Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: On Every Street by Karina Halle

Book: On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #0.5)
By: Karina Halle
Published: March 9, 2013
Published by: Self Published

Description: When young con artist Ellie Watt decides to call herself Eden White and go after the drug lord who ruined her as a child, she never expects to fall for one of his henchmen. But Javier Bernal is no ordinary man. Subtly dangerous and overwhelmingly seductive, Eden finds herself passionately in love with Javier, the very person she's set-up to betray. With her body and heart in a heated battle against her deep need for revenge, no one will walk away from this con a winner.

This 50K word (100+ pages) novella takes place six years before Sins & Needles. It can be read before or after Sins & Needles and may also be read as a standalone.

My Thoughts: Want to know why I love Karina Halle? It's because she puts out book, after book, after book, multiple times in one year (granted some are novellas, not full novels) and you arent left waiting an entire year to see more of the series you are obsessing over, and they're all great. On Every Street is one such novella, released a mere 2 months after it's predecessor, Sins and Needles (though it takes place before the events of Sins and Needles) and it doesnt disappoint.

On Every Street details the events that shaped who Ellie Watt (con name Eden White) is today, why she is so terrified of Javier Bernal, and why she fell in love with him in the first place. It's crazy, we know how the story will end (if you've already read Sins and Needles) but we cant help watching it happen. Some masochistic tendancy inside me allows me to be won over by Javier just in time to have him ruin me. I mean seriously, who wouldnt fall for a man who says things like:
"I once told you to leave and not to love me,” he cried out, muffled. “I’m taking all of that back. Not because I deserve it or because I’m worthy of your love. But because I need it like the air I breathe. I need you. I need you to believe in me. I need your love to make me feel like I can be redeemed.”
“I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. More than I thought I was capable of. Eden, you’ve taken my heart by surprise from the day I first saw you. It hasn’t been my heart since.”
"I want to stain you, Eden. I want myself imbedded in your skin, in your heart, in your soul."
That last quote alone sends shivers down my spine. OMG, I want to scoop this (seemingly) broken man up in my arms, cradle him on my chest, and show him what love is all about. I want to fix him, and I want him to stain me in all the ways he can (TMI?...I mean seriously, he is an amazing lover...okay back to the point). This love between Eden and Javier is passionate, strong, intense, and all consuming. It's blind and vindictive and tragic. I knew what was going to happen but I couldnt help but be blinded into a false sense of security, only to have my heart ripped out of my chest. I wanted to un-see some of the events of this book, and go back to my blissful ignorance
This book is so amazing it's terrible. How dare Karina Halle do something like this to me?

If you havent yet read ths series, you need to. Sins and Needles, and On Every Street can be read in any order but just know it's real. Yes, I know it's fiction, but these fictional people have real vulnerabilities, make real mistakes, and are more like real life people than most non-fiction books are (not that I read much non-fiction). I wouldnt be surprised if, at the end of the trilogy, Karina told us that the story was based off the life of a real  person's diary or something. I dont know how she does it.

If you dont listen to anything else I say, listen to this, read something in the Artists Trilogy. It'll have you looking at life in a whole new way. I have no doubt you know my rating.....5 stars.
Oh, and I finally met Karina at the Boston Author Event!!! She's just as amazing in person as I imagine her in my head!
So, why havent you read Sins and Needles yet?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Wolfborn by Sue Bursztynski

Book: Wolfborn
By: Sue Bursztynski
Published: December 1, 2010
Published by: Woolshed Press (Trafalgar Square Publishing)

Description: Break the curse or howl forever.
Etienne, son of a lord in the kingdom of Armorique, goes to train as a knight with Geraint of Lucanne. Geraint is brave and kind, a good teacher and master - but he has a secret that he has kept from his family. He is bisclavret, a born werewolf. When Geraint is betrayed, Etienne must ally with the local wise-woman and her daughter, themselves bisclavret, to save his lord. But time is running out. If Geraint's enemies have their way, Geraint will soon be trapped in his wolf form.
And Etienne has his own secret. The decisions he makes will change his life forever . . .
Inspired by a medieval romance, this engaging novel forces us to question everything we thought we knew about werewolves

My Thoughts: Based upon a twelfth century story, Wolfborn is one unlike any other I had ever read. Though it is about werewolves, a common topic in today's stories, it's not your ordinary werewolf read, and due to it's folklore beginnings, the reader must wonder how much of the tale could possibly be true.

We follow Etienne, a young boy who's training to be a knight under his master Geraint. Soon though, he realizes somethings not quite normal about Geraint and his mysterious voyages into the forest at night. He later learns that Geraint is a bisclavret, a born werewolf. He also learns that there are other werewolves, those not born with the curse who have pledged themselves to the Dark One. He learns that a war is brewing between his master and one of the dark werewolves, and after a sequence of events and some poorly placed clothes, Etienne must fight to help his master back to his humanity. You see, in this tale, werewolves can't turn back to human without their human clothes, and the longer they stay in werewolf form, the easier it is for them to never turn back human. It's for this reason, and for the future of Lucanne that Etienne must help return Geraint to his humanity, possibly at the expense of his own.

Beneath the bigger werewolf story was a love story between Etienne and Jeanne, a bisclavret. It wasn't a huge part of the book that swamped the readers into a big deep love but it did add a bit of something extra to the story, something that made Etienne's decisions a bit easier and more imperative.

I really enjoyed reading Wolfborn. It was a nice change to the typical werewolf story and I liked reading a book told from a males perspective but still written by a woman. Initially, the story didn't hold my attention much, but I'm not sure if that was because I was reading it while facing the loss of a family member, or because it was just too much of a change from the normal books I read. Regardless, the more I read, the more it grew on me. The ending was a bit too romantic to fit with the rest of the story in my opinion, but I still see the point of adding it. It also wasnt as fast paced and intense as I would have hoped, but I still enjoyed it. This book focuses on the ideas of losing/gaining humanity, mating for life, and honor and duty. If you like books that focus on those things, then I suggest you give Wolfborn a try. I give it 3 1/2 stars.
The author is also a fellow blogger. Feel free to check out her blog here.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Book: Insatiable (Insatiable #1)
By: Meg Cabot
Published: William Morrow
Published by: June 8, 2010

Description: Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does).

But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .

If she even has one

My Thoughts: Boy, am I glad to be finished reading this book. I got it in audiobook format, the format that, in my opinion, I can almost always listen to a book in and kind of like it. Unfortunately that wasn't the case with Insatiable.

I'll start by discussing my main issue with the audiobook format of this book. It was the part that made me want to rip the headphones from my ears and go to my bookshelf to pick up the actual book (yes I had the actual book format too. I couldn't find the urge to read it so I figured audiobook format was the way to go) The narrator seemed like she was too busy trying to make her voice sound cute to actually read it like a normal person. I found myself unable to connect. It also didn't help that the beginnng of the book absolutely sucked. I read a bunch of reviews and almost all of them hated the beginning of this book. The fact that they all said it picked up eventually was the only reason I was able to continue with it. Even still, my attempts to just get to the good part almost felt like I was pulling teeth or something. Luckily for me though, it finally made it there. Once the story really got going, it was pretty interesting, though not at all original.

This story follows Meena Harper, a girl who can see when people are going to die. She hates anything vampiric, until she falls in love with a vampire. As these stories normally go, the vampire is a powerful vampire and a war is brewing between vampires, and she's stuck in the middle. A bunch of stuff happens and people die and that's about it. The storyline was one that was tried and true, and for that reason, and a few others I will discuss, I feel a bit melancholy, if not downright annoyed with it.

First, almost all of the characters were annoying. Meena is self sacrificing with a hero complex, that instantly falls head over heels in love with Lucien, the vampire who is dangerous and wants to change his ways for Meena and all that crap. Meena often goes straight past hero and directly toward stupid girl in her attempts at protecting others. Lucien has creepy stalker tendencies, and breaks into buildings, and does most of the things he does "for her own good." I'm sure you know what that means. Meena's terrified of him, which makes me wonder why on earth she even loves him. It reminds me of those girls who make up excuses for why her boyfriend/husband beats on them, and there was even a section in the book that compared her to those women.

Meena's brother, Jon, is another character I hated. He's her brother and yet he doesn't protect her. He cares more about himself than her, and basically ruins her life. If I were Meena, I'd have put him out on the street long ago.  Even the bad guys were weak and sucky characters. The other supporting roles were pretty shallow. I hated almost everyone, except Alaric, the vampire hunter, who I barely liked. He was the only one who seemed kind of normal.

This book often took forever to get to the point. I would be waiting to hear the answer to the question, and it would go on and on in description of something else until I would finally scream at the book and ask it myself, hoping it would answer the freaking question. It passed anticipation and made its way over to annoyance. Told in multiple POV's with a definite love triangle, this book combines to become one of my worst books ever read.

This was my first read from Meg Cabot, and I must admit tha after reading it, I will probably never pick up another book by her. It had everything I disliked about books all packed into one unnecessary bundle of pages. I give it 1 1/2 stars. It did pick up, and I did eventually find myself looking toward reading the ending, but it definitely wasn't one of my better reads. If it wasn't an audiobook, it would have been a DNF.