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Monday, April 27, 2015

Early Review: Cold Burn Magic by Jennifer Estep

Title: Cold Burn Magic
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade, book 1
Genre: YA
Publisher: Kensington Books (April 28th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
There Be Monsters Here. . .

It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .
Cold Burn of Magic is the first book in the new Black Blade series by Jennifer Estep.

I love Jennifer Estep books; her Elemental Assassin series is one of my favorite UF series. I also enjoyed very much her YA series, Mythos Academy. I was very excited when I heard she was writing a new YA series and I jumped to the opportunity of reading it as soon as the ARC became available; but -yes, this is going to be one of those reviews- even though I tried not to compare Cold Burn of Magic with Estep’s other series, it was impossible for me not to do it when the similarities (especially) with Gin Blanco (Elemental Assassin series) started to pile up.

Gin Blanco
Lila Merriweather
Mother killed by main villain
Mab Monroe
Victor Draconi
Has/had a mentor
Survives thanks to illegal activities
Uses blades with high proficiency
Blade is made of special material
Has two powers one of them is secret
Stone & Ice
Sight & Transference
Finds comfort in food
The city is ruled by families with strong magic
Belongs to an important family
Her middle name is bad attitude

I could continue with the similarities, but I think those are enough to give you an idea. I’m not saying Cold Burn of Magic was bad, because it wasn’t it, far from it, it just that the similarities bothered me a lot. Maybe if this had been my first book by Estep I would have enjoyed it more.

I liked Lila and I think she has potential to become a great heroine. I just hope in next book she will be more “her” and less Gin Blanco. One thing I really liked about her is that she’s not ruled by her hormones like many teenage heroines seem to be. I also love that even though she hasn’t had an easy life she doesn’t succumb to despair or suffers from long angsty periods.

Another thing I liked about Cold Burn of Magic was that romance is not front and center. There is just a supple notion of a possible love interest. The best part is that there is not even a possibility of a love triangle; at least it doesn’t seem to be one.

I really liked Devon Sinclair. I like that he is the quiet type, but very observant and smart. He knows what is going around him and he knows his position is not an easy one. I liked that he has a heart and doesn’t abuse his place of power. I think he has a very promising future if he continues the way he is.

There is a complex array of secondary characters, some good, some bad, some impossible to decipher, but they all made of Cold Burn of Magic and even more entertaining read.

The world is interesting; there is magic, magical creatures, monsters and many things in between. Families with powerful magic govern the town. Normal humans live along magical ones, some humans believe in magic, some don’t want to believe and are blind to what is going on in the own backyards.

The plot moves at good pace and even though I knew from the very beginning who was the villain and guessed how his demise was going to play out, I can honestly say I enjoyed reading it.

Despite the problems I had with Cold Burn of Magic, I couldn’t put it down, I was completely engrossed in the story from beginning to end wanting to know what was coming next.

I’m looking forward to Lila’s next chapter, for that reason I’ll be reading Dark Heart of Magic on October 27th when it comes out.

I recommend Cold Burn Magic to YA fans and bacon lovers.

My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws

Other books in the series
Cold Burn Magic (April 28th)
Dark Heart of Magic (October 27th)

Other reviews Goodreads

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Movie Trailer: Mr. Holmes

"Mr. Holmes" is a new twist on the world’s most famous detective. 1947, an aging Sherlock Holmes returns from a journey to Japan, where, in search of a rare plant with powerful restorative qualities, he has witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. Now, in his remote seaside farmhouse, Holmes faces the end of his days tending to his bees, with only the company of his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Holmes comes to rely upon the boy as he revisits the circumstances of the unsolved case that forced him into retirement, and searches for answers to the mysteries of life and love – before it's too late.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Audiobook Review: Last Heartbeat by T.R. Lykins

Title: Last Heartbeat
Author: T.R. Lykins
Narrated by: Andrea Emmes
Series: Last Heartbeat, book 1
Genre: YA, Romance
Publisher: T.R. Lykins
Source: Review copy from narrator
Format: Audiobook
Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
Alexia has fought hard to overcome a tragic illness in her past. Barely getting on with her life, she finally leaves home to enter the real world. This first big step makes her appreciate all that she has struggled with. This next step in her life also leads her to a possible heartbreak. How can Alexia keep up with all of her struggles and keep going on?

Phillip has lost someone close to him when he was younger. This person was the most important person in his life. He has struggled to get past this loss, and once he does, he finds out something about his favorite person that makes him feel the hurt all over again. Why can't Phillip move on for good? Can he really forgive someone in the past if they no longer live?

A chance meeting has Alexia and Phillip spending hours talking. This sparks an attraction for each other. Every day, running into each other makes the attraction grow stronger until they finally give in to it. When another accident strikes, both of their pasts come barreling back to haunt them. Can they move forward knowing the secrets they now know about one another? How much more can two broken people endure? Will they find their way back into one another's arms, or have they finally come to a breaking point in life?
Last Heartbeat is the first book in the Last Heartbeat Series by T.R. Lykins, the audiobook is narrated by Andrea Emmes.

When listening to audiobooks there are cases when you like the story and like the narration, other cases when you like the story but don’t like the narration and others when you don’t like the story but like the narration. Last Heartbeat falls on the latter for me. I had couple of problems with Last Heartbeat, but my biggest problem with it was that it felt too young for me… or maybe, I’m too old for it, who knows. I’m sure a younger audience (teens) could enjoy this book more than a mature audience.

My second problem was the way it was written. I’m all for dual point of views. I love to see what is going through the heroine and hero’s heads, but in this case the dual point of view failed because it felt repetitive. Let me explain, first we get Alexia’s POV and in the next chapter we get Phillip’s POV, the problem was that it was the POV of the same scene from previous chapter, so it was almost like a retelling of what I just listened from Alexia’s POV, but now from Phillip’s POV. There was very little new info from Phillip’s POV to make it worth it. It actually bothered me so much I ended up listening to Phillip’s parts at 3X speed (I started at 1.5X and went up from there). His POV got better towards the end, but it was a little too late for me.

The story also felt very predictable and didn’t let anything open for guesses. I don’t want to know everything that there is to know at the first scene. I want to discover things slowly. Sadly, that was not the case with Last Heartbeat. Since Alexia and Phillip first encounter I knew immediately what was the connection between them, I can’t say much because it’ll be a “spoiler”, although I’m sure everybody could deduce from the first scene what I’m trying not to tell here. We know in romance all couples go through a problem before finding their HEA, from that first scene I also knew what was going to be the problem that will break them apart.

Another problem I had was that Alexia and Phillip suffered from insta-love. I didn’t feel their attraction and never noticed when they fell in love. They went from hi, what’s your name? To I can’t live without you in a blink of a time.

But everything is not bad with Last Heartbeat. I really liked that it touches a very serious and important topic like organ donation. I’m a fervent believer in the importance of it and love that Lykins is giving voice to its importance in this book. Last Heartbeat is also a sweet story, as I said before, I think it is perfect for young readers.

Now onto the narration, I have said before and I say it again, Emmes is great doing different voices, she has a gift for it. I always knew who was talking and not once I felt confused with the interlocutors. Emmes knows how to generate emotions just by changing the cadence in her voice and she is perfect for young voices.
As I said on the beginning of my review, I liked the narration and think this was due to a very successful casting.

I’m not planning to continue with this series, but for sure I will listen to more books narrated by Emmes.

My Story Verdict: 3 Paws
My Narration Verdict: 4 Paws
My Overall Verdict: 3 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
Last Heartbeat
The Life Gift

Other reviews Goodreads

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book Quotes and Other Book-Related Stuff # 9

This year I haven’t spent as much time on Pinterest as I did last year, so I haven’t pin as many wonderful pins as before. Still, I found some great Book Quotes and Other Book-Related Stuff to share with you. Without further ado here they are:

The first image is me every night. Sometimes I feel bad with DH, but when I turn the page the feeling is gone. 
Ok, the second one is also me every night… I may have a problem. You should see the bags I have under my eyes right now… not pretty at all. Damn you books!
Third image is my answer to “I may have a problem”. 
Spoilers, spoilers! I don’t want to read spoilers unless I’m looking for them. I’m pretty sure there is a special place in hell for people who openly share spoilers without any care for others. 
As you can deduct from my previous comments, I’m booked every night. 
Hello, my name is Marcela and I’m guilty of flaking out on my friends for a good book. I know I shouldn’t do it, but sometimes books are just too good to stop reading then. 
I wish I had medals for all the “marathons” I have done, that would be seriously impressive. 

What about you? With which of these images do you identify the most? 

To see my previous Book Quotes and Other Book-Related Stuff posts click here.

Click here if you want to follow my Book Quotes and Other Book-Related Stuff board on Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hot Off the Press: April 21st Releases

April 21st

Unforgiven: The SoulkeepersLori Adams The Soulkeepers #3PNR
Within These WallsAnia AhlbornHorror
Letters from the DeadCampbell ArmstrongHorror/Suspense
The WantingCampbell ArmstrongHorror/Suspense
Need MeTessa Bailey Broke and Beautiful #2NA
Memory ManDavid Baldacci Amos Decker #1Mystery/Thriller
From Best Friend to BrideJules Bennett St. Johns of Stonerock #3Contemporary Romance
Conspiracy of Blood and SmokeAnne BlankmanPrisoner of Night and Fog #2Historical Fiction
The Silver WitchPaula BrackstonFantasy/Historical Fiction
Dead Girl WalkingChristopher BrookmyreJack Parlabane #6Mystery
The Machine AwakesAdam ChristopherSpider Wars #2Sci Fi
The Whitechapel FiendCassandra Clare & Maureen JohnsonTales from Shadowhunter Academy #3YA
City LoveSusane Colasanti Contemporary Romance
Ghost ImageEllen Crosby Sophie Medina #2Mystery
Sealed in SinJuliette CrossThe Vessel Trilogy #2PNR
AflamePenelope DouglasFall Away #4NA
When We Were AnimalsJoshua GaylordFiction/Mystery/Thriller
Becoming JinnLori GoldsteinBecoming Jinn #1YA
Desert RisingKelley GrantFantasy
Office ElvisGary GusickDarla Cavannah Mysteries #2Mystery
The Bone TreeGreg IlesPenn Cage #5Mystery
Pirate's AlleySuzanne JohnsonSentinels of New Orleans #4UF
The TrialsStacey Kade Project Paper Doll #3YA/Sci Fi
AvengingHolly KellyRising #3Fantasy/Romance
When Your Mother Doesn'tJill KellyWomen's Fiction
Angles of AttackMarko KloosFrontlines #3Sci Fi
After MidnightAllan LeveroneHorror
A Dance with DangerJeannie Lin Tang Dynasty #5Historical Romance
All's Fair in Love and ScandalCaroline LindenScandalous #2.5Historical Romance
The Devilish Mr. DanversVivienne Lorret The Rakes of Fallow Hall #2Historical Romance
War of ShadowsGail Z. MartinAscendant Kingdoms #3Fantasy
Beauty and the RakeErica MonroeThe Rookery Rogues #3Historical Romance
Chasing DangerKatie ReusDeadly Ops #2.5Romantic Suspense
The Miracle GirlAndrew RoeFiction
Dark BrideJonathan RyanGates of the Dead #2Horror
Red Girls: The Legend of the AkakuchibasKazuki SakurabaMystery
The Decaying EmpireLaura Thalassa The Vanishing Girl #2NA/Sci Fi
PositiveDavid WellingtonHorror/Zombies
PoisonwellJeff WheelerWhispers from Mirrowen #3Fantasy
The AffinitiesRobert Charles WilsonSci Fi
The Architect of AeonsJohn C. WrightCount to the Eschaton Sequence #4Sci Fi
The RemedySuzanne YoungThe Program #0.5YA/Sci Fi/Dystopian

Contemporary Romance
Historical Fiction
Historical Romance
New Adult
Paranormal Romance
Romantic Suspense
Science Fiction
Urban Fantasy
Women's Fiction
Young Adult

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