Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Library
Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Website

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

I was sort of bored throughout the book. I'm thinking the subject matter just didn't interest me, so you might have a different experience with this one than I did.
Fabulous cover, though!

The Royalty that live in the Jewel can't have babies anymore. Poor people, yes. Rich people, no.
But the nobility have found that some of the poor girls have these abilities that can allow them to manipulate a fetus in their wombs. Make it a viable pregnancy. Even make the child better looking, smarter, more talented, etc.. So, they test all of the poor girls as soon as they get their period, and if they have this ability then they whisk them off to be raised in solitude. Once there, they train them to use their powers, until they are old enough to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Violet is one of the surrogate girls, and she's about to be auctioned off when the story starts. The book goes on about how she is used and abused, her concern for her friend, what is expected of the surrogates, how they are treated as less than human....and so on.
Plod, plod, plod.

Of course, her abilities are special. More. Better. Something that hasn't been seen before.
I don't...I'm still not sure what the hell her abilities are, but it has something to do with the life-force of things. Like, she makes plants grow and stuff?
Lots of pain, nosebleeds, and coughing up blood happen when their powers are used, by the way. Kinda gross when the girls are spewing blood all over the dinner table, you know?

Plans are made to help her escape by a mysterious servant with a magical tuning fork.

No, really!
But before she can escape, she needs to fall in love with a boy, right? Yes. Yes, she does.
Love is in the air, and it feels somewhat boring and rushed.
BUT. The main thing is that they desperately love each other, there will be horrifying repercussions if they are caught, and that she will act foolishly for love.

The last 5 pages are excellent, and left me with a cliffhanger so good that I would almost consider reading the next book, just to see what happens next.
Yes, really.

It may be that I have read too many books with a similar feel to them, but this just didn't do it for me. However, that doesn't mean that I would warn anyone off of reading it, because it wasn't badly written.
Sorry, book.
It's not you, it's me.

Monday, March 23, 2015

[Early Review] ~ Manwhore by Katy Evans

Release Date:  March 24, 2015
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Pre-Order Links:  Amazon  B&N
Author Links:  Web site  Facebook

Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player—without getting played?  This is the story I've been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention.  Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in.  Assigned to investigate Saint and reveal his elusive personality, I’m determined to make him the story that will change my career.  But I never imagined he would change my life. Bit by bit, I start to wonder if I'm the one discovering him...or if he's uncovering me.  What happens when the man they call Saint, makes you want to sin?

I was a Katy Evans virgin until I read Manwhore.  I know, right?  How is that even possible??  I've had Real on my Kindle forever, but I just haven't had the time to read it.  If Manwhore  is any indication of Evans' writing, then I will happily devour anything that this talented author writes.

Manwhore blew me away.  It is fresh, sexy and deep - definitely not a fluff read.  This book has intense, intricate writing that kept my emotions high throughout the entire book.  It is a romance that gave me a lot to think about, and a new favorite book boyfriend!  

"People look at me like I can get them the moon, but you look at me like I already did.  Like all I need to do is exist and you would be happy."

I was immediately invested in the story that begins with the premise of the MC Rachel being given an opportunity to further her career and save the magazine that she works at.  All she has to do is get close enough to 27-year-old billionaire playboy Malcolm Saint in order to write a juicy expose about his life.  All of Chicago is enamored with its business savvy son, who seems to have the Midas Touch. His employees adore him and are all very loyal to him.   He has a reputation of being a hard partier - he likes 2, 3, and 4 women at a time.  He throws decadent parties and has never been linked to a woman for more than four dates.  He is the ultimate womanizer, drawing them in with his power, control, money and strikingly good looks.  There's one thing you need to understand about Malcolm.  Although he could be considered a raging douche bag, he's not.  The women that throw themselves at him all want something from him.  They are all using him, so in turn, he uses them back.  It's all mutually beneficial.  

"I'm not endearing to people, Miss Livingston.  I'd say people respond to me on four levels and four levels only:  they want to pray to me, be me, do me, or kill me."

Rachael grew up with daddy issues - her father was a victim of community violence when she was just two months old.  She has never had a real relationship with a man, and doesn't consider herself lacking.  She works at a small publication called Edge, which is about to fold.  She takes care of her mother who is battling a chronic illness.  Her whole world has been her mother, and two best friends Gina and Wynne, not believing that she needs a man.  Since she grew up without affection from any man, she doesn't know quite how to behave when she's around them.  Her best friend, Gina, suffered major heart break, so Rachael is a bit jaded when it comes to men.  She is perfectly happy furthering her career, and will do anything to save the magazine that she loves so much.  Rachael takes the story offer from her boss and immediately engages herself in Malcolm's world, posing as a reporter wanting to write a story on his newest venture.  

I feel like he's a hurricane and I'm the lake, calm on the outside, holding a thousand and one secrets within.

I'm not going to spoil this amazing relationship for you, but know that there is drama.  There is angst.  There is heartache.  And it ends on a cliff.  The main conflict in this story comes down to Rachael following her heart and allowing herself to have a relationship with Malcolm vs. writing her expose, which might further her career and save her company.  Taking a chance vs. a broken heart.  This sounds pretty cut and dry, right?  It's not.  There are so many layers to this story.  I want to strangle Rachael, but I know where she's coming from.  I want to slap Malcolm for not being more forward with what he wants, but I can't be.  

We're playing this game, kissing, stopping...I can see by the curl of his lip that he's enjoying it.  But I'm not.  I'm pained with desire, panting as I fight the urge to rub up against him like a cat, tug his shirt off his chest.  I want to eat him up alive, so hard and so fast, I have to fold my fingers into my palms to keep from doing just that.

Rachael battles myriad emotions - the fear of losing her job which is her very identity;  the anxiety of betraying a man who has shown her real love; feelings of loyalty towards her magazine and her family and friends; overwhelming happiness when she is with Malcolm.  Rachael is terrified that Malcolm will tire of her and drop her like he has every other woman in his life.  Malcolm goes way out of his way to do things to please Rachael.  Selfless things.  Heart warming things.  Although Malcolm's actions speak louder than his words, he makes comments about his refusal to make promises that hurt Rachael.  He has a bad reputation, so why would Rachael think that she could change him?  Her insecurities drive this book and are almost too much until we see why Malcolm behaves the way he does.  He has his own demons that he deals with in his own way.  Although Katy begins as the investigative reporter, it is her true self that is peeled away and revealed by Malcolm.

Truth, loyalty - there's something that lasts.

I absolutely adored this book.  I can't fan girl enough about it.  Malcolm is amazing.  I haven't added any new characters to my book boyfriend harem in a very long time, but Malcolm Saint is my newest man. I seriously can't get enough of him.  I suffered a horrendous book hangover after reading Manwhore and have done enough analyzing to write a college level class on this book.  I am so sad to report that we must all wait until July 2015 for book 2, but I know Katy Evans won't let us down.  

Sadness is so disempowering.  Anger, on the other hand, demands action and empowerment.  

If you are a fan of alpha billionaire romances, then you MUST read this book.  If you are sick and tired of rich playboys, you still need to read this book.  It is different.  The writing is excellent and the story moved so quickly that it never gave me one page of boredom.  The characters in this book really stand out in my opinion.  They are very layered and the circumstances surrounding their decisions are intense.  They are well-rounded and believeable.  I honestly can't say enough about my love for this story.  Well done, Katy!  

[Coffee Shop Talks] Do you tsu?

Jamie was wonderful enough to set us up with an account at tsu when rumors began circulating that it was the next big thing for bloggers. I haven't attempted to use it yet though. I don't spend as much time as I should on our Twitter or Facebook pages, so I'm not surprised at myself for not checking it out. Until today, I didn't even know that tsu is described as a social network that pays its users. So you can receive a monetary reward just by your activity? Interesting concept.

Sometime in the near future I will see what this tsu thing is all about.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Series Spotlight: Earth Reclaimed by Ann Gimpel

Earth’s Requiem
Earth Reclaimed Book 1
Ann Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press 107K words
Release Date: 3/1/15
Genre: Dystopian Urban Fantasy

Resilient, kickass, and determined, Aislinn's walled herself off from anything that might make her feel again. Until a wolf picks her for a bondmate, and a Celtic god rises out of legend to claim her for his own.

Aislinn Lenear lost her anthropologist father high in the Bolivian Andes. Her mother, crazy with grief that muted her magic, was marched into a radioactive vortex by dark creatures and killed. Three years later, stripped of every illusion that ever comforted her, twenty-two year old Aislinn is one resilient, kickass woman with a take no prisoners attitude. In a world turned upside down, where virtually nothing familiar is left, she’s conscripted to fight the dark gods responsible for her father’s death. Battling evil on her own terms, Aislinn walls herself off from anything that might make her feel again in this compelling dystopian urban fantasy.

Fionn MacCumhaill, Celtic god of wisdom, protection, and divination has been laying low since the dark gods stormed Earth. He and his fellow Celts decided to wait them out. After all, three years is nothing compared to their long lives. On a clear winter day, Aislinn walks into his life and suddenly all bets are off. Awed by her courage, he stakes his claim to her and to an Earth he's willing to fight for.

Aislinn’s not so easily convinced. Fionn’s one gorgeous man, but she has a world to save. Emotional entanglements will only get in her way. Letting a wolf into her life was hard. Letting love in may well prove impossible.

Earth’s Blood
Earth Reclaimed Book 2
Ann Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press 105K words
Release Date: 3/1/15
Genre: Dystopian Urban Fantasy

Clinging to their courage in a crumbling world, Aislinn and Fionn vow to save Earth, no matter what it takes.

In a post-apocalyptic world where most people have been slaughtered, the Celtic gods and a few humans with magic are all that stand between survival and Earth falling into chaos. The combination of dark sorcery leveraged by the enemy is daunting. Destruction is all but certain if the small enclaves of humans who are left can’t get past their distrust of the Celts.

Captured by the enemy, Aislinn Lenear wonders if she’ll ever see her bond wolf or Fionn, a Celtic god, again. She’s had nothing but her wits to rely on for years. They haven’t failed her yet, but escape from her current predicament seems remote.

An enticing blend of dystopian urban fantasy and romance, this second volume of the Earth Reclaimed Series provides fertile ground for Aislinn and Fionn’s relationship to deepen. Headstrong and independent, the pair run up against each other’s demands time and time again. Fireworks spark. In the end, they learn to savor every moment in a bittersweet world where each day may well be the last.

Earth’s Hope
Earth Reclaimed Book 3
Ann Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press 95K words
Release Date: 3/6/15
Genre: Dystopian Urban Fantasy

Power so old, deep, and chilling it hurts to think about it will overrun Earth if nothing changes. Targeted, furious, and fighting back, Aislinn runs wide open, gathering allies and putting her life on the line.

Aislinn Lenear has traveled a long road since the dark gods invaded Earth better than three years ago. After seeing her father slaughtered in front of her, and her mother sink into madness, Aislinn built strong walls around her heart. First her bond wolf, and then Fionn MacCumhaill, changed all that, but she and Fionn are far from home free. 

Four of the six dark gods are still sowing destruction, and they’ve joined forces with Lemurians, a desperate lot, running just ahead of the tide of their own mortality. In a bold move, they try to coopt a group of young dragons, and very nearly succeed. Dewi, the Celtic dragon god, and Nidhogg, the Norse dragon god, banish their brood to the dragons’ home world, but they refuse to stay put.

In a fast-paced, tension-riddled closure to this dystopian, urban fantasy series, Earth's Hope sweeps from Ireland to the Greek Islands to the Pacific Northwest to borderworlds where the dark gods live. Fionn’s and Aislinn’s relationship is strained to the breaking point as they struggle to work together without tearing one another to bits. Fionn is used to being obeyed without question, but Aislinn won’t dance to his tune. If they can find their way, there may be hope for a ravaged Earth.

Aislinn tried to stop it, but the vision that had dogged her for over a year played in her head. She squeezed her eyes shut tight. Mental images crowded behind her closed lids, as vivid as if they’d happened yesterday. She raked her hands through her hair and pulled hard, but the movie chronicling the beginning of her own personal hell didn’t even slow down. She whimpered as the humid darkness of a South American night closed about her…
Her mother screamed in Gaelic, “Deifir, Deifir,” and then shoved Aislinn again. She tried to hurry like her mother wanted, but it was all too much to take in. Stumbling down the steep Bolivian mountainside in the dark, she ignored tears and snot streaking her face. Her legs shook. Nausea clenched her gut. Her mother was crying too, in between cursing the gods and herself. Aislinn knew enough Gaelic to understand her mother had tried to talk her father out of going to the ancient Inca prayer site, but Jacob hadn’t listened. 
A vision of her father’s twisted body lying dead a thousand feet above them tore at Aislinn. Just a few hours ago, her life had been normal. Now her mother had turned into a grief-crazed harridan. Her beloved father, a gentle giant of a man, was dead. Killed by those horrors that had crawled out of the ground. Perfect, golden-skinned men with long, silky hair and luminous eyes, apparently summoned through the ancient rite linked to the shrine. Thinking about it was like trying to shove her hand into a flame, her pain too unbearable to examine closely.
Aislinn was afraid to turn around. Tara had already slapped her once. Another spate of Gaelic galvanized her tired legs into motion. Her mother was clearly terrified the monsters would come after them, but Aislinn didn’t think they’d bother. At least a hundred adoring half-naked worshipers remained at the shrine high on the mountain. Once Tara had herded her into the shadows, her last glimpse of the crowd revealed one of the lethal exotic creatures turning a woman so he could penetrate her. Even in Aislinn’s near-paralyzed state, the sexual heat was so compelling, it took all her self-discipline not to race to his side and insist he take her instead. After all, she was younger, prettier. It didn’t matter at all that he’d just killed her father.
…Aislinn shook her head so hard, it felt like her brains rattled from side to side in her skull. Despite the time that had passed since her father’s murder, she still fell into these damned trance states, where the horror happened all over again. Tears leaked from her eyes. She slammed a fist down on a corner of her desk, glorying in the diversion pain created. Crying was pointless. It wouldn’t change anything. Self-pity was an indulgence she couldn’t afford.
Pull it together. The weak die. 
Even though she wasn’t sure why life felt so precious—after all, she’d lost nearly everything—Aislinn wanted to live. Would do anything to hang onto the vital thread that maintained her on Earth.
A bitter laugh bubbled up. What a transition: from Aislinn Lenear, college student, to Aislinn Lenear, fledgling magic wielder. A second race of alien beings, Lemurians, had stormed Earth on the heels of that hideous night in Bolivia, selecting certain humans because they had magical ability and sending everyone else to their deaths. 
It was a process. It took time to kill people, but huge sections of Salt Lake City sat empty. Skyscraper towers downtown and rows of vacant buildings mocked a life that was no more. In her travels to nearby places before the gasoline ran out, Aislinn had found them about the same as Salt Lake. 
Jacob’s death had been a harbinger of impending chaos—the barest beginning. The world she’d known had imploded shockingly fast. It killed Aislinn to admit it—she kept hoping for a miracle to intercede—but her mother was certifiable. Tara may as well have died right along with her husband. She hadn’t left the house once since they’d returned a year before. Her long, red hair was filthy and matted. She barely ate. When she wasn’t curled into a fetal position, she drew odd runes on the kitchen floor and muttered in Gaelic about Celtic gods and dragons. It was only a matter of time before the Lemurians culled her. Tara had magic, but she was worthless in her current state.
The sound of the kitchen door rattling against its stops startled Aislinn. On her feet in a flash, she took the stairs two at a time and burst into the kitchen. A Lemurian had one of its preternaturally long-fingered hands curved around Tara’s emaciated arm. He crooned to her in his language—an incomprehensible mix of clicks and clacks. Tara’s wild, golden eyes glazed over. She stopped trying to pull away and got to her feet, leaning against the seven-foot tall creature with long, shiny blond hair, as if she couldn’t stand on her own.
“No!” Aislinn hurled herself at the Lemurian. “Leave her alone.”
“Stop!” His odd alien gaze met hers. “It is time,” the Lemurian said in flawless English, “for both you and her. You must join the fighting and learn about your magic. Your mother is of no use to anyone.”
“But she has magic.” Aislinn hated the pleading in her voice. Hated it. 
Be strong. I can’t show him how scared I am.
Something flickered behind the Lemurian’s expression. It might have been disgust—or pity. He turned away and led Tara Lenear out of the house. 
Aislinn growled low in her throat and launched herself at the Lemurian’s back. Gathering her clumsy magic into a primitive arc, she focused it on her enemy. Her tongue stuttered over an incantation. Before she could finish it, something smacked her in the chest so hard she flew through the air, hit the kitchen wall, and then slumped to the floor. Wind knocked out of her, spots dancing before her eyes, she struggled to her feet. By the time she stumbled to the kitchen door, both the Lemurian and her mother had vanished.
An unholy shriek split the air, followed by another. Aislinn clapped a hand over her mouth to seal the sound inside and clutched the doorsill. Pain clawed at her belly. Her vision became a red haze. The fucking Lemurian had taken her mother. The last human connection she had. And they expected her to fight for them? Ha! It would be a cold day in Hell. She let go of the doorframe and balled her hands into fists so hard her nails drew blood. 
Standing still was killing her, so she walked into blindingly bright sunlight. She didn’t care what happened next. It didn’t matter anymore. A muted explosion rocked the ground. She staggered. When she turned, she wasn’t surprised to see her house crack in multiple places and settle. Not totally destroyed, but close enough. 
Guess they want to make sure I don’t have anywhere to go back to. 
Her heart shattered into jagged pieces that poked her from the inside. She bit her lip so hard it ached. When that didn’t make a dent in her anguish, she pinched herself, dug her nails into her flesh until she bled from dozens of places. Fingers slick with her own blood, she forced herself into a ragged jog. Maybe if she put some distance between herself and the wreckage of her life, the pain sluicing through her would abate.
As she ran, a phrase filled her mind. The same sentence, over and over in time to her heartbeat. I will never care for anyone ever again. I will never care for anyone ever again. After a time, the words etched into her soul…

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.
In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I am all about the DUFF! Loved it!
I was interested in this books years ago, when it first came out, but then I read some reviews that said it was full of inappropriate sex, and promoted low self-esteem in girls.
Unfortunately, I let that scare me off.
I recently noticed that they were making a Movie about the book, and my interest perked up again.

This book really struck a chord with me. 
Now I'm not going to give you some sob story, and tell you that I felt like a DUFF in high school. Because, the truth is,  I actually had pretty good self-esteem by that point. And the thing is, so does Bianca. At least until Wesley decides to tell her that her friends are the hotties of their group.
And yet, she still sleeps with him.
And I think that's where a lot of readers get the idea that this promotes low self-esteem.
I don't think so. 
See, she doesn't sleep with him to get his approval, she does it to find an escape from what's going home in her home life. She figures since he's a man-whore, it's not like a real relationship that she has to care about or foster.
Turns out, Wesley may be sleeping around for the same reasons that Bianca is sleeping with him. And what starts out as Enemies With Benefits, begins to into something more as they get to know each other.

Oh, and speaking of Wesley... 
Wesley is a straight up douchecanoe in the beginning of this book. I wanted to strangle him! 
I mean, just wrap my hands around his neck and squeeeeeeeeze.
Which, when you think about it, is sort of a great thing for a writer to be able to make me want to do to one of their characters.
By the end of the book though?
I was like, Girl, kiss him already!

Another big complaint I see is the teen sex in this sucker.
So, if you think teenagers shouldn't have sex in books...don't read this.
However, if you (like me) have some wiggle room in your brain for that, then you probably won't be offended. It's basically fade to black with no details, other than kissing.
I also loved the fact that she was on the pill and they used condoms every time. 
Because Yay! for promoting safe sex as the norm.

And as far as the term DUFF goes, I think the author did a good job showing that it's just a word. Everyone feels that way sometimes, and the only real difference between the Plain Jane and the Femme Fatale is the way you feel about yourself.

Monday, March 16, 2015

[Coffee Shop Talks] New Series by a Favorite Author

September 2015 by MIRA

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town. 

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed. 

Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

Even if I wasn't already a big fan of Rachel Vincent, I would be dying to read this new series. The synopsis sounds fantastic and certainly not like anything I've read before. 

Which new series by a favorite author are you looking forward to?


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review - The Forgotten: An American Faerie Tale by Bishop O'Connell

Release date: March 17, 2015
Published by: Harper Voyager Impulse
Source: Digital ARC provided by Edelweiss
Author links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Across the United States, children are vanishing. Only this time, faeries may not be to blame…

Dante, Regent of the fae's Rogue Court, has been receiving disturbing reports. Human children are manifesting magical powers in record numbers. Shunned and forgotten, they live on the streets in ragtag groups with the already-booming population of homeless changelings. But the streets aren't a haven; someone, or something, is hunting these children down.

Wraith, a teenage spell slinger, has no home, no family, and no real memories of her past. She and her friends SK, Fritz, and Shadow are constantly on the run, fleeing from a dark and unknown enemy. But when her companions are taken by "the snatchers," Wraith is their only hope. Her journey to find them will test the limits of her magic—and her trust. A dark force is on the rise, and it could spell the end of our world as we know it.


I broke one of my sacred reading rules with The Forgotten. I read the series out of order. It's something I've only done once before and something I don't plan on making a habit of. Even though I didn't read The Stolen, I never felt like this took away from my enjoyment of the story. Also, I discovered that the lead characters in book 1 are not the same as in this sequel, so that seemed to work out in my favor. 

I really enjoyed the magical elements of this world. There were various types of magic users like faeries, fifties (or changelings), wizards, and shapeshifters. There was also a variety of unique talents like the ability to create ground-shaking sonic booms, blinding bursts of light, growing things from the ground, or opening portals. 

The story's mystery surrounds an unexplained rise in the number of homeless kids with magical abilities and the snatchers who are kidnapping them off of the streets. O'Connell does a great job of weaving this plot thread into the other elements of the story and bringing it all to an intense and emotional conclusion.

Of all the things I loved about The Forgotten, what really kept me captivated was Wraith. She's a teen spell-slinger who is living in abandoned buildings with other orphan kids. She sees equations in everything around her and is able to manipulate those equations until she gets the desired result. She's an incredibly powerful young heroine, but also one that I felt sympathy for. Not only is she on the streets and trying to avoid being caught by the snatchers, but she also struggles with holes in her memory. She was often confused and had a nagging sense of unease as if something about her situation wasn't quite right. I was fascinated by her character and what she was capable of, but I also came to care about her and wanted everything to work out for her in the end. 

The Forgotten's imaginative world, unique characters, and action-packed storyline had me hooked. I would definitely recommend this and I'm looking forward to reading more stories by O'Connell in the future.