with human and inhuman desires, it’s not going to be easy for her to figure out what she wants and what the soul inside of her wants…

I had a lot of issues with this book.  It took me a week and a half to get through, for starters.  That was partly because I was really busy with school and partly because I just didn’t find it very interesting.  It’s very clear that this was the author’s debut because there were a lot of beginner issues with the story.  There weren’t any info-dumps, but all the information was parceled out funny.  Alec, the guy who seems to have all the answers, would answer questions for about 10 pages and then say something along the lines of “That is enough for now.  We will continue this conversation tomorrow.”  And pretty much just like that too, in the manner of talking.  These teenagers apparently did not know how to use contractions, which made their voices ring false in my head.  Sophia would yell down the stairs something like, “I am ready!”  Who says that?  Most of us say, “I’m ready!”  It bothered me.

More than that, the Greek mythology angle wasn’t very good either.  While some of the characters shared names with Greek gods, they certainly weren’t the same Greek gods.  A character named Orpheus was nothing like the Greek Orpheus.  Not even close.  That was frustrating as well because I felt like the synopsis lied to me.  The premise may be based on Greek mythology, but it wasn’t Greek mythology.

Ok, and also, the story played out weirdly.  The climax of the story hit about 80% through the 500 page novel.  The last 20% was falling action, and way too much of it for me.  This was actually where I felt there may have been an info-dump.  The story just kept going longer than it should have.  I really got bored with this section because there really was no more action at this point.  And there were a lot of typos in my copy that any copy editor worth their job should have caught.  Like “lose” was continually and consistently spelled “loose”.  Every time.  And quotation marks were missing all over the place.  You’d know someone was speaking, but there would be no quotes there.  And one last thing, the narration kept changing at random with no warning.  Sophia was the main narrator, but for a paragraph or two it would flip to Alec or Sophia’s brother, Dennis.  It would take me most of the paragraph to figure out what was going on, then by that time, it was over and we were back to Sophia.  That was also frustrating.

I feel bad bashing this as thoroughly as I have.  I mean, it did have a few redeeming qualities.  The plot line with the nymph was really interesting.  But there were just so many issues I had with the book, I couldn’t fully enjoy it.

Spotlight Friday (72)

It’s Friday!  It’s been a busy Friday (and a cold one!  Brrr!)  But I’ve recently scoped out some new books coming out VERY SOON and they will be included here!  I’m totally excited!  Are you?

The Last Academy by Anne Applegate

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Summary (from Goodreads)Curtis Sittenfeld’s PREP meets THE SIXTH SENSE in this spine-tingling, unforgettable debut.

Camden Fisher arrives at boarding school haunted by a falling-out with her best friend back home. But the manicured grounds of Lethe Academy are like nothing Cam has ever known. There are gorgeous, preppy boys wielding tennis rackets, and circles of girls with secrets to spare. Only . . . something is not quite right. One of Cam’s new friends mysteriously disappears, but the teachers don’t seem too concerned. Cam wakes up to strangers in her room, who then melt into the night. She is suddenly plagued by odd memories, and senses there might be something dark and terrible brewing. But what? The answer will leave Cam–and readers–stunned and breathless, in this thrilling debut novel.

What’s To Like: This is pretty typical of something I’d read.  While I’m not totally sold on the prep school aspect (it’s a little overdone), I’m up for creepy stuff.  And I really like that the summary tells me it’s like The Sixth Sense.  That means there are ghosts in this story.  And I love ghost stories.  Also, isn’t that cover kind of striking?  I love the people standing there, almost like they’re guarding the gate.

Fall of Night (Morganville Vampires, #14) by Rachel Caine

Release Date: May 7, 2013

*Series Spoilers are Unavoidable in the Summaries by Book 14 in a Series.  You’ve Been Warned.*

Summary (from Goodreads)Claire never thought she’d leave Morganville, but when she gets accepted into the graduate program at MIT, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Saying good-bye to her friends is bittersweet, especially since things are still raw and unsettled between Claire and her boyfriend, Shane. 

Her new life at MIT is scary and exciting, but Morganville is never really far from Claire’s mind. Enrolled in a special advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native, Claire is able to work on her machine, which is designed to cancel the mental abilities of vampires. 

But when she begins testing her machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make…

What’s To Like: I’m really excited about the change of scenery, though I’m a bit nervous about it as well.  I’m afraid we’re not going to see much of my favorite characters because of this, which is really unfortunate.  But I was getting pretty bored with the story as of late because of the repetitiveness of the story.  Every book was pretty much the same, in the same way that every superhero movie is the same.

My review of Fall of Night

If I Should Die (Revenants, #3) by Amy Plum

Release Date: May 7, 2013

Summary (from Goodreads)I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

What’s To Like: *Gasp* *Gasp* *Gasp* IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING!  The next book is coming out!!!!!  I have been hooked on this series since the beginning.  This was one that I would figuratively turn to people on the street and go, “HAVE YOU READ THIS YET?”  (I said *figuratively*, ergo I have never actually done that.  But I felt like it.)  You really have no idea how excited I am about this book.  I want to get my hands on it the moment it comes out.

My review of If I Should Die.