Saturday, September 17, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Darkest Mercy Review

Title: Darkest Mercy
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Fantasy, Faerie, Immortality, Romance, Death, & War
Pages: 327
Plot: (From the Dust Jacket)
     "The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifies the deaths of powerful fey.
     Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth.  Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war.  Donia longs for fiery passion even as she cooly readies the Winter Court for the battle.  And Seth the sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
     Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in final conflict, some will win... and some will lose everything.
     The trilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless."

     As the final conclusion, Darkest Mercy was absolutely astonishing.  I couldn't put it down, it was as truly enchanting and utterly ensnaring.  I found the final edition to be bittersweet as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from start to finish but I'm left disappointed that it is over.  Not that it didn't end well because I thought it ended perfectly, I'm distressed saying goodbye to all the characters that I have come to love...even if I wasn't fond of them in the beginning.
     What Melissa Marr captured in this series was truly masterful; the world created in the Wicked Lovely series is one that truly stands on its own.  I couldn't even fathom how Melissa Marr created a world of fey that is so detailed. From her faerie courts, court laws, court workings, the characters (that were so well rounded), to the threading of the plot line...just brilliant! 
      Marr's exceptional writing habits form a mesmerizing tale that allow you to step inside each character and drowned in their lust, wallow in their sorrows, and yearn for peace and balance within their courts.  With hopes that true love can conquer all, whether in the realm of faerie or in the world of mortals, you see strong characters pressing through their doubts to fight for what they believe in.  Throughout the entire series each book was narrated from one or two characters view points, the threads woven from each edition were left to collide together in Darkest Mercy, which held numerous character views that was insightful and conclusive.  Since you had the opportunity to connect with the entirety of the regent faerie roles in the series, it was justifiable that the final novel held the close from all characters.  Keenan held me in awe and shock as he developed and understood his needed sacrifices.  Aislinn lost her naivety and evolved into a fierce and bold queen.  Donia continued to hold her own standing as a logical regent and held to her word with allies to rise against war.  Seth was as always preserving and supportive.   Niall was as unforgiving and ruthless but succeeded in overcoming his madness to fight alongside his allies.  Irial who was fatally injured had a intriguing twist in the tale that will leave you dismayed.
     I gave this book an A+, as I discovered this to be an ideal and flawless finish to the Wicked Lovely series. If you haven't read the series then I would tell you to read it, if you like fantasy then you will love it.  If anyone is losing or had lost focus midway through the series then I highly encourage you to keep going!  As you keep pushing on you will find someone or something that will grab you and you really won’t want to stop until the last tantalizing page is turned!

Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
  
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Radiant Shadows Review

Title: Radiant Shadows
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2010
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Fantasy, Faeries, Family, Romance, & Magic
Pages: 340
Plot: (From the Dust jacket)
     "Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
     Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin.  He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries coolly logical High Queen and her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War.  Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.
     Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though.  She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans- and his life.  The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another.  But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of faerie.  Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?
     Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in the penultimate volume of Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series."

    As I adored the beginning of the series, I really think this book was my altogether favorite.  I know I shouldn't be saying that because I haven't read Darkest Mercy yet and I might just change my mind as it is the final installment.  I found Radiant Shadows held the alluring enchantment of Wicked Lovely, the dark seduction of Ink Exchange, and the unrelenting chaos in Fragile Eternity.  This story had me had me utterly awestruck and craving more!
     Yet again, Melissa Marr has left me dazed and stunned with her tantalizing world of faeries and her mastered characters.  The Realm of Faery opens and expands to show how the balance needs to be restored and if not the whole world, mortal and Faery, will be thrown into chaos and war.  I still feel Marr's best writing quality is her connection to her characters.  She will make you feel like your jumping into their body and sharing their happiness and their sorrows.
     Radiant Shadows continues the tale in the High and Dark Court with Delvin and Ani giving a refreshing spin on the events that unfold.  In Fragile Eternity Devlin, the bloody hands of the high Queen, seems orderly and cruel but when you read Radiant Shadows you discover a beautifully dark journey where Devlin sorts through his struggles between logic and disorder to find himself and his own path for eternity.  Of course there is a special faery that Devlin has eyes for, Ani, the half-human and half-faery, that Devlin was ordered to kill a very long time ago.  With Ani being half of both worlds, she is very different then the other faeries and halflings, she has a hard time with where she fits in and where she belongs.  Even still Ani is a brilliant heroine as she is strong, feisty, rebellious, and loyal.  Ani also loves trouble; any mischief brought her way would put a wicked smile on her face.  On a side note I was very excited that Irial, Niall, Rabbit, and Seth all take part in the story.
     I gave this novel an A+, as it was riveting, captivating, and enthralling.  Being that every book is told with a different character it adds uniqueness to the story that is wholly original and fiercely ensnaring.   After finishing this book I'm dying to read the final installment, Darkest Mercy.

Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
Monday, September 12, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Grit City Issue #1 Review

Title: Grit City, Issue #1
Author: Ron Gavalik
Illustrator: Leah Keilman
Publisher: Grit City Publications at Smash words
Publication Date: June 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Main Themes: Journalism, Murder,Death, Gun for Hire, & Blood
Pages: 24
Plot: (from Smashwords.com)

     "Grit City is a series of short continuing emotobooks about a dark and calamitous world, where the nefarious rule. Dillon Galway is an idealistic freelance journalist in his mid-twenties, who barely scrapes out a living reporting on corruption for the Grit City Times and his own blog.
     Dillon remembers the city as an ideal place to live, before the murder of his Father and the rise of the Lebedev Syndicate. All meaningful power in business, politics and law enforcement are now funneled into the hands of this wealthy organization.
     He works tirelessly to reestablish opportunity and peace, and relies on Alyssa Stephano (gun for hire) to help when tense situations require her nickel plated Colt 45 revolvers.
     But in the shadows of the back alleys, whispers stir in the underground of an unnamed force. Something or someone that’s determined to upset the status quo. When Dillon is tipped about horrifying activities he’s propelled into a perilous investigation that may lead to dire consequences.
     As the series progresses Dillon will face unfathomed challenges, but also gain abilities most consider impossible."


     I absolutely loved this new way of reading!  Grit City is really dark and morbid but deliciously riveting.  As it is a short read I found it was really fast paced, it gave you a feel for the Dillon then jumped into a dangerously fascinating story.  The art work added insight to the characters and really allowed you to connect on a personal level.  I found the illustrations to be just as descriptive and mesmerizing as they were sinister and ominous, but done in a way that the images seemed crucial to the story.
    
     In a city taken over by violent hoodlums you are drawn to Dillon, an independent journalist that is more reminiscent of a detective, who strives to expose the corruption through his writing skills.  When looking for a good story that will help pay his rent Dillon's righteous behaviors get him in a hazardous situation.  That's when Alyssa explodes into the story and bails him out.  The gun for hire is a strong woman who is intriguing and mysterious. 

     As a gruesome and frightening mystery I gave this issue an A+.  I really enjoyed reading about Dillon, the valiant journalist who is trying to right the wrong, and the enigmatic Alyssa that I really can't wait to read more about.  Being that this was the first issue and each month holds a new installment I really can't wait to read the next one!

My Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing Style: 5
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

Fragile Eternity Review

Title: Fragile Eternity
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Fantasy, Faeries, Romance, Magic, & Immortality
Pages: 389
Plot: (From the Dust jacket)
     "Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone-but that was before Aislinn.  She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and wants to be with her forever.  Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.
     Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her-but that was before Keenan.  He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined.
     In Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos."

     The Wicked Lovely Series keeps getting better and better as I plunge deeper and deeper into the story.  I found myself holding my breath in anticipation throughout the conflicting dilemmas that were being unraveled as I sped through Fragile Eternity, only left gasping for air as the last page was turned!  Melissa Marr's exceptional writing skills and different character views add together for an unrivaled approach to narration.
     This novel was utterly ensnaring as well as vivid and heartfelt.  Melissa Marr expands her unique world to show you the court workings and social acceptance.  Altogether relationships form and disintegrate to unveil a tantalizing dilemma that threatens almost every alliance made.  With all the disarray in the courts, war is pressing down pressuring all monarchs to make wise and proper decisions that would benefit their court as well as create a balanced environment.
      Again this story was very different than the first two as it was narrated mainly from Seth's point of view with snippets from Aislinn's perspective.  As Seth's role develops you see that his character has transformed from extremely patient, understanding, and enduring; to become fiercely loyal, desperate, determined, and frivolous all because he feels weak and left out from Aislinn's faerie world.  I wasn't as proud of Aislinn in this novel.  Between her struggles maintaining her court and adapting to the role of the Summer Queen, Aislinn has become naive and focuses too much on what she has to lose in the years to come instead of enjoying what she has now. There is also plenty of insight about the mysterious queen of the high court, Sorcha.  She may come across as the unchanging queen who never lets emotions get in the way of reason but after meeting Seth everything changes! 
      Just like the rest of the series I have given this novel an A+, as the plot was lush and dark.  The love triangle created in this book is truly one that rivals Cassandra Clare's Immortal Instruments!  The characters walk a fine line between good and evil and one choice could tip the scale.  Melissa Marr's writing style and the uniqueness of the story only adds to the mysterious setup, the tension, and suspense.

Rating: 20/20
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
Thursday, September 1, 2011 | By: Mindy Hoppe

September's Bookshelf

Okay, I didn't get as much reading done as I wanted last month.  I had a really busy month... I had a baby shower for my new niece and I did become an auntie for my new nephew.  As well as back to school time at work....  Anyways I hope that I will do better this month.  Actually I know I will do better, there is a book signing that I am going to next month and I have a long list of books that I really want to get through before I go.

1. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
2. Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
3. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
4. Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
5. Masquerade by Melissa De La Cruz
6. Revelations by Melissa De La Cruz
7. Van Allen Legacy by Melissa De La Cruz
8. Misguided Angel by Melissa De La Cruz
9. Keys to the Respostitory by Melissa De La Cruz
10. Bloody Valentine by Melissa De La Cruz
11. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
12. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
13. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
14. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
15. The Morganville Vampires Volume 1 by Rachel Caine
16. The Morganville Vampires Volume 2 by Rachel Caine
17. The Morganville Vampires Volume 3 by Rachel Caine
18. The Morganville Vampires Volume 4 by Rachel Caine
19. The Ghost Town by Rachel Caine
20. The Bite Club by Rachel Caine