Thursday, May 19, 2016

Saltlands by Elizabeth Stephens

Population, Book 2

Saltlands picks up exactly where Population left off. Kane has been captured by the Notare Elise. Abel and Mikey (Mikael - Kane's younger brother) have escaped her clutches only to try and figure out how to get Kane from her. Now we have an asshole of a brother, Mikey, treking across country to get Kane back using only the blood bond he shares with Abel. During their travel, Abel is ... Brutally beaten ... I mean ... BRUTALLY. Man ... Abel goes through so much shit in this book that I'm just tired! Anyway ... She ends up being brutally beaten after having to save Mikey's ass, who abandons her. He comes to his senses and goes to get her before going into the Saltlands (Seattle) to save Kane from Notare Elise and whatever she's doing to him.

I'm tired.

What did I like? Every f*cking thing imaginable. I can't even. Like. I liked Population but I LOVE Saltlands. I'm just. Yall. I can't. Being out in Population is as close to being in hell as you can get. I don't know of many authors who can accurately convey anxiety like Elizabeth Stephens can. You are CONSTANTLY anxious when out in Population because the sh*t is so real that you can't predict just how bad things will go. The interaction between Mikey and Abel was incredibly well written as well as Mikey's character development. From the very start of the book and up to the end, you can see every bit of change in him that he makes. Abel's 'fight' is still unmatched. I know of probably only 2 other fictional characters who could go through that amount of stuff and still keep ticking and holding on to their true selves in the process. Abel is one of the best written female protags out there. She's still very connected to her emotions but she just doesn't make those emotionally rash/charged decisions. The girls head is on straight even if she's half dead. The world building is impeccable, all the characters are written well. I really enjoyed the detail put into fleeting characters that reminded Abel of someone. It makes me think that we may be seeing them again in the next story. Now, although this ends Abel's story ... It's just the beginning of someone elses that will start in book 3. And I can honestly say that I am down for whoever the author pics to focus her next phase of this series on.

What did I not like about this? Absolutely nothing. *kanye shrug* It was on point. If I had to gripe on anything, I would have liked to see the Lavhe (sp?) in action more. I got the implication of how badass he was but I didn't get to see it.

Overall I'm still wanting to find out more about Abel being a human with her new 'specialty.' I would also like some kind of update about Abel's name. I really just want more. I feel like whining. I loved this so much. THanks so much to Elizabeth Stephens for sending it over. I'm just ... Mikey is a new favorite of mine.

Seriously ... I have 3 top favorite women in books. Jane Yellowrock, Kate Daniels, and Mercy Thompson (yes, I talk shit about Mercy but I still love her). I'm not yet about to add Abel to my list but I have a feeling I will be down the line.

5 Stars
IR: Abel (b/w) Kane (other)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

War of the Alphas (Books 3 & 4) by SM Reine


Alpha: War of the Alphas, Book 3
Pas: War of the Alphas, Book 4

I decided to review both of these books since I read them back to back. I'm going to keep this brief, though since details from each book are mumbled due to reading them so close behind each other ...

Anyway ... Book 3 picks up after Deirdre was brought back to life. Books 3 and 4 are a little bit of the darker side than books 1 and 2. These two are really ... Tiring.

Details are short right now, I just need to say a few things about each.

The tone, in my opinion, changes from book 2 to 3. Then 3 and 4 get darker and darker. Deirdre is being teased by an animal who is a lot like her, having fire, but it's more like ... He's dangling this complicated life in front of her and she decides not to pursue this option, which I think was smart. The most incredible thing about the last 2 books is seeing Deirdre basically turn into Everton Stark. When you start the series, you kind of get the sense that she's seeing things his way, but there comes a time when she's fully understanding why he is the way he is and it's a little scary. However ... She maintains a bit of her true self underneath ... At least enough to see how wrong things have gone and will do what needs to be done to fix it. By book 4, I think I spent the second half of that book almost in tears. But I thought it was great because Deirdre finally got the chance to stop, think, breathe, and cry. She needed it SO much.

The ending, in regards to the main outcome of the election, is predictable. And I only say that because I've read SM Reine's work before. I started out with a couple of a books (that I didn't review) that focused on Rylie Gresham ... Going to camp ... Getting bitten ... All of that. I remember decided not to continue the series simply because I don't like Rylie. And even now, even though this series takes place a long time after Rylie being a teen ... I still don't like her. But it's not all the time. My problem is, I'm such a big fan of Deirdre that I don't want any opposition and I don't want her caving to Rylie Gresham ... Which happens ... BUT ... By that time, it's okay.

The best thing about this series is you get mind fucked. You go in na├»ve and basically blind. Deirdre is surviving on fear and confusion. Then she's intrigued because maybe there's a way she'll find that she's not an Omega. Later, you're sucked into having to deal with being Alpha, dealing in politics, being disappointed, falling in confused lust ... Then going to save the Alpha, and the election in the process. And she has to do this while un-mindfucking herself. IT'S A LOT! This series was really well written from top to bottom. It pulled at my heart immensely and I was mostly happy with the ending. I especially love when Stark basically goes of the deep end when dealing with his family.

However ... SM left us a breadcrumb. Deirdre leaves Stark a little gift at the end so I'm more than anxious to find out what kind of series or mention spins from this in the future.

Reminder: Deirdre is black. She's described as having cocoa colored skin, a small gap between her teeth and hair a little past her shoulders. Below are the covers for 2 of the German versions of the series. They feature a black model. The covers are beautiful, right?


Also ... Abel (Rylie's mate) is black. Queen Ofelia is as well but you only get her briefly in book 3.