Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan -- Review

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales #2)
by Maureen McGowan
Publication Date: 04/01/2011
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Thank you Netgalley, Silver Dolphin Books and Baker & Taylor Publishing Group for the E-ARC.

Synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):

In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.

An interesting twist on the classic story of Sleeping Beauty. This book allows you at certain points in the story to choose a path for the characters - allowing you to have a say and some control over how the story goes on, and thus, the conclusion of the story. 

I found the twist on her curse to be fun -- where she sleeps during the day, in her glass coffin, as an endless line of suitors pass by her, and at night, she is awake, but everyone in the castle/kingdom are asleep (flip-flopped situation for daytime and nighttime). 
I enjoyed her decision to become a vampire slayer at night to protect her (father's) kingdom. And then, well, she falls for a vampire (well at least in "my story" she does). All in all, this was a quick enjoyable short read.

The Bartered Virgin by Chevon Gael -- Review (**18+over material)

The Bartered Virgin
by Chevon Gael

Publication Date: 12/15/2010
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Thank you Netgalley and Carina Press for the eARC.

Synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):

Sold to the highest-ranked aristocrat!
That's what Winnifred Percy, New York City heiress, considered her engagement to Sir David Knightsbridge, Earl of Wolshingham. It's 1902 and she wants to be a modern woman, free to travel the world. To do that she needs to show the Earl she is a completely unsuitable bride.
Smoking and cursing doesn't have much effect on David so Winn reads him a very naughty French book. That leads to unexpectedly passionate kisses, and David's declaration that he wants to marry her. Drat! Even when she takes him to Coney Island to mingle with ordinary people and eat exotic hot dogs he's intrigued...and intriguing.
When desire leads them into scandal, Winn realizes she's ruined his hopes for restoring his family's honor. Can she let him go to find a more suitable bride?


I initially was drawn to the book by the synopsis - I thought the main character, Winn, was going to be witty to the extreme, to try to get out of this arranged marriage. As luck would have it, David actually found her tactics and antics unveiling her to be that much more desirable. And then throughout this period, Winn becomes drawn to him, even as she is still attempting to resist and forgo this arranged marriage.

I found Winn's character to be not all that enticing - I never really clicked with her character and many a times she behaved so ignorantly, it was rather bothersome. Also, I never really found David to be the prince charming she thinks she is coming to see in him - crass language and his interactions/ commands of Winn (though he does become less of a jerk to her by the end). 

All in all, this novella was a quick read, not accurate in its historical time-frame, and kind of lagged a bit in "romance" though it definitely is an erotica/18-and-over book -- so it didn't disappoint in that aspect or scenes.

Saturday Situation - July 16

Happy Saturday everyone! (Sorry for my long MIA time. Since posting my "Lust" review, I've been working on medical school applications, and Murphy's Law was in action in early June when suddenly I went from looking-looking-looking for a job, and then BAM! I have two now. :D These all, however, take time away from my book reviewing so my apologies.)

It's time for a new Saturday Situation, hosted by Candace at Candace's Book Blog and Lori at Pure Imagination.

Here are this week's reviews:

XVI, Dark Descendants, & Entangled

I'm hoping to get 2-4 more reviews done this weekend too :)

Entangled by Cat Clarke -- Review

by Cat Clarke
Synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

First off, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover of this book. The pose, the hair color - that's actually what initially attracted me to the book (as well as the synopsis). When I started the book, it kind of just throws you into the story, so I felt a bit lost and disoriented for a few chapters, but then things were clicking and it then became easy to catch onto the pattern of how the story is told -- flashes of Grace and Ethan in the white room "prison" and Grace's life and activities around the time she met a fine young chap named Nat. 

I thought Grace's character was rather dense as from very early on in the story, you could tell there was something funky going on (red flags everywhere) between her new boyfriend Nat and her best friend Sal -- all the body language described, the awkward looks and conversations -- yet Grace totally does not take notice of this at all... that is until she writes her story and at Ethan's urging slowly realizes the big truths of her story. 

I really did not understand Ethan's character, nor why she thought she knew him, when they never mentioned why she thought that - was it someone from her past, some stranger she came across at one point in time in her life - it just never really addresses him, other than his ultimate role in Grace's story.

While this is listed as a YA, I would have to say it's for the older YA crowd - lots of swear words (though the British ones hehe), LOTS of talk and descriptions of sex and sexual experiences, and the behavioral issue of cutting. 

Cutting. The theme of cutting in this book reminded me a lot of "Hunger" and "Winter Girls," where the lead characters in that book are OCD/ obsessed with their body image and starving themselves. In Entangled, Grace releases her stress and depression by cutting. Having known real-life people who have had issues with cutting, it was interesting to get Grace's perspective of her fascination and compulsion with it. I don't recall her ever mentioning pain and its association to her cutting, which I thought was odd. Odd in the sense that, from what I know of cutters' behavior, the big reason they cut is to FEEL IT, in order to overwhelm their other feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, etc...and sometimes for self-punishment. 

It was an ok, a lil' sub-par, read overall. The pace was ok, once the rhythm of flipping back and forth between Grace's memories and Grace's experience in the white room was established. I also did not like the ending. I do not like that it left Grace's story ... unfinished; I would have rather had a sad ending or a happy ending. Instead, it just kind of ends with "blah ........"

Rating: 2 / 5 Stars

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dark Descendant (Descendants #1) by Jenna Black -- Review

Dark Descendant (Descendants #1)
by Jenna Black

Synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):

From the acclaimed author of the Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist books comes the gripping first novel in a new series about a private eye who discovers, to her surprise, that she’s an immortal huntress.

Nikki Glass can track down any man. But when her latest client turns out to be a true descendant of Hades, Nikki now discovers she can’t die. . . .

Crazy as it sounds, Nikki’s manhunting skills are literally god-given. She’s a living, breathing descendant of Artemis who has stepped right into a trap set by the children of the gods. Nikki’s new “friends” include a descendant of Eros, who uses sex as a weapon; a descendant of Loki, whose tricks are no laughing matter; and a half-mad descendant of Kali who thinks she’s a spy.

But most powerful of all are the Olympians, a rival clan of immortals seeking to destroy all Descendants who refuse to bow down to them. In the eternal battle of good god/bad god, Nikki would make a divine weapon. But if they think she’ll surrender without a fight, the gods must be crazy. . . .


I was hoping for and expecting a better book by this offer, given that her Morgan Kingsley series is amazing. Yes, I know that this book is YA, while the other book series is adult/paranormal(/edging on erotica?), but I thought Dark Descendant just didn't deliver. It took almost 3/4 of the book to get the background and introductions in place, and then left so little room for developing the story.
I don't know if I will read the sequels to this, though the concept of Olympic descendants is interesting... 
I guess we shall see.

Rating: 2 / 5 Stars


XVI (XVI #1) by Julia Karr -- Review

 XVI (XVI #1) 
by Julia Karr

Synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world-even the most predatory of men-that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past-one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

16 is the magic number is this book. In this dystopia book, 16 is the new legal age and sex / sexual appeal is a main theme, along with, well breaking out of the dystopian society's norms and demands. The storyline lagged a bit, but the dystopian society concept was interesting.

Rating: 2 / 5 Stars

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lust (The Sins and The Virtues #1) by Charlotte Featherstone -- Review (**18+over material)

Lust (The Sins and The Virtues #1)
by Charlotte Featherstone

Publication Date: 01/17/2011 
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Thank you Netgalley, Harlequin & Spice for the electronic ARC. :)

Synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):

Of old, humans and Faeries have dwelt side by side in parallel realms. Only the canniest mortals recognize the alluring creatures that often walk—and lie—among them.
The righteous Fae of the Seelie Court cherish an ancient quarrel with their Dark counterparts: a curse born of anger and deceit. The Unseelie Court will perish unless one of its princes can win a woman's love—honestly, without coercion…and love her wholly in return.
To halt the slow demise of his people, Prince Thane—the embodiment of Lust—infiltrates the Georgian court to seduce his mortal inverse. Noblewoman Chastity Lennox is purity incarnate—a sensual prize well worth winning. But Thane's carnal quest proves more challenging than he ever dreamed.
No other has ever been able—or willing—to resist his erotic charms. Chastity's resolve is maddening…and intriguing. It makes him want her all the more. But how best to seduce one who truly seems above temptation? Discover her greatest weakness and become the intoxicating essence of her deepest, most forbidden desires….

I found this to be a very fun read and interesting concept -- the Seelie and Unseelie courts fighting over these girls (Chastity, Mary, Mercy and Prudence) that are imbued with the virtues that they are named after. The fight between the fae courts stems from a curse the Seelie queen put upon the Unseelie court after she was taken by force and raped by the Unseelie king - which produced twin boys, one that physically looked Seelie but has Unseelie powers and tendencies, and the other that physically looked Unseelie but has some Seelie powers. Anyway, the curse the Seelie queen put upon the Unseelie court inhibits them from having any surviving babies from any couplings between Unseelie members (only court members? It wasn't very clear) UNLESS the seven Unseelie court members/royalty that represent the seven sins are able to successfully, without any faerie magic, win over the love of their corresponding virtues, who are female mortals, and get them to willingly go to the Unseelie court.

This first book in the Sins and the Virtues series primary focused on Chastity Lennox and Thane, the Unseelie prince that embodies the sin of Lust. The story was a little hard to get into right away because of a the overload of characters and the author trying to explain the background of the story, while also trying to simultaneously lay out the unfolding story between Chastity and her sisters, and the Fae courts attempting to thwart the other court in their efforts to gain the attention and favor of the Lennox virtue sisters. 

I thought it was an interesting twist that the author made Chastity's character not fully chaste, in the sense that she almost was warring with herself -- she had the urge to be chaste and embrace that (the woman she is supposed to be), but she also was going through a sexual awakening (discovering her sensual side and not so chaste tendencies (especially her thoughts for/involving Thane)).

I enjoyed Thane's character - especially his wit and inner turmoil over Chastity - that he is not just seducing her in order to save his court, but also his realization that he was falling in love with Chastity. I found Thane to be quite acceptable as the male protagonist in this historical/paranormal-romance, erotica read.

I definitely would like to read the rest of the books in the series and see how each of the Virtue/Sin match stories unfold. I anxiously look forward to the next book in the series.
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