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review 2017-07-21 17:13
Review – Soul Mate by Anna Santos @AnneSaint90 @SDSXXTours
Soul-Mate (The Immortal Love Series) (Vo... Soul-Mate (The Immortal Love Series) (Volume 1) - Anna Santos
Soul-Mate
The Immortal Love Series Book 1
by Anna Santos
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
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MY REVIEW
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I saw the blurb for Soul-Mate and it made me want to know Annabelle’s story. It’s not often I come across a hybrid supernatural and I was curious which would win out, the were or the vampire.
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The whole town is filled with weres, vampires, and hybrids. Everyone knows they don’t mix, but here they carry on daily life as if they are humans, so don’t forget that they have hidden abilities when you visit.
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We will have insta-love and I can live with that in the supernatural world. As soon as Shane sets eyes on her, gets a sniff, he knows Annabelle is his Soul-Mate. Not so with her.
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The erotic, jump in the sack, first part of the book bored me. I never had a chance to connect to the characters before hand…I rarely do this, but I started skimming the pages, wanting to get to the heart of the story. And I found it.
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Annabelle is a hunter. I guess you could say her and Shane, a werewolf sheriff, have some things in common. They are both out to get the bad guy.
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We read from two perspectives, his and hers. I like seeing the story that way and Anna Santos did a great job with it.
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It was hilarious, picturing Shane, spying on Annabelle from a tree, nekkid. LOL
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I am really interested in Annabelle and Jessica’s friendship. I think there is more to the story than first meets the eye.  Annabelle is the serious one and Jessica is happy-go-lucky, love ’em and leave ’em. I really want to know more about Jessica…
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The slow ‘burning’ start soon gave way to some action, and once it got going, I couldn’t stop. I feel asleep with the Kindle on my lap with just 17% to go. That is the first time that has happened to me in so long I can’t remember. So…stick with it.
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If I did half stars, it would get 3 1/2, so I am having a difficult time rating this. So…check it out for yourself, if you like hot and sexy, erotic, paranormal reads.
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I voluntarily reviewed a copy of Soul Mate by Anna Santos
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Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  3 Stars

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/giveaway-review-soul-mate-by-anna-santos-annesaint90-sdsxxtours
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review 2017-07-19 08:02
Spannender Auftakt einer Reihe
Soul Seeker - Vom Schicksal bestimmt (Soul Seekers, #1) - Alyson Noel,Ariane Böckler

Die evermore Reihe der Autorin habe ich geliebt! Da war es für mich gar keine Frage und ich musste diese hier natürlich ebenfalls lesen. Allerdings war es hier auch so, dass ich anfangs Schwierigkeiten hatte und teilweise durch viele Geschehnisse verwirrt war. Aber ich kann definitiv sagen, dass mir dieser erste Teil weitaus besser gefallen hat und ich bin unheimlich gespannt, wie es weiter geht.

 

Inhaltlich wird ja eigentlich alles im Klappentext gesagt und genau das bekommt man geliefert. Rund um - pures Fantasy und ständige Spannung. Deswegen möchte ich auch nicht weiter auf den Inhalt eingehen, da ich sonst spoilern würde. Manchmal habe ich geglaubt, dass ich wissen könnte, was als nächstes kommt, aber ich wurde stets überrascht. Mit dem Ende habe ich so überhaupt nicht gerechnet und jetzt schwirren mir einige Fragen im Kopf herum. Natürlich muss ich bald den zweiten Teil lesen, denn ich will unbedingt wissen, ob meine Vermutung passt, oder eben nicht.

 

Wie immer, hat es mir besonders der böse Zwillingsbrude Cade angetan. Ich weiß nicht, ich stehe immer auf die Gegenspieler. :) Aber auch Dace hat mir diesmal sehr gut gefallen und im Vergleich zu evermore, hat mich hier die Hauptprotagonistin Daire nicht genervt. Was mich zum Schluss nur etwas wunderte, war, die Stelle mit den Mädchen aus der Schule. Aber mal schauen, wie und ob sich das noch entwickelt. Rund um waren alle Figuren sehr authentisch und das hat mir sehr gut gefallen.

 

Das Cover finde ich ebenfalls klasse. Ich ärgere mich immer wieder, dass ich die Bücher der Autorin nur als E-Book habe, denn sie würden wunderbar in mein Regal passen.

 

Der Schreibstil ist, wie man ihn von Alyson Noël gewohnt ist. Sehr einfach und gut verständlich. Mir gefällt das. Es gibt keine umständlichen Sätze und man wird im Lesefluss nicht gestört.

 

Mein Fazit ist ganz klar. Das Buch hat mir sehr gut gefallen und ich empfehle es auf jeden Fall weiter. Man bekommt Spannung, knisternde Romantik und ein super Fantasy Paket.

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review 2017-07-17 23:30
Visual novel review - This, My Soul

 

This, My Soul is a free sci-fi visual novel. The first time I saw it, it was listed as “in development.” I was cautiously excited - it looked slick and the android main character interested me, but there was no guarantee it’d ever be completed. I prefer to play finished products rather than demos.

Thankfully, this is now out of “in development” limbo. I’ve played it through three or four times since downloading it, and my final verdict is...meh. It has some really nice and ambitious aspects, but it doesn’t entirely follow through with all of them, and the android-human romance could have been better.

Backing up a bit, the story: You play as a woman who is the sole survivor of a spaceship accident of some sort. The game allows you to choose the woman’s name - if I remember right, the default is “Kyndle.” Kyndle was rescued by a laborer-class android named Silas, who put her in cryogenic sleep. Because the cryogenic pod is old, Kyndle can’t stay asleep for the entire trip back to civilization, but she also can’t stay awake for the full trip. The plan is for her to be awake at the beginning and then go back to sleep near the end.

In the meantime, Silas helps Kyndle get her strength and full range of movement back, and makes sure she regains some of the weight she lost. At times, Kyndle can’t even move without Silas’s help.

Players have several ways they can approach the game: they can be suspicious of Silas and resistant to the idea of being attracted to an android; they can be friendly towards Silas and more than a little attracted; they can be openly flirtatious; or they can be some combination of all three. There are three possible endings, which the developer/author called the Normal end, Friendship end, and Romance end. However, those aren’t really the best way to describe them.

The “normal” end is the one where Kyndle doesn’t really give a crap about Silas and his fate. The “friendship” end is bittersweet - I’d like to think that everything works out for the best, but it isn’t guaranteed. There can be a strong thread of romance leading up to this ending, depending on the options you choose, so it’s not strictly a “friendship” end. The “romance” end definitely ends with Silas and Kyndle together and is probably the best ending for Silas overall, but I still had some issues with it. It doesn’t require that you hit all of the story’s “romantic” scenes, and it presents readers with a happy ending but doesn’t bother to explain how Kyndle and Silas are supposed to achieve that happy ending in the long term.

There were some things I really liked about this visual novel. First, it made an effort at adjusting to reader choices. Early on in the story, readers could decide which job Kyndle had, out of five possible choices. Later conversation options then adjusted to these choices. If Kyndle was a medical officer, then she knew a bit more about cryogenic sleep. If she was a mechanical engineer, she understood a bit more about the ship’s functions. This was kind of nice, but it wasn’t carried out as thoroughly as it could have been. For example, I got really annoyed when medical officer Kyndle became outraged at Silas feeding her high calorie meals in order to increase her weight. I forget her exact words, but it amounted to “women don’t like to gain weight, why didn’t you ask me first.” But as a medical officer she should have understood that her time in cryogenic sleep had left her underweight and that she’d have to gain that weight back before going back to sleep.

This is technically a fairly short visual novel, but its numerous decision points and choices made it feel longer. The sheer number of decisions overwhelmed me at first, but I came to like them more during subsequent playthroughs. The “skip” button definitely helped - as in many visual novels, you could set it to skip text you’d seen before.

That said, I haven’t played through all the possible story choices yet, and I doubt I ever will. I tried, I really did, but some of them really didn’t appeal to me. Like I said earlier on in this review, you could opt to play this game several ways. I preferred being neither hostile/suspicious nor very flirty. The flirty options sometimes made me uncomfortable because Silas seemed so taken aback. In one instance, he even went as far as to remind Kyndle that he was a laborer-class android and not built for anything sexual. To me, his response came across as discomfort, and I really wanted Kyndle to just back off. I had similar problems forcing myself to choose the hostile/suspicious options all the way through.

It was weird how the game was so adaptable in some ways (different wording at certain points depending on the job Kyndle had) and yet so rigid in other ways. For example, during one of my playthroughs I tried to made Kyndle as suspicious as possible. I found myself unable to carry this through all the way to the end, so she became friendlier later in the game. Considering how she had behaved towards Silas up to that point, I’d have expected him to respond coldly or neutrally to almost anything she said, but that wasn’t the case.

There were times when it felt like the romance aspects were being laid on too thick. The worst was probably the massage scene (which I later figured out was skippable without any noticeable effect on the ending). How did a laborer-class android even learn to give a proper massage? I’d have expected medical officer Kyndle to have some questions about that, but nope. I did like the scene in the control room (navigation room?), though.

Art-wise, this was a mixed bag. The sprites looked great, but the CG art was nowhere near as slick and pretty. I wish the person who had done the sprite art had also done the CG art. Also, the music, while appropriate to the setting, wasn’t very memorable.

All in all, this wasn’t bad, but it didn’t work for me nearly as well as I’d hoped it would. Too many points in Kyndle and Silas’s romance made me uncomfortable, and even the happiest of the three endings left me feeling worried that society and/or the corporation that created Silas would tear them apart.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-07-17 01:10
The Edge of Awakening (The Soul Tamer Series #1) by Alanna J. Faison
The Edge of Awakening - Alanna J Faison
Jasmine died. She died in utterly terrible, awful conditions.
 
But for Jasmine death is not the end - she has a destiny and a mission to train for as she and her allies prepare for the battles ahead
 
But how much was her family hurt by this destiny?
 
 
 
This book is a spin off series of the Rayne Whitmore Series, following Rayne’s dead sister, Jasmine. Jasmine is destined to become a Soul Tamer, joining a team of other new Soul Tamers, trained by Micah and other mentor Soul Tamers into their powers, skills and missions.
 
This adds a whole lot of interesting world building to this already excellently rich world. I think it’s an excellent idea to use a new protagonist to do this as Rayne couldn’t exactly stretch to cover this without severely distracting her own story and generally slowing things down
 
Instead using a new character and a new world we have an excellent chance to build into more world building, using the first book in a series to have the usual introduction to a series without derailing an already ongoing plot line.
 
And this world building is extremely good and interesting - the general use of ghosts and demons, the different powers and abilities and how they work and interact. I really like the little nuances like how simply being the most powerful doesn’t make you the most effective.
 
But more than the general world building is the personal stories of her fellow Soul Tamers - albeit some of the needing more development. All of them are young and all of them have had tragic pasts - but their pasts point to a lot of terrible injustices in the world, from starvation and poverty to hate crimes that starkly covers a lot of this diverse cast.
 
A lot of this book covers their training and I do like some of the interractions - probably Cas and Rayne the most because they do strike sparks - there’s respect and competitiveness and they’re probably not a great fan of each other but it’s not full on girl hate we see quite often in urban fantasy and young adult.
 
Her closest companion is probably Jayce, but Jayce is the LGBTQ representation in this book and it’s not really done well (another character may be a lesbian or bisexual but she also may be asexual, it’s not clarified yet). At one point he calls someone out for assuming bisexuals are just looking to have sex with anyone all the time - which is great. If that pretty much wasn’t the sum total of Jayce’s character. He exists to hit on guys, and that’s basically his characterisation even when said guys are not interested in him.
 

Her mentors and fellow Soul Tamers come from many different races - Micah is biracial and from segregation America, Dorian is Middle Eastern, Kenji Japanese and Atara, one of her peers is described as having brown skin
 
We also have minor passing characters not part of Jasmine’s group who are also racially diverse
 
Jasmine herself is Black.
 
This is an extremely racially diverse book and we do not have racial stereotypes or tropes clinging to them and that diversity extends from both minor characters to the protagonist herself
 
There’s also some brief looks at class as Jasmine is very aware of her family’s great wealth that she became so used to and stands out starkly against her fellows who faced hunger and debt.
 
I do think that Jasmine’s mentor etc were both not very forgiving and kind of dismissive about what she went through. How she died, how she became their chosen one, the implication that they were behind her “earlier” death. There seemed to be little acknowledgement that she was only 14 or how her death deeply affected her sister and led her to take some very severe risks. Yes, everyone has had a tragic past - but hey that kind of makes me question the way they treated everyone, rather than think Jasmine needs to suck it up and move on. While there’s a lot of bonding there’s also a real sense of judgement at times where they’re quite harsh, make no allowances expect a lot of her and even a little gaslighting. Like they seem to use the team to guilt her for feeling, for hurting, for feeling angry. It had an edge of manipulation that made me considerably suspicious of the powers that be here and I’m not sure I was meant to regard them with this level of suspicion - because part of me is kind of expecting them to get a severe call out or be revealed as a villain. But I think I’m getting the utter wrong end of the stick there.
 
 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/06/the-edge-of-awakening-soul-tamer-series.html
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review 2017-07-14 08:49
Treatise and character study
Anna Karenina - Larissa Volokhonsky,Richard Pevear,Leo Tolstoy

The foremost impression I'm left with, since I have the last part very present, is this literary symmetry: Anna takes about sixty pages to come in, by train, and leaves the book sixty pages from the end, also by train (yes, I know, some dark humor).

Next, also with the end very present, this sense that in the end, Levin and Ana essential difference is that when doubt harasses them, Levin goes back to what feels natural to him and trudges on, and Anna gives into despair.

For all that it's name comes from the woman, larger than life in the outside, and deeply uncertain on the inside, it was Levin the vehicle for most of the author treatise on... well, everything: agrarian reform, women's education, religion, politics, war, ideologies... At first I was interested. Passing the middle point, I just wanted the author to get on with it. I've gone over this many times: I have little patience for authors trying to educate or reform me through fiction.

While the Levin/Kitty side of the novel carries the most heart-warming bits, it's also choke-full of opinions, so whenever we got to it, instead of feeling like I was resting from Anna's turbulence, I started to feel dread at the amount of pages Tolstoy was about to bore me with his "insight". I totally get why the movies gloss so much over this side of the equation.

And it is some type of equation, or coin. I wonder if the author was trying to make Anna into a personification of reason, given the stab he takes at it in relation with faith in the end, with Levin as this second, him being unable to properly express himself, but finding peace with his own being at the end; Anna all poise, yet false, forever uncertain inside, speech coming out pleasant while thoughts looped and spun in place without answer. Also, passion vs. love. And romantic feeling against filial.

As for characters (beyond the two protagonist, because, you know, so mired into the theme), they were all so damned well fleshed out:

Vronsky with his honorable selfishness: I know it sounds like a contradiction, but the guy truly does not realize the damage he does, and in his own way, he follows a code of conduct strictly. It's horrifying.

Karenin... *sigh* Anna calls him a robot. At first, it looks like she's just over-reacting to her new feelings, ascribing the worst to her obstacle. It turns out she is over-reacting, but she's also somewhat right. The guy is a wonder of self-discipline, in his life and even where his feelings and though process is concerned. The way he twist and rearranges facts and ideas to suit himself is a thing to read. While writing this, I also wonder if his influence wasn't arresting much of Anna's internal disorder, if she didn't loose what little was keeping her peace when she left him, or if it was the other way around: a wild mare kept in tight reign, that suddenly tasted freedom and galloped non-stop into the abyss, with Vronsky spurring her.

Kitty with her innocence; Vronsky breaks her heart, but after some false steps, she comes on the other side just as sweet, and wiser.

Dolly and her big heart. Stiva forever on the rope by the miracle of his social nature. Sanctimonious Lidia. Betsy, so liberal but in the end unwilling to forsake societies constraints. Sergey and his empty rhetoric. Nikolay and his nihilism. Varenka.

I guess there was much more in all those many pages than proselytism. You can disregard this whole paragraph, I'm claiming that Levin ruined me, but really? Last night I went to sleep, and kept wondering: how much of these explorations impulse change? Much of what is disused in dialogues here feels like sides talking to hear themselves, not to seek understanding, and I was left thinking about social change, and whether writing heralds it, or just meanders over what society has already started to accept or war upon. I noticed many of the topics expounded on came and passed, discarded by history, yet things that are barely touched upon, like womens rights and education became an issue not long after that endures. What I'm trying to say, and I'm treading on deeply personal and weird territory here, is that I started to doubt how much social commentary in literature looks forward, and how much it's just a soap box for the author.

So, *wheoo!*, that's a looong commentary on a loooong book, and I'm still unsure what I'll rate it. No, I do know. It's really good, and as a character study is great, but I don't think it perfect because, for me, if you are going to fill a novel with ideology, it has to age well, and it has to engage even on those bits. So 4 stars.

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