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Monday, February 28, 2011

ARC Review: In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane

Title: In the Arms of Stone Angels
Author: Jordan Dane
Genre: Fiction, Teen, YA
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (03/28/2011)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
"In the arms of stone angels I am not afraid"
–Brenna Nash
Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl’s body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me. Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can’t get White Bird out of my mind. But when I find out he’s not in juvie—that he’s in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life—I can’t turn my back on him again.
No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn’t trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder. And the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me. I’m as trapped as White Bird. And when I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can’t be a coward. This time I have to be his friend.
Even if I get lost, as well...”

When Brenna was 14, she saw her best friend, White Bird, on top of a dead girl (Heather), cover in blood and holding a knife. As any good citizen she didn’t think twice and called the police. White Bird was arrested and she was brought for questioning. She was considered a suspect of the crime because of her friendship with White Bird. But without any prove against her the police had to release her, but the town of Shawano, Oklahoma wasn’t too forgiven. Soon after, her mom had to close down her real estate business for lack of clients. After all this they moved to North Carolina to start a new life, leaving her grandmother behind.
She has always question herself about the day of Heather’s murder, she feels stuck on that day for betraying her best friend and is not sure she did the right thing by calling the police.
Two years later after her grandmother’s dead, she returns to Shawano to help her mother with the fixing and selling of her grandma’s house.
In Shawano she learns that White Bird is in a mental hospital, in catatonic state since the day of the murder. And she knows she has to help him to be able to free herself.
Shawano’s folk are not happy to see her back and old acquaintances return to her life to make her life impossible, making her feel not wanted and a freak. But she won’t stop for anybody or anything until she has deal with her past.

At the beginning of the book I didn’t like Brenna’s character, I though she was too rude to her mother and her way of thinking was too irritating for me. But with the turn of the pages I started to understand, and could say, accept her behavior. She’s not a normal kid; she has a “gift” that makes her feel different and unaccepted. She is very conflicted, but she’s strong and over passing many obstacles she learns to accept herself.
We just see some flashes of White Bird, he seems to be a very sweet and noble soul. He loves and accepts Brenna for who she is. And fights for what he wants the most, to belong to the Euchee tribe.
Another character I enjoyed very much was Joe. I love his insightful thinking. He gives great advices and lots of support to Brenna, helping her in her quest.

What I didn’t like: Brenna’s “gift” is mentioned many times, but it didn’t play any role in the book, I thought that aspect could have enriched the book but Ms. Dane didn’t use it. Also there are couple of references to Brenna’s father, not by name, we don’t know who he is. But because of his mentions I thought he will play an important roll, but nothing happened with that too. I don’ know if Mrs. Dane has another book coming after this one and is planning to use those aspects and that’s why she gave us these tidbits. Is the only explanation I could have.
Another thing I didn’t like, was that Brenna suffered an attack and her assailants were not brought to justice for what they did to her.
Also this book is written in the first person of Brenna and the third person of other characters. I don’t know if it was because I read a Galley or because of the format of my reader but it was difficult to notice when these changes were occurring. In many occasions I had to go back and reread that same part to see when this changes were happening to be able to understand. But as I said, this may be because it was a galley. Maybe the final book won’t have this problem.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book and being honest I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I started to read it and it was a really nice surprise.
In the Arms of Stone Angels is a different YA novel, is dark, it has suspense, a good pace and is an easy read. I think Mrs. Dane did a great job. I love that I learn something of the Native American traditions, I also liked that she writes about the reality of racism. The end of the book was completely unpredictable, and I really liked to have that surprise at the end.
I recommend it. And I would love if Mrs. Dean writes a sequel to this book.

Favorite quotes:

  • “Where is your sense of adventure?” “In North Carolina. I forgot to pack it.
  • The strength had always been inside me. I just needed to embrace it. Embrace me, for a change.
My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other reviews: Goodreads

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's Short Review: Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead

Title: Iron Crowned

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Dark Swan, book 3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Zebra books
Format: E-book

“Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land's queen, she's fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom. Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object even the most powerful gentry fear. . .

Who Eugenie can trust is the hardest part. Fairy king Dorian has his own agenda for aiding her search. And Kiyo, her shape-shifter ex-boyfriend, has every reason to betray her along the way. To control the Crown's ever-consuming powers, Eugenie will have to confront an unimaginable temptation--one that will put her soul and the fate of two worlds in mortal peril…”

After events in Thorn Queen (book 2), Eugenie Queen of the Thorn Land and her ally and lover Dorian King of the Oak Land are in a war against Katrice the Queen of Rowan Land.
Eugenie is desperate to end the war’s bloodshed and after hearing from a seer about the legend of the Iron Crown, Eugenie decides to search for it. She believes that if she posses the Iron Crown she could intimidate Katrice and end the war without spilling more blood.
Because her search for the crown will lead her through iron paths Dorian can’t accompany her so he suggests her to ask for help from her ex-boyfriend, Kiyo. Because of Kiyo's nature the iron won’t affect him. He agrees to go with her in the search of the Iron Crown and here is when all the adventures starts…

This book is a page-turner emotional roller coaster from beginning to end.
Even though sometimes I was screaming at Eugenie “noooo, don’t do it” (she didn’t listen to me) and I didn’t agree with many of her decisions and behavior in certain circumstances, I honestly can say that I loved the book. It kept me glue to my Reader page after page, and the last 4 chapters almost killed me. (Why are you doing this to us Mrs. Mead?).

My final thought: This is one of those books that when you finish you try to see if there is a missing page or something you didn’t notice before. And when you realize there is no more you start to hyperventilate and then you scream like a banshee. After getting that out of your system you get in a state of mental stillness not knowing where to go or what to do. Then you start to react and go to bed thinking about the end of the book and what it’s to come and when you wake up next day your first thought is about the book… and of course you’d dream about the book too... Iron Crowned is that good!

Please go get yours NOW and if you haven’t read the previous books (what are you waiting for) you should read them in order.

My Verdict: 5 Paws

Other books in the series
Strom Born
Thorn Queen
Iron Crowned

Other reviews Goodreads

Thursday, February 24, 2011

CATS-ilicious Thursday

There is no secret, I’m a cat lover. And in honor to these furry friends, especially my little one Kosita, I will dedicate Thursdays to them with CATS-ilicious Thursdays.

Kosita Gergin aka Psychosi.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday’s Short Review: The Zero Dog War by Keith Melton

Title: The Zero Dog War
Author: Keith Melton
Series: The Zero Dog Missions, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Format: E-book

“ -The first bullet is always free. After that, you gotta pay.-

accidentally blowing up both a client facility and a cushy city contract in the same day, pyromancer and mercenary captain Andrea Walker is scrambling to save her Zero Dogs. A team including (but not limited to) a sexually repressed succubus, a werewolf with a thing for health food, a sarcastic tank driver/aspiring romance novelist, a three-hundred-pound calico cat, and a massive demon who really loves to blow stuff up.
With the bankruptcy vultures circling, Homeland Security throws her a high-paying, short-term contract even the Zero Dogs can’t screw up: destroy a capitalist necromancer bent on dominating the gelatin industry with an all-zombie workforce. The catch? She has to take on Special Forces Captain Jake Sanders, a man who threatens both the existence of the team and Andrea’s deliberate avoidance of romantic entanglements.
As Andrea strains to hold her dysfunctional team together long enough to derail the corporate zombie apocalypse, the prospect of getting her heart run over by a tank tread is the least of her worries. The government never does anything without an ulterior motive. Jake could be the key to success…or just another bad day at the office for the Zeroes.
Product Warnings
Contains explicit language, intense action and violence, rampaging zombie hordes, a heroine with an attitude and flamethrower, Special Forces commandos, ninjas, apocalyptic necromancer capitalist machinations, absurd parody and mayhem, self-deluded humor, irreverence, geek humor, mutant cats, low-brow comedy, and banana-kiwi-flavored gelatin.”

The description of the book already gives a lot away, so I won’t contribute with that. But I can tell you that after reading it you'd know what to expect from it and I guarantee you, you will find everything you were expecting and more.

This book had me cracking up page after page. And if I get wrinkles in my flawless face for laughing I’ll blame Mr. Melton. (He will receive the bill for my botox treatment.)

I love the characters, they are all different and unique in their sordid kind of way but together they make this perfect dysfunctional mercenary “family”. They are always pushing each other’s buttons but when the need arise they always look for each other.

Mr. Melton creativity has no limits and this book is a proof of that. There were some parts in which my normal human brain (not small by the way) was in completely awe with his imagination.

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I won’t be able to enjoy Jell-o or oatmeal for at least couple of weeks… or months. (Thank you Ms. Melton.)

My final thought: This book is an EBOAFACS (Exploding Bomb of Awesome Fun And Crazy Stuff). As Capitan Andrea Walker said, the use of acronyms is as addicting as popping bubble wrap.

Can’t wait to read the next installment.

My Verdict: 4½ Paws

Other reviews: Goodreads

Monday, February 14, 2011

ARC Review: Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells

Title: Green-Eyed Demon
Author: Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane, book 3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (03/01/2011)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book

* Warning: This review contains spoilers from previous books of Sabina Kane Series*

“The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. She has to save her sister from her mysterious captors. And in order to do that, she has to broker a deal between the mages and the vampires before all hell breaks loose.
But as much as Sabina is focused on surviving the present, the past won't be ignored. Before she can save those she cares about, she's got to save herself from the ghosts of her past. Because the past is haunting her. Literally.”

This book picks up right after the end of “The Mage in Black” with the kidnapping of Sabina’s twin sister Maisie by their grandmother Lavinia, who is also The Alpha Domina of all vampires.
Sabina plans to kidnap Persephone (who is the “soft” Domina of the triumvirate that controls the vampires) and exchange her for her sister, but things don’t go as planed and she ended up with Tanith instead, who is the Beta Domina.
Tanith betraying Lavinia tells Sabina that her sister is been held in New Orleans, she also proposes a vampire alliance with the Mages and the Fairies after Lavinia’s dead.

Tanith is taken to the Seelie Court in the Fairy Realm where the decision is made; Sabina will go to New Orleans, with the mage Adam and with her demon minion Gighul. Their mission is to rescue Maisie from Lavinia and the Caste of Nod hands, and to kill Lavinia. After her dead, the Fairies and Mages would be able to ally with the vampires (Tanith) and stop the war.

Sabina and her Team travel to New Orleans where they are helped by Rhea’s friend Zenobia, who is a human voodoo practitioner. In New Orleans we are introduced to new characters such as: Brooks/Pussy Willow (I know, “her” name have me cracking up) who is a changeling-drag queen. Mac a lesbian werewolf and her vampire lover, Georgia. We are also introduced to a famous rock star, Erron Zong, singer of Necrospank and his drummer Ziggy; who are mage recreants.

In this book Sabina is still as badass as in the previous books, but in this one she’s dealing with the emotional strain of having her sister kidnapped and tortured by their grandmother. She’s also learning to trust others; all her life she lived a solitary life and now she has people that care for her. She has feelings towards Adam but before she can accept what she’s feeling she needs to realize that is not necessary for her to continue using the hard and dark fa├žade she had to build around herself to be able to survive her previous years. She also needs to learn that she can be loved and she can love too.

Adam Knows what Sabina is going through, he’s patient with her, even though sometimes the tension between them was very high. He’s always by Sabina’s side, but at the same time he let’s her discover by herself what she needs to do to accept her new life and be able to be with him. He’s smart, he’s caring, he’s
handsome, he loves Sabina and he’s also good for her. (Sabina is a very lucky gal.)

I love Gighul, Sabina’s Mischief demon. He’s incredibly funny; his snarky comments had me highlighting many pages of my book. He’s also loyal, and sometimes letting out his inner Oprah (Opry) he gives wise advises. He’s always there for Sabina and with his help Sabina can break many of her emotionally barriers. The backchat between Sabina and Gighul was always entertaining.

I knelt down beside the cat and patted his disconcertingly smooth head. “You okay?”
“Gark!” His bat ears swiveled as he turn to luck at me. “No, I’m not okay. Why can’t we just take a plane or car like normal people?”
I squinted at my hairless cat/Mischief demon. “Normal, Gighul? Really?”
“Whatever, trampire.”

This book has action, suspense, romance, comedy and more.
The fighting scenes with the member of the Caste of Nod are very well developed, the characters are rich and entertaining, the description of the world is amazing and the end was everything I was expecting it to be an more. It let me wanting to know what’s going to happen next without involving any type of cliffhanger (I don’t like cliffhangers).
The book fast pace make it a page-turner that it’s difficult to put away. I think this is the best book of the series, I’m not saying the previous books weren’t good, they were great, but this book is excellent.

Ms. Wells’s outstanding writing had created an Urban Fantasy Series that are here to be known and stay for many more books to come.
The next book of the series “Silver Tongue Devil” would be released end of this year, I’m sure I’ll read it as soon as is available.
My Favorite Quotes:
  • Trust me, sweet cheeks, you’d remember having a demon in your portal.
  • Bael’s balls, can we get out of here already? This alley smells like Satan’s asshole.
  • “Well, hello,” he drawled. “The demon’s got himself a little pitchfork.”
  • “Bite your tongue! It’s bad enough Zen doesn’t get the Temptation Channel. Don’t take my Opry away, too!”
  • “It’s better that you don’t know in case the police come calling.”
  • You won’t be sorry, Red. I’ll keep the perimeter tighter that a nun’s cooch.”
There are many more quotes I love in this book, but I don’t want to give more away, I think I already gave more than enough.

My verdict: 5 Paws

Other books in the series
Red-Headed Stepchild
The Mage in Black
Green-Eyed Demon - March 1, 2011
Silver-Tongued Devil - End of 2011

Other reviews Goodreads

Sunday, February 6, 2011

ARC Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Title: Pale Demon
Author: Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows, book 9
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins (02/22/2011)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book

* Warning: This review contains spoilers from previous books of The Hollows Series*

”Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . forever after. 

Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for her own mysterious business. But Rachel isn't the only passenger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that's not counting the assassin on their tail. 

A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.”

After being shunned by the Coven for the use of black magic (Black Magic Sanction, The Hollows, book 8), Rachel is obliged to attend the Annual Witch Convention in San Francisco to get her shunning revoked. Her brother’s is also marrying and she’s planning to attend the wedding after the convention.
When she is not allowed to take her flight to San Francisco she’s force to do the long trip by car. At the same time Trent is on an “elf quest” and also needs to get to the west coast, so they decided that the safer way for them to travel is to do it together, when I said together I’m including Jenks and Ivy, and here with this Great American Road Trip is when the adventure starts.

In this book Rachel needs to trust Trent completely and after everything he has done to her is not an easy doing. She also needs to learn to accept who and what she really is. And the best part is that she has to do those things while dealing with the Coven and trying to kill a crazy day-walking demon.
I like that we see some of “the real” Trent in this book, he shows parts of him that make him a more agreeable character, furthermore he deeply surprises us with his “elf quest”.
I love the verbal banter between Rachel and Trent and I think they enjoy it as well.

“It’s amazing what two months of not being on anyone’s hit list will do for a person.” I hesitated, realizing his hair was in a more trendy style than usual. “You’re not looking bad yourself, for a murdering drug lord.”

There is also a building tension between them that I’m dying to know how Ms. Harrison is going to develop it in the next installment.

Ivy doesn’t play a big part in this book but as always she is there for Rachel every time she needs her. There was scene between Rachel and Ivy that was very sad for me, I cannot say more because I don’t want to give too much away, but you will see it when you read the book.

Al also plays an important part in this book, and we learn new things about him. I am a big Al fan, I know he cares for his itchy witch (Rachel) and he proves it in this book. We also see Newt and learn more things from her. And Pierce… I never been a Pierce fan and this book doesn’t change my opinion of him, even though we see him really caring (loving?) for Rachel there is something with him that doesn’t let me accept him.

And now Jenks, my favorite character ever! He’s the best friend, parent, and partner anyone could have. In this book he is still dealing with the dead of Matalina, his wife and love of his life, nevertheless he has a positive attitude about life and he is learning to live without her. He is always there for Rachel and anybody who needs him. And with his snarky comments he makes this book an even more enjoyable read. I love him and wish he were my friend.

“Face it, you little cookie maker,” Jenks said, almost sounding fond, “in the last couple of days, you’ve seen what it’s like to be in a family, with all the touchy tempers and irritation that goes on. Now you get to see the other side, where we do stupid stuff for each other just because we like you. Rache is the little sister. Ivy’s the big sister. I’m the uncle from out of state, and you’re the rich nephew no one likes but we put up with you anyway because we feel sorry for you. Just let me help, huh? It won’t kill you.”

Another character I really like in this book is Bis, he is the cutest gargoyle! I want one for myself. We don’t see him much in the book but he plays an important role in it; and I’m sure we will be seeing more of him in the books to come.

The first chapters of the book were a little bit slow but in general I really like this book, the world building is great, is pack with action and the characters deliver page after page.
I enjoyed a lot reading it, sometimes I was literally LOL while hubs was looking at me as if I had loss my mind (maybe I did, it went to The Hollows).
In my opinion is one of the best books of The Hollows Series and I can wait to get my hands in the next installment of this series. I really want to know how Ms. Harrison is going to develop Trent – Rachel relationship if ever there is going to be one.

I recommend “reading” the books in order. And what I mean by “reading” is if you haven’t read them what are you waiting for!

Favorite Quotes:

  Trying to kill Trent on my watch? I don’t think so. “If I can’t kill him, then neither can you” I said.
  I Wished I had a camera, but then I stick out. Well, stick out more than two witches, a vamp, an elf, and a pixy in a power blue Buick with Ohio plates already did.
  The car was full of unhappy people heading west. It was the Great American Family Road Trip, all right. Whaaa-hoo!
  “Take a chill strip, Rache,” he said. “They’re faster than the pills and come in convenient dispensers … “
  “Come on, Rachel!” Jenks shrilled. “You’re a badass, not a bad witch!”
  “Tink’s pink dildo, all that money and he can kiss too.”

My verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series:

Dead Witch Walking
The Good, The Bad, and The Undead
Every Witch Way But Dead
A Fistful of Charms
For A Few Demons More
The Outlaws Demon Wails
White Witch, Black Curse
Black Magic Sanction
Pale Demon – February 22, 2011

Other reviews Goodreads
Visit author's website

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey, book 3
Genre: Fiction, Teen, YA
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: E-book

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.”

The Iron Queen is the third installment in the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.
The Iron Queen picks up right after the end of The Iron Daughter. Meghan, daughter of the Summer King and Ash, son of the Winter Queen were exiled from the Nevernever for falling in love, something that is forbidden by the two courts.

Ash and Meghan are thinking what their future will held in this new life in the “real” world far away from the intrigues and life of the Nevernever. Meghan wants to go back home to Louisiana, she dreams of being reunited with her mother, step-father and brother and live a normal life in company of Ash, but when she gets close to their house she realizes that her family will be at risk just for her been there with them.
She also realizes that for her and hers to be ever at peace the False Iron King has to die. She decides to start training with Ash. Puck has followed them to the real world and in consequence he is also exiled from the Nevernever. Ash is helping Meghan with her fighting skills and Puck is helping her with her training in glamour.

While Meghan is doing some progress with her trainings she is offer a deal from her father King Oberon and from Ash’s mother Queen Mab, they offer to lift the exile for her, Ash and Puck, giving them full pardon for their crimes if she returns to the Nevernever and goes deep into the Iron Realm to kill the False Iron King before the Iron realm overtakes the Summer and Winter Realms.
Though she doesn’t like that they are considering and treating her as an assassin, she knows she has to do it and for her failing is not an option.

Meghan grows Page by page; she is a different person emotionally and physically. She knows what she wants and what she has to do and nothing will stop her because she’s willing to do whatever is necessary to obtain it.

Ash show us his heart in this book and what a heart he has. I liked him in the previous books but I loved him in this one. I him.
Ash and Meghan relationship gets cemented in this installment, they are good for each other, they laid bare their emotions and show us that their love is beautiful and pure, their devotion to each other is a real bliss.

Puck also proves his love for Meghan and even though he’s deeply in love with her, he’s knows that she loves Ash and respects that, because her love for her is so great that he wants for her whatever makes her happy.

Grimalkin also makes an appearance in this book. I’m a cat lover and he’s a perfect example of a cat, he does what he wants when he wants. He is a great help along the way even though he behaves like he doesn’t care and things are not his business. I love this character.

The end of the book left my heart hurting and wishing tomorrow was November to get my hands in the next installment, The Iron Knight.

I love this series, but The Iron Queen surpassed my expectations. Ms. Kagawa is an amazing writer, I love the world created by her, it’s so vivid and rich in detail that I just need to close my eyes to see it and feel it in front of me.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this book, the only thing left for me to tell you is that if you haven’t read this book you shouldn’t wait more, go get it NOW! You won’t regret it. And if you haven’t read this series I recommend you to read it in order.

My favorite quotes:

  “For better or worse, I’m afraid you’re stuck with me now” (Ash to Meghan)
  “I have always loved you, princess,” Robin Goodfellow promised, his green eyes shining in the darkness. “I always will. And I’ll take whatever you can give me”
  “I won’t let anything happen to you,” he murmured. “You are my heart, my life, my entire existence.” (Ash to Meghan)
  “And in the quiet stillness before dawn, on the brink of a war that could tear us apart, our auras danced and twined in the darkness, coiling around each other until they finally merged, becoming one.”

My verdict: 5 Paws

Other books in the series:
The Iron King
Winter Passage (Novella)
The Iron Daughter
The Iron Queen
The Iron Knight - November 2011

Other reviews: Goodreads

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