Friday, August 28, 2015

Thor’s Serpents by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr

Series: The Blackwell Pages (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Paranormal/Fantasy/Adventure

Subjects: gods, magic, mythology, Norse mythology, supernatural, werewolves

Setting: South Dakota

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, past tense, rotating between Matt, Fen, Laurie and Owen

Age/Grade Level: Middle Grade, 11+

Length: 361 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.00

Publisher: Hachette: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “For fans of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the thrilling conclusion to The Blackwell Pages, written by New York Times bestselling YA authors, K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr.
Thirteen-year-olds Matt, Laurie, and Fen have beaten near-impossible odds to assemble their fellow descendants of the Norse Gods and complete epic quests. Their biggest challenge lies ahead: battling the fierce monsters working to bring about the apocalypse.

But when they learn that Matt must fight the Midgard Serpent alone and Fen and Laurie are pulled in other directions, the friends realize they can't take every step of this journey together. Matt, Laurie, and Fen will each have to fight their own battles to survive, to be true to themselves, and to one another - with nothing less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance.”

My Review:  Thor’s Serpents is the finale to the Blackwell Pages by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr. It’s pretty epic and great for fans of Rick Riordan’s books. It’s may be a Middle Grade series, but it can be enjoyed by all ages. The main characters are 12, 13 or 14 years-old. The writing is clean, and written from the 3rd person perspective. There’s lots of magic, mayhem and monsters. It’s fun and exciting.

Ragnarok is coming and Matt, Fen and Laurie have no idea how to stop it. It’s their fate as the god’s champions, but they want to stop it. Fen’s trapped with being the alpha of the Raiders wolf pack. Laurie is Loki’s Champion, and Matt is Thor’s. The power goes out in Rapid City and Mara descend on its citizens. Flaming giants attack in Mitchell, and another rooster crows. Stuff’s going down.

The characters are interesting and unique from each other. Since it’s 3rd person, we don’t get much incite into them, but we know Matt’s an athlete/geek, Fen’s a troublemaker, and Laurie’s smart. The character that I found the most interesting in personality was Reyna. She’s hilarious and her and Matt like each other. She’s acts all tough and sassy. Baldwin’s also cool. He also apparently watches Myth Busters, which I found awesome. Owen’s strange, but he’s got an eye patch. 

The best part of this book was that it’s was set in South Dakota. Most of the places mentioned I’ve been too or past. I never heard of the Journey Museum, or been in the Corn Palace, but I’m very familiar with the Badlands. I’ve been there three times (twice in one trip). I’ve been to Rapid city and the Black Hills (camped in Custer State Park). I’ve been to Deadwood, Mt. Rushmore, and Reptile Gardens. This series is set in summertime and it showcases tourist attractions as setting. Blackwell may not be a real town, but more other places mentioned are real. The authors must have vacationed there and decided to set the series there.

If you’re a fan of mythology, Rick Riordan’s book or the Thor Marvel movies, then check out this series. It’s great for middle schoolers, maybe 5th graders too. Don’t feel ashamed if you’re a high schooler, collage student or adult. Read this series and enjoy it!

Cover Art Review: Lovely illustrations from a skilled artist. I think it’s a digital painting.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: The Dark Elements Saga (bk.3)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Subjects: supernatural, gargoyles, demons, angels, love, good vs. evil

Setting: Washington D.C.

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Layla

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 378 pgs.

HC/PB: Paperback

List Price: $9.99

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Summary/ product description: “Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…”

My Review: Every Last Breath is the amazing, epic finale to the Dark Elements Trilogy. The romance of Laya and Roth continues. I absolutely love this series and I hate that it’s over. It gave me more feels than most books I read. It’s the best romance I’ve read beside Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (I heart Tucker!). So much happens in it. It’s got that urban fantasy vibe, and it id paranormal romance. I love that’s it’s not about vampires, but about demons, gargoyles and angels. I also love that there’s a few Supernatural references in it (Castiel is mentioned), which is appropriate since Jenn clearly got the name Lilith from Supernatural, then researched the biblical mythologies and came up with this fantastic series. I had my own story idea years ago about a girl named Layla who was supposed to be the destined vessel for Lilith (Called it Dark Vessel) but only wrote a few chapters. (I’m onto you Jenn! Lol)

I love the characters and I’ll miss all of them! Layla is a great narrator and Roth is so hilarious and hot. He’s a lot like Damon from the Vampire Diaries with his crazy sexual innuendo and dark humor, I just about died laughing at the things he said. I love Roth so much, but I also like Zayne. He’s a lot more sweet and protective. He’s hot too, but Layla’s just more drawn to Roth and she doesn’t know how to tell Zayne this without hurting him, because she’s loves Zayne too. He’s family to her and she grew up with him.  Another great character is Bambi. She’s a familiar and a snake, but she’s important to Roth. I don’t like snakes, but the whole idea of familars is cool. Roth also has 3 kittens and a dragon. Layla decides to get a familiar, but I’ll let you find out what for yourself.

In this book, Layla’s abilty to shift has change somehow and now she’s sporting dark feathered wings. It freak her out because before she was like a marbled mish-mash of Warden and Demon. She’s has to rethink what she’s becoming. The Alphas call her an abomination and want to kill her, but Roth’s familiars stop them. The Lilin is on the lose and has taken Sam’s soul and shape and now everyone’s at the risk of losing their soul. Layla, Roth and the Wardens have to find a way to stop the Lilin. Stuff doesn’t go down exactly how I expect it, but I enjoyed the surprises! The ending is great too.

I recommend this series to those whole enjoyed angel-related series such as Unearthly, Hush, Hush, Fallen, Sweet Evil, and the Mortal Instruments.

Cover Art Review: Not a very interesting cover, but I love the paper used.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Braken

Series: The Darkest Minds (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Paranormal

Subjects: psychic ability, supernatural, telepathy

Setting: West Virginia and Virginia

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Ruby Daly

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 488 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover & Paperback

List Price: $17.99/$9.99

Publisher: Hyperion

Summary/ product description: “When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.”

My Review:  I've had this book sitting on my shelf since it came out in 2012. Now I have the whole series and I finally read the first book. The Darkest Minds was a good book. I took it on my camping trip but only got to page 50. I should have known that I never get any reading done when I’m camping. It took me a while to finish this book because I was so busy, but I shouldn’t judge this book for that reason. Yes it’s very long, but the story was interesting. It had some great characters. I just wish I read it sooner.

Ruby was a good narrator. She reminded me a lot of Juliette from Shatter Me. She had an issue with touching people too. Ruby is and Orange, which means she’s telepathic and can control people too. She doesn’t know how to control her power. She’s accidently erased people’s memories before, and this scares her. At her camp she is thought to be a Green with photographic memory abilities. She fooled the people that sorted her. A woman named Cate helps her escape, but then she also escapes Kate and meets Liam, Zu and Chubs.

The most interesting character was Chubs. He was (maybe African-American? Maybe Indian?) a bit of a nerd. Supposedly he used to be fat before going into the camp. He was serious in demeanor but also said some of the most hilarious things. He’s that lovable best friend character. He because friends with Liam in camp. They both are Blues, which means they have telekinesis. Chubs didn’t use his power really.

Liam is a southern gentle man. He makes me think of Tucker from Unearthly, who was a cowboy kind off. Maybe I feel like I love Liam because I just watch the Longest Ride movie (with a hot bull Rider named Luke) and I watch Nashville on ABC. I just love country boys. Liam was also a very good person and sees the best in people. He also drove a van he called Black Betty in the book.

Zu or Suzume is a Yellow. She can control electricity, but hasn’t got a grip on her power. She doesn’t talk, just writes what she wants to say. She also like clothes and the color pink and tries to dress Ruby up in the book. She was such a sweet character. She reminded me of Baby from In The After by Demetria Lunetta.

The world building is pretty interesting. It’s set in the near future, maybe 7 years after a virus called IAAN kill most kids in America and leave the survivors with abilities. The survivors are sent to camps and given a color based on their ability. Pretty soon only the Blues and Greens are left in Ruby’s camp. The camps reminded me of Reboot by Amy Tintera, with was about a virus that made teens come back to life stronger. So if you liked Reboot or Shatter Me, then you may enjoy this book too.

Cover Art Review: Gorgeous use of texture and the Psi symbol.