Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: A Touch of Crimson (Renegade Angels #1), by Sylvia Day

Title: A Touch of Crimson (Renegade Angels #1)
Author: Sylvia Day
Format: eGalley
Source: I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion

From Goodreads: "Adrian Mitchell is a powerful angel leading an elite Special Ops unit of Seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen-angels who have become vampires-and command a restless pack of indentured lycans. But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals- losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her-Shadoe-her soul once more inhabiting a new body, with no memory of him. And this time, he won't let her go."

My Opinion:  I wasn't sure what to expect with this book since I hadn't read any of Sylvia's work before, but I had heard good things about her so my expectations were high. I'm happy to say that she didn't disappoint! I found A Touch of Crimson to be very easy to read, with good characters who were easy to like  for the most part. There was a lot going on in this book, and thus a lot to remember while you were reading it, and I felt that the Glossary at the beginning of the book was a big help. You have the angels, including the Sentinels and their subgroups, the vampires, and the lycans (not to be confused with werewolves - they're more like shape shifters who change into wolves), among others. Each group is explained in detail - how they were made, what their job is, etc., so it didn't get too confusing while reading it. I did find that I had to go back and double check the glossary for a while, but it didn't take too long before I could figure it out without help. I thought the relationships and interactions between the groups were very interesting, and added a lot to the story.

I enjoyed the pairing of Adrian and Lindsay, especially when you consider their whole back story (Adrian is the head honcho angel in charge of policing the Fallen angels, and is supposed to be above reproach, but he was seduced by the head vampire's daughter, Shadoe, a long, long time ago, and is now facing the possibility of being turned into one of the Fallen himself, and Lindsay is the reincarnated soul of Shadoe, who feels inexplicably drawn to Adrian but doesn't know why). The only problem that I had with the story was the fact that Adrian is totally consumed with thoughts of sex and even though he knows it could lead to an eternity of suffering and the very real possibility that he would lose his soul, I didn't feel that he really wrestled with himself as much as I would have expected him to. I realize that he's had thousands of years and many reincarnations of Shadoe to come to terms with it, but something just didn't  gel for me there. I was glad that Lindsay really tried to be the moral compass with regards to Adrian's soul, though. I also liked that Lindsay's reincarnation of Shadoe was different from all of her previous incarnations, and that that threw Adrian for a loop! 

One other area I had trouble with was all of the major cursing that the angels, especially Adrian, did! I mean, come on! They're angels for Pete's sake! You'd think they would be worried about getting struck by a lightning bolt or something the way they talked! Sailors on shore leave have nothing on these guys!

Other than those two small things, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. One of my favorite characters in this book was Elijah, the alpha lycan, and I hear that the next book is going to be his, so I'm definitely looking forward to that! I had read that nobody does a sex scene like Sylvia Day and I can tell you that that is 100% true! Steamy doesn't even begin to describe it! I give this book an enthusiastic 4 stars :D

Review: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1), by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Format: eGalley
Source: I received a copy free of charge from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion

From Goodreads: "In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. 

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for."

My Opinion:  When I got approved by NetGalley to read and review The Immortal Rules, I think it's the first time I actually cheered out loud to get an ARC of a book! I even did my own version of a happy dance, which luckily only my dog saw since I tend to look a bit spastic when I'm dancing all by myself! I haven't read Julie's Iron Fey series yet,  but I'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard how awesome it is, and I couldn't believe I was getting the chance to read The Immortal Rules because I LOVE vampire stories! Then I got worried because maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself to like the story, and maybe it wouldn't be able to live up to the hype - but I shouldn't have been worried, because it was everything I had hoped it would be ... and MORE! I loved it! I actually read it about a month ago but life got in the way (it has a way of doing that, doesn't it?) and I wasn't able to write the review until now. I have a bit of a review list going on, but as soon as I got word I'd been approved to read it, I jumped on it and started reading it right away - and I didn't put it down until I was finished! Yes, it was that good! You know how sometimes when you're reading books for review, you keep checking to see what page you're on because no matter how much you're enjoying it, you're trying to get through each book as quickly as you so you can mark it as read and move on to the next one? Well, I definitely kept checking to see what page I was on, but not because I wanted to get it finished quicker - it's because I kept hoping that I wasn't very far in because I didn't want it to end! I even tried to read slower so it would last longer, but the writing was so well done that I couldn't read it slowly if I wanted to! The characters were well developed, and there was definite character growth from start to finish, the pacing was excellent, and there was just the right amount of action and emotion. I felt like I was invested in the story from the get go, and I really cared about the characters.

One thing that I really loved about this book was the fact that not only is it a vampire story, but it has a dystopian/post-apoc setting as well. A virus has swept through the human world, wiping out a fair number of them, which allows the vampires to come out of hiding and take over. Humans now have to register to donate blood regularly, and they work for the vamps. Some humans try to stay off of the grid and live in hiding, including Allison Sekemoto, who harbors a strong hatred of vampires after watching her mother die and blaming the vampires for it. Unfortunately, one night she's out after dark and is attacked by a band of rabid vamps. Another vampire finds her and offers her the choice: die there and then, or be turned into one of the things she hates most in the world. Her survival instinct kicks in and she opts to be saved, even though being a vampire goes against everything she believes in. The vampire who saved her, his name is Kanin, is a loner who agrees to teach her what she needs to know to survive. In time she finds out that there's a lot more to Kanin than meets the eye! Allie sets out to learn what it means to be a vampire and what her place is in the world now, and she ends upon a quest that will take her far from her home and way outside her comfort zone!

I can't say enough how much I loved this book! After reading it I've decided that I'm definitely going to read Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, and I will be waiting impatiently for the next installment in the Blood of Eden series, which can't come soon enough for me :D

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review: Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes, by Jonathan Auxier

Title: Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes
Author: Jonathan Auxier
Format: eGalley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves. As you can well imagine, blind children have incredible senses of smell, and they can tell what lies behind a locked door- be it fine cloth, gold, or peanut brittle- at fifty paces. Moreover, their fingers are so small and nimble that they can slip right through keyholes, and their ears so keen that they can hear the faint clicks and clacks of every moving part inside even the most complicated lock. Of course, the age of great thievery has long since passed;today there are few child-thieves left, blind or otherwise. At one time, however, the world was simply thick with them. This is the story of the greatest thief who ever lived. His name, as you've probably guessed, is Peter Nimble."

My Opinion:  I absolutely LOVED this book! Yes, it is an MG book, and yes, I am an adult, but I enjoyed every minute of this book and couldn't put it down! I'm so excited for my sons to read it because it has everything they could want in a book: action, adventure, heroes and villains, fighting and thieving!! What boy wouldn't want to dive into it! 

Peter Nimble has had a very difficult life. He is found abandoned as an infant, with his eyes having been pecked out by the crows who are found with him. He scrounges out a life as best he can, until he is taken in by a cruel man who teaches him to be the best thief in the world so he can steal for him in exchange for the meager food and board he provides. All that changes when Peter steals a box with three pairs of eggs in it - and magically, each pair of eggs has a pair of eyes in it. When Peter puts in the first pair of eyes he is transported to an island where a kind man takes him in and explains that these eyes are meant only for Peter, to help him on a quest to save a damsel in distress. Peter sets off on the adventure of a lifetime, where he finds his destiny. 

This was such a fantastic, magical book, and I definitely recommend it to all fans of fantasy and adventure, who love a good underdog to root for :D

Why I've been absent lately ...

I realized that I haven't been posting for a while now and I thought I would take this opportunity to share the reasons for this with you. I was really sick with a very nasty bug for a few weeks that knocked me off my feet, so much so that for the first time in a very long time I didn't even feel like reading, let alone reviewing! I was just so tired all the time and felt so crappy that I couldn't concentrate on anything for very long, which makes reading kind of difficult. Thankfully, I finally started feeling better, but then something awful happened to my oldest son's girlfriend. My son is 26 years old and is dating a girl who was working in Dubai for about 3 months. She was about 2 weeks from coming back home when she went out with some friends of hers to a bar they had frequented many times in Dubai and where they had never had any problems. Unfortunately, on that night, she was walking to the bathroom alone when a young lady who worked at the bar asked her if she could help her with something in another room, and since Angel had seen her there on a couple of occasions before, she didn't see anything wrong with this. When she went into the other room, she was grabbed from behind by a man and dragged out the back door. This man had 2 friends with him, and they all pushed her in a car and drove her to a nearby beach, where they brutally beat and raped her. When her friends realized she was missing, they drove around for hours looking for her, and finally found her laying on the beach, beaten, bruised and bleeding, with her clothes torn from her. They took her to the hospital, thank God, and she was examined and treated there. They determined that all 3 men had raped her, probably repeatedly, over the 6 hours she was gone. Luckily they were able to obtain semen from all 3, and we are all praying that they will be able to find these monsters and put them away since they have their DNA. Angel was kept in the hospital for about a week and a half, treated with antibiotics, pain meds, and medication to help her sleep since she was having awful dreams and would wake up screaming and fighting anyone who came into her room to help her, and was finally released to come  home yesterday. This has been an awful time for my son because he wasn't able to be with her, and we did a lot of praying for both him and Angel. Needless to say, it has been an awful four weeks and I haven't even thought about reading or reviewing. I'm going to try to catch up over the next week or so, but I'm sure it's going to be slow going since I have so much on my mind right now. I also got served divorce papers, finally, and can look forward to a lovely court case starting next month. Ain't life grand? When it rains, it definitely pours! They say God doesn't give you more than you can handle, but sometimes I wonder! Prayer has gotten us through this far, and I'm sure it will get us through anything else life throws at us, and I would ask that anyone reading this who believes in prayer would say a short one for Angel, to help her get through this as best as she can. Thank you for taking the time to read this :)