What I’ve Been Reading Lately

the nest book

 

Holy mother of gawd how is it August already?? I CAN’T EVEN. Well then, let’s get to talking about two of the books I read in July.

 

First up was:

 

 

The Nest

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

 

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

book-recommendations-wibr

 

 

I have a feeling this summer is going to be a lot of me doing shorter book talks especially since, as I talked about here, I’m going to maybe post a little less during the summer.

 

The Memory Book Lara Avery

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

[Keep Reading]

Series Send Off: Something Strange & Deadly series by Susan Dennard

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

I do this weird thing where sometimes I hold off reading the last book of series I love — especially if I’ve waited the time in between rather than binge reading. It’s a weird thing. I KNOW. It’s a combo of 1) I just don’t want things to end and 2) also I get afraid because I’ve been let down in series before.   I had read the first two books a while ago and finally had the guts to finish it!

 

 Goodreads // Amazon

 

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

 

This would make such a good series to binge read because it’s ridiculously action-packed and you’ll want to compulsively read it. And it honestly truly feels different than a lot of series out there! It’s this great mix of magic and adventures (holy great settings to have these adventures in) and steampunk goodness. So action packed, too! The stakes get higher and higher in each book and things get even more real! Necromancers! Armies of the dead! Really intense baddies! Magic! Demons! What is going on in Book 1 is just a smaller sliver of the bigger picture of what is at work!

 

 

What The Series Is About:

It’s 1876 and the Dead are rising in Eleanor’s city of Philadelphia because of a necromancer who is hellbent on raising them. She finds out her brother’s disappearance could possibly be related to what is going on and, in her search for answers, finds herself spending time with a rag tag group called The Spirit Hunters who are also trying to track down this necromancer and stop all the madness! Together with the Spirit Hunters, Eleanor sets out to find her brother and stop the necromancer which proves to be a tough feat that sends them all over the world for answers and the chance to stop even worse things from happening.

 

 

Recommended For People Who Love:

steampunk, adventure novels, magic, zombie-lite type of books (if you are looking for like a really heavy classic zombie book this isn’t it…like the dead have risen but THEY aren’t the main focus), readers looking for action

 

 

Thoughts On Each Book

(Skip below to the next section or read my review for book 1 if you haven’t read the series yet!)

 

Something Strange & Deadly — You can read my full review of Something Strange and Deadly here but I just have to say, especially after finishing the series, this book is definitely the lighter of the 3 in terms of what is going on. Seriously the magic and things going on gets so much darker. And after thinking about this book I’m just like WOW WOW WOW look at the adventure they went on after the things they realize in book 1 and how those things were small in comparison to the scope of the rest of the series. LOVED this book…hold your butts for the adventure that goes on in the next 2. That’s all I’m saying. Also, LOVED that the setting was my stomping grounds of Philadelphia in the late 1800’s.

 

A Darkness Strange and Lovely: I personally didn’t think this book suffered from second book syndrome in the way that some other books do. It definitely did a lot of setting up for the epic and explosive book 3 but in a way that I felt natural because at the end of book 1 they are figuring out just what kind of shit Eleanor’s brother was really in and how much bigger it is. They are looking for answers and figuring things out in this book and trying to put an end to it all — without realizing just how dark it all is. Plus, we meet Ollie — a demon that changes things for Eleanor when he offers her magic and who is one of the greatest characters in this series. It creates a lot of interesting things between her and the Spirit Hunters but also I think Eleanor has a lot to grapple with as she uses it. You see her really change and test the limits of her own morals as she discovers what she can do and how she can use it. She wants to help and save her friends and put an end to the stuff going on. She has good intention but that kind of power doesn’t come with consequences. I loved the Paris setting and the action and the development of the story.

Strange and Ever After: WOW what an emotional, explosive and truly action-packed series conclusion! I loved that the stakes really and truly felt higher and more dangerous. Sometimes I feel like battles aren’t as tough in some series as I’d like them to be but this one truly made me feel how hard these characters fought. I truly felt like they were in danger as soon as they really figured out what they needed to do. That this battle they would inevitable have would cost them in ways. And I wasn’t wrong in that feeling as the gang faces Marcus in this book. Eleanor grows a lot — she isn’t always easy to like or get along with and she constantly pushes people away but she’s starting to realize her tendencies. Plus I think a lot of how she changes and grows is related to the power she possesses. It changes her and she has to figure that out — same with her friends — they don’t approve of it but also they recognize how it helps them. All these moral grounds they all have to work through.  I really loved how much we got to understand Ollie in this book. I love him so damn much. I will say the only thing that tripped me up during this book is that I felt like confused with some of the magic. Even more elements are added and even some Egyptian gods and stuff but I got so confused with some of the layers of it all.

I think the ending to the series is definitely polarizing but I found that I REALLY loved it.

View Spoiler »

 

 

 

Rating Broken Down By Books

Something Strange and Deadly

RATING-loved-it

A Darkness Strange and Lovely

RATING-reallyliked
Strange & Ever After

RATING-loved-it

 

And so I’m saying farewell to this series:

Farewell my spirit hunting, friends! Thank you for taking me on wild adventures and reminding me that, despite what you’ve gone through in life and how easy it is to push people away because of it, it’s better to embrace the people who genuinely want to love you. Thanks for allowing me to become part of your rag-tag, misfit unit of a family.

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it?? What did you think of the series overall?? If you haven’t read it, have I piqued your interest?

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book Review

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book ReviewAshes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker
Series: Ashes #1
Published by Katherine Tegan on December 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA, Supernatural YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-stars

 

 

 

book synopsis Callie dies in a tragic accident and finds herself in the afterlife which is not at all what she pictured. She’s stuck in a realm called the Prism which is where one goes after they die and before they go to heaven. The point of being at the Prism is that you learn to move on and let go of your former life and help the loved ones you left behind to heal and be at peace. Her guide Thatcher helps her to deal with her feelings and tries to help her learn about the Prism and the whole haunting process on earth. She struggles to see her dad, best friend and boyfriend in so much pain and she has a hard time letting go. Soon she meets some ghosts who are angry and have not yet moved yet and they will do whatever they can to stay on Earth. The things they tell Callie conflict with what Thatcher has told her and she struggles with letting go and moving on or trying to cling to her old life.

good books to read I’m familiar with the author’s contemporary novels, though I haven’t read them, and my interest was certainly piqued to learn she was writing something a bit more supernatural. The premise seemed interesting to me because I’m fascinated by “after life” kind of stories so I picked it up when I was in a pretty bad reading slump. My feeling overall was that it was an “okay” to “good” book but it was perfect to get me out of my reading slump because it’s so out of what I normally read. I read it all in one day and just COULD NOT STOP. It’s hard to explain because I know that it sucked me in but it wasn’t necessarily because it completely blew me away. I’ll break it down:

Things I enjoyed

 + the world building: I was very fascinated by Melissa’s version of the afterlife. After you die, you kind of hang in this balance and you are supposed to “haunt” your loved ones to help them move on and then you move on yourself. The way Melissa wrote the afterlife just completely set the mood and I enjoyed learning how the “moving on” process went and how things work in the Prism. We learn everything through Callie’s guide, Thatcher, and it really started to get interesting when some characters emerged who DIDN’T move on and started telling Callie conflicting things from what Thatcher was telling her. I kept wanting to figure out the truth and see if Thatcher was keeping things from her about the whole process.

+ Callie’s own moving on story: Callie’s death actually became more devastating to me as she went and haunted her old life. The scene with her dad really choked me up. Even though Callie was a bit much to handle for me personally, I did cut her some slack because of the fact she’s dead and has to watch her old life  — especially when she starts to find out something about someone close to her. I enjoyed watching her try to grapple with the fact that she’s in this afterlife and decide what to do with the information she’s presented with. Her emotions were very strong and I couldn’t even imagine having to watch your loved ones mourn you and feel so connected to your life. It got even more complicated when she starts hanging out with some of rebel type ghosts because we watch her struggle with the idea of moving on or staying like that forever so she can be “a part” of her old life still in a way and not let go of it. ALSO, part of the story was that Callie seems to have more energy and be a bit “special” comparatively to the others. THAT was pretty interesting and I was dying to find out why.

+ how the ending sets up for book 2: MAN. Game changer kind of ending and I think the story has the ability to be super interesting because THINGS.

Things that were MEH

+ the pacing: While I was interested in the worldbuilding personally, it was just very uneven. It was pretty slow moving in the beginning, which I don’t even mind, but it seemed like the end just because VERY break neck. All of this info came at us and all of these things happened and there was just so much. Wish it had been a little more even. I was intrigued from the beginning so I was committed but it definitely had pacing issues.

+ Callie: I couldn’t figure that girl out. It was hard to get a sense of who she was before and all I knew of her was what we got to know in her time of grief when she was dead. I didn’t feel like she was all that developed for my taste and I really didn’t like connect with her. I think her confusion and grief over dying stood out to me and leapt off the page but that’s about it. Something was off with her voice but I couldn’t even begin to try and explain that. I also found her very naive in ways to an almost unbelievable point. I mean, CLEARLY there was something different with her and she just shrugged it off.

+ The ending: As much as I said I LIKED it up there because of the potential it brought with it, I totally had an inkling about it and thought it was maybe a bit predictable.

book reviewsAshes to Ashes was the sort of book I needed to get me out of my rut because it was a different kind of read for me being paranormal. I read it all in one day because I was fascinated by this version of the afterlife and thought the mood of the afterlife and Callie’s grieving was written really well. However, there were things that definitely detracted from the story like pacing and Callie herself in ways. I wouldn’t say this is a MUST READ but I found it to be an entertaining read. I’ll be reading the conclusion to this duet for sure though!

short book review

Ashes to Ashes Melissa C Walker

for-fans-of-book
afterlife stories, books like Touching The Surface & The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, paranormal/supernatural books

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you read it, what did you think? Did you find the setup of the afterlife interesting? Did you guess the ending? Any predictions for book 2? Have any of you read any of Melissa Walker’s contemporary novels and do you think I’d like them?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

three-stars

Pivot Point by Kasie West | Book Review

Pivot Point by Kasie West | Book ReviewPivot Point by Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point #1
Published by HarperTeen on February 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA
Also by this author: The Memory Book, Split Second
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

four-half-stars

 

 

 

Addie lives in The Compound — a place the normal world doesn’t know anything about and people with special skills like hers live. She’s a Searcher which means, when faced with a decision, she’s able to experience both paths in her head and it really feels like she is living them out which can help her to make the best decision. She’s faced with the ultimate decision to make when her parents announce they are divorcing. If the decision to choose which parent to live with wasn’t hard enough, Addie’s dad is leaving The Compound and will go live into the Normal world. Addie knows she has to search quite a few weeks out to see which decision is best for her to ultimately make her decision but what she sees in her future — both good and bad — makes the decision all the harder.

MAN. This is one of those times where I had this one sitting on the shelf since I received it in the mail, wasn’t sure if I’d like it because paranormal is not my favorite genre and then I let it sit. Then, before Thanksgiving, I show a stack of what I should take on vacation with me and suddenly EVERYONE on Twitter unanimously said Pivot Point. I’m like WHAT? How did I not know how universally loved this book is? SHOULDN’T I HAVE GOTTEN THAT MEMO? Obviously that piqued my curiosity, I brought it and OH MY GOODNESS…not even my post-Thanksgiving food coma could make me put this book down. Friends, this book was AWESOME. Even if you don’t LOVE paranormal books, I highly recommend it. It feels more like a contemporary book more than anything but there are some powers of the mind in it — like clairvoyance, mind erasing, etc.

So I gave you the gist of what the book was about above but what I loved most about this book was how unique the premise was for me. I’ve never read anything like it. Most of the book is her seeing the way these two different paths could play out — if she stays with her mom in the Compound or if she moves with her dad. Every other chapter switches between both scenarios. It sounds like it could be confusing to keep straight which choice she’s living out but not at all!  Just when I thought I liked one scenario better then something happened to make me even more tense and now be more invested in the other scenario.

The way both of these scenarios unfold makes you NOT be able to put this book down and is a testament to the command and control Kasie West writes with. I could feel my breathing getting more rapid as I got closer to the ending as the intensity of the situation just escalated out of control. It’s times like this where I’m shouting at my brain to read faster and I find myself tensing up without realizing it.

The ending slayed me when she was done with her Search and  knew everything that she could lose and how it all hinged on her decision. I wanted to crawl back in bed and hide under the covers and JUST NOT MAKE A DECISION…and I’m not even the character. I could feel the enormity of the decision before her and I loved that I was wholly invested in her choosing the right outcome while also feeling what she was giving up to make that other decision. Not only was I devouring the pages closer to the end but I was also getting very emotional thinking about what she saw.

Can we also talk about Trevor?? I loved him — he’s charming and sweet and yeah I’d fall for him. He had personality — he’s a football player but also a bit of a nerd! I was fanning myself with a certain moment between them. I got very attached to him and so the whole time I was like PSH YOU HAVE TO PICK THIS PATH but then things get complicated and it became not that easy. It broke my heart to think about the fact that she may not choose that path right up until her final declaration of what path she was going to live out. I can’t tell you which one she chose but you will find yourself flip flopping based on what is going on.

Pivot Point is a book I’m sorry I didn’t get to sooner but I’m glad I’m on board now. It was undoubtedly refreshing and one of those books that has you compulsively turning the pages because you just HAVE to know which path she’s going to take — especially as it gets more intense! If paranormal isn’t your go-to genre, like me, I very much recommend this because it feels more contemporary. Plus it’s a damn good story, has a romance I ship and will have your heart racing as both scenarios play out right up until her Search is over and she must make a decision. If you haven’t read this one yet, get on it!

Pivot-Point-kasie-west-review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it?? What did you think? Also, thanks to the people who voted for this one on Twitter! I owe you big time, friends!

four-half-stars

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard | Book Review

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard | Book ReviewSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange & Deadly #1
Published by HarperTeen on July 2012
Genres: Paranormal YA, Steampunk
Also by this author: A Darkness Strange & Lovely // Strange & Ever After
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

four-half-stars

 

 

 

It’s 1876 in Philadephia and the increase in the number of Dead rising from their graves is unsettling. Eleanor has seen them firsthand while she was waiting for her brother Elijah at the train station. Elijah doesn’t show up and she receives an alarming telegraph from him that was delivered by one of the zombies in the station. She’s worried for her brother — for obvious reasons — but also because she and her mom are struggling to maintain their wealth after their father died. As she tries to find out what happened to her brother she is thrust into the world of the Spirit Hunters who are trying to save the city from the Dead and figure out who is controlling them.

OH MY GOODNESS! I had an ARC of Something Strange & Deadly and then was sent a finished copy and it just sat on my shelf. I wasn’t really sure it was my thing. Then it became our book club book and THANK GOD because I loved this book and I’m regretting just letting it sit on the shelf for so long. It was such an absorbing and addictive read that I blew through and immediately started the next book. The thing you have to understand….I NEVER go right to the next book immediately. EVER. I read things in between. So THAT should tell you something about how obsessed I am right now over this series.

From the opening scene I was HOOKED. Walking Dead? Historic Philadelphia (my city!)? Petticoats, corsets and parasols? YES PLEASE. The mystery woven in from the start with the disappearance of Elijah didn’t let up and even more mysterious elements with the increase in walking Dead were added. It was just such a compelling read for me because it contained so many elements I loved — mystery, historical fiction, smooth writing, very slow burn romance and a compelling paranormal element that doesn’t feel overdone. I quickly became obsessed as it was just so compulsively readable!

The world-building was pretty sparse but I actually enjoyed that. You immediately know that there are Dead rising in this 1876. We don’t really know WHY they are but it’s just something that as a reader you accept as part of the world. They rise sometimes. But then the real tension comes because it’s becoming WAY more frequent and there have been some gruesome deaths. We learn WHY the increase is happening and what not but we don’t ever learn how they rise in the first place. It didn’t bother me not to know because I quickly got into the world and just accepted that was a part of it. I LOVED how Susan Dennard wrote the setting for Something Strange & Deadly. Maybe it was just that I knew most of the places in Philadelphia she was talking about but I loved being immersed in this time period.

One thing I will tell you is that the zombie/Dead are not the main focus of this novel so if you are looking for a really gory zombie novel this isn’t really that. They don’t make make up as much “screen time” as, say maybe, my favorite show The Walking Dead. I personally don’t READ a ton of zombie novels, despite my intense love for The Walking Dead, so the balance was just fine for me because the story was amazing and the Dead were very much being controlled by something — they weren’t just aimlessly hungry and wandering types of zombies. There was a purpose and someone making it happen. It’s a very fresh approach to the idea of zombies or walking dead. I will say I figured out WHO was controlling the Dead but there were still some other things I didn’t connect the dots which blew my mind.

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. Obsessed, I tell you. I couldn’t put it down because of the absorbing mystery elements, the fresh take on the idea of zombies, the Victorian Philadelphia setting, the compulsive readability, the characters and the very slow burn romance that just dangles there and filled my heart with tension. I’m not a huge paranormal reader but I WANT TO SHOUT MY LOVE FROM THE ROOFTOPS. There honestly wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. It was that type of read where I was so immersed in the whole of it that I couldn’t be bothered to think about anything other than what was happening in the book. I love that kind of read where I’m so absorbed in the story that I can’t even think of all the reviewer things that normal come in my head.

Something Strange & Deadly review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you’ve read it what do you think?? How did you like this approach to zombies? Do you totally ship Eleanor & Daniel? (Anyone else here kind of feel bad for Clarence?). Also, did you guess who the necromancer was?? I had a hunch!

four-half-stars

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn | Book Review

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn | Book ReviewAnother Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Published by HarperTeen on June 11, 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA, YA Horror
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-half-stars

 

 

 

Annaliese wakes up and finds herself covered in blood with no idea where she is or even WHO she is. As she finds help, she comes to find out who she is and is reunited with her parents. She finds out that the last time she was seen was in the woods at a party and she came screaming and soaked with blood and then was never seen again. While her memory still evades her, she has the sense that she is not the real Annaliese and she’s having strange dreams and visions that support her theory. These dreams show her other girls and some grisly things and slowly she starts to put together the pieces as these memories come more frequently. What she finds out is more frightening than she could have ever imagined.

 

My brain is one big pile of mush after this book and I’m really so confused about my thoughts. Is it possible to not know what I thought about this book? Because that’s what my brain is telling me. It’s all, “Jamie. Just give up. I can’t give you definite thoughts about this matter and it hurts to try” Seriously, a whole lot of mind WTFery going on here with this book. I can’t tell if I loved it intensely or if I was just confused in a bad way so I’ll just share my reading experience instead.

So basically, if you’ve read the synopsis, you know that the main character has no idea who she is. She’s been missing and then suddenly is found wandering in a town far away from her own with blood on her. They tell her who she is and she just suspects that she’s not that person. She can’t remember anything but something tells her she’s not. So immediately I’m like is this a Pretty Girl-13 situation? WHAT IS HAPPENING? What did she block out because it was so terrible? Is this in her head?  Is there something dark and paranormal going on? And then, as these dreams/memories start happening while she’s trying to settle into this weird life that seems to not be hers, it gets creepy and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough because it was so fascinating. I was just clamoring for some clarity as to what was going on!

I’ll be honest — you need to be a very patient kind of reader for this one because it is more madness and confusion for most of the book and it takes a while for things to come together and form a semi-clear picture as to what is happening and even then I spent a lot of time being confused and throwing out “WTF’s” like it was my job. If you like books that mess with your mind a bit and can be patient, this might be your thing. I know a LOT of people who had to put it down because the confusion wasn’t worth it which was the opposite for me. I personally was more intrigued than anything and the strangeness of it kept me reading — it wasn’t like anything I had ever read before — very macabre, disturbing and dark and not altogether what I expected. There are a lot of flashback sort of things interspersed with the present story and those flashbacks jump around a bit so that adds to the confusion in ways. It’s one of those really disjointed styles that just leaves you unsettled, disoriented and not quite with a grasp on what is happening — you feel like you are losing your mind a bit.

I don’t want to say a lot to give anything away plot-wise or to make it easier for you to guess what is going on. I’ll say the one area of certain disappointment came for me more towards the end. I had been wided eyed, furiously turning the pages and feeling upside down and inside out while reading and then when things came together more it wasn’t AS compelling (still compelling though). BUT I was still curious to know the origins of what was happening and I felt like at the end I still didn’t understand what fully happened (physician, brujas). I think if I wouldn’t have felt that way at the very end this book would have been a damn near perfect book for me.

Undoubtedly one of the strangest books I’ve ever read in my entire life. I don’t know what way is up or down with this book. Written in this terrifyingly beautiful and haunting way, it completely sucked me into Annaliese’s story of not knowing who she is and then slowly putting the pieces together to learn who she is. I spent most of the time confused — a good confused for the most part — and it was very motivating for me as a reader because I was dying to know what happened and my brain couldn’t even comprehend what was going on in this very macabre and creepy story. I’m a patient reader and I think you need to be one, as well as love wildly strange things, to enjoy this book. I can’t make a sweeping recommending for it for that reason. The only thing I’m certain that made this perfect NOT a perfect book for me was that I just still wasn’t sure at the end if I really GOT what happened. I think I did but I don’t know.

another-little-piece-review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard about it? If you’ve read this one, what did you think? I know some people either HATED it or couldn’t even finish it but then there was those that LOVED it. It was definitely daring and different. PLEASE TALK TO ME ABOUT IT! Mark your comments as spoilers please if discussing with me 🙂

three-half-stars

Vampire Academy #1 by Richelle Mead | Book Review

Vampire Academy booksBook Title/Author: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Publisher/Year
: Razorbill 2007
Genre: Paranormal YA
Series: Yes
Other Books From Author: the rest of the VA series, Bloodlines series, Georgina Kincaid series, Dark Swan series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Rose is a Dhampir — half human and half vampire — and she and Lissa, the vampire princess she’s been trained to protect, left St. Vladimir’s Academy boarding school and have been on the run to keep away from the danger looming there. They have finally been caught and find themselves back at St. Vladimir’s Academy where they try to get back into the swing of training and magic classes and social life but there are quite a few obstacles — rumors, romances they know they shouldn’t be involved in and something dark that puts Lissa in danger.

*This isn’t really going to be a thorough review because everyone and there mom has read this*

So, yes, I’ve finally read Vampire Academy! I will wait for your applause, those of you who have been waiting for me to read this! It’s a HUGE series and I’ve been putting it off because of a) hype and b) if you read this blog you know I don’t read a ton of paranormal. Especially NOT vampires. But here we are…I’ve read book 1 of the series!

Vampire Academy started out VERY slow for me. I just wanted to not read it anymore but I kept going because people said the series got better after book 1. If I didn’t have that knowledge? I would have probably put it down. I just wasn’t feeling it and the pacing was sloooow. I just felt like some of the worldbuilding was dumped on me and I was waiting for a discernible plot.

Rose made me giggle a bit because of her sassy attitude but there were things that really irritated me about her and also I felt like she was a bit one dimensional in the beginning. While she isn’t altogether LIKEABLE, I appreciate a flawed character and she grew on me more and I’m certain there is more to her. The development for some of the other characters was a little bland — especially for Lissa. She was seriously a SNORE.

Despite the shaky start, it become a really addictive read. Even when I was unsure about this one, there was this draw (besides all of the praise) made me stick with it…to see it through. I definitely think I was rewarded a little more than midway through and I couldn’t put this down AT ALL. The plot surges forward and twists abound and I became thoroughly engaged in it all. I loved watching Rose’s skills get better to protect Lissa and learning more about the vampire society. I’m chomping at the bit to head over to the library and get book 2. Especially because I hear the series just gets better and better..which is a relief because I’d say I was a little disappointed not to LOVE this book like everyone else.

OH HEY. I betcha you’ve been waiting for me to talk about Dimitri. I DIDN’T FORGET. I wanted to save the panty throwing for last. So Dimitri, yah? Let’s talk about how Richelle gets a gold star for the best romantic/sexual tension ever. Like seriously. Panty melting! In the beginning I just wasn’t getting the appeal of Dimitri because all we really knew about him was that he had a ponytail, was a powerful guardian and was Russian..oh and wears a duster lol. It seemed obvious that Rose, flirt extraordinaire, was going to totally go for her older “teacher” and I was nervous there would be NO believeable connection between them. But then suddenly Richelle started writing Dimitri in a way where I was like HEYYYY. I actually really grew to love Dimitri and am excited to see what happens between the two of them. Also, I had to fan myself during a certain scene. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Compulsion. That.Is.All.

I wish the whole book could have been as good as the last half or so. I will still definitely be continuing on with the series because it really took a hold of me by the end and I heard the series only gets better. If I didn’t know this, I’m not sure if I would be continuing on because I’m super picky about my paranormal.

 

Vampire Academy

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Was I the only one that thought this one wasn’t amazing? Are you excited for the movie? Thoughts on casting? I have specifically NOT looked at any pictures/trailers because I want to read for a while with my own image of Dimitri.

three-stars

Ashes On The Waves by Mary Lindsey | Book Review

Ashes on the Waves by Mary LindseyBook Title/Author: Ashes On The Waves by Mary Lindsey
Publisher/Year
: Penguin June 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Shattered Souls

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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Liam lives on the island of Dochas  where he is a complete outcast — everyone calls him a demon, his own father hates him and he seems to be cursed. When a childhood friend named Annabel Leighton, the daughter of a family who owns an estate on the island, returns to Dochas things seem to be looking up for him as they their relationship grows. The Otherworlders, the mythical beings that live in the sea, make a wager that human love can’t endure in the face of suffering and trials and put the strength of Liam & Annabel’s love to the test with these terrible obstacles.

I’m so conflicted on this one and I seem to be in the minority as I scanned all the glowing 4 & 5 star reviews of people who seemed to not feel conflicted. Ashes On The Waves was definitely unique compared to what I’ve encountered in paranormal YA with being based off of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” and infused with Celtic lore. I appreciated the fresh feeling the story had but it lacked something for me and I’m going to attempt to explain it though I’m not sure that I’ve quite put my finger on it even still so I’m listing it all out.

What I Liked:

1. The premise: I LOVE LOVE LOVED Annabel Lee when I had to read it in college and thought it was an amazing inspiration for a paranormal story. I loved the way Mary Lindsey took the bare bones of that poem to write a truly compelling story about true love and infused it with Celtic lore and these otherworldly creatures that were testing the love of Liam and Annabel. The story really got interesting when the wager was made and it was so heartbreaking to watch Liam and Annabel’s love being messed with by the Otherworld. You couldn’t help but root for them to conquer all. It was a nail-biter until the very end as we watch the bet get uglier and uglier as Liam and Annabel prevail.

2. The setting: The island of Dochas was creepy — it’s this island that isn’t up to speed with modern life. So everywhere else is much like our contemporary society and Dochas is just archaic and still clinging on to its old ways — including very old superstitions. The writing of Dochas was incredible because it was so atmospheric and haunting and I honestly almost forget this book was set in present day. Dochas definitely took on a life of its own and it was easy to picture this creepy place!

3. The lore: The celtic lore was so interesting to me and I was quickly pulled into all of the otherworldly, mystical beings. It was so refreshing and unique!

4. Liam: I really liked reading this from Liam’s point of view and I really felt for him. He was such an outcast and people were SO cruel to him and he lived with a lot of guilt, a father who hated him and, aside from his boss who I LOVED, he was just so alone. This is one character who I felt like my heart kept breaking for throughout the course of the novel. I was happy that he had Annabel (for his sake) and as soon as that wager was made I was LIKE COME ON LET HIM HAVE SOMETHING GOOD IN HIS LIFE.

What Didn’t Work So Much For Me:


1. Annabel & Liam (and my connection to them):
OK, so from the get go we know this is an epic love story that is being tested by the Otherworld. We are supposed to root for them because they are being put through the ringer and we want love to prevail. To some degree, I really did root for them but more so on principle and not because I really FELT their relationship. I really didn’t FEEL connected to their love story it just honestly didn’t do much for me maybe until the end but at that point I already felt like a fly on the wall rooting for them rather than feeling the passion they had for each other. It’s going to come down to, I think, whether or not you connect with their love story. I can’t tell if my disconnect was because I didn’t GET Liam’s intense love for Annabel after really only knowing her as a little girl but following all the news stories about her crazy, socialite life or if I just didn’t GET Annabel and if I really felt her passion for him like I did Liam’s.

2. The pacing: I understand the beginning was setting up Dochas, Liam’s life and Annabel’s return to Dochas but it CRAWLED for me. There was no pull for me to read other than knowing I was promised an awesome premise. I seriously kept sideeying the book for a bit because I was bored to tears and almost got sunburnt because I fell asleep reading. HOWEVER, I will say once the wager is made…BOOM. You won’t be able to put it down. The mystery pulls you in and you are so invested in seeing how the wager affects Liam and Annabel.

If you are looking for a fresh YA paranormal novel that is NOT part of a series, Ashes on Waves is a good one! It’s well written, the setting is one that you feel transported to easily with its creepy and haunting atmosphere and its a tale of epic love that is being challenged by Otherworldly creatures who try to break them apart because of a wager. The Celtic lore was fascinating as well and I was quickly sucked into this story. HOWEVER, being that this is a tale of epic love, my problem was that I never connected or felt ANYTHING towards their love story until maybe the very end which made me feel quite distanced from this read. However, I’d still recommend and hope that you connect to their love more than I did.

 

 

ashes-on-waves-mary-lindsey


Let’s Talk: Have you read of this one? Heard of it or is it on your TBR? If you have read it, did you enjoy it or no? Did you feel connected to the romance? Anybody know of any other Poe inspired stories?

two-half-stars

Mini Reviews of Hallowed & Boundless by Cynthia Hand

If you haven’t read Unearthly (book 1) of this series, you can take a look at my review of Unearthly or my guest post on Epic Reads of the top ten reasons why YOU should read the Unearthly series!

Hallowed by Cynthia HandHallowed by Cynthia Hand

If I had to pick a “least” favorite book of the series, Hallowed would probably be it — but that’s not even fair because SO MUCH BIG STUFF happened in it …things that made me cry, things that made me rage and things that made me have a really hard time finishing this book off at while at the hairdressers without them kicking me out for being crazy.  I really did LOVE it.  Cynthia Hand wrote some of the most intense and gut-wrenching scenes in this one and REALLY made me Queen FlipFlopper when it comes to my Team loyalty. After reeling from the ending of Unearthly when we find out that Christian is an angel, I was so torn because suddenly Christian isn’t just the “guy she’s supposed to save.”  I commend Cynthia Hand for how she continually manages to really flesh out the characters of Tucker and Christian and make us really fall in love with them and really KNOW them — wish makes us dread Boundless for we KNOW she can only have one…unless there is a polygamist sect of angels that Cynthia is going to throw out at us.  I also really thought after the events of Unearthly, in addition to the continually building character development,  Hallowed did a good job of showing Clara’s guilt and confusion after her seemingly failing her purpose and I loved that because we really got to see her grow in this book. Girl went through some TOUGH things. So many tears were shed for MANY reasons.  Book two brought the feels and showed us a new depth to Cynthia Hand’s storytelling abilities. I fell even more hard for this series!

 

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

OH MY GOSH. I’m just going to tell you that this was one of the BEST LAST BOOKS I’VE EVER READ and honestly the best book in the series. Was everything wrapped up the way I wanted to? Not exactly — one thing left me a sad panda and there were a few issues I had because I didn’t feel like we understood the purpose of some characters — but honestly EVERYTHING ELSE was perfect. Just perfect. You know how I said Hallowed brought the feels? Well Boundless showed up and was like “You haven’t seen anything yet. Get out your tissues, bitches!”  And sob I did during three very poignantly written parts where I was crying for very different reasons. The action and the story arc were just PERFECT oh my gosh. I was clenching that book so hard and ravenously turning the pages until the final pages because Cynthia built the suspense with the precision of an architectural genius. Not only was I DYING to see how Clara and company would tackle their purposes and her super intense vision but I was anticipating/nervous for/neurotically biting my nails over which boy Clara would choose. Because if you thought you were confused about who Clara should end up with, well your head will be spinning during this one! I honestly didn’t put ANYTHING past Cynthia the way things were going down! ALSO. SAMJEEZA. That is ALL!  Super sad to see this series end but I had a great time binge reading it!

 

 

Have you read this series? What did you think of Hallowed and Boundless? Were you happy with the series ending? What were some of YOUR most memorable moments from these two books? If you want to check out my top 5 favorite scenes of the Unearthly series (as drawn by my 6 year old niece), go here!

three-half-stars
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