Saturday, September 08, 2012

More paranormal mini-reviews (Trial By Fire, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Carrier of the Mark)

The following post contains mini-reviews for the following books: Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin and Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon.

Whenever I go through a prologed book slump, it is usually the fault of a decline in my mental health.  I sink into a depression and I don't feel like reading.  It's pretty simple.  And I've found that when I'm in a depression, the books I really like to read are those that are very emotional or dramatic.  And what's more emotional and over-the-top in its dramatics than a good paranormal romance, right?  I find myself drawn to the overly passionate paranormal romances in order to stir some emotion in myself.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, as the following reviews will prove.

Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Did I ever tell you how much I love werewolves?  I do. They are my favourite paranormal creatures.  Mostly because I love the idea of belonging to a pack.  The idea of this extended family that's always there for you makes me feel a bit teary if I'm honest.  And I think I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes' version of werewolves the best.  Her books feel very emotional and intelligent, with the mix of politics and gender and equality into the narrative.

I adored the first book in this series, Raised By Wolves, just as I adored this, its sequel.  I love that Bryn is quite a fragile human girl, but still, it is her that is in charge of a large and valuable pack of wolves.  She has very loyal friends and boyfriend and while her father-figure is no longer in charge of her, he is still partially present in her life, offering his advice.  And while there is less of the strong first emotions of love in this book with the emphasis more on protecting the women and girls of her fledgling pack as well as negotiating the difficult werewolf politics of the other wolf packs in the area, there is still enough romance and high emotions.  Reading this book was a wonderful escape from my own thoughts and I zipped right through it.  Wonderful sequel, I'm very much looking forward to more!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Here is a book that I loved wholly and entirely.  I had no idea what I was getting into when I started it, I had just heard a bunch of wonderful things from it from mostly American book bloggers.  I wanted in on this amazing story, and I loved every page of it.  I'm usually a little bit intimidated by chunky books like this one, but in Mara Dyer's case, I felt the bigger and longer it is, the better!

I really loved unravelling the mystery is this book.  I wanted any scrap of detail or information that Michelle Hodkin throws to the reader.  I found myself hugely addicted by this book, even though in parts it can be quite creepy and felt a bit dark.  I loved that our narrator, Mara, tells us this story without really having a full grasp on all of the events, even those that she experienced herself.  I do love an unreliable narrator especially witnessing the confusion.  And how have I not written about the love interest yet?!  I fell for Noah Shaw right alongside Mara.  Their relationship is tension-filled and swoonworthy.  I want more already.  This book is incredible, very romantic and suspensful and addictive.  I am no waiting impatiently for the sequel!

 Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

This book arrived for me around the same time the Internet drama involving the author was occurring and while it did leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, I figured it was only fair to judge the book by its own merits rather than the actions of the author.

I have to say, I wasn't impressed.  What attracted me to this book is the addition of Irish mythology into a paranormal romance.  Ireland isn't a setting that I read of very often, and I wanted more from it.  Same with this romance between Megan and Adam which promised to be of epic proportions.  And while I did finish the book, I finished it without caring very much about the world created, the characters or the romance.  For me, it didn't engage me emotionally at all, and that was very disappointing.  I really wanted to enjoy this one. I still think the cover is quite pretty.


  1. Oh lord, I really need to hurry up and read Mara Dyer and I think your review has just persuaded me to pick it up this afternoon :) x


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