Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Immortal Surrender by Claire Ashgrove

Immortal Surrender (The Curse of the Templars #2) 
by Claire Ashgrove
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (September 25, 2012)
Goodreads Description:

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.

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Review:

I have to admit that I often judge a book by its cover. I shouldn't, but I do it anyway. I really dislike the cover of this book and even more so the cover of the first book in the series and based on that I would never have read these books. However, I got bored one day and was just given an e-copy of the first book so I decided to read a little bit and put it down if it sucked...it didn't. I was immediately drawn in to the story and couldn't put it down. I knew by the time that I finished the story that I would follow this series closely and eagerly anticipate each book release.  

If you haven't read the previous book in the series (you should!) the gist of it all is there is a fight between good and evil. The Knights Templar (the good guys) are cursed. They are immortal but defeating the bad guys actually weakens them and over time they will be overcome with darkness and join the baddies. The only thing that can stop the darkness from taking over is their predestined mate. 

Each book is about a knight finding his mate and the troubles the couples go through before they find happiness with each other. Of course, the good vs. evil thing comes into play with the Knights fighting demons and fighting their own deterioration into darkness, but in my opinion that takes a backseat to the romance aspect. 

I really like both Farran and Noelle but insecurities, distrust, and just plain stubbornness hold them back from happiness so long that sometimes I just wanted to cosh them on their heads and shake some sense into them. They would make progress and then take two steps back. It made for some exciting reading though. Just like the first book I was unable to put this one down. I read it all in one sitting because I just had to know how things would turn out. I loved the ended but was left wondering about certain characters, what they were up to, what their fate was, etc. so I will be anxiously awaiting the next book and hoping that some of my questions will be answered.

5/5

*I received this book from Netgalley. Any opinions expressed are my own*

 CymLowell

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Incarnation by Emma Cornwall



Incarnation by Emma Cornwall
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (September 18, 2012)
Goodreads Description:

 In the steampunk world of Victorian London, a beautiful vampire seeks out the author of Dracula–to set the record straight . . . If one is to believe Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale, Lucy Weston is Dracula’s most wanton creation, a sexual creature of the night who preys on innocent boys. But the real-life Lucy is nothing like her fictional counterpart—and she demands to know why the Victorian author deliberately lied. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she’s determined to track down the very fiend who transformed her—from the sensual underworld where humans vie to become vampires, to a hidden cell beneath a temple to madness, and finally into the glittering Crystal Palace where death reigns supreme.

Haunted by fragmentary memories of her lost life and love, Lucy must battle her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she must make a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—what it means to be human.
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My Thoughts:

I wanted to love this book, but I didn't. The premise of the book sounded interesting but it turned out to be quite boring. The description of the book is actually a bit misleading. I was expecting steampunk but it felt more like an afterthought. There may be a few steampunk-like elements that were described but it definitely did not feel like a "steampunk world". It just felt very weak. The book description also makes it sound like there is a ton of action when there really isn't. The couple times there are battles the author doesn't even delve into the action. Instead she follows the main character, Lucy, who doesn't participate in the excitement, and the readers are told that a fight happened without any other details really. Not very exciting in my opinion.

The characters were bland for the most part. I never really connected with any of them, least of all Lucy. The story had a few little inconsistencies that probably aren't even that noticeable but since I was already disliking the book those few things got on my nerves. Although I wanted to put the book down many times I forced myself to finish it. Near the end the story got a little more interesting but it never reached the height of excitement that it should have. In the end the reader is left wondering what will happen with certain characters. Instead of feeling anxious to find out more, I am left feeling like I just don't care.

Although I am sure some people will enjoy this book, it turns out it just wasn't for me.

1/5
 *I received this book for review. Any opinions are my own" 

 CymLowell

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 18, 2012)
Goodreads Description:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

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My Thoughts:

Words cannot truly describe how I feel about this book...but I will try. Please bear with my as my mind is still boggling. There was an instant connection to the characters and the story for me. I wanted to be part of the story, be friends with Blue and the boys, take part in their adventure...and as I read this story I felt like I did. 

The characters were so well written and unique. Something I really love is that the four Raven Boys are so unlike each other and by all rights should not get a long much less be friends and yet they are. It is almost as if they each lack something important but when you put the four of them together they are made whole. 

Reading this book actually made me think of a series I loved as a kid, The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. It invokes a similar feeling of magic and adventure so I think that if you like The Dark is Rising you will like The Raven Boys.

I read this in one sitting because I couldn't imaging putting it down. Sleep didn't matter, all that mattered was knowing what was going to happen. The ending to this book was perfect and left me craving more. I will definitely snap up the sequel the day it comes out and not a moment later.  There are a number of shocks, twists, and dangerous moments that will make you hold your breath in anticipation for the outcome. Mystery, magic, adventure, and betrayal are also something to look forward to when reading this book. This has been my favorite read so far this year and I have a feeling that status is untouchable.

6/5
This book broke my rating system lol!

*I received this book for review. Any opinions are my own.*

 CymLowell


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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: In a Fix by Linda Grimes

In a Fix (In a Fix #1) by Linda Grimes

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
Goodreads Description:

 The start of an original new urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancĂ© is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.
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My Thoughts:

Although I thought the premise of the book to be intriguing I felt like there was potential for the story to end up being cheesy. It turned out that I absolutely loved this book! It was a pleasant surprise. I became so engrossed in the book that I read it in one sitting and ended up staying awake until 3 a.m. to finish it. Was it worth the lack of sleep? YES!

Ciel, Billy, and Mark are adaptors, which are people that can take on the appearance of someone else. Ciel has used her ability to start up a business where she will take her client's place to deal with issues that they don't want to deal with. While on one of her assignments things go wrong and she ends up joining Billy and Mark in saving lives and uncovering an illegal operation. 

There is a ton of action and danger as well as some mystery so if you enjoy that type of stuff you are in luck. For me the best part of the book is the characters. I immediately became invested with them and everything that happened to them. There is a love triangle which normally would get on my nerves but in this instance I thought it added a lot of interest to the story. It's usually easy for me to pick the guy I want to root for in the triangle but it wasn't so clear cut in this case. I'm leaning toward one guy right now but I'm definitely not counting out the other just yet.

This was such a fun and exciting book that I highly recommend to fans of urban fantasy. It isn't filled with vampires, werewolves, or faeries so if that is what usually keeps you for this genre you might want to give this story a try. 

5/5

*I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own*
CymLowell

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