Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Holy wow, this book is AH-MAZ-ING!

The blurb:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

My thoughts:

Jennifer L. Armentrout is an author, but she might as well be a ROCK STAR, in my opinion!  There are several authors that write in this genre that I seriously enjoy reading.  However, I don’t think any of them have the knack, talent, hutzpah, whatever you want to call it to put a story to paper (or monitor) like this one does.  JLA’s newest book in the Lux series is called Onyx and it is the follow up to Obsidian.  There is also a novella, Shadows, that you NEED to read, preferably before you pick this book up.
Onyx pretty much picks up right where Obsidian left off.  We get reacquainted with Katy (Kitten) and Daemon, who have this unbelievably strong, um, physical connection to each other, at least that’s what they keep telling each other.  Daemon is an alien, who lives next door to Kat with his twin sister, Dee.  Yes, there are aliens among us.  Daemon has healed Kat, creating a bond with her that seems to give her some super-awesome powers of her own.

We are also introduced to a new student in school, Blake.  He is the “perfect human boy” Kat is looking for to prove to the world, or just herself, that there is nothing but physical attraction between her and Daemon.  As with most people in this sleepy WV town, there is more than meets the eye.  We learn more about the DOD and their agenda when it comes to the Luxen and their friends.  The story steamrolls so quickly that, as I neared the end of the book I was literally on the balls of my feet dancing, afraid to get to the last page.  Opal can’t get here soon enough.

JLA’s ability to weave action, suspense, teen angst, steamy passion and poignant loss into a seamless story is not easily done, but she makes it seem effortless.  I have always considered myself a bigger fan of Alex and Aiden from the Covenant series, but after reading this book, I’m so torn about my favorite book boyfriend, Aiden or Daemon.  Diety comes out soon, so I might change my mind again, lol.

So, wrapping up, what the heck can  I say about Jennifer L. Armentrout’s book?  If I had to rate Onyx on a scale of 1-10, it would easily get a 28, at least.  Get it now, do not pass GO, unless you haven’t read Shadows and Obsidian yet.
Oh yeah, and movie studio types, someone seriously needs to option this lady’s work for a movie.  It is THAT good!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The One by Heather Self

Ok, so this is the debut book by my fellow Texan, Heather Self.  This book is serious good stuff.

The Blurb:

Stranded on Earth two thousand years they’ve waited for the arrival of the One: some to save her, others to kill her. With her birth, the ancient prophecy could at last be fulfilled and the doorway between the worlds would open. Those who know the prophecy believe this event occurred almost eighteen years ago, and now, they’ll stop at nothing to find her.

Seventeen-year-old Eveline has lived her entire life on the move and she hates it. She knows her parents believe she’s the One, and they’ve done whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. But Eveline isn’t fully convinced that her parents’ beliefs match her own. What she does believe is that Leadville, Colorado may be the chance she’s been waiting for. The chance to be somewhere safe. The chance for her to make friends and have fun. The chance to finally date a guy. The chance to be a normal girl, at least as normal as possible for someone not human.

My thoughts:

Ok, so if I had to describe this book in a few short words it would be this...seriously original awesome urban fantasy.  Evy's race has been stranded on Earth for 2,000 years.  She is only 17 years old and her family hopes she is the One, the savior of her race that was prophesied about thousands of years ago.  One of the things I liked most about this book was that Evy's family did not try to hide who or what they were from their daughter.  I mean, how many books have you read where the main character's purpose was deliberately kept from him/her?  It was really refreshing.

So, let's talk about romance.  And boy, is there some romance in this book!  I have a love/hate relationship with love triangles.  There are two seriously HAWT boys who are vying for Evy's attention.  First, let me talk about Chase!  (OH MY GOODNESS!)  *dreamy sigh*  Chase is another member of the Kin and is 300 years old.  He is actually Evy's half-brother's older brother.  (really not too confusing!).  It's apparent that he is interested in Evy, but he has reservations about getting romantically involved with her.  He remains distant until the competition comes onto the scene.

Enter, Kieran.  Hot, Irish, motorcycle riding, Kieran.  Kieran is Narada, the sworn enemy of the Kin.  There is more to this guy than meets the eye, literally.  Evy instantly has a connection with him  that is H-O-T.  Now, what girl wouldn't love to have the attentions of an Aussie and Irishman?  AGAIN, *dreamy sigh*...

Let's not forget about Liam, Jenna, and Kai.  Liam is Evy's older half-brother and sworn protector.  He's swoon-worthy in his own right.  Jenna and Kai become the best friends Evy has looked for her entire life.  They are all great supporting characters.

I love how this book reads a lot like a movie.  I could picture the scenes in my head as I read them.  There were enough twists and turns and action scenes that make it a very quick, and enjoyable read.  I reallly cannot wait for the next book in the series.

If you are super interested in this book, you can check out the Heather Self week at Supagurl's blog site.  It is full of great character interviews and some scenes with different characters' points of view.  (My favorite is from Chase, of course!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie

I picked up Callum & Harper in the beginning of the year after reading about it on Shelly Crane's blog site among her ten best of 2011.  I am SO glad I did!

The blurb:

Life sucks for orphans Callum Tate and Harper Bailey.

Kicked out of their foster homes because they suffer the 'eighteen disease' with nothing but a hundred dollar check from the government and a pat on the back, they're forced to rely on a system that failed them miserably.

So they sit. They sit inside Social Services, waiting for their social workers to call their names and offer them the miracle they know will never come but they sit anyway because they have nowhere else to go, no other options on their very literal and figurative empty plates.

But as they sit, they notice the other. Although captivated, they each come to the conclusion that life is complicated enough without throwing in a boiling tension that can't ever be acted upon because they're both too busy thinking about where their next meal will come from but when their names are called and both are placed on a year long waiting list for permanent housing, suddenly relying on each other seems like a very viable plan B.

And, oh, how lovely Plan B's can be.

Well, except for the psycho from Harper's past that haunts her and, oh, yeah, there's the little issue that neither of them knows they're in love with the other.

Needless to say, Callum & Harper's life just got a bit more complicated.

My Thoughts:

I actually read this book several months ago, after I discovered the Kindle App on my phone.  I tore through it in under a day.  I was instantly immersed into the world of these two young people who always seemed to have the odds stacked against them.  However, they never let their circumstances dictate their future.  That is what I most loved about this book.

The secondary plot lines and characters wove themselves seemlessly into the main story and I found myself caring about them almost as much as I did the hero/heroine. 

There were a few times in the book when I groaned in frustration at the lack of communication between the couple, but I think that is to be expected when dealing with romance and young people.    Such a solid book about love and the determination of the human spirit.  I loved it.

And you definitely need to check out Thomas & January!  (I love you, Thomas!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Significance by Shelly Crane

This book is one of the very first e-books I downloaded months and months ago.  It was so well written and the story was so lovely that it has stuck with me through hundreds of books, literally.  It is a beautiful love story that revolves around two young people.
The blurb:

Maggie is a seventeen year old girl who's had a bad year. She was smart and on track but then her mom left, her dad is depressed, she's graduating, barely, and her boyfriend of almost three years dumped her for a college football scholarship. Lately she thinks life is all about hanging on by a thread and is gripping tight with everything she has.
Then she meets Caleb. She saves his life and instantly knows there's something about him that's intriguing but she is supposed to be on her way to a date with his cousin. But things change when they touch, sparks ignite. Literally.
They imprint with each other and she sees their future life together flash before her eyes. She learns that not only is she his soul mate, and can feel his heartbeat in her chest, but there is a whole other world of people with gifts and abilities that she never knew existed. She herself is experiencing supernatural changes unlike anything she's ever felt before and she needs the touch of his skin to survive.

Now, not only has her dad come out of his depression to be a father again, and a pain as well, but Caleb's enemies know he's imprinted and are after Maggie to stop them both from gaining their abilities and take her from him.

Can Caleb save her or will they be forced to live without each other after just finding one another?
My Thoughts:

I simply adore Maggie.   She is just so SWEET!  She has been dealt a pretty bad hand over the past twelve months and, due to that, she hasn’t set any expectations for herself past high school.  We meet her on the day she graduates high school.  Her father has been emotionally absent for the past year and her adopted brother, Bish (mmmm, BISH!), has a job he doesn’t even enjoy in another state.
Then there is Caleb.  If I was a 17 or 18 year old girl, I would LOVE to meet a Caleb.  He is self-assured, loving, loyal, and pretty dang sexy!  His father is the head of their Clan and Caleb has inherited innate leadership capabilities.

Caleb and Maggie meet quite unexpectedly the night of her high school graduation.   Needless to say, their connection, or Imprinting, leaves them both stunned and, instantly bonded to one another.  Maggie is thrown into a world she never knew existed.  She discovers she has abilities and powers she never could have imagined.  She is welcomed into Caleb’s large and boisterous family, which is vastly different than her own.  Through the changes she goes through, Caleb is always there with her.
There is a good bit of action in this book as well.  Maggie discovers she must rely on her new abilities as well as some good old common sense and luck to come out victorious against the ones who seek to harm her and her new family.

As previously stated, this is the first book in the Significance Series.  There are two additional books (Accordance and Defiance) that continue to follow Caleb and Maggie as well as their friends and families.  I cannot recommend these books enough!

The fourth book, Independence, is going to be released in December 2012.  That gives you PLENTY of time to read these books if you haven’t yet!  You’ll love ‘em!  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Return to Arèthane by Kelly Riad

Let me preface this review by stating that I am friends with the author of this book.  However, that is not going to keep me from leaving an objective review of this awesome YA fantasy novel :)

The blurb:

16-year old Emily has accepted her fate with each weakening beat of her heart, but after her best friend's brother and sister arrive in town and turn out to be more than what they appear, Emily's life is turned upside-down. When their friendship includes confronting wizards who harbor dark secrets and dancing with an elf prince, Emily discovers there are some things still worth living for.

My thoughts:

This book struck a chord with me from the beginning.  It has so many elements running through it simultaneously it can almost seem a little overwhelming, but Kelly Riad does a great job letting the story line flow naturally.  It is very easy to keep up with everything that is going on and her ability to weave fantasy elements into our every day world was seamless.

I could spend a great deal of time going through all the characters, but that would make this post VERY long.  I'm going to let you get to know the major players:

Emily is the only child of a workaholic father and a functional alcoholic mother.  She is diagnosed with a heart condition that she knows is slowly killing her.  Though, previously a member of the "in" crowd, Emily has withdrawn from her circle of friends in recent times.  I love her sense of individuality. 

Dafne, Jarrad, and Karawyn are exiled elven royalty who live in hiding among humans.  Their kingdom was besieged by the Dark Elf King and they were forced to flee with their lives.

Jabari is the "grandfather" of the three elves.  In truth, he is a trusted advisor to the royal family and has stayed in the Human realm with them to ensure their protection.

Aerath, dark elf prince, who is largely responsible for the siblings' flight from their homeland.

Through some twists and turns, Emily finds herself accompanying this family back to their homeland of Arèthane.  I was awed by the author's ability to create an entire world outside of Suburban USA.  I am a HUGE fan of fantasy novels and really enjoy picturing the world in my mind's eye while reading.  It is full of adventure, epic battles, and of course, romance!

All in all, this book is incredibly fast paced and well written.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!  I can't wait for book 2!

The Wild Ones - M. Leighton

So, I love to read. A lot.

I have read so voraciously over the past several months that I have literally fallen in love with the works of several independent authors. You know, the guys and gals who self-publish their works through e-book web sites in the hopes of sharing their creativity with us, their avid fans. Oftentimes, this is at a cost that helps us not break our banks. (Thank you, indie authors!)

One of those authors is Michelle Leighton (@mleightonbooks on Twitter). I have read every novel she published and I continue to see her writing style mature and get more “refined” with every book. Her most recent novel, The Wild Ones is just about my favorite to date.

The blurb:
Passion as hot as midnight in the South and love as wild as the horses they tame.

Camille “Cami” Hines is the darling daughter of the South’s champion thoroughbred breeder, Jack Hines. She has a pedigree that rivals some of her father’s best horses. Other than feeling a little suffocated at times, Cami thought she was pretty happy with her boyfriend, her life and her future.

But that was before she met Patrick Henley.

“Trick” blurs the lines between what Cami wants and what is expected of her. He’s considered the “help,” which is forbidden fruit as far as her father is concerned, not to mention that Trick would be fired if he ever laid a hand on her. And Trick needs his job. Desperately. His family depends on him.

When Trick stumbles upon a note from his father, it triggers a series of revelations that could ruin what he and Cami have worked so hard to overcome. It turns out there’s more to Trick’s presence at the ranch than either of them knew, secrets that could tear them apart.
The heart wants what the heart wants, though, and Trick and Cami are drawn to each other despite the obstacles. At least the ones they know of.

My thoughts:

As I said before, I am a fan of this author, so I’ve been excited about this book for weeks. I had pretty high expectations for it before diving into it. I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

Cami is the daughter of a successful horse breeder. While she is grateful for the life she has, she remembers the days of her more humble roots and remains grounded in the good sense that comes from that background. Cami seems to have it all, a lavish lifestyle, good friends and a stable boyfriend. She is spunky and has a little bit of a temper, which makes her even more personable.

Patrick or Trick, is a hard working young man who has given up his dreams of a career to help take care of his mother and younger sister. However, he does like to have a good time. He’s having one at a local bar when he meets Cami. Trick is definitely a New Adult genre alpha male. Self-assured, driven, and extremely attractive.

The build-up between the Cami and Trick kept me turning the pages eagerly. Their first kiss was unexpected and left me wanting to go back and re-read it (which I did!). When they mutually give in to their feelings for each other it is without abandon and care for the consequences. (I had to fan myself a little while reading, I have to admit!)

Quickly, I have to talk about Rusty and Jenna, who are Trick and Cami’s best friends, respectively. I love them as much as Trick and Cami! Rusty is a “cool drink of water” as they say in the South, and Jenna is so spunky I just want to love her and call her my BFF! (I a lot of myself in that girl, what can I say?) Their presence in the book adds another layer of depth that would be lacking without them.

I was floored about 70% through the book and had to grab a tissue. I am not going to share any spoilers, but it totally changed the trajectory of the story and my heart was aching for these young lovers. Their losses were palpable and Michelle’s writing style had me feeling I was in the story, just not reading it.

However, as we know, most books have happier endings. Again, not sharing spoilers, but I believe sometimes the road you take to get to your finish line is just as important as when you arrive. I loved this HEA!

Michelle Leighton created such perfectly flawed characters and gave them each depth that swept them off the pages and into my heart. I CANNOT wait to see what she has in store next!

***Just a reminder, this book does contain adult content and should probably not be ready by younger teens.***

Go Big or Go Home

Ok, so I am going to hit the ground running today.  I decided I was going to actually try to start blogging about some of the books I've read over the past several months.  In a little while I am going to post my first review ever, outside of Amazon.  It's going to be on M. Leighton's new novel, The Wild Ones.

Go Big or Go Home, right?