Sunday, July 6, 2014

Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl | Review

Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl | ReviewIcons by Margaret Stohl
Series: Icons #1
Published by Little Brown on May 7, 2013
Pages: 428
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

picadillyblueIcons, Margaret Stohl’s first solo venture, let me down in a lot of ways.  I was expecting a fast-paced book full of pulse-pounding action and suspense and that is definitely not what I got.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but it could have been great.

The biggest issue I had with Icons was the pacing.  It was so slow!  I think the story would have been good if I could just get into it.  There were times when I almost gave up because I just felt like I was trudging through mud.  I couldn’t seem to make any progress.  There was a lot of history about Ro, Dol, and what happened on The Day but it felt more like an info dump than anything.  While the history behind The Day and all that stuff was interesting, I felt like there was maybe too much of it.  It actually was quite confusing to me.  I wasn’t sure what the Icons were or what they did and I really didn’t understand why some people survived The Day and others didn’t.  I think I probably missed a lot of info because I was bored by it.

I didn’t feel any sort of connection with Ro, Dol, Lucas, or Tima.  I felt like Lucas was the privileged child that just did everything he could to test his limits.  Tima was the misunderstood girl with a bad past.  Ro was the typical best friend who has been in love with Dol since forever and she’s never noticed.  Then there was Dol herself.  She didn’t really seem like someone who could lead some sort of revolution.  She was a little too timid for that although she did seem to come into her own throughout the course of the book.  I just felt like all the characters were very undeveloped and lacking the strength to hold the book together.

The plot took forever to pick up.  I made it about 75% through the book before anything seemed to happen.  Then things actually got interesting.  It seems like at that point all the historical info has been told and there is finally room for a plot.  I do feel like the pivotal moment was a bit rushed and the whole ending seemed a little abrupt but it did redeem the book for me.  It’s got me interested to see how things are going to take off in the next book.

Overall, Icons wasn’t what I expected but it did get me excited to continue the series.  It holds a lot of potential, things just need a bit more development.

What others are saying about Icons:

Book Swoon’s review: “Although the ending came on a little abrupt, everything was wrapped up nicely and set the stage for further development of the storyline in the next book.”

Chapter by Chapter’s review: “I’d recommend Icons to readers that are looking for a dystopian novel with a twist, readers who are fans of alien invasions and readers who want a story about love and death.”

Realm of Fiction’s review: “Despite its flaws (and believe me, there are several), there is enough basic potential for the concepts here to excite and demand attention.”

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout | Mini Review

Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout | Mini ReviewSuch Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout
Published by Entangled on February 4, 2014
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.

In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…

picadillyblueSuch Sweet Sorrow is a lot more than a retelling of Romeo and Juliet.  I was pleasantly surprised to find many more of Shakespeare’s characters represented in this book and while it had it’s flaws, it was an enjoyable read.

Jenny Trout has a way with words.  Such Sweet Sorrow is beautifully written.  However, I feel like combining a Shakespeare retelling with some heavily descriptive writing might not have been the best route.  Such Sweet Sorrow was a good story but it dragged.  It wasn’t a long book but the combination of it being a Shakespeare retelling and having Jenny Trout’s writing style made it seem like it was never going to end.  I found myself setting it aside to pick up other books because I never seemed to make any progress with it.  Maybe it was just me but it was a really heavy read.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is more than a Shakespeare retelling.  Hamlet makes an appearance, there are Valkyries, and of course Remeo and Juliet are present.  Sure, the story mainly focuses on Romeo going to the underworld to get Juliet back but Hamlet is there as his guide and the Valkyries play a big role in the story as well.  It was a really unique take on Shakespeare’s story.  Also, Juliet was pretty badass!  She didn’t want to rely on Romeo for her freedom and her life.  She took control of her own destiny and I loved that about her.  She always seems to weak in the original story and in many retellings but not this one.

Overall, Such Sweet Sorrow is a flawed but fun read.  Romeo and Hamlet’s friendship as well as their journey through the underworld make for a great story.

What others are saying about Such Sweet Sorrow:

Blood, Sweat and Books’ review: “Sounds bizarre and even I admit it is but somehow it worked out in the end.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “This is definitely one of those novels that will either work for you or not work for you.”

Reviews by Molly’s review: “With rollercoaster thrills, young love romance, and an ending that leaves you dying for a sequel, this story is definitely a keeper!”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Merciless by Danielle Vega | Review

The Merciless by Danielle Vega | ReviewThe Merciless by Danielle Vega
Published by Razorbill on June 12, 2014
Genres: Horror
Pages: 279
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .

picadillyblueThe Merciless by Danielle Vega is seriously one of the creepiest books I’ve read, especially for YA.  I knew it was horror when I started reading it but I really didn’t expect much from it since horror is usually toned down for YA.  While I felt that was the case a little bit with The Merciless, I felt it definitely lived up to the genre in creepiness.

Sofia is new to town, new to school, new to everything really.  She’s  used to being the new girl.  What she’s not used to is having friends.  When Riley, Grace, and Alexis befriend her, she jumps at the chance to be part of the popular clique.  However, things start to spiral quickly.  Riley believes that a fellow student, Brooklyn, is possessed and that it’s their job to get the demon out of her.  What does that entail?  Kidnapping, torture, and a whole lot of scary stuff.  Let the fun begin.

Riley, Grace, and Alexis might be certifiably insane.  The stuff they do to Brooklyn (and force Sofia to do with them) that is just plain crazy.  These teenage girls are ruthless, let me tell you that.  Riley is definitely the ringleader and the mastermind behind everything but Grace and Alexis are more than willing to help her kidnap and torture Brooklyn.  Heck, they’re even willing to possibly kill her.  These girls will go to crazy extremes to please Riley and the only thing that will please Riley is the end of Brooklyn.  She may say at the beginning that she wants to help Brooklyn but it’s pretty clear what she really wants to get out of the exorcism.

Sofia is kind of hard to like.  Sure, she’s forced to go along with the exorcism and I don’t hold that against her but there was always something off about her.  Sofia has always been alone and so she doesn’t quite know how to act with friends or even a boyfriend.  She’s kind of awkward and tries a little too hard to please people.  Also, it turns out she’s hiding a pretty big secret that helps explain why she’s so hard to connect with.

Speaking of the boyfriend, he was pointless.  Sure Charlie seemed like a really nice guy but that was about it.  Charlie and Sofia had absolutely no chemistry and I couldn’t understand why they got together.  It was really abrupt and out of nowhere.  Charlie wasn’t developed enough as a character for me to really like him or want him to get with Sofia.  Their relationship and their interactions just seemed like a waste.

I have to give Danielle Vega props for that ending.  It’s not something you will ever see coming and it’s completely crazy.  Be prepared to have your jaw drop.

Overall, The Merciless is great for the horror aspect but not so much on the character front.  However, if you’re just looking for a creepy book to read, I would recommend this one.  Just don’t expect too much character development.

What others are saying about The Merciless:

BookYAReview’s review: “The Merciless is a mind-twisting, fully engrossing story that had me on the edge of my seat from page one and never let me go.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “ If you’re looking for some good YA horror that makes you wonder if there are really supernatural things going on, you’ll probably want this.”

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Automatic by Rachel Caine

Short Story Saturday: Automatic by Rachel CaineAutomatic by Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires
Published by Harper Teen on September 20, 2011
Genres: Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

picadillyblueAutomatic had the making of a great short story but I couldn’t fully enjoy it.  The reasoning behind that is pretty simple though; I haven’t read any of the Morganville Vampires books.   This story is set in Morganville, Texas and while I think you can read it without reading the series, I think readers will enjoy it more if they already have knowledge of the town and characters.

Automatic is a short story about Michael and Eve.  Like I said, I haven’t read the Morganville Vampires series so I have no clue if they are major characters or minor characters in those books.  I can see how readers might like to know more about them though since they seem like good characters.  Michael is a vampire who doesn’t seem to want to be one.  He’s dating Eve who is a human.  I didn’t necessarily see the draw between the two but they were kind of cute together.  There was also a little bit about two other characters, Oliver and Amelie.  I was very intrigued by Oliver and look forward to finding out more about him once I actually get around to reading the Morganville Vampires series.

The story is quick and pretty fast-paced.  This is one story where it really is just a tie in to a major series.  There wasn’t a whole lot going on and it’s really not necessary to read if you haven’t read the series or don’t plan to read the series.  Like I said, it seems to just be a deeper look at two of the characters from the series.

Overall, Automatic was a pretty good addition to the Enthralled collection.  I look forward to reading the Morganville Vampires series and finding out more about all the characters and the setting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tease (Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie Jordan | Review

Tease (Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie Jordan | ReviewTease by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Ivy Chronicles #2
Published by William Morrow Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

What happens when a girl who always calls the shots meets a guy who's too wild for even her?

A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She's always chosen her hookups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules:

Never let them see the real you.
Never fall in love.
Always leave them begging for more.

Then Shaw comes along. A hottie from the wrong side of the tracks, he's immune to her flirtatious banter and come-hither smile. After rescuing her from a disastrous night at a biker bar, he doesn't even try to take her to bed—he calls her a tease and sends her home instead. Unable to resist a challenge, or forget the sexy, dark-eyed, bad-boy biker, she vows to bring him to his knees.

But instead of making Shaw beg, Emerson finds herself craving him. For the first time in her life, she's throwing out her rule book. Suddenly, she's the one panting for a guy she can't control—a guy who won't settle for anything less than the real Emerson and who forces her to do things she's never imagined, including facing a past she thought she'd buried.

A guy who just might leave her wanting more. . . .


Foreplay, the first book in Sophie Jordan’s new adult series, was fabulous.  I adored it and by the end of the book I was dying for more from the series.  I requested Tease as soon as possible and dropped everything to read it once I was approved.  While I enjoyed it, it didn’t compare to Foreplay.

Tease features one character that readers will remember from Foreplay, Pepper’s kind of slutty friend Emerson.  Emerson has been burned by guys before and so she doesn’t let them get close now.  She is more than happy to sleep with someone but she won’t get attached.  Of course that changes when she meets Shaw.  Shaw is unlike any guy she’s met before and she is immediately attracted to him even though she knows that she should not let him get close to her.  Shaw is a bad boy through and through.  He works as a mechanic and he rides motorcycles and dreams of having his own motorcycle shop where he can build custom bikes.  He’s not the type of guy that Emerson is normally attracted to but they keep running into each other and sparks fly.

The story is totally cliche.  I think that was my biggest issue with Tease.  Emerson had a rather horrific incident in her past with someone she should have been able to trust and she stopped trusting everyone after that.  Of course that changes when some bad boy mystery guy enters her life and she can’t get him off of her mind.  I’m not saying that readers won’t enjoy this story, I’m just saying that readers should expect something that’s been done in books many times before (especially in new adult.)

Emerson and Shaw had some serious chemistry and I applaud Sophie Jordan for always making her characters relationships so intense both physically and emotionally.  I was definitely rooting for Emerson and Shaw’s relationship to work out.  They were good together but they also had some very big flaws to work past.  Sometimes it felt like their relationship was a little doomed but I enjoyed seeing how things were going to play out.

Overall, Tease was a mediocre followup to Foreplay.  I just couldn’t love the characters as much as I did with Pepper and Reece (who I was happy to see in Tease for a few cameos.)  If you enjoyed the first book, definitely check this one out though.

What others are saying about Tease:

Shortie Says’ review:Overall another new adult stunner from Sophie Jordan.”

The Aeropapers’ review: “Let me start this with this statement: I really, really liked Tease by Sophie Jordan. “

Monday, May 26, 2014

After The End (After The End #1) by Amy Plum | Review

After The End (After The End #1) by Amy Plum | ReviewAfter The End by Amy Plum
Series: After The End #1
Published by Harper Teen on May 6, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

picadillyblueThis book.  What do I even say about it?  It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, it was just right there in the middle for me.  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  I haven’t finished Amy Plum’s other series, the Revenants series, but what I did read was fabulous.  I expected the same level of fabulousness from After The End and that is so not what I got.

After The End is really hard to describe in terms of the story, at least without giving things away.  When I first saw the cover and was sent a copy for review, I expected a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel and that’s definitely not what After The End is.  After The End starts off similar to a post-apocalyptic novel but you quickly find out that the apocalypse or in this case World War III, never actually happened.  And that’s where your story starts.

Juneau has been raised as if World War III happened.  She lived in the wilderness of Alaska in a village made up of yurts with no electricity and no technology.  Her village was full of people just like her, who believe World War III was a real thing and that they were some of the few survivors.  Needless to say it’s quite a shock to her when her village is kidnapped and when she sets off to find them she finds that World War III never happened and the world is a technological wonder full of cars, tvs, cell phones, etc.  Based on the way she was raised, Juneau comes across as rather crazy to people in the modern world.  She comes across that way to readers too.  She’s a really strange girl.  I couldn’t connect to her and I honestly never even sympathized with her.  Miles, the guy she teams up with to find her family, is not much better although I did like him a bit more.  He struggles to impress his dad and he’s sure that Juneau is the key to impressing him.  Even though he thinks she’s certifiably insane, he helps her on her quest to find her family.  Along the way, feelings develop, of course.  That part really bothered me because I never saw any chemistry between the two and most of the time it really seemed like they didn’t like each other.  The romance seemed a bit too forced for my tastes.

The story is fast-paced but it kind of goes in circles.  It seemed like there was a lot of extra traveling and that Miles and Juneau ended up going out of their way a lot of the time.  I guess it wouldn’t have been a very good book though if they actually made it to their destination without a ton of problems and speed bumps.  I really don’t have much to say about the story other than that I felt there was a lot of unnecessary information and side trips.

Oh and I have to mention the ending.  Be warned, you guys, this one ends on one of the biggest cliffhangers ever.  I honestly expected there to be more to the book but instead it just ended.  There was no closure in After The End.  If you want any of your questions answered, you’re going to have to wait for the next book because this one just ended.

Overall, After The End is one I’d recommend holding off on.  Even if you’re interested I’d suggest waiting until at least the second book is out to pick this one up.  Otherwise, like me, you’ll be left with a lot of questions.

What others are saying about After The End:

The Daily Prophecy’s review: “I am left frustrated and confused by this book.”

Novel Novice’s review: “An intriguing premise is followed by an even more surprising twist of events inAmy Plum’s After the End, the first in a new captivating, genre-bending YA series.”

My Friends Are Fiction’s review: “Though I never truly developed a connection to the characters I was always interested in the plot and Plum’s writing was easy to read and enjoyable.”

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Finding It (Losing It #3) by Cora Carmack | Review

Finding It (Losing It #3) by Cora Carmack | ReviewFinding It by Cora Carmack
Series: Losing It #3
Published by William Morrow on October 15, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong...

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.

It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

picadillyblueFinding It is the third  book in the Losing It trilogy and it is by far my least favorite.  The first two books in the trilogy were some of my favorite new adult books but this one just did not measure up.

Kelsey is a spoiled brat, no other way of saying it.  She is travelling the world, paying with her dad’s money, and all she can do is complain about her life.  She hooks up with tons of random men and can’t understand why any guy would not be interested in her.  That’s the real appeal with Jackson Hunt.  He’s not interested (or doesn’t seem to be) and so of course Kelsey has to have him.  However, it really doesn’t take long for him to give in to Kelsey and from there the mystery lies in why he was so reluctant to get with her to begin with.

I was really let down with Kelsey as a character.  I liked her in Losing It (even though she didn’t have a huge role) but I couldn’t stand her in Finding It.  She was whiny and really immature.  She was always complaining and I thought it was pretty ridiculous.  Your life  must be so tough if you’re travelling all over Europe using your daddy’s money and not having to worry about a thing.  Jackson Hunt was also pretty disappointing.  Sure he seemed really attractive but he didn’t seem that deep.  I wanted to know a lot more about him.

The story was pretty typical of new adult.  There was some mysterious reason why Jackson couldn’t be with Kelsey.  That part was the only thing that really kept me reading.  I couldn’t figure out what he was hiding from her.  Other than that, I did enjoy the setting.  I haven’t left the United States (yet) so it was nice to read about some amazing places.

Overall, Finding It was a very disappointing ending to the Losing It trilogy.  Also, I was kind of hoping for some cameos from Bliss, Garrick, Max, and Cade.  There was a little bit of Bliss in the book but that was it.

What others are saying about Finding It:

NoseGraze’s review:  “The first thing you should know about Finding It is that it’s nothing like Losing It or Faking It.”

The Lit Girl’s review: “Finding It is definitely my second favorite in this group of books.”

Harlequin Junkie’s review: “Book three in the Losing It series by Cora Carmack, I think, is a great addition to the New Adult genre.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski | Review

Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski | ReviewSong of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski
Published by Forever on February 4, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Since they were kids, Elias Kline and Brayelle Bates have been inseparable. When Bray moves to South Carolina, separating the two for the first time, they both at last realize that their innocent childhood friendship has developed into something much more. So when Bray finally returns to Georgia—and to Elias—things between them couldn’t be more perfect…until one fateful night changes everything.

Desperate not to go to prison for a terrible accident, Elias and Bray decide to run. As they try to make the most of their freedom, the two find themselves relying on a rebellious group of people who tempt the duo into a wild and daring new life. But they can’t run from their troubles forever.

As the consequences of their past catch up to them, the couple must finally face reality. Even if they can make it through the unimaginable, Elias knows the truth about Bray’s painful history, and in the end he may not be able to save Bray from herself…

picadillyblueI don’t know why I continue to torture myself by reading J.A. Redmerski’s books.  I didn’t care for her previous book, The Edge of Never, but I figured I’d give Song of the Fireflies a shot.  Needless to say, I feel like I wasted my time with this one.

Elias and Brayelle are two of the dumbest characters that I’ve ever read about (and that’s saying a lot.)  They have what you would call a very unhealthy relationship.  Elias has always been in love with Bray and Bray has always avoided any kind of serious relationship with Elias.  She’ll sleep with him but that is absolutely all she wants from him.  She sees relationships as a way to get hurt and nothing more.  Elias is a clingy guy who wants nothing more than to be with Bray.  You can see how this might not be a good combination.  They do eventually start a relationship and from there it is all downhill.

The whole story is how Bray does something horrible one night at a party and she and Elias go on the run.  They get into some terrible situations while on the run (such as having their car and all their belongings stolen.)  They meet up with some strangers one day and decide to stick with them even though they know that they might not be good people.  Along the way they drink a lot, do some drugs, and have lots of sex.  That’s about the extent of their relationship.  They don’t talk much, they just have sex.  The people that they are with have some secrets that eventually come out but so do Bray and Elias.  I’m pretty sure of the two groups of people, Bray and Elias have the worse secret.  Oh and along the way they have a run in with Camryn and Andrew from The Edge of Never.

Honestly, the only reason I gave this book three stars instead of no stars was that it was entertaining and the writing was actually pretty good.  I wanted to know how Elias and Bray’s story would end and so I didn’t DNF this one even though I thought about it a few times.  There was enough mystery and suspense to keep me reading.

Overall, Song of the Fireflies is not one I’d recommend.  If, for some reason, you decide that you still want to read it, get this one from the library.

What others are saying about Song of the Fireflies:

Nosegraze’s review: “I didn’t like Song of the Fireflies.”

Dark Faerie Tales’ review: “I got about half way through the book and found that I honestly didn’t care about what was going to happen next.”

I’d So Rather B Reading’s review: “Redmerski’s writing is emotional, passionate, and intense.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell | Review

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell | ReviewDear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Published by Harper Teen on April 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.

Rule Two—Be careful.

Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.

Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.

Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect KillerTh” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Dear Killer is really hard for me to review. On one hand, I enjoyed it. On the other, there were things about it that really let me down. Dear Killer really is one book that is perfectly in the middle for me.

The concept for Dear Killer is what really caught my attention and it’s the one thing I really enjoyed about it. Reading about a teenage serial killer is something I can honestly say I’ve never done. It was fascinating to be inside Kit’s head. She didn’t see anything right or wrong about what she was doing. The concept of moral nihilism was something I hadn’t heard of before reading Dear Killer. Katherine Ewell went in depth with the concept and it really did leave me thinking.

However, I had some problems with Dear Killer. I’ll start with my main problem which was Kit herself. I did not like her at all. She was cocky and full of herself. Her nickname with the media was The Perfect Killer and that’s exactly how she saw herself. She considered herself untouchable and she let it go to her head. I wanted to slap some sense into her.

Another issue I had was with the whole killings. Maybe I’ve read too many adult murder mysteries and maybe it’s partly because I have two former police officers for parents but I really didn’t see how any of this could work. First off, Kit describes herself as a skinny, relatively average height teenage girl. How in the world would it be possible for her to overtake men much larger than her and much stronger? I don’t care how much training you’ve had, it just doesn’t work that way. Also, she was way too cocky with her killings. She would kill people right out in the open. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she was killing 3 to 4 people a month. That just does not work. With the police looking as hard as they were, someone would have caught her.

One good thing about Dear Killer was the relationship Kit had with her mom. Admittedly, it was based on murder but still, it was good. Kit and her mom had a close relationship. They told each other everything. Kit learned everything she knew about murder from her mom. She knew that she could always go to her with any problems or complications. It’s definitely not your typical mother/daughter relationship but it worked for them.

There was also one other thing about Dear Killer that I both liked and didn’t like; the writing. Katherine Ewell’s writing style is very distinct and I enjoyed it. It’s detailed and thorough and I really felt like I could picture everything as Kit was seeing it. The only problem was that it really slowed down the story. What I felt should have been a fast-paced book ended up taking me much longer to get through.Overall, Dear Killer will greatly appeal to some, just not to me. I enjoyed it and I would recommend it but it won’t be on my favorites list.

What others are saying about Dear Killer:

The (YA) Bookcase’s review: “The story of a teenage serial assassin is violent and contains some slightly graphic material; however, it does a good job of engaging the reader to ask what is moral or ethical.”

The Phantom Paragrapher’s review: “I leave with these parting words that if you are a fan of serial killers – the people themselves, the person behind the mask and wanting a book told from the killer’s POV then Katherine Ewell’s book “Dear Killer” is the story for you.”

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Find Me (Find Me #1) by Romily Bernard | Review

Find Me (Find Me #1) by Romily Bernard | ReviewFind Me by Romily Bernard
Series: Find Me #1
Published by Harper Teen on September 24, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 307
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

Find Me, Romily Bernard’s debut novel, has been garnering some high praise from reviewers lately. I went in with very high expectations and I think my expectations were maybe a little too high. While I enjoyed the story, I didn’t love it like I had hoped. It’s a good addition to the YA suspense genre but nothing too spectacular.

I wasn’t drawn into Wick’s story like I had hoped to be. For a suspense novel, it wasn’t all that suspenseful. I kept reading hoping for the pace to pick up but it took way longer than I felt it should have. I wasn’t all that interested in the story until the very end. I didn’t feel invested in any of the outcomes and I only really kept reading to see how things would turn out and if I could guess who the killer was.

As for that, I’ll give Romily Bernard points for keeping me guessing until the very end. I never actually figured out who the killer was. Romily Bernard does a great job and throwing in some red herrings and keeping readers on their toes. There’s more to the story than first meets the eye and I did really like that about Find Me.

The characters were mediocre, at best. Wick was cool. Her talent for hacking was really awesome and something you don’t read about a lot. However, I felt that she could have been doing a lot more with her hacking skills than just helping people find out if their spouses were cheating. I was a little let down by that. Her sister, Lily, seemed very immature and naïve. Wick did everything to protect Lily but I felt that Lily was old enough to know at least a little about protecting herself. She blindly trusted people. With her past, you would think she would know better than to do that. As for the romance between Wick and fellow hacker, Griff, it was cute but nothing that really caught my interest. They didn’t really have much chemistry.

Overall, Find Me is good for a rainy day read but nothing super awesome. I’ll look out for Romily Bernard’s future books (including the sequel to this one) but I feel that this is one that could be skipped over.

What others are saying about Find Me:
Good Books and Good Wine’s review: “Y’all, I zipped through this hacker thriller in a single day.” 
Nick’s Book Blog’s review: “Find Me was a promising debut from Romily Bernard.” 
Realm of Fiction’s review: “Sadly, Find Me lacks too many things for it to be a title that I can easily recommend.”