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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?

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Review: Kiss Me, I’m Irish by Bella Street

Title: Kiss Me, I’m Irish
Author: Bella Street
Series: Time For Love # 1
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Format: E-book
Source: Giveaway
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amz/ Smashwords/ B&N
I won a copy of this novel in a giveaway hosted by the author

n 1813, Emily Musgrave is heading to a convent for misbehavior. But it was due to loneliness, not rebellion. In modern-day Tennessee, Liam Jackson is playing his Dobro in seedy bars and it’s doing nothing for his music career–and even less for the dark places in his soul.
Pixie mischief can not only change timelines, it can change hearts. Because every girl needs a little magic in her life

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Random: I have no idea that choking on gum was possible.

This was my first time-travel romance novel. It was really sweet. A departure from the dark fantasy readings I usually do.

It was a lighthearted novel with some characters that drove me up a wall. Liam, especially, but he is a brooding musician (they tend to that). The novel throws in fantasy elements like pixies and time traveling but they feel secondary to the romance of the novel. The fantasy elements do change the lives of the character so they definitely contribute to the storyline and they fit really well with the contemporary feel of the novel.

Liam is seriously bipolar; his mood changes very often. Maybe bipolar is a strong word but  he is incapable of showing the right emotion in the right situation. He gets jealous when men flirt with Emily but turns around and accepts a number from a woman who is dressed “skankier” than Emily. He gets angry when Emily dresses up for her manager’s position but secretly thinks she is attractive. He loves her but wants her gone because she can do so much better than him. I have a slight problem with Liam’s treatment of Emily. He doesn’t like the “going out” outfits that Tinker dresses Emily. They are too suggestive. He prefers her in what I consider conservative or innocent clothing meaning not showing cleavage. It looks like he is trying to keep Emily’s outer beauty a secret from the world. Emily needs his critique of her clothing because she likes him so his opinions matter but he does make her feel self-conscious about the clothes she is wearing. That is never good but the good thing is that Emily does have a backbone and wears the clothing she wants to. She is not completely complacent. Of course not, any girl that runs away has to be strong.

Besides the trying to control the clothes, the relationship between Liam and Emily is well-developed. It goes at a realistic pace and there is enough drama and emotional connective scenes that would draw them together. (Plus, Emily does have a weakness for Irish men). This novel is really good at creating relationships at a realistic level. Tinker and Emily connect really well. It is through Tinker that Emily begins to adapt to the 21st Century and begins to feel more self-assured about herself. Tinker and Emily are really great friends who both gain something from their friendship.

I’m giving this novel 4.5 black butterflies due to Liam trying to control’s Emily’s clothes. It was a great novel on building relationships.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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36th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a Series, Self-published,Science Fiction, E-book, Where are you reading?-Tennessee

Wishlist Wednesday # 14

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: On The Fringe by Courtney King Walker

Blurb from Amazon:
Claire is struggling to overcome the murder of her childhood friend and secret crush, Daniel. Everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, but she’s still trying to cope. The fact that she finds herself alone and drowning on her 16th birthday isn’t helping.
Neither is thinking she sees Daniel’s face in murky water as she mysteriously resurfaces. But something happened during those four and a half minutes that will make her realize it was not just her imagination.
As Claire and Daniel try to grasp a possible reconnection, other grudge-holding beings have plans of their own. Now, the two of them have to decide if their fleeting relationship is worth the possibility of Claire being trapped on the fringe forever.
Beautifully told, On the Fringe intertwines fresh ideas about devotion, revenge, and the consequences that come with life and death.

I’m really loving the whole drowning and water imagery so the cover attracted me to the book. It does sound like something I could have read before, old storyline, but it could be interesting. I do love the reading the impossible romance between ghosts and the living.

Review: Vampire Knight Vol. 2 by Matsuri Hino

Title: Vampire Knight Vol. 2
Author: Matsuri Hino
Series: Vampire Knight # 2
Genre: Manga, Paranormal
Source: Personal purchase
Format: Paperback
Pub. Year: 2007
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At sunset, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, there to protect the Day Class from the Academy’s dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires.

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Thoughts to ponder on: Why is the act of feeding a vampire real blood consider forbidden?

In the second volume of Vampire Knight, things start to unraveled and the world Hino is building shows more complexities than before. We learn of a vampire hierachy that consists of five levels. Purebloods like Kaname at the the top, aristorcrats are second, third are common vampires, fourth are humans that have been turned into vampires and the most dreaded of all levels, Level E for end (extinction). Level E are that vampires that were once humans but have lost their sanity so they go on killing sprees. I think the hierachy is interesting because the vampires of the Night Class have a disdain for the human-turned-vampires being which makes me wonder where do vampires come from? And what is a true Pureblood? Since the manga implies that Purebloods are in short supply.

Of course, there is always tension between vampires and vampire hunters, especially when one comes into the school. Yagari Toga is a vampire hunter and the former master/teacher of Zero before Zero’s family was murdered. Remember, Zero is now a vampire, a reluctant one, but still a vampire. What Zero is causes a lot of tension for Yuki because Zero is rejecting the blood tablets that are supposed to keep his blood lust at bay. She ends up committing the “forbidden act” of giving Zero her blood. Now, Yuki is trying to protect Zero from going insane and at the same time, keep it a secret from Kaname.

Yeah, there wasn’t anything groundbreaking in the manga. The Vice President Ichijo had a birthday party and Zero and Yuki where invited. Only after they were attacked by a Level E vampire in the city. That was interesting because once again, Yuki was incapable of defending herself against a rogue vampire. She does not appear to be a fighter at all.

My favorite scene is actually the short little bonus story after the novel has ended. In this scene, Kain calls Kaname a “gang leader” and Aido replies with call Kaname a “supreme gang leader.” Kaneme overhears this and decides to place a water-filled bucket on top of Aido’s head (and I find it hilarious). Supreme gang leader, that’s right.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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20th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: Second in a Series, M/V/G Challenge

Review + Giveaway: All’s Fair in Vanities War by Elizabeth Marx

Title: All’s Fair in Vanities War
Author: Elizabeth Marx
Series: The Seer’s Seven Deadly Fairy Tales 1
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Format: E-book
Source: Author
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amazon/ B &N /Smashwords
I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Salem’s always had sinister secrets. No one comes to understand this better than a sixteen-year-old girl who dies on Halloween night and is reborn a Seer.

The Seer can’t imagine anything worse than being an invisible teenager with enormous black wings. Until she finds out she’s been sacrificed to watch over Locke’s new flame.

Locke Cavanaugh is a Druid and part of the Order, a clandestine organization entrusted with keeping its members cloaked in the Ordinary world. Physically scarred from the accident that took his girlfriend’s life, Locke is searching for the OtherWorldly magic that damaged him because only those without blemish can rule the Order. And once at the helm of the Order, he has every intention of finding those responsible for her death.

On the West Coast, Keleigh Flaherty witnesses her parents’ murder by beasts that should only exist in nightmares. She is whisked off to the safety of Salem, where she learns how potent and dangerous her concealed Vate talents are. Keleigh wants to be Ordinary, but when her mother reaches out from the OtherWorld, and implores her to find a forgotten relic she’ll have to use all her ExtraOrdinary powers to locate it.

As Locke and Keleigh join forces, they unravel the Order’s involvement in the witch hysteria and murmurs of a Celtic prophecy. While Locke’s affection for Keleigh blooms, The Seer is torn between her duty to protect Keleigh, and her desire to stop Locke from making the ultimate sacrifice in order to earn Keleigh’s love . . .

But if they don’t find the witches bottle before the ShiningOnes do, someone stalking Keleigh from the shadows will take her instead and plunge all worlds into chaos.

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Cover Love: Amazing inversion of dresses

I totally love this book even though I had to re-read certain scenes to understand what was going on. Especially in the beginning.  That being said, it was a really great read.

I usually do characters first because there is a necessity in knowing who drives the story forward but the most important thing about this novel (at least for me) was the mythology. Did I learn a lot about Celtic mythology and then some. One of the shocking factors for me was the use of the witch bottle. Witch bottles are created by people who want to drive away a witch that is afflicting them and it basically causes the witch pain until the spell is taken away but I had no idea that a witch bottle could be used as a love spell. What the hell, that is totally new to me. The witches bottle become a very important part of this novel. The Celtic mythology consisted of hellhounds, banshees, druids, seers, leprechaun, fairies, boggarts, Boudicca, and learning stories about the goddess Fir (resembles mother nature) and multiple other deities. Plus, we have three Wyrd Sisters ( Maiden, Mother, Crone). It was fascinating to read the stories and see the Gaelic names of mythological creatures. I love the inclusion of Cerunnos. Really funny situation about his horns being stolen.

Now let’s talk characters. At first, I was really annoyed with all the characters because they were all very concerned with physical appearances. The Seer who died and records events; when she dies, she is more concerned about throwing up on her dress than being dead. Although, she did admit she was vain enough to say that so she was okay. We have Keleigh who has this enchanted necklace that hides what I will is her true beauty. She promised her mother that she wouldn’t take it off ever and constantly shies away from her own beauty. There is Locke who is physically scarred by the accident that killed the Seer. He tries to get Keleigh to take off the necklace and she reminds him of his scars. There was so much emphasis in the first 20  pages about physical appearances that it irked me.

However, at the end of the day, it was interesting to see the characters move beyond this stage and watch them mature. The vanity of appearance play a real strong role in the final battle and is really insightful. What appears to be annoying characteristic is actually an in-depth look. The scars that Locke has are important for a reason.I really liked how the Seer eloquently put things in perspective as well as Madi (who is Keleigh’s best friend). Funniest character ever. The romance between Keleigh and Locke slowly developed. Keleigh was the one denying the attraction because she didn’t accept her ExtraOrdinary powers and just wanted to be Ordinary (without powers). All of a sudden she is drag into the world she has been vehemently trying to avoid. It forces her to see what she is, the daughter of a prophetess and someone who has power in her own right. The love triangle between Locke, Keleigh, and Lynx for me fell a little flat on Lynx’s side simply because Keleigh wasn’t really into him. She was constantly moving away from his touches even though they were in open relationship. It was much interesting to read the blossoming relationship between Locked and Keleigh.

Marx did an excellent job in creating a world that is infused with mythology. We have Ordinary, regular people without powers, and ExtraOrdinary, people with powers. Leylines run all over Salem which act power sources for Extraordinary. Colloquy of Elders that keeps the existence of the ExtraOrdinaries a secret. ShiningOnes which apparently as not as nice as their name sounds. The OtherWorld which is a parallel world where mythology’s creature live. I know, it seems like a lot to take in (and it is) but I swear, it only adds to the experience of reading the book. All the “societies” are distinct from each other so it’s not hard to keep track of.

In the end, I’m giving it 4.5 butterflies. Fantastic use of mythology and great world-building skills. The characters are funny and grow in the course of the book. The love triangle didn’t work for me but it was somewhat nice. I’m looking forward to reading the second books because there are some unanswered questions that need to be resolve. Plus, I want to see Keleigh come into full acceptance of her powers and see what she can do.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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15th book in 150+ Reading Challenge:
Also qualifies for: Self-published, E-book, YA Mythology, First in a Series, Cupcake War, Where are you reading?-Salem, Massachussets

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Giveaway Time: International and ends on Feb. 25 at 11:59 PM

Elizabeth has kindly offered to give away an e-book copy of this book to a lucky commenter.

Mandatory Entry: Like The Seer on Facebook
Extra Entries: Be a follower of this blog through e-mail, Twitter or Goodreads. If you are not a follower, that’s okay because an extra point can be garner by answering a simple question, who is your favorite goddess?

After you like the Seer on Facebook, leave a comment here with your Facebook name (this is the mandatory entry) and if you follow me, tell me which way. And answer the question if you want to.

Thank you Elizabeth for providing a copy of her book and for the giveaway.

Good luck to everyone! And don’t forget to enter my Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway as well.

Review: Vampire Knight Vol.1

Author: Matsuri Hino
Title: Vampire Knight
Series: Volume 1
Genre: Manga, Paranormal
Source: Personal Purchase
Format: Paperback
Pub. Year: 2007
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N

Book Blurb from Amazon:
Cross Adademy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy’s dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!

Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works alongside Zero to guard the Academy’s secret. Yuki believes that vampires and humans can coexist peacefully, but her partner has different ideas…

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What I will remember: Headmaster Cross, I love you for being funny

I’m a huge fan of vampires so I was easily captivated by this manga. I love the artwork, especially the buildings. They have so much details. The uniforms are easy on the eyes but I really like the artwork that accompanies the chapter divisions. Really pretty. That being said, the story line does raises a couple of questions for me. Such as why do vampires attend school where they are not biting anyone? That’s the only reason I could think of for vampires to be attending school. Unless they are really there to learn but learn what exactly.

The manga is surrounded by cliches but the book is entertaining. The basics consists of what the blurb mentioned. Day Class and Night Class attend the Academy. But more importantly, the vampires are all drop dead gorgeous looking. The Guardians are Yuki Cross (daughter of Headmaster Cross) and Zero (stepbrother to Yuki). They are supposed to keep the Day Class safe from the Night Class but their skills should be in question. Yuki, who is trained to do her job, has a hard time actually doing her job. She let Aido, a vampire, licked her bloody hand when she knows that vampires are not allowed to drink blood on campus.

And of course, we have the lovely love triangle between Kaname, Yuki, and Zero. I’m a supporter of Yuki and Kaname, not Zero. Kaname is apparently the supreme leader of the vampires in the academy and Zero is a descendant from a vampire slaying family. To add a cliche and a spoiler (I’m sorry),  Zero is slowly becoming a vampire, the one thing he detests with a passion (and he does have a reason). And both, Zero and Kaname, are in love with Yuki but won’t admit it to her. Plus, Yuki is a little naive when it comes to both of them.

I am giving this manga 4.5 butterflies because I like vampires and the book is entertaining (even if its full of cliches). The artwork is decent on the people but better on aesthetics. The main point of this volume is to introduce the characters and reveal the love triangle. I had laugh-out moments when I was reading such as when Headmaster Cross comes into the picture and Aido. They are both hilarious and steal the scenes they are in.

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4.5 BB-Ready for capture

OMG, isn't the dress amazing? I love it and the lovely, gothic ensemble will keep me coming back