Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking
My rating: 54.5 of 5 stars
*** Advanced Reader Copy provided by the publisher ***
Ice Kissed is the second book in the Kanin Chronicles by Amanda Hocking and is a worthy successor to the first novel Frostfire. The world of the trolls is fascinating, with the exception that Canada seems to be a world locked in snow and ice. As I write this I am in Banff National Park in March staring at … green. Perhaps this is a world without global warming?
The writing is crisp and precise and the story moves along at a quick pace. When you can empathize with the character the author has done a good job of portraying the characters strengths and faults and presents them a situation that seems all too real. That is what Amanda Hocking has done in Ice Kissed as Bryn seems truly tortured by the events transpiring around her. Trapped in a world where her desire for justice, for doing what her heart tells her, causes a rippling effect throughout the community, Bryn is forced to follow a path that she doesn’t enjoy, but that she must follow..
For me, at least, the ending of Frostfire seemed incomplete while Ice Kissed seems to be just right. Bryn is faced with a number of choices and behaves exactly how I would expect her to behave and while the overall story arc still continues the storyline in Ice Kissed seems complete. This is not labelled as a mystery, however, so don’t expect the plot to be complex and convoluted. The plot is somewhat see-through and mystery lovers will find it somewhat weak. As a Young Adult fantasy, however, the mystery is used as a character development tool and in that the novel does what needs to be done.
Believable characters combined with an excellent adventure. What more do you need?
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I wasn’t sure that I was going to like The Darkest Minds as the book started off slowly, at least for me. However, in a very short period of time I became emotionally invested in ensuring that Ruby survived. Invested in ensuring that Liam, Chubbs and Suzume all escaped the shackles they found themselves under and not just lived, but thrived.
Safety, however, is not something that can easily be found. And being able to care about those around you? Harder still. The Darkest Minds follows Ruby as she struggles to make sense of the world around her and the powers that she possesses.
I must admit that I was initially not a big fan of the ending. I mean, girl-meets-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-gets-boy, is the normal swing of a book. Not for [a:Alexandra Bracken|2973783|Alexandra Bracken|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1411581389p2/2973783.jpg] as she decides that she wants to play with you and your emotions. While it makes sense what happened, it is most definitely not what I was expecting nor what I wanted.
The Darkest Minds is an excellent book by a woman whose career looks very bright.
You Are Mine by Janeal Falor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You Are Mine by Janeal Falor provides us with a very stylized world in which the “ownership” of women is a well established fact and our protagonist feels compelled to break the rules in an attempt at preventing herself from falling victim to this policy.
The book was interesting, but the callousness of the warlocks and their rituals seemed “over the top” and added more as one more thing that the civilized reader would hold against the warlocks. And the barbarians? From the readers perspective the barbarians are actually the more civilized, causing our heroine, Serena, to wonder whether or not the stories she has heard are true.
While the book does a good job of helping us understand how decades of institutionlized abuse and wholesale ownership of women, well, people in general, can do a good job of warping one’s perspective, the sudden realization that there is an underground in place to help people like her seems to lack standing within the novel. A few more hints, earlier on, of trouble in society would have gone a long way towards setting a better base upon which to build the finale.
Overall, however, the book was a good read and kept me entertained throughout.
Claimed by Sarah Fine
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
*** Advance Reader Copy provided by the publisher ***
*** Goodreads rating: 4.5/5 star ***
Claimed is the sequel to Marked, but unlike many sequels this novel focuses it’s attention on two different characters than those emphasized in the first book. And I think it worked. While Eli and Cacy were good characters for the first book, Galena Margolis and Declan Ferry are more complex, nuanced characters that allow the psychologist in Sarah Fine to come out.
The backstory behind Galena is tragic and something that no one should have to go through, but it fits so well within the world created by Marked that the details of its appearance in Claimed seem natural. While the storyline around the Ferrys and the Keres and the Keepers of the Afterlife continue, it is Galena and Declan upon whom we focus our attention. The universe being built, novel by novel, is complex and frightening to envision and throughout all of the pain and sorrow that we witness in the novel, there is still a shining thread of hope that binds us all together.
Claimed is a worthy successor to Marked and I look forward to the next novel in the series.