Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Everlasting

Everlasting

Sailing aboard her father’s shop is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a lady in the nineteenth-century San Francisco, her future is set. On her last voyage before she must marry a man she does not love, Camille learns about a life-changing secret that lies in Australia. When their Sydney-bound ship goes down in a gale, and her father dies, Camille sets out to find her long-lost mother and a map that could lead to an even greater and more dangerous secret-a stone that can bring back the dead. Throughout her journey to uncover the truth and to ressurect her father, the only person Camille can depend on is Oscar-her father’s handsome first mate-who is in love with Camille and whom she is inexplicably drawn to, despite their differences in social class. Along the way, Camille faces many treacherous obstacles, but nothing so dangerous and forbidden love and an uncertain future. (From Amazon.ca)

When I first saw this book, I didn’t even think about what the plot was. I haven’t even heard of this book until looking at it on the shelf. The cover was sure pretty! and I was looking forward to reading a light perhaps romantic historical romance YA. I was in for a real nice surprise. Yes it was historical fiction. Yes it had nice romantic elements without going overboard. But! it had a real nice action (think Indiana Jones) story to it, and it was so good that I was flying through the pages and was so engrossed in the book I nearly finished it all in one sitting.

I thought Camille was a great character. She’s likable without being too tough. She’s not too girly either. She does have fierce determination though, and that’s what really makes her admirable and likable. Her chemistry with Oscar is well done and they do make a cute couple. Again, I’d have to say, nothing over the top, nothing too mushy. It was just about right.

That’s what I noticed about this book. There’s a little bit of everything that makes it just the right amount to make this story very enjoyable to read. The adventure aspect of the book has to be my most favorite, because it really kept the story going. There are a couple of twists throughout the book and I liked the little story about her mother and what happened to her during all this time.

The ending was a real good one, and there is a sequel after this book (titled; The Eternal Sea) which I will be getting. I really want to know what happens and hopefully it will be just as good as this one. I recommend this to all YA readers. You’re in for a surprise. It’s a great adventure story with a little bit of everything, at the right amounts so you will fully enjoy the book.

I give it a 10 out of 10

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Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon CalledMercy Thompson’s sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf. She’s tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire. But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself … and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble. (From Goodreads)

I get weary when I try to read something that falls into this type of genre, because I think it’s going to be filled with glorified fluid swapping moments, not much of a plot, with cliched characters that will induce moments of eye rolling from me. Thankfully, I was wrong and I’m glad I’m wrong. It was the total exact opposite of what I thought it was going to be.

I liked Mercy’s character a lot. She’s a tough girl, but has a bit of feminine side, but I like that she’s able to take care of herself (in a fight, and in maintaining her life). I liked her job as a mechanic, it’s certainly different and gritty, and her character most certainly goes well with the setting. Her ‘gift’ as a walker was your average fancy term for ‘shapeshifter’ but she turns into a coyote. Which is also different and interesting to see. I really liked how she differs from a lot of the urban fantasy heroines out there. She’s definitely natural and likable. The rest of the characters are also well done. I liked how there’s a little bit of everything supernatural, it’s almost like it’s a subtle hint or taste of the things the reader will encounter as they go through the series.

The plot itself was okay. It had its’ lulls here and there and sometimes it got just a little too hard to follow. The world building was also all right – again nothing special but the mood and the tone of the book was well done. The romance is there (some reviews I’ve read said there was not enough of it, I say it’s perfect and it should stay that way) and the chemistry seems to be developing (and might possibly grow as the series continues further). The action and mystery aspect of the book was also well done. The action scenes were well written, and there’s plenty of them to go around.

I most definitely recommend this to any urban fantasy reader. Those that dislike the hyper sexualized female roles will like this one, as Mercy is definitely not that! sure the cover can be deceiving but give this a try, it was a great read.
I give it a 7 out of 10.

Bonus points to the cover. I rather liked it. 🙂

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze RunnerWhen Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind. (From Amazon.ca)

It took me a while to get into this book. It opened up slowly but it was interesting because you’re looking through Thomas’ view. So in a way you’re experiencing this alongside Thomas. This had a certain Lord of the Flies ring to it, with the boys in their own groups and at times resorting to violent clashes and they even have their own lingo (which takes a while to figure out, but you do get the hang of it). Naturally, you’ll find Thomas stuck in the middle of everything, as he tries to figure out what really goes on in here especially when Theresa enters the story. The concept of the book was interesting, what was more interesting was the group of boys managed to stay and work together (you’d think they run amok and start bashing each other on the head after being stuck together for a while).

What I liked were the Grievers. Now those were really interesting. I liked reading the real close call moments where Thomas was pretty close to getting killed. They were interesting and at least provided a good amount of the action part of the book. The action does pick up through the second half of the book, and towards the end, you end up being blindsided with what really is happening. The ending will either make you frustrated, or eager to know more. I fall in the latter. It was a giant cliffhanger but well done to make you wanting to read the second book.

Although the book does pick up, and the pace quickens, there are so many questions asked, and few are answered. It does get frustrating whenever Thomas does ask something and everyone seems to either avoid the question entirely or just shrug it off. It’s irritating to read, and you certainly do feel Thomas’ frustration. It’s irritating to see the other boys not answer what seems like very simple questions and it doesn’t seem fair to Thomas that he’s kept in the dark when all he’s trying to do is make sense of things.

I’m going to pick up the next book for sure as I’m itching to find out what’s going to happen next. Readers of dystopian fiction will most certainly enjoy this book, but it’s also encouraging to see that this book also seems to cater to male readers as well. It’s a refreshing change and I think it’s a well done book to please the target audience. Even if you don’t fit the target, don’t hesitate to pick this book up. Especially if you’re into the Lord of the Flies theme. Mix this with a bit of dystopia and science fiction and you’ll get a well written book with an excellent cliffhanger that will make you want more out of this series.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Choice of the Cat by E E Knight

Choice of the CatThe alien Reapers have ruled Earth for forty-five years. David Valentine is a member of the human resistance, who is now being trained as a Cat-an elite stealth warrior. His first mission is to investigate the threat of the Twisted Cross, a mysterious new force under Reaper control. (From Goodreads)

It’s best if you read Way of the Wolf before going into this one, as events flow from one book to the other. It was off to quite a slow start although I thought the idea of the Twisted Cross was interesting and worth the read. The action does pick up but not for a while as the reader follows Valentine through his training to be a Cat (uber stealth soldier).

I’m still on the fence about Valentine. Actually, let me take that back. He’s starting to annoy me. However I can’t just drop the book because I find the main character annoying. Why? because the supporting characters in this book actually help and made my reading rather entertaining. I’d have to say Duvalier is awesome. She’s just what this series needs. She may not be perfect (she does carry baggage with her) but she provides that bit of life to carry on the plot and made it interesting. She’s definitely got grit. Now what got to me was Valentine trying to get into her pants or admiring her from every angle possible. Oh for crying out loud. Seriously? Is this series going to be like James Bond where he has to do at least one female character in every book? because if it is, I’m afraid of pursuing this series further.

Another character that really stood out was Ahn-kha. He’s hard to describe, although he seems to be this rather large, hairy sasquatch looking furry thing but really overall seems to be such a gentle giant. I liked him from the start and was rather glad he joined the plot as well. I suppose, it was his gentle manner that endeared me to him. Not only that but well, he’s really like a talking Chewbacca. How can you not like him?!

The plot as mentioned before, was off to a slow start, but it does pick up its’ pace with battles here and there. It seems to be the standard method of these books but it helps carry the plot along. It’s not too bad, as the action scenes are well written, but I’m sure it’s going to get old quickly and hopefully things will change as the series progresses. The ending leaves off to the reader looking forward to another adventure and wondering where Valentine is off to next.

Fans of Way of the Wolf will probably enjoy this one just as well. Otherwise it might not be for everybody. I thought it was all right although I’m in no rush to get the next one. I’m just getting ready to roll my eyes at the next love interest Valentine has. Seriously, I do not find the appeal in Valentine. All I see is a robotic super soldier. (Unlike some book crushes I have) 😛 but that’s another story. I’d say take it or leave it with this one. However if you do pick this up, read it for its’ great supporting characters, because Valentine just gets annoying after a while.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

Falling for HamletMeet Ophelia: a blonde, beautiful high-school senior and long-time girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Her life is dominated not only by her boyfriend’s fame and his overbearing family, but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go. As the devastatingly handsome Hamlet spirals into madness after the mysterious death of his father, the King, Ophelia rides out his crazy roller coaster life, and lives to tell about it. In live television interviews, of course. Passion, romance, drama, humor, and tragedy intertwine in this compulsively readable debut novel, told by a strong-willed, modern-day Ophelia.(From Amazon.ca)

I love anything Hamlet. Hamlet is in fact, one of my favorite plays from Shakespeare. Some modernizations/spin offs that I’ve read in the past were a little sub-par. This one, is a modern day version of the play and it stays true for the most part, but with a few changes here and there to suit the story.

I loved the way it was told. It was through a variation of television interviews (Ophelia on an Oprah type show!) and through interrogation by police/secret agents. Also to add into this, the story is told through Ophelia’s eyes. Through these three different ways of telling her story you also get different sides of her character; on the show she’s reserved and professional, she’s witty and at times snarky towards the police, and of course through other own memories and point of view is where you’ll see the ‘real’ Ophelia.

It stays, for the most part, true to the play. Of course the difference being it’s been modernized to fit the setting. If you’re familiar with the play, you’ll see how certain moments are modernized yet featured in the book and it’s very well done (two scenes stood out, the limo scene with Hamlet and Ophelia – Where Hamlet goes berserk. The other scene, where King Claudius has a nasty surprise when he watches a play in action) What was also good, was Ophelia had her own circle of friends aside from Hamlet and Horatio, and with the addition of Sebastian, that added a nice little twist to things.

Although I liked most of the characters in this book, Ophelia sometimes annoyed me. She was at times really whiny and needy. It got to me. Also another thing that sort of got to me, was the final act with Hamlet, Laertes, and Claudius. I don’t know, if it’s modern like it’s supposed to be, you’d expect them to come out with guns blazing, not knives hidden in lacrosse sticks. Although it’s a most creative idea, I wasn’t too keen on this part. Although it was very elegantly done.

Fans of Hamlet will love this modern retelling. It was very well written, everything fit the way it was supposed to, and it stayed true (for the most part) to the original play. Although it does help if one is familiar with the original play itself to fully enjoy Falling for Hamlet.

I give it an 8 out of 10

Bonus points for the cover. 🙂

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers by Marsha Altman

Plight of the Darcy BrothersNote: it’s best if you read The Darcys and the Bingleys before reading this book.

With Jane and Elizabeth away, Darcy and Bingley take on the daunting task of managing their two-year- old children. Mary Bennet returns from the Continent pregnant by an Italian student promised to the church; Darcy and Elizabeth travel to find the father, and discover previously unknown—and shocking—Darcy relations. By the time Darcy discovers that there’s more than one sibling of questionable birth in the family, the ever-dastardly Wickham arrives on the scene to try to seize the Darcy fortune once and for all. (From Amazon.ca)

It helps if you read The Darcys and the Bingleys first (besides, it was a great book, after all). Leave the majority of your assumptions of each character at the door. This book takes all the Pride and Prejudice characters and spins it around so they act different than what you thought they would be. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, although it may take some time getting used to. Especially in the case of Mary Bennet. Whoever thought she’d be the one to mess things up this time?

The comedy in this book is increased, much more than the first one. I love how Darcy picks on Bingley (he has a knack for it) and all Bingley can do is just sputter about trying to think of a come back (you can actually picture this easily in your head too). There is also some new characters being introduced. They’re pretty good, Gregoire Darcy is entertaining and an interesting addition. It took a while to get used to him but he proved to be likable – and humorous. I’m curious as to his background story, but am also curious as to what the future books have in store for him as well.

The plot was well done! it was interesting, funny, and had several story arcs within to keep you interested in the handful of characters mentioned in the book. Each plot also ties up nicely in the end so you’re not left with open questions or unfinished business. The only complaint I have, is Mary’s situation ends up getting cheesy and corny at the end – but otherwise, the entire premise of the book made up for that small little mishap. The ending did have a little surprise (OMG really??!!! Wickham!!?? gahhh!!!) which I was not expecting. It was great to read though!

Another great Austen spinoff by Marsha Altman, and I’m going to read further. I absolutely love this series so far. Readers who want to see their beloved Pride and Prejudice characters go through ups and downs, but filled with laugh out loud scenes are welcome to try this.

I give it a 9/10

Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein

Final JeopardyAlexandra Cooper, Manhattan’s top sex crimes prosecutor, awakens one morning to shoking news: a tabloid headline announcing her own brutal murder. But the actual victim was Isabella Lascar, the Hollywood film star who sought refuge at Alex’s Martha’s Vineyard retreat. Was Isabella targeted by a stalker or — mistaken for Alex — was she in the wrong place at the wrong time? In an investigation that twists from the back alleys of lower Manhattan to the chic salons of the Upper East Side. Alex knows she’s in final jeopardy…and time is running out. She has to get into the killer’s head before the killer gets to her. (From Amazon.ca)

I thought, as a Law and Order SVU fan, this might be something I might like (except in book format). Well, it was all right at first. I liked Alexandra. A very strong willed character, although she had her girlie moments, she wasn’t a stone cold woman of ice either. That was good. Her friendship with Mike Chapman was really fun to read. Chapman made the story more interesting with his sense of humor. His jabs towards Alexandra (and vice versa) were fun to read.

The plot was all right. It wasn’t really that exciting. The only twist was who Isabella’s male companion was, but it wasn’t that shocking or revealing. However, I’m glad Alexandra didn’t mope about and became dramatic diva over that moment. I do like seeing her all up in a temper though – that was really entertaining to watch.

So, the plot was rather mediocre, and although I did like the characters, it wasn’t enough to make me fully enjoy the book. What rather killed it for me was, it was rather dry. So dry, it took me a while to finish a book that only had 336 pages. Oh boy, did it ever drag. On top of that, Alexandra also handles many other cases and it’s all mixed in with the main case featuring Isabella. Now although this is realistic, to me it felt like it was added to fill in pages of the book. It wasn’t exciting, it didn’t particularly interest me, and there were many minor characters added you could not keep track without at least back tracking to figure out which case she’s talking about now. It came to the point where I skimmed through most of the last third of the book, read the grand climax (which wasn’t that great in the first place) and then I was done.

I was just curious what was so great about these series and I just wanted to see how it was like. I realize this is the first book so of course, perhaps books after this one are better. Yet, I’m not sure if I’m going to get the second book. If it’s like this one, I will pass. This might not be for everyone, but those that are into legal thrillers are welcome to try and see for yourselves.

I give it a 1/10