Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shifters #6

I finally got to read ALPHA *deep breath* here's what I thought...

Title: Alpha
Author: Rachel Vincent

Series: SHIFTERS, book 6
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 480 Pages
Rating: 5/5

The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder and treason. Yeah, we've been busy. But now it's time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother's death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.
It's not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I'm heading for a final showdown that can—that will—change everything forever. A showdown I'm not sure I'm ready for.
But life never waits until you're ready.

~My Review~

Wow, just wow! I can't even express how much I have loved this series. I am beyond sad that Alpha is the end of Faythe's story (at least what we see of it). Rachel Vincent is one of very few authors that I will buy a book just because her name is on it. I fell in love with her writing when I first read SHIFT and I haven't been able to get enough of it since. If you haven't read the SHIFTERS series or her YA series SOUL SCREAMERS you are definitely missing out on some amazing story telling, and some of my favourite fictional characters.

Now to review Alpha...

I find it hard to review this one without spoilers, but I shall try. Alpha was bursting at the seems with everything that I have loved about the previous books in this series: the feisty main character, swoon-worthy boys, non-stop action, unexpected plot twists, and both heart-wrenching and heart-warming moments. I laughed, I cried and I gasped aloud (startling the other people in the room) and never left the edge of my proverbial seat.

Faythe finally gets to face off with Calvin Malone and his allies, but not without the inevitable obstacles, and allies of her own. We follow her fight both politically and literally, riding the roller-coaster of events that lead to the biggest showdown Faythe and her pride has had to face yet.

I have to leave it there. There were so many things that I was thrilled and utterly depressed about in ALPHA and those moments need to be experienced first hand. Great job Rachel and I look forward to reading your new secret novel.

My Rating For Alpha: 5/5My Rating for the SHIFTERS series: 5/5

Other books in this series (click to read review):

#1 Stray, #2 Rogue, #3 Pride, #4 Prey, #5 Shift

~You'll like this series if you liked~

The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, Riley Jensen Series by Keri Arthur, or Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shifters #5

Continuing with my re-read of the Shifters series before I finally get to read ALPHA - here is book 5...

Title: Shift
Author: Rachel Vincent

Series: SHIFTERS, book 5
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 400 Pages
Rating: 5/5

Being the first female werecat enforcer isn’t easy. Scars accumulate, but I’m stronger in so many ways.
As for my personal life? It’s complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother’s death and my father’s impeachment, it’s all I can do to prevent more blood
from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.
With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option...

My Review:

Ah she gets me every time! I couldn't put it down, read all night to finish it. I have loved the way that Calvin is a constant annoyance and threat throughout the series but there are always more pressing issues and unavoidable bad guys popping up to keep him in the background.

I loved the thunderbirds, the aspect of the unknown and the mystery behind them and why they are attacking. The giant eagle-like birds formed a new and formidable foe that created real danger for Faythe's pride forcing them to delay the much anticipated war with Calvin. I found myself itching for the fight along with them.

The story unfolded perfectly and the crazy tension between Jace, Marc and Faythe was deliciously complicated. My heart was breaking for the three of them and the impossible position they are stuck in. Jace totally stepped up to bat in SHIFT and it only made me love him more, now if only I could smother my love for Marc too. I sympathize with Faythe and have no idea what I want her to do - my love for both boys makes me want to see them both get a happily ever after. *sigh* One of my favourite things about this series is the emotional roller-coaster from the very start.

Rachel was quite witty as usual, I had to stifle my laughter so I wouldn't wake my husband quite a few times during my all-night-read :) Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

My Rating: 5/5

Other books in this series:

#1 Stray, #2 Rogue, #3 Pride, #4 Prey, #6 Alpha

You'll like this series if you liked:

The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, Riley Jensen Series by Keri Arthur, or Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.

I read pretty much straight through yesterday till this morning to finish ALPHA as well so I should be posting that review in the next couple of days. FYI it was fantastic!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shifters #4

Continuing with my re-read of the Shifters series here is book 4...

Title: Prey

Author: Rachel Vincent

Series: SHIFTERS, #4

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 400 Pages

Rating: 5/5

Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game… Play? Right. My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother and an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again. Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.

My Review:

My thoughts from the first time around pretty much mirror how I felt the second time, so I'm just going to expand on them.

Heartbreaking! I am still sad from reading this one, don't get me wrong I loved every minute of it but, wow that was tear jerker.

I don't think that I've ever been this "team conflicted" either. I can always totally side with one guy over the other but I just can't choose between Jace and Marc, it's rough times. I don't know how Rachel is going make her choose but I can't wait to read Shift!

Faythe (which by the way every time I type comes out "fayther" because my brain thinks I'm typing father...random I know but it happens a lot) is let off the hook for infecting and then killing her ex-boyfriend, but at a cost - Marc is exiled to the free territory. When their brief re-union is abruptly interrupted by a gang of strays it sets off a war Faythe isn't prepared for and a series of losses that may well cripple her pride.

I couldn't put this one down either time I read it and it still had me crying real tears. How can one book be my favourite and least favourite in a series? I don't know but Prey managed to accomplish the task :)

My Rating: 5/5

Other books in this series:

#1 Stray, #2 Rogue, #3 Pride, #5 Shift, #6 Alpha

You'll like this series if you liked:

The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, Riley Jensen Series by Keri Arthur, or Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.


Shifters #3

Continuing with my re-read of the Shifters series here is book 3...

Title: Pride


Rachel Vincent

Series: SHIFTERS, #3

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 400 Pages

Rating: 4/5

I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human. I'm two for three. A goner. Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council. If I survive my own trial…

My Review:

My thoughts from the first time around: "The trial, the tabby, and the coup...

Again, I loved the book but it wasn't my favourite because I spent most of it totally annoyed at the Alphas and the whole trial fiasco, which I know was the point but I like a book that leaves me happy, or expectant, not annoyed. All that said I still give it 2 thumbs up."

Calvin Malone makes me grate my teeth and shake my fist in the air. We meet him and a couple more Alpha's in this book. In the previous two books the council and their rules are touched on but we get a front row seat for one of their trials as Faythe stands trial for murder and infecting stray.

In the background of the trial there are some trouble-making strays and enough sneakiness to make your toes curl. I was so angry with the unjust council I wanted to throw my book - but then I cuddled it to my chest and promised it I would never do that! I can't be mad that this book is consistant with the first two in keeping me aligned with Faythe's feelings, and she feels enraged and impotent by the trial too.

The story of the strays and missing humans keeps the length of the trial from becoming too much, and we get to meet a Bruin which I quite enjoyed. I hope we see more of him in the future.

Overall not my favourite book in the series but it was most definitely a needed chapter in Faythe's story and still a great and exciting read.

My Rating: 4/5

Other books in this series:

#1 Stray, #2 Rogue, #4 Prey, #5 Shift, #6 Alpha

You'll like this series if you liked:

The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, Riley Jensen Series by Keri Arthur, or Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.


Shifters #2

Continuing with my re-read of the Shifters series here is book 2...

Title: Rogue

Author: Rachel Vincent

Series: SHIFTERS, #2

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 400 Pages

Rating: 5/5

Okay, so cats don t always land on their feet. I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I ve made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride, and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I m working harder than ever, though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on- and off-duty. But not all of my mistakes are behind me. We re beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women and that they can all be laid at my feet--two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear...

My Review:

My thoughts from the first time around: "Strays are dying, strippers are disappearing and Faythe is training...Really great read. Faythe is still too stubborn for me to really relate to her but I enjoyed this story and was glad Marc finally let her have it." Which I still agree with the second time reading it.

Faythe Sanders is now the first female werecat enforcer, working for her father's pride as part of a deal she made for her freedom. She and Marc are investigating the murder of toms in their territory when they stumble upon a chain of missing human strippers as well. Faythe has to use all of her skills to track down the attackers and figure out what is connecting it all.

There was lots of action in this one and I liked seeing Marc and Faythe working together. There isn't much growth in her yet but she's on her way. This book brings in new mysteries as well as tying up some loose ends from SHIFT.

Another exciting book in the series, but I must say I liked this one much better the second time through now that I know where all of Faythe's stumblings are going to lead her. That said I remember loving the not-knowing just as much :)

My Rating: 5/5

Other books in this series:

#1 Stray, #3 Pride, #4 Prey, #5 Shift, #6 Alpha

You'll like this series if you liked:

The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, Riley Jensen Series by Keri Arthur, or Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.


Shifters #1

Title: Stray
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: SHIFTERS, book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 624 Pages
Rating: 5/5

There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . . And I'm one of them. I look like an all-American grad student, but I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds. Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself...Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. ..Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends.  Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

My Review:
I find it hard to channel my earlier thoughts of this book after having read the next four. I checked my Shelfari from the first time around and all I had in there was "I wasn't expecting such a thrilling read. Couldn't put it down." Which was true enough even the second time through!

Katherine 'Faythe' Sanders is a female werecat who is trying to live a "normal" life, which is next to impossible with a community of male werecats hell-bent on protecting her. Faythe may hate the pressure being put on her by her family as one of the few tabbies in North America to keep the race alive, but she is forced to accept their help when her fellow tabbies start to disappear - along with her freedom.

I loved to hate Faythe, she's stubborn but secretly wants approval, clever but surprisingly blind to her surroundings, and tries to act as if she has it all together when really she's lost and confused. I enjoyed watching her step outside of herself and start her journey toward understanding her place in the world instead of running from it.

The were-cat world was well developed and I loved delving into their messed-up politics and hierarchies. The way the women are treated, with the intention of being cherished and protected - but realistically being controlled and over-lorded - was equal parts understandable and infuriating to me. Rachel did a great job of letting the reader work through the issues with Faythe - I didn't feel like I had it all figured out and was waiting for her to catch up.

The drama of Faythe and Marc's relationship was a bit confusing but I liked it, I think that the reader is kept in the same place that Faythe is, and she is confused too. The element of Jace the third boy in the love triangle was only touched on, but just the few glimpses of him were enough for me to want more.

I don't want to be spoilery but I will say that once the crisis hits it gets pretty graphic. I didn't find any of it to be over-the-top, it was needed to show the seriousness and depravity of the situation.

A great start to one of my favourite series!

*side note: I have seen a lot of reviews nagging on the similarities between Stray and Bitten (by Kelley Armstrong). I personally have read both - and liked them both - and didn't find much overlap besides the obvious (girl shifter). I liked what one reviewer said: "Yes, I see some parallels to Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, no I am not bothered. When you read a book about Vampires, you can't call it a copy of Anne Rice...Similar is not the same." S.P. (click here for her full 5 star review)

My Rating: 5/5

Other books in this series:
#2 Rogue, #3 Pride, #4 Prey, #5 Shift, #6 Alpha

You'll like this series if you liked:
The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, Riley Jensen Series by Keri Arthur, and ironically: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Top 5 Sunday

Top 5
Larissa over at Larissa's Bookish Life hosts Top 5 Sundays here
The theme for today is:

Best Fiction Hotties I Want Under My Tree!

Here are my picks (in no particular order):

1. Jace Hammond from Shifters series by Rachel Vincent (As far as I know the only dream cast for Jace was from fans and
Jensen Ackles is the most popular choice).

2. Eric Northman from Southern Vampire Mysteries (TrueBlood) by Charlaine Harris.

3. Damon Salvator from The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith.

4. Edward Cullen from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

5. The Brothers from The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward.
I couldn't pick just one of them :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Iron Queen - A Quick Review

Title: The Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Page Count: 384 Pages
Release Date: 01/25/2011
Rating: 5/5

*Spoiler Alert*

If you haven't read the first two books in the Iron Fey series this review may contain spoilers.
In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be seventeen.

Although, technically, I won’t actually be turning seventeen. I’ve been in the Nevernever too long. When you’re in Faery, you don’t age. So while a year has passed in the real world, agewise I’m probably only a few days older than when I went in.

In real life, I’ve changed so much I don’t even recognize myself.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.
*ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

My Review:

I just finished The Iron Queen so I wanted to write my review while the emotions from the book still coursed through my veins. If you have read and enjoyed the first two books (The Iron King and The Iron Daughter) then you will definitely like The Iron Queen. My heart is still racing from the last few chapters, Julie really grabbed me by the heartstrings and pulled me right into Meghan's story. I was blown away again by the beautifully crafted world of the fey and the depth of the characters.

In this chapter of Meghan's story she is exiled but still hunted and left trying to figure out how to go on living a normal life with her winter prince. That is until she is pulled in once again to the war in faery. She has to put everything on the line to save the ones she loves, but can she come out of that alive?

Meghan is not the same nieve and scared girl who first entered faery searching for her brother, her growth throughout the series comes to fruition in the battle against the false king. The plot took a lot of unexpected and exciting turns that had me glued to the page. There were unsung heros and new allies and enemies. A great and thrilling read. I cried real tears and laughed out loud! I am very excited that there is going to be another book (The Iron Knight) as I was left wanting more at the end - which is of course a good thing.

Thank you Julie for another great book!

My Rating: 5/5

You'll like this series if you liked:

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, Need by Carrie Jones, Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, Tyger Tyger by Kersten HamiltonPhotobucket