Book Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

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Paranormal | Urban Fantasy

There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

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I expected this to be in par with Karen Marie Moning‘s Fever series… but, no. I’m 100% sure even Pink Mac can whip McKenzie’s ass in a flash.

Kyol – I like. Aren – I really like.
(McKenzie – dumbass.)

The cover is very misleading, I kid you not. She is not a sword-wielding chick! What a disappointment. The Shadow Reader is my typical UF – human caught up in a world she doesn’t want to be in. Poor McKenzie. Although that did not stop her from nurturing an unrequited love towards Kyol.

Should I change my rating to a 2?… Because McKenzie is a not as developed as a character I thought she would be. A string of bad, bad decisions seemed to be her specialty. Ding ding! I cannot help rolling my eyes, and smirking about her idiotic thoughts that led to her idiotic decisions.

Kyol reminded me of Chaol of Throne of Glass, only because they are both captains and seemed to take their jobs very seriously. Aren, I like… until he became this obnoxious guy because of his supposed “claim” for McKenzie. Really man, I’d go for Team Kyol, if you will always this immature.

The constant itch I had while I’m reading The Shadow Reader is that Fae are too human in behavior. Vindictive, yes. Selfish, yes. And yet, if I try to compare Fae here to Fae in the Iron Fey series, the former lot are so inferior. Fae are more wicked and more wicked in Julie Kagawa‘s books, and that’s YA.

If ever the next installment shifts to Kyol, I’m going to curse someone to be stuck in the In-Between.

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THE SHADOW READER by Sandy Williams

Paperback, 307 pages

Published October 25th 2011 by Ace

3/5 stars

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Book Review: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

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Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

Book 1: Darkfever review      Book 2: Bloodfever review      Book 3: Faefever review

Book 4: Dreamfever review

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O.o Goodness, WTH did I read?!!!

So… this is the what they’ve been talking about. The explosive finale that will leave readers wanting, gasping, and aching for more. And I am so happy (and relieved!) that Shadowfever surpassed all my expectations for an urban fantasy novel. Fever series was worth it, from book 1!

(I think I just became Pri-ya for this series.)

For one month, I read all 5 books, and I was plagued with sleepless nights. Forget being a zombie at work, or neglecting my blog. I need to finish, no, devour a Fever book once I lay my hands on it. I simply need it! (Yes, this is me as a raving lunatic.)

Thank you, Karen Marie Moning for providing me the entertainment I wanted from Faery, and very bad boys. 😀 I take back all the negative things I said about other Fever books. Shadowfever erased all my frustrations, period. That being said, can I take home Jericho Barrons? *winks*

I’m not sure if you’ll get a proper review from me for Shadowfever. It left me breathless, to tell you frankly. It was 100% absolute entertainment, for a reader frantic for the truth about Mac, Barrons, V’lane, the Unseelie King, and that monster book.

All those doubts you have when you started Darkfever? And  all those freaking rants you are holding back at the end of Dreamfever, making you think that this will blow up pretty badly in the finale?

Believe me, Karen Marie Moning have the answers (amazing ones) in Shadowfever. So, so much more than a Fever fanatic can ever hoped for, and that’s what you’ll get.

Shadowfever is one f*cking outstanding finale. The reveal for each character is a mindf*ck. Don’t ask anymore, just read it. And feel the fever that is Mac and Barrons. Wohoo!

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SHADOWFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Ebook, 510 pages

Published January 8th 2011 by Delacorte Press
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5/5 stars

Book Review: Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

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Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister’s murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac’s every thought—and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V’lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister’s diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac’s greatest enemy delivers a final challenge.…

It’s an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth—about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons…and about the world she thought she knew.

Book 1: Darkfever review      Book 2: Bloodfever review      Book 3: Faefever review

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“What the fuck?” V’lane exploded.

My sentiments exactly.

*deep, deep breath*

What a wild and crazy ride. I can barely hear myself think! But oh, Jericho Barrons. *fans self* Feel free to take me away, and lock me up, and use me however and whenever you want to. (It would not hurt if you admit you have feelings for me).Ha! *ahem*

Mac. Would I even trade places with you?

The reality of what hit Mac after the wall crumbled was devastating. Her very fear coming to life, and without Barrons (even V’lane) to rescue her, was too much. And the fae power was too much as well, for she succumbed to the very thing she detested, a slave to a Fae when she’d rather kill them all.

But of course, the chapters when Mac was in a dream-like state were awesome (Barrons!). It was so uncharacteristic of her to behave that way, so uninhibited, untamed, and undisciplined, that Barrons was afraid even he cannot roused her to live once more. It was not everyday that I get to see Barrons wistful, regretful even. For the things he did, he knows Mac will never, ever forgive him (even if he’s getting the Old Mac back).

Dani was a cool addition to the cast. Funny girl, that one (cannot decide between Barrons or V’lane, she’ll take one or the other, so long as she’s sated, lol). And Rowena, goodness how I hated that sidhe-seer.

When the “IYD” call went through, I went to a stupor. There’s no putting down the book, for I will not be left hanging on things that are about to happen…! Crazy, I tell you. CRAZY! and that includes the ending. If my heart could break more right now, I’d let it. 😦 Not this way, I thought. Not this way.

If Faefever was the stake, Deamfever was the force that drove it in.

If you’d just fight like you fuck, you’d’ve walked out of this room the day I carried you in.

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DREAMFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published August 18th 2009 by Delacorte Press
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5/5 stars

Book Review: Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

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Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too. When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

As All Hallows’ Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds—with devastating consequences.…

Book 1: Darkfever review      Book 2: Bloodfever review

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I can finally admit that Karen Marie Moning got me to a fever. *shudders*

For the life of me, I cannot imagine that ending. So… brutal and merciless. I got to hand it to Karen Marie Moning, for only the loyal and absurdly addicted to the Fever series can contain (and grudgingly accept) Mac’s unfortunate event, if only until they can get their hands on Dreamfever… And I am one of them. *grins*

(praying that Mac would overcome this savage time of her life)

It occurred to me that while I see Mac and Barrons’ relationship barely progressed, the storyline is getting more and more daring and intriguing. Mac was being taunted with pages from her sister’s journal, frustrating her as she is nowhere close to catching the killer. Barrons is ever elusive, and V’lane, although showing hints of being human, cannot be trusted still. I am on book 3 already, and this is still the setting that we have.

Annoying, I know.
But how come I am still glued to this sh*t?

Because it’s very entertaining. After that mindf*ck of an ending, who knows why.

What I am trying to say is this: Stick with Mac and Barrons and V’lane. Sometimes they are freaking irritating – dancing around a bush every single banter – but other bunch of times, they are awesome. and funny. and darn sexy. 😀

I forgot that I should be tearing my hair off because of what happened to Mac in the end. But I think I have no choice but to put my faith in Moning. You better have some explosive comeback for Mac!

*stands up and picks up Dreamfever*

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FAEFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Hardcover, 327 pages

Published September 16th 2008 by Delacorte Press
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4/5 stars

Book Review: Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

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Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

I used to be your average, everyday girl but all that changed one night in Dublin when I saw my first Fae, and got dragged into a world of deadly immortals and ancient secrets. . . .

In her fight to stay alive, MacKayla must find the Sinsar Dubh—a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over the worlds of both the Fae and Man. Pursued by assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she can’t trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and powerful men: V’lane, the immortal Fae Prince, and Jericho Barrons, a man as irresistible as he is dangerous.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them.

Book 1: Darkfever review

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Sweet Bloody Hell. 😀

The gory twist of Mac’s appetite with regards to fae is so, so good. Find the Sinsar Dubh. Locate the other fae relics. Kill Fae as needed. This is her reality now. No more Pink Mac.

Bloodfever was repetitive on the first half, if you look into Barrons-Mac violent tandem. Romance is moot, so let’s resort to blood-and-guts aggressiveness! LOL. Anyway, the good part came when Mac finds herself in a tight spot (again). And who will come to her rescue when she’s near death: Barrons or V’lane?…

That cave scene was so freaky, I loved it! It’s disturbing yes, considering the effects on Mac, but oh, I would rather see her evolved than gone!

V’lane is still this arrogant Fae, and almost as arrogant as Barrons. If I focused more on the fae lore than on the characters, I could say that I really, really like how this sequel turned out. More stories on fae, but still nothing from Barrons. C’mon!

Mac is better here, although she is still a fashionista (substituting pink for black, right?). Haha! She still does not take sh*t from Barrons, but for goodness sake, if she listened to him rather than antagonize him, I think they would’ve accomplished more in searching for the Sinsar Dubh.

Bloodfever is right up my alley for a sequel. It kept me wanting more, more of this fae madness. And the bloody bit in the end is a major plus. 😀

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BLOODFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Ebook, 269 pages

Published October 16th 2007 by Dial
4/5 stars

Book Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Young Adult > Fantasy > Paranormal

(Throne of Glass #2)

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Book 1: Throne of Glass review

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How long have you been yearning for him?

I recommend Crown of Midnight.
I’m a wreck, and I boldly blame Sarah J. Maas. *sniffs*
You have to know:

1st half – I was in a constant state of swoon 2nd half – I went through the five stages of grief (and no don’t ask me to enumerate it) and was so, so angry with Celaena.

You ingrate!

Celaena is more intense, more determined to seek her freedom. By doing so, she dodged her past again and again until she could not outrun it anymore. Until she could deny it no longer. I love Celaena from Throne of Glass, and all through the first half of Crown of Midnight. After that? I want to slice off her head and just be done with Adarlan’s assassin.

How poorly she treated Chaol…! I could not f*cking believe it. He is her friend, correct? So what is with the jumping of conclusions?!! Blaming the Captain for that death, after he was subjected to a horrific ordeal?!! Extremely mourning as if her lover died?!!! *shouting* He saved your life more than once, you idiot! Whatever happened to asking him about his side of the story, huh? Gah, Celaena’s character dwindled to a f*cking imbecile level.

Dorian – how I admire this prince. Every action and thought, it was done well, and done right, and at the right time. He matured, and in this sense that Dorian proved he is more than a puppet heir to the throne. And what an interesting twist he had in this sequel! I am thoroughly intrigued.

She deserved a loyal, brave knight who saw her for what she was and did not fear her. And he deserved someone that would look at him like that, even if the love wouldn’t be the same, even if the girl wouldn’t be her.

Chaol Westfall is the man. *whispers* I am so in love with you, Captain. Ahem. I wished it was different, how his story turned out, because my heart broke a thousand times as I devoured the second half of the book. Broke, broke my heart. =( The only consolation is that, his valiant character was repeatedly revealed. Now I know that I truly made the right choice in picking him for Celaena. Team Chaol FTW! (More POVs of him, please.)

As if being high fantasy is not enough, the different race where magic came from was further developed. I think it was too much, throwing that element in, but I did enjoy this sequel so…

There had never been any line between them, only his own stupid fear and pride. Because from the moment he’d pulled her out of that mine in Endovier and she had set those eyes upon him, still fierce despite a year in hell, he’d been walking toward this, walking to her.

Crown of Midnight frustrated me in the end. The high I experienced in the first half was too good to be true.. and it was.

Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publish Plc (UK & ANZ) for granting my galley request.

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CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas

Kindle Edition, 432 pages

Published  August 15 2013 by Bloomsbury

4/5 stars

Book Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

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Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…

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I am sooo glad that I read Darkfever only now. Why? Because I don’t think I can wait for months before the next book is released (I already have books 2-5!). And so, it is with happiness that I will tell you: this is THE Fae Adult Paranormal Romance series to read. 😛

Mac is a walking contradiction. And she adores pink, fashion, and boys. When her sister died, her preferences did not change. If there’s anything, she rigorously stuck to them, justifying that this is the only normalcy of life she will have since then. Me and Mac? We are going to be good friends. =) She’s feisty, challenging, and a little violent (LOL).

Barrons is not your typical bad boy. He is bad boy personified. He has no redeeming qualities… because there is nothing to redeem. He knows he’s bad, and he constantly flaunts it. Sigh, there is no sense rooting for him. But unwillingly, I do. Jericho Barrons is my No. 1 Bad Boy! *grins*

V’lane the sex fae prince exhibits human traits far more than Barrons, and that’s not a lot. So what does that say about Barrons, huh? Nothing. Or everything. I’m not worried about Mac going for V’lane. I can always blame it to the fae charm, right?

Gritty, unabashed, and ferocious – that’s how I will describe Darkfever. It is narcotic enough for me to continue reading the series. (For there is no way that Barrons is a like a shadow, dark in all aspects.)

And I will get my fix!

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DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Ebook, 255 pages

Published October 31st 2006 by Dell Publishing

3/5 stars

Book Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Rating: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Fantasy > Faeries

(The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1)

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

*****

(let me vent out first)

This is not as entertaining as I expected it to be. Ethan, you suck!

(breathes deeply)

For all things JKagawa-ish, The Lost Prince is disappointing and I say that with a sad heart. Angry, angsty Ethan for the 1/3 of the book is good. Still angry, angsty Ethan during 2/3 – frowned upon. Angry, angsty Ethan until I finished is downright irritating. I totally get where he’s coming from. But geez, Ethan still sounds like the whiny kid who got abducted by the faeries years ago!

I was excited to go back to Nevernever, but as the book progresses, I realize… there was nothing new to rave about. Sure, there’s Grimalkin and the Iron Realm. A glimpse of Meghan, Ash, and Puck (Leanansidhe, too). But it stops there. When the story goes back to Ethan and Kenzie, I was like, meh. Here we go again with their drama.

The “Guro” element was weird. I am sure that we didn’t use that term when we address our instructors. (I think I need to find Kali students to confirm if they really call their teachers “Guro”.) And the “Mang-Huhula”, too. That’s the Filipino term for a fortune-teller or, a Seer. Imagine me frowning while I encounter these words in the book. Sigh.

If not for Puck‘s endearing cameo roles (I love that guy) and Ash‘s (Yes!), this would’ve been a total fail for an Iron Fey fan like me. I’m even more interested in Kierran’s plight than Ethan’s! Yeah, I’m so unhappy. =(

The Lost Prince is The Iron King with only a guy (a very annoying one at that) as MC. See? Nothing new about it.

Publisher: Harlequin

Imprint: Harlequin Teen

Pub Date: 10/23/2012

Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin for granting my galley request.

Book Review: Intangible by J. Meyers

Rating: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Paranormal

Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.

Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.

(An ebook copy was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

*****

Intangible has potential. It would’ve been good if not for Sera’s overdramatic antics. I like Luke’s POV more than Sera’s. Luke is funny and 100% teenage boy! I enjoyed his musings, especially his ‘Fey’ musings. haha! Meyer’s writing is easy to get into. And did i mentioned i totally dig that book cover?

Oh, this is about vampires and elves. How the ‘Children of the Prophecy’ can change the real world and the Realm. How Sera and Luke are threats to these creatures.

Intangible started out strong. But then the love interest came along. Marc. Aargh. I despise him. Something about his character that is so unlikeable. Good thing Luke’s prophecy about Marc came true. I wouldn’t like him to be a part of Sera’s and Luke’s life.

It’s surprising that the secondary characters is what attracted me more in the story: Fey and Jonas. They are true to their nature and more bad-*ss than the twins.

I liked how the story panned out. I just lost interest in the middle when Sera’s teenage drama commenced. Eventually, it led me to think that the story is too long. And it was not explained how Marc ‘thudded’ the vamps into unconsciousness. Ha! I know ‘thudded’ is not a verb, but that’s what comes to mind (there are a lot of ‘thuds’ involved when the vamps went down).

Hey, if you are into paranormal stuff, i think you will love Intangible. The ending was quite satisfying should this be a standalone.

 

Book Review: Gods & Monsters #2: A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Mythology

(Gods and Monsters #2)

Myth and mayhem inhabit a richly reimagined New Orleans in this sequel to Darkness Becomes Her.After the epic graveyard battle at the end of Darkness Becomes Her, Ari and her friends know what they’re up against: Ari is facing the Medusa curse and is haunted by the image of what she will become. To make matters worse, the heinous goddess Athena has kidnapped young Violet and is threatening to destroy Ari.

 
Ari, along with the superhot Sebastian, is doing everything she can to learn more about Athena and to get Violet back. But the battle of good and evil is bigger than she realizes, and she’s about to be pulled into a world more horrific than she could ever imagine….

*****

Darkness Becomes Her is better than A Beautiful Evil but this second book has its own merits. Athena is menacing as ever, and for that, this book is quite the bomb.

Ari is still bad-*ss but there’s this instance that i found her incredulous. idiotic, even. Sigh. i would like my heroine to be confident and skilled in battle, but i do not want her going into one without proper arsenal. Ari, you’re fighting a goddess (Athena, no less!), for goodness sake. The least you can do is make the capturing a little difficult. i find it rather insulting to have Athena slaughter you at her silver plate because of your stupidity

Sebastian is almost a god in this sequel. I am so envious of his powers! Man, now you look positively hot. *Ahem* 

The unusual portrayal of Pandora’s box is alluring. The agenda behind Athena’s relentless pursuit of Ari’s power is shockingly… human. I loved that. 

If you dig the first book, you will dig A Beautiful Evil even more. Powerful Athena versus an equally powerful god-killer. =) Hoho! Cat fight has never been this delicious to read.