Monday, March 26, 2012

Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Fairie Tale by Tamra Norton

Shayla Witherwood starts her first day at public High School invisible literally.  Shayla is half fairie who has previously home-schooled her entire life while traveling the country in an RV with her human grandparents.  She knows almost nothing about using her fairy magic except what she has learned by accident like turning invisible.  She begins school and immediately makes a few friends and a couple of enemies.  Shayla is genuinely nice to everyone and decides to be friends with the social outcast instead sitting with the popular crowd. 
"Mind your magic, Shayla Dove" her grandma reminds her before school each day.  Grandma and her homeschool tutor Trebor are Shayla's only friends that truly know her.  As she becomes more and more involved with others at school, she must try harder to hide her true identity.  There is an unknown danger from revealing too much. 
This was a quick read that was easily engaging and fun.  Shayla was a likeable character who is shy and self conscious of her magic.  I felt Shayla will be identifiable for teens who feel like others don't understand them.  I loved her magic and how much she could do even when she wasn't sure what she is doing.  I would highly recommend this for any teen who enjoys magic and fey.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Wow!  This book was really INTENSE!  I went into it thinking it was about a sweet love story and it was but it is also about a girl suffering abuse at the hands of her Aunt.  Emma is a great student and an extrodinary athelete in 3 different sports but has a horrible homelife.  Her father died when she was really young and her mother became unable to care for her because of alcoholism.  Emma has to move into her Uncle and Aunt's house.  At the beginning of the story, Emma is extremely closed off and has only one friend because most of the time she tries to remain invisible.  Emma's life is all about trying to get through High School in order to escape into college.  She is determined to make it through the abuse for the sake of her small cousins.  Her aunt is crazy, unpredicable, and cruel.  Emma is forced to most of the housework, doesn't get enough to eat, and tries to go unnoticed at home. 
Then, Evan begins to notice her by commenting to her.  Evan is new but has been in most of Emma's classes since the beginning of the year when he inserts himself into her life.  I loved Evan's persistance and determination.  Emma continues to push him away because she cannot have others find out her secret.  She is hardly let out of the house and dating is absolutely out of the question.  Even when Emma tells Evan that they can just be friends, he continues to disrupt her world.  Evan and Emma have a sweet love that will have to loving Evan. 
I cried all the way through this book but couldn't seem to put it down.  I was so moved by this story that I had to explain to my husband why I kept crying. It is not something I would have sought out to read but I am glad I read it.  This is such a moving story about a fantastic girl caught up in an awful situation.  I have to admit without spoiling it I hated the vagueness of the ending --I wanted my happy ever after--I live for that.  I would recommend this book as a well written look at abuse and what it does to people.  However, it is not for the faint of heart and I don't think I would recommend it for younger teens.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time Mends (Timber Wolves 2) by Tammy Blackwell

WOW!  What an amazing ride Ms. Blackwell takes us on in the world of the Timber Wolves.  I love this series.  After the world that is created in the first novel Destiny Binds, Time Mends picks up where the amazing debut ended.  Scout Donovan is still recovering from a near fatal stomach laceration that Jase, her brother, accidentally gave to her in an attack where her boyfriend Alex died.  At the end of the first novel, Scout swears she sees a flash of Alex's wolf at his funeral.  She is also able to determine that his coffin was buried empty which leads her to question not only his death but her sanity throughout this book.  She continues to have vivid lifelike dreams where Alex meets her on their beach and gives her obtuse and enigmatic advice.  The dreams seem so real and like Alex is trying to guide her through her changes.  I loved Alex and was so shocked by his death at the end of the first book.  I loved this tie and continuation of Alex in Scout's life.  
Without giving away any of the delightful twists and turns of this novel, I will only say that Scout is thrust into the Shifter world in a role that she neither wants or is quite ready for.  She must also come to terms with Alex's death and the rift it has created between Jase, Charlie, and herself.  Jase becomes angry and short fused while Charlie closes himself off from everyone going about his life in an almost robotic way.  Ms. Blackwell makes Scout's emotions so easy to identify with in this book.  I really felt torn between Alex and Charlie in the first book and hurt by Jase and Charlie's action that led to Alex's death. 
This book again takes the reader places that are both a surprise and a refreshing story that made it impossible to put the book down.  I read it in one day. Scout is funny and easily identifiable to the point that I laugh and cry right along with her.  I can't wait to see where Ms. Blackwell takes us in the next book and desperately hope it really comes out in the fall of this year!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Defiance (Significance 3) by Shelly Crane

Ever get a book and can't wait to read it and never want it to end?  This is that book.  The Significance Series by Shelly Crane is my all time favorite series.  It is a beautiful series about finding your one significant soul mate with a paranormal twist.  Defiance is the third installment which takes place at the reunification celebration outside of London.  This is a gathering of the Virtuoso where they meet from all over the world.  Imprints are coming back which means this celebration is also an opportunity to meet your significant.
Maggie immediately becomes the focus as the new Visionary.  If the Virtuoso is not bowing and kissing her hand, they are jealous or frightened of her power.  The Council led by Donald Watson begins to impose the laws that are out of date.  Because they want no hanky panky before marriage they charm Maggie's room and send her and Caleb into withdrawals overnight.  Caleb is also taken to a cell for killing the Watson's at his Dad's house even though it was self defense.  Maggie is forced by the circumstances to take charge in her own destiny and become a ruler.  While Maggie doesn't want this, she realizes that if she doesn't other's like the Watsons will continue struggle for the power.
This book reveals many secrets such as the life of the previous Visionary, new significants, and Maggie's true father.  I absolutely recommend this whole series and if you haven't read them you are really missing out.  The whole soulmate significant world that Shelly Crane has created is sexy and romantic. This is a really hard book to review because I really don't feel anything I say can do it justice and I also don't want to spoil the story.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Noah by Elizabeth Reyes (5th Street 1)

Noah is the beginning of a new romantic series from Elizabeth Reyes centered on a small rustic gym called 5th Street.  When Veronica is dragged into the 5th St. Gym by her best friend Nellie, she is at least 40 lbs overweight and depressed from her mother's long sickness and subsequent death.  Having hid in her house and let herself go, Roni is anything but confident and certainly not who Noah wanted to train.  Noah, a 20 year old trainer/boxer, finally gets his shot at training through the gym and his first clients are Roni and Nellie.  Even though Noah feels he is taking it easy on Roni, she fully intends to never come back.  However, Nellie makes Roni promise to follow through with her training and pull herself out of her depression.  What Roni doesn't count on is the close friendship and attraction that develops between her and Noah.  Roni refuses to entertain anything but a friendship with Noah because she is 8 years his senior.  She feels as a 20 year old he is not ready for a relationship and needs to enjoy sowing his wild oats.  Noah is an orphan who has had to grow up fast and mature through his experiences in the foster care system.  What develops is a toe tingling anticipation of a building relationship forged through friendship.
Nobody writes Alpha Males quite like Elizabeth Reyes.  Noah develops the same posessive stare that declares Roni off the market to his fellow Gym members.  Soon, Noah moves into Roni's house as a roommate which quickly ups the intimacy between him and Roni.  One of the sexiest things in a romance is when a male character is in love and will stop at nothing to get his girl.  Noah decides Roni is his girl and is determined to make her see that age is an illusion.  I can't wait for Gio's book, the next in this series.  Reyes has developed a loveable and sexy cast of characters that I can't wait to see in future books.  If you love Noah, definitely check out the Moreno series!!!  There is something about those Moreno men.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Legend of the Inero Dragon by JF Jenkins

I have really enjoyed this series of Dragon books by J.F. Jenkins.  The world created by Jenkins is beautiful fantasy world. Having read the Legend of the Oceina Dragon first, I was eager to dive into the Legend of the Inero Dragon.  This story introduces the Fire Dragons and their culture.  After reading the Oceina book, I expected the Inero Dragons to be selfish, power hungry, and bloodthirsty.  However, Jenkins introduces us to Jason and Matthius, a pair of identical twins, who are favored sons of the Dragon Lord Lynx.  The story begins by introducing the reading to a couple of girls, Kat and Gwen, being chosen for the Elite.  The Elite are taken from their families and lined up in an impersonal ceremony to be chosen as a wife of a dragon.  Kat and Matt were previously best friends and eager to become mated.  Matt is the favorite son and highly involved in the dragon politics.  Kat is insecure and becomes pregnant quickly. Matt is asked to do take an leading role in the beginning of a war among the dragon tribes.
Jason seems more calm and laid back than his twin Matt.  He picks Gwen by looking into her eyes for her soul.  He is so attentive and insists on taking the time to build a relationship between himself and Gwen.  Gwen feels very out of place as a wife of an important dragon who is expected to lay about a pool and gossip.  I loved Gwen and identified with her immediately and rooted for her and Jason to fall in love.  Kat and Matt were an adorable couple before they mated but as they changed I wasn't as sure about them.  I really felt Kat's uncertainty.  I wanted there to be a villian after reading the Ociena book--I really wanted to dislike Matt or Lynx.  While, I disliked the turn the story took near the end(I don't want to spoil), it was only because I wanted to root for Jason and Gwen.  In the end, I was left uncertain of who was good and who was evil and out for selfish gain.  The only reason I rated 4 stars is this wasn't as much of romantic story for me and I throroughly enjoyed Oceina more than this one.  This book was the other side of the story and takes place simultaneously as the Oceina book.  I highly recommend these books for anyone who enjoys paranormal shifter stories especially dragon lovers. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton (Gods & Monsters 2)

I really enjoyed "Darkness Becomes Her", the first book in this series about a post catastrophic Hurricane New Orleans called New 2.  Ari found out that she is a 'god-killer' or Gorgon at the end of book one.  Her best friends and everyone of the Nine controlling families now know what evil lurks inside her.  Some want to use her for protection from the evil Athena and as a bargining chip in a politically fueled duel between the Goddess and the Families.  Ari wants revenge on Athena for her mother's death and desperately wants to rescue her little friend Violet and her Father.  She is unsure of how Sebastian feels about her anymore since he hasn't spoken to her since the show down with Athena.  Ari is sure he feels she is a monster.  But Sebastian continues to feel drawn to Ari, himself a misfit as a half vampire-half warlock, and he helps her on her mission for revenge. 
Ari is granted permission to search the secret library that only the council knows about for any information to help remove her curse or free Violet and her Father from Athena.  Henri, Sebastian, and Ari manage to get into Mt. Olympus by following one of Athena's minions to a magic doorway.  After stumbling into a banquet right in front of Athena, herself, the three must a way to rescue their friends and themselves. It is a roller coaster reading ride that you will be unable to put down.
This series is like nothing I have ever read.  Keaton does a wondrous job of creating a fantasy New 2 that is based in real life.  She also makes a mythological villian, the Gorgon, an identifable and courageous heroine.  The story is action, romance and coming of age in a world that is seeped in mystery and magic.  This is an incredible series for anyone that enjoys paranormal and highly recommended.