Friday, October 3, 2014

I'm moving!

I am moving my blog to my website so everything is all in the same location.

Please go to http://www.kfbreene.com/blog for new blog entries. I'll leave this site up for a while for the old stuff.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review: Midnight Runes by Celeste Buie


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Midnight Runes by Celeste Buie 
Reviewer: Sally Sparrow









Amazon  |  Goodreads 





WHEN YOUR FUTURE’S AT STAKE, DO YOU FOLLOW YOUR HEAD OR HEART?

Brynn Emerson has always been in control of her life—until a mysterious stranger invades her dreams and her boyfriend, Trevor, suddenly dumps her.

Life gets more complicated when secretive newcomer Landon shows up at school. The playful and handsome Landon is somehow connected to Brynn’s ex-boyfriend.

Determined to find out how they know each other, Brynn draws closer to Landon…only to realize too late that she's risking more than she thought possible.

Meanwhile, a person of power has his sights on Brynn. Will Trevor and Landon work together to keep her safe? Or will she be pulled against her will into their mysterious world?





 
I am not a huge fan of YA novels as there is frequently too much teen chatter for my taste, but the premise of this book was so interesting I wanted to read it anyway.
 
There is quite a bit of teenager chatter.
 
However, if you don’t mind that, or can look past it, the story itself is quite compelling.
 
After repeatedly blowing her off, Brynn’s older boyfriend breaks up with her right before she starts her senior year of high school. He’s been acting odd for a while, and since their families have been friends for decades, Brynn has known Trevor for literally her entire life. She knows there is something strange going on - Trevor ignores all of his old friends in favor of his new, mysterious group of friends - but other than fruitlessly badgering Trevor for information Brynn doesn’t know how to learn the truth. Life goes on, with all of the drama of high school, as more puzzling things happen and the mystery is slowly revealed.
 
It took me a while to get sucked into this book. For starters, there are a lot of explanations: explaining what everyone looks like, explaining how the town is set up, explaining the social workings of the school, etc. Brynn is more telling the readers her story rather than bringing us along for the ride that is her life. Going along for the ride is infinitely more fun than being told a story. Secondly, because of all the telling, it felt like the set up was very slow. You eventually realize the importance of the early scenes, but at the time I was impatient for things to get exciting.
 
Brynn is quite likable, as are her friends. There is a love triangle, which is fun, but a complete lack of sex. Not that I want to read teen sex scenes, but I always find it a bit awkward when the topic is completely ignored. It is tricky territory and I have yet to find a YA author who navigates this skillfully. In this case, very few of the characters seem to be interested in having a love life, which is notable because Brynn shares so many other details. Having so many platonic, seemingly asexual male friends is not very realistic.
 
This is most definitely a Part 1 book. There is something of a resolution at the end, so we readers don’t walk away completely perplexed and empty-handed, but the big conclusion to the mystery is still far off.
 
My only real gripe here - the teenspeak I am so not fond of frequently comes with the YA territory so I shouldn’t really complain about that - is that while I am eager to see how this plays out, the rest of the series hasn’t yet been published.
 
I am forever impatient.


4 stars





 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: Demons by K.F. Breene

 
 


Demons by K.F. Breene
Reviewer: Sally Sparrow
















It’s been a long road, but Sasha has finally claimed her role as the least knowledge mage in history. She’s also acquired a new, incredibly grumpy bodyguard, and a spunky new BFF. With her team by her side, she learns the ropes of this new profession.

Her experience level is about to be fast-tracked, however.

On a routine trip to check out a perimeter breach, she encounters a hideous demon called by an experienced magic worker. It is this terrifying discovery that unlocks a deeper problem: Stefan’s troubled past and the reason he gravely mistrusts the Mata.

While Sasha struggles to fight the physical demons, Stefan struggles to fight the demons of his past. If he fails, his future in Sasha will be lost.




When I first heard that KF Breene was continuing her Darkness series, I was wary. There is a lot that goes on in these books, and while I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride each installment of this story takes me on, every storyline has its limits. There is a fine line between a series continuing naturally, and an author dragging out a storyline. There will always be more that can be written, but sometimes it just shouldn’t be written.

Oh, me of little faith! If anything, Demons is even better than the last book. There are battles waged, new enemies, new friendships forged, family bonds formed, and of course, hot sex. Plus witches and demons and naked people, oh my!

Book four takes us back to the Mansion, and back into regular life for Sasha and Stefan. At this point I feel I know these characters so well that returning to normal life at the mansion was kind of like coming back home after being away on a trip - comfortably familiar. Having the full gang together in one place, and getting to know everyone else better, was really enjoyable. Of course that happens amidst all sorts of fights, battles, threats, worries, quips, one-liners, and furniture-shattering sex. Did you expect anything less??

I especially loved seeing Stefan’s weak side. He has always been so strong and god-like that sometimes he seemed too perfect. Until now, when we learn more about his background, and finally see his humanity (irony!). We also see that Tao does blink and Jonas actually has a personality. I know! I was shocked too.

As I finish each installment in this series, I am left feeling simultaneously satisfied and hungry for more. It is an impressive achievement, which is why KF Breene continues to be one of my favorite authors.

Rumor has it there is a book five in our future...


 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sex in YA

Sex in books has gotten out of hand, I think. I just saw a post on Facebook where people were wondering if sex in YA books was good news. Many said yes, they would like to see sex in those books.

Can we stop a minute…

YA is, like, middle school. Pre-teens. Sure, they might be curious, but how gross is that? People can’t stay in their own age limit—they have to desire sex with freaking kids?

They’re kids, people.

Kids.

As in, Harry Potter.

Sure, when Harry got older there was innocent desire, and a first kiss. But Christ-on-a-cracker people, can we sometimes have a little story?

Okay, okay, sure, I’ll own that I’m not a romance junkie. I find the genre as a whole mostly boring. I prefer a story with a side of romance. I want a plot. And within the plot, a look. Sex is good, but it’s hotter when there’s a build-up. I often find the hottest sex scenes the ones that are mostly hinted at. A hand trailing down a stomach, stopping, the fingers turning downwards, and then the heroine’s eyes rolling back in her head as the hand slips under her belt line.

I picture those things, and then fill in the blanks. And I can be very detailed…

I don’t want to envision any of that with kids. I just don’t. I don’t even want to envision it with most of the NA’s written right now.

Plus, what will actual young adults read any more? If adults start pumping 50 Shades of desire into YA books, where will actual Young Adults go to read books? Plus, why do adults need sex in a YA, anyway? Can’t a person read a story without sex?

And if your answer is no, check out Lit Erotica. It’s all free, and it’ll get you where you need to go. There is something for everyone. That'll free up some spending. Then, when you’ve taken care of yourself, meet me back at Harry Potter.

*evil grin*

Here’s an unrelated question for you—when did I get so haggard looking? I just looked at my reflection in the TV (which is turned off) and some sort of monster was looking back at me. A tired-looking, droopy-eyed, lumpy monster. I don’t mind looking older—that’s going to happen. I get it. But do I have to look so worn and weather beaten? I mean, I don’t understand why someone doesn’t put a bag over my head and put me out of my misery. Seriously.

Maybe they’re afraid of me.

That’s probably it. Someone with aggression painted on their face is not to be trusted. I might turn into something with fangs and red eyes. In fact, if I’m PMS’ing, that isn’t so hard to imagine. Instead of getting close enough with a bag, someone will probably poke me with a stick to keep me away as they try to get out of my reach.

The good news is, I probably won’t be mugged. They’ll see my Kate Spade hand bag and obvious female love-handles and their fingers will start twitching. They’ll come up with a plan as they glance at my face—and then stop dead. Their mental voice will screetch as they start backing away quickly. I’ll just hit up the next person, they’ll think.

Forget turning things to stone, I’ll clear the whole area in ten seconds. A sweep of the ugly mug will have everyone scurrying away.

Anyway…what was I talking about before my face distracted me?


Oh, fudge. Don’t mind if I do…