Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey Review

Title: Ashes on the Waves
Author: Mary Lindsey
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Horror
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, dark love story expanding on Edgar Allen Poe's poem Annabel Lee, Ashes on the Waves drew me in completely--a favorite of 2013! I only wish there was more!

Liam MacGregor lives on the island of Dochas, a place steeped in myth, darkness, and tradition. Seen as a demon due to a deformity at birth, he's accepted his fate: to live and die ostracized on the island. But it all changes when Annabel Leighton, Liam's childhood playmate, comes back--and the two fall passionately in love. But dark forces are stirring, betting on whether the lovers will stay together.. Even if the price is death itself.

What I enjoyed:
-The beautiful, grim island of Dochas, which Lindsey paints skillfully, a dark, cruel place hiding still more secrets
-The mythology of the novel--I loved the way the author used Irish mythology so artfully--it was really different and I enjoyed it a lot
-Liam, a strange boy completely out of his element even on the island, but even more so when Anna comes into his life, and his evolution throughout the novel
-Anna, the sweet, loving, headstrong young woman that Liam falls so helplessly in love with
-The pacing of the novel--it moved along very smoothly and quickly and kept me glued to the book
-The tests that the lovers had to face throughout the novel
-Francine
-Brigid Ronan
-The ending--I cried my eyes out!
-Muireann and most of the selkies in the book

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this novel--it was an absolute triumph! I loved it!

I loved Ashes on the Waves--one of my favorites of 2013! I'd recommend it to anyone who loves dark paranormals, or anyone who loves a heartmelting love story. Next on deck: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun Review

Title: Ink
Author: Amanda Sun
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Paper Gods, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lush, gorgeous, deliciously different tale both dark and fantastic, I really enjoyed Ink--it was lovely, and worth reading!

Katie Greene has just moved to Japan. Lost in a completely different world after tragically losing her mother, she's just trying to tread water. But it all changes when she meets Tomohiro, a beautiful, aloof boy who can make strange things happen: pens explode, drawings move, and ink drips in out of nowhere. Reluctantly drawn to him and desperate to discover the truth, she soon finds herself thrust into a world of magic, danger, and ink--and she must decide where her loyalties lie.

What I enjoyed:
-The lush, gorgeous background of modern Japan, beautiful and almost like a fairy tale, so much different than other stories
-The dark, different premise of the novel, captivating, creative, and a lot of fun
-Katie, and her evolution throughout the novel from reluctant American to a heroine that all of Japan should be cheering for!
-Tomo, and his talent, different and cool--as well as the depth of him, despite outside appearances
-Yuki and Takana
-Jun
-Satoshi
-The pacing of the novel, completely breakneck and perfect--I couldn't see anything coming and it was all timed perfectly
-Diane
-The ending--I can't wait for book two!

What I didn't enjoy:
-Tomo annoyed me at times, simply because the aloof hot boy is a dime a dozen these days

I really, really enjoyed Ink--I'm glad I went with my gut and bought it! Anyone looking for a dark paranormal with an interesting premise should snatch it up! Next on deck: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Demonosity by Amanda Ashby Review

Title: Demonosity
Author: Amanda Ashby
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A drop-dead, hilarious novel full of magic, demons, and crazy hijinks, I loved Demonosity--especially the fresh main character, Cassidy!

Cassidy Carter-Lewis finds herself in a real pickle. After getting a temporary tattoo, strange things begin happening to her: She's seeing ghosts, finding demons--and oh, a girl is glowing at her school and suddenly she must become a warrior. But soon as she struggles to protect those she loves, she finds herself at the face of a near impossible choice.

What I enjoyed:
-Cassidy, hilarious and fresh and fun--she made the novel worth reading for me, even when things got a little tired, and her evolution throughout the novel
-The pacing--it was breakneck and never slowed
-The premise of the novel, cool and different--I really enjoyed it, it's not like any other book I've read
-Nash was also a big selling point for this book for me--he was absolutely hilarious, even as he became a little pretentious
-Travis
-Thomas--I really felt for him throughout the novel
-Cassidy's family
-Celeste
-The ending--it was perfect!

What I didn't enjoy:
-Reuben
-At times I found myself rolling my eyes at the teenagers--though Cassidy was anything but typical

I really, really liked this book! Anyone looking for a lighter take on the paranormal genre should pick it up. Next on deck: Ink by Amanda Sun!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Teardrop by Lauren Kate Review

Title: Teardrop
Author: Lauren Kate
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Teardrop, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though it took me a while to really get into this book, once it picked up, I really enjoyed it--I can't wait for the sequel!

Eureka Boudreax has an unusual thing about her: She never cries. Not ever. Her mother drilled that into her at the ripe age of nine, and she's kept her word ever since, despite all the reasons to: Her mother's mysterious death out of nowhere, her difficult family life, the fact that there's been a strange boy following her around. Her mother has left her three strange heirlooms: a book she can't read, a mysterious stone, and a locket that won't open. As Eureka digs deeper into her own past, she realizes that there just might be a reason to never cry..

What I enjoyed:
-The beginning of the novel, the prologue
-Cat, and her fierce loyalty to Eureka
-Eureka herself, a tender, sweet girl struggling under the weight of heavy grief
-Ander
-Brooks
-The mysterious mythology of the novel, which I loved
-The ending--I can't wait for the sequel!
-The love triangle that formed throughout the novel
-Madame Blatvasky

What I didn't enjoy:
-At first Eureka annoyed me--she seemed so angry
-Brooks at times annoyed me as well, with his unusual behavior
-A bit at the ending was a little graphic and violent and it made my stomach turn
-It took a really long time for me to get into the novel

I really, really loved Teardrop and I'm glad I bought it! Anyone who's a fan of Lauren Kate should pick it up--and anyone looking for a different, unusual premise! Next on deck: Demonosity by Amanda Ashby!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch Review

Title: The Magnolia League
Author: Katie Crouch
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Magnolia League, book one
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: This novel promises a lot--magic! Hot boys! The South!--but fails to deliver. It was just okay--I only read it through so I could move on. Really disappointed with how this book turned out.

Alex isn't a typical Southern girl. Living on a commune in California for most of her life, she's happy where she is. Until her mother dies in a fatal car accident, and she's shipped off to Savannah, Georgia. All she can think about is leaving--but she soon finds herself sucked into a world of dangerous, tempting magic. But magic just so happens to be like crack--you can't get enough of it once you've had it, and when she discovers a terrifying secret about her heritage, she realizes that no one can be trusted.

What I enjoyed:
-I liked it at first
-The premise seemed really promising
-Hayes and Madison
-Thaddeus

What I didn't enjoy:
-Alex just seemed to whine the entire novel--there was no real depth to her
-The premise seemed really promising, but it took 205 pages for the ball to get rolling on any kind of plot
-There was no real character depth anywhere
-I felt like this book promised big things, but it just fell short
-I only finished it so I could move on to my next book

I really feel like The Magnolia League had a lot of potential, but it was just bad. Really disappointed that I spent my money on this one. Next on deck: Teardrop by Lauren Kate!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett Review (Possible Spoilers!)

Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Mystery
Series: Arkwell Academy, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A hilarious, laugh out loud mystery, I enjoyed The Nightmare Affair, which was lighter than what I usually go for--but it was a great mystery that kept me on my toes.

Ever dream about being able to see people's dreams? Walk through them? If you have, you'll enjoy Dusty Everhart. She's a Nightmare--literally--needing to feed off of dreams in order to practice magic. As if this wasn't enough for a teenager girl, Dusty discovers that people are being murdered, with a macabre pattern--a hand is missing from each of the bodies. Determined to find the killer, she starts to investigate--and she realizes that there's always a suspect.. And you never quite know who it is until it's too late..

What I enjoyed:
-Dusty--she's what kept me hanging on in this book--hilarious, awkward, clumsy, and headstrong--I really enjoyed her as a narrator
-The complex system of magic that the author employs--magic not in plain sight, in different classes in an urban setting
-The mystery--I didn't see the ending coming--and this book really thrived as a mystery--I couldn't guess what was happening with all the twists and turns!
-Eli
-Selene
-Paul
-Moira
-The ending, openended and the sequel coming was obvious--I'm looking forward to seeing more of Dusty

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Dusty's whining got on my nerves
-It was almost too light and cute for my tastes--I expected it to be darker
-I wish we'd gotten to see more of the social system of the classes of magickind
-I wish there was more to it

I liked The Nightmare Affair, but as a paranormal series, this just fell short for me for some reason--I'm a little disappointed, truthfully. Next on deck: Emma by Jane Austen!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake Review

Title: Antigoddess
Author: Kendare Blake
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: The Goddess War, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A terrifying, action-packed thriller using mythology as its platform, Antigoddess completely swept me away--this new take on mythology will appeal to many readers!

Cassandra is a psychic--the psychic from the myth. But she doesn't know it yet. She also doesn't know that the ancient Greek gods are dying--yes, literally, dying--and killing one another off in a bloody war, creating carnage no one has seen since Troy, in a bid to prolong their own lives, driven mad by illness. Athena, Hermes, and a very reluctant Cassandra ally with Aidan, her boyfriend, to try and fight--but they might just be putting off the inevitable..

What I enjoyed:
-The evocative prose that is Blake's trademark, sucking me in from the very first page
 -The intriguing idea of the series itself--gods are popular these days, but you never see them like this! The novel was deliciously different
-The pacing, breakneck from the beginning, the prose moving quickly and smoothly from chapter to chapter
-The research Blake did in creating the characters of this gods, so much like the gods of the myths but with modern, unique spins
-Athena, and her desperation to win the war despite it not making her the most popular character--even I felt disgusted with her at some points
-Hermes, and the comic relief he brings to an otherwise heavy novel
-Hera, Aphrodite, and Poseidon
-Cassandra, both prophet from the stories and awkward teenage girl, a perfect, reluctant heroine
-Aidan
-The ending, and the open ended cliffhanger that promises sequels
-Odysseus

What I didn't enjoy:
-Sometimes Athena's thickheadedness got on my nerves
-Hermes's bitching
-At times Aidan annoyed me, not seeing the bigger picture

I loved, loved, loved Antigoddess and I'm so glad I bought it! It's a freaky, beautiful horror story that fans of Blake--and Greek mythology--should check out! Next on deck: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton Review

Title: Some Quiet Place
Author: Kelsey Sutton
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Some Quiet Place, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, creepy thriller, Some Quiet Place swept me up entirely--an original, lovely debut that had me biting my nails! I loved it!

Elizabeth Caldwell sees emotions--literally. She sees the manifestations of Emotions--Longing next to the boy at school, Courage alongside her best friend dying--and of course, beautiful, lovely, enigmatic Fear, her only friend--capricious and mysterious, sometimes he torments her, other times he shows he wants more than she can give. When Elizabeth begins to feel a dark presence stalking her, she races to find the truth, before its consequences catch up to her.

What I enjoyed:
-The beautiful prose of the novel, poetic and perfect and lovely and creepy at some points
-The whole premise of the novel was really cool--literally every emotion and element personified--and most of all it was different
-The pacing of the novel--it was maddeningly quick throughout most of the novel
-Elizabeth, and her strangeness--despite it being disconcerting at first, it made sense later on
-The mystery that Elizabeth races to unravel throughout the novel--it kept me on my toes and I didn't see it coming
-Fear, who was my favorite character of the novel, complex and deep and frightening all at once--at times I had goosebumps on my arms!
-Joshua, and the way he befriends Elizabeth
-Maggie
-The villain of the story
-The slow, torturous way Elizabeth's origins were doled out
-Charles

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Elizabeth came across as really flat
-Sarah, especially with her willingness to stay in her situation
-Tim
-Sometimes the violence in the novel was a little too much to handle for me--it was too graphic

I loved Some Quiet Place and I can't wait for the sequel in July! Anyone looking for a paranormal novel that's different should pick it up at their nearest bookstore or library. Next on deck: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia Review

Title: Unbreakable
Author: Kami Garcia
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: The Legion, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A frightening, taut horror novel that had my heart racing and my fingers anxiously turning pages, Unbreakable was wonderful, though the main character kind of bogged the novel down for me a little bit.

Kennedy Waters isn't the type to believe in the supernatural. She and her mom are happy and just fine with one another. But that all changes when Kennedy comes from from an outing to find the house dark--with her dead mother inside. Setting off a chain reaction, she meets a ragtag gang of misfits, all demon hunters--and she must discover how she belongs, before it's too late..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of the novel--it was amazing and I couldn't stop reading--there were thrills at every turn!
-Kennedy's wry narrative, most of the time, though her insecurities and her sadness made me want to scream at other parts
-Jared and Lukas
-Alara
-Priest
-The taut love triangle between Jared, Lukas, and Kennedy, fraught with tension throughout the whole book
-The mythology of the novel--a lot of the book itself reminded me of Supernatural
-The race against time throughout the novel--the ghosts the kids encounter especially shine

What I didn't enjoy:
-The ending!
-Kennedy got on my nerves often--I wish she were less whiny. She just wasn't too strong of a character for me, but that changed in the end

I loved Unbreakable! Fans of ghost stories and demon hunters should pick it up at the local bookstore or library. Next on deck: Some Quiet Place, by Kelsey Sutton!

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa Review

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Dystopian Fiction
Series: The Blood of Eden, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A dark, thrilling dystopian ride, I loved The Immortal Rules--vampire books are a dime a dozen nowadays, but this book truly shines! Definitely a favorite for me!

Allison Sekemoto lives in New Covington, a city in which vampires rule human "cattle" with iron fists. She forages with her friends, orphaned and struggling for survival, driven by her hatred for the government and for vampires in general, as well as the Rabids--terrifying creatures that are like zombies, only with the craving of blood instead of human flesh. But one night Allie is viciously attacked. On the cusp of death, she chooses to become a vampire. And in doing so, she discovers what it truly means to be human.

What I enjoyed:
-The dark, tense world that Kagawa paints, thrilling and terrifying and truly scary, as well as depressing and hopeless throughout a good amount of the book
-The way that the author chose not to romanticize Allie's transformation, showing that vampires are not creatures of dark seduction
-Allie herself, and her narrative of the story, a girl truly skilled at survival, but trying to find a moral balance as well, even after turning--her whole evolution was truly amazing to see
-Kanin, Allie's sire and teacher and the father figure she's never had, teaching her how to survive in the human world
-Zeke
-Jeb's flock, although I didn't like Ruth
-The constant twists and turns that I never saw coming, even after reading this book once before in the previous year
-Jackal--I can't wait to see what happens with him and Allie in the sequel!
-The ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-Jeb
-Ruth
-At times the book felt a little bit too dark for me--I wished there were more humor, just to lighten up an otherwise heavy, dark novel

I loved The Immortal Rules--it is truly a gem for me! Anyone who loves vampire stories and strong heroines should pick it up from their local bookstore or library! Next on deck: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Icons by Margaret Stohl Review

Title: Icons
Author: Margaret Stohl
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian Fiction
Series: Icons, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A taut, unique, science fiction thriller, Icons had me frantically turning pages--I loved it! Easily a favorite of 2013!

Nothing has been the same for Dol since The Day: The Day her parents dropped dead in their home, The Day she started to feel the emotions of everyone around her. The Day The Lords invaded Earth and won a war Earth didn't even know it was fighting. She lives for the most part peacefully with The Padre, Ro, and the rest of the inhabitants--until the Sympa soldiers invade her home and take her away. Meeting two other people with mysterious powers, Tima and Lucas, Dol must make a terrifying choice: to fight, or to stay silent, because the consequences will be dire..

What I enjoyed:
-Dol's narrative, magnetic and real and raw, beautiful and taut
-The pacing of the novel, breakneck from the very beginning--there was action in every page!
-The terrifying world that Stohl paints, where to be human is to be in constant danger--literally
-Dol herself, sorrowful and sad and brave, despite her want to just stay silent at the beginning of the novel
-Ro, and his relationship with Dol, as well as his fiery personality--I really enjoyed him
-Lucas--he was one of my favorite characters and the one I related to the most
-Tima, angry and fearful but still strong
-Fortis
-Doc
-The ending--it was amazing, perfect, and I didn't see it coming!
-I love the way the twists were incorporated--I was pleasantly blindsided by everything

What I didn't enjoy:
-The Colonel
-The Ambassador


I loved, loved, loved Icons--I can't wait for the sequel in July! Anyone looking for a good science fiction novel should snatch this gem up! Next on deck: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas Review

Title: The Burning Sky
Author: Sherry Thomas
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Elemental Trilogy, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though it took me a while to get into it, The Burning Sky is an engaging, magical fantasy that has something for everyone: an exciting premise, magical creatures. an impossible adventure, and a fiery, volatile couple--it was wonderful!

England, 1883. Magic is real, though the more ancient type--elemental--is fading due to the rise of subtle magic--magic practiced for convenience. Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of the time, trying to stay under the radar and take care of her guardian, as well as honing her magical skill. But with one ill-conceived bolt of lightning, her life is shattered. Titus, the Ruler of the Domain, is desperate to have her power for himself to defeat the most powerful mage in the land--The Bane. But what will come of this uneasy partnership? Will our two heroes make it out unscathed..?

What I enjoyed:
-The complex magical system outlined the book, a little like Harry Potter, but uniquely different, and easily followed thanks to the helpful footnotes in the back of the novel
-The uneasy, frightening world of England, seen anew in Thomas's new world
-Once the book picked up the pacing was breakneck
-Iolanthe, and her role in the story--brave and clever and strong, but with a soft interior--I enjoyed her throughout the novel, especially as Fairfax
-Titus, and the way his arrogance and rage hid a boy easily hurt, despite everything
-The relationship between Titus and Iolanthe
-The shocking surprises around every corner
-The constant adventures Titus and Iolanthe find themselves in
-The ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-Sometimes the narrative was really hard to follow, as it jumped all over the place in some sections of the book
-The pacing stuttered a little at the beginning
-The Inquisitor
-Lady Callista
-Alectus
-Most of Titus's family and the court that surrounds him

I really, really enjoyed The Burning Sky--it was worth waiting for! Next on deck: Icons by Margaret Stohl!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson Review

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Fire and Thorns, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A start to an epic adventure trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns took a while to keep my attention--but once it picked up, I loved it, especially the main character, Elisa!

Elisa has lived her whole life in her older sister's shadow--her whole life in the background. She is betrothed to a king on her sixteenth birthday, and she finds herself thrust into a dangerous world of magic, betrayal, and secrets. When she is suddenly displaced from the palace, Elisa discovers that she must find the depth of her own strength and power, despite her misgivings--or it could indeed be the end of her..

What I enjoyed:
-Elisa's narrative, as soon as it picked up
-The pacing was breakneck--so much so I was frantically turning pages trying to keep up!
-Elisa herself, in particular her character evolution throughout the novel from a meek, quiet little mouse to a warrior and truly badass heroine
-The many characters that Elisa encounters and later befriends, like Cosme and Humberto
-The huge, sprawling, magical world that Carson creates, almost like something out of a Tolkien novel
-The ending--I can't wait for the sequels!

What I didn't enjoy:
-Alejandro
-Arina
-Elisa in the beginning annoyed me--she was very whiny and it bothered me, but that changed once the book progressed

I loved this novel--not immediately, but I loved it! It was a wonderful treat of an adventure novel. Any fantasy fan should grab it at the library! Next on deck: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rags and Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt Review

Title: Rags and Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales
Editor(s): Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Anthology; different genres
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A great collection for anyone looking for twists on classic, forgotten stories should pick up Rags and Bones--it is a treat for all ages!

This is an anthology, so I'm going to be reviewing this a little bit differently: Instead of reviewing the anthology as a whole, I'm going to review each story at a time. The theme is retellings, new twists on classic stories.

That the Machine May Progress Eternally by Carrie Ryan, inspired by E.M's Forster's "The Machine Stops": 5 out of 5 stars. A deliciously creepy, scary, dystopian story about a boy who ends up underground in the Machine, and ends up worshiping it as a god. Wonderful!

Losing Her Divinity by Garth Nix, inspired by Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King": 4 out of 5 stars. A darkly ironic, funny, wry story of a man's journey, finding a goddess and helping her turn into a mortal--and taking something for himself too. I loved it, every part of it, especially the narrator! It was great!

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, inspired by "Sleeping Beauty": 5 out of 5 stars. A new, dark twist on the traditional fairy tale, this uniquely layered tale was a spectacular homage to the original, done with Gaiman's signature flair! Amazing!

The Cold Corner by Tim Pratt, inspired by Henry James's "The Jolly Corner: 3 out of 5 stars. A strange tale that made my head hurt at first trying to follow it of a man who is seeing ghosts of his pasts--literally. It was a fun, time-bending tale I enjoyed once I got my head around it.

Millcara by Holly Black, inspired by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla": 4 out of 5 stars. A sweet, tender tale of dark friendship between a vampire and a young girl, written as a confessional. Sad and heartbreaking and beautiful. This one made me cry!

When First We Were Gods by Rick Yancey, inspired by Nathaniel Hawthrone's "The Birth-Mark": 3 out of 5 stars. A seriously twisted, crazy story of a terrifying future in which the rich can live forever--quite literally--and a couple whose love is tested by such boundaries. It was confusing throughout the story, but Beneficent and Georgiana's love story made it bearable.

Sirocco by Margaret Stohl, inspired by Horace Walpole's "The Castle of Otranto": 3 out of 5 stars. A little confusing at first, but a genuinely creepy, spooky story that had chills running up and down my spine! It reminded me of her Beautiful Creatures series a little bit.

Awakening by Melissa Marr, inspired by Kate Chopin's "The Awakening": 5 out of 5 stars. Possibly my favorite of the whole collection, this story rings true to its forebear, with a magical component mixed in: selkies! Dark and gritty and romantic, I loved this story of a young woman's freedom--it was beautiful!

New Chicago by Kelley Armstrong, inspired by W.W. Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw": 4 out of 5 stars. A fitting homage to the original horror story, Armstrong tells a spooky, frightening tale of a poor, desperate boy who makes three wishes.. Three wishes that could cost him his life. Wonderfully thrilling and scary!

The Soul Collector by Kami Garcia, inspired by The Brothers' Grimm's "Rumpelstiltskin": 5 out of 5 stars. A gruesome tale of a young woman trapped in terrifying circumstances, she turns to a stranger for help--and ends up paying the ultimate price. Gritty, gory, and wonderful--a great modern spin on a well-loved fairy tale!

Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy by Saladin Ahmed, inspired by Sir Edmund Spenser's "The Faerie Queene": 2 out of 5 stars. This story was really confusing to me--it was kind of hard to follow, though the ending was good. I didn't like it very much until the end.

Uncaged by Gene Wolfe, inspired by William B. Seabrook's "The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban": 4 out of 5 stars. A creepy, delicious, sensual story of a man who may or may not be married to a leopard-woman who seems to be going on a killing spree.. This was a great thrill ride for me!

Charles Vess's illustrations also added great depth and an old-school feel to the collection--for such illustrations to be included was a lovely treat in and of itself. An amazing, lovely collection for everyone of all ages to enjoy, I'm so glad I bought Rags and Bones! Next on deck: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins Review

Title: Sweet Peril
Author: Wendy Higgins
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Sweet Evil, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though not as good as its predecessor, Sweet Peril was a worthy sequel to Sweet Evil--it kept me on the edge of my seat!

I won this book on Goodreads in a first reads giveaway. Anna Whitt promised herself that she wouldn't corrupt souls, wouldn't do her father's work. But she'd been naive. Her survival instinct kicking in, Anna does whatever she has to to stay alive and under the radar--even if her morals happen to be torn to shreds. But soon a secret resurfaces, and she finds herself on a trip around the world with her fellow Neph, Kopano, to try and recruit for the coming conflict. Meanwhile, she tries to deal with her intense attraction--and love--for Kaidan--and she soon realizes that not even love may even be worth risking life and limb for.

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of the novel was breakneck--I finished the book in a matter of hours
-Anna, and her change from sweet, innocent girl to a young woman with a kick-ass survival instinct, all the way to the end of the novel, but in love she retains her softness
-The epic quest that Anna and Kopano undertake, and I can't wait to see how the sequel turns out
-Kaidan, and his complicated relationship with Anna that at times made me want to scream
-The Neph that we meet along the way--particularly Zania and Flynn
-Anna's narrative
-The crazy tension between Anna, Kopano, and Kaidan
-The ending
-Kopano, Blake, Marna and Ginger, and the way they all seem to be like a quirky little family to Anna
-Patti
-Belial
-The promise of a sequel

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times both Kaidan and Anna made me want to scream, I was so frustrated

I really liked Sweet Peril--it was great, and I can't wait for the final book! Thanks Goodreads! Next on deck: The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny!

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins Review

Title: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Sweet Evil, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The start of an original new series, Sweet Evil had me entirely captivated--with romance, danger, a crush-worthy antihero and an innocent main character, this book has something for everyone.
This review is spoiler free!

Anna Whitt isn't like normal girls. She can see people's emotions. She isn't sure why; she's had that ability all her life. Along with many other differences, Anna doesn't realize what they mean until she meets the dangerous, alluring Kaiden Rowe: she is the offspring of a demon and a fallen angel. Forced to accept her heritage, Anna discovers that the world she must navigate is dangerous and frightening, and death may not be far behind. Add to this an intense attraction to Kaidan, and well.. What's a girl to do?

What I enjoyed:
-The compelling, complex yet innocent and sweet narration, provided by Anna--I couldn't put it down!
-Anna herself, sweet and innocent and yet capable of doing so much--I can't wait to see how she grows in the series
-The complex, intense world of the Neph and the Dukes of Sin--the mythology of this was cool and different and I had no problem understanding it
-Kaiden, and his bad-boy attitude, all hiding the soft heart underneath--Kaiden was one of the best selling points of this novel for me
-Kopano, Blake, Ginger, and Marna, all struggling to survive but with very real personalities of their own
-Belial
-Patti
-The ending and the way it promises more, and how it got deep under my skin--I can't wait for Sweet Peril!
-Jay and Veronica

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Ginger had me rolling my eyes, taking the bitch thing a little far, but I enjoyed her nonetheless

I really, really enjoyed Sweet Evil! It was a great book, one of my favorites of 2012 easily. Next on deck: Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb Review

Title: Under the Light
Author: Laura Whitcomb
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Light, book two
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The enthralling companion novel to A Certain Slant of Light, I adored its sequel--just as beautiful and deep as its predecessor, it was a rare, lovely treat to read!

I won this book on a giveaway from Goodreads. Thanks! Jenny and Billy are the focus of this companion novel. Still reeling from the aftermath of what happened only six days before, the two find that both of them have alarming memory gaps. As they struggle to make sense of what happened to them, Helen realizes that she has done a wicked thing and stays by Jenny's side as the girl struggles. This sweet, awkward couple grows together slowly.. Even as outside forces threaten to tear them apart.

What I enjoyed:
-The fact that the author was kind enough to write a novel about the characters that took a backseat in the previous novel
-The hypnotizing narrative, beautiful and tender and sad, from both Jenny and Helen's point of view
-Jenny herself, who becomes a character of surprising strength and depth that you don't see right away--she was a great heroine
-Billy, and his connection to her, as well as his struggle to be himself and be what he considers a good person--he had amazing depth as well!
-Helen's role in the story, and the way she struggles with her maternal instinct toward Jenny, partially because of her own daughter
-The dream world that Jenny and Billy inhabit through some of the novel
-The ending--it was absolutely perfect
-Everything was tied up so perfectly, lovingly--I really enjoyed that Whitcomb has such respect for her characters--and her readers
-Almost everything about this novel was perfect--I loved it so much and it even made me cry in places

What I didn't enjoy:
-Dan
-Most of the church ladies
-Cathy at times really bothered me--she was selfish, flat, and self-centered throughout most of the story

I loved Under the Light. It was amazing. Thanks, Goodreads, and thank you, Miss Whitcomb! Next on deck: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb Review

Title: A Certain Slant of Light
Author: Laura Whitcomb
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Light, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, deeply moving, haunting and beautiful, A Certain Slant of Light is simply one of my favorite books if all time--an amazing triumph!

I won this book in a giveaway here on Goodreads. Helen has been benignly haunting a teacher for over a hundred years. Unable to be seen, heard, or touched, she is content with her quiet, voyeuristic life, even if it isn't the same as being alive. Until a boy can see her. Thus forms a quick, almost desperate infatuation that turns into love--James is everything Helen wishes she had and more. But soon Helen is brought to her limit in every way, and it all comes down to one huge question: What will she be willing to risk for contact, and for love?

What I enjoyed:
-The beautiful, sweet narrative that read to me more like a long poem than prose--I drank it all in like water
-The pacing--slow and leisurely at some points but breakneck in others
-Helen, and her narration, as well as her flawed, but still lovable character--her love of literature and life especially drew me to her
-The cast of characters that Helen so greatly loves (Cathy, The Knight, The Saint, The Poet--especially Mr. Brown)
-James, and his whirlwind courtship with Helen
-Mitch
-Jenny--she was a very fragile character for me
-The dilemma and the ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-Dan
-Many of the church women (talk of their religion brought back bad memories for me)

I loved A Certain Slant of Light! A romantic, tender ghost story observing the human condition--I simply loved this novel and will treasure it forever! Next on deck: Under The Light by Laura Whitcomb! 

Rapture by Lauren Kate Review

Title: Rapture
Author: Lauren Kate
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Fallen, book four
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The fourth and final book in the bestselling Fallen series, Rapture completely captivated me--a full and satisfying end to an amazing series! I loved it!

Luce is back. Returned from a tumultuous journey through the Announcers--and more lives than she can count, as well as reeling from a shocking, terrifying betrayal--Luce now realizes that everything--her life, her world, her relationship with Daniel--hinges on her unlocking the secrets to her past. But even worse than this, Luce may not exactly like what she finds.. And her past may not lead to Daniel after all!

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of the novel, which was breakneck and perfect, but not too quick for me
-The narrative of the novel, drawing me in completely
-The mysteries that abound throughout the novel, unlocked at a perfect pace and kept me frantically turning pages, until the final one that had me crying my eyes out
-The ending--it was perfect!
-This book was the greatest of them all, and possibly my favorite, especially with how everything turned out
-The enjoyable cast of characters, sticking with Luce throughout the series, as well as the new ones in the novel
-Daniel, and his complex relationship with Luce, all brought to a head near the end of the book

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about the last novel in this series--it was the perfect way to wrap things up! The only thing I'm sad about was that it ended at all! Brava!

I loved Rapture, and the entire Fallen series as a whole--beautiful! A great angel series! Next on deck: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate Review

Title: Fallen in Love: A Fallen Novel in Stories
Author: Lauren Kate
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Fallen, book three point five
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A nice filler to hold a reader over until Rapture, I enjoyed Fallen in Love--it provided good background information for several of the supporting characters.

Fallen in Love is a novel that is told in a few different stories, all tied together, taking place during Passion, and all with a Valentine's Day theme: Miles and Shelby get stuck in medieval England due to a stray announcer; Roland tries to make amends with his only former love; Arriane tries to make the right choice, in spite of and for love; (Hers was my favorite in the novel.) and finally, Daniel and Luce get to spend an enchanted Valentine's Day together for the first time.

What I enjoyed:
-All of these stories provided vital background for some of my favorite Fallen characters
-There wasn't a story I didn't like, Arriane's especially was my favorite
-The pacing of the stories--though this novel is small, the pacing and the storytelling made it feel heftier than it really is
-The cameos of familiar characters, like Cam
-It was a nice filler, and I'm glad I read it before Rapture

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing bad about this novel--it was nice, even though it diverted from the main storyline

I liked Fallen in Love--it was a sweet, light novel, relatively different from the others. It was lovely. Next on deck: Rapture by Lauren Kate!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Entice by Jessica Shirvington Review

Title: Entice
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters, book two
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Even better than Embrace, Entice has it all--a budding relationship, a race against time, secrets revealed, and an amazing villain--it was a great sequel and I can't wait for more of this!

Violet Eden is back, this time dealing with the aftermath of her choices. Reeling from all she has learned just a few weeks before, she discovers that she's needed once more, this time to race across the globe in a quest for an object that could seriously tip the scales in the battle of good and evil--too far to fix the balance. Add to that her desperate need for her partner, Lincoln, in every way, and the fact that Phoenix is on her heels and isn't letting her go.. Well, let's just say Violet has a lot on her plate--and warnings of a betrayal reach her ears..

What I enjoyed:
-Violet, and her evolution into a strong heroine by the end of the novel, as well as her flaws and her problems--I love her, period
-Lincoln, and his and Violet's relationship, volatile and sensual and coming to a head in the later part of the book
-The pacing, which was breakneck--I couldn't put it down, it moved so quickly!
-Phoenix, of course, as always
-The secrets that were revealed so perfectly--I was hanging on the edge of my seat
-The ending!
-The Grigori characters, especially Spence, Zoe, Sal, Rudyard, and Nyla

What I didn't enjoy:
-Magda

I loved Entice and I can't wait for Emblaze! (Too bad I called a library hiatus after this batch.. Womp! -_-) Next on deck: Partials, by Dan Wells!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima Review

Title: The Wizard Heir
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Heir Chronicles, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A worthy sequel to a smash hit, I loved The Wizard Heir--every bit as good as the book before it--an amazing, rollicking adventure I couldn't put down! Amazing!

Seph McCauley is a kid who's used to being in trouble. Though he is good-looking, charismatic, and popular, he also seems to have a knack for disaster--quite literally. After a tragic mishap, he is shipped off to an exclusive boys' school in Maine, where he finds a headmaster who is using his students for a wicked agenda.. As if this all weren't bad enough for one kid, he has to master his Wizard powers, before he goes insane!

What I enjoyed:
-The breakneck pacing, despite it being a little bit slow at the beginning
-Seph as a character, thoroughly layered and a great protagonist--I liked him immediately and was rooting for him throughout the novel
-The complex, frightening villain in Leicester, throughout the novel, as frightening as a poisonous spider
-The further explanation into the lore of the novel, especially Wizards, and Weirlind itself
-The constant twists and turns I felt throughout the novel--I couldn't guess what was coming
-The cameos of Jack, Ellen, Hastings, Becka, and Linda in the Wizard Heir, and a few others as well
-The ending, explosive and wonderful and perfect--I'm looking forward to the sequel

What I didn't enjoy:
-Most of the boys at Seph's school, with the exception of Peter and Trevor
-The beginning was a little slow

I really enjoyed The Wizard Heir--it wasn't a half-bad sequel! The whole series is definitely a treat worth reading! Next on deck: Entice by Jessica Shirvington!

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel Review

Title: This Dark Endeavor
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Series: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A teen prequel to the gothic classic Frankenstein, this amazing book had everything--fantasy, horror, a love triangle--but best of all, a flawed, relatable narrator in Victor. I loved it and can't wait for more!

Sixteen year old Victor Frankenstein's best friend is his twin, his other half. With Konrad, their cousin Elizabeth, and their friend Henry, young Victor lives a charmed live in his Gevena chateau--that is, until Konrad falls gravely ill. Desperate to save his brother, Victor begins to search for a cure--gambling heart and soul to save his beloved brother, and when both brothers start to have feelings for their lovely cousin, Victor struggles with his own feelings, as well as his humanity, and how far he is willing to go for those he loves.

What I enjoyed:
-The rich, romantic background of Geneva
-The narration in Victor, and how it grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go
-The character of Victor, the antihero of the novel who I found myself almost reluctantly rooting for
-Konrad, and his complex relationship with his twin
-Elizabeth, the lovely, fiery cousin the boys both fall for
-The love triangle was one of the best parts of the novel for me
-The quest throughout the novel that made it fly
-Victor's warm, loving family, despite him chafing against them at times
-The ending that promises a sequel!

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this wonderful, amazing reimagining of a classic!

Anyone looking for a narrator that's different, or just a good adventure, should grab This Dark Endeavor--it was absolutely amazing! Next on deck: The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon Review

Title: Infamous
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: The Chronicles of Nick, book three
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The third book in the young adult series about one of Kenyon's Dark Hunters, Nick Gautier, Infamous was really amazing--I finished it in one day!

Nick Gautier thinks he's had enough trouble for a lifetime. One would think being a fifteen year old boy from the sticks would be difficult enough, but add to that being the son of a demon, trying to cope with powers you can't control, and the fact that you can't see any enemy until it's right in your face, well.. It's a hard knock life. Along with all this, strange things are happening at Nick's school, and Nick's dad--the murderous demon who spawned him--is after him.. And Nick may not get out whole and sane this time.

What I enjoyed:
-The narration of Nick, hilarious and fresh and drawing me in immediately
-The pacing--it was breakneck and I couldn't put it down
-The secrets that had me twisting and turning throughout the novel--I couldn't see what was coming half the time
-The ending!
-Nick's family and friends, especially his mother and Kody
-The complex cast of characters, half of whom seem to have murderous intent for Nick

What I didn't enjoy:
-The cause of the school trouble in the background seemed kind of contrived to me
-I wish I knew more about the lore of the Dark Hunters novels--it's really difficult to follow!

I really, really liked Infamous and I'm looking forward to Inferno. Next on deck: This Dark Endeavor, by Kenneth Oppel!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Defy the Dark by Saundra Mitchell Review

Title: Defy the Dark
 Editor: Saundra Mitchell
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Anthology; different genres
Series: N/A

This is an anthology, so I'm going to be reviewing this a little bit differently: Instead of reviewing the anthology as a whole, I'm going to review each story at a time. The theme is a collection of stories that are written about and in the dark.

Sleepstalk by Courtney Summers: 3 out of 5 stars. A vague, creepy love story. I really liked it, but the narrative and ending were strange and hard to follow. Could've been better, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Nature by Aprilynne Pike: 5 out of 5 stars. A dystopian love story of a girl who is placed in a class of citizens--Natures--to procreate and provide children for the populace. Wishing she could escape her fate, Kylie meets a boy named Jeremy, who is the same as she is. Sweet and an interesting setting--I'd like a novel with this setting. Wonderful.

The Dark Side of the Moon by Dia Reeves: 4 out of 5 stars. A spooky story about a starcrossed couple, the male part of which journeys on the mysterious night trolley on the other side of the tracks and is nearly eaten by an alien spider and its children. Deliciously creepy!

Ghost Town by Malinda Lo: 5 out of 5 stars. A lesbian story with a lot of heart and a creepy, sexy ghost story--I really, really enjoyed it, so much so I'd like to dig deeper into Lo's repertoire. An amazing story!

 Eyes in the Dark by Rachel Hawkins: 2 out of 5 stars. A short story involving murderous red eyed creatures. Slightly scary, but aside from the ending it was dull. I expected more.

Stillwater by Valerie Kemp: 4 out of 5 stars. a creepy, twisty tale about a town stuck in a time warp. I liked the plotline, but it was the romance between Delilah and Pruitt that made this story great.

I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon by Sarah Rees Brennan: 5 out of 5 stars. A romantic, dark love story about a vampire/werewolf couple. I really, really enjoyed this story.

Night Swimming by Beth Revis: 4 out of 5 stars. A dark, dystopian, disturbing story of a love triangle set in the Across The Universe world. (You can find that review here on my blog.) I actually liked this short story better than the actual novel--it explains the characters of Harley and Kayleigh beautifully--and the ending was absolutely perfect.

The Sunflower Murders by Kate Espey: 5 out of 5 stars.  A sad, angry, and disturbing tale of a murder, and how two friends irrevocably grew apart. Lovely, sad, and glorious. I'd love a full novel of The Sunflower Murders!

Almost Normal by Carrie Ryan: 5 out of 5 stars. A creepy, dark, and genuinely horrific zombie story, it sucked me in and nearly had me biting my nails--I really enjoyed this story straight out of a Romero film! I'm looking forward to reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth series.

 There's Nowhere Else-John Skovron. 4 out of 5 stars. A funny, dark tale of escapism in its truest form. As an avid reader myself, I really enjoyed this story of a nightwalker. More please!

 Naughty or Nice by Myra Mcentire: 5 out of 5 stars. A fun holiday story about the Antisanta and two best friends fighting their feelings for each other, with dark twists. I really enjoyed it!

Shadowed by Christine Johnson: 5 out of 5 stars. One of my favorites. A medieval story about a girl trapped with her shadow, which has a life of its own. Beautiful, lyrical, and dark. I wish I had more of it!

Now Bid Time Return by Saundra Mitchell: 4 out of 5 stars. A romantic, sweet ghost story, I really enjoyed it, though the protaganist was a little bit whiny.

The Moth and the Spider by Sarah Ockler: 2 out of 5 stars. This story was more creepy than dark to me--a little bit over the edge and crazy, and though I read it through to the end, I didn't like it very much.

 Where the Light Is by Jackson Pearce: 4 out of 5 stars. A sweet, gentle love story of a boy above ground and a girl below, reading more like a fairy tale than a short story. Lovely.

This Is Ophelia by Tessa Gratton: 5 out of 5 stars and my favorite of the whole volume. a roaring twenties take on Ophelia from Hamlet, of a cross-dressing young woman who has fallen in love and gone mad. If only this were a whole book! Absolutely amazing!

I love, love, love this anthology--it was absolutely beautiful! Anyone looking for a good short story collection should snatch it up! Next on deck: Diva by Jillian Larkin!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rogue by Gina Damico Review

Title: Rogue
Author: Gina Damico
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Mystery/Fantasy
Series: Croak, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The third and final novel in the bestselling Croak series, Rogue was amazing--this is how every series should end for me--wonderful!

Lex and the gang are back.. And this time, not just their lives are at risk, but the Grimsphere as a whole. After the heartbreaking events in Scorch, the whole gang is scrambling, despite their entire world and lives being turned on their heads. Change is just a light word for what's going on throughout the sphere, and everyone--everyone--is tested to their limits.

What I enjoyed:
-As always, the narration was great--quick and quirky and utterly hilarious, as well as more than a few shades of dark
-The pacing was insane--I couldn't put it down, and I couldn't stop thinking about it when I couldn't read it!
-Lex and her evolution as a character, from a lost teenager to a mature young woman, as well as her relationship with the other characters
-The gang--Pip and Ferbus and Bang and Uncle Mort and Elysia and of course, Driggs
-The way every single loose end was tied up--beautiful! No questions asked!
-Grotton
-The ending--I bawled my eyes out after I finished

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this explosive novel, and the series as a whole! A beautiful ending to a quirky, different series that I loved!

I loved Rogue, and the whole series--anyone looking for a different paranormal series or for a funny main character should snatch it up! Next on deck: Defy the Dark, edited by Saundra Mitchell!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon Review

Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Romance
Series: Dead Beautiful, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An interesting new take on vampires and zombies, Dead Beautiful was a good debut--though I can't shake the feeling the author took a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter and Twilight.

Renee Winters's life is ruined when she discovers her parents dead in the woods in California, seemingly of heart attacks. But she discovers strange items with her parents' bodies: coins on their eyes and gauze in their mouths. After the funeral, Renee leaves for New England to live with the grandfather she barely knows. Once there, she is sent to Gottfried Academy, a mysterious old school with more secrets than she realizes. She meets Dante, a boy she feels mysteriously drawn to, but Renee realizes that love may be to die for--literally..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing was breakneck--I couldn't put it down!
-Renee, and her determination to find truth throughout the novel, as well as live her life, though at times with Dante she was a bit whiny
-Dante, and his relationship with Renee
-The complex, layered mythology of the novel, different and engaging
-Nathaniel and Eleanor
-The elaborate hierarchy of the school
-The mystery that I didn't see coming and took me nearly the whole book to solve
-Brandon Bell
-The Gottfried Academy, gothic and mysterious, reminding me of Hogwarts castle
-The ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-It really seemed like Woon took a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter and Twilight--at the beginning of the novel it felt like those two stories were mixed together

I really liked Dead Beautiful--anyone looking for a good mystery or thriller should pick it up. Next on deck: Rogue by Gina Damico!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs Review (Possible Spoiler Alert!)

Title: Sweet Legacy
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Medusa Girls, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The last thrilling novel in the Medusa Girls trilogy, I simply loved Sweet Legacy--I couldn't put it down! It was a satisfying, wonderful sequel--I loved everything about it!

Gretchen, Grace, and Greer have returned for the final time. Still reeling from arriving in Abyssos, the girls set out to achieve their destiny: open the door between the worlds and make the most frightening decision of their young lives. On top of that, they're dealing with boy crushes, trying to learn how to properly use their powers, and oh, yeah, the most important thing of all: staying together and all in one piece..

What I enjoyed:
-As with every volume in this series, I enjoyed the multiple narration, adding depth and breathing life into the story
-The pacing was breakneck--I couldn't put it down
-The girls themselves--one of my favorite sets of literary siblings!
-The girls' continually evolving relationship throughout the novel
-Nick, Thane, and Milo
-The quirky monsters that the girls meet and some of them, eventually, befriend
-Childs did something I love to have in an ending novel: Every single question was answered and everything was tied up--I was so happy and relieved!
-The ending, as well as what led up to the ending--wonderful!
-The Gorgons, of course
-The gods throughout the novel
-Cassandra and the girls' families

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this book--it was the perfect ending to a great series!

I loved Sweet Legacy! Any girl dying for a chick alternative to Percy Jackson and the Olympians should grab The Medusa Girls series. Next on deck: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones Review

Title: First Grave on the Right
Author: Darynda Jones
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Charley Davidson, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Hilarious, romantic, and a spine tingling mystery, I loved this novel, especially its smart-aleck heroine, Charley--more please!

Charley Davidson has never been normal. She's been able to talk to dead people as long as she could remember. Pair that with the fact that she's a grim reaper, well, you've got a pretty volatile combination. She's been having crazy hot dreams about a man who loves her so thoroughly she can't breathe, and on top of that, she's trying to work her private investigating job. When three lawyers are murdered and beg her to solve the mystery, Charley doesn't hesitate to help, even when her own life becomes at risk..

What I enjoyed:
-The hilarious narration provided by kick-ass Charley, which had me alternately laughing and cringing page after page
-Charley herself, and her unwavering personality, strong and not afraid to be herself, and damn near fearless
-Charley's significant other--Oh my God!
-Charley's family and coworkers, especially her father and Uncle Bob
-The myriad gang of dead people that follow Charley about, more family than hauntings
-The romance was both hot and romantic
-The mythology of the novel that was cool but still had a lot of questions
-The ending--I can't wait for the sequel!

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times the narration was a bit all over the place

I loved First Grave on the Right! Wonderful! Next on deck: Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Indelible by Dawn Metcalf Review

Title: Indelible
Author: Dawn Metcalf
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Twixt, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Indelible took a little bit to get into, but once I got into the swing of the novel, I really, really enjoyed it--a fun, different spin on the fey! It was wonderful!

Joy Malone is out partying with a friend when she catches the eye of two gothic siblings--the male of which tries to cut out Joy's eye! Joy soon encounters glowing young women, monsters writing messages on her windows, and mysterious old men popping out of gardens out of nowhere. Joy soon discovers she is now the property--literally--the lehman, of Indelible Ink, a mysterious, quiet boy who is so much more than he seems. As a relationship develops with him and his sister, Inq, Joy realizes that while love comes with this world, so does danger..

What I enjoyed:
-Joy, and her growth throughout the novel, from slightly spoiled teenager to a girl in love to a heroine in her own right, saving herself
-The mysterious, but fun and different world of Ink and Inq and the Folk
-The ragtag gang of people that come from Ink and Inq, especially Kurt
-Ink and his slow understanding of humans, and Joy herself--he was one of my favorite parts of the novel, and his relationship with Joy
-Inq, and her mercurial moods, bubbly and sweet on the outside, and hiding a cooler, harder exterior
-The villain--bravo! Wonderful!
-The pacing once the ball got rolling--I couldn't put it down!
-The ending--Yay! Lol.

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times it took me a while to get into it--it was a little slow, but other than that, it was lovely!

Anyone looking for a cool, fun new twist on a fantasy tale should grab Indelible--it's worth reading! Next on deck: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Betrayed by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast Review

Title: Betrayed
Author: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: The House of Night, book two
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, scary, and original, I enjoyed Betrayed--though I think as a sequel it left more to be desired. Perhaps things will get better as I read on.

Zoey Redbird is trying hard to adjust as a fledgling vampyre in the House of Night. She's been awarded as Head Prefect of the exclusive Dark Daughters, and she's trying to juggle three--yes, three--different boys at the same time, all the while trying to unravel the secrets behind her gifts from the goddess Nyx. But death and betrayal is about to strike, from where Zoey least suspects..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing that drew me in right away--I really enjoyed it and it was breakneck, had me racing to figure out what was happening
-Zoey, and her hilarious narration, as well as her gang of friends, especially Stevie Rae--as well as her growth as a main character
-The mystery that was presented throughout the novel, that I had nearly figured out before half the novel was over
-Neferet
-Lenobia
-The ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Zoey seemed a bit whiny and it drove me kind of nuts
-Heath
-I had the mystery figured out rather quickly and I'm hoping other books' secrets aren't as easily unraveled

I liked Betrayed, though I felt it could have been executed better. Next on deck: Chosen by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Title: Ballad
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: A Gathering of Faerie, book two
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Even better than the previous novel, Ballad completely swept me away--it was wonderful and I can't wait for more!

James Morgan is a piper--a kid with extraordinary musical talent--has transferred to Thornking-Ash music school, hoping to hone his musical talent before college, along with his best friend and childhood crush, Dee. His musical talent is so rare that it attracts Nuala, a fae that feeds off of the lives of those she inspires. Trying to deal with his attraction to her, his crush on Dee, and the fact that other fae are dropping mysterious dead, he finds that all kinds of love exist--some you even sacrifice yourself for.

What I enjoyed:
-The hypnotic, mysterious writing style, just like in Lament, that grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go
-James's hilarious narration, funny and flawed and jaded, giving new depth to the series as a whole
-Nuala, the inspiration muse stuck somewhere between fae and human, wanting desperately to belong and find love, even as she deals with her monstrous urges
-Dee's text messages, vague but still adding spice and mystery to the novel--I had fun deciphering them
-Sullivan--one of my favorite characters!
-Paul and the rest of the ragtag team
-The deeper exploration of Dee and James's relationship, tender and sad and heartbreaking
-The villain
-Eleanor
-The ending
-The promise of a sequel

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this beautiful novel! I can't wait for the final installment!

I loved Ballad--it was wonderful! Next on deck: Betrayed by P.C. and Kristin Cast!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima Review

Title: The Warrior Heir
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Heir Chronicles, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Magical, lyrical, and hilarious, I loved The Warrior Heir! More please! Easily one of the books I couldn't live without reading.

Jack Swift has forgotten to take the medicine for his heart. In doing so, he feels stronger, faster, more powerful. After sending a local bully flying out on the soccer field, his normal, ordinary life begins to utterly unravel. He discovers that he is a warrior, a Weirlind, selected to fight for a House of Weirs in a battle to the death. He discovers magic, first love, and power--and what it all will cost him.

What I enjoyed:
-The magical narration, which sucked me right in and didn't let go--so much so I ended up almost throwing a fit whenever I had to leave it
-The pacing--it was breakneck and I couldn't put it down!
-The lore of the novel, easily explained and understood
-Jack, and his greatly rendered character throughout the novel
-Jack's family, especially Becka and Aunt Linda
-Hastings
-Jessamine Longbranch
-Ellen and the quirky cast of characters that made up Jack's friends
-The rich history that surrounds Jack's heritage
-The ending--I can't wait for The Wizard Heir!

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this novel--it was amazing!

I loved The Warrior Heir and can't wait for the next one! (This novel gives me hope that I can still stay in touch with young adult fiction!) Next on deck: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wow! Has it really been a year?

So many books, so many journeys.. And all of you here to support me. I can't believe I've been doing this for a year--the time has flown by so quickly! I'd like to thank Goodreads, my local library, Amazon, and the other people that supply my literature addiction--and you guys, of course! I wouldn't have a blog without you. :D I've recently discovered I've become a bit bored of young adult novels, so from now on I'm going to be trying to put some adult fiction--as well as some nonfiction--into the coming list. If you guys have any suggestions or requests, please let me know! I want to do everything I can to make this a better blog for you guys. Thank you so much, everyone! <3

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long Review

Title: The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Author: Ruth Frances Long
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Faerie stories are a dime a dozen these days, but this novel stands out--romantic, beautifully written, fast-paced and dark, I loved this novel--it was amazing!

Jenny saw her brother Tom snatched up by the trees seven years earlier. Ridiculed and her family broken, Jenny has returned to the same spot to tell her brother goodbye. In doing so, she finds herself drawn into a world of beauty and darkness, secrets and lies and magic. She meets a boy named Jack and faces her childhood fears, and along the way, finds love and the degree of her own power.

What I enjoyed:
-The poetic narration, sounding more like a fairy tale than a young adult novel
-The pacing, breakneck and full of action and romance in equal measure
-The way the book never let me go, even at the frightening parts
-The fae lore, original and authentic and still true to the mythology, but still adding flare to the story
-The character of Jenny, and her strength throughout the novel
-Jack--he was one of my favorite characters in the whole novel
-Tatiana
-Puck
-Oberon
-Tom
-The ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this beautiful, scary book! It was amazing!

I loved this novel--it was a beautiful triumph! Next on deck: The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff Review

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 starts
The bottom line: Dark, gritty, beautiful and an absolute treat to read, this gory, lyrical horror story swept me up and didn't let me go--easily a favorite of all time! I only wish there was more!

Mackie Doyle isn't a normal kid. Living in the rotting, small town of Gentry, he is a replacement--a false child placed in a crib fifteen years ago. A common thing in Gentry, Mackie now suffers from a severe iron allergy--and unless he doesn't come home to his true world, he will die. Used to being invisible and looking the other way, this all changes for our hero when a classmate's sister disappears. Mackie is forced to confront his origins when he meets fellow creatures like himself--and realizes that he can hide no longer..

What I enjoyed:
-The lyrical narration of Mackie, a jaded teen who wants nothing more to fit in, but his origins won't allow him to--I was completely sucked in!
-The breakneck pacing--I couldn't put this dark tale down, even though there were times I wanted to
-The beautiful, frightening, and dark world of Gentry, a town gorged on ancient magic and blood
-Tate, and her uneasy alliance with Mackie
-Roswell
-Drew and Danny, and the rest of their ragtag crew
-The Morrigan and her subjects
-The Lady
-The dark, frightening, yet gorgeous narration, and depiction of the characters
-The Cutter
-Mackie's family--especially Emma

What I didn't enjoy:
-Alice

There was nothing I didn't love about this gruesome tale! Anyone looking for a spooky post-Halloween read, or a dark book about faeries--should run to the bookstore or library and snatch it up! Next on deck: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff Review

Title: Paper Valentine
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Mystery
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Lyrical, creepy, tender and beautiful, Paper Valentine sucked me in immediately--I loved it! I can't wait for more of Brenna Yovanoff!

Hannah Wagner is a plain Jane girl who's trying to death with her best friend, Lillian's, death, six months earlier. As if this wasn't hard enough, Lillian is haunting her, birds are dying, and it's hotter than ever in the city--and dead bodies of young girls are springing up, with only a paper valentine as a clue. As Hannah gets closer to solving the gruesome mystery, she discovers first love, how to be true to yourself, and how to love someone else, even as she risks her own life..

What I enjoyed:
-The creepy, claustrophobic  narration of Hannah, beautiful and grim and stark
-The pacing--the book flew and I gobbled it up in a matter of hours
-The mystery that Yovanoff presents, which kept me frantically turning pages
-The surprising ending that I didn't see coming
-Ariel
-Finny
-Hannah's family
-Lillian especially, flawed and bratty and yet still a relatable character

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this novel--despite the grim subject matter, it was beautiful and lovely and absolutely perfect!

I loved Paper Valentine! Anyone looking for a good thriller or ghost story should pick it up! Next on deck: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff!

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs Review

Title: Sweet Shadows
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Medusa Girls, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though this is a worthy sequel, and I can't wait for the last one, this novel took a little while to get rolling--I had hoped for more information.

Gretchen, Grace, and Greer are back, juggling their normal lives with the secrets they aren't supposed to tell: As Medusa's descendants, they must rescue the Gorgons and race against time to get to the bottom of their heritage--even if it means putting their families and their very lives at risk.

What I enjoyed:
-The multiple narrations of the girls throughout the book
-The pacing, once it picked up
-Grace, Gretchen, and Greer, and the way they all seem to me like three different parts of a whole
-The deeper explanation of the Abyss and the girls' heritage
-Nick
-The group of beings Gretchen meets in the Abyss
-The girls' families--especially Grace's brother Thane!
-The ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-It took about a hundred pages to hook me
-I wish there had been clearer explanations of the gods' allegiances, and other things like that--just more information about the mythology of the novel in general, really

I liked Sweet Shadows, but I hope the last and third book is better! Next on deck: Swoon by Nina Malkin!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scorch by Gina Damico Review (Possible Spoilers!)

Title: Scorch
Author: Gina Damico
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Mystery/Fantasy
Series: Croak, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Just as amazing and hilarious as its predecessor, I loved Scorch--it was even better than the first novel!

Lex and her ragtag gang of friends are back. On edge after the events that last happened in Croak, as well as utterly heartbroken, she returns to a Croak that has turned its back on her, afraid and full of judgment. But that's the least of Lex's problems: Zara is still on the loose, Damning people, killing innocents, and Norwood and Heloise are trying to take over Croak. As she races against time to solve yet another caper, she doesn't realize that she might not make it out of this one unscathed..

What I enjoyed:
-The narration, hilarious and touching (my family was constantly asking what I was laughing at while reading it)
-Lex, and her growth throughout the novel, trying to right her mistakes
-Driggs and her other ragtag pals in the Junior class
-Driggs and Lex's relationship
-The caper that is presented, even better than the last one
-Cordy
-Mort, and the other residents of Croak
-The cliffhanger ending--I want Rogue now, dammit!
-Zara
-The further explanation into Reaper lore, with as much new questions as answers

What I didn't enjoy:
-This book was so emotional and had me constantly reaching for the tissues!

I loved Scorch--it was worth waiting for! Next on deck: Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs!

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington Review

Title: Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, original, fun, and full of action, I loved Embrace! I can't wait for the sequel! Anyone looking for a different take on an angel novel should run--not walk--run!--to the nearest bookstore for it!

Violet Eden wants nothing more than to tell her best friend, Linc, that she has deeper feelings for him. They've trained together, and they know everything about each other--that is, until Violet realizes that he's hiding something from her, something big. Then she meets Phoenix, a bad-boy hottie who also knows more than he's telling. Violet's life changes forever as she delves deeper into her past.. A past that may consume her and all she loves, if she isn't careful..

What I enjoyed:
-Violet's narration of the novel, as well as Violet herself--she is a strong heroine that I enjoyed, though she is flawed and beautifully, lovingly rendered
-Lincoln
-Phoenix
-The love triangle that spans the novel and I suspect is going further throughout the series
-The original angel lore that was easily explained and followed--I loved it!
-Griffin
-Onyx and Joel
-Steph
-Magda
-The cliffhanger ending--I'm dying for more already!

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times, Linc and Phoenix's constant pissing contests got on my nerves

I loved Embrace and I can't wait for the next one--easily one of my favorites of all time! Next on deck: Scorch by Gina Damico!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Firelight by Sophie Jordan Review

Title: Firelight
Author: Sophie Jordan
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Firelight, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautiful, romantic tale of a teenage dragon just coming into her own, I greatly enjoyed Firelight--even though at times the heroine and her family annoyed me.

Jacinda Jones is no ordinary teenager--she is a draki, a dragon that is able to take human form. Revered in her pride for being the first fire-breathing draki in centuries, she loves the freedom she gets when she shifts. But that all changes when she is caught in her true form by a hunter--Will, a boy who doesn't want anything to do with his family's destruction. Torn from her home, Jacinda comes across Will again, and the two fall in love--even as forces beyond their control threaten to tear them apart.

What I enjoyed:
-Jacinda's narration, fresh and soulful, if a bit whiny at times, as she struggles to stay true to herself and her kind
-The pacing--it flew and I really enjoyed it
-The lore of the draki, different from traditional dragon knowledge but easily explained and followed
-Will, and his relationship with Jacinda, as well as trying to fight what he was born to
-The ending I kind of saw coming, but was different than I thought

What I didn't enjoy:
-Tamra
-Jacinda's mother
-Xander and Angus
-Cassian
-Most of the pride in general

I really liked Firelight, but not enough to keep reading--something about it just fell short for me. Next on deck: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Passion by Lauren Kate Review (Possible Spoiler Alert!)

Title: Passion
Author: Lauren Kate
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Fallen, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Beautiful, romantic, thrilling and dark, I loved Passion--it was a great sequel and I can't wait to see how the series ends!

Passion begins where Torment left off--Luce lost in the Announcers, portal jumping, trying desperately to unlock the secret between the curse of her and Daniel's passionate love affair that spans across centuries--confused and alone, with only a merry travel guide, Bill, to help her--Luce discovers that while she may go looking for answers--with Daniel and the others following in hot pursuit--they may be might in front of her, and she may not like just what she finds..

What I enjoyed:
-The amazing writing style that drew me in from the first sentence--I finished this in a matter of hours
-The pacing--I couldn't believe how fast it went! (I want the last one now. Right this instant! Lol.)
-Luce's deeper exploration of her relationship with Daniel, which added much needed depth for the series
-The clear explanation of the different cultures in the book that made it easy to follow, despite the breakneck pacing
-Bill
-Daniel's relentless pursuit of Luce, as well as exploration into his character as well
-The other fallen, all racing despite themselves to save Luce and Daniel's future
-The ending--I can't wait to read the rest!

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times it moved a little too fast and I was a little lost

I loved Passion and I can't wait for the last book! Next on deck: Firelight by Sophie Jordan!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield Review

Title: Chantress
Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Series: Chantress, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Rich, magical, romantic and original, I loved Chantress--I'm looking forward to the sequel!

Lucy Marlowe has lived a quiet life off the coast of England for sixteen years. But that all changes when she hears a mysterious, enticing song on the wind. Unable to help herself, she gives voice to the song, and finds herself in the city of London, bewildered, lost, and frightened. Soon she discovers she is a Chantress, the last of her line, capable of singing magic into being. But with such power comes risk. Lucy discovers that an evil force called the Shadowgrims, and its leader, Scargrave, are after her, and they will stop at nothing until Lucy and everything she cares about is destroyed..

What I enjoyed:
-The writing style that grabbed me in from the beginning
-The pacing--I couldn't put it down and devoured it in two days!
-Lucy, and her character, as well as her evolution throughout the novel--I loved her!
-Penebrygg
-Nat, and his complex relationship with Lucy
-Norrie
-Miss Herlaine
-The Invisible College
-The historical background of 1660s London, so beautifully rendered
-The lore of the novel, rich and complex but easy to understand, always explained
-Scargrave
-The Shadowgrims

What I didn't enjoy:
-There were times when I was a little lost in the subterfuge of the novel

I really, really enjoyed Chantress--I can't wait until the next novel! Next on deck: Passion by Lauren Kate!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

After Daybreak by J.A. London Review

Title: After Daybreak
Author: J.A. London
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction/Horror
Series: Darkness Before Dawn, book three
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, dark, and thrilling, I enjoyed the last book in this vampire series--but I really think the ending could've been much better!

Dawn Montgomery has just found out a secret that has shattered everything she's ever known. Reluctantly armed with this knowledge, she and her friends--Victor, Michael, Tegan, Richard, Ian, and Faith--prepare for the ultimate battle against a vampire who has gone mad in his thirst for revenge. Along the way, she and Victor must navigate their complex relationship, and quickly, because tomorrow is coming close, and our star-crossed lovers might not live to see it.

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of the novel--it sucked me right in and the book flew in a day and a half
-Dawn's narration, and her acceptance of herself throughout the novel, though it took a while to get there
-The dark, frightening, but still hopeful world that London paints in the book
-The dark, thrilling writing style that I really enjoyed
-Victor, and his complex, romantic, heartwarming relationship with Dawn
-Michael
-Tegan
-Richard and Faith
-Ian
-Sin
-Eris
-The explanation of vampire lore
-I liked how everything was explained, no question left unanswered for me

What I didn't enjoy:
-The only thing I didn't like about the book was the ending--I really felt it was anticlimactic and left a lot to be desired

I really liked After Daybreak--it was well worth the wait! Anyone who loves strong heroines, dystopian novels, or strong heroines should pick up the Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy! Next on deck: Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Everbound by Brodi Ashton Review

Title: Everbound
Author: Brodi Ashton
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Everneath, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, heart-wrenching, beautiful and dark, Everbound didn't hook me until the last half of the book--I really hope Evertrue is better!

Nikki Beckett is still mourning after the dramatic, heartbreaking events of recent weeks. Living on borrowed time, she is determined to fix it, even if it means asking for help from a man she no longer trusts; even if it means facing unimaginable horrors; even if it means sacrificing everything inside her.. No matter the cost..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of the novel in the second half
-Nikki, and her determination and dedication to true love, as well as her character evolution throughout the novel
-The unique, beautiful, deadly world of the Everneath, seen up close and personal this time around
-Nikki's family
-Cole, and his role throughout the book as a complex antihero
-Max
-Ashe
-Jack, of course
-Will
-Jules
-The surprising ending I never saw coming

What I didn't enjoy:
-The first half of the book didn't do much for me; it just felt like Nikki was whining the entire time
-I felt like I could predict most of what could happen, through the first half

I didn't like Everbound as much as I loved Everneath, but if you can brave your way through the first half, feel free to try. Next on deck: After Daybreak by J.A. London!

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon Review

Title: Invincible
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: The Chronicles of Nick, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Just as hilarious and even better than the first, I loved Invincible--I can't wait for the sequel! (Though I do wish that the Dark-Hunters lore was more clear.)

Nick Gautier has returned. Only a week after the previous novel, he's trying to deal with the remarkable and frightening revelations of his young life: He's the son of a demon, and could destroy the world if he isn't careful. Pretty scary things to learn when you're only fourteen, and the biggest thing you've ever wanted is to have a real girlfriend! Even worse, mysterious, creepy deaths are sprouting up all over the city, Nick isn't sure who to trust, or how to control his powers..

What I enjoyed:
-The hilarious writing style that I've come to expect from Kenyon
-The pacing--it flew and I almost threw a fit whenever I had to put it down
-Caleb
-Kody
-The villain and how the plot was executed with it
-Death, Pain, and Suffering
-Ambrose
-Kyrian
-Nick's family
-Acheron

What I didn't enjoy:
-I wish there was a way to understand the Dark-Hunters lore without having to read the adult series!

I really liked Invincible--it was a lot of fun! Next on deck: Everbound by Brodi Ashton!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon Review

Title: Infinity
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: The Chronicles of Nick, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Hilarious, creepy, and fun, Kenyon's young adult alternative to the Dark Hunters series features Nick Gautier, a tough as nails Cajun kid from the wrong side of the tracks--and I loved him! More, please!

Nick Gautier is just a normal kid trying to stay out of trouble at his private school. All he wants is to get through his classes unscathed, take care of his mom, and maybe, just maybe, just a girl to finally kiss him. But these plans are derailed for our young hero when the dead start rising from the grave.. and those Nick loves just so happen to be on the menu! As if this weren't enough for one kid to deal with, he discovers that he isn't exactly what we'd call normal..

What I enjoyed:
-Nick's hilarious attitude and persona--he was a great main character that I fell in love with, and I loved his evolution throughout the story
-The solid narration of the novel
-The terrific, creepy pacing--It flew and I gobbled it up
-The lore of the story, though it might be slightly confusing for someone who hasn't read The Dark Hunters (Exhibit A, this kid. Lol.)
-Kyrian
-Nekoda
-Ambrose
-Nick's mother and friends
-Caleb
-The ending--I can't wait for Invincible!

What I didn't enjoy:
-As I said, some of the lore was a bit confusing, but it wasn't enough to bog the whole novel down.

I loved Infinity! A fresh new character in young adult for a girl to love--brava, Miss Kenyon! Next on deck: Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ingenue by Jillian Larkin Review (Possible Spoiler Alert!)

Title: Ingenue
Author: Jillian Larkin
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Flappers, book two
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: I was honestly expecting more out of this sequel--Honestly, I'm only reading the final one because of the historical period, and because I want to know what happens to the characters. I really wanted more and it was just dull, unfortunately.

Gloria, Clara, and Lorraine return--this time, all three of them are in New York. Gloria wants nothing more than to be with Jerome, the love of her life, even if it means giving up her riches, and living in the slums. Clara and Marcus are still going strong, though Clara is nervous about being back in New York again. Lorraine is desperate to scheme and get revenge on Gloria, even if it means leaving her innocence behind for good.

What I enjoyed:
-As always, the pacing of the novel--it flew, and that was the only thing that hooked me
-The historical research into the time period itself
-Gloria and Jerome
-Clara and Marcus
-Vera and Evan
-The glittering background Larkin paints, this time in New York
-The ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-The plot at times seemed too easy to figure out
-Lorraine, and her plot in the whole story
-Hank
-Carlito
-I really thought that the sequel was going to be better, but I didn't like it all that much
-I was expecting more and I'm barely hanging on to the series as it is
-Gloria's father
-I'm not even sure why I didn't like the novel, I just thought it was kind of mediocre

I didn't like Ingenue. Anyone looking for a good series about flappers should look elsewhere. Next on deck: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong!

-fanfare-

Wow. One hundred and fifty posts. I can't believe it, the time has flown by. Many books and many things have come into my life since I began this humble little blog. I'd like to thank you all for supporting me throughout this labor of love, and if there's anything I can do to make this blog better for you guys, please feel free to comment on a post sometime. I love you guys, and nothing could ever replace your support. Thank you all so much!

Everneath by Brodi Ashton Review

Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Everneath, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Beautiful, bittersweet, and complex, this retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth made me fall in love--it was absolutely wonderful!

Nikki Beckett is a Forfeit--a human being selected to go down to the Everneath--Hell, the Underworld, to us regular human beings--but a place where darkness hides and beings called Everlivings--beings without any human emotion--live. Nikki has spent the last spring of the year with Cole in the Everneath, fueling him for the last century. But now Nikki has returned--to her boyfriend, Jack, to her family--and she isn't going back under without a fight. Unfortunately, Cole has followed her, and he's not leaving until he has Nikki back for good..

What I enjoyed:
-The beautiful prose of the novel
-The pacing--it flew and I gobbled it all up
-Nikki, and her determination to live life on her own terms
-Cole, and his love for her, as well as his bad boy persona
-Jack, and his tender, complex relationship with Nikki
-The deep, well-thought out lore of the novel, steeped in multiple mythologies
-The ending--I can't wait for the sequel!
-Nikki's family
-Jules
-The way the novel hooked me--I couldn't stop reading, even as my heart broke and mended in turn

What I didn't enjoy:
-Every now and then Nikki got on my nerves
-I feel that as much information was given, there were as many questions I found myself asking

I loved Everneath--it was a real treat! Anyone looking for a good retelling or romance should get it right away! Next on deck: Ingenue by Jillian Larkin!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray Review

Title: Spellcaster
Author: Claudia Gray
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: Spellcaster, book one
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though a valiant attempt at a book about magic, witches, and darkness, Gray's first novel in this new series disappointed me--the plot seemed too easy to figure out, the characters too plain, and only the lore is enough to keep me reading the next one.

Nadia Caldani is a witch. Her parents have recently divorced, and she moves to Captive's Sound for a fresh start. Once there, she finds the whole town under the influence of powerful, dark magic--especially Mateo Perez, the town crazy. He sees visions of the future, and once he and Nadia meet, they discover the cause of his madness--a powerful Sorceress working with The One Beneath--and the two find themselves up against a force of darkness and evil neither of them have ever seen.

What I enjoyed:
-The writing style of the novel
-The pacing--it flew
-Nadia, and her family
-Mateo, and his curse
-Elizabeth, ever now and then
-Verlaine
-The lore of the novel

What I didn't enjoy:
-The novel at times seemed a bit too slow for my taste
-The villain was far too easy to figure out
-The ending--I really feel that this novel should've been shorter
-The characters, at times, all of them, just irked me, especially Elizabeth
-Nadia's family dynamic
-Jeremy
-There wasn't nearly enough magic or action in this novel for me, and I just didn't like it.

I really didn't like Spellcaster much--I was expecting a lot more from it, and I felt like it left me hanging. Next on deck: Everneath by Brodi Ashton!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stay by Deb Caletti Review

Title: Stay
Author: Deb Caletti
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Tender, moving, romantic and frightening, Stay reminds me why I love contemporary fiction--it grabbed me up and held me captive until the last page, with many tears marking my progress! Bravo!

Clara Oates is a regular girl, who has recently moved. Trying to escape the past, and memories of a too-intense relationship with a boy named Christian, she discovers that it is indeed possible to move on, to love again, and to rediscover yourself after being lost, even though it isn't easy. But she realizes that no matter how far she runs, the past isn't so easy to forget..

What I enjoyed:
-The writing style, signature to Caletti and what made me a fan--tender, beautiful, yet gritty at the same time
-The narration, with Clara at the center, trying to move on but bogged down by memories of her past, as we all too often are as human beings
-The refreshing, quirky cast of characters, all flawed and beautiful and still very real, especially Finn, Clara, Sylvie, and Clara's father
-The pacing--the book flew and had me utterly breathless, and it actually broke my heart quite a few times
-The reminder that contemporary fiction can be just as riveting as other types of fiction
-Christian, and the intense, riveting, unhealthy relationship Clara has with him that Caletti paints with such finesse
-The ending

There was nothing I didn't enjoy about this beautiful, intense, romantic novel--it was amazing! Any fan of Caletti's--or contemporary fiction--should snatch this gem up! Next on deck: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay Review

Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, beautiful, and deep, Jay's retelling of Beauty and the Beast--even darker than the original--was a treat to read--I loved it!

Isra was raised to be a human sacrifice, a queen sentenced to death for the sake of keeping her city alive. She's never doubted her upbringing or her purpose in life, living with her taint, however reluctantly. But that all changes when she meets Gem, a member of the people living outside her city, a Monstrous whose people are dying. At first, the two hate one another, but soon reluctant friendship turns to something more.. and the doomed couple must race against time to save both of their worlds, or it will be too late for everyone involved..

What I enjoyed:
-The dark, magical, atmospheric world that Jay paints, frightening and beautiful all at once
-The mythology of the novel, deep and rich and believable
-The fun twist on a classic tale that pays homage to the original, as a retelling should
-Isra, and her fierce independence, and her goal to stay true to herself despite everything--even being blind!
-Gem, and his gruff exterior, but his sweetness inside, as well as his culture
-The multiple points of view that is a staple with Jay, but it gave more depth to the novel
-The ending
-Gem and Isra's growing relationship throughout the novel, as well as the characters evolving themselves

What I didn't enjoy:
-Bo
-Junjie
-Isra's father
-Gare
-At times the novel was a bit too graphic for my tastes

I loved Of Beast and Beauty--it was a wonderful retelling! Next on deck: Nightspell by Leah Cypess!