Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Title: Angel Star
Author:  Jennifer Murgia
Series: Angel Star #1
ISBN: 978-0982500538
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing LLC
Pub. Date: May 2010
Genre: YA/Supernatural/ Romance/Angels/Fantasy/Christian 
Pages: P-256
Rating: 2 Kisses
Website: Author's


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.
But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel's malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.
Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel's sacrifice collides with another angel's vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Angel Star, written by Jennifer Murgia, is the story about good vs evil, or light vs. dark.  Teagan’s life isn’t that great:  she has only one friend, Claire, is the object of torture by a group of girls at school, is plagued by nighmares, and her father disappeared when she was a baby.  One day while sitting on a bench, a new transfer student, Garreth, approaches and talks to her.  He seems to shine/glow.  She realizes that not only does she feel strongly for him, he makes her feel safe from the nightmares and the dark shadows that seem to follow her.  Garreth is her guardian angel.  He has watched over her and kept her safe for years.  He is finally allowed to appear to her as a human, but only for eight days.  During those eight days her destiny will be revealed. 
       I had mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked the chemistry between Garreth and Teagan.  Their bond was beautiful.  Whenever Teagan was worried he would breathe for her, calming her.  It was so sweet.  Their dynamic was the best part of the book.  Hadrian, Lucifer’s brother, is the dark angel.  He tries to corrupt people’s guardian angels so that he can control humans.  Garreth and Teagan are constantly running from him.  When Hadrian starts targeting people close to Teagan, they stand and fight.  While Garreth symbolizes light, Hadrian represents the darkness.  Teagan finds herself drawn to Hadrian and the darkness only to be reminded of her light, Garreth.  This situation is parallel to the good-angel-bad-angel-on-your-shoulders.  Both are trying to pull Teagan in different directions and get her to do something.  It is both an internal and outward struggle for Teagan. 
       There were many things I didn’t like about this book.  There were times when I was confused as to the location of the characters; one minute they are talking in the car, the dialogue going, with no mention of leaving the car then all of a sudden they are in the park on a swing set swinging.  There were times when I couldn’t tell the difference between her nightmares and reality because she kept “waking up” suddenly in her bed like it was all a bad dream.  I could never tell if the action sense took place in her nightmare or in reality.  I really liked the basic story of Angel Star.  I think Jennifer Murgia could have slowed it down a bit by adding more detail to the action scenes and adding more depth to the characters. 
       Overall, this book wasn’t for me.  I didn’t really like it.  In all honesty, I only continued reading, and will probably read the sequel, Lemniscate, because of Garreth and Teagan’s relationship.  Their connection was deep, like down to the soul deep.  It was fascinating.  Jennifer Murgia’s idea was fresh and different from many of the angel books I’ve read. 



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Friday, April 15, 2011

BR: Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell

Title: Blood of the Maple
Author: Dana Marie Bell
Series: Maggie’s Grove #1
ASIN: B004RQD3XO
Publisher: Carina Press
Pub. Date: April 2011
Genre: Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/Supernatural/Fantasy/Romance
Words:  78,000
Rating: 3 Kisses
From: Net Galley
Buy: Amazon
Website: Author 


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie's Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn't experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn't long before craving gives in to need.
In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She's scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She's convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she's not one of the O-positive set, and can't believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.
When the witch who's been plaguing Parker's life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie's Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

My Reveries and Ramblings: I had such a hard time rating this book.  There were so many things I really liked about this book, but at the same time there were plenty of things that I didn’t like.  Blood of the Maple is about a playboy vampire, Parker, who moves to Maggie’s Grove with his best friend and ghost, Greg.  Maggie’s Grove is one of the only, if not the only, towns in the US that is completely supernatural.  Shortly after arriving, Parker meets Amara, a powerful dryad who lives next door.  They fall in love, but their relationship, and the town,  is threatened by Parker’s ex, an obsessive crazy witch who has been following Parker for years. 
       Amara is a really powerful dryad who was raised by a kind woman.  For reasons unknown to Amara, but revealed later in the book, the townspeople avoid her.  When they are not ignoring her, they are outwardly horrible to her.  Even though most of Maggie’s Grove hates her, she has a few friends, but she is still very lonely.  Amara spends most of her time in her garden and conversing with her tree. 
       After escaping from his ex, who was trying to make it so he could only drink from her blood, so they will be together forever, Parker is stuck drinking plant-like blood.  Before Amara, Greg would make a smoothie with a few drops of his blood mixed with certain plants.  After Greg dies and becomes a ghost, they move to Maggie’s Grove, where Parker falls in love with Amara and the final showdown with his ex takes place.
       Maggie’s Grove is such a quant town.  It’s like a supernatural version of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.  Everyone knows everyone.  The beings that inhabit Maggie’s Grove are shapeshifters, vampires, psychics, witches, dryads, etc.  When Parker’s ex threatens the town to get to Parker, everyone comes together to fight her. 
       I loved the fresh take on the supernatural.  The problems I had with this book had to do with all the random sex scenes.  Some were appropriately placed but I felt that others were just unneeded.  Yes, I know this is a paranormal romance-stressing the romance, but still. Having said that, I still liked this book and will definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out.  


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Black Dagger Brotherhood and carrot cake...

      Hi everyone.  So sorry I haven't been posting that many reviews lately....its just that, well, my amazing parents got me the entire Black Dagger Brotherhood series for my birthday! YAY!  So I've basically been sitting in bed or on the couch rereading the first few books and reading (for the first time) the rest.  LOVE this series! I just finished Phury's story and AHH!! All the changes that happen! Anyway, since I haven't been posting much lately I'm going to try and post a review for Blood of the Maple in the next few days.
      For today though, here is a special treat (literally).  Vegan Carrot Cake.  Need I say more!  Okay, so I'm a really healthy eater.  Most of the meals I make are vegetarian or vegan-only because I don't like cooking meat (but I love eating it).  And also because those cuisines are healthy.  Anyway, my parents eat a lot of chicken and meat with their meals so when they hear or see the word "vegan" they tend to avoid it.  Well, I had a discussion with my mom about how a lot of vegan food is really good, health-wise because of the substitutions such as applesauce and flaxseed.  Fast-forward a few days and I offer to bake my sister a carrot cake for her friend.  It had to be vegan.  I hadn't baked anything since Thanksgiving (I know! its been too long!) so I was more than happy to do it.  I searched the internet and found a recipe which was not healthy BUT was vegan and so delicious.  It took every ounce of willpower to not go back for 3rds.  I ended up making 2 cakes.  One for my sister's friend and one for my family.  Anyway, my mom was shocked at how delicious a vegan dessert could be.  Personally, I could taste no difference between a vegan carrot cake and a regular non-vegan carrot cake.  The only thing I did differently on my family's carrot cake was the icing.  I used regular cream cheese.  The vegan cream cheese was too watery for my taste.  Click here for the recipe.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy #1
ISBN: 9780061985843
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub. Date:  August 2010
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance
Pages: H-352; P-368
Rating: 5 Kisses
Extra(s): Read an Excerpt
Website: Author's 

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):  Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.  But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.  So much for normal.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  I really enjoyed this book.  If I had to give a one word review for this book it would be AWESOME.  It was so much fun.  Kiersten White weaved together a fantastic story stuffed with action, suspense, a bit of mystery, romance, and just about everything paranormal. 
       Paranormalcy is told through Evie’s POV.  Evie grew up in the foster care system, never knowing her parents, until she was 8 years old.  That was when she was almost the victim of a vampire attack.  She freaked out in front of the vampire because she could see through his glamour to the dead corpse beneath it.  This ability caught the attention of the agent “bagging and tagging” the vampire.  No other paranormal or human can see through paranormal glamour.  Since Evie didn’t have a family, the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) adopted her.  Her mother figure, Raquel, makes sure Evie is tutored as well as trained.  At 16, she can successfully “bag-and-tag” a paranormal.  Even though the IPCA is much better than the foster care system, Evie still longs to go to a normal high school, complete with a locker and friends.  The only friend she has is a mermaid, Lish, who talks through a monotone communicator since she can’t actually speak English and lives underwater.  When a paranormal takes the shape of Raquel and starts looking through her office, Evie, who can see through his glamour, tasers him (with Tasey!).  When he drops to the ground unconscious, he turns transparent, like water, but still solid like a person.  Evie succumbs to her curiosity and starts spending time with “water boy,” Lend.  Evie has never seen a paranormal like him, neither has anyone at IPCA, and because of that (and the fact that he broke in) he is kept there.  Lend can change how he looks and can shift into other people easily.  One day is an adorable Chinese boy and the next, the star of Easton Heights, Evie’s favorite TV show.  He also enjoys shifting into Evie’s form.  Although he can’t get her eyes right.  As they spend more and more time together, Evie finds she has a crush on Lend.  Evie’s ex, Reth, doesn’t seem to want to let go.  Reth, a faerie, shows up randomly temporarily kidnapping Evie or burning her throughout the book.  Of course Lend is quite helpful during these visits, coming to her rescue, or at least trying.  Reth also doesn’t seem too concerned about the paranormals all over the world dropping dead.  In fact, he seems more concerned with spending uninterrupted time with Evie. 
       Evie was such an interesting character.  Her POV was so refreshing and so much fun.  Having grown up in the IPCA, she’s never been to a high school or had any normal human friends her own age.  She’s in her element when she’s on an assignment or inside the IPCA, but she really wants to live a normal teenage life.  After meeting Lend, she gets a taste as to what her life could have been if she wasn’t different.  After being plagued by dreams of a girl named Vivian and learning that she isn’t actually allowed to leave the ICPA, she goes through an identity crisis.  Evie learns that what you are doesn’t define who you are.  She learns that it’s the choices we make that choose our paths and who we are. 
       Lend helps Evie a lot in Paranormalcy.  While she’s going through her identity crisis, he is right there helping her figure it all out.  When Lend and Evie first officially meet, he doesn’t trust her enough to show her his true form, even though Evie and see it underneath his disguises (glamour).  He is insecure with who he is, as a paranormal.  He doesn’t know where he fits in since he’s one of a kind.  I thought he was so cute!  He was so admirable and such a great guy.  He and Evie were perfect together. They both complimented each other.  Evie could see Lend perfectly.  In fact, she even preferred his true self better than the main form he takes.  There is one scene later in the book when he shows her what he really looks like.  In it Evie thinks he is gorgeous and he is so shy about how he looks, my heart just melted.  When he spoke to her in that scene, Evie heard his real voice and told him that she didn’t think she could go back to hearing his fake voice.  It was such an intimate scene, probably one of my favorites in the whole book.   This theme of beauty on the inside is seen throughout. 
       Ah, Reth.  I’m not sure how to describe him.  He’s Evie’s ex-boyfriend (well, ex-almost-boyfriend).  Evie, who grew up feeling cold and alone, confused having a crush/like-liking someone with the faerie feeling Reth was giving her.  Reth would always fill her up with warmth, almost touching her heart.  This made Evie scared that he would steal her heart and soul after they “broke up.”  Reth has a terrible temper.  Get him mad and he might kill.  Threaten Evie, and he most definitely will.  He is extremely protective of her.  But Evie would rather never see him again.  I felt like his intentions were good, and I think he cared about Evie, but at the same time I’m not sure.  His actions were a bit on the sketchy side. 
       Paranormalcy was a delightful read.  I had a lot of fun reading it.  When Evie experienced “normal life” for the first time, it wasn’t odd or unbelievable.  Kiersten White didn’t make Evie na├»ve, ignorant, and gullible.  She also didn’t make her into that teenaged character who acts like she’s 25, not 16.  Evie was very much 16, but she wasn’t stupid.  Evie was very well aware of her situation and her surroundings.  It was very believable.  This skill made the story so much more engrossing.  I really cared about the characters and what happened to them.  I can’t wait until the next book, Supernaturally, comes out in August of this year (2011)!!!


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Friday, April 1, 2011

Quick Recap


Don't forget about my Big Birthday Giveaway.  There is only one more day left!!!! 


Reviews:

Coming Soon:
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White Review
Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell Review
Dhampir by Barb Hendee and J.C. Hendee Review
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