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Review: Awaited by Lynn Rush

Title: Awaited
Author: Lynn Rush
Series: Wasteland # 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source:  Bewitching Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
I receive a free copy of this novel from Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:

The Voice is a Powerful Thing….

Russell Leonard is a centuries-old Guardian who’s lost faith in his purpose. So when he’s charged with procuring the first female Guardian in over two centuries, he can only hope it’s the red-headed beauty who’s been haunting his dreams for months. And if it is, he intends to claim her as his.

But when he finds his dream woman, Annabelle is mute and bears no Guardian’s Mark. He soon realizes she’s been tainted by an ancient evil. Russell must somehow release the secrets trapped within this delicate soul to help her tap into the only weapon powerful enough to silence a millennia-old demon-her voice.

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Random: Read the first book, it may appear to be a standalone book but I believe it helps to know what happen in the first book.

It’s been about a month and a half since I’ve read the first book and I’m wishing that I have read this book sooner. There are just some things that I’ve forgotten. The first book isn’t crucial to understanding Awaited but it helps to have read it before. The reason is that certain aspects of the world-building such as the hierarchy (Beka and David) or Jessica are not really explained. They are just taken for granted. Like I said, it’s not crucial but knowing makes the book feel more solid.

Character-wise, Annabelle is an interesting character because she is a mute main character. It’s rare to see a main character have a disability so she starts off being unique. Her uniqueness is built upon by giving her a depressing past and special abilities. She was similar to David in that she knows darkness first-hand.  She has a terrible past, filled with demons and torture. Russell as the Guardian is an intriguing character because I couldn’t understand why he lost his faith. He starts dreaming about a woman and he loses his faith in God, um, I don’t accept that. The dream was probably the catalyst but it’s not the sole reason. He is still interesting because of his faith and devotion to Annabelle. It’s unshakeable. I believe Jessica became more unstable but considering she was unconscious for the first book, she may have always been insane. She has a lovely personality though.

The first female Guardian in over 200 years plotline seemed secondary to Annabelle and Russell’s love story. No one was actively looking for her. It was much more in passing thought that the new Guardian was considered. She turns out to be a very energetic teenager. She is surprised but eager about her new future. Other plotlines are slowly introduced but there is enough information to keep them going at a good pace. The main focus is the love story that has a bumpy road but it never waivers the love between Russell and Annabelle. I’m not fond of that because they never doubted each other. It was just a complete certainty; Russell questions it at time but he never goes deeper than a superficial scratch.

One of the things that left me very confused is the the advancement of technology and laws. It’s been about 35 years since the first book was written and in that time, humans have decided to have brain chips implanted in their heads. Apparently, the chips work as identification cards and money (possibly). It is not explained why the brain chips rose in power or how the technology came to be. It’s confusing because the technology is not explained but more importantly, the chips do not have an actual purpose in the book. They are just there. About the laws, Russell gets freaked out when he falls for Annabelle and he thinks she is 18. He thinks society is going to look down upon their relationship but when he finds out that she is 19, he obtains a sense of relief. Did the age of consent move up or what just happened? I find there are certain world-building aspects of the book that were not explained properly.

Overall, it was a nice edition to to the Wasteland Series. The romance wasn’t as captivating as Beka and David’s romance but it was unique. I’m looking forward to the next book because it seems like the romance will include Jessica. Like I said, she is a little random so I can’t wait to read what she says.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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66th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, 2nd in a Series, Where are you reading?-Colorado

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Review: Guardian of Fate by L.J Kentowski

Title: Guardian of Fate
Author: L.J Kentowski
Series: Guardian of Fate # 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source: Bewitching Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N/ Smashwords
I receive this novel free of charge from BBT in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Fear of death is all too common. Visions of it chill the bones and skip heartbeats. Seeing it coming and knowing only you can rescue the soul of the victim from the fiery bowels of hell…that’s downright life-altering.

Cassandra Cosgrove’s life was altered at the age of sixteen when she found out that it was her responsibility to save the lives, and ultimately the souls, of innocent victims targeted by Hell’s demons. As impossible as it seemed at first, she was able to live a fairly normal life, while secretly fulfilling her obligation as a Guardian of Fate.

But years later Fate has its own plan when her visions begin drastically changing at the same time two mysterious men appear in her life. Cassandra suddenly finds herself caught in a battle between good and evil, with her own soul on the line. When it seems everyone in her life has a secret they’ve been hiding from her, who can she trust to be the Guardian of her Fate?

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A Heaven and Hell battling each other novel that doesn’t use the word “fallen angels” to describe Hell’s demons. This novel is a good novel, it has a good story that just needed a half-decent male lead with a stronger female lead.

Let’s talk about Cassie. She is a Guardian who saves people from dying prematurely and I imagine she does a pretty good job except not when the novel takes place. She has about four visions yet she only manages to act one vision but her life is changing dramatically so I will cut her a break. She masquerades herself as being strong and half of the time, she is. The other half, she is failing but trying to hold her ground against an aggressive male lead. She is not a bad female lead; she just needs a little more of a backbone which she begins to obtain towards the end of the story. Looking forward to that.

Hunter is the main love interest for Cassie and I can’t stress enough how much I dislike him. He has no respect for personal boundaries; he is constantly invading Cassie’s mouth without her permission. He is this dominant sexual person who needs to have Cassie bend his way. Hunter corners Cassie and forces himself on her because he believes that she secretly wants him (and half off the time she does). The thing is that Cassie is saying “No” and he takes it as “Yes” which for me is problematic because it is feeding the myth that “No means yes” when it comes to sex. Kentowski makes Cassie appear to be a sexually repressed person that needs to be force to admit that she wants sex because she won’t willingly admit she wants sex. That’s why Hunter plays the role that he does and why he invades Cassie’s personal bubble. For me, this couple is not one I root for because I dislike how Hunter treats Cassie but if you like dominant males then this relationship shouldn’t be a problem. It probably makes the book more exciting, I don’t know.

Besides Hunter, the book was well-written and it had a good story. It is a war between heaven and hell with hell playing a more dominant role in moving the story forward. Heaven only intervenes when it suits them which means at the end of the book lol. This novel dropped the world-building on the reader right at the start. It start off explaining the world we are entering and settles down for the entry of Cassie. Don’t be alarmed by how fast everything is explained, everything is not given away. There are still a few surprises left.

The world of Cassie is interesting. She is Guardian who protects people, Seekers are demons who want to kill Guardians, two powerful angels that have a love-betrayal story, and a secret council of Elder Guardians. The war between Heaven and Hell is different in this book than it is in other books. It is not about angels, fallen angels that are actually good or bad, or even nephlism. It is much more about new types of individuals fighting a war. Seekers were created in response to address a decrease in the souls in Hell. It is a new form of warfare that is still marred with angel blood and issues. The novel doesn’t have a philosophy or theology aspect to it so religion doesn’t appear in the book.

In the end, it is a good book. The world building is stronger than the characters. Cassie and Hunter have no sense of defining what personal boundaries are. I’m somewhat looking forward to the second book because this novel implies that Cassie will be taking a trip to Hell and I love knowing how authors describe Hell. It just happens that the Hunter might be a deterrent. Who knows? I’ll wait and see.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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59th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, First in a Series

Review: Awakening by Karice Bolton

Title: Awakening
Author: Karice Bolton
Series: The Watchers Trilogy
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: E-book
Source:  Amazon
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
This book was a free download from Amazon.

Blurb from Amazon:
Alone in snowy, remote Whistler village, Ana tries to build a new life since losing her parents. With a cozy condo, a sweet-faced bulldog and an evening job to leave the days free for the slopes, life slips into a great routine. If only she could shake the guilt for not remembering anything about her parents and banish the night terrors that haunt her every dream.

On a whim, Ana goes out with Athen, a guy she’s just met in the Grizzly Pub… The only problem is that she feels like she already knows him.

Within 48 hours of meeting Athen and his family, Ana’s world implodes. She falls for Athen quickly and before she knows it, a past life begins to resurface. As thrilling as the revelations appear at first, she fights against the chilling information that Athen is from the underworld. Soon she begins to struggle as her own supernatural gifts are slowly unveiled, and she realizes that the nightmares she’s been having might be premonitions and not dreams at all.

It is up to Ana to decipher between fact and fiction before it is too late, and her new love, Athen, follows in her same fate – one that is lost between two worlds.

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Random: Do not be deceived by the pretty cover. It is a trap.

The cover is lovely and that is about the only good thing I have to say about this book. It is a huge disappointment and I’m not sure if I should be proud that I finished the book or not.

Let’s talk about the main character, Ana. She is a Mary-Sue and that’s a nice term to call her because she has no depth to her at all. We start the story with Ana saying “ Oh, I would never do that” yet that is exactly what she does.  It makes Ana an unreliable narrator because she is not portraying herself accurately and as readers, we don’t know her enough to say this is out of character for her or not. Take for example, Athen following Ana to her apartment and asking her out for a date. Ana does not know his name, she did not tell him where she live and she thinks she should not go out with him yet she happily says “Yes.” Really? Stalker is screaming in my head yet she does not question him. HE knows where you live and you did not tell him that. Ana is not a character who is going to make the wisest decisions.

Her relationship with Athen is superficial and cannot be healthy. Her entire life revolves around him. He is the one making the decisions about when to have sex or where to go for vacation. Their relationship feels forced because he knows her but Ana does not remember him. He is pushing the relationship on her and Ana is just going along. Cyril and Arie are both making decisions for Ana and Ana is incapable of saying no; she just go wherever they want her to. It may have to do with Ana wanting a family since she has never had one but her new “family” keeps her in the dark about what their plans are. They do tell her is a nephilim and that’s it.

I will also take issue with the hiker incident. The hikers are lost in the woods and the fallen angels believe it has to do with the dark fallen angels (demons) yet they never really researched it. Throughout the novel, there is a constant fear of not knowing what happened to the missing hikers and when the family finds out, it is a let down. What happened is told, not shown and the family believes the hikers deserve what happened to them. That’s another issue, the novel is mostly told instead of being shown. I supposed that is bound to happen with a first person narrator but it was an issue.

In the end, I will not purchase the second book. If I find for free on Amazon, then I will downloaded because the cover is captivating. But if you like fallen angels, feel free to read it. The book has gotten great reviews but I am one of the few who did not like it. I didn’t even find the mythology of fallen angels interesting or the villains. I love villains but he did not make an appearance in this novel. It is just disappointing.

1 BB-Fly Away

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45th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, First in a Series, Why Buy the Cow?

Review: Wasteland by Lynn Rush

Title: Wasteland
Author: Lynn Rush
Series: Wasteland # 1
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source:  Bewitching Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
I received this novel free of charge from BB Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master’s order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his dark enslavement.

The only obstacle-Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.

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Random: The best part of this novel is how everything hits the reader from left field.

If you like twists and turns, then this book is for you. There are so many that make the story really interesting. Rush enjoys making the reader believe they know what is going on but in reality, we don’t.

David is a half-blood demon, half human who happens to a decent demon. He constantly battles his demonic side in order to live with himself and the actions he takes as a runner (bounty hunter) for Locien, a demon follower of Lucifer. David is an interesting because he is willing to sacrifice himself for whom he cares about.He really cares about Beka who happens to be a Guardian of humans. She is a not an angel but close enough to one because she is over four hundred years old. They fall in love with each other instantly (I strongly dislike this) but obstacles are thrown their way to make their unity as a couple tougher so that is a plus.

The added addition of Michael the Archangel was a welcome sight because it showed heaven’s involvement in the life of David. Even though David is a half-demon, heaven cared enough about him to allow him a way to break out of his hellish duties. He also ended up revealing crucial information that explains the natural attraction of David to Beka.

The world building does leave for a little improvement because the concept of Guardians is not really explained. Guardians are not angels but they protect humans. They are not human because Beka is over four hundred years old. They have a Queen and a King so Guardians have their own hierarchy but how they are connected to God is up for debate.

This novel did surprise me with how it handled the instant-love romance. It is different from the total devotion to each other even though we only met once that is so common. Within a few pages, David is in love with Beka and she is in love with him without even knowing each other. There was an instant bond; I believe in instant attraction but not instant love. The good thing is that Rush throws in obstacles that questions the validity of their love. It’s a very good thing because the obstacles gives them the opportunity to actually to get know each other. I can accept this and it makes their declarations of love believable.

Overall, it was a really decent novel to read about demons and heavenly guardians. The instant romance is not a hindrance to the novel but adds character to it. The twist and turns are amazing and keep the novel at an interesting level.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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43rd in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in a Series, E-book, Where are you reading?-Arizona

Review: Wandering Stars by Marlon Pierre-Antoine

Wandering StarsTitle: Wandering Stars
Author: Marlon Pierre-Antoine
Series: Wandering Stars # 1
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Angel
Source:Experience Tour
Format: E-book
Pub. Year Sep. 11, 2o11
Purchase: Only in Amazon
I received this book from The Experience Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Alice Valdez is a normal seventeen year old girl living a mundane post high school life that consists of work, sleep, hanging out, and more work – but it all changes when a chance encounter on the beach one night leads to a series of haunting dreams that bring her face to face with the most ancient evil the Universe has ever known. What do you do when the man you care for is none other than the Devil himself? Wandering Stars follows one girl’s journey into the arms of darkness and into Hell itself – all in the name of love.

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Thoughts to ponder on: Lucifer is interesting but he needs help choosing a soul mate.

Anything that has to do with the fall of Lucifer or Lucifer himself, I find intriguing. I suppose it has to do with seeing The Prophecy and having a crush on Viggo Mortensen and Eric Stolz. I really couldn’t pass this book up since it is a story about someone falling in love with Lucifer. I strongly wanted to read a story where Lucifer was a compelling character.

Let’s talk characters. I hated Alice who happens to be the protagonist. She is a very weak female in her world but is very brave to cross Hell to reach Lucas (Lucifer). Lucas is Lucifer and very beautiful; a sympathetic character truly. Evelyn is the Goth girl who happens to be Alice’s best friend. Leo is a linguist nerd who could have been developed more but I’m pretty certain that he is going to have a major role in the second book. Leo is definitely a character that I want to learn more about and see in action. Astaroth is a demon and I thought she was pretty awesome. There is nothing wrong with a demon with an attitude, after all, she is a demon. Overall, I really like most of the characters.

(This paragraph is the only negative thing, the rest of the book was positive)
As I said, I absolutely hated Alice as the main character. This is going to sound cruel but she reminded of Bella of Twilight. I happen to be a strong anti-Twilight individual so for me to use a Twilight reference, it’s low.  Sure, I didn’t like her because I couldn’t picture her but one particular scene cemented by view of her. In the car scene, Pierre-Antoine has Alice compares herself to the car. She was ordinary and plain just like the beat up car she owns before meeting Lucas. After meeting Lucas, she views herself as special. Alice has done what I absolutely hate in any protagonist; she has define herself by her significant other. Alice firmly believes that she has no value unless she in a relationship with a man, not just any man but it has to be Lucas. No one else. To make matters worse, Alice’s self-reflection reveals that she has always wanted something more than her ordinary life but she never went after it. Now, she doesn’t have to since being with Lucas provides that special feeling she so desire before.  Urgh, Alice kill me now. (End of negativity)

If we forget Alice is a part of the book (and I will in order to rate the book), it’s actually a pretty good book worthy of four stars. Pierre-Antoine’s description are right on the mark. We can visualize the world he has created. I love his description of Hell (Being Persephone, I have a fondness for it). He goes through the nine levels of Hell quite dramatically and added Greek elements to Hell. Charon, Cerberus (lovely puppy) and two of the four rivers of Hades, Acheron and Styx, are mentioned there. Another great scene was second ocean incident with Lucas and Alice. It was well-detailed and well-captured in terms of the emotions that Alice felt; fear and love.

The Hell aspect of Wandering Stars is amazing and one of the best parts of this book. Not only do we see the complexity of Hell with each level being assigned a particular sin (Thank you Dante) but there is a forest of forgetfulness where Alice is actually challenged. Alice going through Hell is what made her a strong character. It is hard to cross Hell. I still felt she was doing the journey for the wrong reasons but I’m not going to diminished this amazing feat she accomplished by successfully reaching Lucas at the heart of Hell.

The point of view where Lucas narrated the story are the chapters I enjoyed reading the most. There was a coldness in Lucas that was not apparent through Alice’s eyes. His tale has always been tragic but adding the three failed love stories just make Lucas a more sympathetic character. Not because the romance fizzled but because Lucas willingly let one go of one his conquests. That particular romance was bittersweet. If Lucas is being honest, it adds more dimension to his character because he isn’t just about taking God down by conquering the world, there is some compassion in him that didn’t allow him to use her. Lucas is a complex Lucifer.

It earns 4 butterflies because it is a good story. Pierre-Antoine hardly ever hits a snag when it comes to the imagery he is creating. The journey through Hell is quite magnificent. Lucas as Lucifer has more dimensions and complexity than his love interest, Alice. If Alice had just attempted to try to move on with her life, I would have given this book a 5. I’m not saying she had to succeed in moving on, she just had to try. Keyword: try.

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4 BB-Ready for capture

This doesn’t subtract from the rating but there are some issues with the Kindle format. Some paragraphs are broken off right in the middle of a sentence so it was awkward but it only happen three times.

4th book in the 150+ Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in a series, E-book, Cupcake War, Where are you reading?-Daytona Beach, Florida

Once again, I received this book free of charge from The Experience Tours in exchange for an honest review.