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Posts tagged “Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier: Frodo’s Review

Sapphire Blue

Summary From Goodreadssapphire blue

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

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I received an ARC of Sapphire Blue from the awesome people over at ARCycling in exchange for an honest review.

Sapphire Blue was a lot of fun to read because the world Kerstin Gier has created is freaking wonderful. I love the crazy deep cast of characters, the time travel arcs, and the historical aspects are fantastic. I knew I was enthralled by this book pretty early on. Why you might ask? I was able to move past the only issue this book has, OMG-esque relationship issues.

The first part of this book is forgettable, and I was really worried that I was going to have to slog through a whiny MC/angsty romance/blah fest that left the world untouched. There is this confusing are they/aren’t they together thing going on, neither of them seem to know what they want, and it’s frustrating. Also, Gwen wasn’t my favorite MC in Ruby Red, just alright, so this wasn’t earning her any points. Too much whining and behaving like a child. Luckily, this period only lasted a few chapters.

Then…BOOM! The action picks up, Gwen doesn’t have time to deal with boy drama, and we get historical attire, a fantastic party, and MOAR TIME TRAVEL!!! The depictions of the dresses, the hair, and the overall ensemble are so much fun to read, plus we get more time with Madame Rossini, my favorite secondary character. Gwen makes a fool of herself (per usual) but she really grows as a character as the book progresses which I’m SO happy about. Also, 18th century party? I can haz? YAY!!! It was so much fun and weeeee, you just need to read it!

Ruby Red teased us with the Lucy & Paul arc, but Sapphire Blue ramps it up a bit and I loved every minute. Both characters are really engaging, the romance is sweet, and Lucy especially is a standout strong character, despite us getting more Paul in this one. I want more Lucy in Emerald Green, please let it be so! *stares at it on my shelf nervously*

Anyway…I know this review is really filled with me rambling, but that’s because, despite it’s minor faults and rough beginning, I had sooo much fun reading it! I’ve heard Emerald Green is the action-packed book of the trilogy, which makes that even more enticing, but Sapphire Blue was silly, and, I think, intentionally so. Come on, Gier even threw in a sarcastic gargoyle! Sapphire Blue is meant for the laughs, and I had a bunch of them. Overall it is just a great, light read that anyone who enjoyed Ruby Red will love. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #165/200; 2013 TBR Pile #75/50; Mount TBR Challenge #75/150

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The Mirrored Shard by Caitlin Kittredge: Frodo’s Review

The Mirrored Shard

Summary From Goodreads

Aoife Grayson must face death to win back Dean—the love who was ripped from the Iron Lands of the living when he was shot in the arctic north. But getting to the Deadlands is something that Aoife can’t do on her own. And if she can find a way there, Tremaine would surely never allow it. He has sworn to keep her in the Thorn Lands, the fairie home of her mother, Nerissa. But Aoife is determined to find her way out. And she has no trouble if that means she has to kill Tremain and his queen to do it.

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I received an ARC of The Mirrored Shard from the awesome people over at ARCycling in exchange for an honest review.

The Mirrored Shard is a book that drove me crazy. I like the worlds that Kittredge created, each with beings that, while they had different goals, were all twisted in some way. The different beings are reflections of people today, divided, but all of us equally flawed, no one exempt. The dimensional travel was something I really enjoyed and it was what got me to read this book to begin with. The worlds are depicted in such detail and are so vivid that I felt what it would be like to experience each one and that was amazing. The Iron Lands are reminiscent of the Iron Age with their world consumed by the mechanical, but with a futuristic twist to it, a nod to science fiction books set in futuristic settings. The Thorn Lands are pure magic, but because of that there is just as much twisted as there is good in it, it is greed and raw desire of humans transformed into and embodied by the fae. The Deadlands are our worse fears, an industrial version of the biblical Hell, and more twisted evil all rolled into one place. These worlds were a lot of fun to explore.

Now here is the but you were waiting for. I enjoyed exploring those worlds and everything between, but the whole time I wished I could be taking that journey with anyone BUT Aofie. Seriously, any side character will do, can we get a swap? No? I thought as much. She’s whiny, she keeps saying, or we are at least constantly told, that she is strong, that she refuses to show weakness. Despite that supposed version of the main character what I kept seeing was Dean. I miss Dean. I love Dean. I’ll die if I can’t save Dean. You know what it reminded me of? New Moon where Bella is running in the forest after Edward leaves her calling out his name repeatedly like a lunatic. It is one of the most irritating scenes I can remember in a film and Aofie did the same thing with Dean. Too much of the book was hearing her cry, whine, scream, and lose her shit over this guy. Ugh.

I do love the baddies in this book though, and there were plenty of them. Tremaine in the Thorn Lands reminds me of a stuck up rich kid type character, thinking they run the place and that people should do whatever they want, and mostly just acting like a jerk. I won’t spoil it, but the Deadlands has another big bad guy that makes Tremaine seem cute and cuddly by comparison, and he’s off his rocker which is awesome. The Iron Lands bad guys, the Brotherhood, are pretty tame because compared to a bunch of magical beings it is hard to see a mafia-style set of guys as all that scary. Oh and the Old Ones make a few appearances and those magical and mystical ancient beings certainly are not in a good mood. Overall just a great job by Kittredge on giving the reader a bunch of evil people to detest. I think I enjoyed them more than I should have because I didn’t mind Aofie having to go through some crap, at least give her reasons to whine as much as she does.

The writing is pretty solid in the book, with the only complaint that some of the terminology is pretty simplistic and cliche. Outside of that minor issue I think Kittredge has a good style and if her goal was to make us dislike the MC, though I don’t think it was, a congratulations are in order. My last note is on the ending. The Mirrored Shard is the final book in the trilogy and in the end you are faced with a bunch of awesomeness about to go down, a cool climactic battle approaching, the fate of potentially all the worlds at stake and…the book ends. That’s it. There seems to be another book worth of stuff that could go down, but it is not to be. So that kind of sucks. Overall this is a good, but not great book for me. If you can get past the MC being a whiner the worlds, writing, and plot are well worth it. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #151/200

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Mini Review Monday: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

MiniReviewMonday

 

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Summary From Goodreads

Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language-and William Shakespeare-here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a great mix of Shakespeare style writing, the classic Star Wars you know and love, and some extra humor thrown in. Doescher, and Murray Biggs who helped him with some of the “Shakespearean pastiche”, combined to do a very nice job on getting the technical aspects of writing in Shakespeare’s style correct, which is huge in making sure this book flows.

A lot of the better known lines are used throughout the piece, with a twist of course, and that made it seem like I was watching the movie at the same time. One of the things that sets this book apart is that Doescher used asides, or breaks from the “play”, to show added depth for the characters and what they were thinking. As the vast majority of people reading this have watched or read Star Wars I won’t analyze the characters, plot, or the other usual aspects. You know the story, but William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a fantastic addition to any Star Wars fan. I couldn’t help but say some of the lines out loud or sing along with the chorus so you know it’s a lot of fun. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #145/200

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess by Zoe E. Whitten

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess

Summary From Goodreads:

It’s a simple story about a half-orc barbarian, an elvish thief, a nightmare, a quest, a kidnapping…I’ll start over. It’s a complicated and raunchy romp following the gastronomical and sexual adventures of Lana the light-fingered and Bran of Greenwood in their quest for a certain belt. A 2010 NaNoWriMo “winner,” this is cheesy porn at its finest, best read after The Hunger Games. Yes, really.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The thing you have to understand when you go to read this story is that the author says in a note to her readers that this is a “lazy doodle” so it isn’t one of her masterpieces. This makes it all the more amazing how great the story turns out to be. I laughed throughout the entire piece, from the nods to Monty Python to the joking references to The Hunger Games, from the “normal” sexual tales to the absolutely bizarre and hilarious, it all works.

The characters are fun and engaging, the story is really strong and would hold up on its own which is quite the feat, and Lana’s plight is actually quite moving. There is a sweet relationship mixed in with the silly sexual exploits that take place and they mesh very well. Simply put, it’s all of Whitten’s fantastic skill mixed in with hilarity and naughty bits. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a light naughty story. Thanks for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #142/200

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Pigments of My Imagination by Angela Kulig: Frodo’s Review

Pigments of My Imagination

Summary From Goodreads

From the moment Lucia steps into Bayside Art Academy, she is fed a steady stream of lies, but it’s not until she meets William that she begins to question the people she trusts. Unraveling fact from fabrication seems impossible until Lucia finds her first painting, and discovers the dead do not lie–at least not to her.

A dozen lifetimes ago, Lucia started a war. Not a war with armies or guns, but a bloody war nonetheless. The path leading Lucia to the truth is hidden within lovely art that spans the ages. In this life, however, Lucia doesn’t know where to look. Lost, she turns to the one thing she knows with certainty–she is in love with Leo, and has been before.

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I received an eBook copy of Pigments of My Imagination from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Pigments of My Imagination (from now on abbreviated as PoMI) is a book that I needed time to fully process, which, if you know my normal reviewing style, is pretty strange. You see, PoMI is unlike any book you’ve ever read. No really, if you can find me a book that is legitimately similar I’ll give you a cookie or something, but mostly I’ll just be very surprised. It’s original, so much so that I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, until now.

PoMI is a seamless blend of artistic expression, beautiful writing, and a bittersweet romance. It has elements that I’m still not sure if I would categorize as science-fiction or fantasy, maybe it is a bit of both melded together. The book is mystery and suspense, friendship and the deepest of true love, and maybe above all, discovery of one’s self.

PoMI asks what a lifetime is really worth and what is the best way to spend it. It examines bonds and which are the strongest. Is it familial, friendship, love? Can they all be one and the same? Who is your real family and what would you do for them no matter the cost?

Pigments of My Imagination is such a fitting title because as I read it I felt like I was in an artist’s dream, a fantasy of what the world might be like if all of the art forms in your head could become reality. The imagery is vivid and described in such a way that I couldn’t help but be drawn in. The academy is only the beginning, though it is lovely, and from alleyways to tunnels, from the city in the present to forests of the past, all of it is wondrous and depicted beautifully and in such detail.

I’m fully aware that this review isn’t my normal style, where I break down my main elements and summarize at the end, but that’s because PoMI isn’t a typical read. The word to describe it, if there is one, is more. It’s more than a book. The story is more than just a tale of lovers reunited. The characters are more than teenagers, deeper somehow, richer, and more vibrant. The area around them is magical both in the literal and figurative sense, filled with wonderment, and yet its darkest corners and crevices might be filled with just as much evil as our own world.

While PoMI had some minor flaws, nothing stood out enough to overcome how amazing and original the piece is. I encourage you to read it, you’ll never see anything else like it anywhere, trust me. This is art. This is magic. This is Angela Kulig at her finest. Thanks as always for reading.

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #138/200

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Jennifer’s Journal #1: Snatched by the Greys

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Jennifer’s Journal #1: Snatched by the Greys

Summary From GoodreadsJennifers Journal

My name is Jennifer, and this is my journal. My psychiatrist suggested that I keep a journal to write down my thoughts, particularly as they relate to a series of events in my life that no one seems to believe really happened.

You see. I was snatched by the Greys. Apparently they have a penchant for human women, or human pussy anyhow, because they fucked me six ways till Sunday before letting me go.

The Greys are a species of alien. At least that’s the way that I understand it. I’m not a scientist. Even if I were, I’m not convinced that there is a classification system for these creatures, at least not in the way that I learned in high school.

I’m not some sort of conspiracy theorist or crazy person. I don’t cover my head with tinfoil to keep the Greys from hearing my thoughts, and I don’t go to UFO conventions. Area 51 may or may not contain the remains of dead aliens and the spaceship they rode in on. I have absolutely no idea.

The only thing that I know for sure is what happened to me. I got fucked by aliens, and I liked it.

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It’s time for another Twitreview! This is where I tweeted live as I was reading the story and I feel like it is the best way to describe my feelings toward the piece. A compilation of tweets that, at least in the last two cases, has resulted in much hilarity. I hope you enjoy!


YA Wednesday: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

YAWednesday

The Nightmare Affair

Summary From Goodreads: 

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

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The Nightmare Affair caused much inner turmoil for me. The book has wonderful paranormal aspects, a rich and complex world and plenty of hilarity. However, the characters and I did not get along very well, many of the actions of the characters and their dialogue were childish and the ending was lackluster. So ya, I’m not sure what I should focus on more to determine my overall feelings beyond “mixed” or something similar.

So, lets start with the paranormal awesomeness since I want some positive vibes to at least start us off. You want ALL the types? You came to the right place! There are nightmares, witches and wizards, hags, sirens, fairies, well you get the idea. Arnett utilizes many of these paranormal creatures to their fullest potential and then some. She gives depth and a twist on each one to make them fresh and unique. Yes, there is a focus on a few types, but if you’re looking for a few new ones to read about you came to the right book.

The world in The Nightmare Affair is equally as awesome as the characters that inhabit it. The school really came to life for me and while some of the goings on weren’t wonderful I definitely would love to check a place like that out. Ooo and the creepy graveyard and the super freaky crypt? Loved those! Arnett definitely has a knack for creating a captivating world.

Dusty, the MC, gave me mixed feelings. While I enjoyed the edge she often had and her witty jokes there were parts about her that drove me crazy. One example of that would be her going crazy for seemingly every attractive boy she encountered or that gave her the time of day, it was just sad. Also, despite Dusty being an outcast because she’s a nightmare she is way too trusting. Meeting a person for the first time? Practically acts like they have a trust formed from years of bonding. It’s bizarre. Oh and the constant “woe is me because of my mother’s reputation” thing got old really fast. So ya, I kinda liked her but she bugged me at the same time. Eh.

Now, the not-so-fun parts. Love triangle? Check. Insta-love? Mega-super-sized check. The romance was pretty predictable, the direction it went obvious and the ending rushed and without purpose or build up. It was just a mess for me and the amount of times I had to hear how hot this guys is, how sexy the other one’s abs are, just stop it. Bleh.

Predictability. Unfortunately the plot was pretty obvious. The first encounter with one of the major secondary characters might as well of had “BAD GUY ALERT” stamped on it with red flags and flashing signs and lights. Some of the “twists” at the end were just as bad, especially with the crypt. I won’t elaborate because of spoilers and all but really this was what left me unsatisfied with the book overall. I could get over the romantic mess and Dusty’s quirks but when the book’s direction is clear 1/3 of the way in I am not going to be adding it to my love list.

So ya, I didn’t love the Nightmare Affair, but I didn’t hate it either. The flaws were pretty glaring but there were good parts that I did enjoy. It is Mindee Arnett’s debut so I’m curious to see how her writing develops from here. There is plenty of potential for the series but some tweaks and some surprises that aren’t quite so obvious would be welcome. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #131/200

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Antigoddess by Kendare Blake: Frodo’s Review

Antigoddess

Summary From GoodreadsAntigoddess Cover

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

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If you’ll excuse me for just one second, there is something very important I need to do.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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Alright, much better. Antigoddess, in case the outburst didn’t clue you in, is absolutely fabulous. I have loved mythology, Greek mythology in particular, since grade school, so this book and I were meant to be. However, even if you don’t have a fondness for mythology going into Antigoddess I think you’ll love it (almost) as much as I did.

Kendare Blake is a genius for putting that spin on the gods, making them seem almost human with their illnesses. It’s something that just isn’t done, making the gods, those that are immortal, incredibly powerful, and sometimes seemingly invincible against every force but themselves, die? It’s so crazy that it works. Instead of having a disconnect with this all powerful being because we have such a hard time relating to them, they become vulnerable, and all humans can relate to that feeling. What got me the most about using this tactic, is that I felt such an overwhelming sadness, seeing these gods weaken, as well as feeling outraged that they had to suffer. The emotions were intense and they drove me through the book at a pretty frantic speed. I NEEDED the gods to find a solution, a good one, something to set things right. This isn’t how it is supposed to be, fix them already! No worries, I won’t spoil what happens for you. 🙂

Ooo, and to continue my squeegasm (that’s a thing right?) can I mention how wonderful it is seeing things from Athena’s perspective? Let me break it down for you. WE GET TO SEE THINGS FROM THE VIEW OF A GODDESS! So ya, awesome. She’s fun, she can be a hard-ass a lot of the time but she isn’t without some kindness for those she really cares about. I loved her character. If this is what the “real” Athena is/was like sign me up. I wanted to give her a hug so many times in this book, especially when she doubted herself, but I’d just get my block knocked off, so probably a good thing I’m not a character in Antigoddess. ^.^

We do also get to see things from Cassandra’s point of view. While it wasn’t nearly as fun as the thrill ride with Athena, Cassandra is the linchpin of the book, we need her to be the transitional piece between human feelings and those of the gods. You can relate to her. She’s in love but it gets complicated and she doesn’t really know what to do about it, she’s got these cool powers but doesn’t really know how to utilize them or what they are for, and despite being swept up in the madness that is the gods she clings to those she cares about most, her family and friends, and the town she calls home. She just wants what is familiar. The lovey dovey feelings she had toward Aiden, her boyfriend, were a smidge over the top which felt right being she is a teenager and they (thank goodness) didn’t overwhelm the other parts of the book.

Aiden, the love interest, is pretty typical in most respects. He’s a strong, I’ll-always-be-there-for-you type boyfriend, but with secrets he keeps even from Cassandra. Luckily, he’s not perfect, he shows some flaws here and there (can’t go into detail without spoilers) that keep him from feeling fake or a stereotype/cookie-cutter model. Aiden just wants to be with Cassandra, that’s what is important to him above all else, and he’ll do anything to keep them together. It’s pretty hard not to like the guy for that alone.

There are epic battles between gods in this book. I really shouldn’t have to go more into the plot or goings on than that, but I will. ^.^ We have a human who might be a prophetess discovering her place in a world she didn’t know existed. Gods turning evil and doing everything they can to survive, at great cost to themselves and their siblings. Blake takes us on a journey where we learn more about the gods, why they are the way they are, how they connect and where their allegiances lie. The world, the cast, and the story are perfectly blended together and the writing is just as amazing as in Blake’s previous works that I loved (Anna Dressed in Blood & Girl of Nightmares) and simply put I loved Antigoddess.

This is my favorite book of the year. As much as I enjoyed some of my other reads, Antigoddess surpasses them all, it’s just the perfect mix of everything I enjoy. The character’s voices are unique, the transitions are crisp and smooth, the world is dazzling, the relationships sweet, and the action intense. I couldn’t ask for more. Loved it. Definitely one I would recommend to ANY reader.

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Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #136/200

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Restored to Love edited by Antonia Adams

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Restored to Love

Summary From Goodreads: Restored to Love

An Xcite Books collection of five erotic stories with supernatural and paranormal themes.

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Restored to Love had been sitting in my Kindle for quite a while and in the mood to read some naughty stories because of the recent Doin’ It Dirty readathon I decided to dive in. Plus supernatural and paranormal mixed in with erotica? That’s a combination I can get behind! As there are only five short stories I will do a short review of each and then an overall summary at the end. Sound good? Then let’s get into it! ^.^

Restored to Love by Anna Rockwell – Ghosts. Sexy ghosts to be specific. Restored to love combines a historical feel with some naughty ghost action and a very steamy threesome. The story outside of the sexy scenes felt a bit off at times in terms of flow, but overall I enjoyed the piece. 4/5

Rite Place, Rite Time by Elizabeth Coldwell – Bahahaha. This one had me in fits, I just couldn’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness of the story and the choice of words. “Oh Lowdale Man, do it. Fill me with your spunk.” “freakishly big dick” “thick gnarled finger” I just…I can’t possible take this story seriously. I hope it was supposed to be funny but I kind of doubt it. 3/5 for the laughs

Gabriel by Athena Marie – Have to be honest this one was brutal. The writing style drove me crazy and not in a good way. Stuff like this > “And always I hope that in losing myself I will find myself.” It was awkward, the sexier parts were bland and I just felt nothing. No spark. 1/5

Awakening by Beverly Langland – The only G/G story in the group and the best written piece as well, I fully enjoyed Awakening. There was some creepy business going on with souls and what not, but the erotic parts erased everything else from memory. The sex scenes were fantastic, the build up perfect and overall just really freaking hot. Loved this. 5/5

One for the Toad by Michael Bracken – Yes, this story is indeed as weird as it sounds. Multiple toads. Yes, they talk. I honestly don’t have anything else to say about this one, sex scenes meh. Wasn’t bad, wasn’t great, just odd. 2/5

Overall

I’m glad I took the time to read this one. While there were some stories I didn’t love the good ones were done well enough to make it worthwhile. Awakening was excellent and that plus the namesake Restored to Love which I also enjoyed are enough to recommend this small anthology to erotica readers looking for a change of pace. This isn’t classic paranormal erotica (if there is such a thing, think vampires and werewolves) and I really enjoyed that originality in a genre that can feel repetitive after a while. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #119/200

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YA Wednesday: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

YAWednesday

Indelible

Summary From GoodreadsIndelible by Dawn Metcalf

Some things are permanent.
Indelible.
And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT

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Hey, you! Ya, you! The tiny handful of people that have looked at my rating system! Umm, scrap it. Just for this book I swear but seriously, like, it doesn’t exist for this review. Good with that? Awesomesauce.

So the always amazing Nikki over at Fiction Freak, and I, decided to read Indelible together because we are fun like that. ^.^ At the beginning we were, to put it nicely, a tad worried about how the book was going to go. However! Once we hit chapter four it was like an explosion of pure awesomeness occurred and BAM the book took off!

The characters were wonderful! With the exception of the best friend, Monica, which Nikki and I would like to erase from Indelible, the entire cast was well developed, a bunch of fun and pretty complex too. My personal favorite was Inq, the sister of the MC’s love interest, who is bad-ass, freaking hilarious and has just enough naughtiness thrown in. Ink, the love interest, was really intriguing. He had this innocence about him in the beginning and we get to watch him figure out who he is, who he wants to be, and see his personality and feelings really grow by the end. I suppose it is a metaphor for how humans grow up, regardless it certainly worked. Also he’ll kindle the fire for ya if you let him. ^.^

As far as the MC, Joy, while she was a bit stereotypical I still liked her. She wasn’t as fun as some of the other characters and her familial issues, as Nikki pointed out, were cliched. Despite that I found her to be surprisingly tough, holding to her convictions and refusing to give up her friends at any cost, while at the same time struggling to come to grips with this new world she has been thrust into. She didn’t magically accept everything she was told which was really refreshing and it took her time to trust the people she met along the way, something that I’ve seen taken for granted in a lot of YA books in particular. She was solid.

The chemistry between Joy and Ink though? Loved it! There were some elements of “insta-love” but it was done in such a sweet and tender way (not crazy physical all at once nonsense) that it felt the most believable out of the books that have used it. Their relationship had such a nice build up to it and the growing affection was incredibly sweet. They meshed really well and I just loved the pairing. All the sappyness.

However, despite all of that previously mentioned goodness, I haven’t even made it to the best part! Allow me to go full squee-mode over the world that Metcalf created! It’s super complex, there is time travel, other dimensions, a vast array of paranormal creatures and it’s all done perfectly. Seriously, the world was one of the best I’ve ever read about! I was captivated and mesmerized and just all of the happy feels toward it. I liked the balance system of power they use, the cool way each type of creature fit into our current world and this mysterious one all at once and the way they incorporated Inq and Ink into it was incredible. Plus, think of all of the fantastic symbols! Well, you’ll have to read the book to know what I mean by that. ^.^

So, this book, I loved it. That much is clear. There were some minor things that keep it from being a perfect five but it was soooo close and I have every hope that book two, Invisible, will make it there! It doesn’t come out until APRIL though so it will be a long wait until we know for sure. I definitely recommend Indelible to anyone, YA readers, romance lovers, paranormal junkies, it’s just a great book. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #134/200

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Saturday Night by Leigh Wilder

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Saturday Night

Summary From GoodreadsSaturday Night Leigh Wilder

When small-town cop Charlie is run off the road he expects an arrest and a slightly more interesting than normal Saturday night. Instead he finds himself handcuffed–with his own cuffs–and bent over the seat of ex-con Jake Miller’s truck. Charlie doesn’t mind…as long as he gets his turn next Saturday.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

My first read of the Doin’ It Dirty readathon, Saturday Night was a great way to kick off the naughtyness fest. It’s M/M which is a change of pace for me even within the Erotica genre. Saturday Night is a really short piece, at around 2,500 words, but it definitely got me in the mood to read some more. The chemistry Wilder creates between Jake and Charlie is excellent and I would love to revisit that coupling again if she were to go back to the well.

Wilder has an incredible gift at eliciting a very strong reaction in such a short span. I’d recommend this to any fan of Erotica, steamy and with a well written naughty scene it’s the perfect kick start to the sexy part of your day. It can be good for a fantastic finish as well. 😉

You can get Saturday Night for FREE on Smashwords here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/257036 Thank me later ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #116/200; Mount TBR Challenge #67/150; 2013 TBR Pile #67/150

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YA Wednesday: A Bad Day For Voodoo by Jeff Strand

YAWednesday

A Bad Day For Voodoo

Summary From Goodreads

When your best friend is just a tiny bit psychotic, you should never actually believe him when he says, “Trust me. This is gonna be awesome.”

Of course, you probably wouldn’t believe a voodoo doll could work either. Or that it could cause someone’s leg to blow clean off with one quick prick. But I’ve seen it. It can happen.

And when there’s suddenly a doll of YOU floating around out there—a doll that could be snatched by a Rottweiler and torn to shreds, or a gang of thugs ready to torch it, or any random family of cannibals (really, do you need the danger here spelled out for you?)—well, you know that’s just gonna be a really bad day…

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A Bad Day For Voodoo was really, really weird. It is all about the humor as opposed to Strand’s usual 50/50 split of horror and the hilarious. Unfortunately I think that this worked against him. I understand that this is a YA which is also unusual for Strand, but I never felt any fear or trepidation at all and I missed that. The book constantly makes fun of itself, the content and characters within and even the reader on occasion. If there were some serious bits mixed in maybe this would have worked but it felt over the top and the slapstick humor got old after a while.

The characters were empty shells for me. I didn’t connect with any of them and they didn’t feel like they had any substance. I’m not sure what Tyler (the MC) was supposed to be. A hero? Not really. Courageous? Not intentionally. A “model friend” type? Ya, I guess that fits the most. Adam, the best friend, was just a moron. His role was the funny guy with the outrageous plans and ideas, he succeeded in the latter part but his humor felt forced and mostly I just wanted him to get whacked over the head. If I had a favorite character it would be Kelley (the girlfriend) who was the closest to meaningful as the book gets. She was tough, had a good head on her shoulders and didn’t panic in the face of (ridiculous) danger or adversity. I liked her but I have no clue why she associates with the other two.

Part of my problem with A Bad Day For Voodoo is its constant breaking from the story to say something from the “author” to the reader. You know that fourth wall in comedy or acting where the person on stage acknowledges the viewing audience (especially if it is being filmed for tv or a movie)? Well if there is one in the literary world this book shatters it. Throughout the story the audience is being addressed, questioned and even given suggestions. While some minor use of this tactic would probably be effective it felt like I was never able to connect to the story because Strand kept taking me out of it. Immersing myself in a book’s story is often the best part of reading it, forgetting reality and diving into an alternate universe, A Bad Day For Voodoo refuses to allow that and it was irritating.

The plot was all over the place and just plain disjointed. There was no flow and random events occurred that were seemingly only for comedic effect but that added no depth, substance or truly anything of value to the story. Maybe the underlying message if there is one (I doubt it) just went over my head but I’m guessing if there was one it was buried so deep under the crazy antics that it didn’t want to be found or recognized. Voodoo, craziness ensues, random gang, more insanity, hey look the undead! Oh and now a psychotic family of cannibals… right.

Until I started writing this review I didn’t realize how much I didn’t enjoy A Bad Day For Voodoo. There were a few moments where I actually laughed but for a book relying so heavily on comedy it fell way short. The plot was a mess, the characters were (with the possible exception of Kelley) unsubstantial and the author refused to let the reader stay inside the story even if they wanted to. I can’t say I recommend this one even for fans of Strand. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #121/200; Mount TBR Challenge #69/150; 2013 TBR Pile #69/50

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Mini Review Monday: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

MiniReviewMonday

The Sea of Monsters

Summary From Goodreads

The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half blood” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book’s drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

As most of you have already heard of and read the Percy Jackson series I figured this is the perfect book to have a short and succinct Hobbit-Sized review. Rick Riordan is a genius. The Sea of Monsters was a great continuation of the series and really allowed us to dive into the world even further and learn some more about the mythology as is portrayed by Riordan. We get a nice mix of the “real” mythology as well with the Golden Fleece story told in full. I didn’t really care much for the new character, Tyson, that much either way but he was alright. However, I love the chemistry between Percy and Annabeth which seems to get better with each book in the series. Yes I ship MG characters, don’t judge me!

To summarize: It’s Rick Riordan, this book was the one that made me decide to buy all of his other works (yes it was THAT good) and it’s the Percy Jackson series. What more do you need to hear? If you haven’t started the series and are late to the game like I was/am I definitely recommend it! I can’t wait to read The Titan’s Curse sometime soon. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #132/200; Mount TBR Challenge #73/150; 2013 TBR Pile #73/50

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Frankenslime by Rock Bronson

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Frankenslime: A Sordid Sexual Horror Story

Summary From Goodreads

Warning: not for the faint-hearted or easily-offended, contains some of the most extreme and outlandish acts imaginable plus copious amounts of cartoon gore! Proceed at your own peril…

Innocent and naive assistant-professor Maura Kindle pines for Doctor Chester Franklin, handsome Adonis and brilliant scientist at the shady genetics institute where they both work. But behind his charming exterior, Chester is avile narcissist, who permits himself to love only one entity on earth — the bloated and makeshift cadaver of thrown-together limbs and body-bits that he keeps in his basement mortuary and refers to as “the Bride”.

Maura wants Chester to love her, but the brooding doctor only cares about her for her brains — Literally! Because the only thing Chester’s sexy monster still needs before she can live is a good head on her shoulders — Maura’s to be precise. But just how well-adjusted could a stitched-up gal like that really be when she finally comes to?

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This review and book contains mature content

What the heck did I just read? I’m pretty sure that is the appropriate reaction to Frankenslime which is by far the most grotesque and bizarre erotica story, or truly any kind of story, that I’ve ever read. I read this piece at the suggestion of two of my favorite bloggers, Amanda aka On a Book Bender & Kelly aka Reading the Paranormal. It was both hilarious and confusing and the only way I can sum it up accurately is by doing what I am dubbing a Twitreview. I’m not going to attempt to explain it because it is both obvious and easier to show you, so here we go!

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So ya, that’s my Twitreview. I don’t know how to better summarize my feelings than those tweets. It was bizarre, nonsensical and oddly satisfying. Also hilarious, in case you didn’t get that. Oh and it was free so if you click the picture you can read it for yourself. I hope you enjoyed my goofy attempt at a different review style! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #123/200; Mount TBR #71/150; 2013 TBR Pile #71/50

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YA Wednesday: Croak by Gina Damico

YAWednesday

Croak

Summary From Goodreads

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice – or is it vengeance? – whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

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Croak is a hilarious, if sometimes dark, read that had me captivated from the very beginning. It was easy to fall in love with the snarky MC, Lex, and the rest of the cast of goofball characters. The writing was great, the powers awesome and the plot intriguing. So ya, I liked it.

Lex is a perfect main character for me. She’s sarcastic, she doesn’t put up with crap and she happens to be an all around badass. Sure she’s a hot head and doesn’t have the most tact in the world but she’s genuine and I loved her for it. She wants to fit in just like every other teenager but she refuses to change who she is to achieve that and that is commendable.

The romance in Croak was the only thing that felt a bit forced to me. First, it was made painfully obvious from the get go that they liked each other, at least a little. Second, the back and forth romantic “tension” between them didn’t seem all that realistic especially the awkward exchanges and moments they kept having. The end reveal was obvious and I just didn’t care much about it. It was kind of cute and all but definitely the notable weak point in the book.

The plot though? Genius. Twists and turns, one unexpected reveal after the next and plenty of subplots worked in for depth made this story a great one. The reaper skills were pretty incredible, the possibilities seemingly endless and the creepy deaths added some extra chill to the otherwise humorous piece. Damico worked in plenty of moral dilemmas and discussions on a variety of different topics from who deserves to die, who deserves worse than death and who should hold that power if anyone. Plus the ending? Brilliant!

The quaint, if a tad wacky, little town was as easy for me to fall in love with as it was for Lex. The names were funny, the descriptions thorough without being overly so and I really liked the map provided at the beginning. The complex world of the reapers, the craziness they travel through to do their duty, and all of the other strange and wonderful places that are hidden within the realm are captivating. It’s simply lovely.

I really enjoyed Croak. The writing was unique and Lex was a fantastic, and relatable, main character. The world Damico created was nothing short of remarkable and while the romance was a tad irritating at times that was not enough to knock the story down too much. I already ordered Scorch and pre-ordered Rogue and I’m sure I’ll love those too. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #133/200; Mount TBR Challenge #74/150; 2013 TBR Pile #74/50

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Beauty and the Beast by Leigh Wilder

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Beauty and the Beast

Summary From Goodreadsbeauty and the beast

The Beauty is a dominant in the local BDSM scene. So is the Beast. Nathan invites Kate to dinner with only one purpose: to ask her to marry him. Their like personalities struggle for control–will the beast be tamed, or will the beauty be devoured?

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Even though Leigh Wilder is an auto-buy author for me that doesn’t mean even she is infallible, though she’s pretty close. The Beauty and the Beast is the first piece by her that I didn’t LOVE. For this short piece I’ll do a PRO vs CON list, are you ready?

PRO

The sex scene is pretty good. Wilder definitely has a special touch for creating the right amount of sexy tension during the act and I love every second. It’s steamy, it’s naughty and the back and forth in this piece was really well done. That struggle for control worked wonders.

The detail in the Beauty and the Beast is exquisite. Describing things many authors would forget such as the rose’s thorns are touches that elevate a piece like this. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the house which just sounds amazing. Pictures please? I don’t care if it is fictional!

                                                                      CON

The characters and I just don’t mesh. “Beast” or Nathan, whatever you would like to refer to him as, felt like a cluster of cliches rolled into one hulk of a guy. He’s really good looking, big and muscular and has that outer dom/inner softie combo going on. Sound familiar? As for Beauty/Kate it wasn’t much better. She did have a more robotic edge to her that I actually found myself liking, but at times she felt too contrived. She had a similar outer dom/inner softie thing going and it’s just…been done.

I didn’t feel the same spark during the build up to the sex scene. While much of it was forced by design you could really feel that quality in the way the book flowed. It was as if Wilder’s creative side was being held back and then when the sex scene came it was unleashed with the power of a typhoon. Maybe it was due to having to pay some homage to the original fairy tale in the beginning? I don’t know.

                                                                   OVERALL

While the end result is a positive one there were notable flaws in the character originality and the story in the beginning just didn’t do it for me. The details and descriptions were great and the sex scene is, as always, Wilder’s shining moment. I liked it, but didn’t love it. Borderline three-Frodo piece but due to two major category flaws (which I describe in detail in my rating system explained page) it is a two. Still worth the read but my least favorite of her pieces thus far. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #117/200; Mount TBR Challenge #72/150; 2013 TBR Pile #68/50

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Monstrosities by Jeremy C. Shipp: Frodo’s Review

Monstrosities

Summary From AmazonMonstrosities

A man with clown heads for hands. A city full of shape-shifting worms. A Cinderella story that ends with slaughter. These are just some of the monstrosities you’ll encounter in this horror collection by Bram Stoker Award Nominee Jeremy C. Shipp.

Table of Contents:
Figs
The Tunnel
Almost Paradise
Worms
The Little Glass Soul
Clown Hands
Cold
Flesh and Blood
Buried
Googly

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Jeremy C. Shipp is one of my favorite authors and is on the short list for my auto-buy authors. As such it was no surprise that I really enjoyed this collection of short stories as I have all his others. There are 10 short stories in Monstrosities but I will focus on my five favorites, sound good? Let’s get into it!

The Tunnel: This piece is insane and intense. It’s thought provoking with an ending that sums everything up perfectly but is one I never saw coming. It’s frightening because it reveals how far we go to escape our reality no matter what we might lose. In the end our choices will make us who we are, defining us. A simple truth, yes, but an important one.

Worms: Shipp continues one of the darker collections I’ve read by him with Worms. Loss, reality crushing imagination, good intentions proven useless as grief overwhelms all else. While it may not be a long piece it packs plenty of emotion into the story and is extremely powerful.

The Little Glass Soul: With dark and sardonic humor on full display, The Little Glass Soul is a little bit of Cinderella mixed with some Snow White and twisted into a horrifying display of cruelty. The ending is very satisfying and I really liked Shipp’s take on the fairy tale, only he would alter it this way.

Clown Hands: This is the piece that shows off Shipp’s writing style the best. It’s reminiscent of his Attic Clowns stories, which I loved, and shows the darker/twisted inner thoughts of humans being forced to the outside. It reveals that human nature that we would prefer to keep hidden while keeping the humor flowing throughout the story. It’s a bit silly and that’s why it works so well. Loved this one. More clowns please!

Buried: Using smooth transitions and beautiful insight into the human mind, Buried shows how a different perspective can change everything. One person sees a murderer and thinks them unfit to live while that same person might commit crimes just as heinous and view themselves as the righteous one. Who is worthy to live? Is anyone? Or all we all excess? Fantastic story and a superb ending.

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Overall I really enjoyed Jeremy C. Shipp’s latest anthology. There were a couple familiar tales for fans of his other work (Googly from Attic Toys and Figs from Here Be Monsters) mixed in with plenty of brand new hilarious and horrific stories. Monstrosities is a darker and edgier collection than Shipp’s previous ones as well as being more thought provoking. Shipp delves into the human mind farther than ever before with great (if creepy) results. You may not want to accept the truth as Shipp sees it, but it is hard to deny its validity. A must read for horror and humor fans. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #130/200

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Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin: Frodo’s Review

Wise Young Fool

Summary From Goodreads

Teen rocker Ritchie Sudden is pretty sure his life has just jumped the shark. Except he hates being called a teen, his band doesn’t play rock, and “jumping the shark” is yet another dumb cliché. Part of Ritchie wants to drop everything and walk away. Especially the part that’s serving ninety days in a juvenile detention center.

Telling the story of the year leading up to his arrest, Ritchie grabs readers by the throat before (politely) inviting them along for the (max-speed) ride. A battle of the bands looms. Dad split about five minutes before Mom’s girlfriend moved in. There’s the matter of trying to score with the dangerously hot Ravenna Woods while avoiding the dangerously huge Spence Proffer–not to mention just trying to forget what his sister, Beth, said the week before she died.

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Wise Young Fool, Sean Beaudoin’s latest release, is hilarious, mind blowing and is every great aspect of Beaudoin’s past work rolled into one crazy tale. The buildup is a bit slow but once you reach the meaty middle and the epic ending (apparently I’m in a wordplay mood) it’s all worth it. While the book is filled with humor there are plenty of serious issues discussed and that gives some weight to an otherwise light piece.

Wise Young Fool bounces back and forth between the main character, Ritchie Sudden’s, past and present. In the present he is in juvie and is being forced to write in a journal every day. In his journal entries, or past (depending on which makes more sense to you as the reader), Ritchie is working on starting a band and spends much of his time either playing his guitar or chasing Ravenna Woods, his crush, in the hopes that she will notice him.

Ritchie’s character is a mixture of very heavy sarcasm and not-so-deeply buried pain over the loss of his sister. He’s witty and clever but often uses those traits to his detriment rather than to benefit him in some way. Ritchie isn’t a lovable character, but he is certainly an identifiable one. He’s that guy who is cool without being part of the “in” crowd. He’s the one you know is destined for something awesome if he can just get out of his own way, but you don’t want him to lose that edge because you’d be losing a piece of Ritchie at the same time. I enjoyed learning about Ritchie and why he acts the way he does. He’s a deeper character than you could ever imagine, I’m a fan just like everyone else (in the book).

The romance in this book, to me at least, is the embodiment of all that teenage romance is and can be. There is the guy chasing after the gorgeous girl while making an ass of himself more often than not, the girl who really likes him that he ignores until it suits his purposes, and steamy goodness (don’t worry, Beaudoin doesn’t go into detail, this is YA) despite it all. Hormones rage, tempers flare, communication fails are abundant and the hot girl always gets what she wants, or at least thinks she wants. It may sound like a bunch of cliches but in Wise Young Fool it just feels honest. This is what teenagers, myself included, often experience in high school and the way Beaudoin displays the awkwardness that is teenage romance is perfect.

The references to different (and awesome) bands are abundant and the journey Ritchie takes as both a musician and a person can be linked to the songs mentioned each step of the way. The depth Beaudoin goes into to describe the process of becoming and being in a band is fantastic. The struggles are intense from infighting to romance conflicts and even into stylistic differences, Wise Young Fool has it all covered.

The parts of the book where Ritchie is in juvie provides extra depth for his character, shows where he ends up as a person and even touches on what life might be like for troubled teenagers in a detention center. As with most things it is a place that both helps and hinders progress for the inhabitants and that’s made clear in the piece. The time spent in Ritchie’s present aren’t as fast paced or filled with quite the hilarity as in his journal entries/past, but there are necessary elements and cool stuff that I did enjoy. It was a nice way to break up the insanity of the rest of the book.

Overall Wise Young Fool is another really strong and well written piece that I am thrilled to add to my collection o’ Beaudoin. While his other work certainly covers a wide array of topics and issues, Wise Young Fool, to me, is the best and most pure representation of any group of humanity, in this case teenagers/young adults. The book is hilarious as are all of Beaudoin’s works, and I couldn’t get enough. The messages that are covered are deep and will definitely make you think which is pretty impressive considering this is mostly a humor piece. Ritchie is a great MC, the supporting cast is really well done and the references to bands and music culture are spot on. I highly recommend it. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #128/200

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Penny for Your Debts by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Penny for Your Debts

Summary From GoodreadsPenny for Your Thoughts

When eight-year-old Penny Sterling becomes the child bride of Nicholas Rumpelstilts, she expects the worst. Instead, she’s free to go to school, to have friends, even to see the mother who gave her to Nicholas before her birth–and her new husband never lays a hand on her. But however pleasant the cage, she’s still a prisoner.

As Penny grows, she learns why Nicholas may want her: she’s a witch. She must hide her abilities or risk the world’s fear and hatred. Penny always thought Nicholas was the monster, but when a real monster leaves her scarred emotionally and physically he is the one who offers safety and comfort in a world where she’s likely to find neither.

When Nicholas disappears in dangerous circumstances, Penny faces a hard choice: take her freedom, or search for a captor she’s come to love.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Penny for Your Debts was an interesting read for me. The book is designed to be thought provoking as it examines issues like Stockholm Syndrome and child brides. In this Penny for Your Debts is a complete success. Is it better for Penny to have a choice over her fate even if the possibilities each have major downsides? If she never found out about her true identity would she have been better off? How real are the effects of Stockholm Syndrome in this case, were Penny’s feelings her own and is Nicholas a monster or not? Penny for Your Debts forces you to answer all of these questions and more and I give major credit to Whitten for being able to pack all of those discussion points into one piece.

As for the story itself it was pretty good. The magical elements were well incorporated and the variety of supernatural creatures made for a rich and intriguing world that I would love to learn more about. There were cool power displays, daring rescues and awesome battles that kept the balance between action and thought provoking story even and the pacing smooth.

My only major complaint was with Penny’s character. It is important to remember that despite seeing her character grow and mature as the story goes on that she does start off as a child of eight. The issue I had was she simply did not think or speak like you would think someone at her age would. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t exceptions to any age group, and perhaps she is just exceptionally bright, but there were many, many parts in the story where the thoughts she had seemed far too advanced. Penny was reading people and understanding the meaning of their feelings and then trying to react in a way that would best appease them and while that may seem natural on the surface it was the level that she appeared to understand them that was just odd. I don’t know how else to explain it except to say that the thought processes she had at eight or nine were often just as advanced as those in her teenage years which doesn’t add up. She is either incredibly bright, insanely perceptive or just flawed in being realistic. I’m favoring the latter as the most likely.

Overall Penny for Your Debts was a pretty solid read. The issue with Penny’s character being believable at times was irritating but the other elements in the book (pun intended) allowed me to overlook those flaws most of the time. The magical and supernatural aspects really worked well and the transition Whitten made and the world she created were wonderful. I loved the ending, I wouldn’t mind a sequel one bit though that seems to be out of the question given this was written in 2011. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a thought provoking read set in a magical world. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #120/200; Mount TBR Challenge #68/150; 2013 TBR Pile #68/50

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Addicted to the Bite by Leigh Wilder: Frodo’s Review

Addicted to the Bite

Summary From GoodreadsAddicted to the Bite

After one night of passion with Damian, Jamie-boy has decided pursuing a relationship with the vampire is better than committing suicide. Damian, master vampire of the city of New Franklin, PA, has a lot on his plate. A mysterious vampire is dumping drained bodies in public places all over town, and werewolf cop Detective Julie Nova is on his back about it. He doesn’t have time to deal with over-eager Jamie-boy.

Jamie-boy is determined to get what he wants–sex and pain–but to look elsewhere could mean death.

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Leigh Wilder’s latest book in the Deadly Liaisons series, Bloodlines, just released so make sure to go get it here!

I really love this series! Jamie-boy and Damian make such a cute couple and Wilder’s writing is just to die for. The love that Jamie quickly develops for Damian is so sweet and innocent, yet deep and passionate and that it gives him a desire to live is just beautiful. Oh and Damian? He’s such a softie despite all the fronts he puts up regarding his growing feelings toward Jamie-boy, combine that with him being an old vampire and it’s almost too much cuteness to bear, but I ❤ it so!

This series, for me at least, is Wilder’s crowning achievement. It’s novella length (~13,000 words) but it is longer than her other pieces which are closer to 3,500-5,000 words. This allows for more storyline and in this series she excels at it. I love the characters as I mentioned earlier and the plot Wilder goes with in this novella is stellar. Putting Jamie-boy in danger to get a reaction out of Damian is classic, but Wilder executes it with such expertise that it doesn’t feel like an old trope at all.

As I’ve said countless times, Wilder is best when it comes to the sex scenes and she doesn’t disappoint in Addicted to the Bite. The chemistry between Damian and Jamie-boy is fantastic. The combination of Jamie-boy’s innocence and Damian’s experience and slight Dom tendencies allows each to have some new experiences and the results are more than satisfying. The only complaint I would have is that it was such a short scene and it left me wanting more, so much more. Though I suppose that is what book 3 is for!

Damian has this inner conflict going over if he wants to continue being with Jamie-boy but whether it is the latter’s intense desire or Damian’s lack of willpower I am glad they can’t stay apart. This is one of my favorite M/M couplings I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across and I can’t wait to read Club Midnight, book three in the series! I definitely recommend this series to anyone, they are quick reads with surprisingly intense and intriguing plots as well as some steamy goodness, what’s not to like? Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #118/200

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Steel Lily by Megan Curd: Frodo’s Review

Steel Lily

Summary From Goodreads: steel lily

AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.

She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued. But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.

…Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.

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I received an eBook Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.

You know what really sucks? Having to cancel being on a blog tour because you don’t like a book. That, in case it wasn’t painfully obvious, is the case here. My review was supposed to go up today and be linked up and all that jazz to tout this piece. Well poop. I figured I’d post my review the same day anyway because why the heck not? Oh, did I mention it is a DNF? This is going so well…

I pushed myself through 50% of the book (according to my Kindle app anyway) until I was fed up enough and closed the darn thing. Why did I give up on Steel Lily and what are the problems with it? The characters are not cookie cutter, they are THE cookie cutter which cuts out all of the others, they are the metallic shells of characters and are hollow on the inside.

Avery, the MC, is incredibly frustrating. She flip flops like crazy, her emotions all over the place and without any semblance of purpose for them half the time. She’s constantly on the verge of tears despite having this “tough girl” persona she’s trying (and failing miserably) to pull off. She gets upset when people try to protect her, refuses to acknowledge it a lot of the time or plays up her actions over theirs in an attempt to appear in control and strong, yet she always acts helpless when the danger strikes. Ugh. Oh and the whining my goodness, get over yourself! She constantly insults other characters, can’t make up her mind for beans, and goodness gracious just GET A GRIP GIRL. I want to throttle her.

Jaxon is your stereotypical hot guy that KNOWS how hot he is, sarcastic, full of himself, you get the point. But he has that inner core that must be so soft and squishy and he can be changed really he can! He just needs help to show his real feelings! *gouges my eyes out* His jokes are bland, he isn’t interesting whatsoever and I just plain didn’t like his character. The best friend, Alice, is no better. She’s reserved one minute and a fireball the next, and her character is never fleshed out in any way. She’s just there, supportive and more often than not a liability, even if no one will admit it.

The romance in the book felt forced. Avery kept saying how attractive she found Jaxon but then would argue with herself about liking him when he’s such an asshat. Just admit he is good looking and that you like him already! You have bad taste in guys but it is your incessant bickering in your head that is bugging me not that you like his muscles, (which apparently are RIPPED on his whole freaking body) ugh. Jaxon, at least, made it clear how he felt early on which was the only thing I appreciated from his character. There was a half-assed love triangle too, but it’s barely worth mentioning.

The plot was as scattered as Avery’s emotions. You constantly jump from one idea to the next as if the author had a bunch of bullet points on a piece of paper and was playing connect the dots. Only this time I don’t know what the heck the shape is supposed to be, it’s just a jumbled mess of lines. There were potential arcs everywhere: political discussion, dystopia, energy discussion, conservation, true freedom vs false realities, the list just keeps going. The problem is Curd couldn’t decide which thing to focus on so she said tiny bits about each instead which meant the reader really gains nothing from it.

Oh and this is supposed to be a steampunk book. While I noticed those elements it really was borderline with going into regular fantasy. The MC just focuses her mind (and power) on things and BOOM. Yes she is “changing elements” so I get the connection, but as I was reading I kept thinking this is more like a superhero unable to control their power or learning how to, I didn’t think that was what steampunk was designed to do. Maybe I’m off base there. Regardless, while there were some descriptions of machinery and what not the steampunk “feel” was never there for me.

I could keep going, about the world building and the domes, the hologram nonsense, the repetitious dialogue (SO MUCH), and a variety of other details about the piece but you get how I feel by now. I didn’t like it. I didn’t finish it. I don’t recommend it. That simple. If you follow the blog you know I hardly ever DNF books but this one deserved it. I’m done. Thanks as always for reading.

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #126/200

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Touched by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Touched

Summary From GoodreadsTouched

Amber McKenzie considers herself a bland, normal student until she feels the touch of something cold and invisible. Scant hours pass before she’s attacked by her best friend. She returns home to find her family slaughtered, forcing her to rely on the dubious protection of a D&D “mage” and a woman who may, or may not be a vampire. Is the threat real, or is Amber just “touched in the head”?

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Touched, a 69 page novella, is a fast paced thrill ride involving all sorts of creatures of the paranormal variety. From a potential vampire to a changeling and even a mutant witch, Whitten offers new and rarely used beings not seen in the mainstream to keep readers on their toes. There are frightening enemies and plenty of dangerous action as well as plenty of gore (I mean that in a good way!) so horror junkies should be pleased. There is an underlying message of the fight for acceptance, particularly among people deemed outcasts by the majority and what it is like in their shoes. Whitten is never afraid to tackle real issues and does so without overwhelming the reader or taking away from the fantastic goings on in the novella.

I really enjoyed meeting Marcus and Vicky who I know reappear in other works by Whitten and I can’t wait to learn more about them and read stories from their perspectives. Marcus is funny and sweet and Vicky is a badass but with a softer personality underneath that I would love to explore. The one issue I had with touch is not quite loving the MC, Amber. She is a bit frustrating at times, callous and completely without tact. While I didn’t think she was poorly written by any means I also didn’t get any motivation to root for her in most cases which would have helped to balance out her flaws. This didn’t stop me from enjoying the plot and Whitten’s beautiful writing. Touched is a fun, freaky read with a good message at its core and I quite enjoyed it. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #122/200; Mount TBR Challenge #70/150; 2013 TBR Pile #70/50

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Beasts of the Field by James A. West: Frodo’s Review

Beasts of the Field

Summary From GoodreadsBeasts of the Field

They are building a better world.
No more hunger.
No more poverty.
No more corruption.
Utopia is within our grasp—and there is no escape.

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Beasts of the Field is a gritty way of depicting how easily the government, or any large power, could control us. Human susceptibility, inner darkness shown on the outside for all humanity to see, that is what this book depicts. It is freaky, jarring and it works so well because of how plausible the scenario really is. Using a game to control the population would never be easier than in today’s society where seemingly everyone has a phone capable of playing games on them at all times. West doesn’t hold back in shedding light on how humanity might react if we were faced with a supposed utopia, one that might not be morally sound and that wasn’t optional. Human primal urges are on full display in Beasts of the Field.

One thing you should know going into Beasts of the Field is that it uses a lot of points of view, and I mean a lot. It can be confusing, though I think that may be intentional since the book itself is built on a premise of pure chaos. Even the powers that unleashed the game might not be able to control the results so it is only fitting that the reader be as confused as the characters within. Anyway, back to the point I was trying to make, so many POVs. They are all interesting, the character each twisted in their own unique way, and each is vital to the story/plot somehow, but keeping track of who you are listening to and what’s going on is a feat. So if you aren’t into that sort of read I’d look elsewhere. I enjoyed it though, it made my brain get a workout.

The action in Beasts of the Field is really intense. You jump from one crazy display of human ferocity to the next and watch as the characters try their best to survive, and really try to understand what is going on, with varying levels of success. There are different tactics used, from going on the offensive and attacking the “enemy”, to hunkering down and trying to hide and even just attempting to escape. It’s pretty fascinating to “watch” and I was just as curious to see what would work as the characters were.

There isn’t too much else to say about the book. It’s creepy but thought provoking, gory but rich in depth and I really enjoyed it. I know West wasn’t going to release this book because it isn’t “mainstream” but I am really glad he did and that he’s allowing this side of him out to the bookish masses. I can’t wait to read more of his work that is in this vein. Definitely check it out and thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #115/200

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Focus by Alyssa Rose Ivy: Frodo’s Review

Focus

Summary From Goodreads

Freshman year of college is hard even when you’re not tied to the future king of a supernatural society.

Allie dives into college head first with Hailey as her roommate and the city of New Orleans as her backyard. As things within The Society heat up, Allie realizes that whether she’s with Levi or not, she’s in far too deep to turn back.

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I never expected to read this book after reading Flight, book one in the series, but here we are. I opened up my Kindle app on my computer and for whatever reason it was near the top. If you read my review of Flight you’d know I was not a fan of many of the elements in book 1 but I figured I’d give the series a second chance because, again as noted in the review, I did enjoy Alyssa Rose Ivy’s writing. Was it worth that second glance? Kinda.

I really need to check out more of Ivy’s work because I’m enjoying her writing quite a bit and I’m curious how her character dynamics are in other series. The major difference when I went to read Focus was mindset. Going into Flight I was thinking paranormal romance but more of a 50/50 split, now that I knew better I was prepared for a romance with elements of paranormal, something like an 80/20 split. Ivy’s writing style is wonderful and gripping, her pacing fantastic and I didn’t stop reading for even a minute (not even to check Twitter!) which surprised me a little. There is plenty of action, romantic tension and even some really interesting political discussions within the paranormal community. Some of the characters were given some much desired added depth, especially Jared, and I really connected with them.

The intertwining paranormal types (species?) and the politics that were discussed in Focus were fascinating. They also added a much needed respite from the constant romance-driven parts of the plot. There are family histories, hierarchies and enough paranormal creatures to make your head spin and I loved that. I really hope that Found, book three in the series, expands on these aspects because it seems like there is so much Ivy could do with the world she has created if she’d just step away from the romance (a bit at least) but we shall see.

The controlling part of Levi’s personality haven’t magically evaporated which I guess is good since it would betray who his character is at this point. The change that does happen is Allie standing up for herself more. She decides to take things at her pace in her relationship, commits to her schooling and even makes a few surprising decisions to keep herself safe which I was thrilled to see. Allie doesn’t just forgive Levi and let him right back in, she wars with herself over whether she even wants a relationship with him at all and ultimately it is up to her to decide if she can trust him or not. Levi still tries (and to some degree succeeds in) controlling parts of Allie’s life but while he won’t ever stop trying to get back with her he does respect her boundaries. There is progress there and it does feel like he is doing his best to understand her feelings while doing his best to protect her and show how much he loves her all the time. Definite steps in the right direction though I’m still not the biggest fan of him.

I like where Ivy is going with the series. The romance and the tension she is able to create are really well done and I’m growing on the characters as they seem to have a better understanding of where each of them is at. The paranormal aspects that were brought up were fascinating and my hope is for a heavier dose in Found. Considering I went from a one-Frodo rating on Flight to the solid 3 I’m giving Focus I’d say this is quite a turnaround. I’ll likely read Found at some point in the future and possibly will check out more of Ivy’s writing since, again, I do really like her style, it is just some choice she has made in this series here and there that have bothered me. For anyone curious about the series, it is labeled as PNR but be warned it is heavy on the R part of that and while I don’t know if I would yet recommend it, they are growing on me. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #113/200

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