Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Raphael

Raphael (The Immortal Youth Book 1)Raphael by Monica La Porta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Awesome as always!

I received this awesome read in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first installment in the young adult spin off from adult Immortals series. If you have read the adult series you will recognize the same world and we see a few of the same characters but it is centered on a young werewolf named Raphael. We meet him as he is on the run from the Controller and he stumbles across his destined mate. The story takes off from there and keeps you glued to it til the very end.

I love the world building. With each of the Immortals series we see a little more of the world that Monica La Porta has created. In Raphael we find the Den of Regects and the Promenade that runs underneath Rome. Its a whole world unbeknownst to us humans. The characters add a lot to this world building as we are introduced to a street gang of werewolves known as the Reds and find that there is more to each one of them than meets the eye.

There are also many issues that are touched upon that many youths can relate to such as abuse at the hands of authority figures, families not accepting your sexual orientation, as well as gang life and drug abuse. The way the characters deal with their situations really brings them to life.


Each story that comes out in this series and the adult series its connected to keep getting better and better and I've enjoyed them all. They are all stand alone as well as can be read in succession. If you haven't read any of them, wait no longer. If you enjoy paranormal romance you won't regret it.



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Friday, April 24, 2015

Specials

Specials (Uglies, #3)Specials by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I liked it much better than I expected to, maybe because I had low expectations. 3.5 stars, I stretched up to 4 stars because I was feeling generous.

Tally and her friends have been turned into Special Specials by Dr. Cable. She sees everything with a sharp clarity however her brain is being further manipulated by the system. Shay-la and her band of Cutters is constantly trying to hunt down the New Smoke and Tally-wa is faced with accepting the reality of her situation.

I admit, I skimmed a lot of this one. There was a lot of action scenes that didn't hold my attention. I got what was going on and then moved on. My biggest issue with this one was the glamorization of harmful practices in a book aimed at impressionable young women. Cutting, underage drinking and early sex was portrayed as not only the norm but as positive things and personally I see this as irresponsible as an author. On the other hand, many reviews I read found the ending a bit disappointing but I didn't. I liked the ending and thought that Tally was stronger for it. I shall say no more to prevent spoilage. I would have liked to have seen more of David, but this was written from Tally's point of view and circumstances being as they were I can see why this wasn't possible. Maybe in the future Westerfield will write the story from David's point of view. That could be interesting.

Overall, its not a bad series but far from perfect however. If you like YA dystopias this might grab your attention.



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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pretties

Pretties (Uglies, #2)Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is the second book in the Uglies trilogy (which somehow turns into 4 books instead of three o_0). In any case, I didn't like it as well as the first and ended up dropping my rating to three stars.

I had some issues with this one. I understand that by turning people into pretty-heads that you change their personality into shallow people. But how shallow can a person get? When do these people actually grow up? I know there are mentions of doctors and anthropologists and other types of workers but its never explained how these people go from partying all the time to being a doctor. The world building here is very lacking. There are mentions of other cities but that's all you ever get, just a mention. Nothing about where they are or how things are different or same there. What about school and education? It seems like a lot of destructive behavior is glamorized in this book.

But back to Tally-wa and the rest of her Crim crew. Other than Shay, who she comes to rescue, we are introduced to a whole new set of characters each as shallow as the rest except for Zane. Zane seems to have been the only one that has managed to keep his head throughout the book too bad it looks like he may lose it. Shay also seems to have some mental fight left in her, too bad past betrayal seems to have corrupted her.

Overall, I liked Pretties but not as well as Uglies. I hope that Specials is not as bad as some of the reviews that I've read. Even though it a YA read does not mean that world building isn't important. And this series could use a bit more of it.



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Uglies

Uglies (Uglies, #1)Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I stretched and gave this read 4 stars. I think its a series with a lot of promise, but looking ahead at reviews of the rest of the series I fear the promise is lacking.

Tally Youngblood is a young woman in a world that is centered on looks. Everyone in her society undergoes a transformation at 16 to change them into someone pretty. Her whole ambition in life is to be pretty and then she meets Shay. Shay tells her about a place where life isn't based on looks and you can be yourself and when Shay runs away Tally is forced into searching for her and when she finds her she learns the truth about her society.

The whole beauty centered world is an interesting concept. The founders of this society believed that if everyone were beautiful then no one would fight. There would be no wars or strife, but we all know that utopias are unattainable and ultimately its all about the control of the masses.

Overall, it was a fun read. I thought Tally started out a shallow character only believing the facts of life she was fed but she grew up a lot after her adventure. There is more to beauty besides what's on the outside after all.



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Monday, March 16, 2015

Interview with Monica La Porta



Interview with Monica La Porta
 
 

Hi, Monica. I would like to thank you for coming back to the Cotton Patch and talking about your the Immortals.
new series,

Hi, Flora, thank you for having me back, it’s always a pleasure to visit the Cotton Patch.

1. For those who are unfamiliar with my last interview with you, would you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an Italian, born and raised in Rome, lived in Santa Marinella, a small town by the Mediterranean Sea, for several years, then moved to the States. Washington state has been my home for the last fifteen years. I enjoy the green and the rain, and overall I love the peacefulness of the Pacific Northwest. I write mainly in English, but my stories have always a reference to my Italian and more specifically Roman roots. Rome is a constant character in my books, even when it is masked as Ginecea.

2. Please tell us about your new series. How many books are you planning on writing for this series? And when can we expect the next one?

My latest series, The Immortals, is about a group of flawed heroes with the gift/curse of immortality and their struggle to find love and happiness. Five books are already out, and I plan to write a few more—Quintilius, Ludwig, Malina, and Caelum are still waiting for their stories to be told. Soon, in a month or so, Raphael, the first title in the Immortal Youth of Rome, a YA spinoff from the main series, should come out.

3. What was your inspiration for this series?

I am an avid reader and a few years ago I was looking for a paranormal/urban fantasy series set in Rome, but I couldn’t find any. So, I decided to write one. At the time, I was working on the last title in The Ginecean Chronicles and at the same time on Gaia & Elios. In between editing passes, I checked every book I could find on Roman culture. I used every free moment I had to take notes about Roman society. Particularly, I was interested in what Romans liked to do to entertain themselves, what they wore, what they ate, their religion, etc. For sheer fun—and because I like to cook—I even tried a few Roman recipes. Among them, the Roman Libum, a ricotta cake soaked in honey I proudly documented on my blog. Part of this research was used in The Lost Centurion, the first title in The Immortals. Bits and pieces of Marcus’s past as a Roman commander are shown throughout his story woven into the modern-day setting of the series. Eager to learn—and because the more I delved into my immortal characters the more I realized I had to create a whole new universe for them—I also researched about Etruscan and Hindu mythology. I needed to know how good versus evil are portrayed in several religions around the world so that I could be able to build a fictitious world strictly set by internal rules and regulations.

4. You have such wonderful characters (Peter is rather yummy) are they based on people you know?

I have been lucky to meet many wonderful people in my life, but every one of my male heroes has something of my husband’s. It might be just one detail, or the way they speak, move, or act before danger or unfair situations.

5. Are all of the books in the Immortals series be set in Europe? Will any of your characters travel to the U.S.?

In An Immortal Valentine’s Day, I briefly explain how Peter and Ophelia spend some time in Washington state for their honeymoon, because they need national parks and the freedom to let Ophelia’s Wolfie to roam for her monthly run under the moon. I will probably have a few of the immortals travel abroad, because I love my new home as much as I love my Italy and I like to incorporate Seattle in my stories any way I can.

6. The cover art for the Immortals is beautiful. Alessandro Fiorini did the cover art for your Ginecean Chronicles, is he doing the cover art for the Immortals as well?


Alessandro, my good friend and exceptional cover artist, moved to a different career a year ago and he’s being as successful in his new endeavor as he was in making covers. Currently, I am working on the covers myself and I love everything about the creative process. From looking for that perfect model, to spending hours deciding on a background, or the ever-consuming quest to get the typeface right, there’s nothing I don’t like. Every finished cover is made of sometimes more than ten different layers and hours of tweaking shadows and color palette. Usually, I ask my readers to vote on two or three possible images. It’s always fun to see the visceral reaction a cover can elicit. For example, for An Immortal Valentine’s Day I combined two of them, one with a vertical title and the other with the more common horizontal one. Readers were split 50/50 and gave me reasons why they liked one more than the other. To make everyone happy, I created a third cover that had all the elements everyone seemed to like the most.



7. I confess, The Ginecean Chronicles is still my favorite of all your works, will you be adding any more works to this series?

I might. I have been thinking about it for a while, and I would like to write the whole story behind those two last chapters in The Priest, my most controversial work. People seem to either love or hate that book because of its ending, but more than once it was suggested to me to add those missing years to the series. I always, always, listen to my readers, and the idea to go back to the City of Men is tempting.








8. Do you have any other projects planned?

In my mind I have several, but time usually works against me. Since I wrote down a few ideas about the immortal kids growing up, I’d love to have the first title of An Immortal Future series out by the end of the year. And, as I said, The Ginecean Chronicles are always there waiting for me… I wish I were faster, but although very methodical, I am a slow writer. I constantly edit while I type and that slows down the flow. I have started to outline detailed summaries for every story and that has sped up the process, but I am still not as fast as I’d like to be. Working on it.

9. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank you, Flora. As I said in other occasions, it is only thanks to dedicated book bloggers like you that unknown authors get a chance to be discovered. So, again, my heartfelt thanks to you! Grazie mille!


Monica La Porta on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/momilp/
 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Hidden Demon

The Hidden Demon (The Immortals, #4)The Hidden Demon by Monica La Porta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have loved everything I have received from this author and this book is no exception.

Book #4 of the Immortals series, we are introduced to Peter who is a demon that has the job of reading the last moments of the dead. Ophelia, who we met in book #3 is still pining for Samual and doesn't know if she will ever find her true mate. The characters of Peter and Ophelia are so similar you wonder if they will ever fit together but at the same time how can they stay apart.

Peter and Ophelia come together to solve the mystery of the deaths of two lovers found entwined in a grave, one is the skeleton of a vampire which shouldn't exist in the first place. Peter's touch gives him the ability to see the last moments of someone before they die. His touch also has a powerful affect on a woman. His reputation proceeds him and Ophelia is instantly drawn to this demon and he is to her but soon he decides he wants more than a one night stand. What results is a powerful emotional tug of war that leaves you wondering if these two will ever hook up or remain stubborn and heartbroken.

All of the books in the Immortals series can be read as stand alone books or in order. I've read them all and each are great, this one so far is my favorite. I love the strong characters of both Ophelia and Peter as well as the mystery that encompasses them. Its a great story and one that shouldn't be missed.



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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Beyond Addiction

Beyond Addiction (Beyond, #5)Beyond Addiction by Kit Rocha

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is one of my favorite books in this series and I've loved them all.

I love the dystopian world that Kit Rocha has created and in each book we see and learn more about it.

This book centers on Trix and Finn. Trix had lived in Sector Five and was hopelessly addicted. Finn believed her to be dead until one night she was kidnapped and brought back to Sector Five from Sector Four. Now that she's back and alive he will do whatever it takes to keep her whole and happy.

I loved these characters. You could feel what its like to lose the one you love and then suddenly find them again. But so much time had passed neither was as the other had left them. The turmoil and tension added to twists and turns of this romance. And the hot steamy scenes just added icing to the cake. My favorite of the series and I cried at the end.

Awesome series! Best if read in order, but each can stand alone.



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Monday, January 19, 2015

Generation M

Generation M (The Toucan Trilogy, #3)Generation M by Scott Cramer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is the last of the Toucan Trilogy and I have enjoyed them all.

Generation M wraps up the story of Toucan and her brother Jordan and sister Abbey after the Night of the Purple Moon. Cramer did a wonderful job of bringing this story to life. I kept thinking about how much older the characters seemed than their ages and I know its because they have had to grow up so fast. They were forced into adult roles before they should have been. And they answered the challenged very well. Their parents would have been proud to have known how they handled themselves in the face of so much pain and hardship. It was hard seeing how the little ones were suffering from the rampant disease and what little government was left wasn't trying to help. It would be interesting to know how other countries had handled such a disaster as we only saw what was happening in the US.

The twist at the end I could have done without. It seems like so many YA books and movies these days have me wanting to scream "No!!!! It shouldn't end that way!!" But after it was all said and done it was an ending I could live with. I'll say no more to keep away *spoilers*

I wasn't ready for the story to end. I wanted to know more about how what their future held. I had so many questions. Overall, I loved the series and enjoyed each book. Its a good series for any age.



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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spell For Sophia




Spell For Sophia









SpellForSophia_453x680Spell for Sophia




Sophia Perez-Hidalgo’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her. How far must she flee to escape them forever? Sophia runs until she’s out of stolen money, then…Fate delivers her into the arms of Louisiana teen Shiloh Breaux Martine, and his grand-mère, a voodoo priestess living deep in the bayou.




Breaux knows Sophia is trouble — but he’ll travel through time, battle zombies, and risk his bright future to protect her. While Ainslie, best friend extraordinaire, will jeopardize her sanity to find and aid Sophia. When friendship, magic, and love are not enough, Sophia will have to save herself. But first, she must believe she’s worth saving.

Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you cannot see.


















Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jailhouse Doc: A Doctor in the County Jail

Jailhouse Doc: A Doctor in the County JailJailhouse Doc: A Doctor in the County Jail by William Wright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A truly interesting page turner.

Dr. William Wright was an ear, nose, and throat specialist that decided to take his career in a different path. This book gives insight into his job as a physician at a county jail in Colorado. We get a view into the lives of the prisoners from the perspective of the clinic as well as how the doctor came to be there and how he left. The concerns and dealings with the prisoners are different with the staff of the clinic than they are with the police officers and guards. They have medical issues like everyone else but these are usually exacerbated by not having access to routine medical care and is often compounded with drug and alcohol abuse and poor nutrition.

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was like sitting and listening to someone tell their story of working in such an environment. This is a book that everyone should read.



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