Friday, February 28, 2014

Cover Reveal and Title Contest: Book Two of the Pretty Dark Nothing series by Heather L. Reid

Month9Books Presents a Cover Reveal and Title Contest for Book 2 in Heather L. Reid's Pretty Dark Nothing Series.

Help Month9Books choose a title for the next book in the Pretty Dark Nothing series!

Book 2, a follow up to Pretty Dark Nothing, will be released this fall, and we need your help picking a title. Below are two covers, each with a proposed title for Book 2 on it. We can't call it "Book 2" forever, so please take a look and comment HERE to vote on which you like best.

The winning title will be revealed at BEA 2014 and if you commented to vote and will attend BEA, Month9Books will give you a signed copy of the galley (limited to the first 20 commenters attending). Voting opens today and ends on Friday, March 14, 2014. Thanks to artist Christel Michiels for the amazing cover!

So, which do you like best?

Title choice 1:
Perfect Dark Sacrifice

Title choice 2:
Pretty Dark Sacrifice

Series: Pretty Dark Nothing
Author: Heather L. Reid
Publisher: Month9Books
Publication Date: September 2014

Official Summary:

It’s been five weeks, two days, and eight hours since the demons forced Quinn to throw herself into the raging river, since Aaron sacrificed himself to save her, since he disappeared without a trace. No body, no sign of him at all. Everyone wants her to move on, but Quinn can’t. She’s convinced Aaron’s trying to contact her, but Azrael, her angel Sentinel, insists these visions are nothing more than the demons preying on her guilt, bent on distracting her from her true destiny as the reincarnation of Eve.

With Aaron’s fate forever entwined with Quinn’s true Sentinel, Kaemon, they both find themselves prisoner of the underworld. For Aaron, death in the river would have been easier than ending up in Lilith’s dungeons.

Heather L. Reid has always had a sense of wanderlust and a belief in the paranormal. She eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves video games, and getting lost in a good story. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in South Ayrshire, Scotland, where she spends her weekends wandering the moors in search of the ghost of William Wallace and exploring haunted castles.

Her debut young adult Paranormal, PRETTY DARK NOTHING, will be released on April 23, 2013 by Month 9 Books.

Review: Resist by Sarah Crossan

Resist by Sarah Crossan
Book Two of the Breathe series
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

The sequel—and conclusion—to Sarah Crossan's Breathe. Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what's left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour.

Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there's enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod's Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel.

What I Liked:

For me, Resist was an... interesting conclusion to the Breathe duology. I expected more, but at the same time, I wasn't too broken up that I didn't get a better end to the series. My interest in this stemmed from Crossan's integration of environmental issues and themes, and I'm happy that the series was so concretely based on the environment. The story itself is pretty good, but in this book, it wasn't BETTER than in the first book - in fact, it wasn't as good.

Bea and Quinn survived the destruction of The Grove, but were separated from Alina, Silas, Song, Bruce, Maude, and the others. The latter journey to find Sequoia, what seems to be the last non-pod refuge, and eventually Quinn leaves Bea and a new-found (but injured) companion to find Sequoia as well. But things in Sequoia are sooo not ideal - in fact, they're worse than in The Grove, or in the pod. 

There are FOUR perspectives in this book - Alina, Quinn, Bea, and Ronan (Ronan is the son of someone really important politically in Breathe, but I can't really remember the father's position). Each teen has a very important role in this book. I liked all four of them quite a bit, which was nice, because in Breathe, I really was not a fan of Alina. Alina is tough, Bea is unshakable, Quinn is matured, and Ronan, well, Ronan makes decisions that affect the outcome of this novel. Good for him.

Life in Sequoia was so weird, and definitely dystopian. I was totally grossed out when I read some of things that went on in Sequoia, but at the same time, I expected it. I think it was admirable that Crossan included such a society in this series - she's showing readers what could happen. It reminds me a bit of In the After by Demitria Lunnetta.

For the most part, I enjoyed the story, but I had problems with major plot points (see below). What I did absolutely LOVE was the environmental science part of this series. It didn't seem as prevalent in this book as it did in Breathe, but I love that Crossan made it a central theme in the book (and series). What happens when air is not breathable? Find out in Breathe and Resist.

I may have had problems with the plot (the climax, specifically), but I liked the ending. It seemed a bit vague - I would have wanted to know more about the new society, but I'll accept it as it is and move on. Crossan does take the ax to a few characters, but I think it was necessary. I kind of wanted to know what happened to other characters, like Quinn's parents, but whatever. I enjoyed this book, for the most part, and I'm glad I read the series!

What I Did Not Like:

This book was not as good as the first book. It sucks that sequels get compared to their predecessors, but it's bound to happen. I expect books in series to get better and better as the series goes on, or at least, the same level of "great" with which the series started. This book felt like a bit of a letdown, even if overall, it was a satisfying read.

For one, I had to skim or almost peruse parts of the book. Unlike the first book, not everything grabbed my attention. The FOUR alternating perspectives started to wear on me, and I found that I didn't always want to read next perspective that I encountered. Like, I would quickly read Ronan's part, in order to get to Bea's part. At some points in the book, some characters had more boring perspectives than others. Or, others had more interesting perspectives than others.

It seemed too easy, when Alina and the rest of the refugees at Sequoia escaped. It didn't seem realistic. Like, EVERYONE got away, unhurt, perfect, free. And then they reached the pod? Where did the children go? I was confused about that - where did everyone else go? I know Alina, Silas, and a few others made it to the pod, but where were the others? 

The same goes for the actual fight for the pod - who was fighting who? Vanya versus the pod? Who was fighting for the pod, the rebels, the Resistance, the pod's army? A combination of everyone? I really didn't understand the climax (the final battle), and that kind of sucked (to not understand). 

Would I Recommend It:

Overall, as a single book, not entirely? If you read the first book, I think you should read this one - it's important for closer and whatnot. Finishing series is important, and the first book was GREAT. This book wasn't as good as the first book, but it wasn't horrible or anything.

As a series, I would recommend this series to people interested in environmental science, like me. This duology will always stick out to me (i.e., I will always remember it) because of the heavy environmental science content. That is easily my favorite "thing" about this book - how involved it is with environmental issues. So, as a series, if you're interested in the science, read it! 

If you weren't dying to read the series, then skipping it wouldn't hurt. It's not a majorly popular series, and it probably won't be the next Twilight, so don't feel bad about skipping it. But I think it's worth the read, for science-y people out there, like me.


3 stars. This was a pretty okay conclusion to the series! Sarah Crossan is definitely a solid author, and I'm looking forward to reading her next project!

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

Excerpt Reveal: Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

Welcome to the excerpt reveal of Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase! I have not read this series, but I am a fan of Avon, and Nichole Chase is very nice! I hope you enjoy this excerpt, and be sure to check out this series!

Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase
Book Two of the Suddenly series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 25, 2014

Official Summary:

Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly—men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . . 

When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

About the Author:

Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories. She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy. 

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises. 

The Excerpt:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Sekret by Lindsay Smith
Book One of the Sekret series
Publisher: Macmillan Children's
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.

What I Liked:

Ooo, I'm surprised that I liked this novel so much! I kind of hate saying that, but it's true. To be honest, I had no idea what this book was about when I received the review copy. I didn't really know about it, and I didn't request it, but at the time, I didn't want to say no. I'm glad I didn't! I was happy that I liked this book as much as I did.

This book is set in the 1960s, in Soviet Russia. Yulia has the ability to see the past history of an object, just by touching it. She doesn't really know how to control her power, but she can't let anyone know about it, in order to protect her mother and disabled brother. But one day, the KGB take her, and hold her mother and brother hostage, giving Yulia no choice but to work for the KGB, with other "gifted" young adults. These peers have mind control powers as well, such as seeing possibilities in the future, seeing a place from far away, controlling what a person thinks, and so on.

Sergei is really nice, and has a great personality. Masha is a complete b****, and her twin brother Misha has the male personality to match. Larissa is nice, but she is the one that sees the possibilities in the future. Valentin is the one who can control and wipe a person's memory - which makes him the most dangerous. Ivan... I can't remember what Ivan does, but he and Larissa are dating.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading about this cast of characters. The story is told from Yulia's perspective (first person), and I liked her voice. She is vigilant, constantly afraid for her mother and brother, constantly questioning everything, giving off the "ice princess" persona that she really is. I like her though. I really like Valentin - he truly is mysterious and brooding, but because of his power, he sort of has to be. I dislike the twins, but for all the best reason. Larissa, Ivan, and Sergei are really important secondary characters, especially Sergei. I didn't really see his role in all of this, not completely, anyway.

The teens work together to help the KGB sniff out traitors, specifically people that want to the plans and designs of a Russian space shuttle (or something like that). But another person who can control and wipe memories, like Valentin and Rostov (Rostov is the head of the operation of the teens), pops up, and this book isn't just about finding traitors - it's about protecting the teens (especially Yulia) from the scrubber and his team. Except... are THEY the enemies? Or is it the other way around?

The book is really interesting, once it picks up. I really enjoyed the historical aspect to this book, and that helped my interest. Smith did a really great job of portraying 1963 Soviet Russia, and the state of mind of the citizens. The first few chapters really captured the attitude. And we are constantly reminded of where the novel is taking place, as the novel goes on. 

The romance is one of things that caught my attention. At first, I thought the romance was going in one direction. Then I was like, that's too obvious, it has got to be Yulia and someone else. Anyway, I'll let you all figure out the romance - but if you see anyone mention a love triangle, DON'T BELIEVE THEM. There are two males that could have potentially formed a love triangle with Yulia, but no. It's all Yulia and one guy. And their relationship is slow and gradual and beautiful. I absolutely loved watching them fall in love - it wasn't really immediate. 

Well, suffice it to say, I enjoyed this book! I'm glad I gave it a shot, because I ended up really liking it! There is a really cool science fiction aspect to this book (I mentioned the mind-controlling powers). The abilities are explained by experimentation in the genes of the teens, so I would classify this book as science fiction, and not paranormal. Just clearing that up.

I hope to read the sequel when possible! I'm glad I gave this book a chance. What a fantastic debut!

What I Did Not Liked:

I think my biggest "problem", which wasn't really a "problem", when you get down to it, was that it took a while for me to get invested in this book. I didn't really get into the story until Yulia did something surprising that involved a brass key (when you read the book, you'll know to what I'm referring). That's when things sort of changed, especially between Yulia and Sergei and Valentin. 

But up until that point, I was a bit apathetic. I was just waiting for Yulia to try to escape again, to take a few steps back in order to plan her big escape. And for the climax to come - probably something to do with the American scrubber. My point is, I had a good idea of what was going on until that point. At that point I mentioned above (with the key), I still had an idea of what would happen, but this time, I felt more invested, because of Yulia and Valentin.

Would I Recommend It:

Yes! And not just to fans of historical fiction, but also to those who love a good paranormal read - but this kind of paranormal is more like science fiction paranormal. In fact, I'm not even going to call it paranormal, because the abilities are supposedly the result of experimentation and genetic modifications. So. Science fiction fans will find this interesting (I know I did). And the romance is pretty great (and this is coming from the love triangle hater). So this book could appeal to many people!


4 stars. What a fabulous debut! I do hope to catch the sequel, when it becomes available for review (or when it comes out). I'm coming for you, Skandal!

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

Swoon Thursday (#57): Sekret by Lindsay Smith

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 Sekret by Lindsay Smith!

"Perhaps not everything." I circle my arms around his waist. I'm hungry for escape. For freedom. For the music that swells between us. "I can think of a few thoughts to fill my head with."

I kiss him fiercely, my gloved hands gripping clumsily at his sides and his fingertips cradling my jaw. His thumbs trace my cheekbones as his mouth slips open and absorbs mine. We part to gasp for humid breaths that cling to our skin, shielding us from the sapping cold. Our eyes lock for a second before Valentin's lips inch up my cheek, to my earlobe, kissing it faintly. "Yulia," he whispers, savoring the vowels. "I'd follow you anywhere."

- ARC, page 254

Read my review HERE.

What do you all think?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#61): Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

"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:

Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
Book One of the Gates of Thread and Stone series
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: August 5, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

Lori M. Lee's debut ya fantasy novel, Gates of Thread and Stone, is about seventeen-year-old Kai who must carefully stay under the radar and keep her ability—to manipulate the threads of time—a secret, until her brother goes missing and she must risk getting caught up in a revolution in order to save him. Kai learns that nothing is as it seems—including her brother’s past, her father’s identity, and her friendship with dark, troubled Avan.

I LOVE LORI! She's so nice. And her debut novel sounds KICKBUTT. And Skyscape/Amazon has great books.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Release Day Blitz and Giveaway: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Welcome to the release day of White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout! I absolutely loved this book and its prequel novella (Bitter Sweet Love), so be sure to check out this new series!

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Book One of the Dark Elements series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Official Summary:

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

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 don’t think of Zayne that way!”

She laughed. “What man-parts-loving female in this world doesn't think of Zayne that way? I can barely keep myself breathing when I see him. All the guys in school have squishy waists. I can tell Zayne doesn't. He’s the awesome sauce with extra sauce.”

That he was and he so didn't have a squishy waist, but I tuned Stacey out at that point. I really did need to cram for this test and I also didn't want my fantasies involving Zayne to occupy my mind right now. Especially after I’d woken up this morning, carefully tucked under the covers. The bed had smelled like him: sandalwood and crisp linen.

“Oh, sweet baby Jesus in a manger,” Stacey murmured.

I clenched my jaw, cupping my hands over my ears.

She jabbed me in the side with her elbow. At this rate I’d be covered in bruises before lunchtime. “Our bio class just got a billion times more interesting. And hotter, lots and lots hotter. Holy mother, I want to have his babies. Not now of course, but definitely later. But I’d like to start practicing soon.”

The cell wall is a thick and rigid layer covering the plasma something, something plant cells…

Stacey stiffened all of a sudden. “Oh my God, he’s coming—”

Composed of fat and sugar—

Something slender and shiny fell from who knew where, landing in the middle of Sam’s notes. Blinking tightly, it took me a couple of seconds to recognize the faded and half peeled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sticker covering the back of the silver cell phone.

My heart slammed against my ribs. Gripping the edges of the notebook, I slowly lifted my gaze. Unnaturally beautiful golden eyes met mine.

“You forgot this last night.”

The Giveaway:

Now that you have a taste for this fabulous new series, here are the details for the AMAZING international giveaway!!! Harlequin Teen is giving away a large Harlequin Teen Tote.

• Harlequin TEEN branded tote
The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa (trade)
Pawn by Aimee Carter (hard cover)
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (hard cover)
Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter (hard cover)
• 2 copies of White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
• 1 pair of black harlequin branded socks (they are so comfy!)

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Fifty First Times (Anthology)

Welcome to the book blitz for Fifty First Times, an Avon Impulse anthology! I have plenty of fun content for you, so enjoy!

Fifty First Times 
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Official Summary:

You always remember your first time...

Whether it's the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two boys who finally aren't ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no choice but to take body language to a new level--or, of course, the two young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are the memories that will never fade.

Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters' lives when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again.

Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie Ryan.

NOTE: These stories are works of fiction. If you want to know about our first times, you'll have to buy us a pet monkey first.

The Quotes:

"I twist the ring around my left finger. It’s foreign to my body, but in the same way a new pet is foreign to a person’s home. It represents work and responsibility, but somehow you know that it will eventually become a part of you. Jack’s already a part of me. It’s just the ring that’s new." –DAYLIGHT by Julie Cross

The friendzone wasn’t such a bad place to be. I saw how Allen treated the people he slept with. They were as disposable as red Solo cups. “I’m an equal opportunity lover,” he once told me, “but you can call me a slut.”—BUNGA BUNGA by Andrew Shaffer

“Perhaps the gods hadn't been so perverse after all.”—UNDER THE SEYRN MOON by Melissa Landers

“No, if I were brave I would have—“ but I’m not even brave enough to say the words. Instead I take another swallow wine while I finish the sentence in my head. Would have let you make a move on me. Would have touched you. Would have kissed you.”—LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR by Carrie Ryan

“Don’t push me away, V. I may not know as much as I want to about you, but the thing you need to know about me is I’m a persistent son of a bitch, and I will wear you down.”—A LITTLE TOO SCARRED by Lisa Desrochers

The Giveaway:

Prizes (US only) - all to 1 winner:
$25 gift card for either Amazon, Apple, or B&N (winners choice)
e-copy of Fifty First Times gifted through Amazon Kindle

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.

What I Liked:

I've been reading a lot of contemporary novels lately - a lot more than I'm used to reading. Actually, that's not completely true. I've read a few contemporary novels, and I have quite a bit to read coming up soon. It just feels like a lot of contemporary novels, when I so used to reading anything but contemporary (not that there is anything wrong with contemporary). I enjoyed Serle's debut novel (which was contemporary), so naturally, I was super pumped to read this one.

This book was a pretty good read. It definitely was not what I thought it would be. Caggie is dealing with a lot of heavy stuff right now - her sister died, when she (Caggie) was supposed to be watching her, and then Caggie saves a classmate from falling off a balcony, at a peer's party. Except that Caggie isn't a hero - because SHE was the one that went to that balcony, to jump, to kill herself, and Kristen was trying to save her. Not the other way around (though the other way around was what happened).

This book is definitely one of those "tough-issue" books, and we all know my experiences with those. I usually have polar extremes when it comes to those kinds of books - I either love it, or loathe it. My most recent "tough-issue" read (before this one) was Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens, and I was sooo not a fan (which is unfortunate, because the author is so amazing and nice!).

I'm not really sure how I feel about the characters. I sort of understood Caggie, except I don't necessarily agree with her choices, from beginning to end. I was suspicious about Claire, Abigail, Astor, and Peter. The only characters that I actually had genuinely friendly feelings toward were Trevor and Kristen - and that's because they seemed to be the only honest, caring characters of the book. 

I like the feel of this story. It was subtly about Caggie's healing process, but also, the healing of other characters. Caggie's sister's death affected many people. Caggie "saving" Kristen affected many people as well. So, this book was as much about Peter, Trevor, Kristen, Claire, etc., as it was about Caggie.

Astor is an interesting character. I'm not sure I like him very much, but I don't blame him for what happened - not really. Sort of, but not really. Like, some things were definitely his fault, and at times, he was definitely acting crazy, but he needed to experience healing just as much as Caggie did.

All of the characters experience some sort of growth, as the story progresses. The story primarily focused on Caggie's decline in school and her whirlwind relationship with Astor. For the most part, I liked the story. I liked the unconventionality of the romance - I personally saw it coming, but most people probably wouldn't. I enjoyed this book for the most part, and I'm glad I read it.

What I Did Not Like:

As I mentioned above, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Caggie. I don't think we clicked, but I could see her side of things MUCH easier than I could with most heroines of "tough-issue" books. I feel like her emotion shutdown and the way she expressed her grief was more subtle and more complex than other heroines of "tough-issue" books, which I would much rather read. At the same time, Caggie's decisions were probably just as screwed up, at the end of the way. Some of the things she did, especially when it came to Astor, were too much. Like, there were red flags going up in my head throughout the book, in many regards.

Most of the characters rubbed me the wrong way. I'm glad that they all went through their processes of grief, and most of them grew and developed throughout the story, but I didn't like most of them, for the most part. I liked Trevor a lot, and I liked Kristen, but otherwise, meh.

I wasn't very passionate about this book, and I didn't absolutely love it. I know it doesn't seem like I have a ton of reasons for rating this book as low as I did, but I just didn't love it. Nor did I really like it. I enjoyed it, I'm happy to have had the opportunity to read it, but I probably wouldn't buy it, or read it again.

Would I Recommend It:

I'd say maybe. This isn't like, a number one, absolutely loved, must have, must buy/borrow, will cry over, will change lives kind of book. It's a good read, but don't break your neck trying to get to the bookstore or library for this one. It's not the best contemporary novel out there, but if you already have it, or really wanted to read it before, then go for it. Do it. Otherwise, skip it.


3 stars. Maybe it was a feeling of apathy that held me back? I don't know. But I wasn't wild about this book. However, I enjoyed it, and I am happy that I read, finished, and reviewed it.

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

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Book One of the Into the Dark series
Publisher: Egmont
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

What I Liked:

I read The Dark Divine (by this author) a few years ago, and enjoyed it! At the time, I was avoiding all vampire/werewolf books, but that one caught my attention. Sadly, I've yet to read the rest of the series, but I liked The Dark Divine. When I heard about this book almost a year ago, I was really excited! I love all things mythology, and Despain is definitely a talented writer. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this book as well, but this time, I hope to read the entire series.

Haden is sent to the human world to bring Daphne back. Daphne moves from Ellis Fields to Olympus Hills on account of her father gaining custody rights. Haden screws up pretty badly, and has to move mountains to convince Daphne to come with him. But things aren't that easy, as the pair quickly find out. More is at stake than bringing a Boon back to the Underrealm. And both Haden and Daphne find that neither of them want to go... but at what price?

This book is quite long, but it's a roller-coaster of a novel! I admit, the ENTIRE book was a bit lengthy, and probably could have been condensed a bit (maybe in the four-hundred-page range?). But, I really like how Despain made this book long. Like, every scene had a purpose, most likely to show us more about Dahpne's life, or Haden's character, or the mythology and customs of the Underrealm. 

This book is split into two first-person perspectives - Haden's and Daphne's. As usual, I think I preferred Haden's point-of-view, which is almost no surprise, because the book starts with his perspective. It's not that I didn't like Daphne - but I feel like I didn't connect with her AS MUCH as I connected with Haden. Maybe he got more pages/exposure to the audience than she did. Maybe I just didn't sympathize with her as much. Either way, I didn't NOT like her, but I didn't absolutely love her, either. 

I really like Haden, though. It was so interesting to read all about his transition to the human world. I mean, the Underrealm is pretty medieval, in a sense. So, Haden had to learn about cell phones and driving and modern English slang. It was hilarious! And so cute. I definitely like Haden's personality - he is quietly a leader, subtly emotionally driven, but definitely empathetic and intelligent.

I liked the plot of the story. It seems pretty simple - bring the girl back to the Underrealm, but then everything just goes nuts. We've got Haden's father on a rampage, a missing key, a crazy manager/salesperson who supports the highest bidder, wicked shadow creatures, mysterious powers... this book is definitely made of a whirlwind of activity and adventure, twists and surprises. Some things were more predictable than others, but for the most part, this book was highly original and very enjoyable. 

The romance is very subtle in this book. Yes, you can tell right away that Haden and Daphne should/will fall in love. However, it doesn't just happen. Sparks don't fly immediately (in fact, quite the opposite occurs). Haden definitely cares about Daphne a lot, and Daphne feels something for Haden. But it's not a life-changing, all-encompassing, powerful love (at least, not yet). I can't wait to read more about the development of the romance, in future books of the series.

I love the mythology and world-building of this book. Despain did a very good job of creating a distinct world, and laid the foundations with ease. I mentioned that she included a purpose to every scene - that's fantastic, because every scene gave us not only parts of the plot, but bits and pieces of the world, the characters, and so on.

I recently read another book based on mythology - and it was pretty bad. I was hesitant to read another mythology-based book so soon after reading that not-so-great one, but I think I made a good choice! I really enjoyed this book, and I'll definitely be continuing with this series.

What I Did Not Like:

I don't think there was much that I didn't like. It was long, but I read it pretty quickly. I didn't love some of the characters, but I didn't hate them either. Some parts of the plot were a bit predictable at times, but that didn't bother me much. Overall, I really liked this book. It's a four-star read though - that's the rating it *feels* like, to me.

Would I Recommend It:

Yup! Especially if you love mythology, like me (any kind of mythology). No love triangle, no boredom, no intolerable heroine (or hero). This book was pretty great! I'm glad I had the chance to read it. I'm just going to warn you - don't expect a powerful, dynamic romance (like the synopsis might imply). I don't want anyone to be disappointed. Despain has the entire series to develop the romance to what readers might want to see.


4 stars. I can't wait to read the second book! It will be interesting to see where Despain takes this series.

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