Saturday, November 30, 2013

Forbidden: Discover the Legend (Wolf Sirens Book #1)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-q1dfJNlIQ7k/UhVElmz3R3I/AAAAAAAARXk/opDSvXox908/s1600/15768848.jpgTitle: Forbidden: Discover the Legend
Author: Tina Smith
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Source: NetGalley
Age Group: Young Adult
Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥ 

Misunderstood seventeen year old Lila Crain unwillingly moves to the foreboding town of Shade, prepared to face her punishment - Shade High. But she can't begin to anticipate the life-altering events that lie in wait for her.

The dark and charismatic Reid has a wolfish grin and amber eyes that would make any girl blush and he has his sights set on the new girl in school.
Reid's stunning friends - including icy top dog Sam - invite Lila into their clique. Suspicious, yet flattered by their attention she answers the intriguing call like a moth to a flame.

Thrillingly introduced to the local nightlife by the enigmatic group, Lila finally feels like she belongs. But her newly found friendships threaten to turn sour when she unwittingly develops feelings for the leader's off-limits boyfriend, Sky.
Tensions rise further when a quirky local named Cresida warns Lila to stay away from the clique at all costs.

Undeterred, she is irresistibly drawn to uncover the truth behind their mysterious lifestyle.
Lila unwittingly starts off a chain of events that will forever alter fate for both hunter and hunted as she learns they have been waiting for her...

I still don´t really know what to say about this book. I don´t want to say I hated it, because that would be way to harsh, but I also can´t seem to make myself say I liked it either. Because I didn´t. Most of the time I forced myself to read on and that´s what I did. I got through it all and I´m glad it´s over.

Lila Crain is the new girl in town and in school. She is avoided by everyone but the popular clique that wants Lila to join its group. She adapts quickly, learning to love her new popularity and lifestyle. But then she finds out that the people she´s been hanging out with are werewolves and her life gets an all new turn as she slowly learns why the group bothered to hang out with her in the first place...

I really disliked Lila. Maybe not from the very first page, but after getting to know her better. She is an extremely annoying teenage girl with so many bad character traits. She is superficial, selfish and insensitive. In real life I would avoid her at all costs.
At first she is with Reid, also a member of the popular group. She is not in love with him, but for appearances sake she stays with him, not caring about his feelings. She is secretly in love with Sky, Sams´boyfriend who should obviously be off limits. When Lila touches Reid, she thinks of Sky. When she kisses Reid, she thinks of Sky and when she is actually having sex with Reid she thinks of Sky,too. You get where I´m going, right?
She uses Reid in such a selfish and unfeeling way that at some point I really came to hate Lila. She doesn´t deserve Reid...I don´t think Lila deserves any guy at all.

Then there is this thing were I actually didn´t know where this story was going. I felt like Lila never asked the right questions and just acted unnaturally. There is this scene when Lila is attacked by Lily in werewolf form. But she never asks why she was attacked. She never asks what the reasons were. She never really asks why she was invited into this special group and no one else. Surely she doesn´t think she has the looks for it? 
At some point in the book it says: "Lily was shot, but I was hit, too."  I mean, really? REALLY? Somebody DIED because of YOU and all you can think of is YOURSELF and YOUR feelings. I had never felt as disgruntled because of a scene before. Never.

Then the plot. The plot doesn´t really evolve until the last 100 pages or so. I was just waiting for this final development in Lila, because at some point in the beginning you begin to expect it. But it never comes until almost the end. If this was supposed to add some tension, well then it clearly didn´t work. I was bored most of the time.

I still gave 2 stars, because the last 100 pages or so were good. When Lila was finally beginning to show some spine and character and started to think beyond her unrealistic feelings for Sky that are close to an obsession. I feel like the next book could be an improvement, because the story developed in a certain direction that could promise to be quite interesting, but right now I don´t really want to find out for myself. This will probably be a series I will not pick up so quickly again. 

The Yearning Mermaid says: "If you are not too picky about female protagonists and enjoy a fairly entertaining book that keeps you occupied, then try it. Maybe you will like it more then I did..."
 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

Title: Fractured Light
Author: Rachel McClellan
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Source: NetGalley
Age Group: YA 
Overall: ♥♥♥♥


Llona Reese thought dealing with her parents' murder would be the hardest thing she'd have to overcome. But she was wrong. Being an Aura, a female gifted with the power of light, has given her incredible power, but when she realizes that her parents' killer is now after her, Llona must use her gift as a weapon--or suffer the consequences.

At first the novel Fractured Light reminded me somehow of the Iron series by Julie Kagawa that I never really managed to finish, but as the story progressed this feeling faded.
This is one of the best debut author novels I´ve  read this year, as it took me completely by surprise.

Llona Reese lives with her uncle Jake, due to her parents death. They had never stayed anywhere too long, but now Llona feels like settling down in a little town called Bountiful.
She is a social outcast by choice, too afraid to befriend anyone, because Llona has got a secret.
She is an aura, someone gifted with the power of light and hunted by dark creatures: the Vykens, who also killed her mother.
As she tries to deal with her mother´s murder and her father´s deadly accident, she meets Christian, a lovely boy who is just a little bit too overprotective. And then there is Llonas new math teacher, whom she just can´t seem to resist.
Soon Llona finds herself being hunted by the same Vyken who killed her mother and she realises: In her current state she may not be able to stay alive...

I always liked the stories in which the protagonists seem to have little power and slowly learn to unfold all their potential.  It´s interesting to follow Llonas development, both in matters of power and social life.
With each new page we get to know more about her and the world she lives in, grow with her, and discover together what it means to be an aura.

The relationship between Llona and Christian is full of tension. This relationship is even more suspenseful than the plot itself, without being too dominant. McClellan managed really well to keep plot and relationship balanced and that is by far the most important aspect in a novel for me. At times I found it quite frustrating that Christian seems to crush Llonas will to fight and to become stronger in order to defend herself. It felt not right.

Another point I have to criticize: I found it rather obvious who the Vyken was. Right from the start actually. I had the hope that there was some kind of wicked trick to it, but in the end my suspicions were right and there was nothing more to it, which was very disappointing.
The huge and wonderful cliffhanger at the end, however, makes me want more, so I´ll give Fractured light 4 out of 5 Hearts. Llona in a school full of auras?! Hell yeah, I´m on to that!

I especially enjoyed that the book deals with typical teeny problems, without being too childish about it. Of course teenagers make mistakes, but that surely doesn´t mean that they have to make every stupid mistake along the "growing-up-road". 
This book is aimed for young adults and I really think it offers a few really helpful advices. It deals with the death of beloved persons and how to get on with life afterwards. It deals with unrequited love and true friendship.

The Yearning Mermaid says: "A good read for YA fantasy-fans, who like to watch strong characters evolve into something even stronger!"


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Visions of Heat (Psy/Changeling Book #2) by Nalini Singh

http://www.rebeccagoings.com/images/visions.jpgTitle: Visions of Heat
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Source: Purchased
Age Group: Adult
Overall: ♥♥♥♥ 

Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous - aching need...exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.
Changeling Vaughn D'Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar's instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith's sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced - and keep her from Vaughn.


Nalini Singh is one my favourite authors. Nothing can change my mind on that. I absolutely adore her Psy/Changeling series, but of course I like every book in this series in a different way. Since Slave to Sensation is my one and only star, it´s only natural that the second book in the series doesn´t quite catch up to it. And that is okay, because even though I didn´t love Visions of Heat as much as Slave to Sensation I still enjoyed it quite a lot.

Faith Nightstar lives - due to her abilities - in an isolated area. She is the best foreseer in the world, but suddenly she starts getting dark visions, which is disturbing for a normal F-Psy. Those visions are signs of madness and the result of that is rehabilitation.
For me, Faith is a difficult character and at first I found it quite hard to identify with her. In the beginning she is so cold that as a reader I was repelled by her and her constant denial of feeling anything.  But as the story progresses she develops into this beautiful and warm woman that I liked. Not loved, but liked.

Changeling Vaughn D´Angelo feels something is up and starts observing Faith´s house in the middle of nowhere. He has a complicated past and a quiet and dangerous character. After reading Visions of Heat I still have the feeling that I don´t get Vaughn completely. To me he remains this mysterious changeling, who doesn´t open up to anyone, but his own woman. I guess this makes him special to many readers out there, because I´ve heard the second book in this installment is their favourite. I personally can´t really understand that, but I can accept it. Every person has different tastes.

I remember reading Visions of Heat right after finishing Slave to Sensation, which I think was a huge mistake. Those two books are so different that I remember feeling annoyed reading about Faiths and Vaughn's story. It was just so much different, because at some point it lacked this deep passion that I loved in the first novel so much.
I changed my mind about Visions of Heat when I reread the book again after some time had passed. I felt like I finally understood the motives and intentions of this strange couple.

I´m also always thrilled to read those short and rare chapters featuring Sascha and Lucas. Another central point why I love Singh´s work. She always keeps the reader updated on how the other characters develop that she focused on in previous books.

Also the conflict between Psy and Changeling gets more and more intense. I find it quite refreshing to get to know the Psy Council. Each member is a mystery and their secrets are dark and plenty. I always had a thing for the villain, and now there are so many!



The Yearning Mermaid says: "Psy/Changeling fans will be thrilled to read he second book in the series. Everyone else should read book #1 first."

See the review of Slave to Sensation 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Slave to Sensation (Psy/Changeling Book #1) by Nalini Singh

Title: Slave to Sensation
Author: Nalini Singh 
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Source: Purchased
Age Group: Adult 
Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥ 


In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation" - the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was...Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling woman. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation...


Slave to Sensation is one of my favourite - if not THE favourite - book in my shelf. I absolutely love this book and I guess I´ve read it 9 times already. I never grow tired of it!
I picked up Singhs´ series after reading that Jeaniene Frost is really fond of her work.  If you think Frosts´ work is amazing...then you should read THIS series. The Night Huntress series made me breathless, but Singh makes my heart skip a beat every time I just think about her wonderful characters and the unique world she created.

Sascha Duncan is a Psy, born into a race that forbids emotion, but she is flawed. She has to face the fact that she actually feels emotions and that those are not only dangerous for her, but may change her life forever.

Lucas Hunter is a changeling and very much capable of feeling and loving. When he meets Sascha he is intrigued and repelled at the same time, but soon he realises that there is more to this Psy than her outer,cold appearance. Will he be willing to sacrifice everything for this woman, even his own pack?

Lucas and Sascha are the first  couple which I loved in every situation. Lucas is a dream of a man and Sascha is the fitting woman. I´ve never felt so connected to a heroine before and I loved Sascha from the very beginning, which is quite rare for me. She is such a truly good person that you have no other chance but to love her, truly love her.

Even though their relationship is a central point in this novel, I found it really refreshing that the plot itself is in no way an empty shell, but intriguing, taking up a huge part. Sascha and Lucas have to find the merciless Psy-Killer that seems to have taken a liking to changeling women. In the end Sascha has to decide on which side she stands and has to make the ultimate sacrifice: either give up the man she loves, giving in to insanity and thus rehabilitation or embracing the strong feelings that are threatening to destroy her.

The Yearning Mermaid says "This is a must-read for every paranormal romance fan out there! There is no way around Singh´s work!"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Rising (The Painted Maidens Trilogy, Book 1) by Terra Harmony

http://www.arielavalon.com/wp-content/uploads/terra-harmony-the-rising-painted-maidens1.jpg
Title: The Rising
Author: Terra Harmony
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Source: Netgalley
Age Group: Young Adult
Overall: ♥♥♥♥

Author: Loribelle Hunt
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 74,000 words
Source: NetGalley
Age Group: Adult
Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥
- See more at: http://yearningmermaid.blogspot.de/#sthash.hJRKaSsY.dpuf
Author: Loribelle Hunt
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 74,000 words
Source: NetGalley
Age Group: Adult
Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥
- See more at: http://yearningmermaid.blogspot.de/#sthash.hJRKaSsY.dpuf

Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean — and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

 You can guess by the design of my blog that I´m totally obsessed with mermaids, so it´s only natural that I´m also totally into reading about mermaids, too. The beautiful cover made me request this title and thankfully Patchwork Press granted me access. By now I can say that this is an epic beginning to a new trilogy and one of the best and most entertaining books featuring mermaids I´ve read so far.

Serena is the typical common girl (with fins) who doesn´t really fit in. And maybe she even likes it - being an outsider. She loves spending her freetime in the archives reading books or venturing out into the deep exploring the changes in her environment.
I liked Serena from the start. She is a warm character with enough spite to make every reader love her. She sees the underwater world in a completely different perspective as her people and it´s refreshing. With Serena even a group of sharks is not dangerous, but lovely.

After reading the synopsis I expected a "mermaid falling in love with a werewolf"- story, but author Terra Harmony had other things in mind while writing this book. I was delighted to find out that there is more to this book than I first assumed. I don´t really want to give away much, because I think the story wouldn´t be as fun, but Serena finds love, that´s for sure.

The last 60 pages of this book are a grand finale and an exhilarating ride for the reader. I was left speechless after the strong ending that promises an even greater beginning to the next book in this trilogy.

Another character I came to love was King Merrick, whom I disliked at first so much. But with each page his intentions became more and more complex. He is a great character and an even more wonderful king, who loves his own people and protects them with everything he´s got. His sad past adds even more depths to him and thus makes him my secret star in this book.

 The Yearning Mermaid says: "If you love stories about mermaids, about the deep ocean, a sweet love story and an unexpected twist, then I recommend you to read this book."

Teasers
[...]this is the first real gift anyone has given her. And never has she received anything so beautiful, so meaningful, and so...personal. [...] Serena turns her hand and grasps, pulling Ronan into a full hug, for which she receives only a grunt in response [...] She feels Ronan´s hand move to the back of her head and stroke her hair "You´ll be just fine calfling. Just fine..."

 [...]A scream does not form; instead, a song does. It is a low, guttural moan, a note for Ervin.[...] Heads turn in Serena´s direction. She raises her pitch and adds a slow beat to her tempo. [...] She sucks air in through her gills and pushes it out of her mouth. Her lips round, adding a soft whistle to her harmony. This note promises retribution. She calls to the Undine still in the ocean and heads emerge from the deep blue water, answering her call.

 
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