Book Review: Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Title: Wicked Kiss (Nightwatchers #2)
Author: Michelle Rowen
Genre: Paranormal, Angels, Demons
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: February 26th 2013 
Pages: 440 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
MY KISS CAN KILL. 

I used to be ordinary Samantha Day, but that’s changed. Now, after one dark kiss from a dangerous boy, I can steal someone’s soul…or their life. If I give in to the constant hunger inside me, I hurt anyone I kiss. If I don’t…I hurt myself.

Bishop is the one whose kiss I crave most, but if I kiss him, I’ll kill him. Then there’s another boy, one I can’t hurt. One whose kiss seems to miraculously quell my hunger. They’re both part of a team of angels and demons that’s joined forces in my city to fight a mysterious rising darkness, an evil that threatens everyone I know and love. I just wonder if I’ll be able to help Bishop-or if I’m just another part of the darkness he’s sworn to destroy….

NIGHTWATCHERS 

When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising…

My Review:

After the Hollow unleashed hell on Earth in an all ages club only two weeks ago – Sam has been busy. The Grey Girl is on the lookout of Stephen, the grey who sucked her soul out turning her into hungry soul sucking nexus. Add to that a mysterious memory blocked gorgeous angel who can only think straight when she’s around. Too bad Sam can’t keep her thoughts straight around him!

Dark Kiss laid a lot of groundwork but it was well worth the read for I devoured Wicked Kiss like a hungry grey would a soul. Sam and her misfit warriors from Heaven and Hell still have a mission to carry out. Sam needs her soul and to save her bff Carly from the Hollow. Bishop, Kraven and the others need to rid Trinity from the evil mess that Natalie unleashed. I liked these characters so much more the second time around. They’re still slightly stereotypical and a little predictable in many ways but this time – but it worked for me. I loved the drama added from the new characters (like Cassandra) and getting to know some briefly mentioned ones from Dark Kiss a little better.

There’s a lot going on in this book. Romance and evil supernatural villains are underfoot everywhere. I liked how the relationships evolved. Not just the romantic ones but the friendships and the way Kraven and Bishop’s brotherly interactions evolved.  Sam is developing as a character too. She’s finally got some street sense kicked into her. She’s embracing her nexus and grey-ness to the hilt and is becoming a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

The mythology of Angels and Demons are interestingly explained in this book. There’s not too many religious overtones that sometimes overload books about Angels. But instead the angels and devils seem to just be concerned with good vs. evil. I wanted some facets to be explored in more detail but there was enough explained to understand Sam’s situation.

I can recommend this book to anyone that liked the first instalment – but also those who were slightly ambivalent.  This book is a satisfying ending to an interesting take on zombies, angels and demons.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes (aka. Michelle Rowen)
Genre: high fantasy, magic, romance
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: 11 December 2012
Pages: 412 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power–brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished–and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past–and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

My Review:

I’ve not read much fantasy in my life but this book is the kind of high fantasy that reminded me of Lord of the Rings or the Song of Fire and Ice books.

There’s magic, castles, forbidden lust and political unrest. In the land of Mytica there are three kingdoms. Auranos led by King Corvin is the land of plenty. Their goddess Cleiona has blessed them with lush forests and plenty of food. Their neighbour, Paelsia, uses all their resources (in a trade deal gone sour) to grow wine grapes that Auranos pays pittance for. Chief Basilius, the Paelsian leader, is a recluse and rumoured to be a powerful sorcerer. The land to the north is that of Lumeros and is ruled with an iron fist by the King of Blood, Gaius. He is a strong believer that the Goddess Valoria (Goddess Cleiona’s sister and magical rival) will prevail as long as all his kingdom conform to his motto: Strength, Faith, Wisdom.

Where things get interesting aren’t with the kingdoms leaders – but rather their next generation. There’s Princess Cleiona, aka. Cleo, the beautiful blonde Auranian princess who is headstrong and acts with her heart rather than her head. Prince Magnus of Limeros who strives to be nothing like his cold, calculating father. And then there’s Magnus’ sister Lucia who may or may not actually be related to him. Finally there’s Jonas Agalleon. He’s a Paelsian peasant who witnesses his brother being brutally being slain by an Auranian nobleman and Princess Cleo over an argument regarding the sale of wine and swears to get his vengeance.

There’s a lot going on and this is just the first few chapters. Warning – don’t get too attached to any of the characters because Ms. Rhodes isn’t afraid to kill anyone off at any time. I loved the action and the uncertainty of whether my favourites would survive or be slain in a bloody battle.

Magic is everywhere within Mytica and the myths of the Goddesses who are believed in forms a big part of the story. Witches, magical healing seeds, one sorceress to rule them all and magical beings in the form of eagles appear right though the novel. Elementia and The Kindred are fascinating concepts and there’s a lot of scope of where things can go in the next novel of the series.

The relationships between the characters are probably what I enjoyed most about Falling Kingdoms. The siblings bonds are shown in so many different forms but they all boil down to one thing. Family who would do anything for the other one. I also liked the contrast between the Kings Corvin and Gaius who could not have a more different relationship with their children.

This is a rather long book but worthwhile reading. There’s a lot of groundwork being laid for what is to come – despite a lot of world building and setting up a lot happens and there is drama from the very first chapter.

I found Falling Kingdoms to be a great change of pace from the paranormal and contemporary YA books I’ve been reading. I recommend this book for fans of fantasy who are looking for a slightly more (although not too much – there’s still a lot of murder, deception and some slight perceived incest) teen version of A Game of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones)

Thanks to NetGalley for the digital review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Title: Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1)
Author: Michelle Rowen
Genre: Paranormal, Angels, Demons
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: June 2012 (I received this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley)
Pages: 348
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I don’t do dangerous.  Smart, über-careful, ordinary Samantha-that’s me. But I just couldn’t pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me…something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It’s like part of me is missing-and I don’t know if I can get it back.

Then there’s Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he’s keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he’s what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me….

Nightwatchers: When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising… 

My Review:

Sam never expected Stephen to notice her. Nor did she think when she went to a local club with her best friend, Carly, that Stephen would kiss her. And suck out her soul.

Soulless Sam then finds herself being drawn into a world where Angels and Demons work together to irradiate the Earth from soul sucking creatures which she is now one of.

Bishop, the leader of the Angel/Demon team who has been sent to Earth to send the Source back into the Hallow so it can no longer reek havoc on the humans, is in  a bad way. The only thing keeping him from losing his mind is Sam. Too bad that Sam is a “grey” and as such she’s a threat to him, his team and the rest of the world. But he can’t bring himself to stay away from her and the way she makes him feel.

In a battle of good vs. evil, Sam needs to choose a side for she may be the deciding factor.

I wanted so much to enjoy this novel. I’ve read some of Michelle Rowen’s more adult novels and had a lot of fun reading them. And I thought that the creatures she’s created in this novel were fantastic – very much like a cross between a zombie and a succubus. But there was something about this story that I just didn’t connect with.

I found Sam to be a little too naive about the world. There are some facts about her brought up in the first few chapters (her “criminal” actions; her days as a homeless person) that I’m still trying to work out why they were mentioned. I understand that it was her compassion based on her experiences on the street that lead to her talking to Bishop for the first time but I found Sam to be a little too naive in the ways of the world to really believe that she spent any time on the street – even just a few days.

I also found her a little too easily lead. When it came time to pick a side, she seemed to believe the thing she was told very quickly. And her romance with Bishop? It was a little under explored for my liking. There was not enough build up. It just sort of happened. But that said – I’m always fond of kissing scenes and the ones in this book were written well.

In terms of character development, I’m not sure that the characters grew for me from the time the novel started until the last page. They were at times rather simplistic and well… soulless (pun intended). And I feel like this was a huge reason why I didn’t connect very well with either of the leads. I wanted them to wow me but they didn’t and they were both somewhat forgettable.

I did enjoy the Source. She was deliciously evil and a master manipulator. And I also found myself loving the other members of Bishop’s team – especially Kraven. I loved Kraven. His banter, his insults, his flirting with Sam? He’s such a funny character and a very entertaining one at that.

The plot seemed to move really slowly for me. I spent quite a bit of the first 75% of the novel being somewhat confused or disinterested but then everything picked up and I thought the ending was fantastic! It was action packed with deceit, romance and heroism all packed in.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book but it was rather hard going.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


May New Releases!

There are a number of books being released this month that I cannot wait to be released so I can read them!


– I’m so glad that I came late to the party for the first book. I only read it last week but I fell in love with the story and the characters and even waiting a week has seemed to be too long! Luckily this book is out today and I pre-ordered it the other day so hopefully I won’t have to wait too long!

– I really enjoy werewolf stories. They are my favourite sub section  of the paranormal genre and from the summary of this book it looks like it’s something new and fresh. I really like the look of it and the cover is beautiful. This should be a good one.

– I’m still a bit of a newbie to the steam punk genre but the books that I have read have fascinated me. I love the blend of old and bizarre. This book has gotten some great reviews and those, combined with the steam punk aspect, have cemented The Particulars’  place on my to-read list.

– I haven’t heard too much about this book (in fact I only added it to my to-read list this afternoon) but the cover is beautiful and angels are quickly becoming one of my most read supernatural beings. They must be very ‘in’ at the moment. I can’t seem to go anywhere without hearing about another new angel book. And there’s a reason for that. Handsome guys with pretty wings = a winner. Or at least I think that’s the attraction. This book appeals to me because of the idea that a simple kiss can change your entire life.

 

There are a few other books I’m looking forward too but they are a little more steamy and not really young adult (like the next Sookie Stackhouse book or the third Lords of the Deliverance novel). And they’re all paranormal … I’m sensing a trend here 😛

 

If anyone could suggest some young adult new releases that ARE NOT paranormal, I’d love it if you could leave me a comment.

Thanks 🙂