sunshinejenn03

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The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

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After the hype, I expected more from this book than I feel like I was given. No chapters, maybe because it's a novella? But it just seemed to go on and on and on and on and....you get my point. There were no good breaking points and it felt - monotonous. I enjoyed finding out more about the Volturi and how Victoria amassed such an army, but Stephenie Meyer could have done so much better. I recommend this to folks, but only because it provides insight into the Twilight series. But it's not really necessary at all.
Wither

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Good gracious! The hype surrounding Wither by Lauren DeStefano is
spot on. After months of seeing review after review and hearing other
bloggers talk about how great this Dystopian novel is, I HAD to
purchase it and read it for myself, because I can't resist a good
dystopia. And OMGoodness did it give me everything I wanted and more.
Purely magical, I tell you!
In Wither, society has succeeded in vaccinating for every known
disease, creating a generation that is incapable of becoming ill.
They are truly immune to every virus, sickness, and cancer. They
don't even contract the common cold. They have the perfect immune
systems. So everything is hunky dory, right?
Wrong. Their children, and their children's children are unable to
live past a very young age; 25 for males, 20 for females, leaving all
future generations a very short span of time to, for lack of a better
word, breed. And breed they must, or civilization as they know it
dies with them.
I LOVED Wither. I loved everything about it: the descriptive and
fluid writing style, the characters, the world-building. DeStefano
does an excellent job in building this future world where we've done
something incredibly wrong and our future generations are paying for
it dearly. It is 100% completely believable, and the author really
makes you feel as if you can step right into the pages.
Her characters are wonderful. Rhine, the main character is unique and
beautiful but still tough as nails and just as sharp. Everything she
does is with a purpose and DeStefano writes her so incredibly well
that you can't help but love her.
Her sister wives are lovable in their own ways, as well. Jenna, older
and wiser in many, many ways, thirsts for knowledge and lives for the
day she sees her sisters again. Cecily is impetuous and demanding but
as a reader, you can't help but be exasperated by her and still love
her at the same time, as you would a small child.
I even liked the "villains" in this story because DeStefano doesn't
create a villain just to have one. Nope, she gives them a purpose in
those pages, a goal they move towards, so you have a hard time hating
them even though deep down, you really do. She has perfected the
villain. I don't want to name them because if you haven't read it
yet, it could spoil it for you.
Everything about this book is wonderful and if you havent read it yet
(but really, who's left?) you need to. Wither is nothing short of
amazing and I can't wait for her second book in the Chemical Garden
series, Fever!
NOT AVAILABLE
Blood Oath

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Blood Oath is an original, exciting twist on a genre that has seen just about everything. Approximately 140 years ago, Nathaniel Cade was an innocent youth, working for a living on a boat, when he was turned by a creature hunting the crew in the night. After committing an abominable act, he's captured and thrown into a holding cell. President Andrew Johnson gives him a pardon, but on one condition: he swear on an oath to protect the United States of America from its enemies....for the rest of his undead life.
I really liked Blood Oath. Instead of the usual paranormal fantasies that are saturating the industry, Christopher Farnsworth gives us an intriguing story of a vampire playing a secret agent for the President, protecting us from things that go bump in the night. It's Men In Black meets 24 meets Dracula and it is FUN. The story line is fast-paced, exciting and witty (see my Teaser Tuesday for a great quote). Don't be afraid because this book involves politics; politics play a backseat role in this story and yet make it at the same time. It reads like a really awesome movie (I hope it gets made into one, because I love action flicks!) and I had a great time reading it. Blood Oath is completely unlike any vampire book you will ever read and you will LOVE it. I don't like spoilers, so I won't go into plot twists and details; they are all pretty important. The characters are likeable (or not, in some cases) and realistic; I especially like Zach's cocky I'm-god-turned-omgisthisshitreal attitude. It's an excellent characterization of a pompous, self-important staffer and completely believable. Farnsworth weaves our real history with imagination expertly.
Blood Oath is not recommended for the squeamish; it does contain gore, but it's done exceptionally well. So go grab this little gem...you will NOT be disappointed!
Mockingjay

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I know this is a lot of readers' least favorite novel in the series, but it may very well be my favorite, because Katniss sucks it up and deals, albeit begrudgingly. But hey, that's real life.
Some books have happily-ever-afters, and certainly, Mockingjay ends well, but it doesn't end happily and that's actually what I liked about it. Sometimes life is bittersweet and Collins shows us this throughout the series. Maybe we strive for everything but only come away with some of the things we wanted. Mockingjay wasn't rushed, it wasn't contrived. It shows the reader how much sacrifice it takes to have freedom.
Masque of the Red Death

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It’s possible that Bethany Griffin is TOO good at what she does. I came into Masque of the Red Death expecting a dark, twisted novel about a girl whose emotions were worn down to nothing...emotionally incapacitated. And that is exactly what I got.

Araby Worth is living a rich life, literally. Her father is a scientist who invented the life-saving masks society wears to protect them from the plague that swept the world and killed many. This has provided Araby’s family, previously poor, with wealth and plenty of food in a city where the lower echelons of society kill for even less. But her life is still empty of heart and warmth because she feels alone, though she has her parents, her friend, April, and two men who may be interested in her (although for the life of me, I can’t think of why).

I wanted to love Masque of the Red Death. It sounded like such an emotionally raw and intriguing book. But it just...wasn’t. Based on the synopsis, I expected the lack of emotion from Araby, but as the main character, she was too apathetic for me. I couldn’t abide by her decisions; she made a lot of stupid ones and I often found myself questioning her judgement - and not in the good way that makes a book interesting. She also wasn’t a very strong character; it seemed as though anyone could manipulate her to do as they wanted. It’s as though she existed in this fog of disregard for everything around her, and while I know a lot of that has to do with the drugs and her past, I just can’t imagine caring that little. While Araby drove me crazy, I did like Griffin’s other characters, April, Elliot and Will. All three were very interesting people, each with their own agendas and surprises. So it’s not that Griffin didn’t write Araby well; I think she wrote her too well.

The world-building in Masque of the Red Death is elaborate and great: it’s Dystopian-meets-Steampunk and I had a good time getting to know the streets, nightclubs and the people who lived there. It’s supposedly a cross between Louisiana and Paris, however, I couldn’t get Baltimore out of my head, probably because of the reference to Edgar Allen Poe. Plus, Baltimore is kind of crummy. It seemed to fit into my imagination well. Griffin’s writing is fluid and engaging, as well, and the pace is steady throughout the story, so it was very easy to read without putting down.

In summary, this isn’t a terrible book, and I think a lot of people will like it. I fought with myself over a rating; it’s really hard to rate a book you did enjoy reading. The apathy is really what did me in with this book, though. I just can’t get past that. I want to connect to the characters and especially, the main character. I didn’t connect at all in Masque of the Red Death and without that, the author has lost me. So it gets a 2 ½: it’s not a “Meh” book, but I didn’t exactly like it.
Lost Voices

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With a cover like this, who wouldn't have big expectations (I MEAN, LOOK AT IT!)? The cover for Lost Voices promises a sort of fairy tale, magic, and girlish innocent youth.

It doesn't deliver.

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter is the story of Luce, formerly a human who transforms into a mermaid with a beautiful, deadly singing voice. On the night of her transformation, she's found by the mermaid tribe Queen, Catarina, who brings her back to the other girls, where they teach her the whys and the ways of becoming a mermaid. Seemingly, most of the mermaids have lost their humanity - fitting since they are no longer human. The way to become a mermaid is rather simple: have something really awful done to you and accept that there is nothing left for you in your human world. Your body liquifies, and reforms as a mermaid. If you aren't near a coast, travel through sewage pipes and drain pipes until you reach a body of salt water.
Because the way to become a mermaid is through negative experiences, the mermaids hate humans, regardless of having been human once themselves. They use their beautiful, deadly voices to lure and sink ships, for no other reason than entertainment and vengeance.
The premise of Lost Voices is great. It is the stuff out of sadistic fairy tales. But the execution of Lost Voices fails miserably. The story meanders often, with no real thought to plot lines and story arcs, leaving the reader wondering exactly where it's going or when it will start getting interesting. None of the characters are all that vibrant - save the most hated character, Anais, who is so profoundly vapid and cruel, she becomes interesting by virtue of that alone. The story feels very two-dimensional and flat, exactly the opposite of the world it is trying to describe. And though Lost Voices is the first in a mermaid trilogy, the ending is both abrupt and trailing off, of a sort. It just...ends. When it ended, I found myself wondering where the author was trying to take me, and if she really wanted me to read the next book.
I can confidently say I won't be.
Nightshade

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So I only very recently entered the world of shifters and I don't know what all the "rules" are yet (you know, besides being awesomesauce, which should be the #1 rule BTW). But Nightshade was nothing short of amazing and extremely engaging and entertaining.
Calla is the Alpha of the Nightshade werewolf pack. She's known all her life where her future lays and it's not with the human boy, Shay, who captivates her. She's to mate with the Bane Alpha, Ren, and together, they will lead their new pack of wolves, secret from the human world, although they do live among them.
There isn't really anything negative for me to say about Nightshade, it's really just that good. One nit-picky detail: [SPOILER ALERT] When Calla changes Shay, his transformation is just too easy and the whole episode is glossed over. I thought more could have gone into that to make it really heart-palpitating. [/SPOILER ALERT]
Nightshade has so much going for it that I think readers of paranormal/young-adult will like: it's fast-paced (there is always something going on), it's easy to identify with, it's sexy (grrrr), and it has that special paranormal element, that, while it's not unique, the author twists to make it her own. Andrea Cremer hits a home run with Nightshade and I can't wait to read Wolfsbane!
SHADOWFEVER by Karen Marie Moning, Excerpt

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Shadowfever was an excellent final chapter in the 5 book series. Moning did an excellent job intervweaving plots with character development and lots of grit and chock full of wit. This was one of the most enjoyable series of books I've ever read.
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