Fate Series by Heather Lyons: Who doesn’t love a good sale??

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You may or may not know that I am obsessed with the FATE SERIES by the brilliant and very talented Heather Lyons.  Normally, love triangles annoy me but in this series it worked and worked well.  The writing is FABULOUS, there’s a perfect amount of angst and the story is freakin’ fantastic!!! If you are shopping around for a new series to read, look no further.  I loved every moment of this journey and trust me on this one…it’s good! Like 5 stars good and you know how stingy I am when it comes to giving anything 5 stars! ;) And PS: the first book is on sale for a whopping $0.99!!! It’s seriously worth it and you can thank me later!

Genre: Mature YA | Urban Fantasy

A Matter of Fate (#1) goodreads blurb: Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn’t a normal teenage girl. She’s a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she’s a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she’s to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That’s nothing compared to the boy trouble she’s gotten herself into. Because a guy she’s literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe’s once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

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Reading Order:

  1. A Matter of Fate (#1): amazon | b&n
  2. Beyond Fate (#1.5): amazon | b&n
  3. A Matter of Heart (#2): amazon | b&n
  4. A Matter of Truth (#3): amazon | b&n
  5. A Matter of Forever (#4): May 15, 2014

 

Love, In English by Karina Halle

love in englishFrom goodreads:  He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.

***

To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.

Review…

I normally don’t accept ARC’s because of my workload and the pressures that come with meeting deadlines.  I hate deadlines BUT I couldn’t pass this one up, I just couldn’t.

For those of you that know me, I hate retelling the story in a review.  That’s what the blurb is for but I can and will tell you what worked and what didn’t. There is no doubt that Karina Halle knows how to write a story and she does it well.  She’s one of the few authors I can count on that won’t disappoint me when I read her books and this particular story is no exception.

“I’m starting to think that most villains aren’t evil—they are just misunderstood.”

While the blurb of the book touches on Mateo being married and Vera obviously not, one would think it would be an illicit love affair of some sort.  You would think that it would be taboo or somewhat controversial but after reading this, it wasn’t that way at all.  The relationship between Vera and Mateo is slow building, nothing about these two being attracted to each other happens overnight.  But dear god, when they come together it’s powerful and I might have needed a cigarette afterwards.

Here’s the thing, infidelity is a touchy subject, plain and simple. It doesn’t always appeal to readers and I completely get. However, the affair is handled with complete tact.

I think one of things Karina does well is she creates heroine’s that are unforgettable.  Vera owns who she is, flaws and all and that’s what made this story so incredibly fabulous to me.  She owns her sexuality.  She owns up to her mistakes.  She owns who she is and that’s so rare to find in a book.

As much as I loved this story and the journey it took me on, it was missing something and it took me a few days to figure out what it was. I needed Mateo’s POV.  As much as I enjoyed him throughout the book, I couldn’t always connect with him.  And no, he doesn’t grow a vagina overnight or anything like that but I wanted to understand him and his motives.  I felt I knew Vera inside and out but I needed more from Mateo to make him a compelling character for me and he just didn’t gain that much sympathy from me.

“Love is like a thief, it robs you of all thought and logic and all you have left is a heart that you can only pray is strong enough to survive the rest.”

What you’ll find if you read Love, in English is fantastic writing, a heroine that you’ll want to be friends with, a slow building relationship and just enough angst to keep you turning each page.  This is not a story about finding love but love finding you. ;)

4stars

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How do you feel about 5 star reviews?

5stars

A few weeks back I wrote a post about being in a massive book slump and I’ve recovered since then but I barely touched on my thoughts on the abundance of 5 star reviews.   Reviews are completely subjective and I get that but to rate the majority of books 5 stars seems very questionable to me.  Can you love every book you read??  How is this possible???  I don’t love every book I read, I just don’t and in fact, I think I’m usually unimpressed half of the time and I own that.

It’s like I looooooooooooooooooooove Superman.  I do.  But I hated when Brandon Routh was cast as the iconic hero of all-time.  Does that mean I will sing his praises because I love Superman?  Of course not and that movie was awful and so was Brandon.  To me, the only two actors that have nailed it were Christopher Reeves and Henry Cavill.  Yes, two completely different films for two different eras but the end result is: they’re classics.

henry Am I making sense???  I didn’t mean to go off on a Superman tangent but anytime I have an excuse to talk about Henry Cavill, I will. (wink-wink)

When I say that I’ve read a lot of crap, I have.  If a book is god-awful, I will give a 1 or 2 star rating and when I first starting blogging I didn’t bother with a review because I wasn’t sure how to go about it.  I evolved as a reader and blogger and I know I can write about the good, bad and ugly without it being a hate crime.

So here are my questions…

  1. Readers:  what are your thoughts on ratings with blogs you follow? Does it bother you if you don’t see a lot of 5 star reviews or does it not matter?
  2. Bloggers: do you feel pressured to give a high rating if you are friendly with the author?

I will be curious to see what people think! ;)

LoveCristina

 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

dreams of gods and monstersFrom goodreads: By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Review…

This book left me exhausted in a good way but after 600+ pages I wanted more, needed more finality and while I thoroughly enjoyed and loved every moment, it wasn’t as good as the first two books. Something about the ending left me unsatisfied but again, I did love it a lot.

“Scientist and smart fellow learner-of-stuff, want to do samurai-monster training with us? We intend to become dangerous.” 

I think my biggest concern with the final installment is that I felt Laini Taylor was doing too much; introducing more characters and leaving the door wide open for a spin-off series, which isn’t a bad thing and honestly, it’s what I’m hoping for.  However, the introduction of new characters and their story took away from the journey that should have been all Karou, Akiva and the usual suspects from book 1 & 2.  Every moment that I couldn’t spend in Karou’s or Akiva’s head, I felt robbed.

“We are the beginning . We always have been. This time, let it be more than a beginning.” 

Can I just say how much I loved Liraz?? I enjoyed her badass-ery before but she evolves and grows into something breathtaking because life shapes you, right?  And she becomes a better person for it.  Her actions spoke louder than anything she could say and she broke my heart a million times over for everything she had to endure.  

“I love vengeance like normal people love sunsets and long walks on the beach. I eat vengeance with a spoon like it’s honey. In fact, I may not even be a real person, but just a vow of vengeance made flesh.” 

Zuzana and Mik were so perfect in this book that I simply couldn’t get enough of them.  Mik is the calm to Zuzana’s fierceness.  I’m not sure what else I can possibly say about them except they’re perfect!  And I needed more time with the Stormhunters…it was such an overall tease!

“The terror-the terror, the terror-lingered, and there was something else. It came with the dream, every time, and didn’t recede with it but stayed like something a tide had washed in. Something awful-a rank leviathan corpse left to rot on the shore of her mind. It was remorse.”

Now, as far as Karou and Akiva are concerned, I really wasn’t sure if they would make it or not but I was incredibly thankful that Karou finally came to her senses. That’s all I can say about them without giving anything away and trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts and started the apocalypse.” 

Laini Taylor delivers a beautifully written story, one that commands your full attention and while I had some concerns with the final book, I loved it; it’s still one of my all-time favorite fantasy series. ;)      

4stars

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Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

18246727From goodreads: When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

 

Review…

Where do I possibly start with this book? I’m definitely in the minority when I say I didn’t love this book.  That might garner a few people to throw stones at me but hey, I’m a risk taker like that.  Mud Vein has Tarryn Fisher written all over it and that’s what makes this story somewhat unique, even if it didn’t blow me away. It’s really rather simple, I don’t love every book I read even if I think the author is a talented writer, so with that being said, let me explain what I loved and didn’t care for…

The first 40% of the book was a real snooze and I almost didn’t finish it. *gasp*  I know, I know…the author was setting us up for the twisted plot, she was laying the foundation, blah, blah, blah but I still think it was a snooze.  I was bored and felt like I had read this story before.

bored

Senna and Isaac are reminiscent of Olivia and Caleb (Love Me with Lies series).  Senna is beyond broken and for very good reason which is depicted beautifully and yet so tragic but I felt I already knew her.  And as beautiful and perfect as Isaac was, I had already met him and fell in love with him in The Opportunist.  I know what you are thinking, I shouldn’t be comparing books but as always, I throw caution to the wind.

What worked was the element of mystery but this didn’t pique my interest until the back story of both characters was explained and once I knew their history, I wanted more and couldn’t put the book down.

There’s an intense feeling of melancholy throughout the entire story and a brief moment of self-love because Senna is truly a tragic character, it was as though she was wrapped tightly in barbed wired and her journey left me exhausted and quite sad.  And as for Caleb Isaac, his life becomes absolutely cataclysmic.

I love dark and tragic stories but there was something about this particular book that didn’t do anything for me.  I was lost simply because the beginning didn’t grip me, the story became too cryptic, the ending didn’t shock me and yet, it left me empty.  I can never get those hours back that I spent on this book.

“Nick was wrong about me. Having a mud vein didn’t kill me; it saved me. My vein drew Isaac. He was the light and he followed me into the darkness. He became the darkness, then he carried my burdens so I wouldn’t have to.”

 I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it and for the record, the writing is fantastic.  So, if you enjoy depressing psychological thrillers you might want to give this one a try. ;)

 

3halfstars
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Love Me  with Lies Series… ♥
13312527  15832316  16090981

 

Stacking the Shelves: My big book haul!

stackingtheshelveswithCBR

 Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts…

This has been a really busy week because I had to travel for work (not to mention I’m still stuck at the airport) BUT I still found time to purchase a few e-books that I can’t wait to read!!!  Some of these have come highly recommended from book blogs I’ve recently discovered! ;)

Now, the challenge will be finding the time to read all of them.  GAH!!! And you know what else…I see audio-books in my future because I’ve been spending a lot of time on the road, as in driving in unfamiliar terroritories.   :/

dreamer

*click on the image for the synopsis*

tug of war  in the shadows  shadow and bone

mind games  every day  looking for alaska

cruel beauty  ashfall

What’s in your book haul??

LoveCristina

 

Glitterland (Glitterland #1) by Alexis Hall

glitterlandFrom goodreads: The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

Review…

Glitterland is my first m/m romance and while I’ve read m/m romance with supporting characters, I’ve never experienced an entire novel about it.

amy adams

And let me just say, it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!

“I was playing games with myself, putting up a show of resistance, as if I could take it or leave it. But the truth was, whatever the price, I would gladly pay it just to feel…better. Connected. Human. Alive. Anything at all.”  

I was definitely hooked from the start but I had a hard time connecting with Ash and I can’t specifically tell you why.  As the story progressed I came to understand him and his struggles a bit better but there were plenty of times that I wanted to slap him repeatedly. He definitely had a douchey quality but Darian made up for that.

 “My world was one of only broken images, like I was standing always on the threshold of a mirror, unable to tell the reflection from the real. The shining city and the blasted heath-the truth lay somewhere between, a thin grey line, slender as the edge of knife.”

Darian is someone I was able to connect with immediately. Oh my goodness, I thought he was perfect!!! He’s not refined like Ash but his character, his heart and the truth he spoke made him incredibly compelling which made him completely endearing in my eyes.  I fell for Darian as quickly as Ash did and don’t worry, there was no insta-love but perhaps, insta-lust and I was totally okay with that. ;)

“The sight of him stirred a wanting that was starting to feel familiar, though it was less frantic tonight. It was a warm, steady thing, like a heartbeat.” 

The dialogue in this story is priceless because it felt genuine, nothing was forced.  Alexis Hall really took his time in developing the characters and the overall story seemed quite clever, not to mention everything wrapped up rather nicely.

“So what else you into, then? I mean except reading and writing, talking like the Queen, and dressing like my granddad?” 

As always I will leave you to ponder my vague thoughts on this book but know it’s written incredibly well and highly enjoyable. ;) 4stars

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Waiting on Wednesday: Love, in English by Karina Halle

waiting on wednesday

 

Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I’m dying to read Love, in English by Karina Halle! Like DYING!!!  I’m not sure what it is about forbidden romance that gets me crazy excited with anticipation but it does.

excitement 2

Now keep in mind, not every author can write a story that is more or less taboo and could be somewhat controversial but since I’ve read a few books by Karina Halle, I have no doubt this book will exceed all my expectations. *fingers crossed*

love in englishFrom goodreads: He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.

***

To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.

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Expected Release Date: 4/22/2014

Now that you know what the general gist of what this story is about, it won’t appeal to everyone and so, I thought it might be good to recommend a few books that aren’t quite as scandalous as Love, In English.  The Artist Trilogy was absolutely fantastic, think Martin Scorsese meets Quentin Tarantino. If you’re a fan of zombies (think Walking Dead), you’ll love Donners of the Dead. And you’re welcome! ;)  I’ve never read the Experiment in Terror Series but everyone says I’m missing out!

sins and needles   donners of the dead  dark house

 

 

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi

under the never skyFrom goodreads: Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered.

This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland–known as The Death Shop–are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild–a savage–and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile–everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Review…

Oh this book!

Under the Never Sky blew me away and I need to thank Dre from Sporadic Reads because it was her review that made want to read this story!! ♥ And I’m so happy I did!  

“She looked up. A world of nevers under a never sky.”

This story is a cross between Elysium meets Star Trek and Veronica Rossi knows how to build a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat. It’s non-stop action that includes cannibalism, wolves, etc…  

“He felt like his body had a will of its own. Always looking. Preparing for the only fight that would satisfy him.” 

The heroine, Aria, her life is within the Pod but lives her life through different virtual realms but in order to do that she needs to wear her smart eye.  Everyone who lives in the Pod has to wear one and what’s wonderful about living in the Pod is that sickness can’t touch you and you can’t feel any real physical pain.  

“And in life, at least in her new life, chances were the best she could hope for. They were like her rocks. Imperfect and surprising and maybe better in the long run than certainties.”  

Aria’s world is completely rocked as an Outsider breaks into the pod and the adventure begins when she meets Perry. Perry is so wonderful and complex but that’s all I will say as I want to keep the element of surprise intact.  The romance between Aria and Perry has the perfect amount of push and pull, no insta-love here.

“Something heavy and cold at his core lightened. Hugging wasn’t what he’d had in mind, but maybe it was better. It shouldn’t surprise him, her knowing what he needed more than he did.” 

There’s a definite supernatural feel to this story which I loved and the world building was beyond amazing.  And the Aether storms??  WOW. Just wow!  I wouldn’t say that Aether as a whole is explained thoroughly and it took a little google-ing on my part to understand the general gist but I still think that focus was brilliant.

“She looked at the knife, her throat tight with emotion. No roses or rings with him, but a knife with feathers carved into the handle. A knife that was part of him.” 

I purposely keep my reviews vague because sometime the less you know, the better.  All you need to know is that you’ll either love it or hate it, there’s no in between but if you give this book a chance…I think you’ll love it as much as I do. ;)

5stars

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Suggested Reading Order:

 

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday: Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)

Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

waiting on wednesday

It’s no secret that I love urban fantasy and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series could potentially be the MOTHER OF ALL BOOKS in this genre.   Not only will each installment stretch your imagination to the fullest but the writing is lyrical and unlike anything you’ve read before in a YA novel.   Now you understand why this is my #1 pick for my debut W.o.W! Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor is expected to be released on April 8, 2014. ♥

dreams of gods and monstersFrom goodreads: By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

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This is my suggested reading order:

  1. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone (#1)
  2. Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5)
  3. Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)
  4. Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)

If my reading order seems a bit wonky, it is but trust me…it makes sense this way. ;)  But the most import question is, what book are you waiting on????

 

LoveCristina