January 11, 2012

Half-Blood Legion RULES!!!

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

Can I just say I am so very glad I finally read this freakin' book??!! Again thanks to the ladies over YA-Sisterhood blog and the Heroine Tourney I simply HAD to read Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout. The teasers ALONE had me drooling all over myself like a third rate invalid on crack. It was ridiculous! I was voting for Alex just to read POV snippets from a book I never read, it was that awesome!!

Miss Jennifer caresses us with an intriguing world of Greek mythology, but not the kind that induces snores from the back of History class. This is much hotter!

Our girl Alex was torn from her training three years ago by her mother for mysterious reasons. Alex never felt right to ask so they lived in the mortal world until the badies come for her and her mom. She finds herself quickly fighting to stay alive, and thanking the gods she still retained some of her Sentinel training. When all seems to be lost the Sentinels find her, and with them the hotter than hot Pure Blood, Aiden.

Once back on campus at the Covenant (to-do school for the children of the gods; Hematoi (Pures) and their lesser halves, half bloods) Alex is faced with her past. She needs to prove herself to her uncle, who is now running the show, so she can stay in school/training in order to become a Sentinel. This is problematic as Alex not only has a bit of a problem with authority but her mouth does not like to stay shut when it really should. Luckily she has the lovely Aiden, a Pure who has embraced the life of a Sentinel, who steps up to the plate and offers to get her into shape before school starts.

Not really sure what to think of this set up as Pures and Halfbloods did not stick up for each other…like ever..Alex is left with a million questions, but she trains anyway. Life gets complicated, however, as Alex learns soul crushing news about her mom, finds herself impossibly attracted to the ever patient Aiden, discovers more impossible news about the world she thought she knew, her own secrets her mother thought she could hide her from, and what her ‘family’ actually wants her around for.

The nearly incestuous world of the Pures and Halfbloods I found amusing, but this was a great read. I was totally sucked into Alex’s world. It was incredibly fast paced and by the time I was halfway through I could not put it down.

Alex is my hero. Her snarky attitude had me cracking up. She comes off as this super bad ass sort of chick with nothing to hide, but she is actually got this super soft middle she fights hard as nails to hide. She is very ‘dude-like’ in this way. Very much like male characters in other YA reads. She is spunky and fearless in a way you want to smack her silly, but I adore her.

The chemistry between her and Aiden is totally smokin’ and I cannot wait for more. He is way too patient for his own good, but it is so very attractive. He honestly believes in Alex and that is another great trait. Aiden would literally walk through fire for Alex, even if it were not his element and would actually cause him harm.

The politics of the Pure world were well thought out and I liked that Halfbloods either trained to become Sentinels or they led a zombie-like life of servitude. The Pures are top of the food chain and everything else is secondary fish guts. The Greek gods are not in the picture, but I have a feeling they will be making a long overdue appearance in the future. You cannot leave your spoiled children (Pures) to make messes of the world and not expect to have to intervene at some point… Sooooo very looking forward to Pure this spring!!!

Carrier of the Mark has elemental power!

Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

I have been itching to read Carrier of the Mark from newcomer Leigh Fallon for months now. I finally broke down and bought it the other day. Please don’t tell anyone I’m buying books again, my restriction has not officially been lifted. I stumbled across Miss Leigh via Twitter and then heard all the hub-bub with her break through Inkpop. The publisher had the first several chapters posted online as a free read, but that was not enough. I had to see more. 

Megan and her dad move Ireland where he got a job of a lifetime sort of offer. After Megan’s mom died they moved often when her dad started to get the itch. Now Megan finds herself in yet another new school, new town, and new friends to be made. She catches on quickly, but also finds the local boys to be rather captivating. Well, one in particular really; the mysterious Adam. 

The small town of Kinsale is full of crazy stories about Adam and his family, but Megan has a hard time putting them aside as just stories. Too many strange things happen when she is around Adam and his sister, Áine. The animals react to Áine and water has a mind of its own around Adam. Before long Megan is drawn into the mysterious Adam and learns the truth about his family’s mystery. Not only that, but she is an important part of it! Megan not only holds the Mark and is the forth element to join the DeRís family, but she is also a Carrier. 

Miss Leigh shows us a world of elemental magic ingrained in a Royal bloodline dating centuries. Those of the bloodline evoke their element early in life, but there are the chosen few who are led to their destiny. When the four elements are brought together, which has not happened in eons, the group becomes very powerful. Too powerful some would say. 

The Druid Order may not be trustworthy, the Fifth Prophecy looms over Megan’s head, members of the elusive hitmen squad called the Knox are closing in, and Megan is being pressured to evoke her element Air before the solstice. Unfortunately if she evokes she can very well lose Adam. And that is downright unacceptable! Adam frantically tries to find and answer in the Druid Scribes while Megan fights to control her element as it burns to break free. 

Carrier of the Mark was a wonderful read and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for Megan and Adam! The book was fast paced and I really did not get bored at all. There was a sort of rush feeling to some of it and I would have liked more detail in the story at times, but that’s me. Sometimes it just felt like Miss Leigh was trying to get so much into the story but not exceed a certain length.

The characters were wonderfully done and enjoyable. Megan is a sweetheart and Adam is total hotness incarnate. The connection between Megan and Adam seemed to get a little too intense too quickly though, but that could be because of the elemental mojo they have going on. I am certainly interested to see where it goes in future books...there will be future books right? Please?

Carrier of the Mark was not too much on the romance, which is nice sometimes. The romance was more sweet feeling to me than sexy hotness. Sometimes a girl wants a good cuddle… Don't get me wrong, I would totally love to be the recipient of some of those Adam kisses and caresses, but it was not overly done and very tasteful for a younger audience.

Kaylee can Scream for me any day!

I found myself in Target prowling the teen section and stumbled across Soul Screamers Vol 1. When I saw it I knew it had to be mine. See, thanks to the lovely ladies over at the YA-Sisterhood blog, and their awesome Heroine Tourney, I HAD to find out what the deal was with this Kaylee chick. She beat out my girl Aura Salvatore from the Shade series and I had to know what made her so awesome.

And so I did.

Soul Screamers Vol 1 is a 3-in-1 collection of My Soul to Lose, My Soul to Take and My Soul to Save. The first being a sort of short story/prequel thing and then the first couple books from the series. Convenient, yes, and I read the whole damned thing in like 3 days. Considering I work full time and have a wild and crazy 2 year old that is epic time. 

LOVE this series. Rachel Vincent totally pulled me into her world of bean sidhe (pronounced banshee) and the Netherworld. I can totally see why Kaylee was a favored heroine.

Kaylee Cavanaugh has panic attacks. Okay, not exactly panic attacks, but that’s what she calls them. Normal panic attacks don’t involve sickening dread, deafening screams that leave you hoarse, and the matter-of-fact knowledge that the person causing the panic attack is going to die.

Kaylee was raised by her uncle and his family after her mother passed when she was young and her father pulled a no-show dad number and took off to Ireland. Constantly in the shadow of her socialite cousin, Kaylee really didn’t register on many radars. That is until she discovers the truth behind her screams.

After an uncomfortable stint at the local psych ward Kaylee thinks she is pretty much crazy, or dying of a crazy brain cancer. Thanks to the hotness known as Nash Hudson (let me take a moment to get my hormones under control) she learns that she is not crazy, but part of a long line of  bean sidhes, a Gaelic group of folk that, when paired male and female, help souls cross over. The female holds the soul with her scream, or highly swoon worthy singing as heard by the male  bean sidhe, and the male directs the soul on where to go. Only problem is this sort of soul guiding really pisses off the resident reapers (as in the Grimm kind) who would much rather harvest the souls on their own.

In the prequel, My Soul to Lose, we see what happened at the mental hospital and why Kaylee is so determined to find a way to prove she is not crazy. It is heart wrenching to see the hurt and pain she went through there. To know her only family left her there to basically rot. Finally her uncle gets her out, but Kaylee is left with so many questions.

My Soul to Take kicks off about a year after the whole screaming episode that landed her in the hospital. Soon we are pulled into a world were girls are dying in mysterious ways and Kaylee is there bearing witness to nearly all of them. Her urge to scream for the souls nearly tears her apart. Her BFF Em is beside herself, but Nash comes to the rescue by calming Kaylee down. As a fellow  bean sidhe he has some special mojo at work. Together, Nash and Kaylee soon figure out there is a rogue reaper out there and they team up with Nash’s older, Tod, who just so happens to be a reaper-in-training to get to the bottom of things. Kaylee begins to tap into her abilities and Nash is there for her every step of the way. 

My Soul to Save takes us on another journey as Kaylee begins official  bean sidhe training with Nash’s mom. Nash and Kaylee are now attached at the hip and Kaylee’s dad has finally given in to attempt to be the dad he never was. Everything seems to be going well, but an old flame of Tod’s, a megawatt star called Addison Page, has apparently sold her soul to get the fortune and fame she has. The best part, she is destines to die and be reaped in just days. A mega media mogul has made a business of getting young stars to sell their soul for fortune and fame without really explaining the fine contractual print; their soul becomes essentially damned. The crew works tirelessly till the very last minute to save Addison and her little sister’s souls before it’s too late.

Miss Rachel has great style. The books were a wonderfully paced fast read, even if it clocked at 570 pages all together. The insight to the world of  bean sidhes, and the Gaelc background it came from, was fascinating. I have to say I am a HUGE sucker for anything Celtic/Gaelic. I am not certain how much was actually based on real Celtic folklore, but it was all very convincing.

Kaylee is adorable. She is good natured, but fierce in that ‘I’m not gonna take crap from you’ kind of way. She is loyal to her friends and family, but will not be a rug. It was great to see her kind of grow up with each book. She starts out thinking she is a sandwich shy of a picnic, but then finally embraces her lineage and her power.

Nash… Oh wow. I want a Nash of my very own. He is just as loyal as Kaylee and that totally shows in how he still stands by his brother. They are on different teams now, team  bean sidhe and team reaper, but he still obviously cares for Tod. Nash also believes in Kaylee…fiercely. There is just nothing in this world hotter than that.

The action was pretty much non-stop and I never felt like the story was too predictable. The swoon-worthy moments between Kaylee and Nash were awesomesauce and I often had to either take a deep steadying breath or fight the furious giggles festering in my belly. In the end I see why Kaylee's crew put up such a great fight for her. She is a wonderful heroine and has a great ‘I’m going to do the right thing even if it kills me’ attitude. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the series shapes up!