Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West


The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Kindle copy bought from Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads):

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn't approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn't been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn't a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

What I Liked:

Well, that's that. I have read all four of West's novels, all within less than five months of the year. You can read my reviews of On the Fence, Pivot Point, and Split Second. I'm happy to say that I am four for four with West's books! And now I really, really can't wait to read The Fill-In Boyfriend.

This counts as my Pili-pushed read of October! Be sure to read all of my Pili-pushed reviews. I'd been meaning to read it anyway, as it has been on my TBR list for quite some time, but Pili really, well, PUSHED me towards it! Especially since I've binge-read West's other three novels this year. So, The Distance Between Us!

Caymen knows all about rich people, and she doesn't have to do much to really avoid them. After rich-boy Xander comes into her mom's doll store for a doll for his grandmother, her perception of rich people changes, because he keeps coming back. He keeps up his interest, and pretty soon, he and Caymen are seeing each other pretty often. But will he stick around? Is Xander the problem?

Let me start by saying that I really like Caymen. She is so incredibly sarcastic - we would get along so well. Some of the things she says, the fact that she lets nothing go... yeah, we'd either love each other or hate each other (I'm going with the former). I totally related to her on many levels, sarcasm included. The not-so-well-off thing as well. Being scared of letting yourself get close to someone. Yes. Yes yes yes.

I really like Xander. He's rich, he's slightly stuck-up because of it, but I think he's a down-to-earth person (despite being slightly stuck-up). If that makes sense. He's incredibly sweet and considerate and thoughtful and good-looking and physically fit and everything I want in a boy and everything that I know can't come in a complete package and AGH WHY DO BOYS IN REAL LIFE NOT COME WITH ALL OF THESE OPTIONS. It's times like these when fiction makes me sad... because it's not real. Waahh.

I love the dynamic of this book. Caymen and her mother run a struggling doll store, and so Caymen spends most of her free time at the store, helping out. Xander, on the other hand, is super rich, has everything at his fingertips. But it's not like his life is easy peasy squeezy. Both teens are extremely different, but both teens are quite similar.

The conflict of this story does not just deal with Caymen struggling with her feelings for rich-boy Xander. The doll shop has not been doing well at all, and Caymen's mother has not been herself lately. Caymen wonders about her unknown father. Throw in Caymen's best friend's boyfriend's band's lead singer hunting for Caymen's attention, and you've got a pretty interesting set of conflicts.

I love the romance in this book. No love triangle, so don't worry about that, no matter how it sounds in the synopsis. Xander and Caymen are sweet and spicy together, very cat-and-mouse-like. I love the way West crafts the romances in her books.

The ending of this novel is very sweet. I know, I've used the word sweet a lot. I liked the ending, despite the fact that it was a little weird. Not in terms of the romance, but in another aspect of Caymen's life. Nevertheless, I was satisfied with the ending, and this book in general!

What I Did Not Like:

Like I mentioned above, the ending was a bit strange. Not in terms of the romance, don't worry about that. But in another aspect of Caymen's life, I didn't quite like how West resolved the issue. She threw something new at readers, at the charity benefit, towards the end. I almost saw it coming, but I didn't really like how it fit the story. Sort of. 

I liked the ending. I liked how West wrapped things up. But I totally could have seen this book ending differently, in terms of that one aspect. You'll have to have read (or will read) the book to know what I'm talking about. Trying to be vague on purpose! 

Would I Recommend It:

I love West's books. I love the romance in her books especially. Yes, this is contemporary. On the Fence is contemporary as well. I'm not a contemporary person, but I loved both books. West is definitely a go-to contemporary writer for me, in addition to Jennifer Echols, and Sarah Ockler!

Rating:

4 stars. I really liked this book! I'm so glad that Pili really pushed this one on me - I really had every intention of reading it, but she made it shoot up my TBR list! And now I have successfully binged on all of West's books - and rated them no lower than four stars each. Impressive!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Swoon Thursday (#91): Compulsion by Martina Boone

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is from Compulsion by Martina Boone!


He sat down and drew her against him, her back against his chest. His arms wrapped around her, and she leaned into the solidness of him. His heartbeat washed through her like the waves, until she didn't know whether the pounding of it was hers or his.

When she sighed and relaxed, he eased her down and leaned over and finally kissed her until she felt like she was going to fall. She reached for him, kissing him more deeply. His lips were scalding on hers, leaving her tingling and whole instead of so, so alone. She wanted the feeling, the moment, to never stop.

- ARC, page 256




What did you all think? :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#95): The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Book One of The Sin Eater's Daughter series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy.

16-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn't a member of the court. She's the executioner.

As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?



SEDUCTIVE FANTASY OMG!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Compulsion by Martina Boone


Welcome to the blog tour for Compulsion by Martina Boone! I am more than honored to support this amazing author and her fabulous debut! Check out my review below, and enter to win huge prizes!




Compulsion by Martina Boone
Book One of the Heirs of Watson Island series
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

What I Liked:

I've had this book for months, and I've put off reading it for quite some time. It's one of those books that everyone recommends to me, that I think I will love, and I just don't want to be disappointed. I love books with a lush history, a gorgeous backdrop, a beautiful romance. It appeared that this book would have a stunning delivery of all three of those elements - and I am happy to say that I wasn't disappointed. 

Barrie has just moved to Watson Landing. Her mother is dead, her godfather is sick, and her aunt, Pru, is happy to take her in at the Watson plantation. But things are not as they seem on the plantation. Ghosts haunt the plantation, and Barrie learns of the history of three families, three abilities, three sides of a feud. The Watsons, Beauforts, and Colesworths can't seem to coexist peacefully, and Barrie is stuck in the middle.

The story revolves around Barrie and her slow discovery of the true history of the Watson family and all of their drama. To be honest, some of that was over my head, but if I read the book again, I feel like I would understand all of the intricacies of the history. There are a lot of names and information thrown at readers, which isn't a bad thing, but it's a lot. You really have to follow the history as it is introduced.

The story is pretty fascinating though. Besides the fact that there are a lot of history and secrets between the three families, there is a good deal of plot dealing with Barrie and Eight and Barrie's Colesworth cousin Cassie - basically, teen life as well. We are introduced to many teenagers, most who are wary of Barrie (she's a Watson).

The animosity between the families is palpable - Boone did an excellent job of conveying just how much the Colesworth family did not like the Watson family, or the Beaufort family. The Beaufort and Watson family are on okay terms. Barrie's aunt Pru and Eight's father Seven were a thing, way back when.

It's obvious that Barrie and Eight are attracted to each other on first sight. Eight never leaves Barrie's side, which would be fine except that they argue constantly. Like, Barrie is always bickering, and Eight is always bossing and pushing. It's cute, sometimes. Sometimes I just want to shake Barrie.

But in all seriousness, I really did enjoy the romance, especially after all the teasing ceased. Boone does lead her characters on a merry chase, and then towards the end, Barrie and Eight stop their flirtatious fighting. I'm fine with this type of romance!

The setting and Gothic feel of this book is really well-written. I love how important the history, the Southern setting, the epic romance tales... I love how important all of these things are. The ghosts play a key role in the novel, as do other paranormal... things.

The ending of this book is nice - no cliffhangers, no heartbreaking endings. I'm interested in seeing how Boone is making this a series. Nevertheless, I'll be reading Persuasion for sure!

What I Did Not Like:

I didn't always like Barrie. She's very, very deficient in brain cells, it seems. Sometimes, anyway. Like, she literally makes EVERY single bad decision that a person could possibly make, throughout the entire book. And after she makes those bad decisions, and the decisions blow up in her face, she knows she made a bad decision, but then keeps making bad decisions! WHAT IS THIS?!

But then, it takes the entire book for her to shape up, but I suppose she does. That girl needs a spine though. And a new brain. I didn't always like her, but I didn't hate her either. It helped that this book is written in third person, so I disliked her flaws less. If that makes sense.

I just can't see how she is always THAT dumb, you know? Until the end? You're warned...

Would I Recommend It:

I really enjoyed the story, so I would totally recommend it! I love anything Gothic and romantic, so I'm all about this series. Boone is a very talented writer, and I'm excited to see what she comes up with in Persuasion. Hopefully some "smart" Barrie.

Rating:

3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. Fabulous debut, and an excellent start to the series! Waiting so long to read this one was totally worth it.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


About the Author:


Martina Boone writes contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she would love to visit. She is the founder of YASeriesInsiders.com and AdventuresinYAPublishing.com, a two-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers blog. If you like romance steeped in mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, she hopes you'll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island.



The Trailer:



The Giveaway:

(1)  $100 Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository Gift Card.  International.

(1) Prize pack with 10 books! SWEET EVIL, DEATH SWORN, MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD,ECHOES OF US, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU,THE BODY FINDER, THE TAKING, and STONE COLD TOUCH. US Only.

(3) Swag packs containing a Compulsion necklace, key bookmark, signed bookplate, and “I have a Compulsion for reading” temporary tattoos. International.





Follow the rest of the tour!

Week One:
10/20/2014- Once Upon a Twilight - Guest Post
10/21/2014- The Eater of Books! - Review
10/22/2014- Xpresso Reads - Interview
10/23/2014- Book Briefs - Review
10/24/2014- Reading YA Rocks - Guest Post

Week Two:
10/27/2014- Reading with ABC - Review
10/28/2014- IceyBooks - Interview
10/29/2014- Book Beasties - Review
10/30/2014- Seeing Night Reviews - Guest Post
10/31/2014- Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post

Release Day Launch: Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Welcome to the release day launch for Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout! Are you excited for book two of this fabulous paranormal romance series? Check out my review of White Hot Kiss, and enter to win things at the bottom of this post!



Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Book Two of the Dark Elements series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…



About the Author:


# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.



The Excerpt:

I’d remained in bed after that, trying to sort through the odd tingling in my chest. There was a slight smile on my lips, because Zayne…well, he’d made my day, but then I’d remember what Roth had said to me the night before and the smile would wash away as if it had never been there.

I probably needed to get used to the whiplash mood swings.

It wasn't until after dinner that I decided to scrub a day’s worth of gunk off myself.Gingerly, I peeled the bandage off, happy to find that the cut in my arm was healing as expected. I didn't need to cover it anymore. The arm was still tender, but the Warden blood in me was quickly undoing the damage from the iron.

After changing into fresh pj’s, like a total hermit, I padded over to my desk, where I’d left my cell phone. It had been on silent all day and when I tapped the screen, I wasn't surprised to see a slew of texts from Stacey.
 
Where r u?
 
R u skipping, u ho?
 
A minute later: Your locker misses u. Guess u sick with the herp?

Oh my God. I laughed out loud, grinning as I thumbed through her texts. Our bio sub is still hot. U r missing this.
 
Bio is lonely.
 
My boobs miss u. How weird is that?
 
That was notably weird and yet not surprising.
 
If I get my cell taken from me, it’s ur fault.
 
Holy shit, Layla, where r u?!?
 
Air punched out of my lungs as I read the next text and the several following them.
 
U have no idea who just walked into bio!!!
 
Roth is here!
 
Holy Canola oil, why aren't u here to witness this?
 
Ok. He says he had mono. Srlsy? Do people still get mono? And who in the duck was he kissing? A second later—Duck? I didn't mean duck. That’s SO not what I meant, autocorrect.
 
Another text had come in about fifteen minutes after the last one. He asked where u were. I told him u joined a cult. I laughed. He didn't.
 
Finally, the last text was to call her if I wasn't dead.

“What in the Hell?” I tossed my cell onto the bed, mouth hanging open.


Roth vs. Zayne:


Don't forget! The choice is yours...

Beginning today you’ll have 3 weeks to visit the series website, www.thedarkelementsseries.com, to take a poll and decide which guy Layla should ultimately choose in the final book in the trilogy, Every Last Breath.
At the end of 3 weeks, we will tally all the votes, and that’s when Jennifer L. Armentrout will start writing Every Last Breath. The guy who gets the most votes is the one Layla will pick.

To prevent early spoilers, we're not going to reveal who won the poll in advance…you’ll have to wait until Every Last Breath goes on sale on July 28th, 2015 to find out whether Zayne or Roth wins Layla in the end. We promise the book will be epic and definitely worth the wait!

Who do you want Layla to end up with? Go to www.thedarkelementsseries.com and vote for your choice! 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier


Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier
Book One of the Blackthorn and Grim series
Publisher: ROC Hardcover
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
Source: Review copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. 

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters. 

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

What I Liked:

I've never read anything by Marillier, but I've heard such wonderful things about her and her books. I love fantasy, and there are some adult fiction writers whose fantasy I've always wanted to read. Marillier is one of those authors. I have no doubt that I will be reading more of her books (pre- or post-published) in the future!

Just so we're clear - this book is NOT Young Adult fiction, it's adult fiction. The protagonists are NOT young adults. Blackthorn is probably in her late twenties, Grim is probably about the same (or older), and the prince is twenty-two and about to be married (so *maybe* he could be considered a young adult. Maybe. But not really). 

Blackthorn has been granted escape from prison by exchanging her desire for vengeance for her services to the services of the people of Dariada. There, with a former prison-mate, she will serve as a wise woman (basically, a healer). Meanwhile, the prince of Dalriada is getting ready to become betrothed to a lady Flidais, whom he has fallen in love with through their letters. An accident in Dreamer's Wood causes one of her maids to drown in Dreamer's Pool, and the lady is not the same after the drowning. The prince suspects that there is something wrong with the lady, and enlists Blackthorn and Grim's help in the matter. Something is amiss, and it will take some wit and magic to figure it out.

At first, I thought this book was all about Blackthorn, an angry woman who has spent a year in prison for trying to go after a nobleman who has been raping and impregnating innocent woman. But this book is also about Grim, a quiet and gruff man who has been quietly serving his sentence for an unknown crime. And it is also about a young prince who believes in romance and dreams and does not have a taste for blood sport and other things that princes should love. This book tells the story of all three of these people, and how their paths intersect.

I love this book. I love each character's story. I think the prince was my favorite perspective to follow - which is surprising, because the book starts with Blackthorn's, then Grim's, then Oran's (the prince). Usually, I like the character whose perspective I've seen first the most. But I liked them all! 

Blackthorn is bitter over her past, and she has every right to be. She hates that she has to spend seven years in the service of those who need her help, before she can seek her vengeance. But she does a world of good for the people of Dalriada, especially the prince. Without her help, the situation with lady Flidais would not have been solved.

I'm glad that Blackthorn let Grim stick with her, and that Grim stuck around for as long as he did. Don't get the wrong idea - they are NOT lovers, or in love, or anything like that. They are platonic, friends if anything, but not really friends? They trust each other, they work together well, they make an excellent team.

The romance lies in the prince's story, but even that is not really romance... the romance in this book is very subtle and very not-so-important, compared to the other main plots of the book. Oran is totally in love with the lady who wrote him letters, but the lady who appears to him, the lady who went through a traumatic experience when her maid drowned in Dreamer's Pool, is not the same lady. His notions of romance and dreams of love are splintered when he realizes that he will never have that kind of marriage.

So there is a mystery to this book - I could not WAIT to find out how things would end. What is wrong with Lady Flidais - is she an impostor, or did she deceive the prince in her letters by having a scribe write them, or is she just completely traumatized over the entire experience of traveling to Winterfalls and then her maid drowning, etc.? I knew the ending would have to be all sorts of epic, and I was not disappointed. 

The fantasy of this book is flawless. Wait - that makes it sound like the fantasy is part of this book, but that's wrong, because the fantasy IS the book. The world-building is beautiful and carefully constructed and excellent. I love the fantasy world that Marillier has created. It isn't explosive and remarkable and epic, but it is intricate and haunting and fascinating. 

This book wrapped up really neatly, so I'm interested in seeing how this series continues. Hopefully we get to see how Blackthorn continues to struggle with her seven-year-sentence against vengeance. Maybe she will get a happy ending, at the end of the series. One can hope!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't really think of anything to say in this section, woohoo! Not that any book is perfect, but I can't think of anything.

Would I Recommend It:

I so would! I loved this book by Marillier, so I definitely want to read more of her books. I always hear about her amazing fantasy and breathtaking romance - I was hoping for more of that romance in this book, but somehow, with the way this story was woven, I wasn't disappointed. Fantasy in adult fiction - for those of you who love this, check out this book!

Rating:

5 stars. Well deserved, well earned. I'm so glad I decided to give this book (and author) a try. If you're interested, there is a giveaway happening on Goodreads until October 28th!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray


A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Book One of the Firebird series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

What I Liked:

I liked this book. It was okay, an enjoyable read. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it, and that's why it gets three stars. There weren't things that were absolutely awful or super fantastic, so the middle-of-the-road rating seems to do this book justice, in terms of how I feel about it. I wanted to love it - especially since I love science fiction, but eh.

Marguerite's parents are geniuses - they have created a device called "Firebird" that allows a person to move between alternate dimensions of the universe. The person will temporarily take over their own self in the world, so when they leave that world, their self in that world will "return" to their body with some confusion and memory loss. Marguerite's father is dead - it appears that Paul (a student assistant) killed him and stole the Firebird prototype. But Theo (another student assistant) has other Firebird prototypes, and he and Marguerite will use them to track down Paul, and find the truth.

This story goes through many different settings, as Marguerite and Theo travel through many different dimensions to find Paul. Please be aware - this isn't a TIME TRAVEL book, because no one is hopping through different TIMES. They are traveling through different DIMENSIONS, alternate universes. So, if they travel to another alternate dimension, it's the same time that it was in the "real" world. Think Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke. In fact, that would be a "negative" I have - this book is very similar to O'Rourke's novel.

The very first scene is in a different dimension. Marguerite's father has been dead not long, and Marguerite has already coerced Theo into letting her hunt down Paul with him. This dimension is similar to the one she knows, but different in subtle ways. Another dimension to which they travel is a Russia in which tsars and duchesses and whatnot still exist - Marguerite is a duchess, daughter of the tsar. In another dimension, Marguerite's family lives underwater (her father is an oceanographer).

The settings are really cool. I really liked the medieval-esque Russia one, though I thought Marguerite assimilated entirely too quickly. But the settings were very important in this book, and Gray did an excellent job of making them authentic yet really out there. She definitely crafted the worlds and settings of this book well.

I'm kin of indifferent towards most of the characters - if anything, I dislike them more than like them. Marguerite is kind of bleh, Theo is an interesting one (I probably like him the most), Paul is all over the place, and everyone else... meh. I thought I'd at least mention the characters in this section though.

I thought this book was really cool, overall, but I felt like I had already read this, with Dissonance. It's interesting to see other authors' perspectives on the same topic, but I much preferred Dissonance

What I Did Not Like:

I didn't really like any of the characters in this book, and that's usually a problem. I didn't particularly like Marguerite - she didn't really strike me as three-dimensional. I probably wouldn't like her in real life, if she were three-dimensional. She is wishy-washy, indecisive, hesitant. However, Gray tries to make her resilient and tough and intelligent, but to me, it just makes it seem like Gray was trying to pull her character in two different directions. In general, Marguerite was a turn-off character for me.

I liked Theo, but Gray ruined him for me. I can't be more specific than that, but ugh. I didn't care for Paul - though I liked medieval-Russia Paul. 

If you couldn't tell - yes, there does seem to be a love triangle in this book. I won't say anything about who ends up with who, because trust me, Gray will have to twisting in one direction, and then the other, and then back, and then forth, and it's exhausting. I think that is one of the main reasons why I didn't really care for anyone - the author really pushed this love triangle on readers, and in the end, I basically disliked everyone? Especially Marguerite.

The science fiction was okay... I didn't really love it though. Alternate dimensions of the universe is a really great subject, but I didn't necessarily care for Gray's spin on things. If anything, I wanted to know more, but like, in an annoyed way. I'm confused about the "big reveal", and why it all comes down to Marguerite. Seemed like a superfluous reason to me. That setup of the plot didn't really grab me, and I was disappointed and irritated by that.

Like I mentioned before, I found this book much like Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke - which I loved. I didn't love this book. I didn't hate it either, but I didn't love it. It's not necessarily the author's fault that her book is so similar to a book that as published earlier in the year, but it's too bad that I happened to read both, and I liked the one previously read more than the one read second. If that makes sense?

Would I Recommend It:

Meh. Naahhh. I've had poor luck with Gray's books - I didn't like her Evernight series, but I did love Fateful. This one falls in the middle of those two - didn't love, but didn't hate. Personally, I didn't think this book was anything special, but I could see how others might. I read a lot of science fiction, so I wasn't entirely impressed. But not just in terms of the science fiction - I wasn't impressed in general.

Rating:

3 stars. I *might* read the sequel? To see how things are going? Maybe? Depends on my reading schedule next year. We shall see!


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