Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Indie Spotlight Feature - Official Launch!!!

My first featured novel,
In Your Dreams by Amy Martin
I am very happy to announce the official launch of my Indie Spotlight feature here on PaperFantasies!  This is a month-long author feature in which I dedicate a separate page of the blog to information on this author's novel, where to buy the book, and an author interview.  This feature is not a review or a recommendation.  The review of the author's book will be posted on the 18th of his/her featured month, which is when you'll find my take on the novel and whether or not I'd recommend it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #8 - Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

Ooh.  This is a really hard one, because I don't really have any must-have topics.  I have more must-avoid topics, actually, but that's not what this TTT is asking for. *pouts*  But I'm sure I can pull something out for this one, though I can almost guarantee I won't be able to think of ten.  Keep in mind, though, that more than key topics or words, I base my TBR decisions on reviews and recommendations, and the overall feel of the synopsis.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Arcadia's Gift by Jesi Lea Ryan - Book Review

Most people who experience death don't live to tell about it.

When sixteen year old Arcadia "Cady" Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom's spiraling depression and her sister's boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan's around, Cady can almost pretend she's a regular girl, living a regular life; when he's not, she's wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning...
As you may or may not know, I’m going to be reviewing more self-published books on this blog.   I’ll still post reviews of past and present bestsellers, but there will be more of a mix.  Arcadia’s Gift is one such self-published novel, so I won’t be judging it as harshly.  How can I hold one person to the same standards as an author, their agent, and a group of meticulous editors?  I won’t sugar-coat and will be honest, but I’m more inclined to ignore little hiccups along the way in favor of the overall journey.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I agreed to review this book.  Self-published books are always a gamble because they can be either a diamond in the rough, or a pile of steaming dog crap with a price tag.  While Arcadia’s Gift wasn’t quite a diamond, it’s closer to that side of things than the other.  By a landslide.

Friday, April 26, 2013

YA Epidemics #7 - Bio-Partner Romance

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.
Comments and discussions are encouraged!

Ah, the smell of antiseptic disinfectant.  The squeaky floors and shiny lab tables, posters of vital organs and cages of dead frogs waiting to be cut open with a scalpel.  Is there anything more romantic than a high school biology class?  It's fate, really, that puts these strangers together.  Pair them up and watch their love bloom.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crank by Ellen Hopkins - Book Review

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the "monster," the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or "crank." Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne'er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree:
"there is no perfect daughter,
no gifted high school junior, 
 no Kristina Georgia Snow.
There is only Bree."
Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won't, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

I have reviewed a lot of books since starting this blog.  In 7 short months, I’ve managed to read and review 50+ books.

Not one of them was as difficult as the review I’m about to write now.

Illuminating Blogger Award

I was very recently given an Illuminating Blogger Award by the very amazing, very talented Asti from A Bookish Heart, a blog any self-respecting book lover needs to check out immediately.  After some very unattractive, unprofessional squealing and dancing, (I get in touch with my inner 14 year old when a blogger I so greatly respect acknowledges PaperFantasies), I decided to look up more info on the award and find out what it actually is.

The Illuminating Blogger Award is an award given to blogs with original, illuminating content.  What's so cool about it is that it isn't this big voted-on thing with judges and fanfare, but a peer-recognized award.  Simply by being nominated, you've been awarded.  Well, sort of.  There are a few rules, which you can find here if you're interested.  Which you should be.  So go, then come back and finish reading this post.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun - ARC Book Review

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

I want to thank HarlequinTEEN and NetGalley for a copy of Ink in exchange for an honest review.

Sigh.  I don’t want to write this review.  I don’t want to take a book with such an interesting synopsis, amazing cover, and cool author and say that I was disappointed in it.  That I didn’t like it.  I don’t want to have to list the reasons and relive the heart ache.

I want to go back in time and somehow make the pages match the awesomeness of what’s on the cover.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #7 - Books I Thought I'd like MORE/LESS Than I Did

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish. Check them out!

This week, we got to choose 10 books that either pleasantly surprised us, or not-so-pleasantly annoyed us when we were sure we'd love it.  Since I like to keep things even, I'm doing five of each!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Demonic Dora by Claire Chilton- Book Review


Dora Carridine is trying to summon a demon, but she's not very good at Latin and nothing ever works out the way she plans.

Her life is fraught with weekly exorcisms and having to watch her father’s fire and brimstone TV show every Sunday. So, when Dora finally succeeds in summoning an incompetent demon lord, she’s absolutely delighted when all hell breaks loose.

She thought summoning a sexy demon lord would be the answer to all of her problems, but her problems are only just beginning when her zealot parents try to burn her at the stake, and Dora is left with only one option—to escape and follow her demon straight into Hell.

First, I'd like to thank NetGalley and Ragz Books for an e-copy of Demonic Dora in exchange for an honest review.

I remember telling people how funny this book was.  I even quoted it once or twice.  That was in the first 50 or so pages, and it’s astounding how quickly I went from entertained to infuriated with this book.

Friday, April 19, 2013

YA Epidemics #6 - Bestseller Bandwagons

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.
Comments and discussions are encouraged!

This week, I'm discussing something I've been thinking about for awhile now.  It might not read like a typical YA Epidemics post, and you may disagree with it, but I really wanted to work this subject into a post.

Harry Potter brought us schools for magicians.  Twilight brought us romantic vampires.  The Hunger Games taught the world what the word dystopia means, and Hush, Hush and Fallen proved that even an idea as kickass and cool as a fallen angel could be made cheesy and unoriginal.  These are all powerhouse YA books.  They all opened the door for their respective genre...and a whole lot of crap walked through it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Book Review

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I've always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed.

Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Influential Magic by Deanna Chase - Book Review

It’s tough being a faery in New Orleans, a city fraught with vampires… especially when their very existence drains your life-force.Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void is having a rough week. Four years after her twin brother’s mysterious death, Willow’s life is threatened and the director saddles her with a new partner—her ex-boyfriend, David. To her horror, he’s turned vamp, which causes her physical pain whenever she touches him… and any other specimen of the undead.

In order to save Willow’s life, David agrees to turn double agent against the most powerful vampire organization in New Orleans. Or so he says. And she’s convinced they know something about her brother’s death. Unsure where David’s loyalties lie, she turns to Talisen, her childhood crush, to help her solve the mystery.

Caught between two gorgeous men and a director who’ll stop at nothing to control Willow’s gifts, she’ll have to follow her instincts and learn who to trust. Otherwise, she risks losing more than just her life

Monday, April 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #6 - Rewind Week!

A meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.  If you haven't already, check them out!
Rewind Week - Top Ten Trends To See More/Less Of
If there is a list more suitable to this blog, I don't know what it is.  (For those of you who don't know, I have a weekly feature on this blog called YA Epidemics, which is pretty much me ranting every Saturday about a different one of these trends I want to see less of in YA.)

I'm going to separate this one into two categories; the five I want to see less of (which will be the same five I already have featured as Epidemics.  My pushy self is even going to link them to their featured YA Epidemic post, so check them out if you haven't already), and the five I want to see more of.

Ready?  Here we go!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong - Darkness Rising #2 Book Review

Maya Delaney's paw-print birthmark is the mark of what she truly is -a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly everyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it's only a matter of time before she's able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they're kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.


Friday, April 12, 2013

YA Epidemics #5 - Plot-Device Boyfriend

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.
Comments and discussions are encouraged!

He's cute, but not sexy.  He's a good kisser, but he doesn't make her forget how to breathe properly.  His conversations are just interesting enough to keep her present, but nothing she'll think about for the rest of the night, not like when she talks to him, the one she really wants.  He's good, but not great.  Fun, but forgettable.

He's the plot-device boyfriend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Book Review

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

. . . .

“I mean, who needs Christopher any other guy ever when Etienne St. Clair is in the world?”

This was my second reading of Anna And The French Kiss, and I still finished it in two days.  I’d be hard-pressed to find a book that calls for more serious page-turning than this one, and since this is a review, I’m going to gush and fangirl over St. Clair very professionally and composedly tell you the reasons why.

Though, my composure and lack of fangirling could get lengthy.  And gushy.  So…there’s that.  You have been warned.

Stephanie Perkins has harnessed the most addictive aspects of chick-lit and infused them into her debut novel.  Distinct though relatable main character?  Check.  Setting that is made for falling in love and romantic nights?  Well, duh, it’s Paris.  So check.  Side-characters that are realistic and funny?  Check.  Romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat with its slow, simmering build-up and swoon-worthy boy?

Check check check check check.  Check. 

I could list the non-romantic aspects of this book to seem more stoic, Serious Review Person, but who would I be kidding?  This novel could be called Ode To St. Clair, because that EnglishAmericanFrench boy with the perfectly messy hair makes this book.

What I love most about St. Clair is that not once does Perkins try to make him out to be perfect.  He’s got real, sometimes in-your-face flaws, which adds this whole new layer of realism to him that most authors completely forget about.  His flaws actually make his numerous swoony characteristics stand out so much more.  And ohhhh boy, does Etienne St. Clair have some swoony characteristics!  He’s funny, gorgeous, down-to-earth, and caring.  While you can say that for practically every YA heart-throb, very few seem as authentic as St. Clair.  Which is a huge testament to Stephanie Perkins’ writing abilities.

The interactions between Anna and St. Clair are some of the most Awww!-inspiring scenes you’ll ever read in a novel.  They are so cute together, even when they’re not together.  (See, Etienne has this thing that kind of gets in the way of their obvious chemistry; a girlfriend.)  The dialogue is funny and adorable, and their arguments are strained with unspoken feelings.  The build-up between them, as I already said, crawls even as it simmers.  So many times during this novel, I wanted them to just shut up and start tearing each other’s clothes off, because obviously that’s what they both wanted to do.  Instead, they’d look at each other, she’d remember he has a girlfriend and he’d remember she’s not said girlfriend, and the scene’s build-up would fizzle out on a wave of realistic awkwardness.

But boy, do those fizzle-out scenes make the final crescendo explode like fireworks on the 4th of July.  To call the end of Anna And The French Kiss satisfying would be doing it an injustice.

While reading this book, there were a few specific chapters I wanted to work into my review.  But I got too caught up not fangirling and not gushing about St. Clair that I overlooked them, so I’m going to get my laziness on and just tack them on at the end here.  Because why not.

There is an entire chapter that is told through emails between Anna and St. Clair.  This was one of the most unapologetically adorable chapters I’ve ever read.  Ever.  My face was split in half by my crazy-person grin for that whole chapter.

A few weeks before the emails that turned me nutso, Anna and St. Clair get to spend a few days alone while their friends and his girlfriend are back home for a holiday.  This is the point-of-no-return chapter in terms of their undeniable chemistry.  This is also the point of no return for your resolution to ignore your bed time, because this is when your mind is clouded by a haze of Etienne that won’t part until you finish the novel.  So my suggestion would be to read this when you don’t have to be up early for work or school the next morning, because you will be waking up with a Good Book hangover.  You know, when you read until dawn, lay down for an hour or two, then want to murder your alarm clock when it so inconsiderately tries to take you out of your book-high and thrust you back into the real world.

I know a lot of you have put off reading this book because of the cheesy cover and title – I was one of you before my friend Pixie talked my ear off about the book (thank you, Pixie) – but don’t let that deprive you of this reading experience.  It’s not profound, it won’t change your way of thinking, but it will remind you of why you fell in love with reading in the first place.

It is just So. Much. Fun.

Anna And The French Kiss - 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #5 - Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

Of course, I'd never start one of these memes without thanking its mother blog, The Broke And The Bookish.  Click on the words in purple to learn all you need to know to join the TTT party!

Having only been blogging for around seven months, I've got a huge pool of books to choose from.  Which is good, but also makes it super hard to only pick ten.  I already know I'm forgetting some that should have made this list, and like a mother forced to name a favorite child, I want to apologize to the books I've loved but had to leave out.  My bookish heart is soooo much bigger than this list, I promise.

  1. Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor - This is the third list in a row this one has topped.  You'd think I'd get tired of raving about it, but nope.  Nearly every list that has the word "favorite" in it is going to have DOS&B on it for me.
  2.  The Lord Of Chaos by Robert Jordan - this is the 6th book in the epically epic Wheel Of Time series.  It sits right at the top of the these-books-keep-getting-better-and-better climb before the the-older-ones-are-my-favorites drop hits.
  3. Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I actually just finished my reread of this book.  Just as good the second time around.  I'll be posting my first review for it later this week, so stay tuned for that!
  4. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling - Whenever I want a good old dose of nostalgia, these books are where I turn.  I grew up halfway in reality, and halfway in Hogwarts.
  5. The Sweep series by Cate Tiernan - My first true fangirl obsession.  My reading record of nine books in five days was set by this series when I was fourteen.  I also completely nerded out and asked for the entire series as my only birthday gift.  Totally worth it.
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - This trilogy also holds a very special place in my heart.  It came right around the time I was ready to give up on the YA genre and revitalized it with a blast of Kick-Ass.
  7. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - I love, love, love this book.  Anderson doesn't sugar-coat things in her novels, which packs a huge emotional punch and lends so much weight to the message.
  8. Memnoch The Devil by Anne Rice - The 5th novel in her amazing Vampire Chronicles series, Memnoch changed my way of thinking.  Lestat is still who I think of whenever I think of vampires, and this one may very well be my favorite vampire book ever.
  9.  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - The only reason this isn't higher on this list is because it's a newer read for me.  Doesn't hold as much sentimental value.  But it's still such an incredible book, and I know it will always be one of my favorites.
  10. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead - Don't let the title fool you.  This isn't another carbon copy of Twilight.  Rose is an amazing protagonist, the mythology is refreshingly original for its genre, and most importantly, this series gave birth to Adrian Ivoshkov.  Crazy boys have never been so sexy.

There they are, my ten favorite pre-blogger books!  Have you read any of these?  Which books would make your Top Ten list?  As always, link to your TTT if you have one in the comments so I can return the blog love!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison - Book Review

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?

. . . .

Mette Ivie Harrison is a less-known author.  I get pangs of guilt tearing into indie books, so I’m going to try to soften my ranting here, but make no mistake; I would not recommend this book.

I get what Harrison was going for here.  Romance in a Victorian-esque setting, with gender-specific magic involved.  Issa and Ailsbet are both princesses, both honor-bound to marry not for love, but for political advantage.  The world of Rurik and Weirland is largely influenced by its magic; the masculine tewyr and the feminine neweyr.  I won’t really get into the specifics of the magic system because it’s all very dull stuff, but basically in Rurik, it’s punishable by death for a man to have newery or for a woman to have teweyr.

So, yeah, what this novel aims for is a story of forbidden love and forbidden magic, set in a fantastical setting, with one Big Bad Evil King villain.  But what it aims for and what it delivers are two very different things.

The Rose Throne is…boring. There, I said it.  Even before the really annoying aspects come into play, the emotionless prose makes for a very dull read.  I have no idea who any of the characters are on a deep level, just shallow things that anyone with a pen can write about.  But the most annoying thing about this book is King Haikor of Rurik.  This villain has been given no depth, no dimension.  He is just a plot device bad guy, insulting half of his kingdom and poisoning the other half.  To say it’s excessive would be an understatement.

The romance is…not good.  The lack of feeling in the writing style makes it impossible to care about, and there was little to no build-up before the two characters were “in love”.  Kellin, the main romantic interest, is King Haikor’s polar opposite, overdone in his righteousness and willingness to sacrifice – though not quite­ as plot-device –y as the king.

The writing was decent, I’ll give it that.  Grammatically correct, good sentence structure, no run-on sentences or painfully overused words.  But the same can be said about Webster’s dictionary, and I’m pretty sure you’d find more enjoyment in those pages than in the pages of The Rose Throne.

I feel like the potential for a very good book was there, but The Rose Throne didn’t deliver on any of it.  If I didn’t have an OCD need to finish books, I doubt I’d have made it past page 50.  I kept hoping it would get better, but alas, it didn’t.

The Rose Throne - 2 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 5, 2013

YA Epidemics #4 - Immortal Hottie Falls For High School Girl

John Green said it best in his vlogbrothers review of Twilight; “I want to explain why it’s wrong for adults to have relationships with teenagers; It’s not because we look old.  It’s because we are old.” (click here for this must-see video

And yet, one of the hottest YA trends out right now is one or another type of immortal being getting the feeling in the pants for high school girls. (My nerdfighter is showing.  Can you see it?)  It's gross and disgusting for a twenty-five year old to fall for a sixteen year old, but a ninety year old can as long as his face says teenager?  Oooo-kaaaay....

Don't get me wrong, I've fallen victim to this double-standard plenty of times - Cole in Everneath, Stanton in Daughters Of The Moon, um...uh...well actually that's about all I can think of, but I'm sure there are other examples.  But come on, just because I've found myself enjoying this trend occasionally doesn't mean I'm not going to poke fun at it.  My readers know me better than that by now.  I know I'm being a hypocrite, but every now and then, I'll step back from the ledge of book-hottie -fueled hormones and acknowledge the pedophilia aspect of the relationship.

Isn't it kind of twisted?  Really, now.  Great-great-grandpa gets a boner for the head cheerleader. (Yeah, thinking about it in those terms isn't as sexy anymore, is it?  You're welcome.)  Head cheerleader is confused by the wrinkle-less face and Channing Tatum abs and brings Geezer home to Mommy and Daddy.  Who are also duped by youthful appearances.  Cheerleader and greats-grandpa kiss a lot before greats-grandpa gets a different kind of pang, one of the conscience variety.  He tells cheerleader "Uh, hey.  Remember how I told you I'm seventeen?  HAHA APRIL FOOL'S!  Yeah, I'm really ninety."

  No, wait, I mean,
Forgot how cute you were for a minute, my bad

But even if these immortals existed in real life, the relationships portrayed would never work. Disregarding both the He's-still-ninety thing and the I'll-never-age-but-you'll-be-wrinkly-in-a-few-decades thing, there's a huge maturity gap between Immortal Exhibit A and High School Student Exhibit B. Living for several decades is going to give you a seriously different perspective than any teenager alive, and there is no bridging that gap. The only reason an immortal guy would want a young girl in any way that isn't paternal or sibling-al (whatever) would be for...well...you know. The sex. And that would make him not a hottie hot powerful hot guy, but a hottie hot superhuman creep.

But I do understand. All those "hot" adjectives have the power to make all of us girls forget the teensy little "creep" noun. I get it. (No. I definitely don't. Hence the post.)

But aside from the gross-out factor of the age difference, what I just can't understand is why an author would choose to make her protagonist seventeen when she could make her eighteen.  Still gross, but at least eighteen is legal.  And it's only one year.  Unless there is a reason integral to the plot for your MC to be seventeen falling in love with a ninety year old, for God's sake, make her eighteen!  It does absolutely nothing to your story, but spares our very western, modernized sensibilites.  Because, for some reason, that one year really does make a difference to well over half of us.

Now I'm going to go bury my face in a thesauras to remind myself that there are more adjectives to describe an attractive man than "hot" while you show me some comment love. (Pretty please?)

How often do you feel that nagging sense of wrongness in the back of your head when you read one of these relationships?  Do you at all?  If so, how likely are you to ignore it if the story is well-written?  If not, is it because you don't mind it or because you've never given it much thought?  Would having a legal adult for the protagonist make a difference?

And a quick reminder; Follow PaperFantasies through bloglovin to have your YA Epidemic posts available right at the click of a button. Because who needs Google Reader, anyway?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shadowfever By Karen Marie Moning - Fever #5 Book Review

"Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it's good."

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

Oh my god.

Oh.  My.  God.

Oh my god!!!!

I’m having trouble finding other words to describe this book, but we’ll start with these;
And the only one that really matters; BARRONS! BarronsBarronsBarronsBarrons….  Really, I could go on all day like this.

I know I’m mega-late to be jumping on the bandwagon of hype for the Fever series, but I don’t care.  I am making it my life’s mission to shove this down the throat of every dark urban fantasy reader I know who hasn’t already read this.  The days of shock over liking this series after a questionable first book are long over.  For the past four books, I’ve been gasping, grinning, panting, laughing, and tearing through pages like the obsessive bookworm that I am.

By the end of Dreamfever, I was having some serious doubts that Moning could deliver all the answers that were still barely hinted at after four books in the last one without info-dumping all over my expectations, but she delivered.  Boy oh boy oh Barrons…er, boy, did she deliver.  Throwing about a hundred and one curveballs along the way, and supplying us with one of the biggest twists I have ever read.  Ever.  Seriously.  I’m still reeling over it, and I finished the book days ago.

I can’t get into this book without calling down the wrath of the spoilers – seriously, I can’t; it was that eventful of a book – but by now we all know what this series is about; ex –preppy-girl Mac and her complicated relationship with employer Jericho Barrons, and their search for the Sinsar Dubh; a book of fae magic so evil and ancient that it took on a sinister sentience and life of its own.  At its core, that’s what the Fever series has always been about.  The mystery, the character growth, the increasingly dark tone and atmosphere, and the perfect suspense have certainly made it seem like it’s got a deeper central plot to it, though.  This proves that a talented enough author can take the most simple idea, layer it with amazing characters, sexy sexiness, agonizing mystery and a dark setting, and give us one of the most addictive reading experiences ever.

Oh, and Barrons.  Can’t forget Barrons.  I get the naughties just typing out his names.

Beneath the obvious kick-assery of Shadowfever, there were a few flaws, which I feel obligated to list even though I loved this book to an almost alarming degree.  My biggest issue with it and the only one that actively took away from my enjoyment was Barrons’ identity reveal.  We find out what he is, but it’s not as satisfying as I’d have hoped.  It works for the story and it makes sense, but my hands-down favorite character was not the cause of my biggest OMFG WTF DID MONING JUST DO TO MY HEART??? moment, and that…well, it made me sad.  Barrons is supposed to have a monopoly on OMG moments in this series, it just seems wrong for him to not own the biggest one.

Mac’s narrative is still riddled with too many questions, maybe even a little more so in Shadowfever than the previous books.  By now I’m mostly used to it, but I did notice it and even rolled my eyes at it once or twice.  I love her character development, she’s got a permanent place on my Most Kick-Ass Heroines list, but man, that girl muses a lot.  How she doesn’t have a perpetually thoughtful expression, complete with drawn brows and pursed lips, is beyond me.

But ignore those flaws because I would unhesitatingly, without a doubt recommend this series to anyone and everyone who can handle the darker side of reading.  Each one gets better than the last, and by the time you get to Shadowfever, you’ll have a treat of a book whose ending will leave you in a reading slump just because you know the next book you read can in no way compare to the thrilling ride Moning took you on with her Fever series.
Shadowfever - 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #4; Characters I'd Crush On If I Were Also A Fictional Character

I'd like to thank the girls over at The Broke And The Bookish for hosting this addictive weekly meme.

As you may or may not be aware, beneath all the bluster and criticisms of my reviewer persona lives a fourteen year old fangirl for those swoon-worthy book hotties.  (Which is weird, considering I'm 22.)  This week's Top Ten Tuesday is right up her alley.  Expect gushing and "omg"s coming.

Top Ten Characters I'd Crush On If I Were Also A Fictional Character
Which I'm not, and I still do
  1. Akiva from "Daughter Of Smoke And Bone" - Duh.  Helloooo, I'm known as the DOS&B book-pusher to my blogger friends, and Akiva is a huuuuuge part of the reason for that.  This troubled winged warrior has leapt off of the pages he was born on to become imprinted on my brain, as real to me as any boy I know.
  2. Jericho Barrons from the "Fever" series - At the risk of sounding unfaithful to Akiva, I'm going to admit something that shocks even me here; I wasn't sure Barrons would settle for second. If there was ever a character made to lust over, it's Jericho Barrons.  He is the alpha-male of alpha-males, and he's good at everything he does. For raw sexuality, this man comes out on top of any list I could make.
  3. Etienne St. Clair from "Anna And The French Kiss" - Admittedly pretty far behind Akiva and Barrons, St. Clair has earned his number-3 spot by the addictive romance he brings to the pages of Anna.
  4. Adrian from the "Vampire Academy" series - Though I don't like him in Bloodlines, this Moroi owned the pages of Vampire Academy.  Dimirti, who?
  5. Hunter Niall from the "Sweep" series - As one of my biggest teenage crushes, I couldn't not include Hunter in this list. Wiccan, witch, and British?  Yes, please!
  6. Jean-Claude from the Anita Blake books - I'm admittedly not a fan of the later novels in this series, but Jean-Claude is still a no-brainer addition to this list. He's a vampire to rival Lestat, with better hair and a better wardrobe.
  7. Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse books - The third and last vampire on this list, Eric is the only reason I read as many of those books as I did.  I couldn't stand Sookie herself, but Eric would always show up, steal a scene (and the whole damn book), and reel me in for the next book.
  8. Peeta from "The Hunger Games" - How can you not love the boy with the bread? My favorite part about his romance with Katniss is that it wasn't overly-romanticized to steal the book.  But the scenes between the two were so impossibly sweet that it's still one of my favorite book romances.
  9. Jack from "Everneath" - The hero for every guy/girl stuck in The Friendzone.  Jack and Nikki's love is epic, but if Nikki loses her senses and chooses Cole, I'll be right there to, um..."console" Jack.
  10. Lan from "The Wheel Of Time" - Okay so he's not exactly the romantic interest you'd think would evoke the fangirl reaction, but he totally did.  He stole my heart with one line; “I will hate the man you choose because he isn't me, and love him if he makes you smile.” Awww!
So there you have it, my top ten fictional crushes!  I love them all, and be warned; I am willing to fight over every one of them. There will be eye-gouging involved if it comes to the first two.

What are some book hotties you've fangirled (or boy'd) over?  Share in the comments, or link to your TTT if you have one so I can show your blog some love!