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

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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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