I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of Wasted Time, and I absolutely loved it. I love Declan and Morgan; they are sweet and romantic and made for each other. The story is engaging and funny, with tender moments that had tears rolling down my cheeks. While this is a story that involves 9/11, there are no graphic scenes, and most of the story takes place after 9/11, so if that is a sensitive subject for you, rest assured that in no way is it exploited or overdone. I loved it!
I read Strikers while I was on vacation, and after I finished, I had a major book hangover for the rest of the trip. I couldn’t navigate myself out of the amazing dystopian world that Ann Christy created; a mix of old west and future bleakness, the Texas in the novel is a gritty, dusty, brutal police state. It is also home to Karas Quick, a teenage girl whose father has been missing for years and whose mother is an abusive alcoholic; thus, Karas must rely upon her own cunning and the help of her friends to survive.
A strict judicial system presides over Karas’ town; if someone breaks the law, they are tattooed with a strike upon their neck, hence the title of the book. Collect five strikes and you’re out of luck. The novel starts with Karas and her friends witnessing a group of Strikers being paraded through town toward their inevitable fates; as she watches, Karas is confronted with a surprise that will change her life and the lives of her friends, forcefully and irrevocably.
There are so many things that impressed me about this book. Firstly, Ann Christy builds worlds like nobody else I’ve read. I was immersed in the book, to the point where I felt coated with the same dust and heat with which the main characters struggled. Ms. Christy writes vividly and crisply; she is precise but not choppy. I had no trouble believing anything in the book. I can’t imagine the lengths she went to in terms of geographical and historical research to craft such a realistic world, from the vegetation to the communication, from topography to transportation.
Karas is a dimensional, nuanced character who withstands abuse, neglect, near-starvation, and the realization that most everything she has been told as fact is actually fiction. She is loyal and protective, qualities that are necessary in any well-crafted heroine; however, she is also flawed, as every good character must be.
The supporting cast of characters is fully realized. The relationships are powerful and poignant. I shed a few tears and may have cursed Ms. Christy occasionally.
5/5 Stars. Loved it! Deep, beautiful, vivid, sad, haunting; in short, everything a perfect dystopian novel should be!
I had an amazing review written for Blocked, Elise Faber's first contemporary hockey romance, but I somehow lost it...so, I will say that I really enjoyed this story. It's obvious from the writing that Elise knows and loves hockey very well. I'm not overly familiar with hockey and I had no problems following the hockey action in the book. Brit is the NHL's first female goalie, and Elise details the struggles with what I can only imagine is personal experience from her playing the game with a bunch of stinky men. Stefan is sweet and strong; his dedication to his mom is endearingly admirable. And I LOVED Stefan's mom. She was wise, calm, and capable of kicking Stefan's butt into gear when he needed it. There were some scenes that had me sobbing, and some that had me laughing out loud. I love Elise's snarky humor. Great job!
I received an ARC of this anthology and am writing my review based on "Fire and Ice," which is Elise Faber's story. "Fire and Ice" is sexy, funny, and action-packed. It gives us further insight into the lives of Steph and Dom, who are characters from the world in Elise's Phoenix series.
Steph has fled the area where her people lived, and Dom, who once let her go, has come searching for her because she is now in danger from the Dalshie. Steph and Dom mix like oil and water, which of course makes for some serious chemistry and awesome snarky exchanges.
I really liked Steph, who was tough and confident. Dom is a sweetheart in an alpha way, but he's not overbearing. To me, the best part of the story comes in the form of Morgan, who is my absolute favorite of the characters Elise has written. He is cheeky and loyal and funny, and he has some fantastic scenes in "Fire and Ice" that had me grinning from ear to ear. I can't wait for him to have his own story!
**Since writing my original review, I also read C.C. Ravanera's story, "Wishes," which was beautiful and heartwrenching. I'm pretty sure I used an entire box of tissues while reading. She creates an amazing New Orleans atmosphere. I was so impressed with how much she was able to pack into a short story! Great job!
I have only read the third story, Ice, by Elise Faber, and I loved it! It is engaging, fast-paced, and filled with Faber's typical sexy, snarky humor. I always appreciate that Ms. Faber's stories feel realistic and well-researched in terms of weapons, operation commands, etc. I don't feel like she's just making up her own terms for the stories she writes. I enjoyed Laila and Ryker's push-pull relationship and chemistry. I can only hope that Ice gets turned into a full novel. Ahem, Elise.
If I had to describe From Ashes in just three words, I would use sexy, sexy, and sexy. I absolutely love Elise Faber’s writing; I devoured Phoenix Rising and Dark Phoenix, and couldn’t wait for From Ashes, the first book in a spinoff series that focuses on background characters from the Phoenix books.
This particular story follows Gabby and Mason, both LexTals (possessors of supernatural powers) who live at the same compound. Gabby has been carrying around a guilty secret for years, and Mason has been carrying around heartache and anguish for centuries. The two of them are like forces of nature on a path bound for collision, and once they do collide, fireworks ensue. Or, more accurately, explode. Fireworks explode.
Mason and Gabby are well-written, multi-dimensional characters. My heart broke for both of them, as they each suffered more than their fair share of loss. Mason is closed-off but he can’t help the pull he feels toward Gabby, and he fights it with everything he has. Gabby is the same; she really just wants to fly under the radar but every time she is around Mason, something seems to happen to bring them together. For example, in the opening scene, Gabby has a precarious Post-It note situation that is pretty mortifying, although Mason just seems bemused.
The sexual tension between Mason and Gabby is palpable and, well, Mason is just hot. He’s brooding and stubborn and smart and prideful which never works in the real world but is somehow always attractive in a fictional setting. Gabby is as equally smart and stunning; she vacillates between stubborn and insecure, as is the case for so many women. I love that Gabby takes things into her own hands at several points throughout the story and calls Mason on his pigheaded behavior.
Elise creates beautiful, magical worlds and fills them with color and wonder. I still have visions of the force field around the complex that Daughtry created to protect the compound, or the gardens that Gabby walked in while practicing her powers. But, my favorite part of Elise’s books – and this was definitely the case with From Ashes – is the witty, snarky writing. Her characters bicker and flirt like no others, creating real, funny, thoughtful relationships.
From Ashes: 5/5 Stars: Beautiful imagery, wonderful characters who evoke true emotion, and snappy dialogue. Oh, and plenty of sexiness.
I love Phoenix Rising! I bought the book on a whim, based on the description and the purple cover, and I'm so glad I did.
It's a great story with well-developed characters, excellent writing, plenty of action, and some nice twists and turns along the way. Daughtry is a dimensioinal and sympathetic heroine. She is vulnerable because of past trauma, and my heart went out to her. I felt like she grew in leaps and bounds from the beginning of the story to the end.
Cody is alpha, annoying, sexy, and wonderful. He's one of my favorite book boyfriends. His love for and possessiveness of Daughtry is equal parts amazing and frustrating, which is how alphas are supposed to be (at least in my opinion). I loved John and my hearrt may have broken for him.
Elise created a vivid, magical world in Phoenix Rising and I am so happy that I purchased the book! I can't recommend this book enough!
“They were flipsides of the same coin. He, the healer. She, the killer. Their powers were polar opposites and in that, the universe found balance.”
“Dark Phoenix” is the second book in Elise Faber’s Phoenix series and continues the story of Daughtry, our fragile heroine with a heart of goodness and a mind of darkness—or so she thinks. In the first novel, “Phoenix Rising,” Daughtry meets, falls in love with, and bonds with Cody, the “emerald-eyed” yin to her yang. “Dark Phoenix” finds Daughtry continuing her attempts to master her magic, fight off the darkness that threatens to overtake her, and strengthen her relationship with Cody.
The book is action-packed, intense, and sexy. Cody is my new favorite book boyfriend. He is tough, intense, chiseled, impulsive, sarcastic, sweet…my list could continue for quite a bit. I don’t know what it is about Cody, but I *heart* him. Yes, I’m an adult and I just wrote that.
Daughtry is a worthy heroine. She is overcoming childhood traumas that crippled her self-esteem and we are passengers on her journey of redemption, discovery, and acceptance. Daughtry is a well-developed character, one that is easy to like even if we sometimes want to grab her and say, “Give yourself a break!” But isn’t that true of all humans?
The imagery in the book is beautiful; I love the constant references to Daughtry’s and Cody’s purple and emerald powers melding, mixing, swirling. Elise Faber paints rich visual pictures, of settings and her characters (obviously, or else I wouldn’t love Cody as much as I do). She is a natural writer, her words fluid and sensual.
The best part about these books is the sense of community and family it creates for Daughtry, who was basically an orphan beforehand. When she becomes involved with Cody, she meets an entirely new group of people who adopt her as their own, and they are fabulous. “Dark Phoenix” expands this family to give Daughtry a deeper sense of history and belonging. We learn more about these supporting characters as Daughtry interacts with them, and I just adore them, especially Morgan (Tyler was my supporting-character crush in the first book). They make me smile, they definitely make me laugh, and they are as intricate to the story as Daughtry’s powers. I’m hoping that once the series is finished, Ms. Faber decides to write novels from their perspectives.
I couldn’t help but think at the end of this story that the titles of the books could be reversed; in “Phoenix Rising,” Daughtry is struggling with every aspect of her life and ready to succumb to the darkness enveloping her. In “Dark Phoenix,” she is able to come to terms with and find peace in her life. I can’t wait to see what the third installment holds!
“Dark Phoenix:” 5/5 Stars! Well-written, sexy, fun, vibrant, engaging, action-packed, smart, endearing. I can’t recommend enough!
“Of course you’re important,” she replied. “There. I’ve stroked your ego. Feel important now?” –Daughtry, teasing Cody
“If I see the location on a map or have the exact coordinates, I can get us there. I’m a navigation system on steroids.” – Morgan, on his magical talents
“Next time don’t act so surprised when someone wants to take care of you. You’re family.” –Dante to Daughtry
“Before you, I merely existed.” –Cody to Daughtry
I was given an ARC for an honest review.