Monday, January 30, 2012

"Shades of Truth" by Naomi Kinsman

Shades of Truth

Usually I don't go about reading book reviews before giving a chance to the book itself. This time however, for some unknown to me reason, I looked at a review before picking up the novel. It so happened that it was a not-very-flattering 3-star and because of it I started on "Shades of Truth" with a slight negative prejudice. Guess what? It turns out that I loved it.

True, it wasn't my usual type of read, since I don't really go for pre-teen books and this one was for ages 8-12. But to be honest, there were lessons for adults in this novel as well. So, I have to say that I fell in love with it.

"Shades of Truth" is a book that looks at a bunch of problems that kids as well as adults stumble upon regularly. It raises valid questions that I suppose growing children ask themselves daily, and it is the parents' job to figure out the answers. It's when the parents don't do their job well that kids get confused about the world around them. Questions like "Is there a God?", "What is truth?", "Do you tell the truth or do you keep it to yourself?", "Who can you trust - really trust?" arise, and if they're not answered correctly, or in time, the consequences might be severe.

I thought it was amazing that the problems little Sadie had to face taught her to find the truth of things all on her own. She analyzed the facts, the words of the adults and their behavior, and drew her own conclusions about what is right and what isn't. She grew from the little kid to the grown kid, who can see the world through the lens of the shade where black and white meet and shake hands.

Quotes that I marked while reading:

He looked at me. "Any plans for your last day of freedom? Do you want to come?"
I pictured us, crashing through bushes, swatting mosquitoes, sneaking up on a bear. "Ummm... Maybe I should unpack. You know, before school starts tomorrow."

Vivian looked me directly in the eyes and then nodded. "Right. We'll do this lesson backward."
"I can't even do it forward."

I recommend this book both to kids ages 8-12 and to parents with kids in those ages. My rating is a solid

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"The Merchant's Daughter" by Melanie Dickerson

The Merchant's Daughter

When I requested this book from NetGalley, I wasn't all that sure that I wanted to read it. At first, when I learned it was just another installment of 'Beauty and the Beast' I grew even more doubtful. Because seriously - how many of them are there??

But it was labeled 'historical fiction', and I thought that if it wasn't good, at least it could fill up a spot on my historical fiction challenge. Well, turns out it was GREAT.

"The Merchant's Daughter" wasn't a story of magic, mysteries and fairy tale curses. It was a story of broken hearts, lies, men frivolities, superstitions and absolutely pure love. It was a story that contained moral lessons, as well as genuine emotion, and I found myself so engrossed in it, I couldn't stop reading until I finished it.

There was also a Christian twist in this novel, and I liked that. I sympathized with Anabel concerning the ignorance of the preacher, whose sermons revolved only around the snare of the women, how they are lustful, tempting creatures, and how they bring men to hell with a simple glance. This was the common notion back in the day, so it sounded pretty realistic. I wasn't surprised when Anabel asked the preacher for a Bible, and he said he never saw one. The delight in Anabel's heart, when she finally got her hands on the Scriptures, made my heart flutter. I was happy along her.

The characters:

*Anabel was a tender, caring girl, the only one from her family who didn't fear labor. She missed her father, but not because of his riches. She missed him because she loved him, because he cared for her and protected her. Anabel was one to stand for those who couldn't do so themselves, she was forgiving and fiercely passionate for the people she loved.

*Lord Ranulf was a gruff man, a beastly man, scarred, arrogant and hard of character. But was he really? Or was this a mask he wore to hide in himself? He had been hurt on more than one occasion, and the last time broke his heart to pieces. He hated women, he believed them to be treacherous creatures who cared only about themselves. How surprised he was however, when he met Anabel! His entire person blossomed, even if he didn't show it outwardly.

*Mistress Eustacia - now that was one hearty woman! She didn't fear her lord, she'd taken care of him since he was born, and she saw easily through his moods. She was also a bit of a matchmaker. I truly loved her.

*Bailiff Tom was the most repulsive man I've read about lately. He was a friend of Anabel's father, but was now also her suitor. In his desperate desire to own the girl, he threatened, and almost took advantage of her. I'm sorry to say this, but I was pleased with his fate.

I recommend this book for anyone who has a passion for real characters with real stories and real emotions. My rating is

View all my reviews

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Revealing Eden" by Victoria Foyt

Revealing Eden was an amazing novel. It had everything - from passion, story line, creative new world, to character growth, nature love and deep conflicts. It wasn't all that fast paced, and from time to time the descriptions grew a little tedious, but other than that I can say that I enjoyed it very much.

I was pleasantly surprised that I had my mind plunged into the story so much, that I kept on going and going. The last 7% I even had my kindle 'read' to me while I was cooking dinner, because I didn't want to wait to know what happened in the end :))

The story was a very nice dystopian. It had original plot and ideas. It also touched at problems we have in our own society, like racism, social inequality, struggle to survive, to trust, to love and so on.

I think that some readers may have a problem with the romance, though the human/monster relationships are quite a marketable right now.

The characters:
*Eden was the female protagonist. She's a Pearl, a Caucasian girl, who lived in a society where the Black (Coal) race is dominant, respected and feared. She yearned for a black mate, for a good life and for escape from The Heat. She didn't perceive herself as beautiful because she's white skinned. She despises herself, because that's what the society teaches the Pearls. That they're worthless, unwanted and the lowest step of the ladder. During this first novel installment, Eden grew a whole lot, from hating herself to loving what she is; from not knowing herself, to finding out who she is. I loved her, for she was very real.

*Bramford was very handsome, powerful and arrogant. He was also secretive, mysterious and completely lovable - once you got to know him, that is. Even after the experiment, with his changed features, I couldn't not love him. With his new strength, agility and comprehension of nature, he was the perfect man for Eden.

*Dr. Newman, Eden's father was such a sweetheart. He was completely absorbed in his formulas, DNA sequences, lab equipment and so on, that he didn't even pay attention to his own daughter. Or perhaps he had his own reasons for it.

*Maria, I loved how tuned she was to nature and everything around her. Communication was unnecessary for the most part, because she could feel with her human senses what the wind whispered.

I've only marked one quote:

"Hurry," he said. "We must leave at once or wait until the next day."
"Elementary. There are no lights here."
Unable to absorb the concept of living by day, she gave him a blank look and then walked away.

I give it:

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Alias Dragonfly" by Jane Singer

I requested this book from NetGalley because it sounded really intriguing. Besides, I've never read books from the Civil War, and of course the idea of a female teenage spy really captured my attention.

I don't think I regret choosing this novel. It was actually pretty good. Not top of the rack good, but still good enough to recommend to anyone who likes exploring the underworld of secrets, spies and detectives.

The heroine, Maddie, aka Dragonfly, was a really captivating character, who totally won me over from the very beginning. I loved her personality, even though at moments I wondered why she did the things she did.
She was marked a freak after her accident, when she developed extraordinary good memory for the smallest details. She hated that about herself, thought it a curse. Never did she imagine that she'd come to love her abilities.

Maddie was a brave young woman, who decided that holding a belief wasn't enough. One had to act upon it, in order to accomplish something - a small victory, or a bigger one. Fully aware that freedom for the "Negroes" was an important belief to act upon, Maddie asked to join the forces of Mr. Pinkerton's spies. She was tested and trained, until she needed schooling no more. Until she became a full hearty spy.

The only thing that felt like it was kind of missing in the story, was that it didn't really have an end. It ended kind of abruptly. I really felt like there should be something else, something more. Because of that I felt slightly disappointed. Therefore my grading is such:

"Obsidian" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Well, under the pressure of several friends, I finally got a hold of this novel and read it. And I was so consumed by it, I couldn't stop reading until I was finished with it. I loved the characters, the story, the passion. In short: I loved everything about it.

To be honest though, the GoodReads synopsis kind of ruined some of the fun. Why on earth would anyone say what kind of a monster Daemon is????? I truly felt pissed at one point, because I did want to figure it out by myself. Instead, I'd already read the summary. And that's so not fair!!!!!!

But even so, I can't say that I didn't enjoy it. Major fun. Truly. As in, forget about your real life and come live in Katy's kind of thing. It was a worthy adventure and I sure can't wait for the next installment to come out. And since that's not happening until May, the novella (from Daemon's brother's point of view) is coming out just a month from now! Isn't that awesome??? Time might need to speed up a teeny tiny bit.

Here's my summary, in case you don't want to have the original one spoil the fun for you:

When Katy's mom finally decides that it's time to move on and away from their home in Gainesville, Florida, Katy feels that life can't get any worse. But that's called dreaming. Because out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere little town Ketterman is as country as they go, and excitement is the last thing that could possible happen in that place.

Not that Katy has any friends that she'd miss, she's more of a book and blog-worm, and is pretty content with reading and maintaining the plant life in their front yard. But who wants to be the new person in such a small community? Answer is: no one.

With all good intentions, Katy's mom nudges her to make friends with the neighboring teens - a boy and a girl at Katy's age. When Katy finally braves the several yards to the house next door, the last thing she expects to see is a naked chest, perfectly sculpted and ... tempting. But even the hottest body and the most perfect face cannot excuse the raining insults that spill out of the boy (Daemon)'s mouth.

From that moment on, it's obvious that the two of them - Katy and Daemon - will be at a constant verbal war. But who says that's a bad thing? The bad thing comes along when Katy is attacked by a stranger, and somehow Daemon saves her. And that's when the real adventure begins.

Because Daemon is as far away from a human as they go. Or perhaps further. And despite his usual moodiness, he's somehow managed to get under Katy's skin. The question is: would he manage to stay there?

My most favorite quotes are:
She grinned as she stood. "He's a hottie."
A tiny piece of egg caught in my throat. It was seriously gross to hear Mom talking about boys my age. "Hottie? Mom, that's just weird."
Mom pushed off from the counter, picked up her plate from the table, and headed to the sink. "Honey, I might be old, but my eyes are still working fine. And they were really working earlier."

His gaze lingered on my face, and warmth blossomed in my belly. "Maybe I'm just curious why she is so enamored. Dee doesn't take well to strangers. None of us do."
"I had a dog once that didn't take well to strangers."

His chest seemed to... hum under my hands. "Have you ever seen a bear?"
Dread pushed through my calm and blossomed. "What? There's a bear - ?" I pulled out of his grasp and spun around.
Oh, yeah, there was a bear.

*** No more sexy quotes for you. Go read the book! LOL

My rating is (if you haven't already guessed, that is)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Something Witchy This Way Comes" by Veronica Blade

Well, well, it's a bit late for a review -  almost 12a.m. over here :D - but I felt like I had to get it done. Never leave today's work for tomorrow, right? LOL

So here goes. Beware though, there may be some mild spoilers.

What would you do if out of nowhere you're called to the Principal's office and an FBI agent demands you protect a fellow student from possible harm? Would you agree to risk your own life for someone you never even talked to? 

Bad boy Hayden Anders has the reputation of a bully and a player. An honest player, but a player no less. And this time he has no idea what he will be getting himself into. Unfortunately FBI agent Phillips doesn't leave him much of a choice.  Blackmailing doesn't usually work on Hayden, but this time the offer is tempting. And when he sees the person whose life he'd be guarding... well lets just say that he is convinced.

Tessa McClean is a strait A student, who has no idea that somewhere in her blood runs a power that's beyond human. And how would she know since no one in her family cares enough to even look at her? Her little sister is her only refuge from the cruel reality of her broken family. So when Principal Linton tells her that she's a witch and that her powers would draw in a rival coven, she doesn't believe him. Until she starts reading minds, that is. The knowledge that the two opposite witch covens are always at war with each other, stealing recruits and what not, is the only reason why Tessa puts up with her now necessary bodyguard Hayden.

Neither of them realizes however, that their current relationship would lead to no good. Or would it? As Tessa and Hayden get closer, new truths come out in the open, old secrets are revealed and nothing of their old world would ever be the same...

Something about the characters:

*Hayden is the typical bad boy. He goes from girl to girl, even keeps several as "back up plan", but is honest enough to tell them beforehand that for him it's just "hit and ditch". And well, they don't mind at all. He has a strong personality even though his teenage years have been hard. Despite his reputation, or perhaps because of it, I fell for him.

*Tessa has had her heart broken once, so rightfully - she doesn't trust boys easily. Just like any girl in her shoes. Though truly, resisting Hayden had proved pointless. I loved her clear-headedness, how she seemed to be full of ideas; quite resourceful. I am proud of such girls.

*Chaice, well, he tried to get squeezed in the love triangle, but didn't quite manage. Still, I loved him for his honesty. He was the perfect gentleman too :))

Some quotes I liked:

Tessa... I couldn't match a face to the name. If she turned out to be a dog, it could hurt my rep. But my curiosity was piqued.      ---Hayden

If the girl needed a bodyguard, she was obviously in trouble. That kind of thing was highly contagious at close range.          ---Hayden

Tessa smiled sleepily. "I'm so impressed," she said in a husky voice. "You didn't cop a feel even once all night."
"That you know of." I chuckled, knowing she'd remained unmolested.

And now my rating: Well, there were some minor inconsistencies, and for some reason I didn't feel madly strong for this story. It was honestly a very pleasant, light read. So I give it

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Beg for Mercy" by Shannon Dermott

Oh.My.Angel! This book shook my world, uprooted it and tossed it in the deepest, darkest waters!!! I finished reading it yesterday, but was so SMITTEN, I needed to take some time to think it through. It was amazing, it was completely stunning, breathtaking and addictive. I cannot wait for the next installment to come out. So please, Shannon, hurry!!!

Please be aware that the following review may contain some minor spoilers.

Mercy is not an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Not in a long shot. But what she is isn't something to be proud of because it's like a fast-spreading poison, like a dagger straight through the heart. In one word, she's deadly. One kiss of hers can take away human life. True, the person may be quite happy about it at the time, but in the end he would just be a crumpled, motionless heap on the ground.

Two years ago Mercy had no idea what she was. So when the time came for her first kiss, and she braved the shame and embarrassment of it all, she couldn't possibly imagine that Paul, the boy she liked would fall breathless at her feet. After that incident, her mother had no choice but to give her the basics. And the rules. Main one is: no boys.

Truthfully, Mercy didn't mind that rule at all after the realization of the danger she may impose upon more intimate contact sunk in. And who could blame her, really? Who would want to suck out the life if their loved ones? You got it: nobody.

So when she gets stuck in a classic game of "spin the bottle" and Flynn, the most gorgeous bad boy of all french-kisses her, Mercy expects the worst. But to her surprise, he's still alive and he's even laughing about the whole thing. How could that be?

After that night, things change dramatically for Mercy. Suddenly, guys are interested in her, girls are jealous of her, and her own containment of her inner demons is about to crack. Especially so when gorgeous blonde Luke steps in the picture and claims her.

Would she be able to control herself around him? Or would he be her first victim ever?

All I can say about this book is that it shattered me to pieces. So much that I actually had to take my time to write this review, because my thoughts were scattered in millions of fragments and it took a while to stitch them back together. Rarely do I feel so strongly about any novel. Only the masters have been able to provoke such grand emotions in me.

So, what I liked about this book was, well.... EVERYTHING. Okay, well yes, I admit there were some grammar inconsistencies, and they did kind of distract me from time to time. But everything else was so brilliant and engaging, I just couldn't put the kindle down.

I love romance/self-exploration stories, and this one was just that. It had lots of kissing and romance scenes; it had light action; it had lessons, breaking of rules and over-the-top excitement. There was uncontrolled passion and self-growth. The constant banter between Flynn and Mercy really cracked me up. The discoveries she made about the male gender were funny, and in a way - unexpected.

In short: I really enjoyed this book and would surely recommend it to anyone who loves paranormal romance stories.

The characters:
* Mercy was a well grounded character. She had her head cleared that she could not date. Perhaps not ever, or at least not until her mother gave her the basics on how to control herself. I loved her desire to strife to know more, and that she used the SAT vocab list in her daily life. I cracked up laughing at the big words she kept throwing at Flynn. I felt her pain and struggle with her darker self all along. I hurt with her, I laughed with her. She was a very real character.

* Flynn was the all time bad boy that every girl ultimately falls for. Mercy isn't one to hold back either. However, the fact that she despises him and his huge ego kind of pulls that attraction back a little. I loved his blaze demeanor, and I loved that underneath the hard shell, there was a core full of tenderness and desire to love and be loved back.

* Luke was the one character who kept me on edge the whole time. Not only was he smart, gorgeous and the ultimate boy a girl would want to wake up next to every morning, but he was also mysterious. So much, that we only find out what he is in the last few pages of the book. Not that I couldn't guess way before then, but I just really wanted to see it stated somewhere. Gosh, every time he held Mercy in his arms, I felt like I was in her shoes. It was amazing!!!

*Sebastian was another bad boy. Delicious and unearthly from the very beginning, he made my blood boil the moment he made his appearance.

*Paul - urghh, well, I really didn't like Paul. He was so self-centered and hypocritical I could barely stand him. Honestly. And he pretended to be the best friend, when he was of no help at all. He's close to my list of dislikes only with the bad guy.

*Maggie - well, she was a nice girl most of the time. She wasn't of much help, unless we count the romantic department. She isn't in on Mercy's secret, but truth is, I'd rather it's kept this way. I feel like her mouth is too big for her own good.

*Mercy's mom - well, what can I say, she must've had her reasons for keeping Mercy in the dark for all her life, and for not teaching her how to control her darker half.

Several quotes that I marked as I read along include:

"You are a pompous licentious asshole, and there is nothing I need to hear from you but thank you for the ride," I said closing the car door maybe a little too hard on my exit.

As I continued down the hall Flynn fell in step with me.
"You could thank me," he said.
Barely turning in his direction, I scowled and rolled my eyes. "I could scream bloody murder too." I said flippantly.

"Oh, I'm just thinking, that's all."
"About?" I said. (...)
He stopped again. "I guess if I'd wanted to fill you in, I would have," he said giving me the eye that said "duh".

I hadn't really wanted to spell it out but here it goes. "Does she know you're sleeping with me?" I asked.
When he stood, turned and cocked his head to one side I realized the error of my words.
"She knows that I'm sleeping at your house but I doubt that she really could comprehend my fantasies," he said, raising his eyebrows as he eyed me up and down.

With all that said, here is my rating:

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Witchy, Witchy" by Penelope King

When I bought this book, I was all excited, because Penelope King became one of my favorite authors after the "A Demon Made Me Do It" adventure. But, the first pages kind of wore down my enthusiasm. I had hard time concentrating on the words with the reader eye. It was more critique than enjoyment. It felt too familiar - like I'd read it somewhere before.
But after I crossed the 30% threshold, things changed. There were things happening, there were emotions showing. It was really nice.

Please note that there may be some spoilers.

When 16-year-old Callista McCoy and her dad move to live in Crystal Cove, neither of them has the slightest clue who exactly they'd be moving in with. Old witch Anastasia is peculiar and secretive... also related to Callie. But Callie feels that along with the long-awaited reunion, Ana is also hiding something. Something dark, something terrifying. It is the truth that no witch is safe while Hunters roam the world.

On top of the new house, new school, new everything, Callie is also confronted by two very different truths:
One - the boy she met on the beach on her first day at Crystal Cove, a handsome young man by the name of Nicholas, is anything but ordinary, anything but forgettable; and Two - she isn't ordinary herself.

Callie is a witch.

Yet, despite all the new things in her life, the new friends are what Callie welcomes the most, because she'd never had friends before. Sophie and Lily are witches as well, and the three of them become as close as sisters. They share their secrets, and have sleepovers, and enchant themselves to communicate wordlessly.

But the two girls aren't Callie's only friends. In the picture walks Justin, a blonde surfer hottie, who falls for her. Hard. And even though Callie's heart and mind are occupied by thoughts of Nicholas, Justin does everything he can to squeeze in there as well.

He is the sweetest guy, the person who's most genuinely intrigued by Callie. He cares for her, he adores her. He is ready to give her the Moon and the stars - until her protective necklace falls off her neck, exposing who she is. In a rage of madness that he doesn't really have control over, Justin is transformed into a monstrous being whose only wish is to kill Callie. Because Justin is not an ordinary boy either.

For me, the beginning was kind of tedious because nothing really happened. There were extensive descriptions and explanations all thrown in at once and I kind of prefer to find things out with the action, not before that, and not all at once. That is what made it such a slow read for the first 20% or so. But once things started to happen, I was eager to turn the page and read more.

Out of all the characters, the two that I really loved were Sophie and Lily. They had their own distinct personalities, and always did and said what they were supposed to to keep the story going. They even broke the rules once or twice for Callie's sake. Yup, real friends.
Callista seemed a little too whiny at times, too indecisive, confused. I didn't see her like a strong person, though I think she can grow into it.
Nicholas was really dreamy, like someone from a prince picture book. But he was also distant. He sounded too matter-of-fact when he explained who and what he was. I had imagined him to be more original, passionate... Instead he sounded like he was reading his lines from a book.
Justin was by far the likable male character here. He was loving and smart, and totally swoon-worthy. If he hadn't turned into a monster, I'd totally root for him!!

Quotes I'd like to share:

"So, how was your day?" Dad asked me later that night.
Well, let's see...I met the most insanely beautiful guy ever, who I'll probably never see again...Then, I found out that I'm a magical witch, and if anyone finds out the whole world will fall apart... I have a secret grandmother I can't tell you about who lights candles with her fingertips...and, oh, yeah, Mom was a witch, too. How was your day?

"Your dad is such a sweet guy," Lily said, and Sophie nodded.
"Yeah, well, let's just see how sweet he is when he sees I've managed to turn myself into a human stop sign." I said with a scowl.

I rolled my eyes at them. "I think you guys have done too much shimmering. You're missing some brain cells somewhere," I said, crawling into bed.

All in all, it was an enjoyable light read. I give it

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fire with Fire by Penelope King

"Fire with Fire" is the second installment of Penelope King's "Demonblood" series. I liked book one so much, that I just HAD TO buy this one and read it. And I wasn't disappointed one little bit.

A little warning here: This book has some adult content, not explicit, but nonetheless keep that in mind. 

My review may contain some mild spoilers.

A couple of months have passed since handsome, loving Kieron left Lucky and Liora to finish his assignment with the Legionaire and thus win his freedom. He was supposed to be back, so the two - or well three - of them could be together forever, living their happily ever after.

But he's not back, and the girls are beginning to worry. Did he lie to them? Did he abandon them? Did he trick them in order to get his hands on the Amazea demons? All of these are sound reasons for his disappearance, and yet neither one seems right. Neither one feels right. Something else is going on but neither Lucky nor Liora know what. 

As time passes, new acquaintances/friendships/romances unfold and old ones come to the surface for both girls, who unfortunately occupy one body together. 

Human part of the duo - pretty, self-conscious Liora - perhaps suffers more from Kieron's absence than her darker half. He had been the one thing that ever made her feel perfect, normal and loved. Now he's gone and she's so alone. Until new boy Tristan comes to town and claims Kieron's place. Before she knows it, Liora is already swooning after him, all the while ignoring the only friend she'd ever had at school. Something deep inside her tells her to beware Tristan, but his kisses are always so sweet, so utterly convincing that she's in the right hands, that she ignores both her senses and her witch-guardian's warnings.

At night things aren't looking any better. Lucky's jealousy toward her best friend, the incubus/hell-hound Bones, who also happens to be irresistibly beautiful with dark hair and dreamy toffee colored eyes, is raised to a whole new level. Would she, CAN SHE resist the temptation that he is?

In a thrilling whirlwind of action, wrong decisions, untameable passions and even more secrets than before, Liora and Lucky must be strong and work together if they want to find out the truth about everyone around them. Because the truth might hurt, and it might bring the death of them and the people they love.

Favorite quotes: Well dang, I was so into the reading, I have only marked one quote. Talk about absorption... LOL

"You can't get in there, though. Thiberoux is for Dark-angels only. You don't see us trying to get in to wherever you douchebags hold your little Kumbaya gatherings and play your harps and whatever else it is you do." - Lucky

This book goes into my 5 starred readings. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

"A Demon Made Me Do It" by Penelope King

A Demon Made Me Do It” by Penelope King was just another read-to-review book that I signed up for on one of my GoodReads groups. Was, but not anymore. Because it turned to be a book I want to read for fun. When I finished it, I was hungrier for more. Yes, it was that good!!!

It had really clean grammar and sentence construction, and that's like #1 for me, because if I have to constantly revise the contents in my head, I can't really get into the story. 
The following review includes spoilers.

Liora Greyson is not a normal seventeen year old girl. But that has nothing to do with the fact that she's the top A student in the entire school, or that her parents abandoned her as a baby, or that she lives with a completely blind old lady, or that she's got no close friends at all. 
However, it has everything to do with the fact that she's not entirely human. Or well, she's not entirely human at night. Years ago, before the horrible murder of her two best friends, Liora was a pure demion (a half-demon) with strong Powers and clear future. Nowadays? Not so much.

Because the two Amazea demons that killed her friends cursed her to live forever with a split up soul – one part 100% human and one part 100% demon. Thus, Liora's body is occupied by day by her human half, and by night by her demon part (who's name is Lucky). Each half hates the other, blaming the other for the death of the two friends, for the emotional instability, for the confusion, for the weakness. Yet, one half cannot go on without the other. 
Things between Liora and Lucky get even worse when they fall in love with the same boy – a blue eyed, strongly built totally swoon-worthy demion Kieron, who also happens to be a tracker on a mission to kill them. Of course, he has no idea that he's going to be dealing with two completely different persons, two completely different races, two stunningly beautiful girls who will steal his heart away. When he finds out, things get a little weird... 
Throw an irresistible incubus in the picture (in the face of Lucky's best friend Bones), a couple of uncalled for deaths and you've got yourself an exciting, adventure ridden story.

Like most indie books I happen to read, I started “A Demon Made Me Do It” with more than a little reserve. But from the first paragraph of page 1 I was already hooked and ready for more. I loved both Liora and Lucky, though they were nothing alike. 
Liora is just the ordinary human girl – she has feelings, she hates evil (including herself), and she longs for a normal life. But she's also strong in spirit and determined to have her own. She respects herself and others, and hates her fate. 
Lucky on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She is vengeful, loves tormenting people (including Liora) and doesn't respect anyone but herself and her elderly guardian Tatiana, who happens to be a very powerful witch. 
Kieron is a talented tracker who has secrets of his own. His smiles, his patience, his special attention toward the two-in-one girls makes him the number one boyfriend in the picture. 
Bones, the hell hound/incubus who haunts virgin girls because otherwise he'll die, yet wants to win Lucky only for himself, had my passions stir on another level. He's hot and charming and the best-looking guy ever. 
This novel filled me with quite a wide range of emotions. There was burning passion, there was painful heartache, there was desire for revenge, there was pure love. And it was written in a perfect, humorous and brilliant way. 
My favorite quotes include the following:

They enjoy seeing me get in trouble, as if watching the weird-freak-girl getting punished for being a weird-freak-girl makes them feel better about their simple, ordinary lives. But no matter how strange they think I might be, they'd be terrified if they knew the real truth. - Liora

From the pale glow of the street lamps, I assess my surroundings - I'm in the alley beside the bank. Okay, that much I understand. What I don't get is why I was in with all the garbage. Lovely. Just freakin' lovely.
"Dumpster diving now, are we, you disgusting pig?!" I say aloud, hoping somewhere deep inside she hears me. I don't even care if she has a good reason for leaving me in that filthy place. This is unforgivable and she's just really flippin' lucky she ruined her own clothes instead of mine.

"Liora! Are you okay?" Kieron jams the end of his pole in a deep hole in the ground and hurries over to me.
No, I'm so far from okay it's not even funny. Kill me now before I die of humiliation!
I nod, wiping wet hair away from my face and spitting out the water. "I'm fine, just slipped. No big deal."
No, not a big deal at all. I'm just sitting here looking like a giant jackass covered in algae is all. Don't mind me.

I could really care less what I'm eating right now, because Kieron still hasn't put his sweater back on. So I'm far more interested in appreciating his smoking hot body than the quality of our food. But I need something safe to talk about before something really embarrassing comes out of my mouth. Watching him move wearing only his loose fitting jeans and hiking boots, eating the food he'd caught and's so damn sexy I could be eating mouthfuls of dirt and wouldn't notice.

Five and last - if you want more you gotta go get the book ;)
Half of me admires the graceful way he moves toward me; the other half fiercely braces for the inevitable.
"Hey, Liora. How you doin' today?"
No. No way. Uh-uh. Is he really trying to act like everything's totally hunky-dory? I don't think so!
I try to read his expression, but the only thing I see is the easy openness of yesterday. No anger. No resentment. No suspicion.
Very suspicious.

For all it's awesomeness and brilliant style, I give it 

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Never to Sleep" by Rachel Vincent

"Never to Sleep" by Rachel Vincent is a short e-novella, written in the point of view of Sophie Cavanaugh - Kaylee's cousin from the Soul Screamer series. The novella takes place during "If I Die" - the fifth installment of the series, and it is meant to give us readers some insight and understanding of mean girl Sophie.

My review follows, and I must warn you that it contains spoilers.

Sophie Cavanaugh is a spoiled child, a dancer on the school team, a pretty face, and a total bitch. She's also a half-orphan (after her mom's unexpected death), a victim-by-affiliation to her faking-crazy cousin Kaylee and her really crazy ex-boyfriend Scott.
She's also something else. But neither she, nor anyone else has any idea of her hidden talents.
Until she's banged with a door in the face and her world turns around, which happens on a perfectly normal day at school. Well, normal in the sense of not-sticking-up-for-her-best-friend; meeting the hot new guy Luca, who's a total flirt; and last but not least, seeing her cousin's reputation get ruined publicly, right in the middle of math hall.
This is all fun, especially the Kaylee episode, until the guy with the white eyes appears before her and she screams her lungs out. Because he's anything but normal.
What she doesn't know or expect however, is that screaming when seeing freaky looking guys isn't always the best reaction. Because it could lead you to another dimension, where every 'living' thing lurks around the corner, waiting for the best moment to snatch you up and eat you alive.

I was really surprised that Sophie actually grew up a little in this novella. No, she didn't suddenly turn all sweet and nice, but she finally understood the value of life. Her experience in the Nether definitely taught her that there are things worth protecting and fighting for - like friendship, and love.
And even though Rachel said in her blog that she didn't expect us get to like Sophie, I think I actually do. Because she isn't the same airhead she used to be.

The new boy, Luca, is a really worthy swoon-case, let me tell you. He's got deep brown eyes that can mesmerize even someone as experienced in flirting as Sophie. He's a smart ass, he's pretty and he cares for her. Even calls her amazing at one point, which completely stunned the wits out of her. Most intriguing about him though is that he isn't human either. He's a necromancer, and no - that has nothing to do with liking dead people ;)

Quotes I just couldn't not mention:

"Do you remember your name?"
I rolled my eyes. "Sophie."
"And what day of the week is it?"
"Good. I think you're okay, Sophie, but just to be sure - and this is for purely medical purposes - what's your phone number?"
I laughed out loud. "Does it usually take blunt-force trauma for you to score a phone number?"
"This is a first, but a potential concussion does seem to be an icebreaker."

"I don't even like regular plants. Except for corsages and long-stemmed roses." And those only hurt you when they don't show up.    -Sophie

"Um... Less Lord of the Rings and more Alice in Wonderland. Only scary," Luca said. "This world is a reflection of our world, only everything's different. Warped. Discolored. Disproportionate."
"Id's say that sounds crazy, except that it actually looks even crazier than it sounds."

"I don't know what you are, but I can't actually control the dead, no matter what people think about necromancers, so we - "
"Whoa." I pulled him to a stop again, frowning up at him. Maybe I wasn't the crazy one after all. "I only understood part of that sentence, but it sounded like you said you don't know what I am."

Five, and mind you, that's the last one I'm sharing:
"Okay, so what is a necromancer?" (...) "You, like, like the dead? Physically?"
Luca frowned in confusion. Then his eyes widened, and he laughed again, louder this time. "No. That's necrophiliac. Same root word - completely different concept."
"Oh. Good." 'Cause...ew.

So, wrapping it up... five stars, people!!!