Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ATWT)

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (June 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1606840592
ISBN-13: 978-1606840597

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

Review:

After hearing an ominous knock from the door, everything seems to fast-forward for four year-old Bronwyn who gets saved by a pack of werewolves after seeing her parents brutally murdered by a Rabid. Under the protection of the pack Alpha Callum, Bryn is theirs as much as the pack is hers. Growing up with the Stone River Pack means acquiring the pack mentality of when to submit to dominance, the Mark (three cuts on your waist) and the pack-bond (mind connection between all the pack members). When Bryn starts to notice the over-protective, cautious ways some pack members are being, she decides to investigate and what she stumbles upon breaks open a whole web of secrets that unravel with the presence of a new pack member. A boy named Chase.

Tough-as-nails Bryn makes a deal with her Alpha Callum to get to have supervised visitations with Chase because of mystery she's desperate to solve about her parents murderer. Is the Rabid really dead? Or is he continuing his tortuous ways and killing others?

Associated with the dominance and protectiveness over their few females, the Stone River Pack runs on a system of need-to-know. Being raised in such an environment, Bryn had to learn their rules and the power of the Alpha's law. Jennifer Lynn Barnes did a great job of creating this unique world ruled by werewolves and bringing in Bryn's past from the very beginning as a thoughtful tragedy and giving it depth throughout the entire novel. The characters in Raised by Wolves each have their own attributes that make them endearing and genuine. Halfway through I found the climax to be a bit dramatic but only to be added to the hype that made up the ending. Bryn was a strong-willed character with a mind of her own; not falling under the pressure of the constant compulsion that the dominance dictated unless she willing chose to do so. Barnes made almost every little detail connect to something bigger as the mystery of the Rabid unwound itself. The connection that Bryn shares with Chase is thoroughly analyzed in the second half, but I would like to have seen what connects them personally. Nonetheless, being such a thrilling, kick-ass novel, I would highly recommend it to all who like to see the heroin triumph.

Grade: A-
LiLi

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When Blood Calls by J. K. Beck (Book It Forward Tours)

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam (August 31, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044024577X
ISBN-13: 978-0440245773

Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.

Review:

After winning a grueling case against a serial killer, prosecutor Sara Constantine had only planned to celebrate with a drink at the local bar; not expecting a one-night-stand with a delicious hunk of a stranger. And when she gets to work the next day, she definitely did not expect that same stranger to be defendant in her new high profile case, or the fact that he has the daemon in him and is a vampyre. Lucious (Luke) Dragos is the last of his lineage, and undoubtedly the only suspect in the murder of a Division 6 judge. He knows this of course, and that is why he has to convince Sara to believe in him and his reasons behind the murder and it's motive.

When Blood Calls is an action-packed, beautifully written debut of the new Shadow Keepers series. With strong-willed, justice-believer Sara Constantine, it seems from the very beginning that Luke doesn't stand a chance in court. However, being born in 122, Luke knows that things are never black and white; and it doesn't hurt that he has friends working inside the system.In When Blood Calls, you get to see from almost all the co-characters perspectives which only adds to the slight suspense that builds towards the end of it. While reading, I kept speculating who might have been behind the master plan in the end, even when everyone pretty much had a solid idea on who it was. However, never did it lose the intensity to keep the reader interested in every little detail that could possibly change the outcome. The different creatures/characters in this book have remarkable powers, especially the vampires that are not like any others. Instead of having no soul at all, what creates a vampyre in When Blood Calls is actually activating the darker side of your soon and fighting against it for control that brings out all their ugly.

I recommend this to whoever likes some of sexual content with an intricate plot full with on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. I can't restrict this to a specific age because some people would be a bit hypocritical if they knew mine. :)

Grade: A

Also check out:

When Pleasure Rules (September)
When Wicked Craves (October)

LiLi

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (July 13)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
 
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Teaser:
"He looks different this year, doesn't he? I looked up." ~~pg, 39, Siren by Tricia Rayburn

LiLi

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Salvaged by Stefne Miller (We Love YA!)

Perfect Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (May 18, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616630280
ISBN-13: 978-1616630287

'My body was being torn apart, and my stomach felt as if it exploded. The pain was excruciating, and I was aware that I was dying... 'Mom?' My vision was murky, but I could see her face. It was bloody, and her eyes were large and full of fear. Her voice calmed. 'Get out of the car, Attie.' Her words sounded crisp and clear. I looked into the backseat in search of Melody and found her lying covered in blood in a twisted heap on the floor. I turned my attention back to my mother and out of the corner of my eye saw fire. 'Get out, Attie!' 'Mom?' Everything went dark.' Attie Reed should have died in the wreck that stole the lives of her mother and best friend. But her life was spared. Why? When Attie moves to Oklahoma to stay with the Bennetts for the summer, she hopes she has left her nightmares behind. But her battle is far from over, and Riley Bennett steps forward to help her fight the nighttime monsters. As the battle wears on, Riley begins fighting monsters of his own: his feelings for Attie. And Attie realizes she must begin to face the monsters of the night herself if she wants to conquer them for good. Can Attie's life be Salvaged?

Review:

From New York to Oklahoma where she was raised, Atticus Reed had returned to the family she'll be staying with for the summer; the Bennetts. With the help of Jesus Christ, Attie was able to find a new path after the tragedy had struck the people she loved most. With her mother and best friend gone, she's had more nightmares than is adequate, and daily encounters with JC himself; advising on the obstacles to come and the love they bring, too. Throughout the summer of her seventeenth birthday, Attie heeds the help of the caring family that surrounds her in understanding, helpfulness, and patience. When the Bennetts--in particular Riley Bennett--are there for Attie when she needs them the most, will she muster up enough strength to see her new journey all the way through? Can she be salvaged?

When I first read the synopsis above about Salvaged, I was immediately intrigued.Getting to know Attie and the way her life was after the tragedy struck was enthralling and at most points in the dialogue quite humorous. While following Jesus after having sacrificed so much unwillingly, the religious aspect of Salvaged was a delightful surprise. New friends and old acquantices are introduced throughout the first half and rocky adventures with cries and laughs are exhibited through the rest. The romance element between Riley and Attie is no surprise to the people around them but seems to be only blossoming between the couple before their very eyes. Sometimes the dialogue was a bit corny and somethings that happened seemed a bit too convenient but it did not take away from Salvaged's overall endearing appeal. I believe it had a beautiful ending and two of my favorite things were the fantastic bunch of characters and underlying funny dialogue.

Recommended to all ages who love a fictional christian romance laced with the hardship of forgiveness.

Grade: B+

LiLi

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien (Book It Forward Tours)

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (March 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596435690
ISBN-13: 978-1596435698

 After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

Review:

Being a loyal midwife to the walled city known as the Enclave is all Gaia has ever known. Following in her mother's footsteps of fulfilling the quota of delivering three babies per month, Birthmarked opens with Gaia's first unassisted delivery. Gaia has always believed the Enclave to be a dream place and feels satisfied to serve it. When Gaia goes home to find that both of her parents have been arrested in question of a secret baby record, a record that Gaia is clueless about, she soon too is questioned and imprisoned. Through frightening twists and stumbling turns in her plan to escape and free her parents, Gaia must make adjustments here and there that accommodate bizarre encounters.

I want to believe that Birthmarked was epic in a dystopian perspective, but for me it was just sad. Don't get me wrong, it isn't without it's merits but at different points in time I really thought that Gaia was stupid. I blame this in part because of the secrets her parents hid from her. Now, I don't really find when the main character has some mystery to solve and secrets to uncover a bad quality in the book--it really just makes it more intriguing, to say the least--but the way Gaia is kept so out of the lope (and is constantly reminded of it) is unsettling. There were some dull spots where inaction was frequent. The parts that I really liked and admired were the intricacy laid into the importance of the "advanced" individuals in the Enclave, and how brave Gaia was to go through it all and not think about giving up with all those obstacles thrown at her. I just wasn't pleased with the over-the-top descriptions about every other thing that happened to her. At first I really didn't think I was going to have a favorite character, but after learning more and more about Sergeant Grey/Leon's identity, I found out the motives for his actions and underlying pain he hides about his adoptive family. His interaction with Gaia is rocky at first, but by the end your pleading that he stays by her side. Now that I mention it, the ending itself was sad and dissatisfying.

Grade: C

LiLi

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Giveaway: Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

Goth Girl Rising
Happy Independence day, everyone! Since I have two copies of GGR, I thought I giveaway the other to a BL fan. I absolutely loved Boy Toy and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Goth Girl Rising was not one of my favorites but I really liked getting to know Kyra better, and what drives to be so spontaneous (crazy). Fill out the form below to enter.