Category: Romance

REVIEW: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

O Hai,

Long time since I’ve reviewed a book, but it’s always that NetGalley policy thing chewing at me, reminding me that because Harlequin let me read Katie’s new book for free, I should probably say something about it on my blog.
And I’m lost for words. 
Katie has mad skills, a way with words, scenarios, and characters. Her characters leap off the pages and strangle you with their personalities. She can flip from messed up kid to jock to private school girl with disorder, you name it, she can peg that character 100% and let it breathe through the pages. 
Which is why I read her books. 
This one . . . well this one got me around 22% and from there on the emotional roller coaster of this read did not let go. I’m lucky that work today was a bit crap because otherwise I might find myself in trouble for reading while ahem, I should have been answering e-mails or ahem editing my book, oops. 
Katie’s books have a way of keeping me sane when I’m feeling like the world around me is chaos. I know it’s weird because her books are often full of chaos. She’s no stranger to social services or the system, and she understands a ton about the different familial situations people can end up in.
I have to say that I also respect her for her knowledge of drag racing, for experiencing it first hand and for emerging herself in that world completely. I think that any author that does intense research for a book is one that’s worth all the hours it took to read her book. Which were not much, I think I clocked out at about 5 hours, lol, not quite 6.94 seconds on an eighth strip, but I enjoyed the ride.
Looking forward to what Katie does with the next book . . . about West. 
Crash Into You hits November 26th and I suggest you loyal fans go get yourself a copy!
Cheers,
Rhi

Cover Reveal: Renegade by Cambria Hebert

Title: Renegade (Heven and Hell #4) (the final book in the series)
Series: Heven and Hell
Author: Cambria Hebert
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Release Date: May 3, 2013
Formats: Ebook and Print

I’ve been beautiful. I’ve been ugly. I’ve died. I’ve been brought back. I’ve had abilities awakened within me. My strength has been tested. My beliefs have been tested.

Yet I stand.

What’s next when you’ve pretty much experienced it all?

The end.

Sam and I are picking up the pieces. We’re trying to come to terms with all we’ve lost. And as much as I would like to hide my head, ignore the reality I live every day, there is no forgetting.

Riley is in hell—I’m still not sure of his agenda. My mother’s past haunts me. And Kimber…Kimber is being herself. Cole sneaks glances at Gemma and she returns them when she thinks I don’t see.

But I do.

When Beelzebub escapes he brings his war to places I never thought he would. Earth. Maine. Home. Now everyone and everything is at risk. This has become bigger than my circle of friends. This has become bigger than me. I have to finish this. I have to find a way to stop him, to finish this war.

I just pray we will all be left standing in the end.

About Cambria:
Cambria Hebert is the author of the young adult paranormal Heven and Hell series and the Death Escorts series. She loves a caramel latte, hates math and is afraid of chickens (yes, chickens). She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and children (both human and furry) where she is plotting her next book. You can find out more about Cambria and her work by visiting http://www.cambriahebert.com

“Like” her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cambria-Hebert/128278117253138
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cambriahebert
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/cambriahebert/pins/
Cambria website: http://www.cambriahebert.com
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/CambriaHebert?feature=mhee

Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

Title: Mystic City
Author: Theo Lawrence
Published: October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers Links: Goodreads
Received: Bought at Chapters
Rating: 4 of 5

My Thoughts: Highly imaginative look at dystopian Manhattan, with sci-fi elements and plot twists that will have your head spinning. Oh and there’s a romance, which honestly makes everything about this book more awesome.

Aria Rose is like those girls from Gossip girl who get attacked by the paparazzi because they’re Upper East Siders. Hunter is like a downworlder crossed with a kid from Brooklyn, where everyone and everything is dirty. But in this book nothing is as it seems and when Aria wakes up from an OD on Stic she’s told she’s in love with Thomas Foster, the Rose’s arch nemesis.

There are some definitely Romeo and Juliet themes in here, the struggle between the Fosters and the Roses, two of the richest families in Manhattan. They’ve hated each other for years, and have divided the upper class in NYC. But now the Fosters and the Roses are getting along in order to squash a new threat from the Mystics, Violet Brooks.

I like the books. I thought the political struggles were well done, and I get to feel like a grown up for figuring out all the plot twists before they happened. I don’t know if it’s a bad thing that I knew what was going to happen next at pretty much every turn of the book. Sure I had some surprises when it came to Davida and Elissa, but then being a writer myself, those twists were exactly what I would have done had I wrote the book. I guess I’ll chalk that up to being psychic.

There’s also a love story, but it’s not the over the top kind of romance. I actually found the magic a bit too over the top. It could have been done better, more subtle and with less green, like why couldn’t people be purple or yellow? Why always green? And there are some discrepancies in the back stories, it wasn’t lock tight enough for my brain to say “okay that’s believable.” but this is probably just my personal opinion.

I should probably say something about how Manhattan is now, hot as hell, most of the lower levels have been flooded, people don’t use the subway anymore, they use rail stations and PODs, and they live in the skyscrapers. The people who live in the Depths are poor, the Depths being near sea level, near the flooding. And the city is now crumbling. It’s a very interesting and well thought out world, but it had some flaws and here’s my rant on what was wrong with this world.

RANT: For music and books there is something called public domain, meaning a book or a song has been around so long that anyone can take it, put a cover on it and sell it, or they can make their own version of the song and put it on their album. I think the issue exists more in music than in books, but here it is. If a musician created a song that sounded a lot like another song, that WASN’T in the public domain range, say something only five years old instead of twenty five years old, that original musician could sue new musician for copyright infringement. (Didn’t that happen to Avril Lavigne with one of her songs?) And similarly with Mystic City, arguably Theo Lawrence could be sued for one of the scenes in this book because it’s EXACTLY like something that happened in Harry Potter. Since Delacorte left it in there, I suppose they’re not worried about being sued, but I still really wanted to put the book down and stop reading at that point because I’m like, “No, NO! You cannot copy Harry Potter, it’s just NOT RIGHT.” Alas, I kept reading and the story itself is great, but it could have done without the Harry Potter sidenote.

Overall, this book drew me in, kept me up until 1am and had me thinking. It was a good story, and I liked it. I can’t wait to see what Theo Lawrence writes in the next installment of this book!

Cheers,
Rhi

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Published: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Links: Goodreads
Received: Received from Netgalley
Rating: 5 of 5

My thoughts:

I was skimming through Netgalley and chose this one along with a few others. Was pleasantly surprised when I was allowed to read this one! I admit I read the feedback about it first and was a bit skeptical since reviews were saying Katie McGarry was amazing, perfect, surrel, etc. etc. I’m always a bit wary when people have big things to live up to. That being said I read the first few pages of the book and put it down. Not the right time to read it for me.

Earlier this week I was feeling like yuck and wanted a book I could escape into for an afternoon. Honestly, with all the work I’ve been doing in June from moving stuff to storage, to festivals, to renovating my office, I needed a break from the world. My original plan was to sit on the new futon couch in my office and have a nap, but I chose Pushing the Limits. I guess it called to me and as I began reading and understanding what Echo was going through I was drawn in, unable to put it down.

I sat there for a good four hours doing nothing but reading, and found myself about forty percent through the book. I didn’t like Echo’s Dad, or the way everyone kept the truth from her. In my opinion, telling Echo the details instead of making her remember, would have been better for her sanity. Ashley, her ex babysitter, and Dad’s new wife, was hilarious. In the first scene Echo makes a comment about Ashley being the “Ashley Show” with her being pregnant and all, and throughout the book whenever Ashley showed up she couldn’t go one scene without trying to make it about her. I really didn’t like Echo’s friends, Grace, Natalia, etc. The popular mean girls who kept spouting crap about Echo’s social status and whether she was “in” or not. It could have come off cheesy but if I had to think about it, I had people act and talk the same way when I was in High School so yeah it does happen. The only friend I could stand was Lila, because she was the only true friend Echo had.

And then there was Noah. I don’t know where to begin with Noah because he’s not your usual, OMG kind of character. His reputation is the stoner who screws a lot of girls in the backseat of his car. Echo is his new flavor of the month apparently. Only, he’s not. His foster siblings do the pot. He doesn’t even look at another girl after he meets Echo and his main goal is to gain custody of his younger brothers. He saved them from a fire that killed his parents.

What I loved about Noah was the scenes from his POV. He’s such a guy and you’ll have to read it to see what I mean, but he’s a a very swoonworthy guy. Echo is a bit standoffish in her romantic prose, but she’s true to herself. I loved watching them struggle through the attraction to each other, finally give in, and how they came together in the end. Katie McGarry’s writing style is flawless and the book has such depth. It was like a living, breathing entity more than it was words on a page.

And that’s how I like it when I’m escaping in a book. I finished it in two days, but wished I could have sat there and finished it in one sitting.

This one gets major love from me, and is definitely worth more than five stars!

Review: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Title: The Last Song
Author: Nicholas Sparks
ISBN: 0446570966
Publication: March 1st 2010 by Grand Central Publishing
Received: Bought somewhere, but I can’t remember where
Links: Goodreads
Rating: 4 out of 5

About:
Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina.

My Thoughts:

This was the first and only Nicholas Sparks book I’ve read. I bought it because there was a chance for me to read the book before seeing the movie. Once again, like My Sister’s Keeper, the movie changed some key things that could have made the movie a lot better.

The book follows Ronnie, a misfit, through her transition from living with her mom to living with her dad. She’s a known klepto, having been popped for it once in New York. Down in the small town in North Carolina, she’s not able to do that without serving some time.

Right off the bat, Ronnie gets in with the wrong crowd which leads to her being framed for stealing. The girl doesn’t even remain her friend or back her up and the only thing that lets her off the hook to a point is that her Dad knows the Sheriff. Ronnie is expected to stay in North Carolina until the trouble passes, no matter how much she wants to go home early.

Ronnie doesn’t like the set up but she stays and ends up falling for Volleyball Player, Aquarium Volunteer, and a million other things, Will. He’s not what she expected and after several failed attempts they do end up falling for each other.

The story becomes your usual Nicholas Sparks romance after that, Ronnie is the poor girl, Will is amazingly rich, and expected to be with some other girl, etc. etc. I won’t go into details now since that will ruin the book for you but it ends well . . . sort of.

The story is told from Ronnie’s Will’s, and her Dad’s point of view, which I thought worked for this type of book.

I haven’t really taken an excursion into other Nicholas Sparks books because I feel like it’s the same deal with Jodi Picoult, most of the stories follow the same formula so once you’ve read one of them you’ve pretty much read them all.

Who knows, maybe I’ll read The Lucky One before seeing the movie!

Vanity, Sex, Attitude, Action and Love?

Is it just me or do most characters in YA books not fall in love anymore?

I don’t mean the cheesy or infatuated, #omghessohoticandie kind of love, but the real love, the true love?

I’m just missing it lately. I’ve read a lot of YA books and most of them involve the same thing. Hot guy that’s completely untouchable, girl who thinks she’s not the popular girl, and bam, they fall into this perpetual almost love mixed with action and falling down rabbit holes. That’s the cliche stereotype of course because more often than not the story line itself has some twists and turns like sometimes the characters that fall for each other are brother and sister, or sometimes they’re a guardian angel and not supposed to or sometimes they’re an ice prince or what not, but still.

Female characters get turned on by male characters, and vice versa but the love isn’t there.

The illusion of love is there, the “I got you into this crazy mess and then fought against the bad guys for you and now we’re together” is there, but that’s not all there is to love. It’s not all about dashing men sweeping in and not only causing the female lead to get into danger but then also saving her from said danger.

There’s also more to love than washboard, perfect bronze hair and chiseled lips. Most of the boys are like greek gods (sometimes literally, Starcrossed, Josephine Angelini) that come with these amazing unrealistic body types and then equally unrealistic personalities. The idea of having a regular guy in a book doesn’t seem to appeal to anyone anymore.

And then the idea of having a normal romance where the characters fall in love with each other because of their personalities is also lost. Most books deal with taboo romances or unrealistic romances or even dysfunctional romances that never last.

And yet, somewhere in between all the conflict the characters go through, not only the paranormal elements but the relationship elements, the reader is supposed to believe they love each other.

And that’s where I think the love has gone missing. We’re so wrapped up in the vanity, the sex, the attitude, and the action that the love aspect is lost.

Completely unrelated, I just started thinking about this today while editing Flame of Justice, the second book in the Ferryman and the Flame series. I can’t tell you much about this book because it’s not out yet, but I can tell you this: Krishani loves Kaliel with everything in him.

And it’s been really really difficult for me to edit because I keep crying.

Anyway, what do you think about the lack of real love in YA?

Is it really just me?

My Passion Play: Arwen and Aragorn, Lord of the Rings

Things going on in the bloggy world involving me this week include: This giveaway on Goodreads. I’ve got 3 more ARCs left for Flame of Surrender so if you want a copy, you can win one!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille

Flame of Surrender

by Rhiannon Paille

Giveaway ends October 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

And now for the Passion Play of the week!

I’m featuring Arwen and Aragorn from Lord of the Rings because it’s obviously one of my favorites.

Arwen and Aragorn originally met in Rivendell after Aragorn’s father was killed while fighting orcs. There’s a story about Arwen and Aragorn that exists outside of the Lord of the Rings as their part within the story is sparse. During their time in Rivendell they fell in love and Arwen agreed to marry Aragorn.

Arwen’s father Elrond, was against the marriage. Arwen was already 2700 years old and Aragorn was only a man. For her to be with him she would have to give up her immortality, something very dear to her and her people.

Aragorn reappears as Strider, a ranger that assists the hobbits in their quest. He becomes part of The Fellowship of the Ring. It is in Elrond’s court that the Fellowship is formed and therefore, Aragorn sees Arwen again. His feelings for her haven’t changed.

Throughout the quest to destroy the one ring Arwen and Aragorn both play their parts. Aragorn holds back in both the Fellowship and the Two Towers, not revealing that he is the King they have been looking for. In The Two Towers he helps to restore Rohan to its former glory and then in Gondor, Gandalf the White removes the man who is acting as King in order to give Aragorn his rightful place.

Arwen helps Aragorn awaken an undead army that was bound to his father by reforming the sword that wounded Sauron in the first war. They win, Aragorn takes over as King of Gondor and Arwen is brought to him, allowed to make her choice to give up her immortality to marry him.

It’s a classic tale of love, adventure and triumph and therefore will always be one of my favorites.

Do you want to partake in My Passion Play? Each week pick a couple from literature that you absolutely love and explain why they’re your favourite! Then come here and add yourself to the Linky List!

REVIEW: Sweet Light by Jen Wylie

The Blurb: When fate conspires against you and gives you three loves to choose from, what do you do? What if you make the wrong choice? Shara is a Healer, raised and trained from childhood until her unique gift manifests itself. When she gains the rank Journeyman she is hired to serve as the court healer for the barbaric kingdom of Glendor. Untrained for war, she is thrust unmercifully into its bloody arms when the kingdom is invaded. Ordered by her king to the front lines to tend the wounded, she is forced to flee when their camp is attacked. Happening upon a wounded soldier in the forest, every mile back to the capital is a struggle, and breaking the Healer’s code, she falls in love with her charge. If Shara thought that to be the least of her troubles, the appearance of a fierce warrior captain who appoints himself her protector, teaches her differently. Trouble comes in threes at the appearance of a former love and fellow healer. Faced with decisions of the heart and the sudden manifestation of her gift, there is little room for anything else to go wrong. Or at least that’s what Shara thought.

My Thoughts: I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It was very Celtic influenced which is something I loved about it, it included healers which again, love, and then there was an injured prince, and lots of kissing, which was again love.

I’ll admit I got lost when it came to Dric, Tirel and Yael, and I didn’t like the shifting POV’s I mean sometimes you can get away with it, and other times, I worry about it adding to the story or taking away from it. In a lot of cases it left me confused.

The violence factor is a little high and I was concerned about some of the references to adult themes, so I’m torn about calling it YA or Adult, but maybe it’s just New Adult, that would make the most sense to me. A lot of the violence was jarring and immediate, not to mention eye opening.

Thankfully readers you can rest assured that while this doesn’t have a happily ever after ending, it does have a satisfying ending and there’s no cliff hanger.

I wonder if Jen is planning a sequel to it, I look forward to it.

Recommendation: Go get this one, it’s awesome!

Namaste,

PSA: Supernatural Smackdown! (September)

Hey There!

I wanted to let you know that I’ll be participating in Supernatural Smackdown hosted by Parajunkee and Dark Faerie Tales!

Yes, Kaliel will be going into the ring to compete with some of the other badass supernatural characters out there.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the badassest of them all?

Click here for more information and when the time comes, be sure to vote for me! On twitter I’ll be using the hashtag #TeamFlame

I’ll be posting my um, “fan prize package” soon. It’ll be more than just giveaways I promise!

What I can already tell you about the fan package? Um, my post on September 11th during the showcase part of the tourney will feature an Alternate Ending to Flame of Surrender.
(OMG!)

Other things might include: Teasers, Deleted Scenes, Doodled in ARCs, and uncensored versions of the book trailer.

Supernatural Smack Down hosted by Dark Faerie Tales and Parajunkee's View

Namaste,
Rhi

REVIEW: Forever by Maggie Steifvater

The Blurb: then.

When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.

That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.

Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment – a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.(

The Short Stick: Heartbreaking, endearing, and right, so right.

The Goods: I kinda feel like the human language can’t do this book justice, because it can’t. Maggie doesn’t just write in english she writes in emotions, and energy and in those subtle gestures that everyone notices but nobody talks about. Body language in her books is dialogue and scent is memory and reality is grim.

In third books or last books in a series, all the things you thought should happen, but haven’t happened yet need to happen. And in this book they did, and then some. I was worried from some of the reviews I saw that it wouldn’t live up to standards, but it did, it exceeded them, I was proud of this ending. Yep, you read that right, proud. And it was because I knew where Maggie had to go to get here, how deep inside herself she had to dig to make this perfect, and unlike the rest of you, I know she wrote this book twice. I almost wonder what the first version looked like, and I wonder because I hope she kept at least half of it in here.

And that’s why she’s still my hero. I know I’ve become quite the Cassie Clare fan recently and I still hold to that but I’ll always be a Maggie fan too, and likely a fan of other authors as well.

And I have to say it, Maggie and Cassie have made me a better author. I’m a copycat, not gonna lie, but um, I’ll copy my favorites, just so happens they’re both bestsellers. And the nice thing is, I get to stay original while I do it. I do my best with Maggie’s prose, hers is way better than mine, but I try to keep up. Maggie always reminds me to slow down through the motions, to notice the little things, to keep it beautiful. I must say, I almost cried at the last chapter when she repeated the first line of Shiver. I do the repeating thing too, I like it, the flashbacks, the repetition. I don’t know where I picked it up, but you’ll notice the power in it when you get to read my novels. I loved that Maggie went there, reminding us of the past, constantly giving us those little images of where Sam and Grace began, all the while giving us what we needed in this book.

The things we needed. Beck, Sam and Grace as wolves, people trying to kill them, people dying, real deaths, and the best part of this, reality. This book is a nightmare housed in beauty and made worse by logic. Maggie doesn’t make light of the situation of turning into a wolf, she makes it a horrible, life ending thing that is an unavoidable truth.

In that way, it kinda makes me hate all the other authors who write about shapeshifting and make it seem like it’s adventurous, it’s awesome, or it’s natural.

FYI: Shapeshifting hurts like a bitch and it takes away who you are.

I loved how Maggie was trying to keep Sam and Grace as a contemporary YA couple, with all those contemporary issues like parents, and murder, and kidnapping and running away all still on the table. I loved how not everyone around them knew about this lifestyle and that Grace and Sam were above all else, humans, that happened to turn into wolves.

*cough* I’m so inadvertently dissing other people but I can’t help it, things I love about this book just jump out at me, they remind me of the last book I wrote and the things I made my characters do and when I thought “did I do the write thing with the third book in my series?”, technically the end of the trilogy. I finished reading Forever and thought, yes I did, and look at that, I finished my book before reading Forever, though believe me, this would have helped in the midst of some of the things I had planned for my third book.

So here’s to you Maggie, an awesome series finished, that will forever remain in our minds and hearts for a long time to come.

And there’s nothing bad to write, and nothing else to analyze because some books you can’t give a rating to, some books are just legends, they’re just so real that they live with you and you live with them, and that’s all there is to it.