Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

17399160

Genre: Young-Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 416
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1 (Trilogy)
Release Date: October 14, 2014

3.5 Stars

4c9zr74Ki

Sixteen years ago, the kingdom of Winter was invaded by Spring. Only a few people escaped while most were killed and the rest were enslaved. Now, only eight of the refugees remain. One of them is Meira.

Meira was only an infant when Winter was invaded. She doesn’t remember her home but she desperately wishes to feel like she belongs. The way to do that, for her, is by contributed as much as she can to fighting against Spring and freeing the enslaved Winterians. She’s willing to anything to save her people, even if she is a mere peasant’s daughter. She’s strong and she’s willing to fight.

And yes, Meira is not the first female protagonist who wants to fight for her kingdom. But she’s different in the sense that she’s well-trained, but not perfect at everything. She’s determined but she’s still just a teenage girl who will make mistakes. I found her character to be refreshing in that. Because usually we either get incompetent yet arrogant, or perfect and arrogant. Meira is not arrogant. She’s simply aware of her strengths and unwilling to back down. I liked her.

Another thing I liked were the kingdoms. Sure, we’ve read the season kingdom thing before. But this book had normal kingdoms as well as the seasonal ones. And there’s a reason given for why the season kingdoms are the way that they are.

Also, a love triangle was introduced (which is always a huge fucking NO! for me) but it was quickly resolved with very little drama. Of course, there was that dick measuring contest scene that I serious did not appreciate, and the author seemed to be trying to make Meira look special by two princes being in love with her even though, contrary to popular belief, a woman’s worth is not defined by the amount of guys who want to bone her. She can be important and special all on her own, thank you very much.

That was one of my biggest complaints with the novel. Along with it being quite predictable. Seriously, if you’re a YA fantasy reader, you will not be surprised by many of the revelations. The biggest one, about Meira, was actually so expected that I actually laughed.

Other than that, it reminded me of Falling Kingdoms when it came to how conveniently unexplained some of the things were. Imagine someone breaking into the royal palace and the author just forgetting to explain the details of how that was done. There were some details, but not nearly enough. It’s something I think will get better like the writing did. It’s a classic new-YA-fantasy-author characteristic.

Overall, the book had its ups and downs. It helped me, finally and fully, understand why Dumbledore had to die. I liked the world and the characters, but wasn’t fond of other things that will surely get better as the author writes more. It’s a promising start for the series. Worth checking out.

Review: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

178476

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Adult
Pages: 334
Series: Psy-Changeling #1 (Can be read as Standalone)
Release Date: September 5, 2006

4 Stars

4c9zr74Ki

This is the first novel is the very long Psy-Changeling series (I think there are at least 15 books). It’s set in an alternate universe in which Psy (or psychics) and Changelings (people who can shapeshift into an animal) live in (kind of) harmony, along with humans. The Psy have various mind-related abilities (Telekinesis, Telepathy, Teleportation, etc.) while the Changelings are, you know, shapeshifters.

All Psy, from birth, are conditioned so that they don’t feel any emotions and any Psy who does is unacceptable. Sascha is a Psy who does feel emotion. She’s spent her entire life hiding it, but when she encounters a Changeling named Lucas Hunter, her careful facade threatens to come crashing down. For Lucas, he’s wary of the Psy and her intentions and he needs to focus on getting information because there’s a Psy killer on the loose who’s torturing and killing Changeling females, and if he’s not found soon, there may be a war between the two races.

Both Sascha and Lucas feel an attraction but they’re wary of each other and have secrets. Their relationship is an interesting one. Despite the physical attraction, they have to slowly come to know each other and figure out whether they can be trusted. They’re from different worlds and have been raised in very different environments.

The Psy world, without emotion, is very cold. It’s all about strategy, opportunity and hard logic. The Changelings, while also plenty logical, are all about emotion, both positive and negative. They’re harsh but not cold. They’re straight-forward where the Psy are subtle and underhanded. I’m very happy with the world that the author has created. Usually, with Paranormal Romances, the world building is either minimal or rushed. In this case, the author took her time introducing us to different aspects. There are still many things we don’t know. But having read the second book, I realized that instead of making the book feel info-dumpy, the author has decided to take us deeper into the world with every installment. I whole-heartedly approve of the method.

The writing  in the book is really good. And unlike with the last two books I read by Nalini Singh (Archangel’s Kiss and Archangel’s Consort), I liked the pace and felt the story aspects to be well-distributed.

The one things that bothered me was the possessive/controlling nature that the Changeling men seem to have. They seem to constantly be trying to overrule the women’s decision. And while the author did show us that men and women are equal, I would still appreciate it if the neanderthal-ness could be toned down a little.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I’m very interested in the world and I can’t wait really immerse myself in it as the series progresses. I recommend checking it out.

Review: Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy

30407549

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Adult
Pages: 443
Series: Killer Instincts #8
Release Date: April 25, 2017

This novel can be read as a standalone but I seriously think you should read the others. If not all, then at least a few of them. Book 1, 5 and 7 are, I think, the most important for this one.

Star

4c9zr74Ki

Midnight Target had a lot of expectation attached. It’s a romance novel and an action novel. It’s got, not one, but two romantic arcs. On top of that, it’s also the last book in the series while also being a standalone. Even thinking about all that makes me nervous, and Elle Kennedy has managed to balance all these things so well…

And don’t even get me started on the fact that she had to do Sully and Liam’s story justice. Seriously, Elle Kennedy had been teasing their book since Midnight Pursuit, which is book 4. I love Liam and Sullivan and I was dying to finally get their book. Sure, I cared about the other couple, Cate and Ash, as well. But Liam and Sully are my favourite couple of the series, right up there with Kane and Abby (Midnight Rescue).

But anyway… this series follows a team of mercenaries led by Jim Morgan. Four years ago, Morgan was finally able to find his estranged daughter. But his overprotectiveness kept driving her away. She’s now a freelance photographer, and when her job lands her in trouble, Jim is there to help. But he gets gravely injured in the process. Now Jim’s entire team are rallying for payback, including Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port, who were once best friends and will meet again after two years and address all the things between them, that they didn’t before.

And I’m gonna be honest here, before starting the book, I didn’t much care for Ash and Cate. I was interested, but not nearly as much as I was in Liam and Sully. But after I started reading, I was surprised to find that I cared about them and their relationship almost as much as… you know who.

I’ve already said that all the various elements of the novel were very well-balanced but I’m elaborated a little. Both the romances were given their time, all the different perspectives were well placed, the pace of the story was really good and I couldn’t put the book down. Seriously, I’m reviewing the book now, but I read it the day it came out, in one sitting. And then I read it again the next day. And then I went through every scene with you-know-who about two more times.

It’s just, the scenes with Liam and Sully were just so great! How could I not read them over and over? With Ash and Cate, I felt that their initial conflict was a tad stretched, but not much. I just wish we’d gotten more of you-know-who. Clearly, I have an obsession.

Overall, I loved this last installment. The book was brilliant and wrapped the series up really well. I read the epilogue like half a dozen times. I’m very happy with how the series concluded. That said, can’t we get a few more books? Pretty please? I’m really gonna miss these characters and I highly recommend that you give them a shot. They, and their stories, are all so totally worth it.

Review: Claimed by Elle Kennedy

24453083

The only reason this shirtless-dude cover is allowed is because I like the background, the font and the author.

Genre: Dystopian Romance (Heavy on the romance), Erotica
Pages: 351
Series: Outlaws #1 (also a standalone)
Release Date: October 6, 2015

4 Stars

4c9zr74Ki

This book has a lot of sex. It has normal, penis-in-vagina sex, it’s got oral sex, it’s got threesomes and it’s got orgies. The reason I’m telling you this is because while I, personally, have no qualms about any of these things, I know many people do. And I also don’t want anyone to got into this book looking for a dystopian revolution and then whining about not getting it. Take the book as it is. A good time.

And yes, there are many other “good time” books around. What makes this one better, in my opinion, is that it’s written by Elle Kennedy — who is very quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. She writes many types of books and she writes them all well. This is a well-written, enjoyable novel with a good story and likable characters.

It’s set in a dystopian world, after a series of storms leave the planet very lacking in natural resources. People in the country either live in cities, (which are basically glorified prisons) under the rule of a new government, or they live outside and become outlaws. The outlaws are constantly hunted by Enforcers, given the choice to either join society or die. The protagonist, Hudson, escapes from a city into the outside world. She’s on the run and is, despite her training, struggling to survive. She approaches a group of outlaws and asks to join them; one of them is Connor.

Both Connor and Hudson have a past and they both have secrets. Hudson is running from someone while Connor is looking for someone. And they have to sort through their individual problems if they want to have a relationship. In the meantime, they have lots and lots of sex.

I really liked Connor and Hudson. Both smart characters with a lot of chemistry. I also liked Rylan, a side characters who was a fun and significant presence in the novel as Connor’s best friend and Hudson’s new friend. And their threesome buddy. His relationship with Connor was entertaining, and he was a funny/sarcastic son of a bitch, so how could I not love him?

Overall, this novel gave me what I was looking for when I picked it up. It has a simple story and a good pace. It’s well-written, easy to read, and hot. If you’re looking for something similar, this is a good option.

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy

25476363

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Adult
Pages: 363
Series: Killer Instincts #7 (Can be read as a standalone, but I don’t recommend it)
Release Date: February 2, 2016

Star

4c9zr74Ki

I put off reading this installment for a few months. First, because reading it would meaning I was all caught up with the series and would have to wait for the next book to come out. Second, because I didn’t expect to like it much,

The book follows the character Derek Pratt, or D, and he’s a mercenary. He’s cold and hardened and pretty much ruthless. He’s been in the series since the first book and I’ve never liked him. He was such a total dick. In this novel, he’s on a mission to find and rescue one of his teammates who’s been captured by some very dangerous people. To complicate matters, a previous one-night-stand, Sofia, gets involved in the mission and he now has another person to save.

Which is funny because Derek isn’t exactly the rescuing type. Sure, he’s part of a team of mercenaries that specializes in rescue missions, but he’s only involved in it for something to do. Knight in shining armour is not his style. Also, he’s a dick.

But as we get to read from his perspective and get to know him better, he becomes a likable presence. We learn more about how he feels as opposed to how he acts. We learn of his past and the things that were responsible for his cynical and bleak outlook of life. And we see him grow and realize that thought the world is a horrible fucking place, there are moments of happiness.

It was really good to read about him and, by the end, I actually liked the guy. I mean, I’ve has pervious moments of not wanting to punch him, but they were usually few and far between. This was a certain thing.

The other protagonist, Sofia, is also great. There was one brief moments of incredible stupidity on her part, but other than that, she was strong, composed and just… good. She’s a good person who cares about others but also doesn’t let them walk all over her. It’s a very good combination, in my opinion.

I liked the relationship between her and D, thought I do feel that the ‘love’ thing happened a tad too soon.

Overall, this was a surprising read for me. It was more brutal that most of the other installments, I think. I loved the story, the actions and the characters. I adored the subplot with Sully and Liam, two others mercenaries, and… I would say that I can’t wait to read their book, but I’ve already read it (it came out yesterday). So I’ll just say that I’m very happy with this novel and I highly recommend reading this whole series.

Review: Fall with Me by Jayne Frost

34565342

Genre: New-Adult, Romance
Pages: 157
Series: Sixth Street Bands #2 (Can be read as a Standalone)
Release Date: December 19, 2015

4 Stars

4c9zr74Ki

Christian is the bassist of the band Caged and is recording new music. Melody is college student. They both lead very different lives but they’re both math nerds. And neither of them are interested in a relationship. So when they’re faced with a mutual attraction, they decide to give it the good ol’ no-strings try.

So they both do their own work and they have sex. Except they also bond over witty banter and math, of all things, because when does no-strings ever work? One person always get attached. In this case, they both do. But for things to work, they have to work through their reservations.

For Christian, it’s the fact that he doesn’t believe in a love that lasts, or relationships that work. Melody has had some bad experiences with overbearing boyfriends and she wants college to be priority. All good reasons. And usually, you’d expect a lot of drama to go down for those reasons. But surprisingly, there wasn’t any. Both Christian and Melody handled things like mature adults.

Their relationship was cute and I really liked them together. Individually, they both had problems. Melody could be snobby and judgemental and Christian could be a tad overbearing, but they worked very well together.

As for flaws in the novel, both the characters judgy-ness (mainly Melody’s though) sometimes bothered me; and I think the book could have used a better flow. One scene didn’t always move seamlessly into the next. Like the scenes in a movie that haven’t been arranged properly, making it seem more like a series of events than one collective story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the novel. It was simple, short, well-paced and cute, and if you’re in the mood for something like that, you should try it.

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

15507958

Genre: Romance, General Fiction
Pages: 369
Series: Me Before You #1 (can be read as a Standalone)
Release Date: December 31, 2012

5 Stars

4c9zr74Ki

Before I started reading this novel, I’d heard from many people, that it left them an emotional wreck; that they still, after weeks or months, haven’t gotten over it. That didn’t happen with me. But it’s not a bad thing.

One of the protagonists of the novel, Will, is a quadriplegic, meaning he’s paralyzed from the chest down and only has movement in his face and neck, and very little in his hands. Before the accident that caused him to be confined to a wheelchair, he was someone who loved life and often participated in extreme sports. And to go from that to the way he is in the novel… it’s very difficult, to say the least. He doesn’t want this life. And I understood that.

I understood not wanted to be dependant on other people for everything, not wanting to constantly be in pain, not wanting to be hospitalized every few months for one or the other ailment, not wanting to live a life without purpose. I wouldn’t want that life either. And I know some people might object to me saying that, but it’s not really up to them, is it?

And that’s what a lot of the novel is about: life, choices and acceptance. For me, understanding and accepting Will’s predicament was something that made the book just… click, with me. I’m not sure I would have liked it nearly as much if the author hadn’t done such a wonderful job of trying to explain and flesh out the characters.

Let’s take Louisa, for example. She’s the other protagonist and most of the book is from her perspective. She’s a play-it-safe kind of girl. Initially, I found her to be too meek and boring. She didn’t seem to have any aspirations or plans. And, being an INTJ, if there’s one thing you must know about us, we make a lot of plans. So it was difficult for me to connect with her. But again, the author fleshed her out really well and she grew on me, albeit slowly. Her and Will’s interactions were definitely the highlight of the novel.

Me Before You is all about the characters. And they’re all so normal. Honestly, most of them are the kind of people you’d easily meet in your neighbourhood. It was very refreshing to read.

I truly loved the story, the theme, the people and the tone of the novel. There were parts that had me impatient, and this isn’t an example of beautiful prose. But it’s a beautiful story and I really think you should give it a read. It’s thought-provoking and sweet. It’s kind of wonderful, really.