Sunday, December 7, 2014

Transformed by E.V. Fairfall

Title: Transformed
Author: E.V. Fairfall
Format I Read: Kindle
Pages: 273
Genres: Fantasy, Supernatural, Romance
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Stars: 3
Goodreads Link

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
There may or may not be spoilers, so tread carefully. (correction: lots of spoilers oops)

I was initially drawn to this book by its cover. It's absolutely beautiful, truly a work of art. The book was similar. On the surface, it was wonderful. The author does a fantastic job of conveying herself and the writing is, in short, fantastic. The concept was fresh, exciting, and fascinating.

To take on such a new view of the creation story was truly a feat. Not only that, she incorporated a plot twist! The plot was well thought out and executed well. I especially liked the way Thea's plan worked out, but not as she had wished. It was interesting that it all fell together. I loved that!

For those who enjoy adaptations of myths or new interpretations, you should definitely read. It was completely fresh and engaging as a whole, though it lagged in a few spots.

So props to Ms. Fairfall on her debut novel! Well done!

However, now for the criticism (and spoilers):

<spoiler> At times, I felt disjointed. I felt as if Thea wasn't acting how she should. However, this was understandable, as she is not typically a human. Her human form is accelerating her emotions and her actions. That made sense.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for all of the characters. At multiple points in the book, I felt as if the character development was too rushed or a character's actions didn't fit with their person. I can give you two examples.

1. Chamber: As much as I fell in love with Chamber, I felt like he was just too rushed. From the "ooh look at the driver's eyes *swoon*" to the insta soul mate love, I was just flat down skeptical. I could deal with it though because of the soul mate concept. However, I couldn't deal with how he flipped back and forth what felt like a dozen times. He constantly seemed to go from "I hate Thea, how could she do this to me" to "I love her, I can't leave her." I felt like he was just jerky in terms of character.
2. Brice: I hated him. Absolutely hated him. Which made me angry at May for loving him. But I also just didn't get his character. I felt like he was just a stock character for a villain. Yes, a villain is a villain, but he needs depth. He needs reason. I didn't feel like Brice had that. He was skeptical about the immortality, yet he was willing to kill Thea for it? I just didn't feel like he was real.
3. May: I didn't understand her at all. First, she was a stereotypical bitch. Then, she ended up as Thea's roommate? I felt like she was as shallow as a puddle. She had zero personality. </spoiler>

To sum that part of the review up, I felt like Transformed was a bit too plot driven, rather than character driven. The plot was wonderful, yes, but I felt like the characters were too lacking. Don't get me wrong, it was well done. I just felt like the story was empty in a few places.

I was willing to try out the novel for the author, especially as I initially thought it was my taste. However, with such heavy plot, I probably wouldn't have finished it on a normal day. I would've probably given up. I'm glad that I finished it because it had a nice ending (though mildly unbelievable--how?).

Therefore, though it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, it was well written and had a solid plot. I take off one star for lack of character development and one star for some jerky progression and lack of realism.

I would still definitely recommend reading it if you enjoy the concept. I found the entire way the puzzle fit together fascinating. It truly was well done! I'm just a huge critic.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fractured by Sarah Fine

Title: Fractured (Sequel to Sanctum)
Author: Sarah Fine
Format I Read: Kindle
Pages: 357
Genres: Supernatural, Romance, Action
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Stars: 4
Goodreads Link

Okay so let me preface this with a reminder that I was in love with Sanctum. Truly in love with it. I thought it was absolutely amazing.

This one? Not so much. I still loved it, trust me; I absolutely love Malachi and Lela. However, in the real world, I felt like their relationship got a little shallow. What used to be so true and deep, now became petty in light of their high school drama. Both Lela and Malachi had other people interested in them. Which bothered me and I felt like it dirtied their relationship in a way.

I also didn't like a lot of Lela's choices. I understand that she was just stumbling her way through being Captain, but I felt like she wasn't the best leader. Especially with her motley crew. A lot of her decisions put them at risk; and she often let her emotions get in the way of her leadership. I did think she did relatively well considering the situation though.

And I did like the concept. I still think that the Mazikin concept is insanely fascinating and it didn't get old. As a reminder, for those of you who don't know, the Mazikin are creatures who possess bodies. And they summon the Mazikin "spirits" from their realm and put them into human bodies in this creepy ritual. And when the Mazikin gets put into a body, the body's soul gets put into the Mazikin realm. Which is apparently terrible and basically hell. So the Mazikin were originally in the Suicide afterlife from Sanctum, but then they were released into the real world. So Lela and Malachi are sent back to the world of the living (even though both are technically dead) to be part of the Living Division of Guards, meant to stop the Mazikin from multiplying and taking souls in the real world. So that's basically what it is. Plus Lela is back in school and has to put up with the aftermath of Nadia's suicide in real life.

Which I did like. I enjoyed the realistic side of it all--the non-supernatural part. With Lela working her way through life and adjusting to school without Nadia. And putting up with Nadia's old friends and building a friendship with previous Miss Bitch. And the problems of her past plus her new job. That she's a foster kid with a track record, meaning the police are monitoring her--a bit of a problem when you're wandering the city killing supernatural beings. But Diane is still on her side. I really liked all of that. It brought me back down to earth I think, when the Mazikin stuff got too deep.

But on to what I really want to talk about.<spoiler>MALACHI IS FREAKING GONE ARE YOU KIDDING ME THE ENTIRE BOOK I WAS LIKE YAY THEY'RE TOGETHER OKAY THEY'RE HAVING TROUBLE BUT IT'S OKAY AND THEN YOU FREAKING TAKE AWAY MALACHI AND MAKE HIM POSSESSED BY A MAZIKIN AND FREAKING JURI OF ALL PEOPLE HOW COULD YOU I'M SCARRED I'M DEAD I CAN'T HANDLE THIS HOW COULD YOU TAKE MALACHI AWAY I'M ABSOLUTELY SCARRED IT RUINED ME. I'm sorry that ending just really killed me inside because I was SO HAPPY with the ending of Sanctum. Because they were separated and then SURPRISE they ended up together! And this one was the opposite. They were together and then SURPRISE Malachi was freaking sent to Mazikin hell. It just really hurt and I can't wait for the next book because I need Lela and Malachi to be back together.</spoiler>

Now that I have that out of my system.
As much as the ending killed me, I still thought it was a great installment in the broad picture and plot/series. However, if you're weak in emotions, you may want to just stop with Sanctum before you get your heart ripped out of your chest with Fractured.

So though I loved it, it has to get a 4/5 from me, because it really hurt. It was superbly well done, but it painful because it made me very sad. Which I have a problem with, as a reader. But you may like it! It was a wonderful second installment--just left me really desperate for the third!

*I apologize for any rambling or confusion in this review; I read the book over winter break and never got around to reviewing it, so it may not be the best*

Sanctum by Sarah Fine

Title: Sanctum
Author: Sarah Fine
Format I Read: Kindle
Pages: 433
Genres: Supernatural, Romance, Action
Release Date: Ocotber 16, 2012
Stars: 5
Goodreads Link

Okay so I really don't know what to say about this book, other than that it reminded me why I love reading so much.

It was amazing. I don't know if I think that simply because I haven't really had time to read in a while, but I just thought it was flawless.
It had such raw emotion and the characters were so real. It approached the depression and suicide aspects with such rationality and poise. I felt like it addressed them without being controversial or truly getting into the argument. The focus was suicide, but it wasn't. It artfully wove it into the story, while still keeping the main plot with Lela's adventure, if that makes any sense.

The romance was also completely rational and unrushed. I didn't feel like, for a single moment, the romance was far-fetched or one of those teen "I just met him and wow he's hot okay time to kiss smooch". It really progressed and was just amazing. The romance and development reflected the characters involved, which was great.

I also just seriously loved the characters; they all had so much depth and such vivid back story.
Lela's past really affected the person she was, as clear in the book. And I loved how the author avoided the cliche "she's hurt and scared of everyone but oh look hot guy just kidding he can touch her". Again, there was a lot of progress in the book, rather than the cliche teen romance. She didn't immediately jump in Malachi's arms. It was realistic development.

Malachi and Nadia also weren't just side characters; they really had their own background and their own story. I really loved Malachi's side story. I felt like it was kind of forced (especially in how Lela found out about it), as were some other aspects of the book. The author definitely had some moments of awkward plot development and wording, but overall it worked.
I also loved Nadia's depression, which sounds horrible, but it's true. I liked how there was no real reason behind it. She didn't have a rough past like Lela did. It just showed the irrationality and the inexplainability of depression. It just is. You feel unloved and there's no true reason behind it. Nadia was infinitely loved, yet she couldn't realize it. That's exactly the case with depression and I thought the author portrayed that wonderfully.

Overall, I just seriously thought it was an amazing book and I'm so glad I bought it on the Kindle. I will now have it forever so that I can reread it over and over again!

OH and I also absolutely loved the ending; no spoilers, but I just loved how it all fit and it literally had me grinning at the end. It just made me so happy and I can't wait for more from this author and this series!

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

Title: The Edge of Never
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Format I Read: Kindle
Pages: 426
Genres: Romance, Realistic Fiction, New Adult
Release Date: November 15, 2012
Stars: 5
Goodreads Link

When I started this book, I thought it was a book called Sovereign, which is dystopian. So you can imagine my confusion when it's a realistic fiction love story, with an escapist main character, a naughty love interest, and tangible sexual tension. Not to mention, I was reading this on my Kindle, and didn't realize that the book wasn't in fact Sovereign until about halfway through. So the first half of the book, I was anxiously waiting for some apocalyptic event to cause dystopia. So that kinda screwed me up. But if I had known what the book was, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the first half more :')

But anyway. I loved it. Loved, loved, loved it. It had alternating points of view between Camryn and Andrew, who meet on a bus while both are looking to escape reality. Camryn's best friend's boyfriend (cliche, I know) has confessed that he loves her and comes onto her, even when Camryn rejects him; she tells her best friend about it, but she doesn't believe Camryn and accuses her of being a terrible friend. So Camryn decides to take a break from life and get on a bus to Idaho--destination chosen because the bus counter attendant was eating a potato. On the other hand, Andrew receives a call that his father is dying, but he wants to procrastinate the arrival and reality by taking the long way home--with a bus. So they meet on the bus and the rest is history.

Of course, they hate each other at first. Camryn has her defenses up, but Andrew is just charming enough that they start to fall.
And the romance is just... lovely. I loved them together. And I loved that Camryn was so cautious at first; which is great because I'm sick of girls jumping in stranger's arms.

Later, at the end of the book (don't worry this isn't a spoiler), it's mentioned that they've known each other for less than a month. Which makes their love story seem crazy. But then I reminded myself that throughout the time they knew each other, they were on the road and were together 24/7. It makes the relationship a little more realistic and less "love at first sight" unreasonable.

Also, just warning you, for around the last fourth of the book, make sure you have nowhere to be. Because there is a MAJOR plot twist that I personally never expected; which led to me staying up way later than I had planned to keep reading.

Another thing is sex. So warning; this is a New Adult book, and therefore it's for mature readers. Both characters are in their early 20s, so they're not afraid of sex and aren't afraid of some sexual escapades. So if you're uncomfortable with that, you may want to forgo this book.
I personally loved the couple so much that I didn't mind the sex scenes, but again, if you have a weak stomach for sexuality in books, you may want to consider not reading this. It's not 50 Shades of Grey caliber, but it is significant.

In conclusion, I loved the book. It was a feel good read that turned "gasp-heart-palpitation" worthy with the plot twist and then turned feel good again. The relationship was realistic considering the circumstances and was not an immediate, irrational love. I felt like the characters were realistic and the writing was well done.
It ended well too. It left you feeling satisfied and happy with the ending (though there is a sequel, which is dangerous because for once I was actually happy with the ending of the first book).

Definitely worth a 5/5 rating. Perfect for anyone who wants a nice romance with some excitement and spontaneity. And insane chemistry!

*I apologize for any rambling or confusion in this review; I read the book over winter break and never got around to reviewing it, so it may not be the best*