August 29, 2012

VBT Review: Betrayal, by Amber Garr






Welcome to the Syrenka series book tour! Here at Stories of my life, you'll have the chance to read reviews of all three books through its duration, and if you want to check out other great stuff like excerpts or guest posts (and other reviews too!) you just have to check the master schedule, clicking on the Tour Banner above.

There's two surprises: one is a tour-wide giveaway where you can win signed paperbacks of the whole series plus some cool swag... And the other is exclusive to Stories of my Life and consist on a giveaway for your e-book of choice of the series. You'll find instructions on how to enter at the end of the post.

And now that the deets are out of the way, I give you... Syrenka!

Life as a mermaid can be suffocating.

Eviana Dumahl has returned home as a clan leader, an orphan, and a heartbroken teenage girl. Her parents are dead and her boyfriend, Brendan, has decided that he needs some time away. While battling her inner turmoil, Eviana is forced into the war that Lucian Sutherland has incited amongst her own kind. With the help of Kain, her friend and formally betrothed, the two work together to prove that they deserve their birthrights as young merfolk leaders.

When the Council requests a demonstration of Eviana’s mermaid powers, she finds herself with an opportunity to win back Brendan’s heart. But her orders to train with a repulsive merman and the presence of an attractive new suitor challenges Eviana to embrace her leadership and resist temptation. Lucian is after her, and no one seems to understand why. Loyalties are tested as the casualties increase, showing Eviana that sometimes it is impossible to delineate between friends and enemies.

Betrayal is the second book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends as they navigate through the challenges of existing in a secret world.


You’ve heard of middle-book syndrome, right? When nothing really happens, but a Trilogy Must Be Written anyway? Well, Betrayal is exactly the opposite!

Remember when I reviewed the first book over here and said that it did a wonderful world-building job, and that it laid the pieces for a great story? In Betrayal, we watch carefully as those pieces... Fall apart. Crumble to pieces. In the best possible way. You thought you’d have time to plan for the oncoming debacle, to prepare? Time to get sucked up in your own personal drama and to solve it with a happily ever after? Did you think that things were harsh enough for Eviana, and that she would catch a break?

She doesn’t. Lucian is evil, but he’s not an idiot. He’s not a cartoon villain, even if his motivations are unclear and I could only guess Eviana’s crucial role a few paragraphs before it was delivered. He knows that if he wants to win, he has to win: he can’t wait for victory to drop in his lap. And he knows exactly how and where to hit to do that. Also, since he must be part psycho, he’s not scared of doing what must be done, by whatever means necessary. And... that’s what Betrayal is all about.

Eviana will flounder to keep her tenuous leadership. Her emotional life is in shambles, after the events of Promises, but she’s no longer a teenage girl waiting to live her dream. She has to step up and prepare to face the disaster. Blow after blow, she’ll learn that the only way to face Lucian is on his own terms... And this part was beautiful. I simply loved the risk the author took: usually, things work for the hero. To have pillar after pillar, support after support point brutally pulled from under her feet was a daring experience, and it worked perfectly. When you throw in the fact that this events happen one right after the other, barely leaving the cast time to recover and, might I add, exactly like a guy with a twisted mind like Lucian would work, is just the icing on the cake.

The cast itself is another aspect I liked. On the one hand, I liked Eviana and her sister Marisol; I saw how they changed and matured due to circumstances, and while growing up that fast for the reasons they did is never pretty, seeing it actually happen was gorgeous. It’s too easy to remain the teenager in these books, no matter the calamities the plot throws at us, but this time? There’s growth. And there’s room for more.

Another point where I have to give Kudos to Amber Garr is the romance. This aspect is... complicated at best. Let’s just say that I have never read a book where I can’t tell who the heroine is going to end up with after reading a couple of chapters, let alone a couple of books. And it’s ever rarer that I don’t know myself who I’d want her to end up with. Well done! Every single love interest is special in their own way, lovable in their own way, and I can fall in love with every single one of them... Yes, even the bad option!

And that’s all I can say without spoiling it for you. Want to know more? Go and read! :)


About
the Author



Amber Garr spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire. Born in
Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry
kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is
sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of
smell. She writes both adult and young adult urban fantasies and when
not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. 






a Rafflecopter giveaway



August 22, 2012

Review: Happily Never After, by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky


Author: Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky
Title: Happily Never After
Series:  The Grimm Chronicles
ISBN: B008AK7Y2O
Publisher: Brew City Press (June 10th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm unleashed their stories upon the world.

Literally.

Now the characters of the Grimms’ stories walk among us. With every day that passes, they grow more evil. They are the Corrupted, and only a hero can save them.

For 18-year-old Alice Goodenough, that means taking precious time off from her summer vacation. In addition to volunteering at the local library, Alice must stop the Corrupted who are now actively hunting her down. With the help of her magic pen and her trusty rabbit friend, the world has suddenly gotten a lot more complex. The Corrupted are everywhere, and only Alice can see them for what they truly are.” GoodReads’ blurb

Short and sweet, because it’s mid-August and the heat is too much for being intense right now:

I love this series!!! (Yes, do note the triple exclamation mark).

Ahem. Okay, I’ll try to expound on that.

August 20, 2012

What do YOU look for in a review?


Reading Romances has organized a hop where we get to answer a question... and I thought it was a really interesting one, so thanks for the initiative!

So, here's my answer:

August 15, 2012

VBT Review: Promises, by Amber Garr


Welcome to the Syrenka series book tour! Here at Stories of my life, you'll have the chance to read reviews of all three books through its duration, and if you want to check out other great stuff like excerpts or guest posts (and other reviews too!) you just have to check the master schedule, clicking on the Tour Banner Above.

There's two surprises: one is a tour-wide giveaway where you can win signed paperbacks of the whole series plus some cool swag... And the other is exclusive to Stories of my Life and consist on a giveaway for your e-book of choice of the series. You'll find instructions on how to enter at the end of the post.

And now that the deets are out of the way, I give you... Syrenka!


Author: Amber Garr
Title: Promises
Series: Syrenka #1
ISBN: 9781468006797
Publisher: Amber Garr (first published December 7th 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.

When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiancĂ© would make a wonderful husband except that she’s been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan’s life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those who she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life that she had so adamantly tried to escape.

Promises is the first book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends through the perils of growing up in a discrete world that inherently threatens human society” GoodReads’ blurb

The first thing I want to say is thank you. I’m so glad I got the chance to be a part of this... It’s shown me an entirely new yet believable and perfect world!

August 14, 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster, by Jamie McGuire


Author: Jamie McGuire
Title: Beautiful Disaster
Series: Beautiful #1
ISBN: 9781466401884
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (August 14th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.” GoodReads’ blurb

I picked this one up right after starting my contemporary is actually cool phase. And... well... It’s not for me.

Emotionally, there were two parts in the book for me: the first, where I was really invested and waiting to see where everything went and how the character evolved, and a second part where I detached myself from the story. Roughly, I guess it’s almost a fifty-fifty, so you could say it’s not bad.

Except that the things that made me loose proximity with the story are the kind of things that really make me cringe, I guess.

August 13, 2012

Review: The City's Son, by Tom Pollock


Author: Tom Pollock
Title: The City’s Son
Series: The Skyscraper Throne #1
ISBN: 9780738734309
Publisher: Flux (September 8th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Expelled from school, betrayed by her best friend and virtually ignored by her dad, who’s never recovered from the death of her mum, Beth Bradley retreats to the sanctuary of the streets, looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius Viae, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London, who opens her eyes to the place she’s never truly seen.

But the hidden London is on the brink of destruction. Reach, the King of the Cranes, is a malign god of demolition, and he wants Filius dead. In the absence of the Lady of the Streets, Filius’ goddess mother, Beth rouses Filius to raise an alleyway army, to reclaim London’s skyscraper throne for the mother he’s never known. Beth has almost forgotten her old life – until her best friend and her father come searching for her, and she must choose between the streets and the life she left behind.” GoodReads’ blurb

When I finished to read this book,  I had to sit back, let myself breathe deeply and give myself a while to decide if it was a stroke of brilliance or a stroke of madness.

I’ve decided to go with the genius theory until proven wrong by the sequel.

August 9, 2012

Review: Candid, by Michelle Pennington


Author: Michelle Pennington
Title:  Candid
Series: True Images # 1
ASIN: B007YLEFXG
Publisher: M. Pennington
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Kindle| Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life is simple for high school senior, Sienna Whitfield. With a few good friends, a camera, and a dream, she has everything she needs to be happy. But when Jordan Rubio, the most popular girl at Haskins High, makes her mad, she decides to use the power of photography to right a few social wrongs. As if that doesn’t cause enough drama in her life, she realizes she’s falling for the new guy, Lee Franklin. Strong and protective, he’s just what she needs to survive the craziness she’s stirred up at school. If only she didn’t have to keep her feelings for Lee a secret from her mom…” GoodReads’ blurb

Ms. Pennington, you’ve made me fall for a genre I’d not have given the time of day... Well done!

When I was approached to review this title, I had a huge backlog and, as you must know by now, I wasn’t crazy about the whole contemporary concept... But I do have an artsy side and the way this novel centered on photography meant I had to give it a chance.

I think we might be seeing more contemporary around here from this moment on—or at least, more from Michelle Pennington!

August 8, 2012

Review: Infinite Devotion, by L.E. Waters


Author: L.E. Waters
Title: Infinite Devotion
Series: Infinite Series #2
ISBN: 9780983911128
Publisher: Rock Castle Publishing (February 14th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maya continues to delve into her past lives after death, and strives to complete the tentative journey required to reunite with her loved ones in heaven.

She must relive and explore her former incarnations as the scandalous and misunderstood Lucrezia Borgia in Renaissance Italy; a young stowaway on the doomed Spanish Armada fleet; and the rebellious Irish Robin Hood, Count Redmond O’Hanlon.

Her companions prove truer while her enemies grow stronger as her bygone adventures spin forth. This time she must experience the trials of loyalty and endure the hardships that only supreme devotion brings.” GoodReads’ blurb

I reviewed the firstbook in this series a while back and all of the good things I said back then still apply to this second installment: the accuracy and detail, the independent stories that still connect together through their characters...

There was the same storytelling quality, and I think this time around I’ve managed to pinpoint why I felt it: each story arc spans very nearly the whole life of the main character, and while obviously we don’t go day by day and only the important events are portrayed, it’s true that the “compression” of events doesn’t allow us to connect with the immediacy of the dangers the characters are facing. Perhaps focusing on one event from each life would make it swifter and more urgent... but we'd miss on the historical exploration. I guess it's a matter of finding a balance there.

August 6, 2012

Review: Tithe, by Holly Black


Author: Holly Black
Title: Tithe
Series: A Modern Faerytale #1
ISBN: 9781439106624
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (June 20th 2008)

Buy your copy:

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries! Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death. Newcomer Holly Black's enormously powerful voice weaves teen angst, riveting romance, and capriciously diabolical faerie folk into an enthralling, engaging, altogether original reading experience.” GoodReads’ blurb

Rath Roiben Rye, marry me!

...

Did it work? No? Thought so... but I had to try.

This one was an audiobook for me, and I think there’s a good chance that the reading alone has put one extra star in my rating... But no matter what, truly enjoyed Tithe!

August 2, 2012

Review: The Foul Mouth and the Cat Killing Coyotes, by Richard Raley


Author: Richard Raley
Title: The Foul Mouth and the Cat Killing Coyotes
Series: King Henry Tapes #2
ASIN: B007JCKFR0
Publisher: Richard Raley (March 13th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

King Henry Price, honored and learned graduate of the Institution of Elements, has settled back into his normal life, running his Artificer shop, creating new designs, selling old ones, and ignoring the occasional explosion when testing goes haywire. He's been minding his own business...only when he happens across a bunch of bullies picking on a woman, he can't resist the opportunity to smash faces, can he?

King Henry never expected the bullies would be part of the Coyote Nation, he never expected that he could be starting a war, and he surely never expected one of his lost sisters would be on the other side.

Jordan Josephine Price...found you at last.” GoodReads’ blurb

Oh how I love the King Henry Tapes series. Reading the second volume was like coming back home, I promise... And it featured all the great stuff that made me fall for our foul mouthed hero back in book one. If you’ve not read about it, go here and check my review.

So, The Foul Mouth and the Cat Killing Coyotes picks up right after The Foul Mouth and the Fanged Lady let off. I’ll be completely honest: it took me a few pages to get back into the dynamics for these books and to remember exactly what had happened, but once I did? I devoured the story!