Book Review: Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: February 2011
Pages: 336
Source: e-book from Library
For: Fun
Series: Wicked Lovely, Book 5

*Spoilers for the first four books in the Wicked Lovely series are inevitable*
With Keenan missing, Aislinn is struggling to run the summer court by herself, all while longing for Seth. Donia is working to strengthen her already strong winter court, against the coming war with Bananach. With the dark court in turmoil and no one quite sure what is coming next, will Bananach defeat all and turn the world to chaos?

Things I Liked:
I can't seem to get away from this series.  I usually have mixed feelings about them, but I can't seem to give them up.  I'm glad I got to the last in this series, because the ending was surprising and satisfying.  Marr has a skill with words and descriptions that can paint an entire world so vividly.  I loved how things progressed to the point that we wonder how she will extricate her characters, and then she does it in surprising ways.  It is a smart, beautiful, complicated series. 

Things I Didn't Like:
I don't care much for several of the main characters, notably Keenan and Aislinn.  I was more interested in what happened to some of the minor characters.  Still, I found it satisfying, if not mind-blowing and amazing.  A really good faery series that has an interesting and unique faery world.

The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

s-factor: !@# 
plenty, some f-words

mrg-factor: XX 
mostly sensuality and off-page action

v-factor: ->-> 
quite a bit of gory fighting

Overall rating: *** 

What books can't you stay away from?

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Book Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: January 2012
Pages: 416
Source: Review copy from publisher
For: Review
Series: Unearthly Series, Book 2

*Spoilers for Unearthly are inevitable*
After failing at her purpose, Clara is unsure what to do with her life. Her whole life seemed to lead up to that event, but now she's left without any, well, purpose. Her boyfriend, Tucker, is confused as ever and her mom is just as enigmatic about what she should do now. But when Clara starts seeing another vision, she is about to discover just what is most important in life.

Things I Liked:
I enjoyed the emphasis this book placed on Clara's relationship with her family - her mom and her brother especially.  It was nice to see the focus where it should be during difficult times.  Clara's conflict between the two guys vying for her was pretty well portrayed - it was hard for her and she didn't want to make any quick and thoughtless decisions or be cruel to them (though, whether she succeeded in that is another story).  I was impressed with how Hand ended the book, doing what I thought was pretty gutsy, though it wasn't exactly what I wanted for Clara.

Things I Didn't Like:
Honestly, I got bored with the book.  Nothing much seems to happen, though there are some interesting twists that surprised me near the end.  Most of the book goes on and on about Clara struggling with feelings and Clara wanting to do things, but not doing them.  It was just so slow moving.  And it never really picked up momentum, despite having some surprises and a little action.  I was also disappointed in the direction the love triangle went, mostly because she ends up with the boy I like least, so it might be a personal preference.  Basically, I think this book just disappointed me, because I wanted so much more from it.  I guess I'll be interested in reading the next book, but not anxiously awaiting it.

Start with Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan James
Halflings by Heather Burch

s-factor: ! 
maybe one or two

mrg-factor: X 
a bit of heavy kissing

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

When you're disappointed by a sequel, do you still tend to read the next book anyway?

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Book Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication date: April 2008
Length: 11 hrs, 14 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun

Ruby is used to her mom disappearing for a while. It's just been her and her mom ever since her older sister Cora left and never looked back. But when her mom disappears permanently, Ruby finds herself sent to live with Cora and her husband. She isn't sure what to do with this new life; she's ready to leave it all behind, until she begins to understand just what she wants and what she might be able to do for the people around her.

Things I Liked:
I liked the story.  I like how Ruby just acts a certain way and believes certain things because of her past and how things have been in her life.  She doesn't trust people and she doesn't plan to stick around.  But as the book progresses, she learns and meets people and discovers there are things she wants to change, only she isn't sure how.  But she does change.  I think Dessen does this well, describing the way a person can change both their circumstances and the way they act.  The story has heart and you feel it plucking at your strings and you want to hug the characters and make it all better.  It's real and it's good.  And now I know why people like Sarah Dessen.  I listened to this one on my interminable commute and the narrator, Rebecca Soler, did a spanking good job portraying the so-don't-care teen voice - she was spot-on for Ruby.

Things I Didn't Like:
It moved rather slowly at times, so much that I almost gave up.  I wondered where it was heading, after she kind of gets in a new rut in her new life.  It seemed like there wasn't anywhere else for her to go.  But then it picked up again and I enjoyed it.  I'm sure I'll pick up another Dessen, though I'm generally not a fan of this kind of book.

Um, pretty much all Sarah Dessen books, from what I understand

s-factor: !@#$ 
plenty, though no f-bombs

mrg-factor: XX
a few incidents, nothing too descriptive

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

Is there a Sarah Dessen book I simply must read?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage
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