Soul Marked

by C. Gockel

5/5The wonders of the weekend. it all started with a free massage, brunch out and a stop by the bookstore. And, of course, it ended at the coffee shop.

SoulMarked

I picked up this book because the name seemed familiar. Turns out it was recommended to me by one of those random because-you-read apps.  I LOVED IT!

I read a couple of chapters while sitting in a not-so-comfy chair at a quiet coffee place, and I was totally hooked.

There’s magic, but also technology. There is a damsel in distress, that still has time and the will to save a magical immortal. There are a couple of different worlds and societies. That by itself is interesting, but my absolute favorite part of this book is the language and cultural barriers and all the fun that it ensues.

There’s also a bit in there about people’s fear of interracial pairings and prejudice. I thought it was very interesting as something for the two very different main characters to have in common.

There was also a part that I didn’t quite enjoy but thought it fit great into the story, about the exploitation of those some feel are inferior, and their mistreatment. It is both powerful man, both influential and magically gifted, who enjoys manipulating and hurting others.

I think there were quite a lot of social references an critiques (the kinds I enjoy finding) without losing the magical and somewhat romantic feel the story has. I really loved this book, and I truly recommend it.

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Act of Mercy

by Mandy M. Roth

3/5

 

ActOfMercy

This was a short and neat, easy reading. My new favorite: quick and really entertaining. There are supernatural shifters, mad doctors with insane human experiments, military special ops and even a small love story (steamy sex scene included).

It is the first in a series, PSI-Ops, but there seems like this author has several series that happen within the same universe and seems to be somewhat interconnected. I might end up reading the whole of this series (5 books), but I’m not sure I’ll read them all. There are a lot of them!

Who knows, though!

If all of them are as quick a read as this one, I might end up checking them all off the list during my next time stuck t an airport.

The Beating of his Wings

by Paul Hoffman
3/5

Strangely, it was a much less violent ending than the one I expected. And, really, there’s no way anyone would call this book violence-free.

There is, after all, two instances of death by slow bludgeoning.

And, still, I felt it milder than the previous two. It might be because there were fewer deaths where Thomas Cale was directly involved and observing? I think I will blame it all on the strange and debilitating sickness that brings him down from the avenging angel thing he had going on before.

 

spoiler alert

I think this is ultimately a sad story, with a sad and anti-climatic ending. But it is the only way it could have gone. After all the suffering, the betrayals, the loss, and the life-or-death battles won… the only thing left for Cale is an absolute disappointment. And we’re left not knowing what becomes of him.

He gave everything of himself to save a world that didn’t want him.  they were so afraid of him because they didn’t understand him; because he didn’t operate under the same twisted and corrupt rules as they did. Bu, because it was the only way they knew, his way (that in no way was better nor worse) was simply scary and unacceptable.

And the three boys raised for nothing more but murder in a horrible place, don’t understand the world any more than the world understands them. And they have only each other and their war effort.

And then, not even that.

I really liked this series. I liked that it made me think about the silly things that have become acceptable in our society only because it is the only way we know. I liked that it makes fun of our baser selves without being funny. And I liked that this all continues to feel familiar while feeling totally new.

What I didn’t like was the strange illness that weakens and kind of disfigures Thomas Cale in this book. I didn’t see the point of it, and it felt like it was making the book unnecessarily long and slow at times.

I don’t know if I would read the third one again, but I definitely enjoyed the whole series and felt it was given a satisfying ending.

No closure whatsoever. That feels like the right kind of end for this story.

Girl Power

C: “You don’t know how to fight?”

A: “No. My arms are so weak I get out of breath lifting up a powder puff”

C: ” I could teach you”

A: “Only if you let me teach you how to wear a corset”.

C: “Why would I want to do that?”

A: “Exactly”

C: “Not exactly at all. I don’t want to be a girl”. 

A: ” And I don’t want to be a soldier. I want to be a general”. 

 

The Beating of His Wings by Paul Hoffman

The Savage Dawn

by Melissa Grey

4/5
I can certainly say that I am now a fan of Melissa Gre’s writing. I loved the references and the dialogs and even the characters, but I cannot say that I absolutely loved this book.

The individual parts were awesome. Bird people with feathers for hair? Loved it! Dragon people with scales on their faces? Loved it! The lonely human stuck in the middle of an ancient war only to have ended up uniting them all to fight a common stronger enemy? Absolutely amazing! But still… somehow, I feel there was something missing. Something that is not there and keeps me from loving it all as a whole.

 

First, let me tell you about all the things I adored. OK, it is mostly to things that I adored in this book, and why it is my favorite in the whole series… Jasper and Dorian.

That was just simply one of the cutest couples I’ve ever read about. I was hanging from every page waiting to know what was to be of them. From the whole “I cannot be happy without my prince” thing at the beginning, through the whole “you cannot have him” bit, and all the way to the new Dragon Prince and his Avicen consort. That was simply the wildest love story! Absolutely one of my all-time favorites. I would totally read this whole trilogy over and over, just to experience them, time and time again.

And maybe that’s one of the reasons I was left a tad unsatisfied. For a moment there I was biting my nails out of my fingers thinking that my favorite couple will be split apart irrevocably and how totally depressing that would be.. and then, no! They both survived the war and can live happily ever after. Except… that they come from two very different societies that have been at war with each other for centuries and they are both needed at their respective homes for the reparation and rebuilding… but we wouldn’t know anything about it, because the book ends without letting us hear from them. At all.

I understand that the main story there was about the Firebird and all this magic that she supposedly had (that she ended up not knowing how to use and not needing to save the world), and her ill-fated romance with this prince whose throne was stolen, whose sister went homicidal, who has been tortured and still jumps into battle with her…

But I needed more Jasper & Dorian!

And even a little bit more Ivy or Rowan… or even some more of The Ala. I feel like a lot was going on behind scenes that we missed and would’ve been awesome to read about.

On the other hand… I think Echo and Cauis’s ending was great. That huge sacrifice and pain, and that tiny and slim ray of hope barely out of reach. Genious! I really like that.

What did you think?

Who id you prefer, Caius and Echo or Jasper and Dorian?

Love triangles

Allow me to indulge in some book-related rambling…

I’ve noticed that there’s this plot device that is becoming more and more popular in recent years. This is the love triangle.

Of course, this is not something new, an I’m not saying it is… but it feels like lately, it is everywhere. Even where it was completely unnecessary.

I find that, in my experience, there are three kinds of love-triangle:

  1. Where there is lying. I hate lying. I hate when the story spends many pages exulting or excusing the betrayal and the breaking of trust from one character to another. It doesn’t matter if it is old-fashioned cheating or if it’s magically induced, or as simple as forgetting to mention there’s a boyfriend.
  2. Where it’s all about timing and circumstance. Ok, there’s always room for attenuating circumstances. I can endure and even start to enjoy a love story when new events or circumstances change one of the character’s life view so much that the relationships they had before start to feel like they don’t fit anymore.
  3. Where there’s enough love to go around. I’ve only seen this kind once, in Mal de Amores, where one person can love two different people, precisely because they are different. And there was no drama, no fights, and no jealousy. This is the kind of love triangle I think we should see more of, and I even expected it where I didn’t get it.

Of course, almost all of these are based on the most popular 2-boys-one-girl set up. And, while this is popular and it’s supposed to reflect women’s liberation, I think it shows a lack of imagination and a serious case of narrow-mindedness. At least in my opinion.

Please, if you know of any different setups, do recommend me some. there is nothing more refreshing than originality.

Deklan

3/5

deklan
Deklan by Shay Savage

Nice and short.

And steamy.

I, actually, intended to only check out the latest Shay Savage book. I was thinking if I could get right then and there… maybe I would read it when I was done with this year’s challenge…

I ended up reading it right there. I stayed glued to it for  whole day until almost 4am!

As it is Shay Savage’s thing, there is a gorgeous guy with a messed up childhood. But this one felt way mor wholesome than Arden (who we see something of in this one) or Teague.

This hotty is all sweet an strong. A deadly hitman, but a loving husband. Completely enjoyable. The only downside? This story gets told from the point of view of Deklan‘s new young (almost child like) bride. She’s a young girl, pushed into marriage with a mob boss’ son, as a means to pay a debt. But things change at the last minute and she ends up being pushed to marry down on chain of power.

An it ends up being the best thing that could’ve happened to her.

Honestly… if you’re looking for a deep inside into the working of arranged marriages within the mob… you’re in to wrong section of the book store. If what you want is something simple and steamy to take your mind off things… then, this is the book for you. I has many stops in plot and action to take you into the bedroom, with aggressive and hot sex. Some of those feel even a bit unnecessary… but it is completely grabbing.

Not apt for public consumptionIt is incredibly easy to stay glue to it to the end.

 

Definitely enjoyed it, but not something to have at the office.

 

 

Shades of Magic (2)

4/5A Conjuring of Light.

I really really liked this book. This whole series, actually. Even when it took me waaaaaay to long to actually finish it. I blame it all on this the most inefficient year I had when it comes to my reading. Only to my reading, though, because work has been crazy busy.

But, even when there were quite a few of forced pauses in between my chapters, this book was amazingly grabbing. I loved getting to know Holland, who until now seemed only as a secondary character, especially that last chapter from his point of view. His whole story, though, it was all heartbreaking and enlightening as to why he does as he does and is as he is.

And I loved, even more, getting to know Rhy and the complexities of his relationship with Alucard.

And Alucard, and his messed up family!

And the Queen and her inability to express herself to Kell

And that is all before we even get to the Shadow King and the growing relationship between Kell and Lila., it was honestly a great book. I will totally recommend this series to anyone who may listen.

So, why only a 4/5? You might be asking… Well. It was the ending.

No. I’m not trying to say that the conclusion/solution to their problem was anything but great, but I do think that the last chapter… The emotional wrap-up… Felt a bit brushed over. Too fast, too superficial.

After everything the brothers now share, there was no conversation, no reunion, no normal goodbye. And with Lila! When did they agree to leave to follow HER dream of being a pirate? Wasn’t she toying with the idea of settling down? And what happened to Kell’s promise to be by his brother’s side when he became king?! And to Holland’s world? And what I’d the letter to King George say?

Again, too rushed. I wasn’t satisfied.

But really that was my only qualm. Besides that, the book was real. The whole series was awesome.

The Shadow Hour

4/5
Ok. Another story that turns out has another sequel.

I’ve read many stories with multiple point of view and there are some pretty awkward and confusing stories out there, but I can honestly say that The Shadow Hour isn’t one of those.

The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey

You get a bit of the drama, with the love triangle of Rowan, Echo and Caius; you also get a bit of the sweet stuff, with Dorian and Jasper and how their relationship blossoms in spite of the war going on; but you also get a bit of comic relief here and there and Ivy with her compassionate view of a world and the people that have done her many wrongs.

It’s  great story, but i’m not sure I liked where it ended. An absolutely not sure abut what to expect on the next one. While I enjoyed this one with its mysteries and budding romances, it felt a bit anti-climatic by the end.

And, honestly! there was too little heard from the Ala. She is one of my favorite characters!

But well… I guess there is no other option but to wait for the next installment and go from there.

NSFW 

4/5

Specimen by Shay Savage

Definitely not appropriate for reading in public, specially if you’re like me and it requires effort and concentration to keep what goes through your head to show on your face.

Specimen by Shay Savage
Specimen by Shay Savage

I did enjoy it, though. Besides the hot and detailed sex descriptions, there is also a good story being told. There are super soldiers, and brain-machine interfaces, mad scientist experimenting with human beings, and all a bunch of stuff that can be considered immoral, but it is not because it happens in a post-disaster world.

It kind of made me think about all the things we would be willing to do to eachother as humans when survival is the immediate goal. I imagine we wouldn’t be so “civilized” then…

I also like the ending of this story. It took a moment to let it settle, but I honestly think it couldn’t have gone any other way. And it wasn’t even that surprising with the pace and direction of the book. It did feel a little sad, though.

But I won’t spoil it for you. Let me just say that it took me back to when I read 1984 by George Orwell. That’s all I’m saying.