Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Promises by Amber Garr

Genre: Fantasy | Mermaids


Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love. When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. 

Kain, her devoted fiance, would make a wonderful husband except that she's been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined. 

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan's life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life she so adamantly tried to escape. Promises is the first book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends through the perils of growing up in a discrete world that inherently threatens human society.

This novel is jam-packed with teenage angst and drama. Eviana is smitten with her childhood friend, Brendan, a handsome and smooth-talking selkie. Despite how determined Eviana is to be with Brendan, I couldn't help but hope that she would change her mind and fall for Kain. 

The selkies were probably the most exciting aspect of the novel. Every so often I will come across a novel that mentions them, but Promises really explores the mythology and makes selkies the stars. 

I enjoyed the plot, but had some issues with the characterization. Eviana is extremely immature for a seventeen-year-old. Maybe Garr did this to really emphasize how much she has to develop when leadership is thrust on her; however, her personality made her very unrealistic. She acted like she was thirteen, not a noble with an immense amount of responsibility.

Overall, I enjoyed Promises. It was a very quick read. I think it's worth checking out.

Rating: 3 out of 5 owls

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Forever Fae by L. P. Dover

Genres: New Adult | Fantasy | Faeries


He leans down, lips parted, and then our lips connect...We didn't know that this one kiss has FOREVER changed the Land of the Fae. 

According to the Prophecy proclaimed many years ago, Princess Calista of the Summer Court is destined to change the Land of the Fae from the evil determined to destroy it. Her powers are phenomenal, and she secretly trains for battle with her handsome warrior friend, Merrick, who unbeknownst to her protects her heart as well, in hopes of keeping it for himself. At least, until the seductive Prince Ryder attends the Guardian Ceremony and instantly sends a fire burning through her veins and a connection so deep they both discover a love above anything imaginable. 

No one knows how Calista is destined to change the kingdoms, but there is one that does. He not only craves Calista's power, but her body as well, and his goal is to steal her power, make her his Dark Queen, and take over the Land of the Fae. 

Will the evil succeed in claiming Calista's soul? Or will the two men that fight for her heart save her from despair, and help her fulfill her destiny to become what she was meant to be. 

The cover is so PRETTY! 

Based on the descriptions of the creatures and the types of magic evident in Forever Fae I can tell that Dover did a ton of research for the novel. However, I feel like the presentation of the characters, especially in terms of their language and general immaturity, is a disservice to the genre. 

I feel that there is so much potential with the plot and the world that Dover created. The characters seem disjointed in places because they shift from formal courtly language to using modern slang in the next sentence. Many of the images are beautiful, but I feel disappointed because Calista's magic was placed on the back burner. Every so often her magic is brought up--leaves and skin changing color along with controlling roots--but nothing is truly explored. The love triangle remains a strong focal point. I believe that if  there were only one perspective there would be more room for this type of exploration. 

As it stands now, I think the novel needs a couple of revisions to really capture the essence of Dover's world. It's not bad, but it could be better.

Rating: 3 out of 5 owls


Review: My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey

Genre: Supernatural


The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbors. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solnge, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more that just friends with Nicholas. But hot does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.


I thoroughly enjoyed My Love Lies Bleeding. This is a fast read that will keep you laughing and will leave you feeling good when you reach the end. The characters are endearing, the plot moves quickly, and there is a balance of adventure, suspense, and romance.

While I wouldn't say the plot is original, it is the epitome of the teen vampire romance. Think Twilight but with vampires who actually drink human blood. I liked that there were different types of vampires that represent a variety of mythologies from across the world. Though many of the plot twists were predictable, the plot kept moving.

Despite My Love Lies Bleeding (aka Hearts at Stake) being very entertaining, be warned that there is tons of corny moments, fluff to the extreme, and nothing special that sets it apart from YA vampire romances. I really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure that a few months from now I will remember it. This is a novel that one curls up and reads in one sitting.

Rating: 4 out of 5 owls

Nook | Kindle | Author

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Review: Goddess Legacy by M. W. Muse

Genre: Mythology


Legacy Kore is an average seventeen year old with your basic insane crush on the hottest guy in school...rather Adin Shepard was the hottest guy in school before he graduated a couple of weeks ago. Now it's summer vacation and she's not sure when she'll get to see him again. Until he shows up at her surprise seventeenth birthday party. Cue saliva glands-it's time to drool.

But her giddiness is cut short when her guardian delivers an emotional blow, telling Legacy her mother hadn't died when she was a baby, but that she'd left for Legacy's protection all those years ago. After the initial shock, she expects some story about how her mother was in the Witness Protection Program or something else just as crazy, but when she is told that her mother is a Greek Goddess and that Legacy is changing into one too, she thinks her guardian needs a trip to a mental hospital.

While trying to make sense out of something that was impossible to believe, Adin asks Legacy out on a date. She is thrilled that her fantasy might become a reality, but when she meets the new guy in town, River, she discovers everything isn't always as it seems, and the legacy she wants just might not be the legacy she is destined to have.

Muse presents an original interpretation and experimentation  of classical Greek mythology. I greatly enjoyed the concept of the gods being "reborn" and able to rewrite their destinies. Legacy is the heroine that we see time and time again--the teenage girl that is smitten with the hottest guy in school. In typical fashion this handsome stud falls for her and does everything he can to be with her. Adin is the adoring boyfriend who doesn't want to rush things, is very protective of his lady love, and is willing to put himself in harm's way to protect her. Include deceit and omission of details about his love's identity to that list of eligible qualities.

What bothered me was that the entire time Legacy was explaining her identity and River's role in her life to Adin, he already knew all of it. Yes, I understand that it was a plot device to throw in a twist at the very end; however, when I realized that Legacy could have avoided a great deal of heartache if he would have come forward at the beginning, I became frustrated. Instead of throwing out more drama in the end, Muse could have had some major event happen--Legacy getting herself hurt doesn't count. I was not biting my nails over that. By having Adin withhold the information from Legacy, Muse not only discredited her characters, but it squashed a great climax into nothing. There was no peak of action in the plot of this book. It was an overload of information that was repeated several times, yet left me wondering where the author was taking the plot. Based on the information in the first book, the next will be the same--an encyclopedia of cryptic information that does essentially nothing to progress the plot.

Here is what happens--Legacy gets a boyfriend, finds out she's a goddess, is courted by a new guy she is destined to be with, ends up getting herself hurt, and finds out her boyfriend has been lying to her from the beginning and her mother still wants nothing to do with her. Nothing "big" happens.

The saving grace for this book was the focus on Legacy developing her powers. It isn't just a love story. The characters are affected by her powers and her reactions are somewhat realistic. Overall, I believe Goddess Legacy is more suited for a younger (teen) audience. Muse has a great idea going for her and I hope the next books develop more that the first.

If you enjoy Greek Mythology I would recommend you to at least check out Goddess Legacy. You may find it worthwhile.

Rating: 3 out of 5 owls

Review: The Vampire Underground by Brian Rowe

Genre: Supernatural


Sixteen year-old Brin Skar hates everything to do with being scared, so she isn't happy when she discovers that her junior year Film class at Grisly High is devoted to the horror genre. Worse, the first assignment for the students is to create their very own horror movies.

Brin and five classmates travel to Bodie Ghost Town in California to shoot their creepy film, but they soon find themselves fighting a real terrifying threat when a clan of mean, ruthless vampires emerge from beneath the surface and start attacking the group. The teens, headed by Brin and the egotistical director Anaya Frost, have no help from the outside and become outnumbered by the bloodsuckers a hundred to one.

But when Brin meets Paul, a helpful and smoldering vampire outcast who's had enough of his shameful life, she discovers he may be the only key to their survival.

This book is just weird.

I was excited at the premise that the vampires would be the "true to legend" type and would be vicious bloodsucking machines. And that is indeed what they are. There are scary images and horror scenes--Rowe definitely accomplished that. However, the humor was not convincing and made the scary vampires look silly and ridiculous. There was a game show of horror where the vampires behaved as if they were on the price is right. This completely killed the intense image they had portrayed mere chapters before.

Original--perhaps. Entertaining--not so much. I enjoyed the references to the cult classics and the shift from the happy and sparkly Cullen vampires. The fear was realistic and not all of the characters make it out of the town. There are some redeeming qualities, but I don't feel the need to continue the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5 owls

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