Thursday, April 26, 2012

Follow Friday (31)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read


Here is this week's question:

Have you ever had a character that disappointed you? One you "fell in love" with and then "broke up" with later on in a series or stand alone book? Tell us about him or her.

At first I didn't know what I was going to say, but after looking back through the list of books I've read in the last 6 months or so I discovered I have quite a few to list!

Chicagoland Vampires series (Chloe Neill)
WTF Mallory? Are you out of your freaking mind? What a crazy twist that was!

Dark Swan series (Richelle Mead)
I loved Kiyo for like, a second, and then he blew it.....and blew it.....and blew it.....

Annabelle Lee series (Stacey Jay)
I was 100% Team Hitch in book one, but as the story in book two unfolded I realized he was kind of cheating on his pregnant fiance! Then we broke up.

Masque of the Red Death (Bethany Griffin)
I was completely enamored by Will for 90% of the book, and then he went and did something stupid. Now I'm a 50-50 split between the two love interests. 

Alright little wolves.....who made your 'shit list'? Who did you 'break up' with???

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Happy Friday!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel
(The Infernal Devices #1)
Cassandra Clare

Goodreads     Amazon

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all., I'm doing it, I'm doing it!

Clockwork Angel is the first in the Infernal Devices series, a YA steampunk fantasy treat by author Cassandra Clare. If you liked The Mortal Instruments you will be thoroughly pleased with this series! Clockwork Angel is a fun trip into the TMI world, only over one hundred years earlier. In this one we meet Tessa, who is arriving in England from America under the guise that she is meeting her brother and will be living with him now that their Aunt, her guardian, has passed away. The book begins with a bang when Tessa is kidnapped by two mysterious women who we will come to know as the Dark Sisters. As soon as we learn Tessa's unique ability I was sold on this series. Unlike Clary from TMI, Tessa possesses a secret power, unbeknownst to her, that actually makes her a Downworlder. I was quite excited by this since I knew that it would make her acceptance by the Shadowhunter community difficult and put her at odds with some characters. Why would I wish this on poor Tessa? Because I like the added drama apparently.

With the above said, I did feel like Clockwork Angel was mirroring City of Bones a bit as Tessa meets Will and the other Shadowhunters: cocky, good looking boy rescues girl who has just recently been thrown into secret Shadowhunter world. Girl is brought back to The Institute (except that this one is in London), where she meets everyone and slowly becomes acclimated to a new and scary world. That could be the first five chapters or so from either book, right?

However I did really like this book, even better than TMI actually (at the time of this review, I have read the first three TMI books in the series). Perhaps the historical and foreign setting was what put it over the edge. Or it may have been the integration of steampunk into the fantasy world: clockwork-run creatures built from a combination of human and mechanical parts? Ooh, wonderfully creepy and fun!

I also liked the love triangle. Some might say there was a love triangle in TMI, but really for me, there wasn't. In Clockwork Angel we meet two young men Tessa's age who are Shadowhunters: Will and Jem. Tessa meets Will first, and is instantly struck by his good looks and at the same time turned off by his blase attitude and cockiness. Later, she meets Jem, who is quiet, gentle, smart, and very very ill. The two guys couldn't possibly be different from each other, and yet they are as close as brothers. Tessa's attraction to Will is obvious in this book, but by the end it becomes clear that Jem is "in the picture", so to speak. Going into the next in the series, I am eagerly anticipating quite the love triangle!

The other characters living at The Institute include Charlotte and Henry, the married couple who run the place (LOVED Henry as the absent-minded professor type!), haughty Jessamine, who is a Shadowhunter by birth but refuses to succumb to the life (sometimes wanted to strangle her), and a group of fiercely loyal servants. There is also Nathaniel, Tessa's brother who is missing for a majority of the book. Tessa's search for him is the driving force for most of the plot. He is a cowardly, unlikable character in my opinion. There is also the mysterious Magister, who is the mastermind behind the clockwork army and is also the one who charged the Dark Sisters with kidnapping Tessa in the first place. The search for The Magister throughout the story was all very twisty and turny and I was certainly entertained!

Clearly I really liked this book! Recommended for fans of: The Mortal Instruments (duh), YA steampunk, love triangles, good world building, and surprises.

**Runs off to read book two!**


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (23) - Precinct 13

Waiting on Wednesday is a feature hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that shares the upcoming releases we bloggers are on the edge of our seats about!

Tate Hallaway
Release date: August 7, 2012

Recent college grad Alex Conner is thrilled to have landed a job as the Hughes County coroner/medical examiner in Pierre, South Dakota. But when her first day on the job ends with a missing corpse, Alex starts to wonder if she would have been better off collecting unemployment...

When the cops made some cryptic comments about being careful with the body they brought in, Alex just thought the boys in blue were messing with her. That is, until something freaky happens that no amount of med school could have prepared her for. By the time Alex gets herself together, the body has disappeared and the other residents of the morgue start talking her ear off.
After working up the courage to report the missing body, Alex is transferred to the mysterious Precinct 13 where she discovers that her new co-workers—including a cute technomage named Jack—are paranormals just like her. Now, Alex is being encouraged to use her ability to speak to the dead to solve crimes. And despite being in the middle of nowhere, Hughes County sure does have a lot of paranormal activity…

This sounds like a fun and fresh urban fantasy! I love the cover and I love that it seems like there will be lots of various paranormal/fantasy elements represented in this one. Can't wait - hope its as good as I think it will be!

What is YOUR WoW pick?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens

The Kingdom
(Graveyard Queen #2)
Amanda Stevens

Goodreads     Amazon

My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here.Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.

The wonderfully eerie Graveyard Queen series continues with book two, The Kingdom.

In this one, Amelia is in a new location surrounded by new characters, including a new handsome and mysterious man. An odd choice by the author, to write a plot for this sequel that differs so much from the first, especially with the way things were left at the end of book one regarding John Devlin and a ghost who sought Amelia out for her help. Amelia is the same of course, haunted by her knowledge of ghosts and the fact that she can see them, or rather, try extremely hard not to see them. Her parents and aunt are also in this one for a bit, much like the first in the series, but they are the only characters from The Restorer that appear in this sequel. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book - in fact, I did. I rated it the same four stars that I gave The Restorer, just for different reasons.

In The Kingdom, we follow Amelia as she temporarily moves to the town of Asher Falls to restore the town's Thorngate Cemetery. Asher Falls is almost a character itself, a strange and unnaturally feeling place. Amelia feels immediately drawn to the town, like she is supposed to be there for whatever reason, despite the odd personalities of the town's inhabitants and a group of women reminiscent of The Heathers. Asher Falls is the perfect locale for a ghost story - an isolated island with a tragic past, run by a family with old money. Unfortunately, the ghosts don't really play much of a part in this book. Most of the plot is driven by Amelia's feeling of a strange connection to the town and her discovery of an unmarked grave in the woods near the cemetery. While this story line was interesting, it just doesn't have the same sense of urgency as the ghostly murder mystery being solved in book one. I did appreciate the background info about Amelia that we got from this story. There are some secrets about Amelia's heritage that are finally revealed and this helps to set up what I imagine will be the plot in the upcoming book three.

My favorite thing about The Kingdom, other than the awesomely creepy town itself, is the character Thane, who replaces Devlin as Amelia's love interest. I found him to be more personable and a better match for Amelia, especially considering that in book one we spend more than half the book wondering if Devlin is even interested in Amelia. Thane doesn't come attached to two ghosts either, although he is haunted by less ghostly things that do work against the possibility of a long-term relationship. I am hoping that in the next book we get to see both men - oh, wouldn't that be fun! There is also a secondary character that I quite liked, Sidra. She has much in common with Amelia and I hope she somehow works her way into the next book because I was left with some questions about her.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

(Hemlock #1)
Kathleen Peacock
Release: May 8, 2012

Goodreads     Amazon

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

Kathleen Peacock gives us a fun and exciting werewolf tale complete with a likable heroine and an appealing love triangle.

Hemlock begins with the funeral of Amy Walsh, daughter of a U.S. Senator and one of several victims in a string of werewolf attacks in the town of Hemlock. Fast forward five months, and we enter chapter one in the mind of Amy's best friend, Mac. The story is told from her point of view, as she and other friends of Amy's continue to try and heal after her death. After some new attacks from what might be the same werewolf that killed Amy and the others, Mac decides to do some snooping to try and solve the crimes and find the person responsible.

As YA plots go, its a pretty standard one, however it doesn't seem like werewolves have been that prevalent in YA lately. As someone who is a fan of shifters (duh, see blog name...) I was pretty excited to get some werewolf action mixed in with my YA. Mac is a pretty good heroine, not annoying and whiny, and she seems to make good decisions. She's had a tough upbringing - no mom, wayward father ran off, and lives with her twenty-something cousin. One might even expect her to be more screwed up than she is, especially since she has nightmares about Amy's death almost every night, but all in all Mac has a pretty good head on her shoulders. She does have an issue with letting people get too close to her, especially guys. Enter one really great love triangle.

In one corner we have Kyle, the slightly emo, always been her best best friend, never thought of her as an actual girl type. He and Mac have a great friendship and even though its obvious to us that there is something there, the two numskulls take quite a while to figure it out themselves. In fact, they only really start growing closer after the revelation of a big secret Kyle has been holding onto. I love the secret he reveals and I thought it added more to his character. He is the obvious better choice for Mac, despite one minor detail

In the other corner we have Jason, totally messed up bad boy from a rich and entitled family, and he was Amy's boyfriend before she died. Mac continues to help him out when he needs it and sees the good in him that no one else does, but he doesn't exactly make it easy. Jason has decided to join the dangerous Trackers, a group of well-organized, militant types who are trained to hunt (and kill) werewolves. More on them later. Mac and Jason are at odds about this choice and Jason's decisions throughout the story are seriously less than stellar. Of course I'm rooting for him...didn't I mention he's the bad boy?

Now, more on those Trackers. People who are infected with Lupine Syndrome are supposed to report themselves to the government, who then haul them off to live the remainder of their life in an internment camp. You contract Lupine Syndrome by being bitten or scratched by a werewolf in wolf form. Those who don't report themselves are hunted by the Trackers. They are brusque, brutal, and hate werewolves (think the KKK, but after people with Lupine Syndrome).

I wish there was a little more info about the werewolves themselves, more background and world building where they are involved. There wasn't really a lot of that, and I had some questions about what they could and could not do that were left unanswered. That extra information could have really bumped this one up to five stars. There were some twists and turns that I actually didn't see coming, and there were secrets being revealed about each character nonstop! At one point in the story Mac is convinced she doesn't really know anyone in her town.  This was one of my favorite aspects of the plot. That, and the fact that the identity of the "bad guy" totally caught me by surprise! The ending was also left wide open and I'm hungrily awaiting the sequel!

Recommended for: fans of YA love triangles, werewolves, well-written characters, surprises, and cleverly named streets.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Follow Friday (30)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read


Here is this week's question:

Fight! Fight!
Character Battle:
If you could have two fictional characters fight who would it be and who do you think would win?

*plays theme from Mortal Kombat*

Magic versus Magic:
Chess (Church witch) vs. Arcadia (magician)


I just wrote my review for Summoning the Night, and I just recently read and reviewed Sacrificial Magic, so I've got magic on the brain!
While Chess and Cady have very different personalities they are both damaged heroines with rough pasts. Chess and Cady are fairly evenly matched in the magic department. Chess needs supplies such as graveyard dirt, herbs, and psychopomps while Cady needs a caduceus, saliva or blood, and the markings on her arm. So it might take them both a few seconds to prepare for battle. Chess is not that used to working spells on live humans, she is usually battling ghosts, but I'm not so sure Cady could play as dirty as Chess could. 

Hmm, so they are both powerful in using their individual magic abilities, both need items to work their magic, they both have faults........

And the winner is........

Dead Even Tie!

Did you really think I could pick one of these awesome heroines?  :)

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Happy Friday!

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett

Summoning the Night
(Arcadia Bell #2)
Jenn Bennett
Release: April 24, 2012
Goodreads     Amazon


After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community.

The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no. Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.

Bennett outdoes herself with Summoning the Night, packing action, fun, romance, and a hyper teenage boy into one wonderful urban fantasy.

The Arcadia Bell series is, for me, like breathing in fresh air. Many aspects of the series are fairly unique for UF. One of these is the relationship between the main character, Cady, and her new boyfriend (err...'manfriend?). Lon is the older, wiser, quieter one and his quiet strength, utter loyalty, and sexy smirks make him a great love interest for Cady. Lon's teenage son also makes this series stand out in the genre of UF. I have recently noticed more teens working their way into the genre (Kate Daniels, Charlie Madigan, etc.), but Jupe really stands out as an important and entertaining character. His hyper-active, willing to please, wanting to be included personality makes him just so lovable! Jupe is not "the boyfriend's kid", but rather an indispensable part of the story, especially in Summoning the Night. In this one, we see Cady and Jupe's relationship grow and their connection is so sweet that I didn't mind in the slightest that Cady and Lon's relationship took a bit of a back seat. That doesn't mean that there weren't some great scenes between the two, because there was one scene in Lon's kitchen........whew!

It is also a bit unique that Bennett writes such a strong urban fantasy without any fantasy creatures. There are other series, of course, which manage this successfully as well. However, there just aren't that many and I highly enjoy the original use of magic in this series. Every aspect of the way Cady uses magic is believable and there are no questions left unanswered about her or Lon's world. 

I was immediately sucked in to the story in Summoning, and I think this one had much more action than the first in the series. Cady and Lon do some serious investigating and poor Cady really takes a nonstop beating. I think she was scratched or bruised on every inch of her body by the story's end! Two of the minor characters from book one reappear and play a much larger role in this sequel. A new character, slimy and untrustworthy, is introduced in Summoning as well. I'm really interested to see where the plot goes in the next book with the way things were left among all the characters at the end of this one. 

Once again, Bennett has given us an inventive and energetic urban fantasy with great characters and an absorbing plot. Can't wait for number three!

Recommended for lovers of: urban fantasy, magic, demons, skunk hair, older men, tropical drinks, and JUPE!


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