Saturday, June 7, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Automatic by Rachel Caine

Short Story Saturday: Automatic by Rachel CaineAutomatic by Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires
Published by Harper Teen on September 20, 2011
Genres: Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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3 Stars

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

picadillyblueAutomatic had the making of a great short story but I couldn’t fully enjoy it.  The reasoning behind that is pretty simple though; I haven’t read any of the Morganville Vampires books.   This story is set in Morganville, Texas and while I think you can read it without reading the series, I think readers will enjoy it more if they already have knowledge of the town and characters.

Automatic is a short story about Michael and Eve.  Like I said, I haven’t read the Morganville Vampires series so I have no clue if they are major characters or minor characters in those books.  I can see how readers might like to know more about them though since they seem like good characters.  Michael is a vampire who doesn’t seem to want to be one.  He’s dating Eve who is a human.  I didn’t necessarily see the draw between the two but they were kind of cute together.  There was also a little bit about two other characters, Oliver and Amelie.  I was very intrigued by Oliver and look forward to finding out more about him once I actually get around to reading the Morganville Vampires series.

The story is quick and pretty fast-paced.  This is one story where it really is just a tie in to a major series.  There wasn’t a whole lot going on and it’s really not necessary to read if you haven’t read the series or don’t plan to read the series.  Like I said, it seems to just be a deeper look at two of the characters from the series.

Overall, Automatic was a pretty good addition to the Enthralled collection.  I look forward to reading the Morganville Vampires series and finding out more about all the characters and the setting.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting | Review

Short Story Saturday: Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting | ReviewSkin Contact by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder #2.5
Published by Harper Teen on September 20, 2011
Genres: Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

picadillyblueWhen I read Skin Contact I had no idea it was part of The Body Finder series.  I figured I should start my review with that since I think if I was caught up with the series I would have liked this one more and understood things a little better.  As it was it was an enjoyable read, it just seemed a little underdeveloped.

Skin Contact is the story of Rafe, a guy who shares similar abilities as Violet from The Body Finder.  In Skin Contact he races against the clock to save the girl he’s in love with as well as her family.  The story is short but it will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.  Rafe is easy to connect to and easy to like.  While I felt like I was missing a lot of his background, I had no problem with him as a main character and I had no problem connecting with him emotionally.  Skin Contact may be short but it’s full of emotion and action.

It’s really hard to review Skin Contact without giving things away.  There is a bit of mystery surrounding the story.  I spent the whole time reading wondering if Rafe was going to make it in time to save his girlfriend and her family.  All I’ll say is that it’s pulse-pounding from beginning to end.

Overall, Skin Contact will be a great read for anyone who has read The Body Finder series.  Kimberly Derting does not disappoint with this short story.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Leaving by Ally Condie | Review

Short Story Saturday: Leaving by Ally Condie | ReviewLeaving by Ally Condie
Published by Harper Teen on September 20, 2011
Genres: Dystopian
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
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3 Stars

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

picadillyblueLeaving is one of those stories that could be good but wasn’t really.  Ally Condie started off strong but there was just too much information missing from the story for to truly love it.  It was almost like it was the beginning of a story and she just decided not to bother writing the ending.

At first I thought Leaving was set in the same world as Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy but it quickly became clear that this was set in a different futuristic world.  However, that’s about all I knew about the world Leaving was set in.

Sora, the main character, is considered an untouchable (whatever that is) and her father has left her (I still don’t know what exactly happened to him) and nobody associates with her at all (except this one guy.)  Seriously, that’s about the gist of the whole story or at least that’s what I took away from it.

Overall, I honestly don’t have much to say about this one other than skip it.  I truly have no idea what the point of the story was.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Bridge (Shade #2.5) by Jeri Smith-Ready | Review

Short Story Saturday: Bridge (Shade #2.5) by Jeri Smith-Ready | ReviewBridge by Jeri Smith-Ready
Series: Shade #2.5
Published by Simon & Schuster on September 19, 2011
Genres: Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

Logan is barely seventeen, and barely dead. To find eternal rest, the ghost rock star must make peace with his brother Mickey, before his guilt over Logan’s death drives him to suicide.

Krista sees ghosts everywhere, but never the one she needs most. A chance boardwalk encounter with Logan turns her Senior Week party into a rescue mission. Can her own grief give her the strength to save Mickey’s life?

Loaded with bonus material, the “Bridge” ebook is the perfect introduction to the young-adult Shade trilogy—a tale of ghosts, music, and everlasting love.

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Bridge is part of the Shade series which I didn’t know when I started it.  I’ve only read the first book in the Shade trilogy and I felt like I was definitely missing some information.  However, I still really enjoyed the story and the fact that it was written in verse made it awesome.

Bridge is the story of Logan and Mickey.  Logan knows that Mickey blames himself for Logan’s death and he has a feeling that Mickey might hurt himself so he doesn’t have to deal with the guilt any longer.  With the help of Krista, Logan finally talks to Mickey and tries to help him see that Logan’s death was not his fault.

There is a surprising amount of info in Bridge.  It’s not only a short story, it’s also written in verse.  For so few words, a lot is contained within them.  Jeri Smith-Ready managed to get so much emotion into Bridge.  Like I said, I’ve only read the first book in this trilogy but I still felt really connected to both Logan and Mickey.  Bridge is the first short story in the Enthralled collection that really made me emotional.

Overall, Bridge seems like a wonderful addition to the Shade series and while it’s definitely not required for you to read, I would recommend it.  It’s a short story that really packs a punch.

What others are saying about Bridge:

Grave Tells’ review: “I picked this up as a quick filler read to get a feel for Ms. Smith-Ready’s style and was completely sucked in by her artistry.”

Step Into Fiction’s review: “This ebook is definitely worth it’s money for any fan of the Shade series.”

The Reader Lines’ review: “Bridge is one of the best novellas I have read, so you HAVE to read it.”

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge | Review

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge | ReviewGilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Harper Teen on April 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 111
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale,Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author's debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?

picadillyblueGilded Ashes is a novella set in the same world as Cruel Beauty.  That was all it took to get me to give this book a shot.  While I normally don’t love novellas, that was not the case with this one.  If more novellas were like Gilded Ashes, I would be a lot more inclined to read them.

It was really easy to tell that Gilded Ashes was set in the same world as Cruel Beauty.  There is a cameo from the Gentle Lord but it’s more than that.  The setting has the same feel as Cruel Beauty.  It’s a gorgeous setting with more than a little bit of magic.  The magic in this universe isn’t all good though.  There is a lot of dark magic in Maia’s world and it’s the cause of pretty much all her problems in life.

Maia is not your typical Cinderella.  She’s strong and fierce and her fairy godmother is not one that I would want.  Her family isn’t like the typical Cinderella family either.  Her sisters can be cruel but they can also be kind.   And when they are cruel, it’s only because they are forced to be.  Maia and her stepsisters are all looking for the same thing; love.  They just have different ways of looking for it.  The relationship between Maia and her stepsisters was really great.  It starts off a little rough but all three of the girls really develop throughout the course of the novella.  All the characters are surprisingly well-developed for such a short story.

Maia and Anax’s relationship isn’t typical at all.  They become friends through a random stroke of fate and from there things start to become more between them.  While the relationship did come across as a bit rushed, I expected that.  You can’t go from complete strangers to two people in love in 111 pages without rushing some things.  However, I didn’t feel like it was a bad thing.  While I would have liked a bit more backstory from Anax, I still really liked him.  Not as much as Ignifex, that’s for sure, but a close second.

Overall, Gilded Ashes is a fabulous addition to the stories set in the Cruel Beauty universe.  I hope that Rosamund Hodge continues to write fairytale retellings because she is truly fabulous at giving them her own spin.

What others are saying about Gilded Ashes:

Paperback Wonderland’s review: “This novella was pretty much amazing, albeit too short.”

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Night of Cake & Puppets (DoSaB #2.5) by Laini Taylor | Review

Short Story Saturday: Night of Cake & Puppets (DoSaB #2.5) by Laini Taylor | ReviewNight of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor
Published by Little Brown on November 26, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 89
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.

picadillyblueI love Laini Taylor. I’m just gonna start out saying that.

The Night of Cake & Puppets is the story of Zuzana and Mik’s first date. Zuzana has always been one of my favorite supporting characters and that’s even more true after reading from her point of view in this story. She’s quite a unique person. The same goes for Mik. I never really felt like I knew him when reading about him in the other books so it was great to finally read from his point of view. He’s so cute! He and Zuzana are so perfect for each other.

The story is fabulous. Mik and Zuzana are such unique people that you know they have to have a unique first date. And boy do they ever. Their story is full of puppets, magic, a little vengeance, and a lot of awws (at least on my part.) I also couldn’t help but laugh at their story.

Overall, I can’t do justice to how fabulous this novella is. I loved it and I highly recommend it, even if you don’t normally read novellas.

What others are saying about Night of Cake & Puppets:

The Book Addict’s Guide’s review: “If you’re a fan of this series, do yourself the favor and read NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS.”

Bending the Spine’s review: “A Night of Cake & Puppets is the exact opposite of DoSB and DoBS—it’s full of hope, and joy, and wonder, and love.”

Utterly Bookish’s review: “Everything about Laini Taylor’s Night of Cake & Puppets, or Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5, was as perfect as I expected to be.”

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Short Story Saturday: Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout | Review

Short Story Saturday: Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout | ReviewElixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #3.5
Published by Spencer Hill Press on November 27, 2012
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 74
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex. 


Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for. 


Even if it means making war against the gods.

I continue to be impressed by Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books. Elixir will not disappoint fans of the Covenant series. I normally don’t read novellas like this one but I made an exception in this case and I am so glad I did.

Elixir picks up right after the end of Deity and it’s told from Aiden’s point of view. I loved getting a glimpse inside Aiden’s head. He’s such a sweetheart! I want one! He might be a little too perfect but you know what, I’m okay with that. He’s a fabulous guy and his love for Alex really shines through in this short story.

I won’t give anything away but this 80 page novella really helps with the wait for Apollyon. Nothing is really resolved but it will leave you with a smile on your face and hope for Alex and Aiden. It’s the perfect teaser for Apollyon.

Overall, do not read this if you haven’t read Deity but as soon as you finish Deity, pick this one up! You will love it!

What others have to say about Elixir:

These Flying Pages’ review: Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout is a must read for all the fans of her Covenant series whether they’re Team Seth or Team Aiden.”
 
A Page of Heaven’s review: “In a nutshell, Elixir was a much more powerful novella than I would’ve thought and if you’re going to read it, prepare some tissues and don’t go anywhere public. “
 
Love and Live to Read’s review: “Elixir” is fast-paced and full of emotion.
Saturday, March 30, 2013

Short Story Saturday: Roar and Liv (Under the Never Sky #0.5) by Veronica Rossi

Short Story Saturday: Roar and Liv (Under the Never Sky #0.5) by Veronica RossiRoar and Liv by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #0.5
Published by Harper Teen on October 30, 2012
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 68
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

Before Perry and Aria, there was Roar and Liv.

After a childhood spent wandering the borderlands, Roar finally feels like he has a home with the Tides. His best friend Perry is like a brother to him, and Perry's sister, Liv, is the love of his life. But Perry and Liv's unpredictable older brother, Vale, is the Blood Lord of the Tides, and he has never looked kindly on Roar and Liv's union. Normally, Roar couldn't care less about Vale's opinion. But with food running low and conditions worsening every day, Vale's leadership is more vital—and more brutal—than ever. Desperate to protect his tribe, Vale makes a decision that will shatter the life Roar knew and change the fate of the Tides forever.

picadillyblueI’m a little behind with my novellas. I’ve already read both Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night but I decided to go back and read Roar and Liv anyway. I’m actually really glad I took the time to read this novella and even having already read the two books that follow it, I feel like I learned something new.

Roar and Liv takes place right before Under the Never Sky, when Liv is pledged to Sable and runs away. That’s the story that readers know from Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night. However, what readers don’t know is how deep Roar and Liv’s relationship really is. Like I said, I’ve already read books 1 and 2 and to be honest, I didn’t see the appeal of Liv in either book. That being said, you don’t really ever actually get to see Liv in those books or get to know her like you do in this novella. Readers will finally be able to understand why Roar loves her so much and just can’t let her go. I was really satisfied with the development of their relationship through this novella.

Roar and Liv is short and to the point. It is all about Roar and Liv. It takes place over a two to three week time period and it’s really fast-paced. There’s not really anything new to the story that readers haven’t heard in the first two books but it’s really not about that. The story itself is unimportant, it’s the relationship between Roar and Liv that matters. However, there is enough going on in the story to keep readers interested.

Overall, Roar and Liv is a great addition to the Under the Never Sky series. Even if, like me, you’ve already read books 1 and 2, I recommend taking the time to go back and read this novella.

Looking for more reviews of Roar and Liv by Veronica Rossi?
Dark Faerie Tales’ review
Novels on the Run’s review
Books and Swoons’ review
Reading the Paranormal’s review

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Short Story Saturday: Hana (Delirium #1.5) by Lauren Oliver | Review

Short Story Saturday: Hana (Delirium #1.5) by Lauren Oliver | ReviewHana by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1.5
Published by Harper Teen on Februrary 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 64
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
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2 Stars

The summer before they're supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss.

But on the surface, Hana must be a model of perfect behavior. She meets her approved match, Fred Hargrove, and glimpses the safe, comfortable life she’ll have with him once they marry. As the date for her cure draws ever closer, Hana desperately misses Lena, wonders how it feels to truly be in love, and is simultaneously terrified of rebelling and of falling into line.

In this digital story that will appeal to fans of Delirium and welcome new admirers to its world, readers will come to understand scenes from Delirium through Hana's perspective. Hana is a touching and revealing look at a life-changing and tumultuous summer.

I’ve always been a fan of Lauren Oliver’s books whether they be contemporary or dystopian. However, Hana really let me down. I was expecting a lot more from this novella and in the end, I just didn’t get what I expected.

Hana really impressed me in Delirium. She wasn’t the typical best friend character who ended up being a total backstabber. She was actually a good friend to Lena and while I didn’t love her at first, I did by the end of the book. However, she really let me down in Hana. She was immature and really only ever thought about herself. All she cared about was boys and she dreaded the cure and she was positive that Lena could never understand what she was going through. She didn’t appear to be a good friend to Lena at all in this novella. I was hoping for an expansion of their relationship but that’s not what I got at all.

The story didn’t really go anywhere. I read Hana thinking that it would help me understand things in Requiem but now that I’ve read it and have started Requiem, I see no reason for reading Hana. Sure if you want more stories set in the world of the Delirium trilogy, check this one out, but don’t expect much from it.

Overall, Hana really didn’t go anywhere and it didn’t contain any information that I felt was necessary to the story in the rest of the books. Like I said, if you want more set in the world of the Delirium trilogy, check this one out but otherwise just pass on this one.

Looking for more reviews of Hana by Lauren Oliver?
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods #5.5) by Melissa de la Cruz | Review

Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods #5.5) by Melissa de la Cruz | ReviewBloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Blue Bloods #5.5
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 28, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 160
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

Vampires have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shapeshift and more. But in matters of the heart, no one, not even the strikingly beautiful and outrageously wealthy Blue Bloods, has total control. In Bloody Valentine, bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz offers readers a new story about the love lives of their favorite vamps - the passion and heartache, the hope and devastation, the lust and longing. Combined with all the glitz, glamour, and mystery fans have come to expect, this is sure to be another huge hit in the Blue Bloods series.

Also, witness the bonding of Jack and Schuyler.

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Bloody Valentine is the first set of short stories that I have read about the Blue Bloods but if Keys To The Repository is anything like this one I will have to check it out.  Bloody Valentine really shed some light on the characters that I love from the Blue Bloods series.

The first story is about Oliver and it also introduces Freya Beauchamp who will be in Melissa de la Cruz’s new book, The Witches Of East End.  I really liked finding out more about what happened to Oliver after Schuyler left and I like Oliver even more now.  And I am dying to read The Witches Of East End!

The second story is set in the past and features Schuyler’s mother, Allegra Van Alen, as a teen.  It is about her love for the human, Bedix Chase, who I assume is Schuyler’s father.  This one left me with some questions though so it wasn’t my favorite.

The last story is about Jack and Schuyler’s bonding and I loved it.  It takes place after the events in Misguided Angel and this story just reinforced my love of Jack and Schuyler together.  I can’t wait to see what is next for this pair.

Overall, Bloody Valentine is a great set of short stories to go along with the Blue Bloods series.  Each story had me hooked and I read the whole book in a little over an hour.  Sadly, now I have to wait for October to see what’s next!