Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Paranormal

Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer: Frodo’s Review

Sacrifice (Elemental #5)

Summary From GoodreadsSacrifice

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She’s got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s ‘bad luck’. Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war.

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

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I received a copy of Sacrifice from NetGalley, and I’m sure glad I did because I was really running out of patience to get my hands on the latest book in the Elemental Series. I was starting to have withdrawal symptoms! >.>

Let Me Love You

So, we are finally getting the book I know a lot of the fans in the series have been anxiously waiting for, Michael Merrick’s! The stoic leader, the steady rock (and the earth elemental puns begin!) of the family, Michael is the closest to a parental figure we see consistently in the series, a role he was forced to take when his parents died. The thing I wanted to know is, how has he been able to handle that role when he really was a kid himself at the beginning, and what on earth (you like puns right?) is going on in his head?

The simple answer is he’s as freaked out as you might expect, especially since his family is in constant danger, only getting worse as time goes on. Michael needs a shoulder to cry on, or at least someone to confide in to take some of the burden off of his shoulders, as much, if not more than any of his brothers. The problem is, he knows better than to involve any more people because it would put them in danger, including his sort-of girlfriend, Hannah. If you’ve read the series you already know how kind, caring, and simply good Michael is, I don’t need to tell you that, but Sacrifice does give a little more insight into his fears, and that was interesting to see.

Hannah is the other MC of the book, as it shifts between her and Michael’s perspectives, and this was the first glimpse we got into her life in any detail. What I took away from Sacrifice in regards to Hannah is how much she cares for her son, how she has handled having a child when she was 17 until now, and how her relationships with her family and the people around her have affected the way she sees the world. She’s tough, she’s a fighter, but she’s also not the most trusting, usually jumping to a negative conclusion about people who are trying to help her. I can’t say I really connected with Hannah too much (unless you are a teen mom, or were, it would be hard to), but her perspective is well worth looking at.

Life is Pain

The biggest change for me from the previous books to Sacrifice, as you might have guessed by the previous paragraphs, is how dark this book is. The two main characters are both dealing with pretty bad situations, the supporting cast (especially the brothers) aren’t faring much better and are in freak-out mode for much of the book, and then there is the new Guide threat coming after the other Elementals. It’s not a light and fluffy read whatsoever, but it is compelling, especially when the elemental battles are concerned.

Sacrifice is not light on the fantastic displays of elemental power, despite all of the drama going on that would be enough to make the book interesting, and since it is Michael’s book we finally get some earth-shattering (you thought I was done with the puns?) displays. While you are in store for an earthquake or two, there is also plenty of fire, some air, and even a good bit of water as well. We are finally seeing how well the elemental brothers can operate when they are connected and not constantly fighting each other. It’s freaking awesome. ^.^

I've Got The Power

The tone of the book being so somber did drop my enjoyment level a tiny notch, along with Michael’s constant worrying over his brothers (though I understood it), but overall I definitely enjoyed the book. The ending quarter of the book or so is a whirlwind of activity and the final bit leaves potential for more books in the future, though I know this is supposed to be the end of the series. If Kemmerer isn’t planning on doing a novella or something to add to the end of Sacrifice then I’ll say it is more open-ended then I would like, even though the paths of the characters are mostly understood. I would love to get more of the Merrick’s and the large family they’ve created in the future, but it’s been a wild ride either way. Thanks as always for reading, and get your copy on the 30th of the month!

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Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson: Frodo’s Review

TotallyRandomTuesday

Red Blooded (Jessica McClain #4)

Summary From AmazonRed Blooded

Jessica is going to Hell.

After settling a fragile truce between the vampires, werewolves and witches, the last thing Jessica wants to do is face the demons head on. But when the Prince of Hell kidnapped her brother, he set into motion a chain of events that even Jessica doesn’t have the power to stop.

Now, Jessica must go into battle again. But Hell is a whole new beast — new rules, more dangerous demons, and an entirely foreign realm. And when Jessica is dropped into the Underworld too soon, without protection or the help of her friends, she must figure out just how powerful she can be… or she will never make it out alive.

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When I got the invitation to read Red Blooded on NetGalley I jumped on the opportunity. Full Blooded, book one in the series, was the first ARC I ever received, back when I first started blogging, and I’ve been hooked ever since. So to say I was excited to see what Red Blooded had in store would be an understatement. Also, the book came out today (Sep. 9) so if you want to go get a copy you can!

Red Blooded delivered in just about every way, giving me the diverse paranormal group I’ve come to expect, and the wide array of talents and powers displayed, all in a brand new world to explore. One of my favorite things about the Jessica McClain series is that Carlson takes the standard paranormal creatures (werewolves, vampires, witches, etc.) and alters how we think about them by combining some, and giving others new traits and personalities that you might not expect. Red Blooded has all of the paranormal beings you could possibly want, and introduces plenty of new ones as Jessica makes her way through the Underworld/Hell.

Carlson’s version of the Underworld/Hell (I have to use both because she does interchangeably, tad annoying I know) is an intriguing one. She makes it feel at times more alive than you might imagine, with vivid descriptions of ever-changing colors and textures of structures and tunnels, and the vast differences of the world at night and during the day. Alternatively, it is a very structured and clean place, with seemingly identical demons roaming around in vast numbers, and at times it seems regimented and even a bit cold. The combination makes for a really interesting experience on all sensory levels.

The character list remains pretty expansive, as I was alluding to earlier, and the new additions in the book are well worth the read by themselves. I can’t get into too much detail without spoilers, but one of the new creatures Jessica meets when she arrives in Hell has a very interesting personality, and instantly had me gravitating toward them. The supporting cast is really strong as well, from the BF Rourke to the bizarre (and adorable) young oracle Maggie, the quick-witted Ray and the incredibly stubborn Vampire Queen, and all sorts of other compelling characters make it one wild ride.

My complaints for Red Blooded are ones I’ve made consistently throughout the series, so I’ll keep them short. Jessica often seems incredibly dense, the last to pick up on what’s going on, and yet it doesn’t seem like she is intentionally being portrayed as a moron, so that’s frustrating. That leads me to my other issue, which is the repetitious conversations, weird pauses for info dumps, and the amount of info dumps throughout the book that feel awkward because it is so forced, all of which seems to stem from how slow Jessica is, and it is annoying to deal with.

Overall I definitely enjoyed Red Blooded, as I have with the rest of the series. While I do have complaints, they are for things I’ve come to accept come with the better parts of the books in the series, but those issues have kept the last few books from being five stars. I would recommend the series to anyone who enjoys a wide variety of paranormal creatures in different (and usually pretty awesome) worlds. I’m looking forward to book five to see what craziness happens next! Thanks as always for reading.

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Frodo’s Review: Cold Blooded (Jessica McClain #3) for the Cold Blooded Blog Tour

Cold-Blooded-blog-tour-badg

Cold Blooded Blog Tour

Summary From Goodreadscold blooded

Jessica arrives back in town to find her best friend missing and the most powerful witch in the country is blaming her for it. But before they can move to save her, the group is attacked.

On the run, Jessica and Rourke head to the mountains. Several surprises await them, but in order to save her father they are forced to leave for New Orleans early.

Arriving on the Vampire Queen’s doorstep unexpectedly, and bringing trouble on their heels, the Sects are thrown into an all out war. The vicious
skirmish ends up forcing the vamps and Jessica to fight on the same team.

The Vamp Queen ends up owing Jessica, but what Jessica doesn’t realize is just how soon she’ll have to cash it in…

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I am so excited to be part of the Cold Blooded blog tour! I’ve been hooked on the Jessica McClain series ever since I was lucky enough to win a copy of Full Blooded when I started blogging. Though I don’t have the giveaway on this post, if you would like to enter to win some awesome swag AND a SIGNED copy of the book you can go here or click one of the pretty pictures above. ^.^ Without further ado, my review!

Favorite line: “You can’t fight the threat in your underwear!”

The line I picked was chosen because it is a great example of the humor Carlson weaves throughout the entire book. You are going to laugh, constantly, sometimes from a witty remark, other times as a form of relief from all the tension surrounding the characters.

Jessica is a fantastic MC. She kicks butt constantly, refuses to let anyone get in her way even when she doubts the choices she makes, and is fiercely loyal to her loved ones, and even to some not-so-loved that she is forced to align with. Her sense of humor is sharp, her devotion to her mate is beautiful, and the bonds that she is able to create with all varieties of supernatural beings has more to do with her character than any magical properties she has. She doesn’t relish killing, or having to constantly exert her will onto people, really she’s a softie  underneath, but don’t tell her I said that. Jessica is someone you want to have on your side at all cost, and I love reading from her perspective.

The rest of the cast are just as engaging and Carlson makes sure that there are no throwaways. The baddies, though at times it is hard to tell if some of them are truly bad or not, are fun to root against and each have their own twisted motive for wanting to harm Jessica and her friends and family. The vampire queen is my favorite of the bunch. She’s a bit off her rocker, and conniving as heck, but I loved her tirades, the brilliance of her schemes, and the way she maintains an authoritative figure at all times. Oh, and the friends and family I mentioned? Well I can’t go into all of them as the cast is actually quite large in Cold Blooded.

For supernatural lovers there is everything you could want in this book and more. Vampires? We’ve got them in spades. Werewolves? Packs on packs on packs. Fae? Check. Demons? Oh you betcha. Witches? Hilarious, crazy, one a bit irritating (in a good way), and even a special surprise in this group. There are even spellcasters! There are a few surprises too, one I won’t mention by name and the other, Rourke, well he’s got something he’d like to show you. I think you’ll like it as much as Jessica did…well maybe not that much. ^.^

The story is a whirlwind of an adventure. Action junkies I found a book for you too! We have epic battles, daring escapes, rescues, fun car chases, and a bit of everything else you can think of. There is a TON of stuff going on in Cold Blooded, but it is so much fun to go along for the ride! Jessica has to save just about everybody, but is she up to the task? Oh and for you romance lovers out there, the one between Jessica and Rourke is so sweet, but steamy as well. 😉

If you couldn’t tell I really enjoyed Cold Blooded. It was so nice getting to experience these characters again, as well as meeting a few new faces, and learning sooo much more about all of them. The story is great as Carlson’s writing shines, the book is impossible to put down with all the craziness going on, and I’d recommend it to anyone. It is an adult book, but I’d say teenagers would be fine reading it as well, and would love it just as much. There is something in Cold Blooded for everyone. Thanks as always for reading, don’t forget to enter the giveaway I linked above, and if you want to check out what other people on the tour are saying about Cold Blooded click right here! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #166/200

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Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon is a fun way for bloggers to attack their TBR piles, specifically the books that contain “things that go bump in the night” (think vampires, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, etc.) and is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It’s that time of year again! Time for one of my favorite readathons of the year, Fraterfest!!! My overall TBR is ridiculous and thanks to that I have PLENTY of scary/creepy/bizarro/horrific reads to choose from! Without further ado, my reading list, and as always I don’t plan to read ALL of these, they are just what came to mind initially and are subject to change. Let’s go!

Reading List

Pressure by Jeff Strand

Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Scorch by Gina Damico

Rogue by Gina Damico

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder

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Challenges

Challenges are open beginning at 9 AM (EST) and will remain open until October 9 at 12:01 AM

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Stats

Currently Reading: Vacation by Jeremy C. Shipp

Books Finished: Asylum by Madeleine Roux, Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder, Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp, Doll Bones by Holly Black, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Pages Read: 1,563


Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon Schedule

Fraterfest

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon is a fun way for bloggers to attack their TBR piles, specifically the books that contain “things that go bump in the night” (think vampires, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, etc.) and is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It’s that time of year again! Time for one of my favorite readathons of the year, Fraterfest!!! My overall TBR is ridiculous and thanks to that I have PLENTY of scary/creepy/bizarro/horrific reads to choose from! Without further ado, my reading list, and as always I don’t plan to read ALL of these, they are just what came to mind initially and are subject to change. Let’s go!

Reading List

Pressure by Jeff Strand

Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Scorch by Gina Damico

Rogue by Gina Damico

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder

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Challenges

Challenges are open beginning at 9 AM (EST) and will remain open until October 9 at 12:01 AM

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Stats

Currently Reading: Vacation by Jeremy C. Shipp

Books Finished: Asylum by Madeleine Roux, Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder, Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp, Doll Bones by Holly Black, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Pages Read: 1,563


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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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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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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Haunting Sins by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Haunting Sins

Summary From GoodreadsHaunting Sins

Desperate for work after months of unemployment, David Sands agrees to become the webmaster for an “adult entertainment” hosting company. The pay is great, the boss seems like a nice guy, and the uber-hot secretary is flirting with David. But the cramped back office is dusty, and David’s sinus pills are making him see things, things that cannot possibly be real…unless David’s office is haunted.

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Haunting Sins, a middle-length story at 89 pages, was a bit…weird. I know going into reading anything by Whitten that I need to be prepared for unexpected things being thrown my way. Think of a small dose of techie jargon, mix it with some paranormal and add in a bunch of discussions on porn videos and you might, maybe…kinda have a gist of the piece.

David is a sarcastic but playful MC that I quite like. He’s not really prepared to work in an “adult entertainment” company and his reactions to some of the material he sees were priceless. David has a pretty good sense of humor and while he puts his foot in his mouth quite a bit (not in the literal sense of course) he actually is smooth with the secretary Nina Cortez, which was a bit of a surprise given he’s a techie. Nina was hilarious, playful and just a fun character to get to know. She’s not ashamed of working in the porn industry and even defends it and the people involved at points in the book. Oh, and the chemistry between the two was fantastic, loved their banter. Nina is the girl you want to be with and if you are lucky enough to get to leaves you wondering how you got so lucky each and every day. I’d read a full length novel featuring her without question, though I have no idea of Whitten has anything like that up her sleeve.

The story itself is a little all over the place. There are a bunch of different elements as I mentioned in my opening paragraph and while it was enjoyable I’m not sure if I could even label it with a genre. There are paranormal aspects but half the time we aren’t sure if they even exist or are just a part of the effects David experiences because of issues in the building. Is it a psychotic breakdown or a paranormal breakthrough into reality? Is it a ghost or a hallucination? For the most part we don’t really know and maybe that’s the intent, if so it worked. There are darker discussions within Haunting Sins, but I’ll leave those for you to discover. They add some depth to the piece which I really appreciated and, as with most of Whitten’s pieces, makes you think and examine the human mind.

Haunting Sins is a quick and fun read that also will make you stop and consider how well you know the people around you. That’s something that few pieces I’ve read can claim and Whitten pulls it off with seeming ease. The hilarity involving the porn industry keeps it light and you’ll breeze right through the book, fall in love with the characters and be left wanting more. The ending will shock you, the prose will delight you and the humor will have you in fits. What more can you ask for? Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #114/200; Mount TBR Challenge #66/150; 2013 TBR Pile #66/50

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Day 36: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Day 36

Summary From Goodreads:  

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

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Well Paper Valentine was…a bit all over the place. I liked it, I know that much, but the details well…they’re a little sketchy. In the beginning of the book, the first couple chapters specifically, though I may just have gotten used to it after awhile, Yovanoff was using extra words. What I mean by that is imagine you have a daily word goal (if you participate in NaNoWriMo or are a writer of any sort you know what I mean very well) and you use a few words here and there that don’t really need to be there but help to pad that count. That’s what it felt like was happening. An example, right off of page one so it isn’t a spoiler (since it’d be in any preview) ” On TV, the anchors are looking serious, shuffling their papers, and I get up to go get a glass of lemonade.” Just look at the last part of that sentence for a while and see if you notice what I did. Maybe it’s all in my head. Anyway that was the first thing I noticed. I really need to stop being so overly critical right away, oh well, force of habit when you read & review this many books.

The second thing was the birds dying. I don’t know if there was a disease, I’m not sure that the cause was ever explained (pretty sure that was a no but not 100% positive) but what I do know is this, there doesn’t seem to be a point to them. Is it a metaphor? Some sort of symbolism? I have no clue, but after reading the entire book I’m left with no answers on that front. Weird. Also the birds in fantasy thing really needs to taper off, it’s beyond excessive at this point, especially with covers.

Too many freaking fantasy birds!

I realize this is a tad excessively specific so I’ll try to focus on my overall impression of Paper Valentine. As I said before, I did enjoy the book. I thought the main character, Hannah, was compelling and that she was quite the stoic MC considering she was constantly dealing with the ghost of her dead best friend. I’m not sure most people would be able to deal with that sort of thing as well as she did, so props for a female MC with backbone. She had a bit of a clutz problem going on, but that was alright, even when she was all over Finny after he helped her out time and time again.

Speaking of which, Finny was…well, honestly I’m not sure. The strong and silent type I guess? Outside of a bit of standard background info we don’t really get anything from his perspective. I’m not saying we should have had a POV switch, but no thoughts really whatsoever. It was a little weird but I’m fine with it, the romance was nice, sweet even. Not overdone.

The plot was good, the story interesting, but the jumps/flashbacks were a little on the discombobulated side of things. You really had to pay close attention to know exactly what time frame you were experiencing. Still, overall the twists and turns along the way were done quite well and the ending, well, even if it was pulled out of the “classic mystery ending” hat it still worked like a charm. I didn’t see it coming, so kudos to Yovanoff.

Overall Paper Valentine was a very good book, but maybe not quite a great one. My biggest issue at this point is who would I recommend this book to. There are certainly paranormal elements (ghosts obviously) but not so heavily that I would automatically tell that type of reader to go and get it. The read was certainly YA so I guess that crowd would be the go to even though that’s pretty broad. The style was more contemporary than anything but with the fantasy elements it might not be for the purists of that group. Whatever, regardless I think it is certainly a book worth reading, despite my lack of ability to categorize it. You’ll have to read Paper Valentine for yourself to know where to put it. As always thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 37!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge # 36/365

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


Day 3: Amarok by Angela J. Townsend

Day 3

Summary From Goodreads:  

Emma’s life has been hell since she moved from sunny California to a remote Alaskan town. Abandoned by her father and living with the guilt of causing her mother’s death, she makes a desperate dash for freedom from her abusive stepfather. But when her car skids off the icy road, her planned escape leads to further captivity in a world beyond her imagining.
Dragged across the tundra by an evil mountain man and his enormous black wolf, she learns that love can be found in the most unexpected places. Amarok, as she’s nicknamed the wolf, is a young man from the gold-rush era enslaved by an ancient shaman. Emma’s gentle touch and kind heart win his love and devotion. When a vicious madman–trapped in bear form by the same Shaman–attacks the travelers and injures Amarok, Emma must find the strength to face her fears and free the wolf she’s come to love. But that means she must face down the evil shaman, a Siberian mammoth hunter from the ice age, and he has no intention of giving up his power to her.

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I won an ARC of Amarok a month or two ago and I finally got around to reading it, hooray for crazy reading goals helping me to read more! ^.^ I wasn’t really sure what to expect stylistically since I hadn’t heard anything about this book before I won it, but I thought it would be a nice easy read, but without further ado let’s get into my thoughts on Amarok!

My initial thoughts as I was reading through Amarok were essentially “Oh no, SO much repetition, please, please don’t let this be a DNF, pretty please, must keep reading…”, so needless to say I was struggling. As the summary states Angela does feel she has caused her mother’s death and she has some serious mental instability because of the combination of that and the abuse of her step-father which is shown throughout the book. The problem is it was stressed WAY too much. It felt like every other page she was stressing how depressed she was and how she wanted to cut herself to relieve some of it and just, ugh. However, I do like the animal spirit elements which form the crux of this story and so I chose to push forward in the hopes that she would get over herself.

The world building was easily the highlight of Amarok, as the author creates a beautiful vision of Alaska in your mind to ease the depressing feel of what the characters are going through. From the vivid descriptions of nature to the hearkening back to an older and simpler time that the area Emma and Amarok traverse through seems to be trapped in, Angela Townsend’s imagery is fantastic. As corny as it is, I did feel like I was there in the rustic and treacherous environment of an Alaskan winter in the wilderness and though I’m sure it would be terrifying to be trapped there, it was awesome as a reading experience.

The characters, I don’t even…words truly fail me. Emma, sadly, is not someone I feel empathy toward at all as a main character. While tragedy often does not leave you, Emma dwells SO much on her sadness and pain as to be incredibly annoying, and to top it off she keeps referring to herself as being tough, a fighter. If she is so tough why does she have to repeatedly point out how much she is suffering, and not even about her current situation, all about what she supposedly caused to happen to her mother, I quickly found myself not caring about her plight. As for Amarok…well he was slightly better I suppose. His suffering seemed a lot more justifiable giving how much time was involved, and so even though his feelings toward Emma were a little “insta-y” for my taste they felt more real. Both characters kept saying how willing they were to die, not just for each other which could be considered noble, but just to stop feeling any more pain. When they don’t want to live anymore, and they don’t seem to care to find a purpose to even attempt to fix that, especially with Emma who just seems whiny, caring about their difficult situation seems pointless. They don’t care, why should we? Anyway…

Writing style. The second half to Townsend’s credit was much better. I think I could feel her developing, not relying so much on the constant reminders of suffering/sadness/etc. and really moving the story along. The problem is how long that repetitiousness continued initially, I am worried that most readers wouldn’t even bother trying to continue, I know I almost didn’t.

I don’t know if there will be a sequel to Amarok, but if Townsend can channel whatever happened to change the way the 2nd half was written into her next work then I think she will have a very solid book on her hands, however this felt slightly short for me. There is definitely an intriguing story to be continued here, and I will read the next book if and when it comes out as I am intrigued to see how the dilemmas left at the end work themselves out. I can’t say that I recommend reading Amarok for the reasons mentioned above, but I look forward to seeing what Townsend comes out with and I think her next piece will be worth looking into. Thanks as always for reading and I will see you tomorrow for day 4!

Mount TBR Challenge #3/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #3/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #3/365

One Smiling Frodo w Background


Waiting On Wednesday #5

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid

Set For Release On: April, 2013 

Summary From Goodreads:

It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

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This one caught my eye with the gloomy/creepy cover that they went with. A nice mix of the paranormal with some good creepy vibes is right up my alley. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. ^.^

Does Pretty Dark Nothing sound appealing to you? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post and I will make sure to stop by! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! 🙂


Stacking The Shelves #5

Stacking The Shelves

A quick reminder that Stacking The Shelves is a wonderful way that we can share books we’ve won, bought, or been gifted in either printed or eBook form. It is a weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews that is generally posted on Saturdays.

Once again this week I have a ton of books to share! This week, due to some giveaway wins my print book haul is actually almost as big as my eBook one, a nice change of pace if you ask me! ^.^

The Freebies (eBooks)

Branded (Fall of Angels) by Keary Taylor

Captured (The Captive Series Book 1) by Erica Stevens

Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls Series Book 1) by Jessica Sorensen

Inhale (A Just Breathe Novel) by Kendall Grey

Stained by Ella James

The Chosen of Gaia by M. Mariz

The Deepest Cut by J. A. Templeton

The Master of Verona by David Blixt

The Poet and the Murderer by Simon Worrall

Wander Dust (The Seraphina Parrish Trilogy) by Michelle Warren

Whisper Cape (Book 1) by Regan Walsh

Won In Giveaway (eBooks)

Broken City by D.D. Chant

The Promise by D.D. Chant

Dark Dates by Tracey Sinclair

Stitch by Samantha Durante

Won In Giveaway (print)

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han

Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy

Ascension by Caris Roane

Scorched: The Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood

Rion (Pendragon Legacy Book 2) by Susan Kearney

Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Burning Up by Susan Andersen

Four Play by Maya Banks

Insatiable by Lauren Dane

Samson’s Lovely Mortal by Tina Folsom

Amaury’s Hellion by Tina Folsom

Gabriel’s Mate by Tina Folsom

In Exchange For Review (eBooks)

Here Lies Death by Harlan Vaughn

This was certainly another great week in terms of a book haul and was easily the biggest in regards to the amount of print books. ^.^ Now to try and break down the giveaway wins, oh boy here we go again, first the eBooks. Broken City and The Promise by D.D. Chant were won thanks to Sarah Morton. Dark Dates by Tracey Sinclair was won over on Faye’s A Daydreamer’s Blog. Stitch was won courtesy of the lovely people over at Passionate Book Divas, I may do a review of this one.

Alright, now to the crazy print haul! Burn For Burn I won thanks to Ruth Gonzalez, that one I plan to likely do a review of in the coming weeks as well. Now ALL of the rest of the listed print books were from a giveaway by the amazing Kay Dee Royal who gave away an entire box of books mostly containing paranormal romance! I can’t wait to read them all if I can ever find the time! ^.^

Finally, I got Here Lies Death in exchange for a review which will be posted this coming week so look for that. That is all from me for now, look for my Sunday Post tomorrow with next week’s schedule and a recap of this week’s! If you’d like to follow me you can do so via the usual methods, and make sure to comment on any of the books I got or your own STS for the week, I do read them all! Thanks for reading and have a great weekend! 🙂

**After posting this I found out that I won an eBook copy of Owlet: Society of Feathers #1 by Emma Michaels which was just released on the 9th as part of the Owlet blog tour! I can’t wait to read it. ^.^