Sunday, July 31, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

When I picked up Darkness Becomes Her, I was drawn to the post-double-hurricane disaster world.  Living in FL, all my life we know hurricanes and I have lived through many.  I remember the year that Katrina devestated New Orleans and remember when another threatened the same coast that year.  I had always though "what if" myself, so this was a very interesting premise to me. 
The story start out with Ari learning from a mental institution that her mother commited sucide just months after giving her up to Children's Services at the age of 3.  Ari has had a hard life being in many abusive foster homes before ending up with her last good family who have trained her in self defense and made her a legal weapon carrier.  She is trained in the bail bonds business that her foster parents own.  This makes Ari somewhat of a bad-A.  She is a heroine that you can cheer for and will become her own savior. 

Ari decides that she must go in New 2 to get a look at her birth records in hopes that her father is listed or that she can find some other information about her parentage.  New 2 is the name for what is left of New Orleans of the distant future after 2 vicious devastating hurricanes have wiped out the city.  The US has sold the city to 9 founding families who have formed the Novem and rule the city.  It is rumored to be a haven for the paranormal.  Ari finds a letter from amongst her mother's things that warns that she is in danger and must RUN!  Almost as soon as she reads this eery warning, she is attacked by a huge fighter who is trying killed her and speaking in a strange foreign language.  She manages to kill him with his own blade only to have his body disappear.  Now she is freaked and hitches a ride into New 2 with a 15 year old UPS driver, Crank.  Crank introduces her to a band of misfits that squat in an abandoned mansion in the Garden District.  All of the kids are freaks like Ari.  Ari fits in for the first time in her life.  She also finds out the Novem has orders to bring her in also.  She doesn't trust anyone and doesn't know who is after her or why.  In an attenpt to find out what is exactly her curse is or what she will become, she visits a witch doctor who is deathy afraid of her.  Everyone is deathly afraid of her it seems and she cannot find out why.

This story is an incredible read as it takes you into a world that is realistic yet unreal.  The descriptions were awesome and I found myself wanting to visit.  Ari made me laugh, cheer and cry for her.  I love the band of misfits that surround her and develop into her family.  She also uncovers her curse and how it will manifest.  This story sucked me in and I didn't want to put it down.  I can't wait for the sequel to see how Ari will continue.  This book reminded me of the cult movie "Escape from New York" mixed with X-men and other paranormal.  There is a little of everything in this book.  I highly recommend it!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

It isn't often that you get to read a book and be taken on a journey that is so fantastic and unique.  I didn't know what to expect with this book because the synopsis didn't really give me a feel for the the category this book would fit in: vampires, fey, etc.  I know understand that this book doesn't fit in any category and sort of in all of them.  The story is fresh and unique and I didn't want to put it down.  Although this isn't really a fey book, I enjoyed this book like the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.  Both books are full of wonderful rich descriptions of a world and has a story line that is unpredictable and a joy to read. 
This book starts with alternating points of view from Dylan in the Northwest and Kera in the mysterious land of Teag.  Dylan and Kera have visited each others dreams for years.  It isn't until Dylan is left at his Grandparents house by his deadbeat mother that he sees Kera.  Then strange things begin to happen to his grandfather's sheep and farm.  Dylan discovers the wall that seperates this world from Teag.  Kera and Dylan meet when Kera is drawn the surge of power that surrounds Dylan.  Dylan discovers powers that have always been apart of him because his tie to Teag.  Kera is sure that Dylan is the one who can not only save Teag from the evil greedy Navar but also her soul mate. 
The chemistry between Kera and Dylan is powerful and makes your heart swell with the love between them.  The world of Teag is a wonderful fantasy that is full of magical creatures and rich characters.  Navar is a greedy evil man that is power hungry and will go to any length to seize power over the realm of Teag. Teag is also having a genocide under the strong fist of Navar who has declared that halfbreeds are an abomination and will be killed on sight.  Firsts are the pure bloods of Teag who have fey like characteristics and cannot lie.  Half bloods can lie and therefore, fear of being decieved by them is what insights the mistrust and fear. There are so many layers to this story that it takes many unpredicatable twists and turns. 
I found the story about the Firsts not being able to lie really interesting as that I could understand how much better the world would be.  But doesn't it show more character to choose not to lie and be able to than to not lie because you are unable.  Dylan's heart is good and loyal and not full of deceit.  Navar is a far more evil alternative yet he is a First and therefore Teag citizens are much more loyal just because of his blood.  It is an interesting commentary on prejudice.
I would recommend this to readers who love fantasy, fey novels and YA romance.  It truly is a cross catergory book and hard to pinpoint.  Also, recommended to those who enjoy the Iron Fey series as this is a wonderful world and unpredicable story.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

I picked up this book because I keep seeing quotes of the new book on FB and was very intriqued.  I haven't read a lot of angels and demons books but this was a very interesting and unique story.  The story switches between Luc and Frannie's point of view.  As good church kid, I always though I would pick the angel and though Gabriel is beautiful and described as summer snow, I honestly didn't feel the connection with him.  Luc, however had me at hello!  Luc is a demon sent to 'tag' Frannie's soul for Hell.  He isn't sure why or who at first but knows that two previous lesser demons failed on this mission.  As soon as he enrolls in Haden high, he runs into Frannie and lust begins. Frannie is a strong heroine who is a part of such a religious family that her and 4 sisters are all named "Mary ..." like she is Mary Francis, Mary Margaret, Mary Grace, and Mary Katherine.  She however has deep seated issues with religion which stem from the death of her twin brother.  She was kicked out of Catholic School for questioning the exsistence of God.  Just as Luc begins to get to know her, Gabrial her Gaurdian Angel also shows up to try and 'tag' her for heaven.  Luc must get Frannie to commit a series of sins such as lust and starts with different approaches.  The interesting thing is that Luc begins to change.  He falls in love with Frannie which should be impossible for a Demon who cannot feel real feeling let alone Love.  Frannie is also gifted with "sight" and "sway" which make her invaluable to both sides.  The story is one that you must suspend your ability to rationalize these real events--I mean if you are already reading about real demons and angels struggling over a soul then why can't Frannie have these abilities.  The story seems to be an impossible:  A Demon who will draw the legions of Hell to him who is love with his mark.  If he acts on his love, he pretty much will succeed but now doesn't want to.  But if Luc doesn't he will be thrown into the fiery pit.  Frannie must choose between Luc and Gabriel.  If she goes with her heart she will cause other one to be suffer the consequences.  Gabriel also feels for Frannie but cannot act on it or her fails because that wouldn't keep her soul pure.  I loved the ending and will definitely be reading the sequel.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Silver Moon By Rebecca A. Rogers

Silver Moon is full of mystery.  Candra Lawton is moved to East Hartford to live with Aunt Beth and Uncle Randy.  Candra is a rebel of a student and has a perchance for trouble.  This actually makes me like her all the more.  It is departure from the candy coated heroines that are so good and always do the right thing.  Candra is gritty and questions everything from what everyone is hiding to whether her love interest is sincere.  What was nice was that Candra didn't take the secrets sitting down and bemoan her fate, she investigates which quite often gets her in trouble. 
When she first moves in, Chandra starts to attend High School and is the new student that is ostracized for no reason.  He only friends are a couple by the name of Jana and Blake.  She also meets the Conways a family who dabbles in dark magic and are a clan with a grudge so deep that the Lawtons are mortal enemies.  Cameron and Ethan are the hench men of the family and are continually threatening and stalking her because of the bad blood.  But Ben Conway is something more, he seems to like her and Candra is drawn to him.  He begins to pick her up to drive her to and from school.  No one in the town likes the fact that they are hanging out.  Ben is continually in trouble with his brothers for even talking to her and she gets shunned by her supposed friends who are looking out for her.  Chandra is not duped but wants to use Ben to end the fued.  Ben suggests they talk with his mother and wants to help also.  But then everything goes wrong.  Chandra ends up in the hosptial.  Ben and Chandra decide that they can't be together even though they want to.  I have a feeling this will not be the end of them by any means. 
The only issues I had with Silver Moon is that everything felt over dramatc for me.  I don't know if it was because I didn't quite understand what the big deal is with Candra.  It still seems like there is something special about her that we do not yet know.  But the book doesn't necessarily hint that there is more to it.  Also, Ben and Chandra could have been explored a little more and although I in no way believe it is over between them.  I would have liked to see more romance.  But it was also refreshing that Chandra didn't lose herself and insist on true love with Ben.  I found Chandra a very strong self sufficient girl.  She doesn't fall all the way for Ben because part of her still doesn't trust him. She isn't like Twilight's Bella who falls deep in love and is only motivated about being with her boyfriend.  I am not even sure you would call Ben a boyfriend.
Some of the dream visions were confusing and black magic didn't seem to adequately explain it.  It is almost like there are so many beginnings of stories in this book and not enough tying together for me.  I am looking forward to reading the next book hoping that it will become clear. 
Chandra is a werewolf who will turn for the first time on her 18th birthday and inherit a power that has yet to reveal itself.  The Conways want to take her power to combine with theirs to make them more powerful.  The book ends with Chandra just trying to stay safe until she is 18.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowen Boys by Kate Brian

I read the premise for this YA Romance and thought this would be really cute.  I wasn't disappointed.  I read this in a day and really enjoyed it.  Megan is an Army Brat who chooses to stay with family friends when her parents are transferred to Korea.  The only problem?  The McGowen's have 7 boys and no girls.  Megan is soccer playing tomboy but is totally self conscienous about living with them.  There are 4 brothers who attend high school with Megan: Evan, Finn, Miller, and Doug.  Evan is described as an abercrombie model who is a flirt.  Megan has a crush on Evan which is not good because not only is he supposed to be her "brother" but his girlfriend is the mean girl who is vying for Captain of the soccer team.  Finn is the artist who is the easiest to talk to and Miller and Doug are twins.  Miller has Asperger's and as the mother of an Autistic Teen myself, I celebrated the way Megan researched and was determined to seek out Miller.  It was a heartwarming side-story that I really loved.  All of the boys develop unique relationships with Megan and she brings something new to each of them.  Megan also is adjusting to moving to a totally new city, state, and high school.  She makes some good friends at school only to have a vicious rumor about her and Evan ostracize her early on.  Megan shows incredible grace and poise in dealing with this rumor situation and I would be proud if she were my daughter. This is really a book about family, friendship, and relationships.  I really enjoyed it and didn't want it to end. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Stranger in Her Bed by Janet Chapman

This was a nice companion Romance to the book: The Seduction of his Wife by Janet Chapman.  Chapman does an excellent job of giving me just enough of a teaser in the first book which is about Alex Knight for me to want to read this one which follows Ethan Knight Alex's little brother.  Chapman again weaves a combustable romance between Ethan Knight a loyal man who is has all the right traits including a knight in shining armor complex.  Anna Segee returns to Maine after living in Canada with her French Father and step-family.  She has been the foreman at the Loon Cove Mill that the Knight Family buys.  Of course, Ethan is sent to Manage the Mill.  Ethan and Anna interplay wonderfully.  Anna is a self assertive woman who takes Ethan quite by storm.  My favorite quote is "We are like Oil and Vinegar most of the time.  But when you shake us up real good, the combination is heavenly." ~Anna Segee

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

This is the first ARC I ever won *Squee*~  I absolutely loved "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" which I am kicking myself for not reading sooner.  I admit it:  for some reason the title kinda turned me off.  I don't know why.  Maybe it wasn't lyrical enough or too plain but the story is top notch and fresh.  After reading "Dating" I went to Beth Fantasky's website and found an awesome novella of Jessica and Lucius' wedding.  If you haven't read it, you definitely will want to read it before reading "Rules".  I only wish I could put it on the Nook. :)
This book takes place after Jessica and Lucius have been married.  Jessica is trying to adjust to being a princess and ruling over the elders.  Jessica is really adverse to the violence and power that is now a part of her world.  Lucius loves her very much and is supportive and trying to help her adjust. There interactions are just as intense as before.  But before Jessica can find her inner strength, Claudiu, Lucius' Uncle is murdered and Lucius' stake has his blood on it.  Because of the law, Lucius must be held in custody in the dungeon of the castle with no blood and only bread and water.  No blood will slowing make Lucius weak and desolve into madness that some vampires never recover from that is if he isn't destroyed for murder first.  Jessica is left to rule by default.  Lucias' cousin, Raniero comes back to protect Jessica and help solve the murder mystery.  Jessica isn't sure she can trust Raniero as uncovers his past as a vampire assasin.  Mindy, Jessica's BFF comes to help support Jessica.  Mindy and Raniero have a history from the wedding novella which is why you should read the novella first.  Raniero is a CA beatnik surfer who Mindy feels will never amount to anything like her deadbeat Dad.  But underneath, trust me, Raniero is all hot Romanian Vampire.  Jessica's only remaining family, Uncle Dorin and Cousin Ylenia also lend support and advice.  There is a lot of action and intrique in this book that keeps you reading and wondering what will happen next.  I refuse to spoil the mystery but can say I personally had a feeling about it.  Fantaskey's hunky Romanian Vampires are back and just as attractive.  My only complaint is that I personally would have loved to have more interaction with Jessica and Lucius but because of the storyline this was impossible.  Fantaskey did give me the honeymoon flashback which I craved after the Novella.  Lucius' quirky sarcastic wit that I loved in "Dating" is back but this time it's between Lucius-Raniero as email/note exchanges.
This is a well rounded original story and if you read "Dating" you will love the sequel.  If you haven't read it--what are you waiting for?! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Indie Authors

I don't know what it is--Maybe the ebook revolution and the Nook I got for Christmas but I love Indie Authors.  I know I am in a bit of a reading slump as life is getting in the way of my reading time.  But while watching my mindless TV at night, I find myself trolling GoodReads or Amazons for Free and new books.  This has opened a whole new world for me.  Although, I just keep making my "my to-read" shelf bigger, I can't stop finding the hidden gems of new and independent authors. 

I think the first ebook I downloaded was the now famous indie, Amanda Hocking.  The Blood Approves series was my first devouring of ebooks and indie's.  I was in love.  I couldn't believe how wonderful the story was yet wasn't really "published" in the conventional sense.  How could this be?  I followed up with the innovative Trylle Trilogy which was not only fresh but surprising in it's uniqueness.  Now I have found, T. R. Graves Warriors of the Cross which seems to be taking off too.  Such innovative stories make me feel like I have found treasures that world needs to discover.  I applaud the new trend of e-publishing and being able to talk to authors through twitter, facebook, and goodreads.  Being able to express my excitement with the writers, adds a new way to read and enjoy books. 

The reason I named this blog "My Reading Realm" is reading has always been an escape for me.  A good book allows me to be someone else, go somewhere else, and vacation from life without ever leaving my chair.  This blog is mainly for myself to track my thoughts on books but to write true reviews that can somehow give back to the authors who bring such wonder and enjoyment.  Writing reviews for new authors is an unforseen joy I never though about.  Although I am a loyalist who will devour anything and everything by an author, I can't help but continue the search for new books and authors.

I also hope that fellow readers will tone down the snarkiness with reviews.  Honestly, I don't think I have read a book I really haven't liked.  I think I just don't finish the book if I have a hard time getting immersed in the story.  I also only read books I choose.  I admit it--I never really read those assigned books in High School as it rankled me to have to read an assigned book when there was so much I wanted to read.  Maybe this is why I never have to give poor rating or maybe I just always find the good elements of a story.  I really hate the way some people are so judgemental of a work that is essentially art.  If you start reading and you don't like it stop and move on, but don't create a book assination on GoodReads or your blog.  I read blogs and reviews to judge elements of the story and find more about the storyline before deciding if it makes my to read shelf.  Snarkiness is just ugly. For me, I am just a reader who loves a good story and wants to share my excitement of finding a hidden Gem in the landscape of literature.   Life is too short to read bad books. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Seduction of his Wife By Janet Chapman

This is the first of Janet Chapman's books I have read.  I have seen many of her Highlander books and got curious.  I think I picked this one up because it such an interesting premise.  What if you married a man who was presumed dead but then was really alive?  Do you stay married?  Do you Divorce?  This is what happens to Sarah Banks.  Sarah grew up taking care of others at an Inn on Crag Island.  She also took care of her father and married a gay man.  She finally becomes the housekeeper for the Knights only to be talked into marrying the oldest brother, Alex, who is believed to be killed by South American Rebels.  When he shows up, Sarah and Alex aren't sure what to do.  Alex is sure Sarah is a gold-digger like his first wife and throws her out in the middle of the night.  After apologizing, Alex is not only attracted to Sarah but begins to fall in love with her.  Sarah is afraid to let herself really care for Alex.  This is a good solid romance.  I can't wait to read the companion book about the brother Ethan.