Mini Reviews

Fury's Fire by Lisa Papademitriou

At the end of Siren's Storm, the Sirens were defeated, and now the town of Walfang is once again a peaceful beach community.Or is it? Gretchen and Will are still haunted by the memories of the night the Sirens were destroyed—Gretchen because she can't remember what happened and Will because he doesn't know how to tell Gretchen what he saw. He doesn't even understand what he saw, but he does know now that Gretchen is more than what she seems, more than a human girl. And at the same time, he is more in love with her than ever.Gretchen knows there's something wrong, too. She feels like an alien in her own body, but she doesn't know why. And she feels a presence stalking her at every turn. Have the Sirens returned to Walfang? Or has some other force come to claim her?

The first book in the series was pretty good, so I wasn't expecting anything special out of this one. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised because Fury's Fire exceeded my expectations. The character development was up to par and the plot was even more intense than in Siren's Storm. I really do enjoy when authors write from the boy's point of view. Part of it may be my fascination as a teen girl (because we always want to know how guys think!) but the other part is just because that's how the book works.In the last book, Will was still dealing with his depression and grief over his brother's death. At the end of the last book, Will was finally accepting his brother's death and the role that the strange girl he saw may have had to do with it. What I also thought refreshing about this book was that it wasn't a paranormal romance. Will was actually falling in love with his best friend of years but it wasn't focused on that. It was actually focused on the plot and character development like any book should be and I respected the author for that.I absolutely loved this book! I wasn't expecting to fall in love with it as much as I did. I really loved how the story got deeper and deeper and twisted into the mythology. The character development - like in the first book - was my favorite part of the book and I highly recommend it to anybody who enjoys stories with a lot of mythology, siren books, and character development.

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

Of Poseidon was definitely better than I was expecting as well. I went through spurts with this one: at first, I read a few pages and didn't enjoy it, but it may have just been my mood at the time because when I picked it up, I devoured it. There were a few things that I didn't really enjoy but nothing that annoyed me enough to point it out. I really loved the mood to it all and I was not expecting the twists and curveballs that Anna Banks would throw at us!Emma was a memorable character. She was normal and just like any average girl but there was a spark to her that made her stand out. She had a slightly quirky, loyal personality that I really enjoyed and she was tender. The other characters in the novel were a bit usual - the sister who doesn't like her, the love interest, the friend, etc,. but Emma made up for them. They were okay, but nothing special.The dynamic of the mermaid story in this book was very well explained. I didn't lose my place once or have to stop because I was confused. It was clearly explained throughout the book and provided a clean foundation to build more on and go more in-depth and detailed on everything. I hate being confused, so Of Poseidon was fresh and relaxing in that aspect.Judging by my first impression of the book compared to when I finally read it, this could be one of those books that you either love or don't enjoy. It's a used storyline but the twists and backstory make the book a good read.

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She's survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn't who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

I went through the same reaction that I did with Of Poseidon with Struck. I picked it up one day and quickly got tired with the dystopian world. I picked it up a few days later and forced myself through the rocky beginning and ended up really enjoying it. Mia is an interesting character to read about. She has lightning scars everywhere because she is a living lightning rod. I haven't ever seen this idea before and the way that the book combined intrigue and mystery based on religion with a dystopian world was phenomenal.The thing that I find most memorable about this book is the story itself. It almost reminds me of Harbinger and Faye and Mia are extremely alike. Also, both of them remind me of Janelle from Unraveling. They're strong and fierce, which are two traits that I love to see in a protagonist even if they are kind of crazy.The worldbuilding was fascinating. Jennifer Bosworth uses frightening imagery and chilling new developments to take her story to the next level and by the end of the book, I could not put it down. I really enjoyed the cult aspects to it all and in a strange way, it reminded me of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, with a heightened sense of danger because of the paranormal elements.While it took me a few tries to get into it because the beginning wasn't my personal style, I can see it appealing to a variety of readers. The intensity and structure were my favorite parts and by the end, I couldn't tear my eyes away.

Endure by Carrie Jones

It’s all-out war (and no-holds-barred romance) in the climactic conclusion to Carrie Jones’s bestselling series.Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .Unexpected turns, surprising revelations, and one utterly satisfying romantic finale make Endure a thrilling end to this series of bestsellers.

The Need series has always been one of the series that I reread over and over. Carrie Jones's evocative language and amusing one-liners mixed with constant danger and pixies? I couldn't start reading fast enough. One of the things about Endure that immediately stuck out to me was that you definitely need to reread the series before you can read Endure because if you don't, you will have forgotten a lot of details that are imperative to the plot. I had to put Endure down to go reread the series and enjoyed catching up with my favorite characters.Zara has come a long way in this series and I'll be missing characters like Devyn (who unfortunately was hardly present during this book), Issie, Nick, Astley, and others. The only complaint I had was that the romance never really came to a conclusion. There were several things that I wanted to have been fleshed out a little more. I felt like this book was more focused on Zara and her reaction to the end of the world than as of with all of the characters as a whole. There were a few flaws with the book, but the sweeping tone and climactic ending satisfied me in the end and left me wishing that it had never ended.It's always bittersweet to me to read the final book in one of my favorite series and Endure surpassed all of my expectations, which were extremely high. I fell in love all over again with the lush imagery and action that left me on the edge of my seat.Of course, I was absolutely bawling at the end. A stunning conclusion to an engaging series.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Wow. 2012 seems to be the year for strong heroines. Ismae seemed like she would be timid and frightened by things but she claimed her own future and was a character that I rooted for no matter what she did or encountered. One thing that I always enjoy in books like this (like what Lauren Myracle does in her The Winnie Years series, which coincidentally have basically been the guide for me throughout the past three years, but that's another story) is when it starts out with the character around my age. The book immediately plunged me into the vision of a frail and terrified girl about to be married.Then we meet another Ismae - a stronger version - who has been shaped based by what the convent tells her. She's fearsome with weapons and poisons, a skilled assassin and a talented spy. I loved the nature of Ismae and how she was vulnerable and invincible all at once.Robin LaFevers takes risks throughout this book. She isn't afraid to make things blunt when she needs to because frankly, her land was the kind of world where many things are simply accepted. It made me respect her and her writing and I commend her because most of those risks paid off in my mind.What I loved the most was the atmosphere. The entire novel was dripping with history and backstory; I positively loved it. I am a definite fan of lavish description and rich settings and time periods. I am absolutely in love with the physical setting of this book and the emotional highs that it took me through. Romance, betrayal, and loyalty all play a role in this extravagant first installment in an exciting new series.UPDATE: I also saw a lot of press for Grave Mercy in Girl's Life magazine! I love the ad...it's gorgeous! If you are a subscriber, you should definitely check out all the books that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was promoting!

Enthralled by Various Authors

"Enthralled" is a collection of 14 original teen paranormal short stories from some of today's bestselling YA talent, united with the common theme of road trips.Contents:Introduction: by Melissa Marr & Kelley ArmstrongGiovanni’s Farewell: by Claudia GrayScenic Route: by Carrie RyanRed Run: by Kami GarciaThings About Love: by Jackson PearceNiederwald: by Rachel VincentMerely Mortal: by Melissa MarrFacing Facts: by Kelley ArmstrongLet’s Get this Undead Show on the Road: by Sarah Rees BrennanBridge: by Jeri Smith-ReadySkin Contact: by Kimberly DertingLeaving: by Ally CondieAt The Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show: by Jessica VerdayIV League: by Margaret StohlGargouille: by Mary E. PearsonThe Third Kind: by Jennifer Lynn BarnesAutomatic: by Rachel Caine

What I found nice about Enthralled was that I didn't have to read it at once. Being a collection of short stories, it was the type of book that I could just take slowly. I ended up reading about a story per night before bed and then reading whichever book I was throwing myself into wholeheartedly after that. Enthralled created many addictive stories and spin-offs from worlds that I was already familiar through. There wasn't even a story that I didn't like, although I did have many favorites. The one that immediately comes to mind was Rachel Caine's "Automatic", which played off of her Morganville Vampires series.It's hard to find a balance between everything in a short story. Having likable, somewhat developed characters and an enticing storyline is tough when you have so few pages. I wasn't expecting as much from it as I should have because it turned out to be a fun read.I thought that the writing styles would end up blurring together but they were each very distinctive and it was interesting how authors branched out more with each short story.  I really enjoyed the book even though it took me a while to finish it. The intoxicating blend of writing styles and intriguing stories were wonderful to read and I discovered many authors whose books I will definitely be reading after reading their short stories.I hope you enjoyed! Have you read any of these? Let me know what you thought in the comments!