Wednesday, May 27, 2015

End of Days: A Fitting and Fulfilling End

                I did a giveaway for the release of End ofDays by Susan Ee a few weeks back if you remember as I talked about the premise of the book and how excited I was for the conclusion of this trilogy.  My previous book talk can be found here.  I have now read it and I am dying to share my thoughts with you all.  I’m going to do a brief talk about the book without any spoilers for End of Days, but as it’s the final book in the series it will have spoilers for the first two books for obvious reasons.  Then I’ll move to a spoilery section.  But don’t worry I will warn you before I get there so if you haven’t read it yet you can skip to the comments.  If you haven’t read any books in the series yet, GO DO THAT ASAP they are amazing.  If you read further the first two books will be spoiled for you so if you don’t want that skip on down to the comments and share why you haven’t started them yet.

                For the first non-spoilery side of things End of Days picks up where we left off in World After with Penryn and Raffe sailing through the air away from their latest fight w/ her sister and a few of those locust things with them.  No time loss at all we are right back to it.  They are on the run and are desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes that were put on both Raffe and Paige.  New things come to light about Raffe’s past, things that could threaten them all.  Add that to the angels releasing their apocalyptic nightmare on the humans and both sides are headed to a full out war.  Sides are chosen.  Strategies formed.  The fate of Earth hangs in the balance and a choice made.  When the time comes Raffe and Penryn are forced to choose between their own kind, or each other. 
Pooky Bear!

                There is so much going on and tensions are rising both on a personal level and between the ragging war there is never a dull moment.  I know all through the first two books I could feel the tension between Raffe and Penryn.  I wanted something to happen but at the same time it’s clear he is an Archangel and she is a Daughter of Man, that would cause him to fall just like his Watchers did.  So huge conflict there.  Plus the whole human vs. angel war going on, it was star crossed in that way.  It was all from Penryn's POV so we knew her conflicted emotions on the whole mess and I liked being in her head and seeing how equally rational and emotional she was.  She tried to keep things in check and focus on the big picture but the heart is a different beast and doesn't always listen to the head. 

                From the previous two books we know there is a war coming and both humans and angels have some things up their sleeves.  The human resistance is fighting tooth and nail to stay alive and find some way to rid the world of angels, while the angels are superior beings and are from Uriel we know he has been creating monsters to bring about his own apocalypse.  We have been along with Penryn the whole time and Raffe has been with her through the vast majority of their story and even as they are on opposite sides in End of Days we see from Penryn more understanding of the angel perspective which really balances it out.

                That's about all I can say without giving away any spoilers to End of Days.  So if you haven't finished the series yet then you should leave now and skip to the bottom to the comments to tell me what you think of the series thus far and what your hope for a satisfying conclusion of the trilogy is?


How I imagine his Angel wings just a
tad bit shorter ;)
                You've been warned.  Okay so can we just take a moment to appreciate the way everything came together.  I was worried towards the end at first thinking how much was still left unresolved and how much I had left in the book.  I was concerned things would be rushed or skipped over.  That was thankfully not the case in my opinion.  It didn't drag at all but just kept moving hit after hit.  I know Penryn was ready for a long nap at the end of this. 

                The way everything was resolved…I was satisfied.  I enjoyed the way things turned out.  I felt that everything was well thought out and explained just enough to give us closure but also didn't bog us down with specific details so we as the readers could see use our own imaginations.  I admitted I hadn't figured out how the story would work out/resolve at the beginning but I had it pieced together about 50%-75% through.  I could see the pieces falling into place. 

                Still though some parts I didn't see coming.  I really enjoyed the overall turn of things. I figured we would learn more about Raffe's Watchers, since their past with Daughters of Man would play a part in the forbidden romance between himself and Penryn but I wasn't expecting what happened.  I liked getting to meet them and have more of a back story for Raffe and his Watchers.  The way they interacted around one another, the camaraderie between them.  It was great to see that side of Raffe to, since he has been on his own among the angels since we meet him.

Beautiful Matching Covers!
                We get to know many of the characters better in this final installment.  I even almost felt bad for Beliel.  Almost and I never thought that could be possible.  Paige grows more and she grows into who she is now and is able to help instead of being the helpless one in need of saving, which I really liked seeing.  We also get more from their mother who has been a bit of a mystery since the first book, unsure if she's certifiable or the smartest of them all.  I still think the answer is 50/50 depending on the moment.  Dee and Dum, oh I love them.  They remind me a bit of the Weasley twins able to find the comedy and the revenue in any situation.  Given the seriousness of the plot there was a surprising amount of comedic relief that is sprinkled subtly throughout to help lighten the mood.

                I also LOVED the final battle scene.  It was on point and I could envision it in my head.  The teaming up and fighting together.  Filling in the blind spots for one another.  That the humans stood up and came together for a final battle gave me hope for humanity in the book, which is the whole point worth fighting for.  After seeing the Pit and what could become…yep it was worth risking everything to prevent that. 

                My one negative which isn't even a negative but just my curious mind wishing I had a solid answer to one question I had been mulling over since book one.  The Watchers fell because they married Daughters of Man and had babies.  Well what if they just lived among them and loved them but didn't marry and they never had kids?  Would that had been okay?  It says they are leery of crossing the line and sleeping with humans, hence Uriel tempting them, but as things went on it became unclear if it was doing the deed or mixing the bloodlines that was forbidden.  I was just curious because that had been my loophole theory while waiting for End of Days.  Live in sin and don't make babies lol.  I also had been tossing around the idea that Penryn had some type of special thing about her, like angel blood in her or something which would explain why her mom was a bit crazy on point sometimes but also maybe a loophole.  Hey I reaching for anything really. 


                End of Days was a spectacular ending to the Penryn and the End of Days series.  Susan Ee managed to give us everything so beautifully and bring us a different take on things.  I enjoyed each book but I admit that End of Days was my favorite.  It left me satisfied and happy in a way only a well written ending can.  I doubt there is any question on my rating but just in case I give it 5 Angel Swords!

Rating:  5 Angel Swords

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Books in translation!

                I love books.  I love reading and writing and all combinations of it.  This you may know being as you are reading this on my book review blog.  While I do have tons of reviews to write and share with you my fellow readers, today I wanted to do something a little different.  I want to have a discussion with you and I hope you will join in.  This conversation is about translation.  I only speak, read, write in English, and some would say that my English could use some work on occasion.  Most of the books I read come from authors based in the US so not something I’d think much about.

                Then I read the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier which was originally put out in German and then translated into English.  I even found they have made the first book into a movie, Rubinrot, which is in German clearly.  I intended to watch it and read the English subtitles.  However, the sequel Saphirblau is even out, but it does not have the English subtitles.  This was very upsetting to me because I won’t be able to enjoy the second movie now, since I don’t speak German.  Thinking about this I started to look and see how long it takes for some of my favorite books to be translated to other languages for others who don’t speak English to enjoy.

                This got me thinking about the value of having books translated to fit different areas and the impact that has on us as a people.  What if books were never translated from their original language and we had to read that language or not read it at all?  That would close us off substantially as a community of readers I feel.  We wouldn’t have the diverse collection of readers enjoying the books and coming together to enjoy something that bridges the gap.  So many stories would never be heard.  The thought is heartbreaking.  I know I met a ton of people from all over, even some from different countries, who attended YALLfest last November and to think I wouldn’t have been able to get to know them had a book I read in English been translated to their language is unimaginable.  Plus with each translation/language we get another awesome cover to admire.

                Thinking about translation as a whole though I also started to wonder about the wonderful people who take the time to make sure it’s done right.  Sometimes when a phrase is translated from one langue to another ‘as is’ you can get a very awkward jumble of words.  Has anyone had a second language class and tried to get help with the assignment from the internet?  Yep, that was me.  Unlike automatic translators, translation software companies that use human translation to ensure that the quality and accuracy of the text is preserved, like Smartling, seem to be a better way to go.  I'd much rather have a real person translating to make sure the feels translate.  The way words are placed in a sentence, the substitution of words that don’t translate with something that conveys the same impact, etc.  The list goes on and on.  When a book is translated such care has to be given to maintain its impact.  Which got me to my next question, what aspects of a book do I think need to be preserved when translated?

                Reading the Ruby Red trilogy I did have some issues with it and thinking of this question I wondered for a moment if it could have been something lost in translation.  The answer for me on this matter is highly unlikely as it’s just that it hit a story pet peeve of mine.  The fact that the book was able to get me so riled up and annoyed about this particular part says a lot. For me the most important thing to come through is the characters.  I am all about the characters.  I want to be attached to them, I want to love them, hate them, root for them or against them.  I want to be invested in their story.  That’s what keeps me reading.  If they are sad I want to feel that, if they are hilarious I want to randomly start laughing while reading, to make me swoon with the romance of it all.  I want all of that.  That is what is most important to any story for me.  What about to you?  If you are reading a book and it is going to be converted to another language what is the most important thing you want to make sure is translated?
Sapphire Blue mention above original & US

                This is me starting a discussion.  I would love to see what everyone has to say on the topic.  Please share below your thoughts in the comments below.  Tell me what your experience has been with translated books?  What is the most important thing that needs to shine through?  Let's talk!


Monday, May 18, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest, Indeed

                I have a review for you today, but first a special announcement.  I want to thank everyone who took part in my last giveaway for the release of the last book in the Penryn & the End of Days series by Susan Ee.  I'm really enjoying the giveaway fun and plan to do more in the future!  That being said a special congrats to the winner, pulled randomly via rafflecopter!  Emily R who enjoyed Pooky Bear!  Congrats!  You will have your lovelies soon.  Thanks again everyone for participating.  Now onto the book review.

                 I have several Holly Black books.  I have heard amazing things about them and the plots all seemed interesting to me, hence me buying them.  Still I hadn’t picked one up to read for various reasons and time constraints.  Then a friend and I decided to start doing a read-along every other Sunday (while I’m at work) and discuss as we read after doing it by coincidence one Sunday.  We compiled a list of some books we both own but have yet to read and we picked The Darkest Part of the Forest, my first Holly Black book to read and I want to share my thoughts on it with you my happy readers.

                I was intrigued by the book based on the cover and the plot line.  Most intriguing thing about it was that it was a stand-alone fantasy story and wasn't 500+ pages long.  This I hear is harder to master.  Color me excited.  The basic plot, if you are unaware, centers around a small town where humans and fae exist side by side.  The fae attract tourists which is good for the towns business but they can also be dangerous.  The center of attraction is a glass coffin in the woods.  In it rests a boy with horns and pointed ears.  We follow Hazel, who once thought she and her brother Ben were supposed to be a knight and a bard to battle all evil.  A child's fairytale it seems.  They also, along with many, fancy themselves in love with the boy in the coffin.  The fantasy of it all, having slept for generations never waking.  Until one day he does.    The world is turned upside down for our town as Hazel tries to put the pieces together that only she can know. 

                I liked the way the fantasy of the fae world was blended into the current/modern world like I know it.  The magic balanced the line between the mystical and understandable.  Enough was explained to follow along and make inferences but it still held onto enough to make it…well magical.  There is so much happening in this book so the reader is never bored.  Not for a minute.  Where did the sleeping horned boy go?  How did he get out?  What does it all mean?

                Those are just some of the many questions you get to discover in this mystery.  Plus we have our would be hero ready for a battle, she was after all supposed to be a knight.  Holly Black also found a way to weave in just the right amount of romance too.  I didn’t even know I was growing attached to certain characters as a couple until I couldn't imagine it otherwise. 

                One thing I found very intriguing is the small town prejudices.  Maybe it's just because I lived in a small town for a vast majority of my life but it felt so real.  Especially in the south where you are judged on who your family is and where you go to church.  Watching how someone is treated as an outcast for no reason other than something they are 100% unable to change is insane.  Seeing the way this character deals with the adversity and not let others opinion of him turn him into a monster.  That resonated for me.  The characters are all so complex each having their own growths and quests to go on be it internally or externally.  Hazel was very loving and compassionate, she wanted to be a good sister, be a knight and fight off fae, and figure out a way to make it happen.  Ben, the way he progresses in the story, reading his story and what has happened made me tear up.  Same goes for Jack.

                The Darkest Part of the Forest has so many twists and turns I don't want to risk spoiling it by saying to much so I'll just say that I gave it 5 stars.  It was an interesting and unique story that weaved everything within it so seamlessly and beautifully I felt I could go there and visit and see the glass coffin and the fae.  Highly recommend and now I can't wait to continue with other works by this author that I own. 

Rating: 5 Stars

                That's it for today.  I'm hoping to get back on some type of schedule again, I just went to night shift so I'm keeping vampire hours again which should be good for both reading and writing time.  You know the drill from here.  Please leave a comment below letting me know what you thought about the book?  The review?  Things you'd like to see in the future?  Thanks for tuning in and I will have another review up for you soon. 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Maxon- Angelbound series continues moving forward. 4th book or stand alone.

Maxon makes dragon scales and a tail
look sexy!
                The other day I happily announce the release of two books that continue two different series I am in total love with.  I discussed Bruja but today I’d like to discuss the other new release by Ink Monster, Maxon by Christina Bauer.  I received and ARC from the publisher, Ink Monster, and NetGalley for my thoughts.  Mostly just advance copies because they’ve been pre-ordered on my Amazon account since October 2014. 

                So as I mentioned Maxon is the fourth book in the Angelbound series, so there will be some spoilers from the previous books as usual. The review for the previous book, Armageddon, can be found here. It takes place several years after the previous book and can be read as a stand-alone, though I highly recommend reading the whole series because it is amazing and gives you an even deeper appreciation for some of the smaller characters in the book.

                Maxon focuses on our twenty-two year old prince who is still haunted by the past abduction as a child.  He plays it off and keeps his life focused on two main activities hunting/killing demons and seducing women.  He just wants to live his life as it.  Problem is he’s stalling out and the thrills from both are not doing it for him anymore and having part lust and wrath demon in him that’s saying something.  That is until he meets Lianna, who’s beautiful and just his type but she’s also a fighter.  She has her own dark history and she is dealing with some problems of her own with the elementals.  As our Prince Maxon helps Lianna with her problems he starts to wonder if he has found someone real.

Lianna in Thrax form!
From the Maxon blog.
                Okay that is a simplified version for sure.  There is way more happening and never a dull moment.  Something new was the dual POV.  We have chapters from Maxon and Lianna, which really flushed out the characters as well as the story each having different area of expertise.  We also get to learn about a different area.  We know about the Thrax, the quasi-demon, Purgatory and Hell but this time we learn about the elementals.  They are pretty wicked.  What was hinted at as vague knowledge comes full force with Lianna.  The opening of the world’s together. 

                Maxon is a warrior and part wrath demon like his momma and as mentioned Lianna is also a fighter so we are not lacking in the action department.  There are lots of battles and fights that use a combination of magic and straight up warrior skill.  We mostly learn about water and air elementals, but to see them play against one another was completely new and exciting to learn about.  Maxon also has the awesome ability to control lightening…yep bad ass.  Plus he has dragon scales on his arm making it like built in armor and a super nifty tail that is a huge asset in battle.  Basically it adds up to a lot of action and different fighting techniques you can easily visualize. 

                Action is a check but it would be missing so much without some romance.  Oh yes it has that as well, so double check.  Lianna and Maxon have an initial attraction as two attractive people do but as they get to know one another the dynamic changes naturally and blossoms into something so sweet it will make anyone swoon.   Maxon is our semi brooding playboy prince who has some past issues to work through who has never allowed himself to really care for a member of the opposite sex aside from family.  Lianna herself has some romance issues in her past and present to deal with and knows very well of Maxon’s reputation with the ladies.  Watching as they work together and get to know more about one another it just heats up the kindle screen.

Dragon on cover = Awesome!
                Best thing about the book?  It surprised me.  In a good way, clearly.  I normally have things figured out but I admit there were aspects I didn’t see coming at all until right there.  I always love that in a book.  I really enjoyed Maxon as the series continued and is moving along in the time line and progressing the story.  We still see glimpses of some of our favorite characters from the first couple books which makes me want to re-read them all.  Also just like the other series, because Ink Monster is awesome like that, they already have the next book in the series listed and set for October, Portia.  Isn’t the cover beautiful?  Come on it has a dragon on it…just saying easy win.  I can’t wait for more and from the description, which is a spoiler for this one fyi, we have another jump forward.  Never a boring moment in the Angelbound world.

Rating: 5 Lighting Bolts

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bruja: An Alpha Girls Novel with a new POV to fall for!

Amazon / B&N / BAM
                Hello happy readers!  Today is a wonderful day in the book world.  End of Days by Susan Ee is now officially out.  If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, I suggest you head on over for a chance to win a free paperback and some awesome temporary tattoos.  That's not all.  Today many more books came out, two of which I'm beyond excited about.  Both are forth books in their respective series, Maxon by Christina Bauer and the one I'll be discussing today, Bruja by Aileen Erin.  I received and ARC from the publisher, Ink Monster, and NetGalley for my thoughts.  Mostly just advance copies because they’ve been pre-ordered on my Amazon account since October 2014.  

                Jumping right in, Bruja is the fourth book in the Alpha Girl series, my review of the previous book Alpha Divided can be seen here.  As such there are spoilers for the first three books ahead, it’s unavoidable, so be warned.  If you haven’t read these books yet, what is wrong with you?  You should totally go right now and marathon these books.  Just saying I adore them!  Now if you are caught up, or like to be spoiled, let’s discuss Bruja

                We pick up pretty much where Alpha Divided left off.  Unlike the previous books we don’t follow Tessa’s POV, but instead her cousin Claudia De Santos.  She did some not so good things previously with the best of intentions and now she has some making up to do for herself and others.  Her old cover has splintered between those still with Luciana and her dark magic ways and the few like herself who have chosen to fight with the wolves.  War is coming either way but the wolves need help to counter Luciana’s dark magic.  The best theory thus far lies in ancient magic.  Magic Claudia must go on a journey to find what has been lost for ages.  She must travel to Peru and search for what the Inca mages left behind.  Of course she’ll need a guide there to help her and keep her safe, Lucas, a wolf who gets under her skin.  Top it all off with your former arranged fiancĂ© to be us still lingering around wanting what he was promised and you have a whole lot of interesting and amazing story.

                So I admit not being in Tessa’s head was a bit weird for me at first.  Seeing how someone outside the wolf community sees and interprets Tessa and Dastien together was interesting.  Claudia has a lot going on both around her and inside.  She is torn up with the feels for her past decisions and all that hangs on her in the future.  She has a lot to process.  She’s only ever known coven life and now she’s thrust into a new world.  I liked being there for the ride.  The way she reacted to things around her, the wolves, the bond between mates, and her own feelings of jealousy and such about that.  I liked her moments of weakness and uncertainty, but even more I liked that she mostly made rational decisions based on thinking things out.  That’s hard to find sometimes with the right emotional connection.
So so beautiful.

                Let’s not neglect to mention the new wolf in the story, a whole pack really, but one in particular.  Lucas.  He and Claudia have a connection of sorts from the start and it’s so cute the way they play off one another.  He is sweet and gentle with her not pushing her to talk more than she is willing.  It seems to be a trait of many wolves.  Where can I find one?  Even with everything going on and staying focused on task, romance and attraction can still find you when you least expect it.

                I liked the journey the story takes you on.  We are sent to a new country to follow Claudia as she searches for a way to save so many.  She has a lot on her plate but she is also traveling for the first time and seeing a new location, somewhere exotic like Peru, through the eyes of someone like that makes me want to pack my bags and book a trip.  Especially if there will be a pack of hunky wolves there to protect and guide me.  Just saying HUGE perk.  With the quest, the adventure, the peril, the action, I got a total Indiana Jones vibe going from this.  I don’t want to give away too much and ruin the story. 

                In case it's unclear I give Bruja, like the other books in the series, 5 Stars!  I implore you all to check out this series if you haven't done so already.  I am stoked for the next installment and want it to be October so I can have it.  Ink Monster has also released the cover to the next book for us to salivate over.  Check it out, Alpha Unleashed.  So again Bruja and Maxon came out today May 12th and are available now, I'll have my full Maxon review up soon.  As always share your thoughts in the comments.  What did you think of seeing the story through a new POV?  What was your favorite part of the quest?  Click follow and stay tuned for more fun reviews, giveaways, and the like. 

Rating:  5 Stars

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

End of Days is Almost Here! Giveaway!

                Hello everyone!  So today I have some exciting news and a giveaway, more on that at the bottom.  So a few months ago I reviewed the first two books in the Penryn & the End of Days trilogy, Angelfall and World After by Susan Ee.  I adored these books.  My review can be found here.  If you're unfamiliar the series follows Penryn as she makes her way through the new world order where angels roam the Earth and are not the friendly and benevolent creatures some think of.  They are more like nightmares than dreams but she finds she must work with one, Rafee, to find her sister.  How Penryn and Raefe work together as the books progress make an interesting story that leaves you wanting more.

                If you haven't checked them out I highly suggest you give them a try they are beautiful and dark all at the same time.  I completely enjoyed them and have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the story.  Well it's almost here.  End of Days the final book in the trilogy is set to come out next Tuesday, May 12th.  That’s right only 7 days!  One week and I can read it!  Here's the description of what we can expect, which contains some spoilers if you are not caught up. 

End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee's bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run.  They're both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn's sister.  As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe's past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war.  As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious?  Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose:  Their own kind, or each other?

                From someone who is caught up this sounds amazing.  I have so many questions and things I'm hoping to see in this book.  I have some theories and have been tossing about speculations of my own that I can't wait to see if they pan out or not.  I honestly have differing ideas and haven't pinpointed what I think will happen yet which is a great surprise for me.  I feel it could go one of several routes.  You can go ahead and pre-order your copy using the widget on the side>>

                Now onto the good stuff.  I mentioned a giveaway.  Here it is.  End of Days comes out on the 12th and I’m leaving this giveaway open until end of the day Friday May 15th and I’ll post the winner Monday May 18th.  You will get a paperback copy of said End of Days and some swanky Angelfall and World After temporary tattoos that Susan's people were kind enough to send me for such a giveaway.  Use the do-dad thing below to enter.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
                Thanks for stopping by and entering.  That's all I have to share with you today.  Check back for more of these fun times.  As usual share your thoughts and feels below.  Do you like the giveaways?  More interviews?  Tell me what you like best.  What do you think about angels?  Have you caught up with the books thus far, if so what is one thing you hope/think will happen? Until next time, peace out!