The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

As far as sequels go, this one was awesome. It was everything a sequel is supposed to be. It had the same characters we all know and love; it built on the story and (most importantly) progressed the plot into something bigger and better. The Eternity Cure by Julie Kawaga was a riveting continuation of the Blood of Eden series.

13581990Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

I was super excited to read this book. I recently read (and LOVED) the Immortal Rules and I was lucky enough to get an advanced reading copy from NetGalley of The Eternity Cure. This is the first time that I’ve actually received an advanced copy of a book I just HAD to read. I was super ecstatic when I found out!

We’re back in the world of Allison who’s on her own searching for her sire. I love Allison. She’s bad ass but still hangs on to her humanity. She’s ruthless when she needs to be but she’s still compassionate. She’s perfect. I love her. This book took some surprising turns particularly when Zeke shows back up. I was just as shocked and happy to see him as Allison was! Zeke is an amazing, down-to-earth character. His drive and ambition make for one sexy vampire hunter. The forbidden connection between Allison and Zeke is so fun to watch. It’s like a guilty pleasure where you want one to corrupt the other.

This book includes some old faces– some you don’t expect (or want) to see. I love how complicated Kawaga made this story. It isn’t just black and white, good and evil–it’s all grey. This story explores the different shades of grey (not THAT kind!) and how Allison reacts and feels about each situation. I’m not going to lie, I wanted Allison to be less like a little girl and woman up a little. I mean she is a vampire now. It’s okay to kiss a boy!

I was enthralled by this book. It made my heart pound, my eyes water and it ultimately broke my heart– only to be fused back together again with the very last line. I cannot wait to read the next installment of this series. The Eternity Cure will be released on April 30, 2013. This is definitely worth picking up.

STARS: 4 out of 5

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

For some reason (I can’t really tell you why) I was never intrigued by this book, even though it has an awesome cover. Maybe the cover seemed too “genre-ish” or the synopsis seemed too “tween” but it wasn’t until it stared back at me from the library bookshelf that I thought, might as well.

Turns out, this book was awesome.

8591107Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book but it wasn’t what I got. From the very first page, the stylistic wit smacks you across the face (and you like it); the snarky comments, the melodramatic inner thoughts and the witty banter all come together to the epitome of teenage angst, delivered oh so well. As my brain adjusted to this refreshing but odd writing style, I came to the realization that I loved it. I was a bit concerned it may have been a complete and utter fail if Michelle Hodkin didn’t back it up with an amazing story but, no worries, she did.

The romance in this story is yet another aspect that hits you head on. The chemistry between Mara and Noah is so different and unique; it’s almost acidic. If the plot didn’t back up why this I-hate-you-because-I-like-you worked between them, it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. I really enjoyed the banter between them, which only amped up the sexual tension.

The plot itself is a strange one. I don’t think I can even explain it to you. There is a lot left hanging in the end, a lot left to discover. All I know is that I liked this story and the characters seemed so effortless that I’m sure it took tons of work to pull them off. I’m intrigued by Hodkin’s storytelling. It was interesting but exciting, romantic but suspenseful. I was pulled into the story and read it in one day. I couldn’t put it down. This is the first book in a trilogy. I’ll definitely be continuing on to see what happens. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a suspenseful story with a heavy romantic element.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Ever After by Kim Harrison

By book 11 of this series, it’s safe to say I’m hooked. I love Rachel Morgan. I love Trent. I even love Al, the un-lovable demon. Ever After by Kim Harrison is another wonderful addition to this series. I’ve heard rumors that this series is winding down (I hope not!), but I can see where Harrison is setting up the beginning of the end.

13241659The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing… for the worse.

While saving the world is important, it isn’t Rachel’s only motivation. There’s also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It’s also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He’s already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn’t give herself up soon, they’ll die.

But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn’t going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She’s also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she’s going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones… and prevent an apocalypse before it’s too late. Or, at least that’s the plan…

If the stakes have ever been high in this series, they are now. Rachel is tasked with finding the missing redwood syndrome babies and there’s demons involved, which is never, ever good. I was practically in pain throughout this book. There was so much at stake and at each turn, it seemed more and more hopeless. However, in true Rachel Morgan style, she never goes out without a fight. There was so much action in this book and finally a taste of what could be between Rachel and Trent. Personally, I want them to be together so, so bad. I was squealing with glee during the few small moments that Harrison shares in this book. I’m hoping there is many, many more of these moments to come.

There was so much development of Al’s story in this book, and it still confuses me how I can love him and despise him at the same time. There are some old faces that show up in this installment, which made me want to bash some heads in. With a book this far into the series, there are so many complex storylines that, unless you’ve read the previous books, you won’t understand. There is SO much going on in the background, with Ivy and Jenks, with old flames and old friends.

Kim Harrison is one of those authors that shocked me with her ability to kill off one of her main characters. (Yes, I know. I’m still not over the death of Kisten, but I loved him!) To my heart-break, she takes a life in this book. I’m grieving but I know this is just how the story was supposed to go. That’s how you know you have an author who truly tells her characters stories, when something happens to them and you just know that was what should have happened. I could go on and on about this series and these characters. I was not disappointed. Harrison never disappoints me and I will continue reading until Harrison has no more story to tell.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Skylark by Megan Spooner

I don’t know where or how to start this review. Skylark by Megan Spooner came highly recommended by some of the bloggers I trust the most to never lead me astray. I was shocked to find out that I disliked — nay — hated this book.

10352973Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children’s innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?

I hate writing bad reviews when the reason it was bad was simply it didn’t drive to my tastes. However, this dystopian tale is exactly what I usually go for; it’s dystopian for goodness sake! It seemed perfect for me! It wasn’t. I read over 100 pages before I finally put it down. I didn’t care about the characters. I didn’t understand the world surrounding them and I didn’t want to know what happened next. This rarely happens to me, so when it does, it makes me go into this crazed frenzy where I have to read something I like to make sure I still love reading. I hate books that make me question whether I’m getting too old for Young Adult. It was too teeny bopper to me. The main character’s thoughts and actions were sporadic and immature. It’s like that moment in a horror movie where the girl is so stupid she goes into the room with the scary noise. It’s disappointing and, ultimately, I wanted to spend my precious time in someone else’s world.

I didn’t finish this book because the author didn’t make me care about her characters. I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading this, but it most certainly wasn’t for me.

STARS: 1 out of 5. DID NOT FINISH (DNF)

Kate Daniels series #1-3 Magic Bites, Magic Burns, and Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

I’m always up for a good urban fantasy, when I heard about this “Kate Daniels” and Ilona Andrews, I was intrigued…and I was hooked after the first few pages of book one. Let me give you the low down on the first three books in this series because, most likely, you will read them in quick succession like I did.

imagesWhen the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

Book one, Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, was a sufficient introduction into Kate Daniels’ world. I found Kate to be incredibly entertaining with her badass moves and her witty quips. (A girl after my own heart.) The line “Here, kitty kitty…” when she first meets the Curran, the lord of the beasts, was hysterical! I found this book to be a great set-up for the series but the “meat” just wasn’t there. The relationships were only just starting to grow and the storyline was beginning to take off.  However, we do get to know Kate very well, well enough to love her and continue the series.

STARS: 3.5 out of 5

imagesCAM6ZXAPDown in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare…

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…

Book two, Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews was an amazing continuation of this series. It had a “meaty” plot that drove the interactions between the characters. Andrews created the most delicious sexual tension I have EVER experienced. I was writhing in anticipation by the end; can Kate just get a little action?? Speaking of action, there is also a completely different kind of  action in this book, and it was non-stop. I LOVE fight to the deaths and Andrews delivered. My heart is still racing from all the action. As a character, Kate is slowly unraveled before us exposing the secrets she keeps and why she keeps them. I loved her secrets and I loved that she fought to keep them a secret but was still human enough to want an ordinary life. The only issue I had with the series so far is every problem turned into “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!” This plot device can be overdone and desensitize readers. At one point, I found myself annoyed that every fight determined the fate of the world. I’d appreciate a little more reality in that aspect of the books. Overall, it’s still a great book.

STARS: 4 out of 5

images2Investigator for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Kate Daniels keeps humans safe in Atlanta. But when her werewolf friend Derek is dying in human form, from attack by the mysterious Reaper team at the Midnight Games, she and Curran, the Beast Lord, must fight together to win the Wolf Diamond topaz and save his Pack and her friends.

Book three is Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews. This series just keeps getting better and better, just when I thought the series would level out, it keeps building with more action, more character growth, and more PASSION. I am absolutely hooked. Andrews has led me along quivering in anticipation from the sexual tension between Curran and Kate. Finally, in book three, there was some sizzling action. (Waiting until the third book for a sex scene in an urban fantasy has got to be a record!) These sex scenes add to the plot which is super refreshing and I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed them. However, the best thing about this book was the witty writing. I have never (in my entire life) laughed out loud while reading as much as I did with this book. I was practically rolling on the floor. (This is NOT an exaggeration.) I had so much fun with this book and it was so entertaining. I loved how Andrews blended the funny with the serious. This book had a very sweet ending. Andrews has truly built a series that I want more and more of.

STARS: 5 out of 5

I’m already on the path to devouring the next two books, Magic Bleeds and Magic Slays, and I’m anticipating the release of Magic Rises which comes out July 30, 2013. If you love Urban Fantasy, this series is for you.