- [8 Nov] Review: Red by Alison Cherry ★★★★
- [11 Nov] Review: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange ★★★
- [16 Nov] Review: Fields of Elysium (Fields of Elysium #1) by A.B.Whelan ★★★
- [17 Nov] Review: Tangled Tides (The Sea Monster Memoirs #1) by Karen Amanda Hooper ★★★
- [20 Nov] Review: Dangerous Depths (The Sea Monster Memoirs #2) by Karen Amanda Hooper ★★★
- [22 Nov] Review: Anyone But You (Twisted Lit #3) by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes ★★★★
- [25 Nov] Review: Turned at Dark (Shadow Falls 0.5) by C.C. Hunter ★★★
- [28 Nov] Review: Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1) by C.C. Hunter ★★★★
Giveaways & Other Posts
- [2 Nov] [Book Blast] Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan
- [3 Nov] Promotion: Kindle Fire HDX 7″ Giveaway
- [4 Nov] Challenge: 2014 Netgalley Challenge Post
- [4 Nov] 2014 Netgalley Reading Challenge – Sign Ups
- [12 Nov] TV Tuesday: Nov 3rd – Nov 9th
- [19 Nov] TV Tuesday: Nov 10th – Nov 16th
- [30 Nov] November 2013 Wrap Up
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 29th 2011
Genres: Changelings, Elves, Faerie, Fantasy, Gods, Magic, Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Shadow Angels, Shapeshifters, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Young Adult
Source: Kindle Purchase
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One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.
Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.
Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…
My ReviewKylie’s life is falling apart. Her boyfriend dumped her because she wouldn’t put out, her grandmother died, she is having night terrors, she is being stalked by a guy no one else can see that landed her with a shrink, and her parents are getting divorced. In a fit of rebellion, she goes to a party, which of course gets busted by the cops, landing her in jail. Despite the fact that she wasn’t drinking or doing drugs like many of the other kids, Kylie’s mother is furious and decides that she will spend her summer away at Shadow Falls, a camp for “troubled teens”. The kids aren’t “troubled”, just “supernatural”, and they swear that Kylie is one of them, they just don’t know what kind. She has never really fit in, but does she really fit in with a bunch of fae, werewolves, vampires, witches and elves? She sincerely doubts it! But the longer she spends with them, the more it becomes clear that they just might be right. Now if only she could figure out what kind of supernatural she really is.
The plot is annoyingly simple. It actually feels like it drags. You go through so much of the book and then still, nothing has happened and very little is building up for the climax. I have a rule about not rating a book for two hours after I read it, just to avoid an incorrect rating, a rule that was a saving grace for this book. At the immediate end, this would’ve been a firm two stars book. During the digestion process, I see why I really liked it.
The plot is an agonizingly slow build up. When you take the step back and look at it though, it’s actually incredibly smart. You are slowly building on things. You can tell right away that you will end up tired of Kylie before the series is completed though. Finding out what she is is going to drag and drag and drag. That may or may not be a bad thing. Stretching it out can either kill it for the reader, or fill the anticipation to busting. The climax being small is helpful also, in that it helps connect you to the camp. The one thing I didn’t like was the prose. Unlike most of the stories I fall in love with, I didn’t feel sucked in. I felt like I was watching it happen instead of living through it. Usually, I can smell the trees and feel the wind. Instead, I felt like I was watching reality television, with just as much drama.
The character are the real winners. Kylie isn’t brilliant. I actually dislike her as the main character. She is hypocritical, and annoying confused, and her emotions are all over the place. There were enough times when I felt like she was bordering Mary Sue boredom in her character development. Sure, she had flaws, but they were boring. She was boring. She was almost annoying more often than not, and I found myself wishing we were seeing someone else, anyone else, telling the story. Her roommates are amazing and I loved them right away. Sadly, they felt more developed than Kylie. I know Kylie is lost and finding out what she is, but that doesn’t justify making her annoying in the process. The love square was useless and annoying. Trey is the ex who wants her back, Lucas is the werewolf who she used to know and represents nothing but passion and danger, and Derek is the sweet half-fae who just wants to love her. Out of them, I liked Derek the best, but even then, I felt like none of them were rememberable enough to even deal with. Not to mention that they made Kylie talk about her breasts way way too often. I am all for discovering your sexual side, but you can get really bored of hearing about a girl’s boobs. Unless you’re a guy I suppose. I think it goes back to how I wasn’t sucked in. If I had been, my boobs would’ve tingled when hers did, but instead I just read about it. It all fell flat on the page.
Despite feeling disconnected to the story, I did enjoy it very much. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with a few of the characters, rooted for others. Time will tell how the series continues, but for now I like it very much.
Turned at Dark by C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls 0.5
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 15th 2011
Genres: Faerie, Paranormal, Shapeshifters, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Young Adult
Source: Kindle Purchase
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Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang did not believe in ghosts, until she sees her dead cousin in a dark alley. She did not believe in vampires, until she turns into one. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead and walk away from everything she knows, or join Shadow Falls, a camp for special teens.
My ReviewDella Tsang is strong-willed, thick-headed, and independent. She is trying to live up to her Chinese father’s high expectations of her while still being her own person and not disappointing herself. Logically, she knows ghosts don’t exist, at least until she sees the cousin whose funeral she attended the year before running into a dark alley. When she follows him, she finds herself in the middle of a gang-war, and Chan, her cousin, saves her. Unknowingly, he also turns her. Chan is a vampire, and Della is about to become one as well. Forced to admit that not everything is so logical, she must now decide if she will fake her own death as he did and follow him to live in a clan or if she will travel to Shadow Falls and hope for a more normal life.
This is a super duper short novella that showcases the story of how Della turned into the vampire she now is. The story is very simple and linear. I love how the change is written like a disease. Part of me feels like it could’ve been written to take up a little bit more time, but at the same time, it was written just well enough that you understand it without getting bored.
Della is a nice character. She is strong and cynical, trying to live up to her father’s super high expectations of her. She is starting to tire of it though, and is about ready to just run away from it all. She wants to move in with her boyfriend Lee and just start her own life. Living up to her own expectations instead of someone else. You don’t get to go deep into hers, or anyone’s characters, with how short the story is, but she is a good character that I am looking forward to learning more about.
However, after beginning Born at Midnight, the first real book in the series, this novella becomes a massive disappointment. Within the first few chapters, you actually meet Chan and hear a bit of Della’s backstory. Things don’t match up. Namely, Chan wants to take her to Utah in the novella, but in Born at Midnight, it’s Pennsylvania. Some of the other tidbits don’t match either. Being that they were published no more than a fortnight apart, you have to wonder why the details would be so obviously different.
Regardless, this is a really quick, easy, read. If you overlook the small details, then this is a good precursor to the main series. It isn’t an imperative read, but it is usually free on Amazon so there is really no reason to not read it.
Anyone But You: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Amy Helmes, Kim Askew
Series: Twisted Lit
Published by Merit Press on January 18th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Retellings, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Netgalley, Provided by author
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Two Italian restaurants, both alike in dignity, in Chicago's Little Italy where we lay our scene...
After her family's struggling eatery, Cap's, falls prey to another of the Monte clan's vicious and destructive pranks, sixteen-year-old Gigi Caputo finds herself courting danger during a clandestine encounter with Roman Monte, the very boy whose relatives have brought her family such grief. When the daughter and son of these two warring factions fall for each other, their quest to mend this bitter family feud turns out to be a recipe for disaster. Their story is irrevocably linked to the summer of 1933, when two twelve-year-olds, Benny and Nick, hop the turnstile at the Chicago World's Fair. While enjoying some of the fair's legendary amusements, Nick has a "love at first sight" encounter with Stella, a young girl who unintentionally causes a lasting rift between the two boyhood pals.
Deftly winding its way through past and present day, this modern take on Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" has much to do with hate - but more with love. By resolving their great-grandfathers' ill-fated history, can Gigi and Roman prevent their own tragedy? Or will only their deaths bury their families' strife?
My ReviewThe Caputo/Monte rivalry has gone on for decades, and no one in the respective families is even sure what started it at this point. They only know they loathe one another and want the other’s Italian eatery to fail so they can mark themselves as the winners. After a Monte prank closes a struggling Cap’s for repairs, the Caputo family plan a grand reopening under the guise of their daughter, Gigi’s, sixteenth birthday party believing that not even a Monte would ruin a young girl’s party. When a handsome young man and his friend crash the party and takes Gigi’s first kiss, she finds herself quickly losing her heart to her enemy. Roman Monte shares her feelings, but being together is harder than they want it to be. Hoping to gain the approval of their families, they set out to discover the cause of the rift between them, hoping to right the wrongs to unite their families. Can they do it? Or will only a tragic ending bring their families together?
I should probably start off by telling you, I never liked Romeo and Juliet. I first read it when I was about five years old and hated it from the get go. Yes, the Disney movies I grew up with were far reaching, but a three day relationship that resulted in six deaths and was toted as being a tragic romance just wasn’t doing it for me. In true Twisted Lit fashion, my dislike for Romeo and Juliet wasn’t a deal breaker for the story. If anything, Anyone But You made me enjoy the story slightly better.
The story is written in two parts, switching between time periods alternatively between chapters. While reading about the current goings-on about Gigi and Roman, you are also getting to see Nick and Benny’s interactions and what caused the feud between the Caputos and Montes to begin with. The chapters aren’t advertised with font or header effects to tell you from the start which time period you are reading, but after being jarred by the story a few chapters, I got into the habit of scanning the page for a name before diving back into the story. While that is something that bothers me, it might go unnoticable to someone else. I think I just get carried away by the story and forget that things might change. My galley didn’t start new chapters on a new page, and sometimes I found myself just skipping over the chapter titles as I read, which is a habit I have always had. The writing is done well enough though that you never need to re-read more than a paragraph if you get the same jolt as I did.
The characters are nice. It’s fun to see who is playing the part of the original in this modernization. While Gigi had more depth to her than Juliet did, the rest of the characters were still rather shallow in their development. This kept it similar to the original, but didn’t exactly make the new characters endearing. What really saved the story was the relationship between Nick and Benny in the past tense. Showing their relationship with one another, seeing what caused the feud, really saved the story for me. Yes, Benny over-reacted, but trying to place myself in his shoes, I understood it. He was being horribly stubborn, but after everything he had been through, I at least understood why. I found his story to be far more captivating than anything Gigi and Roman had to tell. Just as Romeo and Juliet fell for one another quickly, Roman and Gigi jumped into their relationship just as quickly. I found their relationship to be more believable, but I did like how the homage to the original was left intact in an obvious way instead of changing it to be unrecognizable.
I did really enjoy this book. I laughed, I cried, I had a nice time with it. My heart just broke for Benny, even once he started acting the jerk. I’ve recommended the series before, this book just re-enforces that recommendation.
Dangerous Depths by Karen Amanda Hooper
Series: The Sea Monster Memoirs #2
Published by Starry Sky Publishing on November 20th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Mermaids, Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Seacreatures, Shapeshifters, Young Adult
Source: Netgalley, Provided by the publisher
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Hell hath no fury like a selkie separated from his true love.
The gate to the sea creature realm is finally open. Yara wants to bask in the glow of her budding relationship with Treygan and explore Medusa’s world, but as the new leader of Rathe her powers are needed to save a sea creature she’s never met.
Rownan assumes the worst is behind him when he returns home to be reunited with his wife, Vienna, only to discover she’s gone. She traveled to the evil realm of Harte to find another gateway to Earth and was never heard from again. Rownan claimed he would go through hell to be with her, and now he must prove it.
Rownan, Yara, and Treygan will put their lives and souls at risk by traveling to the most dangerous realm of all. Love is supposed to conquer all, but no one has ever conquered Harte.
My ReviewWhen the gate was opened and the curse lifted, everyone thought that life would be back to normal, but it’s too early to celebrate yet. Vienna decided not to wait for Rownan and set out to find a different entrance to Earth. Yara and Treygan won’t allow Rownan to travel through Harte alone. The three of them set out on a dangerous journey. Traveling through Harte won’t be easy, and no one returns from Hell the same.
I felt like this book was much better than the first. The plot was far more entertaining and the flow was much nicer. Unlike Tangled Tides, the story was harder to predict and the manner of Harte was random and, in ways, terrifying. I found Harte to be a much more interesting place than anything we have seen so far.
I spotted better development with the characters but also, all of the mannerisms that annoyed me with the first book were toned down a bunch. The focus was also on Yara far less, which I enjoyed. It was nice to see the other characters get more attention. My favorites still weren’t seen much, but it was better than nothing. I was still not a fan of the characters.
This book certainly improves the series, but it’s hard to like a story when you can’t like the characters. So while I look forward to the next installment to see where the story goes, I’m not looking forward to dealing with Yara and Treygan again. If they were better characters and their romance more believable, I would be more fond of this series.