Tag Archive: 5 star


Night Owls by Lauren M Roy

night owlsNight Owls by Lauren M. Roy

Published February 25th 2014 by Ace

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

Night Owls book store is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk.…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren as possible. She’s lived that life, and the price she paid was far too high to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural werewolf-like beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safe keeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors.

 

Rating: 5 star

 

Review:

I loved this book so much, it was a no brainer for it to be 5 stars for me. I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the plot, I loved he bad guys, I loved the side characters, I loved everything! Yes, I literally mean everything. This is a series I will definitely be following. But let me break down for you just what made this so great.

Charaters: These characters were all so different and interesting that I had a different relationship with every one of them. Elly was a survivor who wanted so desperately to do everything right but got completely left in the dark with the death of her mentor. Val is a vampire who wants nothing to do with the life she left behind, she just wants to live in peace with her Renfield and run her all night bookstore. Chaz feels honored to be Val’s Renfield but is secretly in love with her. Cavale is the adopted brother of sorts of Elly who walked away from the hunter lifestyle but still does some of the work to pay the bills. Sunny and Lia are succubi and also lovers, and did I mention they are kick ass fighters too?

Oh and let me take a moment to say how much I fangirled that vampire’s assistants are called Renfields in this book. It was a lot.

Plot: This was multi faceted and yet everything fit together perfectly. That is a delicate balance to maintain but this book pulled it off. First we have the fact that Elly is hiding a book from the Creeps (aka Jackals, aka bad guys) and they want it more than anything. It gets hidden at Val’s bookstore and that’s where all hell breaks loose. But at the same time we have some of Val’s past coming back to haunt her. That part was not touched on quite as much but I still liked it and hope that it plays a bigger role in the future. Oh and that twist thrown in there with the Creeps and their hostages….bravo, I didn’t see it coming.

Bad Guys: My God, how creepy were the Creeps! They made my skin crawl. And every time we saw them I felt my stomach drop into my knees. And as their methods started to change and become more sinister it only added to the scariness that they brought to the story. I want to see more of them in the future books.

Random Fangirl:  Sunny and Lia were amazing! My favorite characters for sure. They were funny, sweet, loving, generous, and kick ass demons at the same time. I was very glad that romance did not play too big a factor in this book. Yes Chaz is all swoony for Val but it didn’t get in the way of the story, even though I kind of hope she falls for him at some point. The story moved too fast to spend time on a sappy love story, so I was pleased that it wasn’t a big deal.

Oh, I finally thought of something I didn’t like! The final battle scene at the bookstore. It hurt my heart. All those books, destroyed! I cringed every time the book mentioned the paperly carnage. It was an awesome battle scene to be sure but….the books!

 

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agenda 21Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck and Harriet Parke

Published November 20th, 2012 by Threshold Editions

Buy this book at: Amazon / Books A Million / Book Depository / B&N

 

Synopsis:

“I was just a baby when we were relocated and I don’t remember much. Everybody has that black hole at the beginning of their life. That time you can’t remember. Your first step. Your first taste of table food. My real memories begin in our assigned living area in Compound 14.” Just a generation ago, this place was called America. Now, after the worldwide implementation of a UN-led program called Agenda 21, it’s simply known as “the Republic.” There is no president. No Congress. No Supreme Court. No freedom.

There are only the Authorities.

Citizens have two primary goals in the new Republic: to create clean energy and to create new human life. Those who cannot do either are of no use to society. This bleak and barren existence is all that eighteen-year-old Emmeline has ever known. She dutifully walks her energy board daily and accepts all male pairings assigned to her by the Authorities. Like most citizens, she keeps her head down and her eyes closed.

Until the day they come for her mother.

“You save what you think you’re going to lose.”

Woken up to the harsh reality of her life and her family’s future inside the Republic, Emmeline begins to search for the truth. Why are all citizens confined to ubiquitous concrete living spaces? Why are Compounds guarded by Gatekeepers who track all movements? Why are food, water and energy rationed so strictly? And, most important, why are babies taken from their mothers at birth? As Emmeline begins to understand the true objectives of Agenda 21 she realizes that she is up against far more than she ever thought. With the Authorities closing in, and nowhere to run, Emmeline embarks on an audacious plan to save her family and expose the Republic—but is she already too late?

 

Rating: 5 star

 

Review:

I can see this kind of thing coming already so let’s get this out of the way. If your reaction to my rating or reading of this book is any of the following, please take note:

“But Stefani, It’s Glenn Beck! OMG, like how could you possibly rate something with that’s bastard’s name on it that high?! What’s wrong with you?!”   – Okay, seriously, just go away. It’s a good book, take a sharpie to his name if it annoys you so badly.

He didn’t even write it, he’s just slapping his name on it to make money!” – True, but it says so in the Afterword that Harriet Parke conceived of and wrote this novel. So if you want to bitch about this, stop buying James Patterson since it’s exactly the same thing. And if you do buy James Patterson yet bitch about this, just go away.

“This is all just the mindless ravings of a lunatic and it’s just so disgusting!”  – Go away please. If you are so narrow-minded that you can’t enjoy a good story because of whose name is on the cover then there is just no hope for you.

Now, if you’ve made it this far, this book was fantastic. I couldn’t stop reading it, I have kept thinking about it after I stopped reading it, I want to know what happens after the last page, I have to know what happens! This is not a difficult book, it doesn’t use big words and it isn’t overly complex but it really doesn’t need to be. It’s dark, sinister and disturbing all on its own. I stayed up half the night on a week day when I had to work just to read this. Seriously go read it, now. Don’t even finish this review, just go!

Emmeline is a sweet character and I couldn’t help but want to protect her. She has been raised in this community for most of her life and knows of no other way of life, yet she hears stories from her mother about how things used to be. Never very curious about why it all happened, she just listens to the stories and walks her energy board every day like a good Citizen should. She is paired with an older man and has a daughter, who is taken by the community Authorities to be raised in the Children’s Village. That is when things begin to change for Emmeline. Shortly after her mother is taken away because she is no longer being productive and she is re-paired with another man. It is only then that she starts to question the status quo and worry that her opportunity to learn the truth might have passed.

I really liked the way the plot of this book played out. It doesn’t really seem all that bad at first, everything is provided for you and all you have to do is your assigned job to produce for the community and produce new citizens. Seems great. But it’s not. It is confining and restricting. Unfortunately for the younger citizens, how do you yearn for freedom when you have never known it? For Emmeline it is when her daughter is taken from her, which was a heartbreaking moment. The true horrors of this community are never fully explained but alluded to. I liked that since it added to the horror of it but isn’t explicit. Everything was so bleak and dark, even the colors of everything in this world.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I don’t dare say too much about it since it might give too much away. All I will say is that this is so far poised to be my Book of the Year for 2013.

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

genesisGenesis by Bernard Beckett

Published December 31st, 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Cover image and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Books A Million / B&N / Amazon

 

Synopsis:

Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be. In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim? Outstanding and original, Beckett’s dramatic narrative comes to a shocking conclusion.

 

Rating: 5 star

 

Review:

After finishing this book well over a month ago, I am still tempted to make my review only a few words.  Wow, fucking amazing!  That’s really every single emotion I have about this book all wrapped up into a succinct package.  Also, by talking about the plot too much I will probably give things away and I don’t want to do that.  Being spoiled on this book would seriously ruin its impact.  This was recommended to me in a Goodreads book club. My “Secret Book Santa”, who was not so secret, looked over my to read list and my read list and thought this was something I’d enjoy.  I went into it with no expectations other than that the synopsis grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let it go.  I thought about that synopsis for a few days and knew, I needed to give this recommendation a try.  And all I can say is, holy fucking shit!  Rarely am I rendered speechless or blindsided by a plot.

Here are the things I feel safe saying, so as not to spoil anything:

Anax is taking an Exam to enter into the Academy, which is the ruling body that maintains order in the world.  She was asked to choose a topic and prepare a thesis of sorts.  She will go before the Examiners for a grueling exam and explain her thesis subject.

Yeah, that’s about it. Anything else is just too much. I will say that initially I was only mildly intrigued with Anax’s thesis and presentation. It was interesting but I struggled to figure out what the point was.  All of that changed in the end. About 30 pages from the end I started to get a bad feeling that something was happening here that I hadn’t seen yet and hadn’t expected.  I was so beyond right and it was fantastic.  I have no doubt this book will be one of my favorites for 2013.

Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

0-545-17094-XStolen by Lucy Christopher

Published May 4th, 2009 by Chicken House

Cover photo and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

Synopsis:

A girl: Gemma, 16, at the airport, on her way to a family vacation.

A guy: Ty, rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar, eyes blue as ice.

She steps away. For just a second. He pays for her drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what’s happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. To sand and heat. To emptiness and isolation. To nowhere. And expects her to love him.

Written as a letter from a victim to her captor, STOLEN is Gemma’s desperate story of survival; of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare–or die trying to fight it.

 

Rating: 5 star

 

Review:

This book was one that came to me with very high expectations.  I heard so many rave reviews about it from people that I trust and whose opinion I highly respect.  I was skeptical, surely it couldn’t be this unequivocally great.  I had a hard time finding bad reviews for it at all.  I was hopeful but skeptical after hearing so many wonderful things.  Usually in cases like this, it ends in disappointment.  This time I have to agree with the rave reviews, there is only one word for this book: Wow!

This book starts out simply enough.  Gemma is waiting out a layover in a Bangkok airport with her parents and decides to step away to get a coffee.  She meets a charming and handsome young man who offers to buy her coffee when she doesn’t have the right currency.  She allows him to do so and diverts her attention long enough for him to do the unthinkable, drug the drink and whisk her away before she is aware that anything is wrong.  The next thing Gemma knows, she is being held captive in the middle of a desert in Australia with someone who believes that he saved her from her life.

I spent much of my time during this book disturbed.  No one could possibly deny that something is very wrong with Ty.  He stalked and kidnapped a 16 year old girl and convinced himself that she would thank him for it and they would live happily ever after.  Deluded to say the least.  But I was also surprised that Ty was…well, a complete gentlemen for a kidnapper.  He never took advantage of Gemma or invaded her privacy, which shocked me.  It was my first hint that Ty was going to be a much more complex character than I had first imagined.  Before long I found myself with tears in my eyes as we heard more about him and from him.  Pity is not a common feeling for one to have for someone who kidnaps a teenage girl.  I was stunned by these feelings but still there would be moments where I felt uncomfortable at the same time.  I can’t say anything more or else I’ll spoil something, and I wouldn’t spoil this book for the world.

The method used to write this book is one that I have never seen before but I think it contributed to the overall quality and emotionality of the book.  It is written as a letter from Gemma to her kidnapper, Ty.  We read about her feelings and experiences and experience them right along with her.  I think this helps us to see her and Ty from a variety of perspectives that weren’t expected.  And the ending.  Oh my God, the ending.  I won’t say much but let’s just say that for about the last 40 pages or so I was sobbing very loudly, embarrassingly, and in public.  I just wanted to crawl in my bed, pull my knees to my chest, and sob until I had no more tears left.  I can’t remember the last time a book elicited such fierce emotions in me.

Following Gemma on this journey was a beautiful thing that will stay with me for a long time.  Even writing this review, as vague on details as it is, made me feel teary eyed again almost a week after I finished the book.  It was such a rollercoaster of emotions that I can’t even begin to describe it in a way that does justice to the story.  I think this book gave me Stockholm syndrome.  Everyone needs to read this book, it is just that good.

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Published: October 23rd, 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Cover photo and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis:

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

I first heard of this book through Goodreads.  Several people whose reviews I trust posted how excited and thrilled they were to read this book and I was intrigued.  Obviously I had heard of Julie Kagawa, but to see several people I trusted so excited about it, then it had to be something special.  I admit to being rather skeptical over whether I would like it or not since it is a spin-off of Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, which I have not read (that will be rectified now!).  But I was not only pleasantly surprised, I was pleasantly blown away.

This is a YA book, without being a typical YA book.  Ethan is the “bad boy” who really isn’t a bad boy he just wants everyone to leave him alone so that he doesn’t bring any more trouble on himself so he acts the role of a tough guy.  That was nice, to see a hero in a YA book that was smart, brave, kind, considerate, polite, gentlemanly, and funny.  I loved Ethan!  Although I admit that there were several moments where I wanted to shake him for being a moron, but he redeemed himself by the end.  Kenzie was also so very different from most YA heroines.  She is smart, funny, loving, generous, selfless when it’s necessary, and self-confident.  That last one made me so happy I almost cried!  A YA heroine with self-esteem and confidence in herself!  It’s like…the holy grail!

Then you have the story, this was really well done.  Half-breed fey and exiled fey are disappearing, and Ethan unwittingly gets pulled into it.  But once he’s into the situation he is determined to figure out what is going on and save one of his school companions who disappeared.  Kenzie gets pulled along just because she was stubbornly following Ethan around and became a target by accident.  They visit Ethan’s sister, the Iron Fey Queen, to tell her what is going on and asking for help about what to do.  When this reunion does not go the way Ethan expected, he strikes out on his own to solve the mystery himself.  I was intrigued with this story, so much that I was cursing at everyone who dared to interrupt my reading time.  I was staying up late to read some more, I was ending my lunch breaks at work later and later just to get in a few more pages.  I got addicted to this book in a bad way.
There was a nice simple romance in this book, which I greatly appreciated.  There was no looking into each other’s eyes and falling instantly in love.  There was no unnecessary third wheel who really doesn’t belong in the story at all.  It was just a simple boy and girl who start out quite snarky and irritable with each other who end up as friends before it develops into more.  I loved that.  I loved watching their relationship develop and grow into something more than just friends and allies.  I ahhhhh’d with joy and love when they finally confirmed their feelings for each other.  This is one of the better romances I’ve read in a while.

There were a few moments where I didn’t quite understand what was going on or who someone was, and I assume this is because I haven’t read the Iron Fey series.  But these minor instances were not crucial to the plot and so I was able to bypass them easily without any effect on my enjoyment of the story.  By the time I got to the end of this book all I could do was sigh in contentment and close the cover on my Nook gently, sad that it was over but thrilled that I loved it so much.

 
This book was provided free of charge by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.  No other compensation or promises were provided.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Published September 27th, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis and Cover photo from Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Rating (out of 5):

Review: I really want to try to review this without sounding like one of those Twihard fans who think they might have spotted Robert Pattinson in a crowd.  Alas, I don’t think I can do that, because I just loved this book so much.  I was entranced by it.  I found myself sitting at the table for a half hour after I finished eating because I just couldn’t stop reading.  When I didn’t have the book in my hands I was thinking about the book, wishing I had brought it with me wherever I was.  I had to force myself to put the book down when I needed to go to sleep.

 
The thing that first attracted me to this book was the cover.  It is spectacular and gorgeous.  I saw this cover from the aisle in the bookstore and it drew me to the book immediately.  Then when I read the blurb I thought to myself, well this sounds interesting and unique.  But I had no idea how unique and entrancing it would be.

 
When I first started the book I wondered if I had made a mistake.  I was having a hard time connecting to the characters and to the writing.  I was interested in the story but the writing was throwing me off and I grew concerned that I may not like the book after all.  But after about 50 pages I was drawn into it and started breezing through the pages at a rapid pace.  Parts of the story were familiar to me, like the hamsa tattoos.  But the way they were used in the story was new and different and very creative.  I really connected with Karou for a lot of reasons.  She was a strong, smart, self sufficient, kick ass heroine (which we don’t see often in YA).  But she also felt like she didn’t fit.  She didn’t completely fit in the world of Brimstone but didn’t completely fit in the normal world as well.  She was stuck in between and didn’t know which way to go.

The romance in this book was refreshing and real.  You could call it insta-love but it doesn’t feel that way.  I mean, let’s face it, they start the book by trying to kill each other.  That’s not really the mark of an insta-love relationship.  Now, once they started exploring their attraction to one another everything moved quickly after that.  But it felt natural to me.  They had real reasons to fall in love!  That was so nice to read.

I am frothing at the mouth for the sequel, it cannot get to my house fast enough so I can devour that one too.  This was by far one of the most creative and unique books I have ever read.  It was one of my favorite books of the year, and I think Ms. Taylor has a hugely successful career ahead of her.

Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

Angels’ Flight by Nalini Singh

Published February 28th, 2012 by Berkley Sensation

Synopsis and cover from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis:

In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…

Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT

In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…

And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED

In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:  I loved this book almost more than Archangel’s Storm.  Almost but not quite, Jason is still my book boyfriend and I love him the most out of all the characters presented so far.  But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the characters presented in these stories are excellent, and these were stories that needed to be told even if I didn’t know it prior to reading it.  The best way for me to review this is to address each story individually.

First was Angels’ Pawn, this is a story set prior to the first Guild Hunter book and follows Ashwini and her connection and relationship with Janvier.  She is asked to help in the kidnapping of a vampire, she asks Janvier come along because he used to belong to the court of the angel she is visiting, Nazarach.  I had a huge fangirl moment over this story.  I have been hoping to hear more about Ashwini and this vampire she has a love/hate relationship with.  But we have also heard a lot of rumor and interesting tidbits about Nazarach, so I wanted to see him first hand too.  Not only was this story exciting because it introduced me to characters I have longed to meet more intimately but because the story surprised me as well.  The case of the kidnapping isn’t at all what it seems and it gets Ashwini into some hot water.  I was really happy with this story and it wet my appetite for more about Ashwini in the future, fingers crossed!

Next up was Angels’ Judgement, the story of Sara becoming the Guild Director so this was also set prior to the beginning of the Guild Hunter series.  This story was an unexpected enjoyment for me.  I never really thought that I wanted to know more about Sara and Deacon and how they met or how she became the Director.  But I enjoyed it tremendously and it made me ask a lot of fascinating questions.  It revealed how involved and concerned the Cadre of Ten is with the selection of the Guild Hunter.  It also reveals that the Guild has a Slayer, one who’s job it is to hunt down hunters who go rogue.  This is what brings Deacon and Sara together and it was fantastic to watch.  But it also made me wonder…who did Sara choose as the new Slayer now that Deacon is retired to being a weapons maker and daddy and husband?
Third on the list was Angel’s Wolf where we get an introduction to two new characters Noel (one of Raphael’s vampires) and Nimra (the angel who rules over Louisiana).  She is concerned that someone is trying to kill her and asks Raphael for assistance in trying to sort out who the traitor in her court is.  Noel has been viciously attacked and seeks to escape so Raphael asks him to go help Nimra with her problem.  Nimra is greatly feared about the other angels and vampires alike, so Noel is surprised and intrigued to discover that she has a softer side too.  I wasn’t expecting this story but I did like it.  If I was forced to choose a least favorite it would probably be this one, but that’s just in comparison to how passionately I loved the other three.

Last was Angels’ Dance, the story of Jessamy meeting the mysterious Galen and becoming intrigued with him despite her refusal to become romantically involved with anyone for centuries.  I have liked Jessamy and Galen both from the limited time we have seen them.  And I vaguely recalled mention (ok, someone reminded me of the mention) that Jessamy and Galen were romantically linked in one of the other Guild Hunter books.  Another great point was their early relationship.  They started out not really even liking each other that much, but then circumstances force them together and they discover that there is much more to the other’s character than they first thought.  It was a touching, sweet, and romantic story that I thought was a perfect addition to this collection of short stories.  Jessamy got her story and I loved it.

Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh

Published: September 4th, 2012 by Berkley

Picture and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

I absolutely loved this book!  I have been having mixed feelings about the last few Guild Hunter books, but this ended with this book.  Jason is a character that I never expected to love and his story is one that I wasn’t too terribly interested in knowing.  Mainly, I looked forward to reading this one to learn more about Neha and how she is coping after the death of her daughter, and now her consort.  She was teetering on the edge of madness after losing her daughter, to lose her consort too I suspected might push her over the edge.

This is where Jason enters.  He is Raphael’s renowned spymaster, who has the ability to literally blend into the shadows and go completely unnoticed.  He offers to help Neha find the killer, hoping to stave off a rage that could end in war with millions of casualties.  She demands from him a blood vow to her niece, Mahiya, basically meaning that anything he learns he cannot reveal to anyone else about her family or how she runs her court.  This story intrigued me and I wanted to see what we would learn about Jason and Mahiya, and what would ultimately be the result of his investigation.

I was apprehensive when we got the first few chapters that continues the stories of Raphael and Dmitri, but excited to see what is going on with their characters at the same time.  I was concerned that these chapters were added because Jason’s story was going to be very thin and needed some buffer material.  Thankfully that turned out to not be the case, and Jason’s is my favorite story so far. Like all of the angels (vampires too) that we’ve met, Jason has a very troubled background.  It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on with his flashbacks and what his story would end up being.  Although, even though I guessed it, it was still heartbreaking.  Mahiya has also had a hard life and has her own reasons for wanting to appear invisible.  But she’s not invisible to Jason and he is not invisible to her.  They find themselves drawn to each other and drawn to the darkness they recognize in the other.

In a way the story of the murder of Neha’s consort was secondary to the story of the budding relationship and trust between Jason and Mahiya.  Though I was much more interested in Jason and Mahiya, my jaw still dropped in shock when the murderer was revealed.  I don’t think I would have ever seen it coming, and I appreciate a story that can surprise me.

I appreciate Jason for being a flawed character and for having very dark demons that haunt him.  But he’s not looking for someone to save him and Mahiya knows she can’t save him.  Neither is trying to change the other and that makes their relationship all the more special.  They each hold to the other out of love and trust that the other will stay despite their flaws and that perhaps together they can begin to make a new future and leave behind their dark pasts.  When we arrive at the final paragraphs and Jason flies away on assignment, my eyes filled with tears.  Jason found a way even through his darkness and pain to show his princess the things he couldn’t say.  I have found this book entering my mind constantly for the past few days and I need another Guild Hunter book.  I can’t stop thinking, who is next?  Who’s story will we discover after Jason?  Aodhan perhaps?  Venom maybe?  We haven’t seen much of Galen of Illium lately.  I want to know what happens next and I look forward to reading it when it gets here.

 

 

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Published January 1st 2006 by Shaye Areheart Books

Cover and Synopsis from the Goodreads book page

You can buy this book at: B&N and Amazon

 

Synopsis:

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.

Rating (out of 5):

Review:

This was a re-read for me in preparation to read Gillian Flynn’s new book Gone Girl. I originally bought Sharp Objects after seeing it on a store shelf and feeling immediately drawn to the cover art.  It was so simple but poignant and gripping.  I had never heard of Gillian Flynn but bought the book based on my love of the cover and I was so far from disappointed.  And reading it for the second time now, I enjoyed it and loved it just as much as I did the first time.

This book is not a happy book.  If you are looking for a book where the heroine meets the man of her dreams, the bad guy faces justice, and everybody lives happily ever after then perhaps you should keep looking.  Camille is one of the best characters I have ever read.  She is flawed, unhappy, deeply mentally disturbed, and yet you can’t help but feel drawn to her.  You know immediately that she has had a long, tough life full of enough trauma to mentally scar someone for life, and in Camille’s case physically as well.  This was portrayed in a very realistic and gritty way, which I appreciated.  So many books these days seem to wish to sugar coat everything.  Yes the serial killer is slaughtering little girls, but look the heroine is falling for that cop and the bad guy will get his in the end!  There are no fluffy, fairytale endings here.  And I love it!

I think the thing that made this book absolute perfection for me was just how badly it had me snowed.  I consider myself a pretty hard person to trick into falling for red herrings.  Normally I can smell a red herring from a mile off.  But I didn’t see it coming in this book.  I thought I knew who was murdering these little girls.  I was reading through every page for clues, absolutely glued to the page.  I thought I had it all figured out.  I was practically shouting at Camille through the pages, “Can’t you see that it’s your mother?!  What’s wrong with you? How can you be so blind, it’s right in front of your face?!”  And in the end, I was dead wrong.  My jaw hit the floor and I sat there in utter shock with the book open in my lap.  I did not see it coming and I was stunned that I was pulled into the deception that deeply.

So at the conclusion of the book, I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the ending, I just loved the damn book.  It was gritty, dirty, disturbing, dark, dank, and violent and that made me appreciate all the more.