Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward | Review

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward | ReviewThe Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #14) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #14
Published by NAL on April 5th 2016
Pages: 508
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from...

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By book 14, you’d think I’d be over a series but that is so not the case with the Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  J.R. Ward still manages to surprise me with the twists and turns she keeps throwing in her books.

Fair warning: review is spoiler free if you’ve read the first 13 books.  Otherwise, I make no promises.

Pros:

  • Story: Things seem to be moving along with the Lessening Society again.  The Beast starts off with a huge battle and things seem like they are finally back on track with the war between the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Lessening Society.  I admit, it’s a little frustrating because this war has been going on for 14 books and it doesn’t seem like it’s gone very far so it was good to see such a huge, impactful battle in The Beast.
  • Romance: Rhage and Mary have always been one of my favorite couples (let’s be real, it’s mainly because of Rhage) so I was a little nervous about the story coming back to them and threatening their relationship.  While it definitely puts things up in the air for them, it really shows that they have a strong relationship no matter what they go through and believe me, they go through a lot.  Rhage and Mary don’t have a perfect relationship and they never have.  They went through a lot to get their happy ending and yeah, J.R. Ward kind of throws everything up in the air with The Beast, but she definitely knew what she was doing.
  • Characters: I’m still totally in love with all the original characters and I love that J.R. Ward is revisiting some of their stories but I also really like that she still manages to introduce new ones and tie all their stories together.  There is one particular character that is introduced pretty early on in The Beast who didn’t make sense to the story for quite some time.  When things started to fall into place though, I couldn’t believe where things were going.  It’s hard to believe that I can still be so surprised by J.R. Ward’s books but she manages to throw in some amazing twists that I never see coming.

Cons:

  • Rhage and Mary: I had some serious issues with Rhage and Mary at times throughout The Beast.  Take the very first scene, for instance.  I’m not going to spoil anything but Rhage does something so incredibly stupid and doesn’t even have a very good reason for it.  He acts reckless and it really made me mad.  Then there was Mary.  Mary was so obsessed with Bitty (a child that Rhage and the brothers rescued in a previous book from her abusive father) that she loses sight of so many other things, including Rhage.  Those two had some things they needed to work out and they did not make me happy while they were working them out.  And also, they were pretty cheesy at times which is not something I ever expected from them and I didn’t care much for it.

Overall, The Beast is a solid addition to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and really sets things up for the next book and the next step in the war with the Lessening Society.  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in book 15, especially with Xcor and Layla.

What others are saying about The Beast:

  • Smexybooks’ review: “To be honest, I wasn’t that excited for a second Rhage book, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.”
  • Vilma’s Book Blog’s review: “Life and death, marriage and love, sacrifices and surprises—J.R. Ward stirs things up in this intimate, evocative next chapter in the Black Dagger Brotherhood.”
  • Total Book Geek’s review: “Once again The Beast was amazingly written, and I love how well all the story-lines mix together.”
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy #1) by J.R. Ward | Review

Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy #1) by J.R. Ward | ReviewBlood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Legacy #1
Published by Signet on December 1st 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 397
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

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I admit I wasn’t sure that I wanted to start this series.  While I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I’m already 14 books in with that one and I have a feeling the Black Dagger Legacy series will be just as long.  I don’t normally get into series that go on that long but I really liked Paradise and Craeg from The Shadows so I wanted to continue their story.  I’m happy I chose to start this series and I plan on keeping up with it as the rest of the books come out.  I don’t know why I’m surprised that J.R. Ward  has hooked me once again.

Pros:

  • Story: The story hooked me from page one.  I loved the idea of having some new members trained to join in on the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s fight against the Lessening Society.  I also loved the idea of seeing what goes into the training required to be a fighter with the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  While this was a huge part of the story, it wasn’t the whole story.  J.R. Ward is a master at weaving together multiple stories and she did a great job with everything that was included in Blood Kiss.  Craeg and Paradise’s story takes center stage and much of their story involves the training program but they aren’t the only two who have a role in Blood Kiss.  Marissa and Butch’s story is brought back to front and center when a severely wounded female is found outside Safe Place.  The mystery surrounding her circumstances not only brings in the new trainees but also brings to light some issues that Marissa and Butch have been having with their relationship.  There is so much going on in the story that you will not be able to stop reading.
  • Characters: I loved being introduced to so many new characters while still showing us all the original characters we’ve come to love from the original series.  Weaving together both Craeg and Paradise’s story with Butch and Marissa’s really worked for Blood Kiss. I didn’t feel like it was one of the original books but we still got to see glimpses of everyone else.  The trainees were a varied mix of people that I grew to love over the course of the book.  Paradise was raised to be part of the upper class but that’s not what she wanted out of her life and she was willing to do whatever it took to change her circumstances.  Craeg was a bit broody and mysterious but his story really broke my heart.  Axe, Peyton, Novo, Anslam, and the other trainee whose name I cannot remember were developed only briefly in Blood Kiss but I look forward to finding out more about all of them in the future books.
  • Pacing: While I love the original series, I felt like Blood Kiss had a bit better pacing than that series.  Things took off from page one and didn’t slow down even once.  There is no such thing as a short J.R. Ward book (which I’m perfectly happy with) but this one read a lot faster than the Black Dagger Brotherhood books and it seemed like a much shorter book.  I honestly can’t say exactly what caused that but I think readers will find that this one is actually a surprisingly quick read.

Cons:

  • Romance: While I loved Craeg and Paradise as separate characters, I wasn’t all that impressed with them as a couple.  Things between them were very back and forth and Craeg’s reactions a lot of the time got on my nerves.  Paradise was part of the trainee group because of her own merits and strengths but Craeg still looked at her like she was fragile.  He couldn’t see how he would be good for her and he kept pushing her away because of that, no matter what Paradise wanted.  Their relationship also seemed to be very physical and I would have liked to see more of the emotional side of things.

This doesn’t affect my review in any way but I felt like I should throw this out there.  If you haven’t read the original Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you can still read Blood Kiss.  You also don’t really need to read Blood Kiss to continue with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  However, I think both series’ offer more information to readers and I’d highly recommend reading both of them and reading them as they come out.  I plan on staying up to date with both series so that I don’t miss out on anything but that might just be due to my obsession with this series and all things J.R. Ward.

Overall, Blood Kiss will definitely appeal to fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and if you’ve been on the fence, I suggest checking it out.  Also, if you’ve been thinking about starting the Black Dagger Brotherhood series but are intimidated by how many books there are, you could always start with Blood Kiss and see how you feel about things before starting the other series.  I guess, what I’m saying is, check out Blood Kiss if you’re a fan of the paranormal.  I can’t get enough of these vampires.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Blog Tour: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn | Review + GiveawayHot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn
Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Prepare to be blown away—or rather, carried away on huge muscular wings—by this blissfully outlandish, bracingly-smart, tour de force about a teen who has to come to terms with relinquishing control for the first time as she falls for the hot new…pterodactyl…at school. After all, everybody wants him!

Sheils is very pleased with her perfectly controlled life (controlling others while she’s at it). She’s smart, powerful, the Student Body Chair, and she even has a loving boyfriend. What more could a girl ask for?

But everything changes when the first-ever interspecies transfer student, a pterodactyl named Pyke, enrolls at her school. There’s something about him—something primal—that causes the students to lose control whenever he’s around. Even Sheils, the seemingly perfect self-confident girl that she is, can’t keep her mind off of him, despite her doting boyfriend and despite the fact that Pyke immediately starts dating Jocelyn, the school’s fastest runner who Sheils has always discounted as a nobody.

Pyke, hugely popular in a school whose motto is to embrace differences, is asked to join a band, and when his band plays at the Autumn Whirl dance, his preternatural shrieking music sends everyone into a literal frenzy. No one can remember what happened the next day, but Shiels learns that she danced far too long with Pyke, her nose has turned purple, and she may have done something with her boyfriend that she shouldn’t have. Who’s in control now?

Hilarious and relatable (despite the dinosaur), Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is about a teen who must come to terms with not being in control of all things at all times, break free of her mundane life, discover who her true self is, and, oh, finding out that going primal isn’t always a bad thing

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Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is probably one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read.  I mean, just look at the title and synopsis.  You can’t really expect normal from a book about a hot pterodactyl boyfriend.  I had a feeling that it was going to be weird and entertaining and that feeling was definitely proven right.

Pros:

  • The story:  As bizarre as the story may seem, it’s actually quite relatable.  Shiels is a control freak in every aspect of her life and she’s at the point in her life where she feels like she really needs that control.  She’s applying to colleges and doing everything she can to make herself look good on those applications.  It’s a really common story except for the fact that her school now has a pterodactyl as a student and his entrance in her life throws it into complete upheaval.
  • Shiels:  I really liked Shiels.  Like I said, she wanted complete control and she was used to having it.  That all changed with Pyke.  She had to give up that control and she might have actually gone a little overboard (skipping school, hiding things from her parents) but she grew as a person when she did give up some of that control.  She started to see that maybe things didn’t have to be so orderly and maybe she didn’t always have to be the one to do everything.
  • The family aspect: I loved Shiels’ family, especially her brother.  Her parents were involved in her life but sometimes a little absent and sometimes a little overbearing.  I really just liked that they played a role in her life.  Her brother, Jonathan, was the best part.  They had the classic sibling relationship.  He reminded me a lot of my own brother and their dynamics were very similar to ours.  Maybe that won’t be a big deal to you guys but it was definitely a pro for me.

Cons:

  • Pyke:  I could not relate to Pyke and honestly, he was a little weird.  I mean, of course he’s going to be weird, he’s a freaking pterodactyl but I don’t know.  It was more than that.  He wasn’t very humanlike and so I didn’t feel like I ever got to know him.  I couldn’t understand how he evoked this attraction from everyone he met.  And it wasn’t always romantic attraction though that did happen.  It seemed like everyone wanted to be something to him, whether it was a girlfriend or a mother figure.  It was strange.
  • The writing: This one isn’t a huge con for me but the writing took some getting used to.  It is a little stilted and choppy but once I got used to that I could see how it actually moved the story along a little faster.  Take some time to get used to the style and it will get better.

Overall, Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is one of those books that you should go into expecting something totally out of the norm.  It was hilarious at times while also being really heartfelt.  I can’t say it’s on my list of favorites but it has me eager to check out more form Alan Cumyn.

Giveaway

3 finished copies of Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour stops!

Week 1:
 
Week 2:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Latest Obsession: the Charley Davidson series!

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus lately.  I lost interest in reading and I didn’t really feel like I had much to post about since this is my book blog.  However, I recently discovered the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones and I quickly came out of my reading slump.  I devoured this series and I didn’t want to do a full review for all 8 published books in the series but I wanted to feature them some way so here you go!

Series

This series is by far one of the funniest I have ever read.  Charley has such a great sense of humor and even though it was a bit morbid at times, I cracked up a lot.  I haven’t laughed so hard in quite some time.  The situations she found herself in were so crazy and she just rolled with the punches.  She accepted her crazy lot in life and she really embraced it.  It also helped that she had great family and friends to back her up.  I admit the family situation in the first few books wasn’t perfect but I liked seeing her relationships develop.  Cookie was the ultimate best friend.  She was just as crazy as Charley and didn’t mind getting the crazy situations that developed around Charley.  Uncle Bob was also pretty great.  I grew to love him very quickly.

The stories are pretty predictable but they are fun.  Each book continues the major storyline from the first book but they also each have their own mysteries so there is some closure at the end of each book.  I think I enjoy the mysteries in each book even more than the underlying story about Charley and Reyes somehow defeating Satan.  The mysteries are fun and Charley goes about solving them in completely convoluted ways.  Her interactions with dead people help with the mysteries and honestly, those are some of my favorites parts of the books.  A lot of the dead people have terrible stories and I admit to tearing up a time or two but a lot of them have really humorous interactions with Charley.  Take her Aunt Lil for example.  She’s quite the character.

The Charley Davidson series is like Veronica Mars and Stephanie Plum with the addition of paranormal elements.  Charley has the same sassiness as Veronica Mars and a lot of the crazy antics of Stephanie Plum (along with an awesome sidekick).  I highly recommend this series for both adult and young adult fans.  I look forward to continuing this series and I definitely plan on checking out Darynda Jones young adult series.

Have you read these books?  Did you love them as much as I did?  If you have read them, do you have any recommendations for similar books?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) by J.R. Ward | Review

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) by J.R. Ward | ReviewThe Shadows by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Published by NAL on March 31, 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 592
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

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I think it’s safe to say that by book 13 of a series I’m pretty hooked. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series was a series I started late but I’m definitely an invested fan now. Trez and iAm’s story got me just as much as the original brothers!

Trez and iAm are not members of the Brotherhood. In fact, they are a whole different race; shadows. They are similar to vampires but they have different abilities and different rules to live by. Trez has been promised to the princess of the shadows since he was born but he’s been fighting it for years. However, time is about up for him and not only is there no solution in sight, he’s also in love with Selena.

This series really gets me with the characters. Trez and iAm were no different. Trez was a strong male who had a lot of difficulties in life. iAm was his rock. The twins had a special bond and I loved how they were there for each other through everything. As for their females, I wasn’t quite as invested there. Selena was one of the Chosen, meaning she was very reserved and hard to connect with. As for maichen, she was closed off as well but for very different reasons. I eventually came to like the couples but I didn’t have that immediate love for them like I did the other couples in the series.

There was once again a shit ton of stuff going on throughout The Shadows. There is, of course, still the war with the Lessening Society but it really took a backseat to everything else. The Band of Bastards are stepping up their game now but it’s hard to tell whose side they will be on in the end. Xcor and Layla’s relationship took a new turn in The Shadows. I’m not sure how I feel about the two of them together but Xcor has really grown on me and I feel for him.

Rhage also took center stage in The Shadows which I was not expecting. He has always been one of my favorite brothers so I was excited to see more of him but I’m confused about the direction his story is going. He was very shook up by the events of this book and his ending was very up in the air. I’m wondering what is going to happen with him and Mary from here.

There were also a few new characters introduced and it makes me wonder how many more books are going to be in this series since there are so many open stories now. Paradise is the newest character to be introduced and I already like her. She’s young and eager to learn to fight for the Brotherhood. I love females like her and I hope J.R. Ward introduces more in the future books. I can’t wait to read her story in the spin-off series.

Overall, The Shadows left me with more questions than answers but I still enjoyed it immensely. I have no clue where J.R. Ward is going to take this series next but I will definitely keep reading.

What others are saying about The Shadows:

That’s What I’m Talking About’s review: “Without spoilers, I will tell you that the ending of this book, the ultimate resolution, was so egregious in my mind and heart, that it left me unsettled and speechless.”

vampirebookclub’s review: “I would still recommend picking The Shadows up for simply to see where the Black Dagger Brotherhood members are going.”

Red Hot Books’ review: “In the end of it all, I was just left tired… and disappointed.”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Blog Tour: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer | Review + GiveawayThe Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Published by Harper Teen on March 30, 2015
Genres: Horror, Paranormal
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.

Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.

Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.

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The Cemetery Boys was my first Heather Brewer book but if it’s any indication of her talents as a storyteller, it definitely won’t be my last. The Cemetery Boys is an intriguing mix of horror and paranormal and it hooked me from the very start.

I honestly can’t tell you what I expected from The Cemetery Boys. It’s unlike anything I’ve read and the synopsis really didn’t give me a clue what was going to happen. I think that’s the perfect way to go into this one.  The prologue and first few chapters are intriguing enough to hook you and that’s all you really need to keep going.  As I read I actually found myself getting more invested because I didn’t know what was going to happen.  The story truly was unlike anything I’ve ever read.

Heather Brewer’s writing is simple but gorgeous.  I found The Cemetery Boys to be an extremely easy book to read because the writing was straightforward but in no way dull.  Heather Brewer’s descriptions were so well written that I had no trouble picturing everything in my head.  It helped set the atmosphere of the story and I adored that about the book.  I also adored that Heather Brewer managed to completely capture Stephen’s voice in her writing.  I’d heard that she was good with male MC’s but this was the first time I’d seen it for myself and I completely agree with everything I heard.

The town of Spencer was an awesome setting.  It felt like the town itself was a character.  There was so much mystery and history to the town.  Everyone who grew up there knew what was going on but Stephen was an outsider, finding out about everything for the first time.  The folklore and stories that he was told were beyond captivating and definitely pretty creepy.

Overall, The Cemetery Boys was my first foray into Heather Brewer’s books but definitely not my last.  The writing, the setting, the characters, and everything else about the book added up to make a fantastic story that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Paranormal/horror fans need to check this one out.

What others are saying about The Cemetery Boys:

The Fandom.net’s review: “If you’re interested in “old time-y” horror films that are heavier on the world and the plot progression, but maybe not so much on character development and relationships, then The Cemetery Boys will be a treat for you.”

Candace’s Book Blog’s review: “For people who enjoy books that are a bit different, off the beaten track and a little dark.”

Giveaway!

 
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Friday, December 26, 2014

Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #4
Published by Scholastic on July 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 357
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

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I’m not usually excited when I hear that an author is continuing a series that has already ended.  That was not the case with Maggie Stiefvater and Sinner.  Sinner is a standalone companion novel to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series featuring everyone’s favorite bad boy, Cole St. Clair.  Who wouldn’t want to read this?

This truly is a companion novel to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  Cole is the focus of Sinner and it’s not set in Mercy Falls.  Sure, you get a glimpse of some of the Mercy Falls characters (such as Sam and Grace) but they only play a minor role in the story.  Everything is all about Cole and Isabel this time around.  Since they were two of my favorites from the original series I was more than happy with this set up.

Cole is a self-destructive nightmare who decides it would be a good idea to sign up for a reality TV show that is known for pushing it’s stars over the edge.  He’s got a lot of people in his life who want to see him succeed but he still has a lot of people who want to see him fail.  Honestly, it’s hard to tell which side of the spectrum Cole himself is on.  Cole’s life has always been messed up and adding the whole wolf bit in only pushed him further.  There are times when you can see that he’s trying to change but it’s not often.  He’s still got this inner bad boy who just wants to screw things up.  That includes his relationship with Isabel.

Isabel is a strong female character, just like all of Maggie Steievater’s female characters.  Isabel was always one of my favorites from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series because she was strong with sacrificing her vulnerability.  Her past seriously messed her up but it made her into a fabulous woman.  She and Cole had many issues they had to work through in Sinner but I loved seeing how they had both matured and wanted to work through these issues.  Although, not always.  They definitely still had some communication problems at times.

Reading from both Cole’s and Isabel’s points-of-view allow readers to see how alike the two characters are.  They are both a little volatile, very outspoken, completely messed up, and quite honestly, in love with each other.  To truly appreciate their relationship though you do need to have read the previous three Wolves of Mercy Falls books.  Otherwise it might seem a little bit too fast.

The writing is typical Maggie Stiefvater and by that I mean amazing.  Even if her stories completely sucked (which they totally don’t) her writing would keep bringing me back anyway.  Since the story itself isn’t all that action packed, the writing helped make up for it.

Overall, Sinner is the exception to the rule of continuing finished series.  I love how Maggie Stiefvater ended Cole and Isabel’s story.  I am a completely satisfied reader and I think other fans of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series will be too.

What others are saying about Sinner:

Not Yet Read’s review: “We’re all a little bit broken and this novel lets you see those beautifully broken bits about the characters and how they strive towards mending themselves and how more often than not you need to allow others in to help with the mending.”

The Cait Files’ review: “Cole and Isabel are electric and the story evoked nostalgia and a whole host of emotion.”

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “Sinner was all I could have asked for, and then some.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sublime by Christina Lauren | Review

Sublime by Christina Lauren | ReviewSublime by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 14, 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
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4 Stars

When Lucy wakes up in a frozen forest, she isn't sure why she's there, until she sees Colin.

Colin has captivated half the girls at Saint Osanna's, but no one has ever snared his fascination the way Lucy does. Even as Lucy begins to remember the details of her life–and her death–neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it seems.

An adrenaline junkie, Colin begins taking himself to the brink of death, where their realities overlap–and discovers that he can physically be with Lucy. But maybe some lines shouldn't be crossed.

picadillyblueSublime, the first YA book from the duo of Christina Lauren, is a surprisingly unique ghost story that left me guessing until the very last page. I picked it up on a whim and I’m really glad that I did.

Sublime will captivate readers from the very first page.  Colin and Lucy’s story is one unlike any I have ever read.  From the synopsis, I knew that Lucy was dead but really that’s about all I knew when I started the book.  Lucy’s death and life remain a mystery for quite some time.  She can’t remember anything leading up to her awakening by the lake at Saint Osanna’s.  She only start to realize exactly how different she is when she’s drawn to Colin, as if she’s only there for him.

Lucy is an odd character.  It’s pretty obvious that she’s dead even without it being stated.  However, people can still see her and touch her.  She’s not your typical ghost.  She’s not out for vengeance or justice but she doesn’t exactly know why she is there.  She’s very mysterious and kind of hard to like at first.  She did grow on me pretty quickly though.  Colin grew on me even more quickly.  He was a really sweet boy who had a very troubled past.  At first glance he seems like just another spoiled kid at Saint Osanna’s but that ends up totally  not being the case.  He also has a very strong tie to Lucy, both as a ghost and from when she was alive.  Then there was Colin’s best friend, Jay, who was actually my favorite character in the book.  He had such a fun personality and he was a really great friend.  I would have liked a little more of him but it wasn’t really necessary to the story.

The story is slow to take off but once it does, it’s completely gripping.  Colin and Lucy are determined to find some way to be together and through trial and error, they do.  Colin is an adrenaline junkie and the closer he gets to death, the closer he gets to Lucy.  It’s all just a matter of how far he’s willing to go to be with this girl.  There’s a fine line between adventure and death.  Admittedly this story kind of made me want to smack Colin and Jay for their stupidity but it was pretty thrilling.  Also, as Colin gets in deeper with Lucy, people around him start to realize what’s going on and it finally starts to come to light why Lucy is actually there.  It was totally not what I was expecting, at all.

Overall, Sublime is an entertaining read that is definitely not like other ghost stories out there.  Sure there was a bit of instalove and some seriously bad decisions on some character’s parts but I still enjoyed it.  I’d recommend giving this one a try!

What others are saying about Sublime:

Moonlight Gleam Reviews’ review: “Overall I would give it 3 out of 5 stars simply because it felt too dragged out.”

Once Upon a Twilight’s mini-review: “Sublime was a great introduction into the YA community for Christina Lauren, the writing duo.”

The Book Nookery’s review: “Not recommended. This is a romance, and not even a believable one.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal | Review

My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal | ReviewMy Last Kiss by Bethany Neal
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on June 10, 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 358
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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3 Stars

What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy? 

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. 

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.

picadillyblueBethany Neal’s debut novel, My Last Kiss, was not at all what I expected.  It had a lot of potential to be an awesome story but it fell flat in a lot of areas.  I enjoyed it enough to read it through but this one may not be for everyone.

My Last Kiss has a promising start.  Cassidy wakes up and quickly realizes that she is dead but she has no clue how that came to be.  Readers follow Cassidy through her journey of discovering what exactly happened in the weeks leading up to her death as well what she has to do to pass on.  The chapters alternate between Cassidy’s current situation and the weeks leading up to her death. Cassidy is in for a lot of surprises as she comes to realize that she did some things she wasn’t proud of before her death and she not only has to find out who caused  her death but also make up for those things she did.

Like I said, My Last Kiss, starts off great.  It’s where it goes from there that I had problems with.  Cassidy was my biggest problem.  She was selfish and really kind of a bitch.  Readers quickly come to realize that she was up to some really bad things before her death and she hurt a lot of people who didn’t deserve it.  Her boyfriend, Ethan, was hurt the worst.  Ethan was completely wonderful although I think he may have been a little too perfect.  I would have liked to see some flaws from Ethan but that still didn’t make up for what Cassidy did to him.  And her reasoning behind everything she did was so dumb and self-centered.  She was only ever looking out for herself.  Also, Caleb, her childhood friend turned maybe something more, didn’t deserve how she treated him either.  Just because he was a slacker and a stoner didn’t mean he deserved to be judged as worthless.  I truly liked him way more than Cassidy.  As for Cassidy’s friends, it was pretty easy to see why they were friends.  They shared a lot of the same characteristics and they weren’t exactly good ones.

The mystery is what kept me reading.  I actually couldn’t guess the killer or the motive in My Last Kiss.  It was a very twisted story that didn’t become clear until the very end of the book.  It was pretty much the only thing that kept me interested in the book.  Cassidy’s killer wasn’t necessarily a bad guy and they didn’t set out to kill her but how everything worked out in the end was pretty terrifying.

Overall, My Last Kiss is not for people looking for a character they will root for or a fast-paced story.  If you think you can overlook Cassidy’s flaws though and enjoy it for the mystery aspect, it might be for you.

What others are saying about My Last Kiss:

Not Yet Read’s review: “There is plenty of WHINE to go with this CHEESE.”

Books and Swoons’ review: “I really enjoyed reading My Last Kiss.”

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “While the writing wasn’t horrible, the story wasn’t particularly memorable and thus, this novel was just okay.”

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
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Goodreads
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!”