Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review: The Merworld Trilogy (#1-3)

This review covers three novels in the Merworld trilogy by B. Kristin McMichael: Water and Blood; Songs and Fins; and Scales and Legends.

Water and Blood is the first novel in the Merworld series. Whitney Mallory moved across the country from the Pacific Northwest to the sunny beaches of Florida to get a fresh start outside the paranormal world she grew up in. Losing her night human side in an attack that killed her parents, she was ready to be a normal day human. She wouldn't have to worry about drinking blood or fighting that happened often in that world. After one year of getting used to her new reality, Whitney discovers that maybe she was never meant to leave the night human world after all. Deciding to take swimming lessons, she is paired with high school hottie, Prince Sam as her friends called him. Sam was a perfectionist--he protected his family and friends as he swore he would as the guardian leader of the sirens, an outlawed mermaid race banned by the night human council and hunted if caught. He held jobs to help everyone survive while they hid in plain sight. He even taught swimming lessons. His life was perfect, at least until Whitney showed up in his town. Without thinking of the consequences, Sam makes a choice to follow his heart for a change. That choice changes everything. That one decision changes her life, and she's quickly thrown right back into the night human world she thought she was getting away from. The only question is: Can she survive going back?

Songs and Fins is the second novel in the Merworld series. Whitney's entire life changed the moment Sam changed her into a siren. She was part of a new night human race that she had not consented to but she had a lot of learning to do that was not like the skinwalker clan she was born into. More shockingly, Whitney was amazed to finally have a boyfriend. And the fact he was a lead singer in a rock band in his free time wasn’t bad, either. Too bad having a boyfriend didn’t mean she was going to see him, as his father’s punishment included separating them. Whitney is certain she can handle it, but sure enough, that isn’t the only wrench thrown into her new life. There’s a new threat in town, a scarier one than the backstabbing siren clan she’s part of now. They are night human hunters in town, and Whitney is now an outlawed night human breed. Could her luck get any better?

Scales and Legends is the third novel in the Merworld series. Whitney and Sam share a romantic bond that together got them through setbacks and triumphs. Now the siren are on the brink of war. Other mer clans have joined together to kill off the siren. Whitney has been through night human wars before, yet she’s nowhere near ready to deal with this one. It’s not just her life or the life of her mate on the line, either. Everyone she knows in the mer world is in jeopardy. But there’s one last hope: the siren must quickly come to depend solely on their newest member, Whitney. The only catch is she might not be a siren after all. Whitney was thrown into the mer world without her consent, but now she wants to stay. Her siren friends stuck on the mainland are in grave danger if they cannot be rescued in time. But she keeps running into the problem that she’s playing a game she doesn’t know all the rules to. As the only siren on the outside of the barrier surrounding their island, Whitney is the only chance to turn the balance for her clan. As the other clans gather to attack the siren, she just has to figure out how before it’s too late.

Kristen McMichael did it again! She has built a captivating world of day humans and night humans that is easy to grasp for young adult readers. I loved the protagonist -- Whitney was brave, caring, intelligent, and free-spirited. As Sam said best, her strong personal convictions to save and protect the innocent won me over. Whitney wasn't seeking leadership or titles yet she was exactly what the sirens needed in order to save the merworld. While the editing could be better, I believe this series ranks among the top mermaid series. I highly recommend that you first read the opening series, The Blue Eyes Trilogy, which describes in great detail this unique supernatural world. This series, and other previous series (Day Human Hunter and Skinwalker Witchling), have reoccurring cast members that appear in the Merworld Trilogy. In other words, read the Blue Eyes Trilogy first!! Stay tuned for my next review in McMichael's night human world, Night Human Hunter. . Click here to read the rest of this post...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: Midnight Jewel (The Glittering Court #2)

The Selection meets Reign in this dazzling trilogy of interwoven novels about three girls on a quest for freedom and true love from #1 internationally bestselling author Richelle Mead.

Midnight Jewel, by Richelle Mead, is the second installment in The Glittering Court series. Mirabel Vaina (henceforth Mira) is not like the other Glittering Court girls. She is a war refugee, cast out of her home country and thrust into another, where she has learned to fight against the many injustices around her. For some, the Glittering Court offers a chance at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. But for Mira, it’s simply a means to an end. She learns that her older brother, Lonzo, is a bondsman an ocean away. Seeking to reunite with her brother in the new world, she plans to earn off her marriage contract price, and finally be free.

Mira pitches herself as an asset to one of the passengers on board the ship: the sardonic and aloof Grant Elliot, whom she’s discovered is a spy for the prestigious McGraw Agency—and her ticket to buying her freedom. His cover blown, Grant has little choice but to take her on. Mira applies herself by day, learning the etiquette and customs that will help to earn her anonymity. By night, she dons a mask and slips into the city, fighting injustice and corruption on her own terms—and impressing Grant with her extraordinary abilities and insights into a brewing rebellion. But the rebellion isn’t all they’re fighting…

Neither of them can ignore the attraction burning between them—an attraction so powerful, it threatens to unravel everything Mira’s worked so hard for. With freedom finally within her grasp, can Mira risk it all for love?

I thought Adelaide and Cedric's romance was breathtaking. Midnight Jewel exceeded my expectations in every way. I loved the romantic relationship between MIrabel and Grant. A minor character in the first novel, Mirabel turned out to be a brave young woman with inner strength and an adventurous streak to fight injustice that comes her way. Grant, a undercover agent of Balanquan and Osfridian heritage, seeks to reclaim his citizenship and social status in the Balanquan Empire. He has enough Osfridian features to mingle among the colonists and spy for the McGraw Agency, an investigative crime unit of the Crown. Grant's secretive and cynical personality annoys Mirabel at first, she can't help how handsome and strong he looks. The two slowly come to realize their feelings for each other and together work to rescue their friends and loved ones. I will admit that Mirabel and Grant work well together as a team!

Although I wished Mead had provided some kind of map or pictures to illustrate the historical period of the series, I could haphazardly guess that the background mirrors life in the 18th century American colonies prior to the Revolutionary War. Cape Triumph, Adoria would be somewhere in the Middle colonies (present-day Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York). Osfrid would be Great Britain, Lorandy would be France, and the Balanquans would be similar to the Iroquois Federation. Sirminica, where Mirabel hails from, is somewhere in Southern Europe (Spain, Italy) or North Africa. Keep in mind this is my estimation of the plot so I could be wrong with my geography. Overall, I enjoyed this installment in the Glittering Court and cannot wait to hear the fiery, practical-minded Tasmin's point of view in the final installment!

Stay tuned for the third and final novel in the Glittering Court!
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Reiew: Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter #8)

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required - those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Archangel's Enigma is the eighth installment in the Guild Hunter novel series. This story focuses on Naasir, one of archangel Raphael's Seven, who have pledged loyalty to serve him. Naasir is unique in that he is neither a vampire nor human. He is an other--born out of an abominable experiment that combined different animal species without consent. His kind shouldn't exist - a human body with tiger-like features and a vampire's blood thirst. But Raphael and the angels found him and raised him in the Refuge, teaching him how to behave around people and angels despite his feral (animal) abilities. Several centuries later, Naasir feels that it's the right time to find his soulmate, whom he believes is hiding from him.

When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required - those more common to predatory animals than to man. Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets is fascinated by his nature - at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. Andromeda is the only grandchild of Charisemnon, ally of Lijuan, archangel of China. She fled the abuses and depravities of his court for the Refuge when barely more than a fledgling to pursue her dream of becoming a scholar. Her main area of study is the Ancients for the wisdom they can offer, and the study of mythological creatures because she is fascinated by them. It's her knowledge of the Ancients that causes Raphael to send Naasir to protect her while she searches for the Sleeping Ancient whom they believe Lijuan is also seeking. Lijuan is determined to exterminate anyone who is a threat to her rule of destruction.

As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it's too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. Andromeda has a big secret that she vowed not to tell anyone. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare...

Singh delivers another brilliant story from an underrated character that I had no idea would be so fascinating to hear in his own voice. Naasir is a chimera born out of an angelic experiment that defied the laws of nature. Although his Creator is deceased, Naasir is allowed to live because he had no choice in the matter. Over the centuries, Naasir has learned to control both his feral abilities around people though it is no easy feat. He thins like a man and like a tiger which presents an interesting case. Readers also learn that Naasir is a brilliant spymaster who can get in and out of dangerous situations. And for the first time in his life, he has learned what love feels like with Andromeda, who does not see him as a freak of nature but as a mysterious creature that excites her scholarly instincts. Andromeda will later reveal that she has the fighting skills to defend herself, which impresses Naasir even more so. I thought Janvier and Ashwini's romance was amazing, but Naasir and Andromeda take it to another level that I didn't think was possible. Singh continues to outdo herself in ways that I thought were impossible with this series. I highly recommend this novel.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Heart.
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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Review: Into the Fire (Night Prince #4)

In this explosive finale to Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince series, Vlad is in danger of losing his bride to an enemy whose powers might prove greater than the Prince of Vampires. In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.

Into the Night, by Jeaniene Frost, is the fourth and final novel in the Night Prince series. For nearly 600 years, Vlad Tepesh (famously known as Dracula but do not dare mention that name in his face) cared for nothing. Essentially, he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolish stayed away from him. However, falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. His enemies see his love as a weakness worthy to exploit. As a result, one adversary indeed has found a way to use Vlad's new bride against him in the most tormenting way possible.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires. While this spell backfired for the necromancer, it also means that Vlad cannot torture the man who tried to hurt his bride. Worse, Vlad has no idea where the necromancer is hiding. So Vlad and Leila seek the most unlikely guide (fans of the Night Huntress series with Cat and Bones will get a kick out of this character) to search for a way to break the spell. But another ancient enemy is upon them, capable of turning Vlad and Leila's closest friends against them and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

This novel concludes the NIght Prince series. As the previous novels mentioned, Vlad and Leila’s man mission is to find Mircea and break the bond that is between him and Leila. When either one is cut or inured, the other feels that pain too. Mircea has been nothing but a thorn in Leila and Vlad’s side and now the overprotective Vlad is determined to find a way to break the bond so that he can kill Mircea. The hunt kicks into full gear once they learned that Mircea has been kidnapped by an ancient cult of magic users. Vlad turns to Mencheres and--shocker--Ian! Much to his dismay, Vlad does not have a choice as his usual ruthlessness does not work in the magical realm. Ian! Much to Ian’s own dismay, his love for Mencheres has him doing his bidding. Unfortunately for Vlad, the trio run into unexpected guests (and tragedies) that makes the journey even more dangerous. It also doesn't help that Vlad continues to harbor secrets and do things without consulting Leila. Whatever Vlad does is always out of love for Leila Still, the humor and cameo appearances are the main highlights of this novel. However, I felt like Frost did not define any resolution between Vlad and Mircea. Besides the cliché fatherly talk, I wonder if Frost is saving this cliffhanger for a future story.

Stay tuned for the next likely series on more side characters in the Night Huntress Universe, especially Ian! He played a large role in this book, and I am thrilled he's finally going to get his own story! He's hard to ignore once he opens his mouth and spews his raunchy sense of humor. He does something drastic in pure Ian fashion and the consequences are dire. And we also get to see who will be starring alongside him in his book, a fact that is confirmed at the very end of the novel! Which only makes me more excited for Ian’s book, something I’ve been longing for ever since Jeaniene ventured to Mencheres' and Spade’s books! I also highly recommend the entire Night Huntress series, which has been covered previously on this blog, starting with the exciting first novel, Halfway to the Grave.
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