Blood by K.J Wignall

K.J. Wignall
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Series or Standalone:  Mercian Trilogy #1
ISBN: 9781606842201
Format: eGalley
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4.5 Stars
This book surprised me. From the title, cover and summary I thought I was in store for just another vampire book, but I was wrong. This book was not what I was expecting and I mean that in the best way possible.
I really loved the characters in Blood. This book was very character driven and the two main characters were really authentic, even if one of them is a vampire. Will is the last Earl of Mercia, even though he died way back in the 13th century. He is a vampire, but has no clue how he became how he is. He is all alone, up until now in the 21stcentury. I really sympathized with will because he has no one. He is lonely until he meets Eloise. Will is also a genuinely nice guy who was made into one of the “undead” as he likes to call himself. And then there is Eloise, a girl who seems to be part of Will’s destiny. I loved that Eloise was not some weak, defenseless female character. Instead, she takes everything in stride and offers Will friendship, something he hasn’t had in years. While Eloise seems to be tied up in Will’s destiny, the relationship between them does not feel forced. Even though Will and Eloise haven’t known each other for a long time, their relationship just works, it clicks. Eloise understands Will and his loneliness and will stick by him even if it buts her life in danger. They just work together.
Blood’s story literally blew me away. I’m not really sure what I was expecting from this book, probably some typical cheesy vampire story, but that was not what Blood was about. I loved that Will being a vampire or “undead” was not the true center point of the story. At times I even forget he was a vampire. The plot unraveled at a perfect pace and all the pieces of the mystery of who Will really is and why he is the way he is slowly clicked into place perfectly. As the first book in a trilogy, Blood set up the story perfectly. It wrapped up certain questions but left others unanswered and established a larger story arc for the series.
The writing in this book fit the story extremely well. I really liked that the writing made it very easy to visualize everything that was going on. For me, this book read like a movie in my head. It kept me engaged with the story. The writing definitely was more sophisticated then I was expecting.
I’m really glad I just randomly picked up Blood because it blew me away. This was a great first book in a series and now I really want to find out what happens next with Will. Enough questions were answered to leave me satisfied but some still have not been answered and I cannot wait to find out the answer. I am greatly looking forward to next two books in this trilogy! 

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Myra McEntire
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Series or Standalone: Series
Format: ARC
Pages: 397
Source: Borrowed
Ratings: 5 Stars

I do not even know where to start with Hourglass. I have been putting off writing this review for months because this book is just filled with win. I have been really stumped as to how to my feelings for this book into words. If I could, I would just write a review that would say “Buy this book it is full of awesome. Everyone must buy it. ADJKAJGKAJGKDL It’s awesome.”, but that would not be super helpful.
In April, I did a post for the ten reasons why you must buy this book. I think that I’m going to use that as a basis for my review so this review is not just BUY THIS BOOK. So let me start off by talking about the characters in this book. I felt that all the characters in this book served a purpose and were all well defined characters. Every character that we met had their own personality and traits. The characters were extremely well written. Let’s start with Emerson Cole, the main character. I loved her. She was snarky, kick-butt and different. She was strong and able to stand up for herself, even when everyone thought she was crazy because of her visions. Also, she can kick-butt. Seriously, she has brown belt to prove it. And I love girls who can kick-butt because I truly wish I was that badass. And she is snarky. I love snark. It makes me laugh and Em did make me laugh. Emerson was one of those characters that got stuck in my head after I finished reading the book. She was just one of those characters with a really strong voice that will stick with you. And then there are the boys in this book. I just have to mention them. So first we have Michael Weaver who is a very mysterious guy. He works for a mysterious agency and knows more about Em than Em herself does. Basically, I was smitten by him the first time we met him and ended up loving him more as the book went out and we learned more about Michael. And then ther was also Kaleb, the other boy in this book who I really loved. Kaleb is Michael’s friend and works with Michael and is just as hot as Michael. But they are too completely different boys. Kaleb was in my opinion adorable. At times I felt really bad for him and just wanted to give him a hug. He was probably one of my favorite characters in this book. He was flawed and dealing with issues but was still able to be strong. I like that. And the romance. Boy. The romance could have gone crazy wrong but it was perfect. The build-up and the sexual tension was all spot on perfect. I was at points literally screaming for them to just kiss already, which I love. I just loved the romance.
Okay, so now I want to talk about how amazing the plot of this book is. Seriously. I did not really know what to expect when I started this book. It sounded like it might be just another paranormal teen book with a girl who sees visions and stuff. But what I got from Hourglass was none of that. I can truly say that this book was something new. Hourglass was seriously a breath of fresh air. I really liked how it blended paranormal elements such as the visions with some more scifi elements such as time travel. It was all mystery, action, paranormal, and wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff wound up into a big ball of awesome. I really really liked the balance between all those elemts. It truly finds a perfect balance between the two and creates this amazing story. And this story kept me on the edge of my seat. I did not know what was going to happen next. I was constantly being blown away by the plot. Twists and turns that took me by surprise. The last quarter of the book, I swear I was just sitting there reading with my mouth wide open because I was literally blown away. I did not expect the story to go in certain ways it did. And I just want to say that Myra McEntire has been added to my list of evil genius authors. There is this huge amazing twist in the book that will literally leave you in shock. I was blown away that she had actually did that. You will know the part I’m talking about when you read the book because you will be sitting there reading the book, dumbfounded that that event just actually happened. Boy, is that an amazing and horribly mean twist.
I really do not know what else to say. This book is just full of win. Myra McEntire has written a beautiful, stunningly awesome debut. It is hard to fathom that this book is her debut novel because it is just so stunning. The writing is beautiful and she has created this whole world were Em and her friends live and do some crazy things. Myra McEntire excuted the plot so brilliantly and is now an evil genius in my book. She literally kept me flipping pages as quickly as possible. Plus, she is also a Whovian. A reference to Doctor Who in your book has me in love with your book forever. Just saying. I am literally blown away by how amazing this book is. Everyone needs to pick up a copy of this book and read it as soon as possible. I mean who would not want a copy of this beautiful book on their shelf? The cover is just as beautiful as the words inside of it. Hourglass is probably one of my favorite books of 2011. Hourglass is an amazing debut that is a must read because it has a little bit of something for everyone.

Review: Raised by Wolves

Raised By Wolves
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Pages: 432

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Summary: (from Goodreads)

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn’t mean that she’s averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian’s basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents’ murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she’s shaped?

I brought this book out of curiosity yesterday for my Nook, thinking that it was going to be just another book about werewolves. Boy, was I mistaken. Raised by Wolves was much more than a typical werewolf novel, instead it delved into what it was like living in a Pack and the relationship and hierarchy inside a Pack from the perspective of a non-Were, with a unique story line that had mystery, action, suspense and romance.

The main character, Bryn, was everything one could want in a female character. She is strong, independent, feisty and stubborn. Bryn’s narrative immediately sucked me into the story from the first page were she is already getting into trouble from the Pack leader, Callum. Bryn felt like a real girl, one people could relate to. Sure, she is not like other girls, having seen her parents murdered in front of her and being Marked and accepted into a Pack full werewolves, but her attitude and narrative made her feel real. What I loved about Bryn was that in society based on dominance and male superiority, Bryn is able to hold onto her independence and fight for what she believes. Bryn is not afraid to take risks for something she believes is right, even if she can get punished for it, something I love to see in female characters. 

Besides Bryn, I loved the character of Chase. While we do not learn much about him, he is one of my favorite characters, besides Bryn, in the book. After being attacked by the Rabid and surviving to be turned into a Were, Bryn and the reader really become interested in him and feel for him. I loved unraveling the mystery behind Chase and his attack. And the chemistry between Chase and Bryn was great. I loved all the scenes when they were in each others head, making me eager for when they would be together.  

What really set Raised by Wolves apart from other typical Werewolf novels is that the story did not focused on the supernatural aspect of being a Werewolf, but the issue of the Pack and of family. Since the story is told from the perspective of Bryn, one who is Marked, part of the Pack but not a Were, it is easy to see the structure of Pack life and the difficulties faced in living in a Pack. The dynamics in the Pack and interactions between Packs was very interesting and I loved learning about them in this book. Not to sound like a nerd, but I was really fascinated to learn what it was like to live in a Pack and the feeling of having the Pack there to support in protect you. Jennifer Lynn Barnes did an excellent at creating a believable life for Bryn in the Pack and explaining the difficulties Bryn faced from being in the pack.

While reading this book, I did not want to put it down for anything, but my sister kept interrupting me in the most intense scenes. This is definitely a book to read in one sitting. The plot is constantly moving forward until the conclusion of the story, leaving you wanting more after every event. This book also had some great action scenes in them that made it impossible to want to put down. The end of the book left me wanting more! I cannot wait to find out what happens next in Bryn’s life, especially after what happened when Bryn took on the Rabid. Jennifer Lynn Barnes left the book at a perfect place for a sequel to pick up.

While the plot was excellent and constantly kept me on the edge of my seat up until the end, what did bother me a little bit was that some of the characters felt under developed. While the relationship between Bryn and Callum, the Alpha of her Pack, felt genuine, some of Bryn’s other relationship did not feel as well developed. I felt that Bryn and Callum had a well developed relationship; Callum was a well developed character, who as Alpha, had taken Bryn in and fulfilled the role as father. Callum really cared for Bryn, and took care with her safety. On the other hand, I felt that Bryn’s relationships with other characters, particularly Ali, felt a little forced and undeveloped. Ali is supposed to fulfill the role of “mother” for Bryn, but their interactions were often brief and little was said or described to get the real feeling of love between the two, instead it felt a bit forced in my opinion. Some of the characters could have used a little more development in order to fully understand them and to make their actions, particularly their actions at the end, a little more believable. 

Overall, Raised by Wolves was a great read. I loved every minute of it. In a genre currently filled with all sort of paranormal books, Raised by Wolves really stand out in the crowd. It is a fresh new take on werewolves just when I thought I was getting bored with them. Raised by Wolves is a must read for anyone who likes paranormal YA.