Friday, April 24, 2015

The Decaying Empire by Laura Thalassa

When eighteen-year-old teleporter Ember Pierce wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, she remembers only the basics: she’s been trained by the government as a spy, she’s sent on dangerous missions, and her last assignment—the one that landed her in the hospital—was a setup.

Caden Hawthorne has spent the past ten months of his life grieving Ember’s death. So when she shows up in his room like an apparition, he can’t believe his eyes. But this Ember is different. Her hair is longer, her skin is paler, her gaze is haunted. She tells him what he’s already begun to suspect: someone he trusted betrayed her.

Now, uncertain who is friend and who is foe, Ember and Caden face the toughest mission of their lives—to stay together and survive, as they run from danger toward an unknown future.

5 stars!! 

There is so much happening in this sequel! We hit the ground running right where we left off in The Vanishing Girl and its a full out action pact sprint to the end. I have to say that Laura Thalassa might be one of the best at pacing and writing action pact scenes. Our hearts are pounding throughout this sequel and I loved that. No sophomore slump here! 

Ember is almost completely different then the Ember we met in book one, but I would hope that everyone would expect her to be. She's a lot stronger, but at the same time her weaknesses are more apparent making her a hell of a lot more combative. Animal trapped in the corner analogy works great here. But she has many, many more reasons to fight beyond herself.

Her relationship with Caden is very intense, but then it's reflective of their life and situation. Not that I'm complaining here. I do think it's kind of sad we said goodbye to the jovial Caden. I guess when the you find out Oz is just some dude moving a machine it tends to disillusion you. He remains Ember's solid ground and she needs it. I will say the heat is turned allllll the way up in this one. And! AND! We get some scenes from Caden's POV!!! Very illuminating stuff, my fellow readers. YEEEEP!!!

Now its strange because there is a lot of things happening in this story...A LOT...but at the same time the truth is a slow drip throughout. And it isn't until the very, very, very (did I say very?) end that the veil is lifted and my Kindle went sailing across the room. 

I don't want to give too much away because there are a lot of twist and turns in this installment. Many of which will piss people off (in a frustrated, when the hell is book 3 coming out kinda way), but it's worth the ride! Laura Thalassa is one of my favorite authors, she world-builds her ass off and has such a talent of characterization. Go read, people!! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Elements of Chemistry: Heat by Penny Reid

Expected Publication Date: April 30th, 2015!!!

Elements of Chemistry: HEAT is part 2 of a 3 part series (65k word novel) and ends in a cliffhanger. 

**Blurb contains spoilers if you haven’t read Elements of Chemistry: ATTRACTION**
Four days left.
Private beach (…and boat).
Not so invisible girl.
And maybe less of a jerk-faced bully than originally thought.
What’s the worst (or the best) that could happen?

Kaitlyn is finding life outside of the science cabinet of obscurity to be quite illuminating …and so are her pants. 
When things heat up between Kaitlyn Parker and Martin—previously known as the jerk-faced bully—Sandeke, she places her trust in the one person she never thought capable of earning it, let alone keeping it safe. Fortunately or unfortunately for Kaitlyn, where she gives her trust she can’t help but also give her heart.

But how will the world beyond the sanctuary of their newfound connection react to their relationship? Soon senators, chinless billionaires, and elements beyond Martin and Kaitlyn’s control want to weigh in on the young couple’s future.

Navigating the chaotic inferno of new love might be more than Kaitlyn bargained for, and much, much more than her trust—or her heart—can handle.

Add to your Goodreads!! 

Heat picks up exactly in the moment Attraction leaves off so that's good, but if you think there's smooth sailing...or rowing...after that THEN GET OFF THIS TRAIN BECAUSE NOPE. And here's why, Grasshoppers. 

So this installment went in a direction I wasn't expecting and I love that I was surprised! Kaitlyn completely stands on her own now, all similarities to Janie are gone. I figured this would happen as we delved deeper into the novel so if that was a worry for you be rest assured! I'm going to be in the minority here because although this installment is called Heat and though Kaitlyn and Martin's relationship progresses, I find that Kaitlyn starts to cool off...about the same time her heart engages. In the beginning, we have her initiating some actions and vocalizing her want (however hilariously awkward it may be) but then her heart gets involved and she starts drawing lines in the sands of their sexual relationship until she's sure all parties are on the same page. Because it becomes something else when the hearts involved, doesn’t it? As Kaitlyn says she wants it to mean something and as we head towards this mother effer of a cliff hanger we see why this is a good idea. This doesn't mean there isn't a lot of sexual Attraction in this installment. Man, do things Heat up. It certainly Captures your attention....heh, I'll see myself out. LOLZ. 

In all seriousness, we can forgive Kaitlyn's need to slow down. After all, her counterpart here is Martin. And well, Martin is very, very, very compelling. He’s as compelling a character as Alex from Love Hacked. I could tell in the first book that he had some kind of dark past. We see the tip of the iceberg and even that is very telling because it explains a LOT of how he reacts to things. And Martin is a very reactionary person. He’s ruled by his emotions. He is very full-speed ahead and it's at once disarming and kind of alarming. Why is he so intent on jumping so many levels with Kaitlyn? It's like he needs to know that he has her in every sense of the word.  HMMM.  To be totally honest, he's starting to steal the show which is crazy since normally Penny's female leads are so charismatic. I honestly am starting to like him a lot more than Kaitlyn. He's more compelling and I find that his story is more interesting. 

Also apparently Penny can write characters that actually make my skin crawl. I get such a happy, content feeling from her books that I honestly didn’t think it was possible for her to write a convincing villain. Not because she wasn’t talented enough, but because even when her books are sad there is this joy tinged poignancy to them. When someone so clearly lives in the light, it’s hard to imagine they know what darkness is. Truly knows what the guts are made of. Maybe it's just the true talent of Penny Reid. She’s a chameleon. OR I'm assuming all this because I overanalyze everything hence these long ass reviews for serials hahahaha! Back to the review-> BUT when we meet Martin’s father and to a lesser degree, Martin’s step-mother (which is insane to say “lesser” but she honestly creeps me out less) it’s like Penny had brunch with the Devil and took notes. Creeped. Out. How many Disney movies did you need to watch after having those two in your head?

So now we move to the Kramer-gif inducing cliffhanger (his head was exploding in a very Cosmo way). WELP. I'm not sure if it's because I'm so worked up from Martin and Kaitlyn being uncompromising buttholes or because cliffhangers in general make me Hulk out, but I blew the lid on this one. Y'all I had to wait 2 WEEKS to write this review. Mostly because I had to keep chanting "They are only teenagers. They are only teenagers." until my emotions leveled out. BECAUSE WHAT THE EFF, YOU TWO?! Ok, see? I'm using shouty caps. I'm not necessarily mad at you, Penny. I know we have little control over what our characters do, but....EFFFFFF. I'm not a spoiler-y person so I'm not going to tell you what happens, but I will tell you that you will never in your life wish more that you could slap two fictional people. 

But I digress. Finger snaps to Penny for writing one the most angst driven books she's ever attempted without falling into the mind-numbing trope pit of New Adult. Even if she uses NA themes, she turns them on their head. So thank you, Great Pendulum (your new nickname for the remainder of this review). This is my favorite installment so far and the EoC serial might be my favorite serial I've ever read. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Elements of Chemistry: Attraction by Penny Reid

Publication Date: April 9th, 2015 

Elements of Chemistry, part 1
One week.
Private beach.
Invisible girl.
Jerk-faced bully.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.
Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family's billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.
When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

Add to your TBR on Goodreads!!

Elements of Chemistry is Penny's New Adult series/serial (I'd call it a series since they are basically full length novels) and Attraction is part 1.  I have to say from the looks of things, we've got another success on our hands, chickens! 

Here are some thing's I liked about Kaitlyn -> she's a great example of a young woman embracing her sexuality. I don't mean sexual preference, I mean she is aware she has a libido and doesn't attach a stigma to it. Yes. Thank you. Moving on. I also like her somewhat robotic personality. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but it's hilarious and whenever emotions get high she's like "Does not compute! Does not compute! Malfunction! Malfunction!" and shenanigans ensue. I don't think it's for any other reason then she idolizes her very powerful mother (who IS Hilary Clinton. This is who I picture and hear) and she herself has an extremely analytical mind. This makes her general bewilderment with Martin fantastic. He doesn't fit her mold because one would think that being the son of a genius means he would also be detached and analytical...kind of like her. But he's not. Martin is passionate and he sparks hers and it just befuddles the hell out of her. 

BUT...and there is a but because I wouldn't be me if there wasn't...

Kaitlyn is very familiar...she reminds me A LOT of Janie. They have different quirks, but I get the same vibe. It's almost as if we are reading about her life in college which is totally ok because Janie made me fall in love with Penny. It's still too early to tell though if this is going to be a hinderance or not because I don't want to compare the two the entire time. Penny's books and characters are slow builds (I love this) so even though it's part 1 and it's quite a chunk of the story at 45k, I have it on good authority that the other parts are longer. This signals to me that we will have more character development so fingers crossed I'll start to see Kaitlyn and not mini-Janie. 

Now I am totally on the fence with Martin. I think Martin is on the fence with Martin. It's like he's read his own bio and that's as much as he knows about himself. I get it, he's young and in college. I've come to find out that your twenties are devoted to figuring out who you are and even then, it's like screw it, I still don't know. But I think Martin is known for his family and his "name" rather than who he is as a person. It's obvious he's attracted to Kaitlyn because that kind of superficial pandering doesn't even register for her, but beyond knowing that he's physically attracted to her and that he knows she doesn't have ulterior motives where his family is concerned, I don't think he knows what he wants from her. So it leaves me a little on the fence on whether or not I want to trust him with my feelings (can I just say that in any other context I would sound like a lunatic but because I'm talking to fellow book nerds, I know you get it? Ugh normal people!). Also, there is SO MUCH unknown about him. Martin is still too much of a mystery to form any kind of opinion yet, but I will tell you that I am intrigued! 

Writing/dialogue/blah, blah blah...come on. It's a Penny Reid. You know you're getting quality. I love that she's trying NA. I think it's important to challenge yourself as a writer by exploring different genres. It keeps you sharp! 

OH and yeah...there's a cliffhanger. And it's a doozy. I was warned and I still growled like a wild animal. Luckily I get ARCs so I don't have to wait toooooooooo long (and Penny, girl, if you want to send that a little earlier I'd be MUCH OBLIGED). On the bright side the release dates are pretty close! Sometimes it pays to be titillated! Awesome start to the series, I'm excited to see what happens next! Also I super love rowing and was daydreaming about broad shoulders for AT LEAST a full day after I finished so that's also something to look forward to :) 

OH! Connection! Sorry, you would think that since I'm typing this it would prevent me from rambling because editing and such, but nope! I just realized how TRUE the title is! This whole first part is about attraction! Kaitlyn and Martin's initial attraction to each other! Granted I'm probably reading way too much into this, but it totally makes sense! Gah! Penny, you genius (even if unintentional)! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jinxed by Donna Augustine!!

Karma, it’s what they call me and the very essence of who I am. When I died young, I was recruited by the agency that keeps the Universe running smoothly. As someone with a human past, most of my coworkers consider me inferior.

But not everyone. Something evil has been stalking me for centuries. It’s been biding its time, waiting for the moment when it will strike and it needs me to to do it.

Its methods of recruitment are tearing apart every aspect of my life. I’m slowly losing myself, both mentally and physically. I don’t know who I can count on but I'm finding out how much I'm willing to sacrifice to save the ones I care about.

5 Stars!!

Ok so here's the's taken me a little bit to write this review for no other reason than I have to digest Donna's books. I know that sounds weird and well...biologically impossible, but trust me it's necessary. Her world-building is some of the best in the Urban Fantasy biz and it can be very involved which is a good thing! Seriously, nothing DNFs a book quicker for me than lazy world building. 

That being said, I had to sit with what happened in book 2 because Jinxed is VERY different than Karma and I was seriously surprised and am even more excited for the possibilities of this series than ever before. I've read everything (I think? I'm pretty sure!) of Donna's and this might be one of the darkest books she's written. The entire tone of the book is self-reflective and almost...constrictive.  I don't know how else to put it other than that because you see, Karma is paralyzed by decisions and lack of decisions she makes/can't make/refuses to make in this sequel and it reads so well that we feel the same paralyzing anxiety/fear. Not only is it beyond amazing to go through this journey with Karma (if a little frustrating because if she would just TALK TO FATE GRRRR), but it also showcases the developing talent of the author. 

I have a feeling Karma is going to tick a lot of people off, but to be honest who the hell wants to read about a heroine who gets everything right and is totally awesome ALL THE TIME. It's boring...I may have been royally pissed off at her, but I knew she would learn something from her mistakes and people, I'm sorry, but that's called CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (I may or may not be a little passionate about this lol.) 

Another thing, which to be completely frank, might be a hit or miss with a lot of readers is the amount of info that is given in this installment. In my opinion, it was a natural progression for this book 1 we have Camilla getting used to her role as Karma, now in Jinxed we have Karma assuming her role and dealing with the emotional aspects of what that means while also discovering the truth of the world she's now a part of. 

With Donna's signature fantastic dialogue, spicy scenes between Fate and Karma (thanks in part to a cheeky Cupid) and a host of wonderful secondary characters, Jinxed is a perfect addition to the Karma series! I can't wait to read the next one! (Donna...that was direct to you! *wink*)