Archive | February 2013

Review – Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater

PWSD“We are Death.”  Amaliya is a normal (ish) student who awakens to find herself buried “alive”.  She is disoriented and can remember little.  After making it back to her apartment, she cleans up and then heads out to find something to eat.  Her instincts take over and she ends up at a Frat House where they are having an interesting party in the basement.  She is happy to discover what she needs and drinks her fill of all the people in the room.  Turns out that her professor (who had invited her out for coffee the night before) is a powerful vampire.  He enjoys turning new vampires and then torturing them.  Amaliya is his latest victim.

Let me start by saying that this book isn’t for everyone.  It’s full of blood, sex and violence.  If you are squeamish about these things, then you may want to move on.  But, if you want to read a strong story, Rhiannon Frater always delivers.  I appreciated the freshness of this story while still maintaining some old-school vampire mythology (cannot enter a home without being invited, etc.)

Amaliya is a flawed person who becomes a flawed vampire.  Underneath the tattoos and piercings, she is ultimately someone who tries to do the right things.  Some people can’t see past the facade and that’s a shame.  There are many strong characters that Amaliya meets along the way.  Cian, the leader of the Austin cabal.  His fiance, Samantha.  Jeff, the vampire hunter.  And, Amaliya’s only supportive family members – Grandmama and cousin Sergio.

For me, the hardest parts to read had nothing to do with vampires, sex, violence, killing or blood.  It was Amaliya’s family.  Her father, stepmother (cousin), aunt and brothers are fairly horrible.  That’s all I’ll say about that but GRRRR….they made me angry.

5/5 stars for another great book by Rhiannon.  I think what I love most about her books is that they are not only entertaining (vampires, zombies and witches, oh my), they are also thoughtful.  They are about familial relationships, love, making tough decisions and learning to live with the hand you are dealt.  Simply great!

 

 

Review – A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa Basso

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Rayna can see angels. Unfortunately, her family and doctors have convinced her that she is crazy. At the age of 16, she has already spent three years in a mental institution where she was drugged and analyzed. Everyone, including Rayna, believes she is in remission so she comes home and starts to attend public school. She even gets a job at a local diner. Then one day she sees a golden pair of wings at school and it all starts to come crashing down.

I was really hoping for an original story but was disappointed to find that it was all so cliche. Tell me if you’ve read these story-lines before:

– Noone believes her gift.
– Female main character falls apart at the drop of a hat.
– Bratty younger sister.
– Geeky best friend.
– Golden boy love interest.
– The powers that be won’t let them be together.
– Enter bad boy love interest.
– Is bad boy really bad?
– Big bad wants MC to join him.
– MC must find strength in herself to save others.

You may be wondering why I gave this 3/5 stars when it probably sounds like I hated it. Here’s the thing- I didn’t hate it. Please forgive me, I couldn’t put it down. Maybe I was just on the mood for a familiar story but I will admit that it sucked me in. So I say that, if you like YA fluff, you should give it a shot!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an e-book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review – 11/22/63 by Stephen King

112263“Life turns on a dime.”  Wow…just…wow.  I went into 11/22/63 expecting to like it (Stephen King always delivers for me.)  But, this was really one of my favorite books in recent memory.

Jake Epping is a teacher in Maine who is shown a bubble in time by one of his friendly acquaintances, Al.  Al is basically trying to recruit Jake to go back in time to stop Kennedy’s assassination.  His belief is that this will have a ripple effect that saves millions of lives (including Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy and many American soldiers in Vietnam.)  If you step through this bubble, it always takes you to the same point in time in 1958.  Every time you go back, it’s a complete reset.  Jake eventually decides to do this – live there from 1958-1963 and save Kennedy (and others along the way).

As you can imagine, it’s not simple.  The butterfly effect is mentioned throughout the novel – if you change one thing in history it can have many unintended consequences.  Both good and bad.

It’s always interesting to think about things in history or even in your own life that you might want to change.  But, we really don’t know that these changes would make anything better.  It could mean that someone you love ends up dying or it could alter the course of world history.  Plus, the past is obdurate and doesn’t want to be changed.

11/22/63 gives you a roller coaster ride of emotions while talking about American history and human nature.  I simply loved it.  5/5 stars and highly recommended.

Review – Heaven Preserve Us by Cricket McRae

Heaven Preserve UsSophie Mae owns her own crafting business selling homemade soaps, scrubs, teas etc.  She also volunteers at a local crisis hotline.  When the hotline’s boss dies, the police believe it’s an accident.  So, Sophie Mae investigates it as a murder herself.

Heaven Preserve Us is a very standard, kind of “homey” mystery.  There is nothing overly exciting and there is nothing too offensive either.  If you are looking for an easy read, it is a good one to pick up on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  It’s an especially good pick since it is Free on Amazon!

3/5 stars.

Review – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm BodiesWarm Bodies – I should have loved thee.

I was really looking forward to reading Warm Bodies but, unfortunately, was disappointed for about half the book.

R is a zombie.  He doesn’t remember his pre-walking dead life and just goes through the motions each day.  Then, on a hunting expedition, he and his friends meet up with a group of humans.  They start fighting and R kills a young man.  Then he sees the human Julie and decides he wants her / wants to protect her.

Minor spoilers ahead –

The story itself is actually pretty good.  What does it mean to be human?  Can a person/zombie change?  But, there were some things that just didn’t sit well with me.  R was always making smart remarks about zombies – we just stumble around and mumble, etc.  It didn’t come off as funny to me.  It actually seemed mean.  And, Julie’s reactions were not just strange, they were kind of infuriating.  She doesn’t care that R killed her boyfriend since he was going to probably die eventually anyway?  And, she kisses R when she knows that she could catch the zombie virus from him.  Plus, where in the world does she get raspberry lip gloss to leave on the rim of her cup?  And, her IPOD still works?

The movie version is coming out soon (maybe already) and this may be a very entertaining film.  But, I just couldn’t get past some of the silliness and zombie jokes.

3/5 stars.  Thank you to Random House UK for providing an e-book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.