Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

He is the keeper of Doubt and his entire world’s about to be rocked.

Bound by the demon of doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern…until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.

Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she’d fall for a kind human who wouldn’t rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora’s box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love…

Sabin isn’t a character in the Lords of the Underworld Series that I had really noticed before. Reading Darkest Whisper made me wonder why!

This is another series that took me a while to start. It only took reading the first Lords of the Underworld book to convince me that I needed to add all these books to my shelf, which incidentally, I have. ;)

Sabin is the keeper of Doubt, which on the surface doesn’t seem to be as bad as most of the demons, until you stop and think about it. His demon could make the most confident person lose all self confidence in a matter of minutes. It turned out to be quite an effective tool on the battle ground, not so much when you are trying not to hurt someone you love. Gwen was an immortal with little or no self confidence to start with. Pairing her with Doubt should have destroyed her. Did I mention how amazing these books are?

Darkest Whisper took these two characters to the brink and back again, which is exactly what Showalter is best at. I’m not sure what draws me into these books more. The love that the characters have for their destined mates or the love and devotion that the Lords have for each other. Both are amazing and heart breaking.

As with the rest of the books in the series, you get a glimpse of the other Lords. Just enough that you can’t wait to pick up the next book. There are some that you know are coming soon and some loyal readers are being tortured with. That’s okay though, I’m trusting Showalter to make it worth the wait for some of these Lords to get their HEA.

Darkest Passion is the next book in the series and I have to admit that as of the time I’m writing this review, I’ve already finished it. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite Lord or a favorite book, but not one has disappointed me so far. :)

Jenny Pox by J. L. Bryan

Eighteen-year-old Jenny Morton has a horrific secret: her touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague, the “Jenny pox.” She lives by a single rule: Never touch anyone. A lifetime of avoiding any physical contact with others has made her isolated and painfully lonely in her small rural town.

Then she meets the one boy she can touch. Jenny feels herself falling for Seth…but if she’s going to be with him, Jenny must learn to use the deadly pox inside her to confront his ruthless and manipulative girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all.

Before I start this review, I need to make a confession. I think I might be one of the few people around who read J.L. Bryan’s Songs of Magic Series before at least starting his Paranormals Series. I’m not sure why I waited, but the good news in all of this is that it was definitely worth the wait and I can now call myself a true J.L Bryan fan. :)

I picked Jenny Pox up on a Saturday and finished it before the weekend was over. Once I got into the story, it was an impossible book to put down. Jenny’s story was as heartbreaking as it was beautiful. I loved getting to know her and the other characters. Then there were the not so nice characters – trust me, there was no shortage of those either. I honestly don’t think that I’ve ever read a character that I disliked more than Asleigh.

There were parts of Jenny Pox that were very hard to read. When things went bad, they went really, really bad. The cruelty that Jenny endured was really hard for me to grasp throughout the book. The lengths that Ashleigh was willing to go to reach her own personal goals was terrifying. The climax of the book took me totally by surprise. I never saw it coming. Powerful, heartbreaking and terrifying. Wow!

Before you read Jenny Pox you need to realize that this is not a YA read. Even though the main characters are teens, they are older teens. The themes are very adult and the emotions are raw and intense. I can’t wait to pick up the next installment of this series. The good thing about waiting to read a series is that you don’t have to wait to read the rest of the books. Tommy Nightmare and Alexander Death are ready and waiting for me to pick up. Sometimes procrastination pays off. ;)

Teaser Tuesday 3-27-12

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Yep, I’m still on my Mortal Instruments re-read. Honestly readers, it’s just as good the second time around (as I’m sure it will be the 3rd, 4th, etc.) What can I say? I’m an avid re-reader. There are some books, characters and worlds that I can’t get enough of. Here’s another interaction between Jace and Clary. Enjoy!

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (page 43)

She turned back to Jace. “Do you have to be so –, ” she began, but stopped when she saw his face. It looked stripped down, oddly vulnerable.

“Unpleasant?” he finished for her. “Only on days when my adoptive mother tosses me out of the house with instructions never to darken her door again. Usually, I’m remarkably good-natured. Try me on a day that doesn’t end in y.

Just can’t shake that snarkiness, even when he’s crushed. *swoon* Those of you who have read the Mortal Instruments can appreciate how hard it was to find a teaser that didn’t spoil either City of Bones or City of Ashes. ;)

By creativedeeds

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – Deja Vu Review

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

I read City of Bones last year for the first time. I picked it up right after I finished Cassie Clare’s Clockwork Angel. I fell in love with Clare’s writing and needed more. It didn’t hurt that both the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices Series center around Shadowhunters. I was totally drawn into this amazing world. Before I was even half way through City of Bones I knew there was no turning back and ordered the next 3 books in the series. *sigh*

Clary is thrown into the Shadowhunters’ world right before her quiet, boring world falls apart. Nothing is what it seems and thanks to a series of new revelations, nothing will ever be the same. Fantasy becomes reality and she has to put her trust in a group of people that she never imagined even existed.

The characters in Clare’s books have such depth they are great to get to know. After just a few chapters you get totally drawn in and feel like you’ve just made a bunch of new friends. I experienced this in both series and reading any of these books more than once doesn’t diminish that feeling.

The descriptions, character interactions and flow of writing keep the reader totally engrossed and made this book impossible to put down. Even as a re-read, I still couldn’t stop. I get lost in these books every time I read them – in a very good way. I can’t wait to pick up City of Ashes again! Even though I know where the story is going, I still can’t stay away from this world once I dive into it again. I found, as I usually do when I re-read a book, that there were things I forgot and even small details I missed. The twists, turns and surprising revelations were almost as powerful as they were the first time around. To me, that’s a true test for an amazing read.

If you haven’t experienced the Infernal Devices or Mortal Instruments now is a perfect time to start. I’m not sure why I didn’t review these books the first time around. I think it may have been because I felt like any review I did wouldn’t do them justice. I decided to pick them up again in anticipation of the May release of City of Lost Souls. Hopefully I can catch up in my re-read in time for the City of Fallen Angels Read-A-Long, sponsored by Mundie Moms. ;)

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I think I need to put a disclaimer on all historical, dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction that I read and review. It should probably go a little something like this – “Dear readers, pay no attention to the fact that it took me a while to get into this book. That’s just me and my brain taking it’s sweet time getting acclimated to the world the author so painstakingly created.” I don’t know why I have a hard time getting into these books. It’s certainly not because I don’t enjoy these genres, because I do. Once my brain catches up, I can sit back and devour the characters and the story. There, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way I can move on to the review.

I suppose because of the above rant… errr… explanation, there is no need to tell you that it took me a while to get into Grave Mercy. Therefore, you can ignore that fact. The important part is, once i got there, I loved it. The premise of Grave Mercy was different than any of the other YA books I’ve read for a while. The fact that took place within a historical setting only made it more unique.

Ismae was a great character. She started out as a victim, but ended up stronger than even she expected to be. The supporting characters had dimension and were easy to relate to. I really liked the glimpse the author gave us into Ismae’s thought process. She didn’t take anyone’s actions, including hers for granted and she stayed true to herself, her cause and her heart. I loved how the relationship between her and Duval developed. It wasn’t automatic for either character which made it even more believable.

The twists and turns that Grave Mercy took made this a true page turner. LaFevers didn’t make any of the plot twists predictable. There were characters that I never totally trusted, but the final outcome wasn’t at all what I expected. I like being taken by surprise. It’s even better when it comes about because of the bravery and cleverness of a character that you’ve grown to like and respect.

I’m really glad that Grave Mercy is part of a series. Even though I don’t think the next book will center around Ismae, learning more about the rest of the characters is something I’m really looking forward to.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans – except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the personal cost.

I’ve let this review sit for a couple of days. I know I’ve said this before after reading a book, but I really had to recover from this one and remove myself from it for a while before I sat down to write this review. It was honestly that powerful a read for me.

I knew when I finished Catching Fire that this was not going to be an easy book to read. I was so right in that assumption. Am I sorry that I put on my big girl pants and finished? Not at all. Even though it was heartbreaking, violent and painful, it was also powerful and amazing.

No one came out of Mockingjay untouched by violence or loss in some way. Katniss was in a no win situation and honestly felt like she couldn’t trust anyone. She was given a title and responsibility she didn’t want and felt like she didn’t deserve. She was driven by grief, anger and guilt. She still felt the need to save and protect everyone, regardless of what happened to her in doing so. Her world continued to be ripped apart and there was nothing she could do to stop it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been as effected by a book as this one.

This series has evoked a lot of emotion. It seems that there are two sides. People either love it or hate it. I don’t argue with the people that hated it. I can honestly see why they did and respect their opinion. The heartbreak and other emotions evoked in this book and the rest of the series is raw. There are parts that are honestly painful to read. The characters in this book are broken. No one really comes out with a satisfying ‘happily ever after’ ending. With all that they went through, how could they? Were there parts of the story and some violence that bothered me? Maybe, but this was ultimately a book about war, and it wasn’t sugar coated. Ultimately, I felt that the series ended in a way that did the surviving characters justice. It may not have been the ending I would have foreseen or wished for, but there was a spark of hope and healing. Anything else would have diminished what the characters endured.

I don’t want to say too much more, but I think you get the idea. It would be too easy to give things away if I kept going. I really have enjoyed talking about it with people who have read it though. Mockingjay is a book that was hard to read, but I’m really glad that I took the time to experience it.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish Read-A-Long (Week 4)

Hounded definitely got me hooked on this series. Ordered Hexed and it’s on its way!

Discussion Schedule:
March 02nd: Chapters 1-5 hosted by Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog
March 09th: Chapters 6-10 hosted by On a Book Bender
March 16th: Chapters 11-15 hosted by Smash Attack Reads!
March 23rd: Chapters 16-20 hosted by In the Closet With a Bibliophile
March 30th: Chapters 21-25 + epilogue hosted by The Unread Reader

April 06th: Special interview with Kevin Hearne & announcement of winners!

This week’s questions were supplied by Jen at In The Closet With a Bibliophile and she came up with some fun ones that really made me think – mainly because I had to go WAY back to reach for an answer. LOL!

Questions Week 4 (March 23rd): Chapters 16 to 20

1. Just after Atticus is shot, Oberon has to “ninja” his way out of the shop and into Hal’s Beamer (with the icky air freshener). Have you ever been in a situation where you had to “ninja” your way out and try not to be discovered? If so, what happened?

Hmm.. most of my sneaking days are past, but I can remember several. Unfortunately, they probably weren’t for as noble a reason as Oberon had. I seem to remember that most of mine were centered around trying to get away with something I had no business doing in the first place. ;) My kids are so lucky that I remember what it was like to be a teenager… (or maybe not – bwahahahah!)

2. Atticus’s main goal through a large portion of the book is not only protecting Oberon, but also protecting the sword. You are now living in a paranormal world and you need a weapon! What weapon do you choose and what can it do?

Since I’m really not into hurting people, I think that any weapon that I would possess would be one that helped me get away. FAST! Maybe something small that could help me disappear?

3.  To recharge and heal after being shot, Atticus sleeps naked, tattoos to the earth, in a patch of grass near the Civic Center in downtown Scottsdale. Where is the weirdest place you have ever slept?

I don’t know that I’ve ever slept any place weird. If I happen to remember, I’ll post it later. ;)

4. We finally find out some very interesting information about Granuaile and I don’t know about you, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to find that she’s sharing her head with someone else. What about you, did you expect anything along those lines? If not, what were you expecting concerning Granuaile?

I’m not sure what I was expecting either, but it wasn’t that. She certainly seemed to be more comfortable than I would have been with sharing her head with another being.

5. Laksha is a witch, a truly evil one at that for many of the things she’s done in the past. However, she’s supposedly seen the error of her ways. Do you think she really has? Would you be willing to trust her? Do you think Atticus is smart to have decided to trust her to help him with the “other” witches?

I suppose Atticus really had no choice, but it was still risky and surprising. Especially since I can’t count the times he mentions how much he hates witches. Desperate times call for desperate measures?

By creativedeeds

Follow Friday 3-23-12

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
  8. If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let us know, so we can stop by and check out your blog!
It has literally been forever since I have done a Follow Friday… well maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it has been at least since the logo has changed. *hangs head in shame* My only excuse is that I have been busy. Very, very, very busy…. Okay, I’ll admit it’s a fairly lame excuse, but it’s the only one that I’ve got. So, enough with the excuses, here’s this week’s intriguing question:

What is the longest book you’ve read?

What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

I don’t read many long, long, long books, but I have to admit, if I’m going to read one I usually turn to Stephen King. This book is the first of his that I have read in years. It made me realize how much I’ve missed his writing. The true test of a long book is that while you’re reading it, the length is the fartherest thing from your mind. You just keep turning pages and stay engrossed. This book accomplished that in spades. You can check out my review of 11/22/63 here. It was one of the most intriguing books that I read in 2011. I read it in ebook format and honestly had no idea how long it was until I checked the page count out for this post. It was that good. (FYI – the hardcover version is 849 pages.)

By creativedeeds

The Strip by Heather Killough-Walden (Deja Vu Review)

Green-eyed Malcolm Cole is a cursed werewolf, an alpha in the most powerful sense who has given up hope for any kind of happiness or peace in his life. Until he catches wind of Claire. Claire St. James, Charlie among friends, is an amazing young woman with an incredibly special gift. Cole recognizes this at once and swears on the spot to claim Charlie as his mate. Of course, he isn’t the only one with such plans. Charlie is too precious to let go without a fight, and one of the most powerful alphas in the world has already staked a claim, whether Charlie-or Cole-like it or not.

I’m not sure if this is the 3rd or 4th time that I’ve read through this series. I seem to get wrapped up in it every time I do, so it doesn’t really matter. Part of the reason why I like The Strip is because of Malcolm Cole. It seems almost wrong to like him as a character since he was the bad guy in The Heat, but that’s part of what makes it so good.  I love it when an author can turn your attitude toward a character around totally. Turns out Heather is a pro at it. ;)

Talk about damaged characters. Charlie is one of the most heartbreaking characters Heather has written so far. She lost her parents, she’s physically attacked more than once and the only person who seems to be able to make her physically strong enough to fight back uses mental and physical abuse to get the job done. She has a close core of very good, protective friends, but they can only do so much, especially when the bad guys even start chasing her in her dreams. What’s worse is, she’s about to find out that she is part of a world she never even knew existed.

Then there is Malcolm. He is damaged as well, but hides it behind his tough exterior. Lily saw through it, even though he kidnapped her and tried to break her. I think that’s what won me over. That, and there is no character more Alpha or respected by his pack than Malcolm Cole. He was still brass, opinionated, domineering and cruel, but you could even see that toughness slowly melt when it came to Charlie. It started out as the same type of scenario that drove him to capture Lily, but then it turned into so much more. The protective mate came out in him and that changed everything.

The twists and turns in this one keep the pages turning. Even after reading it more than once, I had a hard time putting it down. Sometimes knowing what is coming is even worse. I also loved getting to know characters from previous books a little better. The subtle foreshadowing gives you a hint of things to come. The snarkiness between Malcolm and Lily was fun too. I love those two together. After all they went through in The Heat, that should be so wrong, but I can’t help it.

There are aspects of these books that are hard to read. The abuse and violence is sometimes raw to the point of being painful. These characters suffer, mostly at the hands of pure evil. As hard as it is to read, I don’t think the outcome would be the same if it was totally left out. I don’t condone this type of abuse, and by writing about it, I don’t assume that the author does either. These books aren’t for everyone, as I’ve said before and not just about the Big Bad Wolf series, but about others as well. The concept of the Alpha is what it is. They are strong, domineering, powerful and fierce. They are also protective, love unconditionally and are fiercely loyal when it comes to their mate. It’s a totally different world and Heather does a great job of bringing out the pain and beauty of both aspects. Sometimes there’s a fine line between good and evil in both fantasy and reality.

The Strip is the second book in the Big Bad Wolf series. At the end of this one you find out that there is much more to come for all the previous characters as well as some new ones. There are 4 books and the next one, The Spell, is probably one of my favorites. It will be the last of my Deja Vu reviews for the series because I reviewed The Hunt months ago. I’m not sure why I skipped the rest, but at least I’m making up for it now. ;)

Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison

When Grace Andreas’s sister, Petra, and her husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as her sister’s two young children–neither of which she is prepared for. Then Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn Prince of House Marid, decides to make himself a part of the household both as guardian and counterpoint to Grace’s impudence towards the Elder Races.

Readers were first introduced to Khalil in Storm’s Heart. It was a brief meeting, but enough to make you really not like or trust Khalil at all. Because of that encounter, I really never saw this one coming. I love it when an author can totally change your attitude toward a character. That’s exactly what happened in Oracle’s Moon.

Grace’s relationship with the Elder Races was forced upon her. She didn’t ask for it, but she couldn’t walk away from her responsibility as the Oracle. It chose her. Her new responsibility as guardian to her young niece and nephew made her new power even harder to shoulder, but she did it. It made her a character worthy of respect and sympathy. She was strong, determined and stubborn. I really liked Grace.

Khalil thought he had a handle on the situation. He was there because of the children. He had his reasons to want to be close to them and protect them. He didn’t like or respect Grace at all. Then he started to pay attention. Watching both of these characters transform is what made this a great read for me. I really wasn’t sure how Harrison was going to turn my attitude about Kahlil around. At the end of The Serpent’s Kiss, I started to no longer hate Kahlil, but I never expected him to turn into one of my favorite characters. Who knew? All it took was a chance to get to know him and find out where all the pent up pain was coming from.

The emotion and love shared between these characters was powerful and raw. Especially from Khalil. Grace’s snarky attitude toward him as ‘Bane of her Existence’ was perfect. They fought as easily as they loved and Grace not backing down on her principles where the children were concerned and torturing him with ‘thank you’s’ was fun. It was a great love story for so many reasons.

Readers got to spend some more time with Dragos, Carling and Rune in Oracle’s Moon. Not a lot, but just enough. I loved the interaction between Carling, Rune and Khalil. It was playful, unexpected and showed you even more of all their personalities.

I can’t wait until we get to spend some more time with Pia and Dragos. I’m beginning to feel sorry for Dragos. He hasn’t gotten much respect in the last couple of books. I’m sure things are going to get worse before they get any better, but it’s still going to be great to get more of the couple that started it all. If you haven’t started reading this series yet, what are you waiting for? Picking up Dragon Bound was all it took to get me hooked. ;)