The Prince with Amnesia by Emily Evans

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Despite the fact that the title could be a little more alluring and that the reader has to suspend all reality for this book, (because no way is a hot, seventeen year old, European prince, second in line to his county’s throne, going to go to a public high school in Texas. That’s just stuff of fairy tales, not real life.) (Damn it!) this is a surprisingly good story. In fact, in my opinion, if it had been fleshed out a little, with more character development, more insight into the hero, Kai’s family, and had not left the reader hanging at the end, I would’ve given it 5 stars.

**Spoiler Alert**

Kind of…

The ending is not really a cliff hanger, per se, more like it just ends without any elaboration. We get the bones of the plot but not the meat. We’re given little hints about things, such as Kai’s grandmother’s involvement in the cause of his amnesia but no further explanation. There’s the whole reality show set up that we’re led to believe is to bring attention to the small country, but seems to just be an elaborate cover up for Kai’s… assassination? (It’s not spelled out but that’s what I concluded even though he’d been in Texas for most of it.) And what’s with Violet’s overbearingly strict parents not letting her date all through high school but allowing her to run all over Europe with a group of her classmates, with just her eighteen year old male cousin and one woman teacher as chaperones? See? Just not enough build up and transition from one plot point to the next.

I know it sounds like I didn’t like, The Prince with Amnesia, on the contrary, I liked it a lot. I think that’s why I’m leaving such a critical sounding review. I’ve read other books by Emily Evans and I know this one could’ve been something great.

Best wishes for great books,

Charli

Captivate (Book one of the Submerged Sun Series) by Vanessa Garden

Oh wow! I really loved this book! So original and consuming! It just grabbed me from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in one sitting. 

At first, I thought it was going to be a mermaid/merman story but the whole, city-under-the-sea thing was really cool, and I loved the possible-submerged-space-ship angle. The descriptions of the city were perfect, not overdone but just enough to let your imagination take over, and the crystals were a very unique touch.

I felt I could really connect with the characters and understand why they were feeling the way they were. Miranda seemed to feel and do, what I would expect someone to do in her place. I loved Robbie from the beginning, although he was the one to steal Miranda away from her family. He seemed to be a good person who felt split by loyalty and what was right. I really didn’t like Marko, at all, and, when he began to redeem himself somewhat, I resisted liking him. He did grow on me, eventually, although I hated his punishment of Robbie. His decision was explained very well, and he showed obvious remorse for what he had to do, but I was still mad at him. I was also a bit conflicted about the outcome of the ‘love triangle’ (I won’t elaborate so as not to spoil the outcome for others). I wasn’t quite sure who I wanted Miranda to end up with and I swayed back and forth on my feelings for both guys. To me, this is a sign of a good book. When the reader is so drawn into the story that their feelings are involved, I think the author has definitely done their job.
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Even though the ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger, I was satisfied with it and am really looking forward to reading the next book.

Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine

Close since they were young children, Levi and Sarah have spent the last year trying to just get by, day to day, alone. A year has passed since their lives were shattered, and their loneliness and sadness has kept them from really living. Their circumstances could’ve been so easily remedied if they’d only talked to each other. Unfortunately, they both blamed themselves for what drove them apart and were unable to get past their grief and guilt. Until they’re, unknowingly, finally forced together again, one of them was never able to face the other, and the other, felt abandoned and discarded.

Best Kind of Broken

There were times during ‘Best Kind of Broken’ where my heart actually ached for the two main characters. They’ve suffered a terrible loss and, because of their imagined fault, have suffered alone. You can’t help but want to hug them and tell them everything’ll be alright. It’s terrible how we beat ourselves up over something uncontrollable that’s happened.

“If I’d only done this…”

“If only I hadn’t done that…”

The ‘what-ifs’ can drive a person crazy, literally. These two dance around each other, and their feelings, until you want to yell at them to talk it out, already. When they finally do, you’ll sigh with relief and rub the aching spot over your heart. There’s still a lot of pain but they realize they haven’t been alone after-all. The people around them have been there for them all along.

I do have to admit that Levi’s parents were a little much for me. Without spoiling the plot, I did feel that they reacted a little unrealistically for their past personalities but who knows how I would feel if their situation happened to me. Their part of the ending was kind of easily ‘wrapped up’, too but once their eyes were opened to how they acted, their perspectives changed and they realized that their actions were not fair to their son, or to each other. Parents are not automatically wonderful, as we see in the news every day, and people react in different ways, so this is just my opinion. All-in-all, this was a wonderful read and I’m happy that there are more books to follow.

A good-sized cast of terrific characters, plenty of heartache and angst, and a sweet, happy ending, make this a typical, Chelsea Fine, must-read.

I received a copy of ‘Best Kind of Broken’ from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow! A Shade of Vampire is one of the most original books I think I’ve ever read…

With so many vamp books around, it’s very difficult, at best, to come up with a unique spin on the subject. Bella Forrest has accomplished that, and then some!

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http://www.bellaforrest.blogspot.com/

Combining some common vampire themes, modern day thinking and major imagination, A Shade of Vampire goes where no other vampire book has. Sure, the heroine being kidnapped to become a slave to a vampire, has been done before but the meat of the story goes way off from there.

Taken to a secret haven for vampires, this feisty heroine is unknowingly destined to be a slave for the prince of the vamps, who’s been asleep for 400 years. Kind of like a blood-sucking Sleeping Beauty, except, instead of being awakened by a prince, he is the prince!

I won’t go into any more details so as not to spoil the plot but, if you like vamp books, I’d suggest giving this one a try. There’s danger, intrigue, romance, magic, and mystery, and the characters are three-dimensional in a way that makes you think they could be real people, if vampires really existed.

The ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger, as this is the first book in the series, so I’m more than looking forward to reading the next one when it comes out.

Where to find it…

Paperback:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shade-Of-Vampire-Bella-Forrest/dp/1481280767

eBook:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/295599
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A-Shade-Of-Vampire-ebook/dp/B00AOHDMFE

Charli’s review of Antichrist 16: The Becoming

Available at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Antichrist-16-Becoming-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0083AB0EO/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

It’s taken me a while to figure out what to write in the review for this story. Not because it was bad, on the contrary, because it was so good! I wanted to be able to do it justice. It’s a very original plot, at least one I’ve never run across before, and I really enjoyed it from the first page.

The Antichrist, Nathan, is one of those characters that you feel you actually know. He’s a typical teen that has the uncanny ability to charm his way out of trouble, most of the time. He enjoys hanging with his close friends, he routinely gets picked on by bullies, he gets along pretty well with the teachers at his school, and he has a pretty good relationship with his family. The only thing in his life that causes him pause, besides the bullies, is that he’s adopted and occasionally mentions wondering about his real parents. He takes it all in stride, though, and doesn’t feel as though his life is lacking in any way. For the most part, he appears to be well-adjusted with a great, snarky sense of humor.

Feeling this way about Nathan, I had a problem knowing he was the Antichrist in the story. I wondered how the heck he could be something evil when he seemed to be so sweet. As the story progresses, the author explains their version of the Antichrist as not being evil so much, as being the Uniter of the survivors after the Apocalypse. This put a totally unique spin on the concept of the Antichrist for me. Now, I’m not saying there’s not some badness going on there but I don’t know that evil is the word I’d use to describe it.

I’m not one to include spoilers in my reviews, so I’ll just say that the journey from the explanation of Nathan being the Antichrist, and the end of the book, is one hell of a ride. There were so many twists and turns I stopped trying to anticipate where the story was going, and just enjoyed it. It was definitely worth the ride! I read the last page with some disappointment not knowing when the next installment was due to be released. I sure hope it’s soon!

Goodreads | Charli Denae Mercer’s review of Antichrist 16: The Becoming.

I did not see that coming… at all!

I’m feeling very mixed about this story. It’s really long and kind of flops back and forth quite a bit. Just when you think it’s going to wrap up, some other epic thing happens and it keeps going. Now, this is not really a bad thing, it’s just that there were a few places where I questioned what was happening and was almost getting mad at the characters and thinking, ‘Enough already!’ When I got to the end, which knocked me for a loop as I did not see it coming, at all, the aforementioned complaints became completely clear. I discovered the reason that the plot seemed to go back and forth so much. I also was right to question what was going on. I just didn’t know it at the time.

That being said, I seriously could not put this book down. It kept me intrigued and involved throughout. The main heroine, Abby, brings the reader over to her side pretty quickly. After a terrible tragedy that crushes her spirit, her family is convinced that she’s cracked mentally. She labors to convince them that she’s not crazy through the entire story and, when she finally has evidence that she’s telling the truth, the entire thing blows up in her, and our, face. I’m not going to give the ending away but, let me just say that, if you see it coming, you’re a lot smarter than I am, because it caught me entirely unaware! I’m usually pretty good at figuring out what’s going to happen in movies and books, too, but not this time. As I read the last word, I just kind of sat there for a minute to let it digest before turning my Kindle off. It was like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. Everything was suddenly clear! I think I actually said, “Wow” out loud. LOL!!

This is where my feelings are mixed. Though I obviously enjoyed the story, a part of me was a little disappointed at the ending but, another part of me was awed that the author had the guts to end it the way that she did.

If you like paranormal stories that include angels and demons, you’ll love this story. If you like dramatic stories that involve heroines with personal dilemmas to solve, you’ll love this story. If you like stories with a ‘I totally did not see that coming’ ending, you’ll definitely love this story. I received this story in exchange for an honest review, and I honestly can say that I would spend the money on it, to read it again.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/412638571

Charli Denae’s Reviews > ‘Feyland: The Dark Realm’ by Anthea Sharp

       Charli Denae Mercer‘s review

Sep 20, 2012
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I was sent a digital download of ‘Feyland: The Dark Realm’ by the author, Anthea Sharp, in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d read the synopsis and thought it sounded interesting but really, hadn’t the ‘teenagers-being-sucked-into-a-computer-game’ plot been done before? What really intrigued me, though, was the mention of the computer game being ‘a gateway to the dangerous Realm of the Faerie’. I love fairy tales, especially retold tales, so I decided to go in with an open mind. I try to always be open-minded and positive about things. I don’t want to jump to conclusions or pass judgement before I truly understand what’s going on. I’ve been burned before when I’ve done that and, even though I was pretty sure I knew what to expect, I still wanted to give the book a fair try. What I really didn’t expect, was to be actually drawn into the game myself! All I can say is, ‘Wow’!
The description of Feyland and it’s characters is, in itself, a great reason to read this book. The writing is like prose only… not so much. It’s hard to explain but you actually feel the words. I mean, ‘Sparkling like moonlight on frost’… ? Yep. Can’t you picture it… almost feel the chill? Or how about, ‘It was a cobweb whisper through his mind’? I know, right? You can actually hear a faint whisper floating through your head but then, you’re not quite sure if you really heard anything, or not. The whole book is like that. It’s wonderful! Even if you don’t have a very creative imagination, you’ll find yourself being able to see every level of Feyland in your mind.The Realm character descriptions are equally as magical. You’ll find yourself gasping at how wickedly beautiful the Dark Queen is, or wrinkling your nose at how bad the goblins smell. Your heart will quicken when there’s danger and you’ll catch your breath once you’re safe. You’ll recall fairy tales you saw or read as a child in every character you meet but they’ll seem totally unique, at the same time. 

The human, or real world, is a drastic contrast in itself, as well as to Feyland. Everything is either decrepit and precarious, or impeccable and unassailable, almost like a sterile prison. In fact, the whole story seems to be a contradiction of itself as the two worlds fight against each other. As they start to bleed into one another, you begin to question where one world ends, and the other begins. 

The mortal characters are pretty cool, too. Jennet, the heroine, has an endearing vulnerability that she continually pushes through to draw on her inner strength. As she travels through Feyland, she draws on this strength, at first, to save herself but eventually, to save those she loves, as well as all of mankind. Tam, the hero, is less than poor and, at first, seems kind of cold and aloof. He assumes that Jennet is judging him and works to appear indifferent. You find out why as his home life is revealed but you wonder how he’ll be able to help her with so much already on his plate. It’s soon apparent that there’s much more to Tam than you first assume. He’s a champion ‘Simmer’ (simulation computer game player), very responsible, and loyal to the bone. I’m convinced he’s among the very best Young Adult heroes out there.

The secondary characters aren’t described in much detail but, miraculously, you tend to get a pretty good picture of them through various situations and conversations. Some are detrimental to the plot, and some are just there to move the story along but the author gives you the sense that all of the characters are just as important as any of the others. There’s a definite ending to the story but, at the same time, there’s hope that the story will continue because it’s just that good. These briefly mentioned characters could very well play a larger role in Tam and Jennet’s future but, if they don’t, you feel as though you got to know them anyway.

I really, really enjoyed this book. This is one of those books where the words just flow so smoothly that you lose track of time. It’s almost like you’re actually lost in the play of a game and can’t believe what time it is when you finally look up. Books like that don’t come along all that often but when they do, you almost mourn them when you’re through. You miss the characters and actually yearn to read it again just so you can reconnect with them. Give this series a try, I’m convinced you won’t be sorry. You may even share a love/hate relationship with me once you’re done, sad that it’s already over.

Goodreads | Charli Denae Mercer’s review of Feyland: The Dark Realm

(The 2nd book in the Trilogy, ‘Feyland: The Bright Court’, is out now, with the 3rd to be released this fall, 2012.)