Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

obsidian

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

This book review is going to be a bit shorter than the others because I didn’t love Obsidian as much as them. I cannot gush about something I do not love. Now, don’t get me wrong, Jennifer Armentrout is a very good writer, but this book was not my cup of tea /Joe, or whatever you want to say. I would probably give this book 3 out of 5 stars. You’re most likely wondering why. Well, I will start with fact number one: Daemon Black is one of those characters that you L-O-V-E to hate. Mmmhmm, that’s right, the hero of the story is a dirt-wad of annoying-ness. That is one of the reasons I didn’t like this book, all because of him. I normally read books because I fall in love with the hero, but alas, it is not to be in this book. I will, though, give Miss Armentrout credit for creating a good female character. Katy is kind of nerdy (in the “I love books” sense. So like you and me) and has a spunky side. I wasn’t irritated with her, and at times, she even made me laugh.  Number two on my list of dislikes was the language. I am sure it was a lot less than you get in one day at public school, but still it was still irritating. My third and finale complaint was that it left me a little bored. I thought that it could have used more realistic human fighting against human instead of aliens using super powers on each other. And, yes, I know this a book about aliens. I guess I am a traditionalist! Oh, well!

But I did like the fact that Obsidian had a little different kind of alien than the usual little green “man.” I don’t want spoil the story so I will leave what “they” are for you to read about. I also enjoyed Katy and Dee’s, Daemon’s sister, relationship. Dee was so cute and bubbly that it balanced out Katy’s sarcasm. (Ha, sounds like me, and I hadn’t even noticed!) Another interesting dynamic was between Daemon and Katy’s relationship. He likes her but is a jerk, and she likes him but can’t stand him either. It was obviously done better than I am explaining, but on to other matters! The last thing is that I loved to hate Daemon because of how mean he was to Katy, and I loved that I understood why he treated her so meanly. It takes a good author to do that. Although I understood where he was coming from, that doesn’t mean I liked what he did, but it definitely made more sense.

Oops! One last thing I want to say is that I am a fairly picky reader, which I am trying to be better about. Even if I may not have loved this book, you just might love it. If you like some sy-fi, romance, and a good-looking bad boy, this is the book for you! Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

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A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

a voice in the wind

“A Voice in the Wind” by Francine Rivers

5 out of 5 stars.

A Voice in the Wind is the first book in the Mark of the Lion trilogy. Now, I know that most of the books that I have put up on this blog are all pretty much rated in the fours and fives, but A Voice in the Wind is one of those amazing books that really is a living, breathing story that deserves far more than five stars can give. Francine Rivers created a novel that does not seem like it is just a piece of historical fiction, but that it was someone’s story. While reading A Voice in the Wind, I felt as if I was transported back to the early life of the Christian church within the hostile Roman Empire. In my opinion, not many authors can successfully take their readers into the past, even to the point where they feel as if they lived another life in that time—Francine did, though. In every aspect, Francine Rivers created an entirely new world for a reader to explore. The history woven throughout the book is accurate and descriptive without being too much, and the character development is absolutely phenomenal, depicting the cultural differences and similarities between our era and theirs. It is also interesting how Mrs. Rivers made you love and hate certain characters, whether it be because of their morals, or lack thereof, and how some of them treat other human beings as lower than themselves just because they had more money, or were free instead of slave. Francine Rivers really makes you wonder who you would be if you lived in the ancient world of the great and mighty Roman Empire, who or what would you be a slave to if you were there instead of them? Would you have been a slave to yourself because of your wants and desires? Would you have been a slave to others, or what you believed to be true, though it might have been false? Could there have been something that was good to be a slave to, and what would destroy you if you had been a slave to it? Can being a slave to the love of God make you freer than those who may be free physically, but a slave to their own desires? This masterfully crafted novel will have you thirsting for more, so much more.

Hadassah is a young girl, only fourteen or fifteen, when A Voice in the Wind commences. Her story begins during the Roman siege of Jerusalem; Hadassah and her family have traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem for the Jewish Passover, as they have each previous year. But unbeknownst to them, Jerusalem is on unstable ground with Rome, and within a short period after their arrival, Jerusalem is attacked by the infamous Roman legionnaires. Hadassah’s family is torn apart as the Roman siege wears on, taking member by member from the young and frightened Jewish girl. Hadassah’s father disappears, never to be seen or heard from again after he tries to talk to other Jews about Christ. Her mother and little sister die of starvation, and her older brother dies at the hands of a Roman legionnaire. She finds herself alone and feels forsaken by the God she thought was always supposed to be there; her life is spared, but she is delivered into the hands of the very thing that took her family from her: Rome. Hadassah is then bound as a slave and shipped straight into the heart of the city.

Marcus Valerian is the iconic bad boy. He takes what he wants from whomever he wants, whenever he desires to do so. Marcus has everything a person could ever want: wealth, the favor of man, beautiful women who are always vying for his attentions, a successful business, and good-looks. Marcus Valerian believes he has it all until one day, a plain, little Jewish girl arrives at Decimus Valerian’s villa in Rome. Marcus does not understand why his father would waste a single denarius on the pathetic Jew! But he soon realizes that Hadassah is different from any other woman he has ever met and will ever meet. Marcus is intrigued by her quiet spirit and faithful dedication as a slave to the Valerian household. What is it that the little Jewish girl has that Marcus does not? As the book progresses, Marcus Valerian feels that if he cannot have Hadassah, he will always be missing something in his nearly “complete” life. Little does Marcus know that the quality he finds so beautiful about her is the One who asks him to surrender the vain things he holds dear, and he will never yield!

Julia Valerian is the spoiled, and demanding younger sister of Marcus. Being the baby of the family and the only other surviving child of Decimus and Phoebe Valerian, she is spoiled rotten. What Julia wants, Julia gets, whether it be by her doting older brother or by her wealthy parents. When Julia’s mother, Phoebe, gives her an ugly Jewish maid named Hadassah, she is livid. She had wanted a pretty and smart girl for a maid, not an ugly Jewish slave! But much to Julia’s mother’s delight, Hadassah begins to grows on Julia, however much a slave can, and she is very patient with the demanding Roman girl. No one can do as much for her as Hadassah can, and the young Jewish girl pleases her mistress with wonderful, but “untrue,” stories from her homeland. But poor Hadassah is put to the test when Decimus Valerian decides to marry Julia off to a stable, but much older, man in the hopes that when she marries, Julia will become more tame. As expected, Julia despises the match. Eventually, she is forced into it, since Roman women have little freedom of choice, and Hadassah travels to the new villa with her mistress. Although her husband is kind, Julia hates him and her father for what they forced her into. She pushes the limits to get what she wants and in the process, inadvertently causes the death of her husband. To what lengths will Julia go to fulfill her own desires, even if it costs others’ their lives? And what about the Apollo-like gladiator, Atretes? Can she have him all to herself, too?

Atretes is a barbarian in Rome’s estimation, and is worth nothing more than an interesting show. After being captured by a Roman legion in his beloved Germania, Atretes is bound for the heart of the infamous Rome he has been fighting against. Ahhh, the irony of life is that he is now to become their plaything and is to fight for Roman entertainment! Atretes despises the disgusting Roman pigs, but has no control over his fate as a gladiator. He fights to survive and to “please” the Roman populace. The fierce German has won many fights as a gladiator and has survived much longer than his more experienced opponents, but he is haunted by the faces of the men he has slaughtered. After he becomes the favorite of the Roman crowd and angers a close friend of Domitian, son of the Emperor, Atretes is shipped off to Ephesus. But not before the beautiful and not-so-innocent sister of Marcus Valerian catches his eye. Can he and Julia have a future together? Or will they destroy one another?

Francine Rivers ends her book with a heart-wrenching final scene that will take your breath away and make you shed a few tears. I was awestruck by how beautifully this story was written. A Voice in the Wind is riveting from page one, and kept me entranced even beyond the last page. What is going to happen to Marcus? Where is Atretes going with his life? Will Julia ever change her ways? Read A Voice in the Wind and see for yourself how each person’s life unfolds before you.

P.S. Have An Echo in the Darkness close by you. Once you read A Voice in the Wind, you are really going to want to read its conclusion!

The Edge of Recall by Kristen Heitzmann.

the edge of recall kristan heitzmann

“The Edge of Recall” by Kristen Heitzmann

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

How I found out about this book was through my sister, Ashley, and I was surprised with how much I liked it. Kristen Heitzmann is one of those authors that their books can be either amazing or just okay. The Edge of Recall is one of the really good ones. It was surprisingly thrilling and interesting, being that it is a Christian novel. Now, I will say that I really do enjoy reading some Christian stories, but they can be a little too cheesy at times for my taste. That is not the case with The Edge of Recall. It kept me reading; reading with actual interest instead of just dutifully finishing another book.  Kristen Heitzmann did a great job of creating living, breathing people in her fantastically written story. She lets you see into her characters’ pasts with little conversations that really add to the plot. I felt connected, and if possible, that I was somehow inside and a part of the story.  Now, I am not going to ruin the plot line for you, so I will just give a quick description of what goes on in The Edge of Recall.

Tessa is a twenty-something landscape architect who, ever since her father’s disappearance, is obsessed with a particular structure: the labyrinth. After Tessa’s father abandoned her and her mother, Vanessa, she has been left with tormenting dreams of being trapped in a labyrinth with a sinister monster always lurking close behind her. But Tessa begins to wonder if the monster is really just in her dreams, or if it is someone hiding somewhere in the shadows of her memory. These dreams, though seemingly only nightmares, have left Tessa emotionally scared. Will she ever be able to overcome her monsters, real or not? Will she ever be able to recall what really happened to her father, or is she to be left forever in darkness?

Smith Chandler is a handsome Brit who went to Oxford with Tessa during their early college years together. He had been her friend then, even her idol, but they had a falling out for reasons that have always been a little hazy in his memory, though they be blatant in Tessa’s mind. But with their falling out having been over six years ago, Smith puts his loses aside and calls Tessa in for a job that requires her expertise. Smith Chandler gets way more than he bargained for when Tessa arrives. On top of Tessa’s unstable emotional state he has to deal with a hoodlum who is pulling pranks, which seem to become more and more sinister with each passing day. Is it really just a mischievous kid who wishes to spook Chandler and his team off of their building site, or have they awakened something that was better left undisturbed, a force that should have been remained buried deep in the earth? Can they face it and make it out alive, too?

As The Edge of Recall unfolds, you discover a relationship that is blooming between the unwilling Smith and Tessa. But with her hesitancy to enter into any kind of relationship, with a stalker, and a potential murderer on the loose, will they ever be able to let the past go and move into a better, brighter future? You will just have to read it yourself and find out.

Classic Literature!

 This is where I will post classic literature books that I have read or want to read. This isn’t really a review page, but I will sometimes put quick some-ups of my favorite pieces. I would love it if you commented or if you have recommendations as to which are the best. Thanks!!

This has to be one of my most favorite classic literature pieces! I give it 4 1/2 stars without batting an eyelash. It is written like poetry (in a good way), and is surprisingly “edgy” for the era in which it was produced. This book, I can say in all truth, is a REAL classic.

Pride and Prejudice is another of my favorites. I know, I’m generic! This is my favorite Austen novel, and one of my favorite classic literature books. I think it deserves 4 out of 5 stars.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen is another good piece of literature. It is an enjoyable read, but for me it went a lot slower than others. When they say that a movie is terrible compared to the book, they are lying with this particular story. When it comes to the 2008 BBC version, it makes the book waaay better. There are three one hour episodes in it, and they are just fantastic. I recommend reading the book and watching the movie! I give this Austen book 4 out of 5 stars.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is another pretty good piece of literature. It is the shortest of Jane Austen’s six novels and, I think, deserves nearly 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to those who are just beginning to read classic literature so they can get a hang of the language that was used during that period, and as to not get too bored! Just kidding!

 I have not yet finished Emma for myself, but I have heard from my older sister that Mr. Knightley’s proposal is wonderful. For that alone I give it 3 1/3 out of 5 stars! I will warn you that Emma is probably the driest of all Austen’s novels.

I think that Persuasion by Jane Austen is one of my least favorites. I didn’t like the main girl very much because she always let everyone run over her (I know that is what the story is all about), and I didn’t really get a chance to “get to know” the nice, real Captain Wentworth. I think I need to try reading this book again, because, maybe, I will like it more the second time around. I will say, though, it was the fastest to read next to Pride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South is another fantastic classic. I loved Thornton in the book as much as I did in the BBC show. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good piece of history as well as a pleasurable read. I give this fantastic book 4 out of 5 stars.

P.S. I haven’t finished it completely yet. Ooops!

I am going to be honest, I don’t remember much about what happened in A Tale of Two Cities. But if you are looking for a good historical read that involves the French Revolution, and you have an odd interest in crazy ladies who like to knit and kill people, then this will be a great book for you. 🙂 I would give it a 3 1/2 out of 5.

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

onyx

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4 out of 5 stars.

Wow, is all I can say! Onyx was a total surprise to me. Sure, I thought Obsidian was okay, but I wasn’t really amazed by it. Obsidian was just not “my” kind of book. But Onyx is a very different story.

Jennifer Armentrout did a fabulous job of turning my hatred of Daemon Black into a begrudging love. I did not want to like him, but Daemon changed so much that by the second half of the book I started to like the dirt-bag, who actually ended up not being such a dirt-bag after all. I also have to give Armentrout credit for adding a lot more excitement to Onyx. Jennifer infused the second half of this novel with a ton of crazy-awesomeness! Yes, I did get over my alien superpower aversion! With all this wonderful suspense and a tinge of romance , I felt like I was immersed in Onyx instead of just reading another book. I felt like I was a part of the story and was somehow connected with the characters. One thing I will say against Onyx is that Katy was kind of annoying. She was too whiny for my taste. I mean, she wasn’t that horribly bad,  but I did not like her in Onyx as much as I did in Obsidian.  She did not ruin the book for me, though, which is good news.

So, with Daemon being nice, Katy being bearable, a new love interest being introduced, and barely any bad language (thank the Lord!), I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. I don’t want to ruin the plot for you so I will give you a quick overview of what happens.

When you finish Obsidian, and are done reading about all the things that Daemon and his alien friends accomplished (like destroying part of a West Virginian forest), the DOD comes to town. Being watched is not a good thing for Katy right now since she has been changed from all her encounters with the aliens. Daemon and Katy soon find out that every moment of her life, since moving next door to the Blacks, has been recorded and documented. Apparently the DOD does not take well to humans coming close to their beloved aliens. After tons of exciting and dangerous things happen, Daemon and Katy discover something about his long dead brother, Dawson.  Is he really dead, or is he just in hiding, and if so, then hiding from what? With the DOD watching their every move, Katy and her friends have to be very careful about who they trust, and who finds out about their little secret. But when information about Katy gets into some unsavory hands, all hell breaks loose. Will Katy and Daemon live to discover a future together? What about Katy’s mom and her new boyfriend? Can she let her mom love someone other than her dad? And what the heck is going on with the DOD and Arum?

Onyx left me excited and eager for Opal, the next Lux novel. Darn it all, I have to wait until December before I can read the next book! Onyx deserves 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

pandemonium

“Pandemonium” by Lauren Oliver

5 out of 5 stars.

Pandemonium is the follow up to Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. Better than its predecessor, Pandemonium will capture its readers from page one until its suspenseful, and torturous ending. It deserves five out of five stars.

After finishing Delirium, upon my sister’s recommendation, I was excited to begin reading Pandemonium.
Delirium, in my opinion, was very well written and wonderfully thought out. I never felt that Lauren Oliver was dumbing me down, unlike other authors that try to make it easy to read since they are catering to a younger crowd. I felt that miss Oliver was “widening” my thought process. I have read a lot of teen fiction this past summer, and I noticed that authors really try too hard to simplify their writing style just so young adults won’t feel challenged to figure out what is going on, because people quit things when it they aren’t easy to pick up. But I never felt as if Lauren Oliver was just trying to sell a book and make money. She writes quality books, and I feel the quality whenever I read one of her books.

So, I enjoyed Delirium, very pleased with the writing and the story behind the society. I mean, a place where love is illegal is a very interesting concept to imagine and execute. And wow, Lauren Oliver really executed it magnificently.

I normally dislike the main female character, but I actually enjoyed Lena, and being in her head didn’t drive me crazy. I understood why she would feel that “no love” was a good thing. It was what she had been made to believe, especially with her Dad dying  and her Mom being “infected” with the disease that caused all the evil that exists in the world. She knew no better than to believe those who ran her life. But that all changes when she meets the mysterious dark-haired boy named Alex, a boy from the Wildes. With the help of Alex, Lena learns that love isn’t what the government says it is, but sees for herself, how beautiful it can truly be. Delirium ends quite wrenchingly, pulling at the heartstrings of its readers. It left me shocked and looking forward to the next installment.

Jumping over the fence, and running injured into the Wildes is where Delirium leaves its readers waiting for the next book. This is where Pandemonium begins.

I felt that Pandemonium is actually under-loved by Lauren Oliver fans. I thought that it was absolutely fantastic! It was a page turner to the third degree. I couldn’t put it down, and before even finishing it, I bought it online so I could have my own copy! Just so you know, I don’t buy books unless I LOVE, LOVE them. I didn’t even have to finish Pandemonium to know that I loved every single page. It was exciting, fast paced, and I did not feel like I was just reading another version of Delirium. I knew the two were connected, but in my opinion, it could stand very well on its own. Just a little back ground and Pandemonium could be a standalone novel.

I am going to be honest, though, one of the reasons I loved this book so much was because of Julian. He was a fantastic male character. (And it was not just because he was blonde and tall. But that helped some, too. I know I have a problem!)  A lot of people think that Julian was too naive, but I thought he had more depth than that. Yes, he was innocent, but I think that added to his appeal. I felt (my sister pointed this out and I totally agree.) that Alex had been experienced, as in “he had already done what he did with Lena before with someone else.” It didn’t feel sincere or special to me, like he knew exactly what to do to sway Lena, and had been waiting for the right opportunity to have her. Don’t get me wrong, I thought Alex was a nice guy but he was not my cup of tea. Julian just happen to be my favorite kind. With Julian it was completely natural, I felt. They hadn’t really seen each other before. He didn’t know Lena was uncured and from the Wildes, and she had certainly not wanted to like this wonderful guy. I also felt that Julian really grew as the book went along. He found out about her, was angry at first, but decided against everything he had been taught that maybe love wasn’t a disease like everyone had said. He chose to believe and fallow Lena into the unknown.

Nearing the end of Pandemonium I was near tears. It was almost over and some horribly unexpected things happened to Lena and Julian!! How could Lauren Oliver do something to tear apart Lena and Julian who had just begun a sweet, beautiful relationship together? No!!! I was on my toes the last forty pages, trying not to panic and hyperventilate. I can’t pass out! I have to finish!! Finally some good things happen, ironing out some problematic circumstances. But the dang last page through me for a loop that I had hoped to avoid, but no, it looms there still until Requiem comes out in 2013. Nearly a year I must wait to find out what happen to Julian, to Lena! But gosh, it is so worth it. Pandemonium has to be one of my most favorite books.