Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bloodmark (Bloodmark Saga #1) by Aurora Whittet

On the first page, we learn that Ashling is part wolf, when she asks to take a one hour run instead of taking a three hour drive.
Just the thought of shifting to my wolf form made my pulse quicken with anticipation. It had been weeks since my bother, Mund, had visited and we could run free. I miss my red fur and four feet. 
We also learn right away that Ashling desparately wants to be part of a pack and has never left her home, the cliffs, and has never been around anyone except her mother and her brother(s).
I felt a hole inside myself where my pack should have been. I was certain Father was going to brand me with the Broro Bloodmark and accept me into the pack. I should have been branded as a baby, but he had refused. I still didn't know why. Without his Bloodmark on the back of my neck, I had no lineage and no family, no past, no future. 
Until the events in the book, she has only seen her father a handful of times and her other brothers even less. She grew up with only her mother and monthly visits from Mund.

In this story, werewolfs were created to protect humans. They were meant to watch over them.
Human blood smelled all the sweeter to us - a temptation we had to learn to overcome. Sometimes I wondered if it was all part of Old Mother's plan, the temptation was part of the lesson to love and protect something that you desperately desire to possess. I'm not sure how I feel about Ashling and Grey professing their love for each other after 2 or 3 days of meeting. I am getting pretty tired of the whole insta-love trend in YA books!
I like how Ashling related to the humans and took her responsibility to protect them seriously.
The nearby village was mostly Christians, but they still honored the old traditions. What they didn't realize was we lived them. We were the characters of their legends.
I was a little apprehensive about this book. Yes, I liked twilight when it first came out, but that is the extent of my werewolf/vampire reading...and (full-disclosure) I couldn't even make myself finish the last book...and I only saw the first movie...

I'm usually just not into the whole werewolf thing, but maybe it was the vampires put me off of them, because this book really surprised me! It started a little slow, and I remained doubtful, but when it started picking up, after the first couple of chapters, I was hooked!

I did have issues with a couple of things that YA authors can't seem to get away from.
  1. When the main female character is in mortal danger, and should be focusing on how to stay alive and save themselves, they are instead, thinking about kissing Mr. Main Character. 
  2. Also, there were a lot of little things that not only the love-struck heroine, but also, the older, wiser, more mature males overlooked that at this point (60% in), I believe will end up being big parts of the story (most likely its ending). Such obvious things could have been discussed and dealt with as they were revealed and it would have made the characters seem smarter and less invested in only their emotions. While I pretty much expected Ashling to overlook things like this, as almost all YA heroines do in their love-induced stupor, even Baron and overprotective bro, Mund, overlook things that ended up being super important to the story. 
I also do not like how careless she was at times, and when that carelessness inevitabely got her in trouble, she gave up way too easily.

Despite the fact that the book gives an explanation for the instalove in their case, I really wish YA books would steer away from it altogether.

However, I was impressed with this book and it definitely surpassed my expectations! I would definitely recommend it and can't wait to see how the story continues!

I received this book free from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 Link to my GoodReads review

Thursday, January 14, 2016

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

I requested a previous version of Nirvana through NetGalley. Sometime after reading my review, which is posted on GoodReads only, as this was during my Pre-Blog era (PB), I received an email from the publisher asking if I would be interested in reading a revised copy of the book. They specified that there were changes made per reader reviews. So, since the previous version I read was pretty good, and I love when authors really listen to what their readers have to say, I accepted a new (and hopefully improved) copy of Nirvana.

HOLY CRAP! From the very first page, I could tell that the author had made significant changes to the book, and reading this version would likely be a much different experience than reading the first. This pleased me greatly, as I was unsure that I wanted to reread Nirvana again with only minor changes so soon.

I am much more fond of the playful way that Andrew approached Kenders in the previous version. I like that he had to work for it! From an early point in the book, I like the format of the previous version, as well. Here, all she says is, "I think he might have been a fan. He was actually kind of cute... My buddy Serge, who was visiting, watched us with a cautious eye, so I just traded numbers to hook up later.: while this may contribute to later changes, I still really liked the way she was standoff-ish at first, making him work for her attention.

Immediately after pointing out that change, I discover that Larissa's band becomes famous overnight, after Andrew teams up with her band and incites a protest. However, I still think that the banter from the previous way they met could be included seamlessly with this version. It made me like both of them immediately.

At some points in the previous version, the virtual reality concept was kind of confusing. This verious made it much clearer and more believable. Before, it seemed like the virtual reality was something people did alone to alleviate their depression from their sad lives.

From the get-go, Nirvana has a different feeling from the rationed-out hours (minutes) of fantasty to forget about the sad realities of life.

I like Kenders and Andrew's relationship better this go-round. I like how they balance each other out. It seemed like in the last version, we didn't learn a lot about their relationship. Instead, Kenders just whined a lot.
"Andrew and I are similar that way. We're music and science. It's creation and invention; writing a melody or an equation; conceiving new lyrics or a theory."
I don't recall the previous version giving Kenders' age, but I did not expect her to be 17! But school must be different, or Kenders is a genius and went to college super early.
"Way back in high school, (mom) already objected (to her music)..."
"She forgave me for dumping my scholarships, but I was 14..."
I know that this book has a YA feel, but from the first book, I really thought that Kenders was in her early 20's.

The basic premise of this version is the same, but the execution, overall, is much better! I think Nirvana was better represented in this revision.

Overall, well done on the revision! I enjoyed reading this version of the book more than I did the first time, and it was a much different experience, not at all like re-reading the same story.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book in the Nirvana series!