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review 2015-03-25 00:06
Postcards From Asgard by Amalia Dillin
Postcards from Asgard - Amalia Dillin

Thjalfi is a minor character from the Prose Edda (and an even more minor character in the Poetic Edda) but Dillin took the character and definitely made him her own. She turns him into a charming farmhand who surprisingly turned out to be a deep thinker and loyal. Not to mention he sounds easy on the eyes.

 

Gwen is a hard working farm-girl who is as stubborn as the goats she milks. She’s completely independent and comfortable with her lifestyle tending to her goats, horses, chickens, and cats.

 

The two characters as a couple are very well matched. Thjalfi is very giving and Gwen is very stubborn which makes for an interesting pair. The romance starts off tentative but turns sure and sweet.

 

The goats, Blender and Masher, sealed the deal for me. They are horrible, demonic monstrosities that add so much humor to the story and actions cause emotional situations between the characters that I couldn’t help but love the beasts.

Dillin also incorporated a small guide to pronounce Icelandic/Norse words without it sounding like an information dump! Information dumps are hard for authors to avoid when need-to-know information has to make the story and somehow still be seamless.

 

Overall, Postcards From Asgard defiantly satisfied my love for Norse Mythology and in a modern, non-superhero fashion! I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the old Norse myths and wouldn’t mind hearing them with a twist, or for paranormal romance readers in general.

 

ReadingBifrost Blog

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review 2015-03-25 00:02
Review: Chaos Theory by M. Evonne Dobson
Chaos Theory - M. Evonne Dobson

“My life is a high-wire act looking down at the world, and the people below are like distant data sets. Well, those data sets are leaping up to bite me in the butt, forcing me to fall smack into the chaos below.”


Kami’s character is a teen genius aiming for MIT. She doesn’t relate to people and often gives them nicknames of her own devising. For her science project she gathers scraps of meaningful pieces of her life (concert tickets, letters) and stuffs them in her locker with a color coded marble for her “chaos theory” experiment. Everyday she opens her locker she literally waits for another ball to drop. One small change can significantly effect the future (think Butterfly Effect) and Kami struggles to grasp how she can define that in just a locker.

 

Enter: Daniel. He’s known around school as the boy who killed his sister with drugs. When Kami accidentally gets involved with him, something just doesn’t add up in her logical mind and she can’t let go of the mystery behind the boy.

 

Sandy is Kami’s best friend, probably the only one who knows and understands every side of her. Sandy’s theatre work and gossip network makes her a more than competent part of the team.

 

Sam is Sandy’s boyfriend and a reporter for the newspaper. His inquisitive nature and sleuthing skills of his own help him join in the ranks.

 

But (thank goodness) this isn’t a story about teenagers trying to take down drug dealers on their own. Kami’s little group work with Daniel’s handler, Detective Bob, to figure out the truth behind Julia’s death and the drugs found with her.

 

As the story moves on the chaos theory experiment becomes less about the locker and expands into the real world as Kami herself is gaining more knowledge of people as humans and not just data points. The group learns how each small and seemingly unimportant change in Julia’s life ultimately contributed to the end.

 

Overall, I suggest this book to anyone who likes young adult mystery/crime novels with a small mixture of romance. I’m most defiantly waiting for another Kami File.

 

ReadingBifrost Blog

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review 2015-03-24 23:58
Book Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes
My Heart and Other Black Holes - Jasmine Warga

“Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole-it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.”

 


Aysel is a physics nerd. Roman is a basketball star. What they have in common is they both want to die and seek out a suicide partner online.

 

Aysel’s character is what you would picture of a suicidal teen. Her depression forces her to see the worst; her mother’s frown is because of Aysel, people talk behind her back waiting for her to turn into her father, her half-sister living as if Aysel didn’t exist. As she starts to regain hope you slowly start to see behind the veil of her depression that maybe the world doesn’t hate her as much as she thought.

 

Roman’s character is different. He is a former basketball star and shows no outward sign of being depressed until Aysel looks closer and sees herself in him. His depression comes in the form of guilt over an accident that happen almost a year before the story takes place, in which he is sure is his fault.

 

My physics-nerd half is a little disappointed that Aysel, being a physics-nerd herself, didn’t mention the titled “Black Holes” as much as I would have liked. There was plenty of talk of kinetic and potential energies, but only once (maybe a couple of times) when a black hole was mentioned as a comparison to depression.

 

The individual emotions of the two main characters is what makes this book stand out. One character trying to find a connection and another trying to disconnect; both feeling different emotions and having different reasonings but coming to the same conclusion. It’s a slap in the face to Aysel (as well as the reader) that anyone can be suffering from depression no matter how well put together they seem on the surface.

 

I would have liked more interactions with minor characters. I’m a sucker for good minor characters and there was so much potential in Aysel’s half-sister and Roman’s former friends to be good minor characters.

 

Overall, I would recommend My Heart and Other Black Holes to anyone who likes realistic fiction with light romance and heavy on the psychological side. Definitely an author to keep an eye on.

 

ReadingBifrost Blog

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review 2015-03-24 20:13
Book Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Shadow Study - Gabra Zackman

There’s no question that Maria V. Snyder knows how to magical fantasy works. Shadow Study takes the readers back into the fantastic countries of Ixia and Sitia who have a shaky peace treaty in place. The countries are still wary of each other despite the now open boarders.

 

Valek is torn between his forever commitment to the Commander and his love for his heart mate, Yelena. What was really amazing in this book is that we get to see so much more of Valek’s story; including his training as an assassin, how he met the Commander, and his assassination of the king. He’s still the sleek, sexy, and completely deadly assassin we know from the previous books, but in this book we also get to see a more human side of Valek.

 

Yelena has been independent since we’ve met her in Poison Study, but that independency has always included her magic. In Shadow Study she has to relearn how the world works without her magic while being the target of unknown assassins. She struggles, but she’s still ultimately that tough woman that managed to steal the heart of an assassin.

 

We don’t see much of Ari and Janco, but we do have Janco’s POV chapters with a very interesting new character! Onora is paired with Janco on his mission into Sitia, much to Janco’s amusement and Onora’s annoyance. Janco is the same lovable character as ever, fighting with rhymes and pouting to get his way. Letting him have his own POV chapters was a fantastic idea.

 

Onora is a new character introduced in this series. She’s a young, half-trained assassin that’s after Valek’s job. She’s headstrong and pushes to get things done her way, but she’s very clever and I’m looking forward to how her character continues to develop (WITH Janco, maybe? I’d ship it.)

 

The story is told from three POV’s; Yelena, Valek, and Janco with Yelena’s POV being in first person. This was such an excellent choice! Each character where in their own story on their own mission until it all came together in the end. It was like reading three stories that slowly merged together.

 

Magic wasn’t dominate in this book, but it is still a key factor. The action here lies with assassins.

 

Overall, I greatly recommend Shadow Study to fans of romantic fantasy. You will need to read the Study series first, but you can make do without reading the Glass series.

 

ReadingBifrost Blog

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review 2015-03-24 19:57
Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

“It’s our nature. We destroy. It’s the constant of our kind. No matter the color of blood, man will always fall.”

 


Diving straight in, the first 60-70% of this book drove me completely nuts. It was slow and full of inconsistencies and eye-roll worthy ideas. I don’t have a clear picture of the world because it was never really described. The people travel in boats, transport, airships, and the prince even “invented” the motorcycle, but is it modern?

 

Steampunkish? Do they run on gas? Electricity? Guess I’ll have to ask a tech from the tech city. Yes, there’s a city FULL of techies. You would think they could control the world, but they seem content to work until they die in an overly polluted city even though they could probably invent weapons that could rival the powers of the Silver-bloods. You know, since they have tvs, security cameras (thousands of them, apparently), and, get this, FORCE FIELDS.

 

I wish I had make-up like Mare’s. In order to hide that she’s a Red-blood, she has to wear make-up that makes her skin lighter to match the Silver’s. Apparently it lasts all day and is sweat/water-proof. The author really missed an opportunity for an “uh-oh, almost got caught” moment with the rain.

 

The Silver-blooded powers seem to be unlimited. We keep being told that they are limited, but we are never shown-especially with the queen. They also only show the super-powered Silvers and not the Silvers with smaller powers. Maybe that’s being saved for another book, but it wouldn’t have hurt to see it while it was being mentioned.

 

What aggravated me the most is the key point to the story, what is supposed to hold the story together, doesn’t make a lick of sense. Mare is a Red with powers, forced to pretend to be a long-lost Silver of a noble family, but the story the queen concocted was absolute rubbish. The queen would have to kill everyone in Mare’s village to keep her “secret” from getting out, and even then you’d have to be completely stupid to believe it.

Mare herself isn’t exactly the brightest crayon in the box, either. She gets great advice from plenty of people along the way but chooses to ignore them and, oopsie, causes trouble because of it. It’s really hard to follow Mare, much less like her.

 

The other characters are very flat. You don’t really get to know much about their characteristics or given a hint of their personality until the end of the book. The king, who should have a major roll as the ruler, is just a place card and hardly has any part in the story at all.

 

Overall, Red Queen was a disappointing read for me, but if you enjoy ya-fantasy and can overlook the inconsistencies, you might find something in it.

 

ReadingBifrost Blog

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