Review- Carnelian (The Chalcedony Chronicles # 1) by B.Kristin McMichael

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Clever, clever, clever!

Title: Carnelian (Chalcedony Chronicles # 1)
Author: B Kristin McMichael
Genre: Young Adult/ Science Fiction (Time Travel)
Publication:
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 209
Reviewer: Kelly

Synopsis:
Everyone has a past, but for most it isn’t so far in the past as Seth Sangre. His past is literally from thousands of years ago. Seth’s past led him to the present seeking something that might help him save his country from destruction. He has been in the present for over three years now, and he just found exactly what he has been looking for.

Mari had dreams of college being a fresh start, one where she would start over and not fall for the good looking player like high school. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what ends up falling into her lap on the first day she moves into the dorms. Now she has to hold to her promise to herself not fall for the handsome Seth Sangre. But he doesn’t plan to make it easy for her. Seth has already marked her as his next conquest. As the semester progresses Mari learns that Seth might just have a past of his own that’s literally in the past.
Suddenly, Mari finds her future along with her past put into question. She’s connected to Seth far more than she ever wanted to be, and maybe he isn’t the player who she thought he was. If Mari can trust her heart enough to follow him, Seth will lead Mari on an adventure of a lifetime-and reveal family secrets she never knew existed.

Opinion:
Carnelian is a refreshing take on a modern college tale. McMichael has created characters that are not your “run of the mill” college students. There is no bleach blonde cheerleader or wealthy sorority boy. Granted there is still the super hot football star, but he is not the usual stereotype. He is soulful, insightful and exotic looking. His female counterpart is a tall red haired beauty, with an Indian best friend. I loved this more realistic and multicultural look at college life.

Then there is the storyline. It is not about fallen angels, vampires, dystopian societies or mythical creatures. For a dynamic change, it’s a mysterious adventure about time travel and ancient societies. It felt like a cross between ‘The time traveller’s wife’, a college romance novel and a history book. Well done McMichael! It kept me engaged from the beginning to end.

The romance between the two main characters is teased out in the opening chapters, keeping the reader wanting more. Mari is a strong, intelligent character who is cautious and calculating about beginning any new romances. Seth is aloof and persistent, with witty charm and charisma that makes you swoon! The combination of these two characters creates a perfect balance for the story, and maintains the momentum of the plot.

My only small criticism was that the middle was a little lack lustre there for a few chapters . The reader was left wondering what was going to happen next as the main characters romance had already been explored. The rapid pace of the last few chapters, however, made up for this lull in the middle. I was turning the pages faster than I could read properly, in order to get to the end. And what an end it was! It left me wanting more, but unfortunately I will have to wait patiently for the next instalment.

Summary:
B Kristin Mc Michael has created something punchy, refreshing and dynamic. Cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

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Review – Prayer for the Dead by Nicki Scalise

 

HAVE YOU SAID YOUR PRAYERS?

Title: Prayer for the Dead (Book #1 Revenants in Purgatory)
Author: Nicki Scalise
Pages: 221
Genre: Adult – Paranormal Romance
Reviewer: Nicole
 
*** Copy provided by Author in exchange for an honest review***

BLURB:

A story about a girl who lived, died, and met a guy… in that order.

Is it possible to find true love and happiness, while condemned to purgatory until the end of days?

Olivia Brennan wasn’t eager to find out. Working for a division of Purgatory and Associates, her job consisted of one headache after another, caused by the impatient souls waiting to move onto eternal paradise. After a hard day at work, she was most content to stay home, watching reruns or reading a book. Aside from a few friends occasionally
forcing socialization, her afterlife was nothing special.

That all changed the moment Drake walked into her life. He was handsome, charming, and had a sadness behind his eyes she could relate to. It seemed that Fate had finally brought her a kindred spirit…

But could Olivia move past her own dark regrets of the life she left behind or would falling for him demand the ultimate sacrifice—herself?

 

REVIEW:

Congratulations to Nicki Scalise for delivering a fresh and innovative paranormal romance filled with humor, suspense, love, loss and friendship.  What an incredible effort for her debut novel!

Olivia Brennan, the protagonist in Prayer for the Dead, is a “Revenant”, struggling with the darkness of guilt, pain and grief resulting from her decisions and actions when she was alive. Revenants are souls who, for all intents and purposes, are dead but they walk the middle plane of existence and purgatory to the end of time. Revenants are created when a person dies and moves on from the land of the living without a proper funeral or prayers for them. Without a service or prayers there is no absolution, without absolution there is no chance for your soul to leave purgatory.

Olivia works with her brother Tore, best friend Devon and friend Portia at Purgatory and Associates. Her job is to process souls who get to move on to “Paradise” or to “Silence”.  Silence is a separate state of purgatory where souls must spend eternity alone, unable to interact with anyone or anything, living or dead, and they never move on for they become lost.

It is when Olivia is dragged along to go clubbing with her friend Portia that she meets Drake. Olivia had never felt a more physical or emotional connection to anyone while she was alive or since she has been dead, but little does Olivia know that from the moment she meets Drake the rest of her existence will never be the same again!

The characters in this story are very well rounded.  Each character is emotionally exposed at some point throughout the story as they reveal their own personal desires, insecurities and battles.  This is a perfect set up for the reader to witness the characters interact with each other, open up, grow, mature and develop throughout this series.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of Olivia’s personality.  She has such a great sense of humor, which had me laughing out loud as I followed her train of thoughts. I found her to be a strong lead character and while she is flawed and shows weaknesses in this story, I can sense her character becoming quite strong and of some importance throughout the series.

The chemistry between Olivia and her best friend Devon is off the charts! The way these two characters know and understand each other is very enjoyable to read and this could be wishful thinking but I am hoping this friendship develops throughout the series.  Whether the development would be mutual or one sided is yet to be seen.  I am hoping my prediction is correct as I didn’t feel the same electricity between Olivia and her other potential love interest, Drake. I felt very little chemistry between Olivia and Drake, which I think is mainly because I found his character somewhat weak.  I could feel my dislike for his character grow throughout the story, especially when he identifies with his weakness but doesn’t have the strength or drive to change.  I am intrigued to see how Drake develops throughout the series and maybe he will redeem himself, thus changing my opinion of his character.

In Prayer for the Dead, Scalise creates a unique story around Revenants and Reapers as well as introducing new paranormal identities such as Necromancers (witches of the dead).  While simply putting in a cameo in this story, the reader is given yet another indication of the direction of this series.  This direction comes with a guarantee that the next installment is going to be filled with more new and interesting paranormal identities and forms.

Prayer for the Dead was well written with great plot flow and pace that kept the reader constantly engaged.  The plot twists and turns and cliffhanger ending leave the reader wanting the next book to the series immediately.   I am sure the next installment is going to expose a whole new dimension to this series!

If you are looking for a fresh, new paranormal romance series to read, I highly recommend this book and in the meantime my advice to you…..don’t forget to say your prayers at night!

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Review- Unbreakable (Legion # 1) by Kami Garcia

WOW, WOW, WOW!

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Title: Unbreakable (Legion # 1)
Author: Kami Garcia
Genre: Mystery/Paranormal/Romance
Publication:  Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 305
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:
Kennedy Waters didn’t believe in ghosts, until one tried to kill her.

When Kennedy finds her mother dead, her world unravels. Then she meets gorgeous identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart who reveal that her mother was part of the Legion, a secret society responsible for protecting the world- a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now the Lockhart’s need Kennedy’s help to track down the evil being responsible – will they be able to destroy it before it kills again?

Explanation:
Unbreakable is the first book in the new Legion series by Kami Garcia. It centres on the life of seventeen year old Kennedy Waters. Kennedy was just a normal school girl until her mother is murdered and she becomes a part of the Legion. The Legion is a secret society that protects the world against evil spirits. The Legion consists of five living members at any one time. The current five members being teenagers, Kennedy, the Lockhart twins Jared and Lukus, Alara the granddaughter of a Haitian witch doctor and Priest the genius grandson of a spirit based mechanical engineer.  They must work together to stop the evil demon Andras from entering and destroying the world.

Opinion:
Wow, wow, wow! This book had me hooked from the first chapter! I read this entire book in a day! Kami Garcia truly outdid herself with her descriptive and suspenseful writing. The story was new and refreshing being about spirits, ghosts and ghost hunters. The mystery of the unknown and the sleuthing that the characters needed to do kept you gripped throughout the story.

Kami Garcia did a fantastic job in using emotive language in the story, to the point where you feel as though you are in the scene. This book did what no book has done before; it made me so scared that I had to sleep with the light on! Now I am not a person who likes scary stories, movies or shows, so I always steer clear from this genre. Though I never imagined that a book of this genre would also make me feel so scared! Garcia wrote so well that I could picture the scene as if I was the character being just as fearful of what lay ahead.

The storyline was mysterious and suspenseful, with the reader piecing together this mystical world of the Legion alongside Kennedy. The reference of the Legion to an actual historical group made the story feel even more real. As the teenagers work together to solve new clues and go on an adventure to stop evil spirits the reader becomes more engrossed with every step along the way. The twists and turns made me read faster as I was anxious to discover what was going to happen next!

The romance in Unbreakable was subtle and slowly developing in this story. It allowed the reader to see every angle of the characters and understand their true intentions and feelings. It also made the story a real page turner as I was excited to find out what, when and how the love story would develop.  The romance, however, didn’t overpower the story but was necessary to make it a well rounded read.

Summary:
I cannot believe there is not a sequel out yet! Pick up a copy of this book and read it now!

lips grey 5

Review – If I Should Die by Amy Plum

A UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL SERIES!

TITLE: If I Should Die (Book #3 Revenants Series)
AUTHOR: Amy Plum
GENRE: Young Adult – Paranormal Romance
PAGES: 405
REVIEWER: Nicole

BLURB:

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 has been shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend and I lost him

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?

 REVIEW:

Praise to Amy Plum for writing this unique series, with such a romantic story and setting, with beautiful characters that captured my heart. Thank you!

What captured my heart about this series was its unique plot and paranormal element.  It’s not another overdone vampire, werewolves or witch series. This series is about Revenants, which is a euphemism for Zombies – I know what you’re probably thinking and picturing but it’s nothing like the zombies in The Walking Dead series! You have the good Revenants (Undead Angels) called the Bardia, who spend their existence sacrificing  themselves to save humans and fight against the evil Revenants (Undead demons) called Numa, who spend their existence manipulating and influencing humans to commit evil acts or self sacrifice.

Then you have the fact that this series is set in Paris, which is, in my opinion, the most magical, romantic, historical and artistic place on earth.  Paris provides the perfect setting for the series overall plot and the beautiful love story between Kate and Vincent.  The chemistry between these two characters was so magical and magnetic.

The first book of this series, Die for Me, captured my attention by its beautiful cover and I loved this book so much I read it in a day – I simply couldn’t put it down. Then I was left waiting for the next installment, Until I Die, to be released and after the long wait I felt slightly deflated due to the book’s slower pace and the fact that Kate and Vincent spent a lot of their time apart causing me to miss the magnetism of their relationship.  I am glad to say this installment, If I Should Die, brought the series back with a vengeance.  It has a great pace, great plot, intriguing character twist and turns and more romance with Kate and Vincent working together throughout this installment.

If I Should Die, picks up the story right where it left off in, Until I Die. Vincent has been captured and murdered by the new Numa Leader in an attempt to steal his powers under the assumption he is the Champion, but there is a flaw in the Numa Leader’s plan. Kate, Jules, Vincent and the Bardia, are racing against the clock not only to save Vincent’s spirit and resurrect him back to his body, but to stop and defeat this new Numa Leader and their Numa army before they destroy the city.

All characters in this installment were amazing, especially the characters at La Maison, with a few unexpected and sad surprises. Kate’s character experiences so much growth in this installment, showing so much strength and maturity. Then there is Vincent’s character, which is perfect! He is tall, dark, handsome, romantic and French – what’s not to love? The way I hear him speak to Kate and call her “Mon Ange” (my angel) in my mind in his French accent has me swooning!! Overall, it was Jules’s character that made the biggest impact on me in this installment.  I really felt for him and the feelings he had for Kate which she could never reciprocate.  The romance was always a Kate and Vincent story with Jules falling in love on the side. Amy Plum detailed the exact scene for the reader to witness the exact moment Jules realizes his feelings for Kate in the first book, Die For Me. I truly hope Jules’ story is not over, because it would seem that Plum has set up a perfect spin-off series based around his character and the Revenants in New York City, in which he may have a chance at the happy ending that his character deserves – fingers crossed!

So this is goodbye to a beautiful series. Kate, Vincent and all the characters at La Maison will be sadly missed!

C’est donc au revoir à une belle série. Kate, Vincent et tous les caractères de La Maison sera malheureusement manqué

lips grey 4.5

Review- Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

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A WICKEDLY GOOD READ!

Title: Wicked Appetite
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Mystery/Paranormal/Romance
Publication:  Headline Review
Release Date: 2010
Pages: 373
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:
Seven Stones of Power, each representing one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Sought after for thousands of years, the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire. He’s a dangerous man with unusual abilities and a compulsion to possess anything he desires. Including Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones.

Elizabeth’s life is pretty much on track…until it’s suddenly derailed by a man named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat. Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She’s not sure about Diesel.

The Seven Deadly Sins pretty much cover everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks they also pretty much cover everything that’s fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

Explanation:
Wicked Appetite is the first book in the Wicked Series by Janet Evanovich. It centres on Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Tucker a twenty-eight year old, recently single cupcake baker who has just moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts. Lizzy inherited an old house from her kooky Great Aunt Ophelia and moved herself from New York to Marblehead. Marblehead is near Salem, the mystical town known for its witchcraft and wizardly, and the place where Lizzy is employed at Dazzle’s Bakery.

Lizzy easily makes friends with Clara, the owner of Dazzle’s bakery and Glo, the shopgirl. She is quite happy with her baker lifestyle, until she meets Gerwulf Grimoire and his cousin Diesel. Diesel explains to Lizzy that she is an Unmentionable, which is a person with special skills or powers. He also explains that she must work with him to find the Seven Deadly Sins stones and keep them away from his cousin Gerwulf.

Opinion:
Wicked Appetite is a loveable easy read. The main crux of the story is explored straight away. The sleuthing the characters need to do in order to search for the Stones leaves the reader searching for clues of their own to solve the dilemma. While reading this story I felt like a police officer on the hunt for clues to solve a case.

The lustful tension between Diesel and Lizzy is endearing. As someone who likes romance, Evanovich built up their relationship steadily to keep the reader intrigued. Her use of first person perspective allowed us to only see inside Lizzy’s mind, but through the use of detailed dialogue and descriptive language we were also able to assume what Diesel was thinking and feeling. Their love story is not a simple one, as they are technically work partners, so it will be interesting to see how Evanovich develops this relationship as the series continues.

The one downfall I found within Wicked Appetite was the lack of explanation Evanovich provided toward the foundation of the story. She describes everything at the beginning in a very hasty, matter-of-fact manner. For example, the issue of Lizzy being an Unmentionable is just a fact of the story, as is her working with Diesel. The setting is also not explained in detail to allow the reader to really get a sense of the scene. Thus Evanovich does not allow time for the reader to really appreciate and understand the characters or their surroundings.

Summary:
This book was an easy and entertaining read. I read this book after reading a very intense, sad and dramatic story so it was a perfect counterpart. If you are looking for something “light and fluffy”, humorous and that isn’t too hard to decipher, get reading today!

lips grey 3.5

Review- Origin (Lux Series) By Jennifer L. Armentrout

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W-O-W

Title: Orgin (Lux Seies Book 4)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal
Publication: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 366
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? And will they even be together?

Explanation:

Origin begins right where Opal leaves off. It is ten days after Katy has been taken by Daedalus, and it opens from Daemon’s point of view. Daemon says goodbye to his family and the Luxen community. He then makes sure he finds out where Katy is being held and gets himself locked into the same facility.

Together they learn the inner working of Daedalus. They are exposed to the cruelty of the humans and the experiments they are performing on Luxen and Hybrids. They also learn about the new creatures called ‘Origins’.
Katy and Daemon do what they can to endure their incarceration. They comfort each other. They love each other. They never give up hope. They live for each other and survive for their families.

Opinion:

Wow! Jennifer L. Armentrout does not disappoint with Origin, the fourth instalment of the Luxen Series. I have been anxiously counting down the months until the release of this book, and the wait was well worth it! I was so desperate to read the book that I had pre-ordered it, but as that was not arriving for a few days I just had to download it onto my e-reader. I read it in three days – I just could not put it down.

Armentrout wrote this so well. Her use of alternating points of view between Katy and Daemon right from the beginning allowed the reader access to both of their perspectives. The reader was finally given the privilege to see how Daemon was feeling, how deep his feelings for Katy run and how he felt about Daedulaus. With Katy, we are comfortable inside our usual protagonists mind, seeing all her usual fears, fighting personality and love for Daemon. This use of changing perspectives was also needed when Katy and Daemon are separated, so the reader had access to what was happening within Daedulaus with Katy, and on the outside with Daemon.

This book was so action packed I could hardly catch my breath! There are intense, nail-biting scenes where you are literally on the edge of your seat, reading at break-neck speed, to see what is going to happen. There are fight sequences, with guns, helicopters, SWAT teams, Luxen, Hybrids and humans. Every escape, every victory makes you breathe a sigh of relief, until the next dilemma comes along.

There were also so many twists and turns in the story that you weren’t expecting. All these surprises were jaw dropping! People you thought could be trusted couldn’t be, and people that always seemed uncertain were the ones to trust. My head was spinning just as quickly as Katy and Daemon’s, as so many unexpected plot twists were happening all around them. Armentrout keeps you guessing right until the last page! Thank goodness there is another book coming out, because there are so many loose ends that need to be tied up!

Summary:
Overall an absolutely fantastic and amazing read!! Go and get a copy now! Cannot wait for Book 5!

lips grey 5

Review – Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Title – Beautiful Chaos (Book 3 in Beautiful Creatures Series)
Author – Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre – Fiction/Paranormal/Young adult
Pages – 518
Reviewer – Laura

Blurb:

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on a new meaning. Swarms of locusts, record breaking heat, and devastating storms rage through Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear; what – or who – will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
Sometimes there is no going back. And this time there wont be a happy ending.

Review:

Beautiful Chaos is the third book in the Beautiful Creatures series. At the end of Beautiful Darkness (book 2), Lena finally claimed herself as a Caster for both light and dark, ultimately ruining her evil mother Sarafine, and evil great- great-Grandfather Abraham’s, plans for her! Since Lena’s choice is unprecedented in Castor history, it seems to have upset the order of things. The result is major chaos in the small town of Gatlin, not to mention in the Caster world!

To add to this dilemma, Ethan has started to feel strange and not exactly like himself. He has begun to notice significant changes in his personality, forgetting simple things like his phone number and even his own memories! More disturbing are his constant nightmares, where he always dies at the hands of someone that looks exactly like him!

Opinion:

I must say I enjoyed this book much more than I did Beautiful Darkness, and I am still completely hooked on this story!
The connection and love between Lena and Ethan was back on track, and I found I really started to enjoy Lena’s character again!

I like that this book was generally more action packed than Beautiful Darkness. The drama between Abraham/Sarafine and Ethan was intense, exciting and definitely kept me intrigued throughout the book!

I also love the additional characters and what they bring to the story. Ridley, Lena’s dark Caster cousin, who has been in the story since the beginning – is one of my favourites at the moment. I also really enjoyed the connection that Lena had with Ethan’s best friend Link! Thankfully, the love “square” that was formed in Beautiful Darkness seems to be over with, which I found made me appreciate Liv and John’s characters a lot more – they are so cute and I hope it works out for them in the end!

The end of this book will definitely leave you with this horrible feeling of suspense and sadness, so much so, that you will just want to rush to read the fourth and final book -Beautiful Redemption!

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Check out my other reviews to this series, Beautiful Creatures (Book 1) and Beautiful Darkness (Book 2).