Book Review ~ Icons by Margaret Stohl

Icons (Icons, #1)Title: Icons
Author: Margaret Stohl
Series: Icons #1
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia/Fantasy/YA

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts — in order to save the future.

Review:

I purchased the e-book format of Icons initially because I was super impressed with Margaret Stohl’s work on the Beautiful Creatures series.  I downloaded Icons on release day and was waiting for the right time to dig into it.  I finally found the time and sadly I was NOT impressed.

Dol is our heroine and I just could not make myself sort of like, much less care about her.  I didn’t find Dol to be a strong leading character.  Her best friend Ro was a much stronger character than Dol was.  I found that I did like Ro in the beginning of the book, but as the story wore on I found myself liking him less and less to the point that I could not keep reading.

I wasn’t exactly sure what the main plot of the book was actually supposed to be either.  In the portion of the book that I did read I found that what plot there was was pretty weak.  I get that with the first book in a new series you have a TON of world building to do but I felt that 100+ pages seemed a little extreme to me. The synopsis itself is pretty catchy.  That is what drew me to the book.

What I did like about Icons was that the book was about Aliens!  This is a first for me.  I’ve never read a book that dealt with Aliens being the “supernatural” being before.  I also give the author major props for branching off and doing a solo project.  I didn’t care for Icons but that doesn’t mean that it won’t appeal to you.

Rating: DNF

 

Book Review ~ Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse, #2)

Title: Living Dead in Dallas
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #2
Release Date: April 1, 2004
Genre: Paranormal/Mystery

Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte’s. But she is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it).

The point is: the vampires saved her life. So when one of her bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges-and soon Sookie’s in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. But that’s easier than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly…

Review:

Book two of the Sookie Stackhouse series was very interesting to me.  There was a lot going on in the book.  So much so that I think it detracted from me enjoying the book more.  I’m not saying that Living Dead in Dallas isn’t a good book because it is, it’s just “busier” than I like.

Living Dead in Dallas picks up shortly after Dead Until Dark and starts off with a bang.  Sookie and Bill are settling into a routine.  Bill is being accepted by more of the citizens of Bon Temps.  Life seems to be going good….

Then a dead body shows up in Andy Bellefleur’s car…..

Then Eric calls on Sookie and Bill to go to Dallas on vampire business.  Which is fine, except for the fact that I thought that it really over powered all the other things that were happening in the book too.  It sort of felt like the initial trouble (the dead body in Andy Bellefluer’s car) is sort of swept under the mat until about the last 30 or so pages of the book.

I did enjoy the introduction of more supernatural beings to the series.  I also enjoyed learning about the Fellowship, which is a vampire hate group and learning how the operate.  A lot of the characters that were in the first book made appearances in Living Dead in Dallas as well.  The showdown at the end where the murderer is revealed was very interesting to read about as well.

What I really didn’t care for was the way several major characters were just swept aside and almost forgotten about in Living Dead in Dallas.  Jason is mentioned in passing.  Sam makes a couple of appearances at the beginning and then is swept under the rug until the showdown at the end.  Andy Bellefleur is even an after thought at points, even AFTER a dead body is found in his car.

Overall, I wasn’t as impressed with Living Dead in Dallas as I wish I was.  In my mind it suffers from “second bookitis.”  I’m still going to continue the series because I have to know what happens next with Sookie, Bill and the rest of the gang.  I’m hoping that the books only improve from here.

Rating: 2 Whiskeys

Review ~ Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #1
Release Date: May 1, 2001
Genre: Paranormal/Mystery

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty. She is. It’s just that, well, Sookie has this sort of “disability.” She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He’s tall, dark, handsome – and Sookie can’t ‘hear’ a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the kind of guy she’s been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: He’s a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble – of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie’s colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she’ll be next …

Review:

I have had Dead Until Dark sitting on my bookcase waiting to be read for a very long time.  For some reason I just could not bring myself to pick it up and read it until a couple of days ago.  Man am I really sorry I waited as long as I did!

Sookie has what she likes to call a “disability,” she is equipped with this wonderful thing called ‘she can read your mind even if she doesn’t want to.’  Everyone around Sookie thinks she’s a little bit on the whack-a-doo side because of her “disability.”  Sookie doesn’t date either.  Then she meets Bill…

Bill has a “disability’ of his own…the “disability’ known as being a vampire.  Bill is originally from Bon Temps and has decided to settle down there now that vampires have come out to the public.  Let’s just say that Bill is a little old-fashioned on somethings, I mean he is an individual who became a vampire post-Civil War.

Sookie and Bill’s relationship is kind of interesting.  I’m a little “eh” on why they got together but as the book progresses I was pleasantly surprised by Bill and Sookie.  Let’s just say that Sookie is a lot stronger than people give here credit for.

The conflict in the book was really interesting.  There were so many people who could have killed these people and I give major props to the author for not making the murderer to obvious to figure out.  I really don’t care for Andy Bellfluer though.

In this first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, we are introduced to a whole host of characters besides the main players.  I am really liking Sam who is the owner of the bar that Sookie works at.  As I have already stated I really don’t care for Andy Bellfluer though.  I’m conflicted by Jason, I don’t know how to feel about him and his “habits.”  Bon Temps is growing on me a lot too.

Overall, I was really happy with Dead Until Dark.  I will be continuing this series for sure.  I’ve even gone so far as to check the remaining books out of the library.  I can’t give this book 5 Whiskeys because of my lukewarmness of why Bill and Sookie got together and my dislike/unsureness of certain characters.

Rating: 4 Whiskeys

Review of Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1)

Title: Prophecy
Author: Ellen Oh
Series: The Dragon King Chronicles #1
Release Date: January 2, 2013
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms… is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope…

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

Review:

A friend of mine who was book blogging about the time this book was announced it was being said I needed to read this book because there was a lot of positive feedback behind it. So when it was released I downloaded it onto my Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet. Then I went about my merry way for a couple of days. I started reading this book yesterday when I got home from work and while I really wanted to like it, it was only ‘meh’ for me.

Kira is the only female in her king’s army and the prince’s bodyguard. She also has another thing going for her, she can sense demons. Which in the long run was quite helpful but it wasn’t really a focus when “stuff” hit the fan. I would have liked to see the author spend a little more time on this but it just didn’t happen.

When “stuff” hit the fan and things should have been memorable, I’ve got nothing. If you read the blurb the last sentence says “Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.” Well to be honest, I feel that there was a TON of ancient lore, a TON of action but the rest Prophecy came up short on.

I just didn’t connect with really any of the characters either. Kira for me was too wishy washy for me. Once second she’s on the highest high the next she’s on the lowest low and it started to drive me banana’s. I did like the prince though. He gets a pretty big burden placed on his tiny 12 year old shoulders. He could have run away with his tail between his legs but he stepped up to the plate big time. There were several characters that I felt were just “filler material,” I didn’t really understand why they were there at all.

I will give the author some major props for writing Prophecy in a “real” way. There is war in this book and people die. Many families are destroyed. There is a bunch of political stuff too that I’m not even going to try to process right now. It’s not all “unicorns that poop sunshine” in Prophecy. Since this is a debut for this author I’m not going to quit this series yet. For all the negatives I found with this book it was a page turner and I finished it in about a grand total of 3.5 hours. To quote Brokeback Mountain…”I can’t quit you!”

Rating: 2 whiskeys

Review of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

gmTitle: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Release Date: April 3, 2012

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Romance/YA/ Mystery

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review:

This book had been sitting on my TBR bookcase since I bought it on Release Day last year. Why you ask has it been sitting there so long? Well I have a TON of books that I’ve bought as a result of following book blogs for a LONG time. I didn’t really have any expectations when I picked up Grave Mercy. All I really new about the book was that it was about the handmaiden’s to Death.

Our heroine, Ismae is one of Death’s daughters and narrowly escapes the brutality that is her bogus arranged marriage when she is helped to reach the convent of St. Mortain. At the convent the occupants serve the god of Death himself. Each person has been blessed with a gift, a very dangerous gift. Ismae is very good at serving her God but then when Ismae is asked to participate in a very important assignment that will take her into the heart of the high court of Brittany she finds herself woefully unprepared for all the things that take place. Or the man that eventually steals her heart and makes her believe again.

Our hero, Duval, is the Duchess’ half brother and is doing everything in his power to keep his sister safe but also see that she is crowned. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Duval. He had this swagger about him that I was lukewarm on in the beginning but as the plot thickened I grew to enjoy Duval very much. Plus, as an added bonus, he’s attracted to Ismae even though he really doesn’t want to be.

There are so many things that happen in this book that had me turning pages even when I should have been doing other things like eating or getting enough sleep for work. It was a freaking roller coaster that I just could not put down. Plus, I really enjoyed almost all of the secondary characters with the exception of 1 or 2. I can hardly wait to dig into the second book, I thought that Ms. LaFevers did an excellent job building up the story so that it will flow easily into Dark Triumph.

Rating: 4 Whiskeys