Friday, 31 May 2013

A Soul For Vengeance by Crista McHugh (Soulbearer #3)

Genres: Adult, Adventure, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: May 14th 2013
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 4 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Nothing stirs up Chaos like Vengeance.

When Prince Kell returns to Ranello, he finds his homeland in ashes. The invaders from Thallus destroyed everything he held dear, leaving him heir to a throne he can’t claim. The thirst for vengeance consumes him and drives him right into the arms of the most unlikely of rebel leaders.

Zara has fought for months to keep the hopes of the Ranellian people alive. Finding Kell is just the thing their dying rebellion needs. But as she tries to soothe Kell’s bitterness and turn him into the leader he’s meant to be, she finds herself desiring the one man she believes she’ll never have. A man whose heart was broken by a yellow-haired witch named Arden Soulbearer.


This was Kell's story. The first two books had a pretty even split of the POV between the 3 protagonists. But in this one, I could probably count the number of Arden or Dev POVs on both hands. It's almost entirely Kell and Zara. But we still follow Arden and Dev's progress through their occasional chapters and also through Kell who has contact with them.

I will admit, this book finally made me appreciate Kell. He just needed to get out on his own and develop more as a character, instead of just being the third wheel to Dev and Arden. He and Zara are perfect for each other. At first I had trouble believing that Kell would get over Arden so quickly. But eventually I saw the difference between the relationship he has with Zara, and the relationship he had with Arden. They are much better matched. And Zara is even more kick-ass than Arden! I do like her better. She knows what she wants and she goes for it. If Arden was more like Zara, the Arden-Dev relationship woes would have been solved a long time ago.

That being said, I still would have enjoyed this book more if it had been focused on Dev and Arden like the first two. Dev is the highlight of this series for me. And the mention of another soul? How is that possible? Way to leave us hanging! I was also surprised that there was no resolution in regards to Loku. I expected something to change. But I guess she will just have to live with him. She is clearly not going mad. They never really explain it but I would assume it has something to do with her Elf heritage.

But in the end there are warm and fuzzies all around. A perfect ending, which I guess was amplified by the fact that I finally appreciated Kell. So maybe the redistributed POVs had a purpose after all. Four wonderful people who really deserved their HEAs. I am really happy to find that there is one more book. I cannot wait to read A Soul for Atonement!

“He missed everything about her, from her hot temper to her sassy retorts to the way her breath always seemed to catch every time her came near her. He missed the music of her laugh, the gentle touch of her hand, the clean scent of apples that seemed to cling to her skin. He even missed the way she completely spoiled Cinder and had stolen the wolf's loyalty away from him.”

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Soul For Chaos by Crista McHugh (Soulbearer #2)

Genres: Adult, Adventure, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: November 17th 2012
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 4 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Trouble is more than just a nickname for Arden Soulbearer. It seems to follow her wherever she goes. And no one knows this better than her protector, Devarius Tel’Brien.

Dev thought that by moving Arden to Gravaria so she could learn how to control Loku, the chaos god whose soul inhabits her body, life would be simpler. Wrong. Not only is he continually torn between his duty and his growing feelings for the Soulbearer, but he also has to contend with the rival prince who wishes to claim her heart. Adding to his problems, a group of powerful mages have banded together to rid the world of the disembodied chaos god once and for all. Of course, that means they have to destroy Arden in the process.


This book didn't really go in the direction I expected. Arden and Dev continued their journey to Gavaria to train Arden, but the personal relationships didn't develop the way I expected. Kell had to show up and complicate things again.

Arden and Dev's relationship is epically messed up and complicated, and they are both to blame. Dev continues to refuse to tell Arden anything or admit his feelings, and Arden continues to be impulsive and out of control with a hair-trigger temper. She is hot and cold and it is crazy! It's just the type of person she is, with emotions that rule her, but I was having a hard time understanding why one second she doesn't trust Dev and accuses him of being a danger to her, and then the next second she thinks he is all she needs in the world. She is the reason why men think women are confusing.

Eventually Kell's story diverges away from Arden's. That's a good and a bad thing. It's good because I want him to keep away from her. But its bad because it means that he has his own place in the story. He's not just there to be a convenient bump in Arden and Dev's journey toward each other. He is sticking around, and I don't really want him to because he still hasn't really grown on me.

I enjoyed this book just as much as book one, and I will be starting A Soul for Vengeance immediately. I can't wait much longer for Arden and Dev get their HEA. I have to keep reading to get there sooner!

"Tonight she'd been given a taste of something she could never have. Her heart belonged to the one man intent on breaking it, and there was nothing she could do to change it."

Monday, 27 May 2013

A Soul For Trouble by Crista McHugh (Soulbearer #1)

Genres: Adult, Adventure, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: February 7th 2012
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 2 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


When you’re a witch named Trouble, chaos follows.

Arden Lesstymine (known to everyone as Trouble) likes attention as much as the next girl, but this is getting ridiculous. When an insane stranger is murdered at the inn where she works, Trouble becomes the next Soulbearer for the disembodied god of chaos, Loku. Yes, it comes with the ability to channel the god’s limitless power, but at the cost of her sanity — literally. Now she has a sexy but cynical knight claiming to be her protector, a prince trying to seduce her to his cause (and his bed), and a snarky chaos god who offers a play-by-play commentary on it all, whether she wants to hear it or not. To make matters worse, a necromancer wants to capture the soul of Loku for his own dark purposes, and the only way he can get it is by killing her first.


This book was amazing, and I did not doubt that it would be. I have only read one other book by Crista McHugh, Tangled Web, but it was enough for me to know that I wanted to read everything by her. This wasn't quite as good, but that is just my personal preference. A Soul for Trouble was a bit more light-hearted than Tangled Web, and more of the typical epic fantasy, with wizards, princes, adventure, and romance. Tangled Web was an erotic court intrigue. But they are both extremely riveting, fast-paced stories with kick-ass heroines.

A Soul for Trouble has everything you could want in a fantasy, but its main focus is still the romance. There is a love-triangle between Arden, the barmaid who is suddenly the soulbearer for the exiled god of chaos; Dev, her sworn Elf protector; and Kell, the prince who is doing everything in his power to save her life from charges of witchcraft. I really loved Dev from the moment he appeared on the page, and I didn't understand why Arden took so long to warm up to him. She was mean to him and ungrateful for his protection. And I was like, "Bitch, he's amazing! Shut up!"

I did love Arden too, though. But Kell? It took me pretty much the whole book to warm up to him. And in the end I was just agreeing with Dev--begrudgingly admitting that I would probably respect Kell if he wasn't trying to steal Arden. It reminded me a lot of the love-triangle in Throne of Glass. Powerful girl is wooed by prince's charms, while brooding friend who gives her strength is obviously the better choice. All three have their own POVs, as well as occasional chapters from the villain.

There is no explicit content in this book, and is fairly clean, although I would still categorize it as adult. I cannot wait to read A Soul For Chaos and hopefully see Arden and Dev's relationship develop further. I already bought book 2 and will be starting it immediately.

"No rewards come without risk. If everything in life was simple, certain things would never be cherished."

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Bane by Keary Taylor (The Eden Trilogy #1)

I read Keary Taylor's Eden before she rewrote it as a series, and then re-read it as The Bane once it was republished. I reviewed them separately. 

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Before the Evolution there was TorBane: technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter. It had the ability to grow new organs and limbs, to heal the world. Until it evolved out of control and spread like the common cold. The machine took over, the soul vanished, and the Bane were born. The Bane won't stop until every last person has been infected. With less than two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction.

Eve knows the stories of the Evolution, the time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable to recall anything but her name. But she doesn't need memories to know this world is her reality. This is a world that is quickly losing its humanity, one Bane at a time.

Fighting to keep one of the last remaining human colonies alive, Eve finds herself torn between her dedication to the colony, and the discovery of love. There is Avian and West – one a soldier, one a keeper of secrets. And in the end, Eve will make a choice that will change the future of mankind.

The Bane is The Terminator meets The Walking Dead with a heart-twisting romance.


This was great! It reminded me a lot of The Immortal Rules. I didnt like The Immortal Rules as much as most people. It was still good, but I prefer Eden. There was a band of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. The main girl, Eve, is different from the rest of the survivors. They travel to a safe haven for humans, which was called Eden in The Immortal Rules. Although in this Eden is the name of their group, not their destination. And there is even a young guy in the group, West, who reminds me a lot of Zeke.

The main difference, besides this being about cyborgs instead of zombies and vampires, is that this has a love-triangle. An equilateral love-triangle. I have never seen such an equally matched love-triangle before. There were absolutely no hints to who Eve was going to choose for the whole book until I was 92% done. She never even leaned to one or the other. She was split 50/50 for the whole book up to 92%! After she had a particularly tender moment with Avian, I wondered if she was finally leaning towards one of them. But the next thing it says is, "That night I dreamed of West." And I was like, "OMG! This is hopeless!" It was ridiculous but enthralling!

I preferred one of the guys but I wasn't convinced he was necessarily best for her. So even though she didn't pick him in the end, her reasoning was good and I wasn't upset. I was actually pleased that this took a different route from most YA romances. It was extremely romantic either way, and after reading all her ridiculous helplessness in everything guy related for most of the book, I was so happy when she finally made a choice that I cried. I don't mean to sound negative when I call her ridiculous. I have never seen a love-triangle that was drawn out like this before, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I was absolutely captivated! I couldn't put it down! I had to find out what would happen next. Who she would pick. It made the pay-off all the more exciting. And it even managed to make me happy when she didn't pick the guy I liked better, because its about Eve, not me. But I don't get why some people were making a big deal out of the age difference between Eve and Avian. I didn't think it was that bad. Eve was 18, West was 19, and Avian was 25.
I also really loved learning about the robots or cyborgs, and the infection, and Eve's history. It was all very interesting. And Eve was amazing. A seriously kick-ass heroine! I love that scene right after Eve had her epiphany. She found out that the guys went on a dangerous mission without her and she runs after them doing robot head shots. That would be an awesome scene to see on screen! And a movie is planned, which is very exciting.

Keary Taylor made this fake poster herself. I had seen it on her blog before I started the book and I pictured Gillian Zinser as Eve the whole book, and Wentworth Miller as Avian. Matt Lanter isnt really how I pictured West but he is not a bad choice. Since it is Keary Taylor's choice I have no right to complain. This will be an amazing movie! I cant wait!

I am pretty sure this is a standalone. There is no sign of any more books being planned. The story was mostly tied up. There were a few things we could have had more information on. Namely the fate of a particular character, and what the future of the world will hold. But over-all the ending tied up all the more immediate issues and I cant help but be excited for Eve's future, even though I dont get to see it.

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
My Rating: 5 out of 5

I loved this just as much the second time around, having already read Eden, if not more. At first I wasnt enjoying it as much because it was focusing mostly on the love-triangle, and I know how that turns out. But as it went on the story picked up and dragged me back in, plus there were subtle differences that had me feeling like I did the first time.

The backstory about how the Bane came to be was more thorough (the name the Bane is also new), as well as Eve's history. I don't remember her having flashbacks in Eden, but I may be wrong. The balance of the love-triangle was also changed. Its hard to explain without spoiling, but in Eden one of my favourite things about the book was the fact that I had no idea who Eve would choose until she made her choice. She didn't lean towards one guy or the other. It was completely even before she had her epiphany. 

In this one the balance was changed. Some scenes were taken out, and the guy that Eve eventually chooses was given more focus. I guess that can be a good thing too, so readers don't get too attached to the other guy and become disappointed. It happens a lot, of course. There are lots of fans of Gale, Puck, and Jacob out there. But at least in The Bane, readers are not misled. I really enjoyed these changes and I loved the fleshing out of Eve's love interest. In The Bane, he is the obvious choice for her. They belong together, they fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. There's really no contest anymore. The changes were a definite improvement.

didn't notice much of a difference in Eve as a character, or the story. There were no improvements needed. Eve still kicks ass, and the story is a great post-apoc world with heavy sci-fi, action, and romance elements. I am so glad that this time around I have a sequel to look forward to and I cannot wait to read The Human!

“In that moment I finally knew.
I knew which one I would grieve over. A piece of me would be missing forever if he was gone. A part of me would break. But I would make it through.
And I knew which one of them I couldn't live without, couldn't take another single breath if he were to be taken away from me.

In that moment I finally understood what love meant.”

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Age of X #1)

Genres: Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Fantasy/Mythology
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
POV: Alternating
Smut-O-Meter: 5 out of 10
My Rating: Did Not Finish


In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of Xseries, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.


I don't rate DNF books, but if I did I would probably give this 1 star. It didn't captivate me, but the story was probably the best part of the book. In a futuristic world where religion is closely monitored and almost outlawed, Justin is a servitor, someone who investigates religions and shuts down the dangerous ones. He is sort of a mentalist, and is helping solve serial murders which are believed to have religious connections. But, the strange thing is, that gods are real. And Justin knows it. There is involvement from Greek, Roman, and Norse gods. I don't know if they are good or bad, or involved with the murders since I didn't finish the book, but they are there.

The story moved really slowly, it reads like a detective novel and really didn't keep my interest. I didn't like the writing style either. It was distant, and formal, and reminded me a lot of the one Kathy Reichs book I read. I did not enjoy it so that is not a compliment. The writing really did not feel connected to the characters at all. I felt like I was just watching from a distance. Like I was reading a history book.

I also found it really really difficult to understand the world I was in. I don't know how far in the future this is supposed to be set, but I imagine its pretty far, since the country names are different. But Richelle Mead didn't even seem to bother trying to help us adjust. She threw us into this world and didn't try to explain it. I had no idea what was going on and I could not follow most of the conversations because half the words were new to me. It was really frustrating, and whatever small motivation I had to continue reading disappeared in my confusion. I don't remember the narration ever, even once, stopping to explain a new term to us. I would prefer info-dumping over this. I still have no idea if she was using the word patrician in the traditional way. And even if she was, this is a futuristic America. An explanation of the new context would have been nice. I really couldn't get a grasp of what was happening, or the characters because of this.

But I didn't care for the characters anyway. I am almost seething when I think of them. At first, I thought Mae was the main character, because the first chapter was from her POV, but then it began to alternate with Justin, and more of them were from Justin's POV. The chapter POV ratio was probably 3:1. Justin was smart, but he was disgusting to me. He was a horrible MC. He was a rude, womanizing ass with a drug problem. Seriously! He makes me so angry! He thinks its a good time to end up unconscious on the floor of a seedy bar. And he is so arrogant and full of himself and just blah! Then there is Mae, who is also arrogant but not because of her intelligence, but because of her upbringing, or heritage, or caste. I dont even know which one because this is one of the things about the book that I couldn't understand. She was so stuck up and proud. She thought she was so much better than everyone else. Too good for Justin. Normally I would say everyone is too good for Justin, but when you start acting like a bitch, then you don't really have the right to say that.

There were also occasional chapters from the POV of Tessa. A sixteen year old girl who was Justin's ward and I have no idea what her relevance was. But when I stopped reading, at 42%, she still didn't seem important. She was an ok character, but nothing special. She was smart, like Justin, so maybe she will help them later on in the book or the series. I don't care and I don't intend to find out.

The characters in this were so repulsive, and the storytelling so frustrating, that when I see the cover of the book it nearly makes me nauseous. I am no longer as excited to read Vampire Academy as I was before. The story and characters may be better, but I don't know if that alone will be enough to make me read it, if the writing-style is anything like in this.

“You can put on as many airs as you want, but in the end, that dress is the same as you: an old, cheap design dressed up to look like its worth more than it is.”
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