Pages

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama


Title: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago."

My Opinion: I was quite impressed with this book as it was different from most other mermaid books out now. I tend to love mermaid books anyway, and this one was unique enough to really grab my attention. To begin with, it's written from the POV of two different female mermaids, one in our time (Hester) and one who lived one hundred and forty years ago (Syrenka)! Then we have poor Hester, whose family history shows that to fall in love means death. Since Hester thinks it's a family curse, she is determined never to fall in love, but as we all know, teenage hormones are not going to go along with that at all! First she starts having feelings for her neighbor and friend, Peter, and when she runs away from him, she runs smack dab into gorgeous Ezra on the beach! What's a girl to do? Then there's the weird happenings at the church and in the graveyard that I'm not even going to tell you about because I want them to be a surprise :) 

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Syrenka and Hester had very different voices and ways of talking so it was easy to switch back and forth between their POVs, which is always a plus. The characters were compelling, the pace of the book was spot on, and I definitely recommend it to all lovers of YA mermaid tales :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, July 26, 2013

I've added my blog to Bloglovin!!

I've been a member of Bloglovin for a while now under my name, Julie Witt, but I've decided to add my blog to it so people can find me by searching for "In Julie's Opinion" as well. Apparently I have to add this text to my post in order to do this (<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3596367/?claim=d4xwmrh9m4a">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>), so here goes nothing! Hopefully this will work (unfortunately, I'm rather computer illiterate), so wish me luck! :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Crimson Rising (Skyship Academy #2), by Nick James


Title: Crimson Rising (Skyship Academy #2)
Author: Nick James
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Our best-selling sci-fi series continues

Following their dramatic showdown in Seattle, Jesse Fisher and Cassius Stevenson find their world’s been turned inside out. The faculty at Skyship Academy is keeping Jesse a prisoner in his own home, fearful of his influence over Pearls. And Cassius, once a loyal Pearlhound for the Unified Party, has been pushed into hiding, fearful of his government's retaliation.

When Jesse smuggles a mysterious red Pearl onboard the Academy, he sets loose a destructive chain of events, which lead him to a reunion with Cassius and a confrontation with Theo -- a bloodthirsty Pearlhound with a dangerous secret. 
But a larger threat looms in the stars. An enemy is gathering, with plans to exterminate the entire human race. And Jesse and Cassius might just be the lynch pins that trigger mankind's destruction."

My Opinion: My opinion is very simple: I loved it!! What an awesome installment in what is becoming one of my favorite series! This book blends action, suspense, and science fiction perfectly!

In the Pearl Wars, we're introduced to a post-apocalyptic/dystopian society where sources of energy, or Pearls, are desperately needed, so when one comes down from space, the race is on to see who will find it first. Enter Jesse and Cassius, one working for the Skyship Academy and the other working for the Unified Party, who find out that they are brothers. We also find out that they are aliens, which really intrigued me. Now they are both trying to learn how to use their powers (Cassius burns from the inside and has a bad habit of catching rooms on fire without meaning to, and Jesse can open Pearls, which comes in handy in this destitute world where they are in such demand). They are both also on the run and separated from each other, so they each have their own exciting adventures in the book before they come together for what turns out to be a big showdown. 

I often find that sequels to books that I absolutely fall in love with aren't as good as the first, but that's not the case here. The writing was just as exciting, and the twists and turns that the story takes kept me on the edge of my seat! The characters, good and bad, are all well written, and the pacing is perfect. I honestly can't say who I like better, Jesse or Cassius, since I go back and forth all through the book, but I think that makes it all the more exciting! 

In summary, I absolutely loved this installment in the Skyship Academy series and recommend it to fans of action packed YA sci-fi stories. I'm giving it a very enthusiastic 5 stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3), by Kady Cross


Title: The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3)
Author: Kady Cross
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken 

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives. 

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him...and for Griffin. 

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine. 

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has...."

My Opinion: I was so excited when I got to read this book because Steampunk Chronicles is one of my favorite series, and I love Kady Cross's writing. I thought it tied things up nicely in most cases, but I felt bad for poor Jasper, one of my fave characters, who really didn't have much to do in this book and was just kind of hanging around. Fortunately, I got to see lots of Finley and Griffin, and Emily and Sam, with some awesome Jack Dandy thrown in for good measure, so I was a happy camper!

The gang has returned to England from their trip to and adventures in America, and everybody's trying to recuperate from that. Unfortunately, Griffin isn't doing too well, but he won't share what's going on with any of them, which really irks Finley. Emily and Sam are getting closer and are finally going to admit how they feel to one another when Emily is kidnapped, and the rest of them have to find her and bring her back, while keeping Sam under some control because he's totally losing it. 

Since I already told you how much I love this series, it's not surprising that I loved all of the characters, and enjoyed going back and visiting them again. The writing was, as usual, exciting and the pacing was perfect. I have to say that I am going to miss these guys a lot! 

I thought this was a good conclusion to the Steampunk Chronicles series and I give it an enthusiastic 5 stars. I  highly recommend it to fans of YA steampunk :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Transcendence (Transcendence #1), by C.J. Omololu


Title: Transcendence (Transcendence #1)
Author: C.J. Omololu
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.

As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.

Full of danger, romance, and intrigue, Transcendence breathes new life into a perpetually fascinating question: What would you do with another life to live?"

My Opinion: Cole (Nicole) Ryan goes on a business trip with her father and sister, Kat, to London, and while visiting the Tower of London, she has a vision of herself at the Tower (technically, at her own execution at the Tower of London back in the 1500s) and understandably thinks she's losing her mind. As fate would have it, she also meets a hunky American her own age there, who helps her after she faints, and who she later finds out lives very near her in San Francisco. Little does she know that Griffon knows a lot more about her than she thinks, including why she starts having these strange glimpses into previous lives. It turns out that she and Griffon are Akhet, people who can remember their past lives and connections. I have to say that I found this idea really appealing when I read the synopsis, and after reading this amazing book, I'm even more intrigued! 

I loved the characters in this book and really enjoyed watching Cole learn about her past lives in flashbacks, trying to put them together like the pieces of a puzzle. She was a child prodigy on the cello with her future pretty well mapped out and this threw her into a tailspin as she realized that she had probably played the cello in a previous life, which is why has been able to play it so well pretty much without thinking about it, even as a young child, and this brought up the question: Is it cheating to use what you've learned in previous lives to become a world renowned child prodigy, or is it only cheating if you know you're cheating? It sounds confusing when I say it, but trust me, C.J. does a much better job of explaining it in the book! 

Cole and Griffon's relationship starts to grow into love, but then something big happens that totally derails this, and I loved the twist, let me tell you! 

I thought C.J.'s writing was phenomenal and I pretty much flew through the book. The pacing is well done, with lots of romance and intrigue to keep you turning the page as quickly as you can. 

In essence, I thought this was a well written book with great characters and an awesome reincarnation storyline, that I highly recommend to fans of history, romance, and fantasy/supernatural storylines, and I give it 5 shining stars :D

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Review: Consume (The Clann #3), by Melissa Darnell


Title: Consume (The Clann #3)
Author: Melissa Darnell
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,

Which, as they kiss, consume.

-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert's joy-and despair. By changing the Clann's golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape. As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, a new threat stirs: an ancient being more powerful than anything the Clann or the vampires have faced in centuries.

To fight for peace, Tristan and Sav must win the trust of someone who has caused them nothing but pain and heartbreak. Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love-and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice."

My Opinion: Wow!! Just wow!! Since this is one of my favorite series, I was really nervous about reading the final installment: Would it live up to my expectations or would I be left wanting? Alas, I shouldn't have worried - I should have realized that the most awesome Ms. Melissa Darnell would make sure that I was not disappointed since she had not disappointed me yet! Consume was such a satisfying conclusion to The Clann series, answering all of my questions and giving Sav and Tristan the perfect send off.

As usual, the pacing of the story was spot on, and the characters, especially Tristan, grew in leaps and bounds. Seriously, Tristan had to deal with so many major issues in Consume that I'm surprised he didn't go completely bat shit crazy by the end of it! Savannah continues to be one of my favorite characters, and I loved how she never lost faith in Tristan or their love, even when they were on opposite sides of an issue. There were a lot of crazy twists and turns to the story, and all of the major players were back, including Sav's friends and family. 

There's so much I want to say about Consume but I would be giving too much away if I did, so I'm just going to say that I absolutely loved it and will definitely miss these characters whom I have grown to love and look forward to reading about. I'm giving Consume a glowing 5 stars and highly recommend this series to lovers of YA fantasy everywhere :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: If We Survive, by Andrew Klavan


Title: If We Survive
Author: Andrew Klavan
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "They came on a mission of mercy, but now they re in a fight for their lives.

High schooler Will Peterson and three friends journeyed to Central America to help rebuild a school. In a poor, secluded mountain village, they won the hearts of the local people with their energy and kindness.

But in one sudden moment, everything went horribly wrong. A revolution swept the country. Now, guns and terror are everywhere and Americans are being targeted as the first to die.

Will and his friends have got to get out fast. But streets full of killers . . . hills patrolled by armies . . . and a jungle rife with danger stand between them and the border. Their one hope of escape lies with a veteran warrior who has lost his faith and may betray them at any moment. Their one dream is to reach freedom and safety and home.

If they can just survive."

My Opinion: In this YA book we find Will Peterson and three other young volunteers who go to Central America with their church group to help rebuild the wall of a one room schoolhouse for the members of a small,very poor village. Their group includes the four kids and their pastor. Everything goes fine until the day they are supposed to leave, when rebels take over the village and hold the group captive. Their only hope lies with the pilot who was supposed to fly them out, an ex-Marine by the name of Palmer Dunn, but will he help them or opt to save himself instead? 

I will say upfront that I knew this was a Christian book when I requested it so I was expecting, and looking forward to, the religious aspect of it. I thought the author did very well at portraying the Christian teens realistically: i.e. they were as scared as anyone would be in their position, and although they did pray, they didn't count on just that to get them out of their predicament. The book was more about how they had to rely on each other and on their own inner strength to find a way to get out of Central America alive. 

I liked Will a lot, and I found myself admiring Meredith's faith and strength and wishing I could be a little bit more like her myself. Nikki got on my last nerve, but I enjoyed watching her grow and come into her own over the course of the book. Jim annoyed the heck out of me, too, but that was because of his naive political views and his inability to see what was right in front of his face. He also grew quite a bit as he was forced to face the truth and realize that one of his idols wasn't who he thought he was at all. I would have to say that Palmer was my favorite character because he had the most going on under the surface which made him a lot of fun to read about and explore.

This book was definitely action packed; things moved very quickly throughout the whole story, which made it a very quick and easy read. I had a hard time putting it down at all because something was always going on! The characters grew immensely from start to finish, which is always something that I look for when reading a book that I know I'm going to review. 

In essence, I loved this book because of both the never ending action and the ever evolving and growing characters, and I highly recommend it to fans of Christian YA fiction. I am giving it 5 glowing stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.