City in Embers (Collector #1) by Stacey Marie Brown

23531413What a pleasant surprise this book was in the end. It has all I’ve wanted: I spunky female lead, a ferocious fae warrior, an apocalyptical setting in today’s USA, a fast moving plot with some surprising turns and an adorable fae familiar in the guise of a monkey. The little guy made my day, every fucking time. And take a closer look at the cover! Aint’t it beautiful? Better as some covers that I have seen lately with male nippels in the center.

Oh and the romance was brilliant. Even though they are not even kissing there were several moments when you could feel the heat coming of the pages. What I love most about this book? There is no insta-love, not even an instant attraction. They are both standing on opposite sides: Zoey is like the fae equivalent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and La Femme Nikita. Zoey is hired by a special government agency, the Department of Molecular Genetics (DMG) to find and collect fae in Seattle because of her special talent: She is one of the few humans who can actually see through the glamour. Ryker is the fae warrior she is paired up with, a freak mix somewhere between V’lane from the Fever series, Merle Dixon from The Walking Dead and Travis Fimmel as Ragnar Lothbrok in The Vikings. Zoe hates fae and Ryker hates the humans. Unfortunately for both, they have no other choice but to work together. Bit by bit their prejudices and hate for each other vanish and there is a growing respect and a fragile friendship blooming instead. I am so much looking forward to see how this will ripen in the next book.

The only thing that I have to criticize is the bumpy beginning. I almost gave up reading the book to be honest. There was just so much info-dumping in the first few chapters! The first person narration did not help in that moment either and there were so many confusing bits and pieces: Daniel her instructor with whom Zoey has fallen in love, her sister who is disabled and sick, the crazy professor from DMG, Zoeys backstory a foster kid… On and on it went this telling and not showing, recounting past events. I felt breathless alone from reading it. I feel like a different approach to telling the background history and kind of starting the book a little bit later might have been better. But 15% into the story the action really takes off and makes for an enjoyable, suspenseful read.

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Burned (Fever #7) by Karen Marie Moning

Afte12444297r reading Burned I want more than anything else for Karen Marie Moning to write the story of the Unseelie King from the concubine’s perspective. I think this would be epic fantasy romance at its best. I loved the scenes told in his voice in Burned. Karen Marie Moning knows how to write and in my opinion you can see it, feel it best in those few chapters in Burned that are from his perspective. There is so much sadness, it drips from the pages.

However, as much as I loved those the book is not made up entirely of the Unseelie King and the rest was a disappointment. And I did not think Karen could disappoint me much after Iced. I started to have a shimmer of that when the cover of the book was changed from beautiful and mysterious to that naked male nipple torso with some run-of-the-mill Photoshop tribal tattoos. And the cover is denotative for the adult material in the book. Unfortunately the sex scenes are not the ones between Mac and Barrons (at least not present ones) but hardcore SM sex from Lor, bondage fantasies, voyeuristic scenes and so on. This is not romance. This book is ugly porn.

For me Karen Marie Moning started a Young Adult series withIced about Dani, a troubled teenager with great powers in an apocalyptical fantasy world. And although I was a not such a big fan of Dani’s character in the Fever series until then, I was not opposed to give it and her a try. But a 14-year old girl, who talks in 3rd person about herself, calling herself The Mega, using feck and Dude too many times to count is simply not a good substitute for Mac and setting her up for future sexual interest with several millennia old pervs was not my conception of romance. After several attempts in a Q&A by KMM to explain that it wasn’t sexual at all she even went so far tell us reader HOW TO READ her books.

Stay with me. Keep the faith. This made it difficult for some readers who tried to view the Alphas through Dani’s vantage and felt an ‘ick’ factor. Well, stop it! You weren’t supposed to do that anyway, LOL.

Well, I would appreciate it, if the author wouldn’t LOL at me. Thank you very much. In Iced Dani was 14, at the beginning ofBurned she is still 14, and a few pages later she is Not. She comes back almost 5 years older (19/20) and this book is no longer told in her POV but in Mac’s, it’s no longer a Young Adult but a horny-porny fantasy who tries to sugarcoat over the last book and proclaims look here, Ryodan was not nasty in the last book, he was a saint, an angel who only wanted to help and he even is Barrons half-brother and oh look his “pee-pee” is big and powerful and shaved too. I would have preferred to see Dani grow, to grow with her, to see her wake up and grow up to this kick-ass, genius and stunningly beautiful young women. Instead her growing-up story has been embezzled. I feel as if somebody robbed me of the experience.

Reading Iced made me furious with the author. Reading Burnederased my anger but instead now I am sad for Karen Moning. I feel the same as Erica wrote in her review “Burned was not the book she wanted to write and you feel it on every single page.”

ARV-3 (The after life saga #1) by Cameo Renae

18629550Published November 26th 2013 by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Oh my god this was partially really good but had so many faults.

The good: I found the apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic world interesting but I was not convinced by the concept. According to the story, a massive solar storm wiped out all electricity on the planet. The following Nuclear fallout wiped out life on the planet, except for a few thousand humans who took shelter in underground bunkers across the globe.
When the ejection is directed towards the Earth and reaches it as an interplanetary CME (ICME), the shock wave of the traveling mass of Solar Energetic Particles causes a geomagnetic storm that may disrupt the Earth’s magnetosphere. Coronal mass ejections, along with solar flares of other origin, can disrupt radio transmissions and cause damage to satellites and electrical transmission line facilities, resulting in potentially massive and long-lasting power outages.

So far so good. But, it takes 17h for a solar flare to reach Earth. There would have been enough time to switch off potentially dangerous atomic power plants. 

But let’s go with the story and assume all those scientists at NASA, ESA & Roskosmos, haven’t seen it coming, and the solar storm was like a GIANT GLOBAL EMP and everybody on this planet just wakes up without ANY electricity and EVERY SINGLE nuclear power plant was going to go Chernobyl on us. Life on Earth wouldn’t be over. Life in Europe and USA would be over. But let’s have a look at a picture of nuclear power plant around the glove:

There is not a single red dot in Alaska and Canada, Africa, South America, Australia, large parts of Russia and Asia. Why not evacuate people to these countries, with sailboats and steamboats if need be.

But let’s just go with the story. There are big, government hives and some small “family” hives, build by those who prepared for exactly this end-of-the-world scenario. How people can survive 13 years in a bunker is beyond me. The amount of dried fruits and noodles to feed 15 people for almost 5000 days… wow… is simply unbelievable. The amount of toilet paper alone is unthinkable! I found it not nearly enough explained how people survived that long without sunlight, without access to the surface in an underground bunker.

Now, after thirteen years, people finally are able to return to the topside only to find the world full of aggressive mutants. I have to admit, I did enjoy the Arvies. They are crazed, milky-eyed creatures who have developed a deep hatred towards all survivors over the last decade and they totally like to bite and rip them apart. Also there is more to them than a Zombie-like almost dead status on the surface. They are feeling, communicating and strategizing human-like creatures. And they want revenge for what the government did to them. That was the best part of the book because you never know when one or several hundreds of them are going to pop out behind you. There’s a lot of action with guns, bombs and snipers. Loved it!

Apart from this the story didn’t appeal to me on every other level. Almost all characters are very cliché: you have the ex-Navy Seal uncle who is depicted like a middle-aged Rambo, there is her Mom who constantly panics, her grandparents were kind of forgotten after their introduction, same with Abi’s cousin that never even gets mentioned again in the entire book! the people in the government hive were even more cliché and absolutely nobody contributed in any way to the story. That was kind of a letdown. It felt like the potential of group dynamics under pressure was totally wasted. The interactions remained unfortunately shallow and sketchy which also left gigantic-sized opportunities for plot holes that were filled by “deus-ex-machina”, literally. I have nothing against religion, but please spare me with prayers that are being answered and all the talk about karma and fate. There are like 3 major events where they are up to their ears in a shit storm and would you believe it, they pray to God and salvation comes. Unrealistic much?

One example: Abi is fighting against an Arvy and it’s a close call. Her uncle saves her by shooting it through the head. Unfortunatelly the same bullet also goes through her hand. I ask you: If a disease is transmissible by saliva (remember the bites) wouldn’t it also be by blood contact?

Have I mentioned the romance? No? Shame on me! How could I forget to tell you about ohmygodhejustlookedatmeisn’theawesome FINN. Finn who will always love her, be there for her, who even gives her an engagement ring, who kisses her senseless, love-lost. Kill me please! It was a lot of telling instead of showing involved.

If not for all its faults, Abi’s ass-kicking character, the action and interesting drafted Arvies would have been enough to grant at least 1 or two stars more. But despite my misgivings, I am still interested in the next book in this series.