Hadley Sullivan was doomed to have a bad day when she awoke this morning. She had...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Hadley Sullivan was doomed to have a bad day when she awoke this morning. She had one goal, board a plan to England to attend her father's wedding to a woman she's never met. She hasn't seen her father in over a year and she is dreading this occasion, secretly hoping she'll miss her flight and had a valid excuse to miss the ceremony. And, as luck would have it, she does miss her flight, by four minutes. This leads to a chain of events where she meets Oliver, a British boy heading back to England. The two spend the entire flight talking and suddenly they are split, both heading in separate directions. Hadley can't get him out of her mind, even when dealing with the heart-breaking reality that her dad's life is moving on with or without her. Can the universe bring them back together or was the flight a fluke and they both must now move on?
Hadley was a character I instantly sympathized with. What child of divorce doesn't understand that resentment that comes when a parent remarries? Even at the age of 17, Hadley is desperately fighting with those feelings and the pure rage at her father for leaving them, for leaving her mom. And just leaving isn't enough, he moves to another fucking country. Add to that that this is the day that refusing to go right, with being late to the airport, missing the flight, booking a new one which leaves no margin for error, and the massive fight she had with her mom before she left and I just wanted to give the poor girl a hug.
Then we meet Oliver, who is so charming and witty that you can't help but love him instantly. His unwavering dedication to the task of making Hadley forget about her flying fears was so sweet, I'm surprised I didn't melt into a swoony puddle. The fact that I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator read his character in a British accent only adds to that. He's smart and funny, with just enough sincerity that his bullshit doesn't come off as slick or annoying. He's constant jokes about what he's researching had me cracking up.
I think this book is so much more than I was expecting. I picked it up because it has an adorable couple and I was expecting something light and fluffy. I wasn't expecting to be on the brink of tears throughout Hadley's dad's wedding because I couldn't stop myself from feeling her pain. I wasn't expecting to be so addicted that I forced requested my friends wait a few minutes extra before going to a movie so that I could finish it. I wasn't expecting to fall head over heels in love with it.
I think part of my misconception was because of the title. The Probability Of Love At First Sight promises insta-love, no? But you won't find it here and after reading it, I'm convinced it's the perfect title. First, the L word is nevermentioned between these two. Some people imply it or state it outright, but there is no late declarations, just a deep-seated attraction and fondness. I'm not really a believer in love at first sight, lust at first sight maybe, attraction, definitely, but not love. And these two don't just have that "Oh, I see someone so pretty and I have to have them now" thing going on. They spend a transatlantic flight talking and connecting. Their connection felt real.
So, all you out there worried about insta-love, don't be scared. That isn't found here. Neither are cliffhangers (because it's a stand-alone) or love triangles. This is simply the story of how Hadley's life was altered by that magical four minutes that caused her to miss her flight. I can honestly say that I have added all of Jennifer E Smith's books to be TBR list and to my Amazon wishlist. If her other novels come even close to the awesomeness of this one, I won't be disappointed.
If you are a fan of contemporary YA such as Anna And The French Kiss or Pushing The Limits, this tiny, fast-paced novel is for you. You will get so caught up in it's magic, that you'll forget the rest of the world, and really isn't that what we all seek? To disappear into another world for a bit, a world where everything may not always be better, but we are left with hope?
****Thank you to Little, Brown Books For Young Readers for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Isabel Jenkins has always been a prodigy, picking up the science of medicine quick...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Isabel Jenkins has always been a prodigy, picking up the science of medicine quickly and effectively. She is a PhD by 18 and she's a psych test away from legally being able to practice medicine without supervision. Unfortunately, she fails the psych test. Now, she's has to find something to occupy her time while she waits for the next opportunity to take the psych exam. She ends up going to college for her third degree, just trying to assimilate into the "normal" college experience. But she doesn't really understand people, her roommate hates her, and the only person she seems to get along with is her extremely off-limits RA. Marshall (the RA) seems to be constantly flirting with her, but does he really like her? Maybe this third degree will be the most useful yet.
Imagine Gregory House as a teenage girl and that's basically Isabel. Except without the Vicodin addiction. She's crazy smart when it comes to medicine and diagnosing people, but less than skilled with the bedside manner. It's not that she is insensitive or indifferent, but she just doesn't see her patients as human. That sounds bad, but it's what made her so relatable for me. I struggle to understand people as well and to fit into their roles. Sympathy and empathy aren't things I'm good at displaying or faking. Watching her slowly and awkwardly find her place in this college environment was addictive and hilarious and endearing. Her medical training is never far even though she's trying to conceal that part of her past and the situations she gets herself into range from funny to horrifying. Cross did a great job of taking a character that should have come across as condescending and making her completely down to earth. I'm imagine it would be hard to stay on cloud nine after having your dreams taken away, but she continues to hit the new challenges straight on which was more admirable than the ability to have a doctorate at 18.
Then there is Marshall. Strong and athletic with a great sense of humor and smarts and he's probably at the top of many swoon-worthy male lists. The way he approaches Izzy, even when she's being difficult, having an open caring nature that she can't help but open up to him. He's so sweet and strong, in spite of his problems and he never lets Izzy's weirdness get in the way. This is all from her perspective so we never really get to see what he was thinking, but I imagine his inner monologue would just make the world fall for him even more.
The writing was intriguing. The chapters opening with a new and interesting medical fact really amusing me. I loved the whole idea of rich supersmart kid getting knocked down a peg. She's led such a privileged life, with parents several steps above financially stable and every opportunity provided for her to make the quick ascend up the academic ladder. Watching her not get what she wants for the first time ever was beyond entertaining. This is a new adult romance, so that entails a love story at the core with a bit of smut on the side. Cross keeps the smut to a standard romance level, thankfully not venturing to fully erotica level. Not that I don't like that, but lately it seems like every NA I pick up feels the need to go that far and sometimes I want it to be more about the romance than the sex. They are romance novels so let's focus on that, shall we? Good.
Anyway, this is the first novel I've read by Cross and I'm wholly satisfied. I have The Tempest but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. If this novel is any indication, that will be pretty epic. This little romance enthralled me. I read the majority of it in one day, stopping only when it was absolutely necessary to go to sleep and then quickly finishing it the next day. Isabel's story about what happens after your dreams fall apart is uplifting in a way I wasn't expecting. Maybe what we think we want isn't what we really want or, better yet, it isn't what we need. Isabel really needed to get out in the world and experience people because she wasn't an adequate doctor without that ability to sympathize with her patients. I really loved the whole and can't wait to dig in to anything else Julie Cross plans to write! I think fan of the new adult genre will enjoy this immensely.
****Thank you to Flirt, an imprint of Random House, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Everyone in homeroom 10B had a fairly normal life. School, home, significant other...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Everyone in homeroom 10B had a fairly normal life. School, home, significant others, same shit as any other teenager...until they go to get their flu shots from the school nurse. Suddenly they all develop telepathy and start hearing things that they'd rather not. The hope to keep their secrets is not looking good, since the entire group can hear their inner workings and a secret split between 22 people is difficult to keep. Mackenzie cheated on her devoted boyfriend, Tess is secretly in love with Teddy, and BJ is the class perv. That and much more is in store for this group of kids who go from a bunch of "I"s to a singular "we".
This is probably the only book I've read that does such a great job of keeping up with such a large ensemble cast. The cover is a bit deceiving because there are 22 kids "infected" with ESP and all of them have at least a minor role. Obviously you get a bit more from some than others, but it wasn't nearly as confusing as I thought it would be to follow so many characters stories simultaneously. Each character is fleshed out with their own individual personality, no two being overly similar. Olivia, Mackenzie, Pi, Tess, and Cooper are the "main" characters, at the forefront of most of the novel, but we get quite a bit from the rest. I could sympathize with all them, but I have to say that I am not a fan of Pi, especially after that stunt she pulls at the end. Not cool lady, not cool.
I'm not Mackenzie's biggest fan, but it's hard not to empathize with her. Yes, she fucked up and cheated on Cooper and that is a terrible, unforgivable thing, but she is so damn contrite that it's hard to stay angry at her. Don't get me wrong, I think Cooper should dump her and stick to that decision because it's bound to happen again, but I could feel Mackenzie's pain over everything that was happening. Olivia and Tess were probably my favorite two, the two I could relate to the most. BJ was also a favorite because he becomes so sincere and sweet.
I knew going in that this would be that great combination of funny and realistic, despite the paranormal aspect. I love Mlynowski's Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) because it was funny and insightful and beautifully realistic. Mlynowski's voice is similar here. These kids get ESP and learn that they should be more worried about what their friends are really thinking than anything else. The fight and grow closer and struggle with personal dilemma's with a true to life fashion that you can't help but fall in love with them. They grew into that sibling mentality of I can bitch about you all I want but nobody else better fucking dare. Despite the telepathy, this is much more about this bunch of kids finding themselves and their relationships than the actual ability. It helps, and makes for amusing reading, but it's not the heart of the story.
I really enjoyed this little novel. My biggest issue is that the ending seemed less than realistic. I know, I'm reading about a group of teens who accidentally become telepathic and here I am bitching about realism,
but I just didn't quite believe it. I also think it was a bit too short. There was a lot of plot to get through and I felt like a story or two deserve a bit more time to fully develop and wrap up. You have an ensemble cast of 22 teens who suddenly develop telepathy and you somehow cover everything that needs to be addressed within 320 pages? Maybe I'm just snippy because I would have loved a hundred more pages of this humors, heart-felt text, but I just think it deserved a bit more.
Despite the minor complaints, I really enjoyed this novel. These characters will make you laugh and cry and curse their stupidity. Why, Mackenzie, did you cheat on Cooper? Why do you just go along with what Lazar says Olivia? Tess, can you just let Teddy go because you deserve better? One of my favorite things about it was the group's running commentary. You get things from specific characters points of view, but even then, the entire group gets to weigh in at times, giving their opinions on whatever is going on, trivial or otherwise. It was exactly what I was looking for, a witty, humorous tale about learning the truth, whether you are ready for it or not.
****Thank you to Delacourte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Division, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Quinton Carter isn't quite sure that he is ready for the real world, but he has to...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Quinton Carter isn't quite sure that he is ready for the real world, but he has to deal with it none the less. Today is his first day out of rehab and temptation is everywhere. The only thing keeping him straight, beyond the desire to improve his life, is Nova. Nova, the girl who was hellbound to pull him out of his addiction and back into the light. He knows he loves her but he isn't quite ready for a relationship with her...yet. Nova's life has settled back into a normal routine. College, playing in her band, and rooming with her best friends definitely has it's perks. And now she has one more thing to look forward to, talking to Quinton each day. But before their relationship can progress on it's own, tragedy strikes, pushing Nova into Quinton's arms, whether his ready or not. Can he man up and be there for her like she was for him or will he let her down?
Can I just give Nova a hug? Nova remains the sweetest character I've ever read. She has the ability to come off as caring and sympathetic without seeming overly naive or annoying. And she gets put through the wringer for it. For the majority of this novel, I just kept screaming "What about Nova?" because I couldn't stop myself. She spends all her time (or at at least the majority of it) worrying over everyone and making sure their lives are working out right. Making sure Tristan stays off drugs, keep up with Quinton's progress and talking him through his problems, and worrying over old friends that are beyond her help. But no one is worried over her and they really should be. Quinton is too wrapped up in his recovery (rightly so), Tristan is too caught up in his obvious "secret" feelings for Nova, and Lea is too wrapped up in her secrets to take the time to find out whats bugging Nova. It gets to the point that I'm surprised the poor girl didn't explode. Her genuine need to help everyone around her and her ability to care so deeply for people is something I envy. I lack that sympathy/empathy gene. With novel characters, I can see through their eyes and really feel what they are going through, but with real people? I freeze. I can't seem to find it in me to have the compassion to care if I don't know them.
Quinton, dear sweet Quinton, is fighting so hard to avoid drugs that we don't see much else. He is trying to learn to let go of his past and stay away from his addictions and it's incredibly difficult because he knows exactly where to go to get his hands on the drugs. It would be as easy as breathing to acquire them and just bliss-out for an hour or two. But the consequences far outweigh the benefits, and even though he knows that, fighting the need for drugs is still difficult. He leans on Nova, probably more than he should, and spends so much time worrying over whether or not he is ready for a relationship that he gives no consideration to what she is going through. No thought to how much pressure she puts on herself to keep Tristan straight and help everyone she can. He's being utterly selfish in his behavior, but it's hard to chastise him for it, knowing all he is going through.
Then there is Lea and Tristan. Though Tristan does some unapproved things here, I genuinely want to see him stay off drugs and succeed in life. He needs to get over the Nova thing though. I don't understand how he lets the Nova thing continue when he KNOWS her feelings for Quinton and he knows Quinton's feelings for her. He should have just let it drop. But ultimately, we know he is still on the back to good road and I hope like hell he stays there. Lea, however, I was not a fan of here. In Saving Quinton, I loved her. She pushed Nova just the right amount and was there for her at the right times. Here, she has more or less abandoned Nova. Her supposed best friend and she hasn't even shared what she's been doing after class or why she's never home anymore. (view spoiler)[Or the fact that she has started a band or is dating a football player or that her band needs a part time drummer which she plans on forcing Nova into taking on, despite the fact that she knows it'll make Nova's current band angry. (hide spoiler)] She more or less decides Nova can't handle the truth and just withholds it and avoids her. She went from being a character I really liked to one I really didn't and that kinda sucked.
This novel proves that Sorensen's writing just gets better and better. It's the first novel in this series that really felt more like a romance...which sounds like an insult, but it really isn't. I started reading Sorensen's novels simply because the original cover of The Secret Of Ella & Micha was gorgeous and it looked romance-y. That's it. Call me shallow, but that cover called to me and buying it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not just because I have a physical copy of the amazing original cover instead of that carbon copied crap the publisher smacked on it (no offense Forever, but that cover sucked). I don't understand why Callie & Kayden got to keep their original covers but Ella & Micha needed to change. The newer mass market paperback cover is pretty, but I still prefer the original. ANYWAY....My point is that it's a huge compliment that I say this is more romancey. This particular series has had more of a heartbreaking dark side than any of her previous work, in my opinion, and I'm glad that the characters finally came to a point where romance was really an option. When you are constantly in a drug haze, romance isn't on the top of your to do list and neither is love, so it speaks volumes that we can see them venture into a romance towards the end.
I loved it, but it gets four stars instead of five due to character death. Even though I knew it was coming, I still hated it. It's more like 4.5, but I try to avoid half star ratings when possible. (view spoiler)[Delilah kicks the bucket. If you've read my reviews for the previous novels (#1 | #2 | #2.5) then you know I'm not Delilah's biggest fan. Actually, I'm not a fan at all, because she is too stupid to know when she should get the hell out of dodge. I have no respect for women who put themselves in this kind of relationship. Don't misread that. Physical and psychological abusive relationships are hard and it is NOT. YOUR. FAULT. BUT....Delilah got out. She was away from Dylan prior to the start of Breaking Nova and she intentionally went back to his violent, abusive ass, so I'm out. You had a choice, you picked the wrong option. I know that opinion comes off harsh, but it is what it is. So, I basically hated her, but I also hate that she ended up dead because I know that's devastating for Nova. And this poor girl has been through enough. (hide spoiler)] So yeah, not entirely satisfied with that.
What I am satisfied with is Nova & Quinton's end. These two finally get the happily ever after they deserve. We know it'll take work and that it won't always been unicorns shitting rainbows, but it's obvious they'll do whatever necessary to make it work. They will blow you away with their devotion to each other. Quinton isn't quite as awesome as Micha, but he's close, really fucking close. This has everything you could possibly want in a sequel, finally bringing Nova and Quinton to a place where they can move on with their lives while still honoring the past. Now, can I have Tristan's story yet?
****Thank you to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****
Nova is finally managing a bit of normalcy, attending college, dealing with her gr...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Nova is finally managing a bit of normalcy, attending college, dealing with her grief, and fighting the need to obsessively count things when her life gets too stressful. Summer break is upon her, and even though it's been almost a year, she still can't keep Quinton off her mind. How is he? Is he still on drugs? Does he still carry around that sadness that was always hiding in his eyes. She learns he's in Vegas and is hellbound to pull him out of the drug-addled world he is ensnared in. Quinton has moved on to harder drugs chasing that calming silence the high brings. He knows things are getting bad for him and those around him, but he's unworthy of anything better. He deserves to rot him and kill himself one hit at a time. When Nova shows back up, he knows he should stay away from her. He knows that it'd be better for everyone all around if he just refused to see her and let her move on, but he is just too selfish to deny himself this small bit of happiness. Can she convince him to give up the drugs or will his habit get the better of him?
Quinton and Nova are the same characters they were before, just a little more extreme and a little more normal, respectively. They have changed quite a bite since Breaking Nova, but not in unexpected ways, with Quinton becoming more of a junkie than we could have imagined and Nova healing enough to be able to discuss Landon's suicide without breaking down. Beyond that, though, their basic characteristics are the same, with Nova's sweet nature and determination to help those she cares for and Quinton's good guy lurking unwantedly around his head.
We get a great deal more from Quinton here because it's told in alternating perspectives and it makes me sympathize with him even more. Even though I think he's an idiot because that crash was a fucking accident and blaming himself helps no one, but I get the devastation that is associated with being involved in the death of your girlfriend and cousin. The fact that his whole family blames him as well (except Tristan) doesn't help matters. I wanted to fucking punch Tristan's parents for being such assholes. Speaking of Tristan, we get quite a bit more of him. He's a jackass, but it's kinda obvious that it's mostly the drugs. I wanted him to get help as much as I wanted help for Quinton. Does he gets his own story? Please?
I'd really like to see him get a happily ever after.
The thing that really stands out about this particular novel, is that it's not really a romance. I mean, yes, Nova has feelings for Quinton and vice versa, but this is much more about Quinton's struggle with drugs and Nova's struggle to pull him out of it. This novel goes darker than any other, in the sense that we get right in the middle of the bad shit. Quinton's situation is wretched, and knowing that he put himself here makes it that much worse. That this intelligent, caring boy allowed himself to sink so low is so depressing. This novel IS depressing. Nova and Quinton's journey is difficult and terrifying and endlessly saddening. Nova is trying so hard to help him even though he doesn't want it. What makes me love it even more is the realistic ending. I won't give any spoilers, but I felt the ending was very fitting for the story. Things end on a hopeful note, but things don't just magically fix themselves with hugs and love. Drug addiction is a serious problem and kicking that habit is far from easy or simple.
I think this may be Sorensen's greatest achievement yet. Ella & Micha are still my favorite of her couples, but Nova and Quinton's journey is touching on a whole different level. Their story couldn't have been easy to tell and it's obvious a lot of research was put into the subject of drugs and addiction and so on. It's a little off from what I was expecting from her and what is better than being surprised in a positive way? If you are a fan of her previous new adult novels or just want to read something that will make you connect with the character on such a level that their pain is yours and their depression leaves you so sad you don't see how you are going to recover, much less the characters. I highly recommend it to any new adult readers out there.
****Thank you to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Tess Snow is living a relatively perfect life, with a single semester left to go in college and a perfect sweet boyfriend. But when said boyfriend surprises her with a trip to Mexico, everything goes downhill fast. Tess is kidnapped and sold, with no one to rely on for rescue but herself. She's pushed into a world where women are mere possessions, meant to be used and abused at their owner's discretion, and she refuses to bow to her new master. She certain of one thing, she will escape this hell and find her way back to Brax, her perfect boyfriend.
If I had any self-control at all, I would never have downloaded this from NetGalley. I have more E-ARC's than I know what to do with and several books that need to be read and reviewed before February 5th, a fast approaching deadline. But I have no self-control and the book I'm supposed to be reading is boring me, so when I saw this up on NetGalley, I was way too eager to have an excuse to read something else. My sister is in love with this book and has been singing it's praise for a while now, so I knew it'd be something I would enjoy. So color me happy when I was instantly approved. I started it immediately, so drawn in by this dark world of kidnapping and sex slaves. It is unquestionably addictive. It's described as a dark romance, but I feel like "dark" isn't a strong enough term. This novel is brutal and cruel and heartbreaking, especially considering shit like this really happens. But let's not go there because then this review will digress into a bitter diatribe about the injustices of this world.
Tess starts out as a meek girl with sexual desires above what her boyfriend is willing to give. Now why any red-blooded male would turn down his girl's offer of more, kinkier sex, I have no idea, but whatever. After she is kidnapped, Tess start showing a stronger side, constantly fight her captors at every turn. In the end, the feisty spirit doesn't really do any good, but at least she'll know she did everything she could, right? Because that has to be better than just taking it all passively, right? Then once she arrives to meet her new master, she's immeasurable terrified and pissed off and maybe just a bit turned on by this possessive, controlling man. He takes control of her life, simultaneously trying keep her fire high while trying to break her spirit. Tess's reaction to him is a bit disturbing, because although things turn out well, it could easily have not. I get that she desperately desires the while masochistic element in the bedroom, but seriously? In this environment, I can't believe you were seriously turned on by this jackass. That could have led down a completely different and much more dangerous path, idjit.
Q is someone I want to like, but I don't think I do. In the beginning, you hate him for obvious reasons. This asshat is her new master and he is borderline abusive towards her, though never fully stepping over that line. By the end we learn that he has spent a fortune on rehabilitating women who have been sold into slavery abused, before returning them to their families, which is fucking wonderful. Seriously, sir, bravo. You are doing the world a great service and it's appreciated and all that jazz, but I'm not sure that justifies his reaction to Tess. Not only does he treat her like a master would trade his slave, but he also allows bad things to happen to her in his presence. Seriously bad things, and even though he tries to repair the damage, there are some things that can't be undone. What really pisses me off is how his dark desires are rationalized away at the end. This whole ordeal is forgiven because Tess enjoyed it, which is great for her, but what if she hadn't? What if she had been repulsed by his advances and felt violated instead of exhilarated? He goes on and on about how this is the first time he has ever given into his urges with a "slave," like somehow that makes it okay, but I don't think it does. If a child molester fights his urges for ten years before abusing some poor innocent child, do we commend him for holding out for so long or do we punish him for finally falling prey?
I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it or that I wouldn't recommend it, just that it pointed out some very disturbing ways it could have went wrong. Really, this novel was stay-up-all-night-to-finish-it addictive and I think I really enjoyed the majority of it. The first half was fascinating and terrifying, following Tess through her kidnapping and captivity in Mexico. The second half was fascinating trying to figure Q out with his multiple personalities. I don't think we get enough of him to understand completely, but we get enough to throw mental sympathy his way. I'm not sure it's enough to really excuse his behavior, Tess's reactions notwithstanding, but enough that I can consider forgiving him.
This is a complicated novel that will most likely make you think more than anything else. After finishing it, I can't help but wonder if this type of thing will ever truly stop. As long as there are people out there with the cash to make such purchases, it'll continue and that's just depressing...and terrifying. No human being is a possession, regardless of their gender. We are all sentient beings with rights and no one on this fucking planet has the power to take that away. It's a powerful issue and I imagine many people will shy away from reading something that delves so deep into the subject with no qualms about showing the darker side or the things we'd rather not see, like abuse and rape. This is a heart-wrenching portrayal of one woman's struggle to survive her circumstances and then to figure out what she really wants out of her life. It's addictive and horrifying. It's one of the very few dark romances I've read and though I tread carefully in this genre, I'm definitely adding Pepper Winters to my authors-to-watch list!
****Thank you to Pepper Winters and Black Firefly for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Layla will never be normal, no matter how much she wishes she was. She's half garg...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Layla will never be normal, no matter how much she wishes she was. She's half gargoyle, half demon, an unheard of combination considering it's the Gargoyle's duty to destroy demons on-sight. But that doesn't make her existence any less real. All she wants is to be normal and to be with Zayne, the insanely hot Warden (aka Gargoyle) who she's had a crush on since he walked into her life at 7. But there's one problem, besides her despicable demon blood, and that's she will take his soul if they kiss. She's can't kiss anyone with a soul without relieving them of that particular asset. But then she meets Roth, the gorgeous tattooed demon who keeps saving her ass. Trusting him could mean the end of life as she knows it and would be seen as betrayal by her Warden family. But there is something about Roth that she can't resist. Would she happily follow him to her doom or will he be the savoir no one expects?
One day, I will read a JLA book and not be surprised by how awesome it is. That day is not today. I know I spend a portion of any review of her book raving about how epic she is, but really, I've yet to read something written by her that wasn't awesome and this is no exception. Armentrout tackles this particular brand of supernatural creature as beautiful as she does everything else. This is everything I expect it to be and more, just as addictive as the Lux series.
Layla (love her name, by the way) is that misfit I think we can all relate to, taken to a whole new level. Not only is she the odd man out at school, but her very DNA prevents her from fitting in even among her adoptive family. Though she has forged a close bond with a few members of the Warden family, she's still dislike by many and downright hated by some. She copes with it all rather well, all things considered, and is content (sorta) to spend her days in school, her afternoons tagging demons, and her nights lost in conversation with Zayne. Zayne, the ultimate crush she can never have. Even if it was possible to have a physical relationship with him, her demon blood would taint the Warden line, something the other Warden's wouldn't stand for. So when Roth enters the picture, she knows she should walk away and report the activity, but she can't make herself do it. Roth is intriguing and doesn't look down on her "bad" blood...and he's gloriously soulless, meaning she doesn't have to deal with that pesky soul-eating temptation she has to fight around everyone else.
Roth, oh dear Roth. You'd think that I'd get tired of JLA strolling out cocky bad-boy types by now, but it's just not the case. What's that phrase Katy uses, holy alien babies? That sounds about right. Roth is a self-serving demon with a sinfully hot body, a smart mouth, and several powerful abilities. He's just...::drools:: He's awesomesauce, k? He's so damned confident that it's impossible to even think he'll fail at whatever he puts his mind to. And when he puts his mind to convincing Layla to trust him....damn. He succeeds with flying colors. I'm definitely team Roth, just so we're clear.
Then there is Zayne, the other corner of this infuriating love triangle. Zayne is Roth's polar opposite. He's good and righteous and caring and equally as hot. The fact that a love affair would be impossible between him and Layla, along with the clairvoyant knowledge that he'll end up with Danika, makes it impossible for me to root for him. I know Layla's had it bad for him forever, but it's just not meant to happen. Not to mention the major letdowns here. In many ways he fails Layla in this novel, forgetting her or downright ignoring her when she needs him. She does some bad things too, but never anything to deliberately hurt him.
Can I comment on JLA's genius-ness again? This woman is quickly becoming my favorite author, with her ability to wow me in everything she writes. Here she shines with the Gargoyle lure, the badass demon, and the plot twists that I didn't anticipate. She shines because I love this book in spite of the love triangle and the awful, horrid cliffhanger. That end and Roth and the revelations about her parentage and holy fucking cow, I feel traumatized. I can't even....
So yeah, if you aren't overly fond of cliffhangers or not knowing if a particular character is dead for good (AND THAT CHARACTER BETTER NOT BE! I'm just sayin', putting that out there because that will make me angry and you won't like me when I'm angry), then you might wanna wait until book 2 (and probably 3, because let's face it, 2 will probably have a cliffhanger too) is out because the ending it's the rainbows and sunshine I'd been dreaming of.
This novel is everything you'd expect from JLA, with cocky male leads, a sassy heroine, and enough romance and turmoil to keep you enraptured. The romance between the characters ranges from hot to sweet, managing to give you just the right amount of smut for a YA novel without going overboard. Even those who prefer smut-free novels should be fine with this. I keep trying to figure out the best way to summarize this review, but it really comes down to a simple statement: It's JLA. I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait for the next one. Seriously, I may sell my first born child to get my hands on it if I can get any takers for that offer. Oh, and before I forget, there is an exclusive excerpt at the end of the novel from Roth's point of view that will only be available in the print version, so if you're planning on buying it, there's a little extra incentive to get it in print. Trust me, it's totally worth it. It makes you love Roth even more, if such a thing were possible.
****A huge thank you Lisa Wray and all the people Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Nick Merrick has always been the dependable one. He seems to do everything, keepin...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Nick Merrick has always been the dependable one. He seems to do everything, keeping his grades up, helping Gabriel with his school work so he can get into fire-fighting training, help Michael with the landscaping business so they don't have to live off ramen noodles, and keep his brothers from tearing each others heads off with things get too heated. But Nick is about ready to break because he doesn't know how much longer he can hide his secret, especially when he can't seem to stay away from Adam, his "girlfriend's" dance partner. He's terrified to break the news of his homosexuality to his brothers because he wouldn't be able to handle they rejection, especially Gabriel's. Add that stress to the ever-present stay alive scenario with the Guides constantly out to get them and our Nicky has quite a been to handle. Can he keep it all locked in or will he allow someone else to help him?
It seems like every time I read one of the Elemental series, the book that particular brother is mainly about becomes my favorite Merrick and this is no exception. Nick problems felt so real. Unlike the rest of the books, this almost reads like a contemporary romance because you don't go into a lot of the Elemental stuff. Sure, it's there and the threat of the Guides is present, but this is much more about Nick's journey to come out of the closet than anything else. He's such an easy character to sympathize with. I think he was a bit stupid to worry so much about his brother's reactions because it's obvious to anyone that they would support him through anything, but I can also see why anyone would worry, because there are a lot of close-minded people out there. Watching his relationship with everyone here was completely enthralling, but it's the interaction with his brothers that gets me. This entire series has captivated me in the way we see them, which shocks me as much as anyone else because I'm usually all about the romance, but there is something mesmerizing about this close-knit group of brothers that keeps me coming back.
Another interesting thing about this is it's told via Nick's perspective (obviously) and his fake "girlfriend," Quinn's perspective. The obvious choice would have been to alternate between Nick and Adam, but Kemmerer is having none of that. While I would have enjoyed being in Adam's head for a while, seeing deeper into Quinn really balanced her character out for me. I have never hated Quinn, but she was never been my favorite character. I always found her drama a bit much and though it still gets under my skin a bit here, I can finally understand her situation. Her living situation is far from ideal. Her family is downright abusive and she's trying to get away from them, but has no where to run to since her best friend is too wrapped up in her boyfriend to make and effort and Nick's so stressed from everything else that she doesn't want to burden him. It was pretty obvious early on that she was going to end up with Tyler, but watching him jump from psychotic jackass to caring sweet guy was interesting. I don't know if I can ever really support the couple because Tyler has done a lot of fucked up things, but we start to see him redeem himself and I'm interested to see if he can really turn everything around.
Everything here is just as good, if not better, than the previous novels. I adored everything about it. It makes me want to create a 6 star rating just because it was that good. This is the first novel I've read where the main character is gay and if they are all this good, sign me up! It's not that I have a problem with the subject, just that none of them ever really caught me attention. But Nicky here has had my attention since the first book, so I'm all for whatever kind of story she wants to tell and I get this epic thing and, damn, is the term rabid fan-girling strong enough? I have no personal experience to backup my opinions here, but Nick's journey felt very realistic to me. I hated seeing him struggle, but that made it more believable and I love that he continues to struggle even after he decides he wants to be with Adam, that everything wasn't instantly rainbows and sunshine just because he found a boyfriend. And, if I wasn't already in love with each of his brothers, their reactions to the news would have pushed me over that edge. Chris with his sweet caring nature and quiet understand and Michael with his pride in his brothers success. Gabriel's inital reaction left a lot to be desired, but I truly believe that had less to do with the fact that Nick is gay and more to do with the way it was sprung on him. Trust me, he makes it up to Nick in the end.
So I made no secret of the fact that Spirit pissed me off in many ways, but this completely makes up for that. Well, okay maybe that's the wrong word choice, but I would gladly suffer through Hunter's trials and tribulations (and heartbreak) to get to the epicness that was this book. It was so good that I really want to stop what I'm currently reading, ignoring the massive stack of E-ARCs that will be keeping me busy until June and just read it again. That, in and of itself, is the highest recommendation I can give because I don't re-read many novels. Seriously people, I know I ranted to no end about Spirit and how it ruined to series for me, making me regret ever recommending the series because I knew whoever I recommended it to would get to Spirit and be monumentally disappointed. While I stand by the fact that it was a terrible novel with terrible things occurring within those pages, I find that now I would recommend the series because the rest of the books make up for that fuckup. This particular book makes up for it and I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you've read the rest of the series or not, this book (& Nick) will win your heart!
****Thank you to KTeen, an imprint of Kensington Publishing, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Candice Salinas is a creative writing grad student who just wants to be taken seri...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Candice Salinas is a creative writing grad student who just wants to be taken seriously. Since her fellowship only covers her tuition, she started writing (and self-publishing) erotic romance novels as Candy Sloane to make ends meet. And, surprise, she is relatively successful, making enough off her novels to pay her rent. But her asshat faculty advisor would disapprove and no one would take second look at her serious writing if they knew she was moonlighting as an erotic romance writer, nevermind that she kinda loves doing it (pun intended). Then James walks into the picture, as if she needs more drama. The hot barista a local coffee shop, he’s finally taken interest in her like she’s fantasized about for quite some time. But, unfortunately, he is now a student in one of the classes she teaches to earn her fellowship. The relationship is strictly forbidden, but sometimes Candy sneaks into her brain and she can’t help sneaking around with him. With so much to lose, will Candice strike out or will things work out for the best?
Candice is that character with split personalities, one minute being the level-headed, if somewhat insecure, Candice and the other being the confident Candy who goes after what she wants. While I can understand jumping between the two roles, I also became a bit annoyed when she was being overly dickish to James, who was a complete sweetheart. She usually feels a great deal of remorse and apologizes, but I still wanted to strangle her when she was getting out of hand. What made me love her, despite the drama, was how this was more about her becoming more confident in both personalities. She starts out somewhat proud, but embarrassed about her romance novels, and completely lacking the confidence needed to stand up behind her books and proclaim that there was nothing wrong with writing them and that it didn’t make her a “lesser” author like some asshats like to imply. But she grows and learns and by the end is ready to stop hiding her secondary persona. I am woman, hear me roar, type of thing.
Then we have James, the sweetest guy imaginable. He genuinely likes Candice, regardless of which personality she is displaying and puts her with her hot and cold crap. One minute she is all over him and the next she is cold as ice, claiming this can’t happen because she is his teacher and it’s not worth losing her career over. Somehow, despite Candice’s attempts to push him away, he still remains by her side when she needs him, proving time and again that they need to give it a try regardless of the fact that it would be highly frowned upon. He’s got that great ability to deliver witty comebacks when necessary and walk away when Candice is being absurd. And, of course, he’s hot enough to catch anyone’s eye.
This does have a slight love triangle, but it isn’t one of those massively annoying ones where the girls is leading two guys on because she can’t decide. She likes both in the beginning and, once she gets to know both better, it’s pretty obvious she only really likes one of them. No cliffhangers to be found either, since it is a stand alone. And, not instalove. In fact, the characters haven’t even said those three magical words to each other by the end of the book. They like each other and are attracted and really want to try the whole relationship thing, but the L word is never mentioned. So we are joyously free of the three main hang-ups I have these days.
It’s definitely a different from any other NA novel I’ve read because neither character harbors a disturbing past. There are no abusive exes or parents or attempt rape or anything sinister like that lurking in shadows of this novel. Not that I’m downplaying those elements in a NA novel because I’ve deeply loved many of those stories, but it’s absent here. Plus the idea of a serious writer moonlighting as an erotica author is fascinating. I’ve always wondered if any of the erotica authors feel a little embarrassed of their profession. I’m not implying that there is anything to be embarrassed about, more that I can see where it would steam from. I imagine introducing yourself to strangers as a professional erotic romance writer can be daunting because there is a stigma attached to it. Well there is a stigma attached to romance in general, but erotic romance especially. It was interesting to explore Candice’s feelings about her in-the-closet profession, becoming more and more proud of who she really was and the message her novels sent. Sure, they were smutty, but they still made people feel things and told a story that her readers loved, so what more can you ask for? For writing to be worthwhile, must it be dull and dry? I certainly hope not, for my sake as well as Candice’s. I love that, by the end, she is proud of her Candy novels and is ready to stop hiding them from the world. I love books that support that type of message, you know? That one that say be yourself regardless of what the world things. Fuck your parents, fuck your colleagues, and, most importantly, fuck the naysayers. If it is what makes you a happy and you can legitimately make a living off it, then go for it. We need more novels with that message.
It’s also very funny. Readers searching for something that will make you giggle and snort constantly, this is it. Penis jokes and double entendres galore, all of which had me giggling or smiling or somehow showing my glee. There are double entendre alerts every few pages and all of them at least made me smile. Here is a novel that isn’t afraid to show its pervy side. Speaking of pervy, we get a great few steamy scenes that does Burstein credit. The undeniable chemistry between Candice and James heats up every scene between the two, even the ones where they aren’t getting along.
This novel shines because of its originality, it’s humor, and the “be yourself” theme behind the story. It’s creative and different and exactly what I was looking for. Lisa Burstein is definitely an author to watch because it’s apparent she is going to do great things!
****Thank you to Embrace, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.****
Jasmine and Dez were always meant to be. As Gargoyle Wardens, they have been offic...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Jasmine and Dez were always meant to be. As Gargoyle Wardens, they have been officially paired to mate, as long as she accepts the proposal. But when he disappears the day after the announcement is made, Jasmine is sure she’ll never be the same without him. Now, three years later, he waltzes back into her life expecting to pick up where they left off. Good luck, buddy. Jasmine is beyond pissed off because she has spent the last three years grieving the loss of him and isn’t sure she can ever trust him again. How do you trust someone who just walked out of you? How can you truly believe that he’ll never do that again? She agrees to give him a chance to prove he’s back for good within the seven days she is allowed to deliberate over whether to accept the proposal to mate or not, using him shamelessly to experience things that she would never be allowed to do on her own. Things like traveling to New York or learning to drive. Can he convince her to trust him again?
I’ll be completely honest, when I got the email requesting I read and review this, my answer was immediate. You’re with Harlequin Teen and you want me personally to read and review a novel from your publishing house?
Yes, I’d love too. Oh, it’s about Gargoyles?
Even better. Oh, it’s by Jennifer L Armentrout?
Gimme gimme gimme…I mean, ::coughs:: I would be delighted to review this for you. To say I was overjoyed at this opportunity was a massive understatement. I could post a hundred flailing happy gifs and it still wouldn’t equal my level of excitement. But, instead of doing that, let’s get down to the review, shall we?
Jasmine’s character is one I could immediately sympathize with. She just wants to be free, but the antiquated views of the male Wardens (aka gargoyles) keep her caged in the mansion she calls home. They believe that whole women are the weaker sex and must be protected at all costs. The idea that maybe if they trained them to fight then they would constantly be the causalities of demon attacks is preposterous. No, it’s better to hide them away and homeschool them until they are old enough to be “mated” and then keep them barefoot and pregnant. Jasmine is about as irritated with this idea as I am. The only upside in this is that there are so few females that they get their pick of any male. The males make an offer and the female gets 7 days to make a decision, yes or no. If she says no, the male must accept it and move on. The downside, beyond the chauvinist outlook, is that virtually none of the mated couples are love matches. Jasmine is a romantic, so that’s very disheartening.
Holy crap. I just realized part of why I loved this so much (apart from JLA’s typical awesomeness) while I was writing that. It’s just like a fucking historical romance novel: sheltered women, men running society, lack of love matches. Seriously, I’m a bit mind blown at the similarities. I didn’t think I could fall in love with this anymore, but I was wrong.
Dez, our leading male, was cocky, lovable, and oddly vulnerable. I think Jennifer really has writing swoon-worthy males down to a science. Amazing body? Just the right amount of witty banter? Cocky, but not annoyingly so? Completely head over heels for our heroine? And tada! There you have it, a swoon-worthy male. I was a bit unsure about him in the beginning, but his obvious devotion to Jasmine won me over. It’s clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to get her back. I almost wish this had been just a tinsy bit longer just to draw out their relationship a bit.
You get a peak of Layla, Zayne, and Roth, the stars of this series. Dez and Jasmine are secondary characters. I’m a little sad about them not being the main love birds, but I can understand why their story is in the background. Once they get over this little issue, I think they won’t have any major conflicts and conflicts are the center of all novels. Layla is definitely going to be an interesting character to follow and I’m already so in love with Roth that I’m foaming at the mouth for me. Smartass demon who bucks the rules? YES PLEASE!
The writing is exactly what you’d expect from Jennifer. She has that amazing ability to write a wholly believable story, even when it’s a preposterous concept. The Warden lure, though only briefly explained, is fascinating. I’m really excited about reading more of this particular supernatural being we don’t see often (or ever) in YA. It’s probably the most original idea for a young adult novel that I’ve read all year.
There is no question that this is a novella everyone will enjoy. It has romance, a bit of action, a little suspense, and a whole bunch of JLA awesomeness. It’s a new spin of a supernatural creature that doesn’t get much attention these days. Grab your copy December 1st so you can experience this breath-taking story for yourself.
****A huge thank you to Lisa Wray at Harlequin Teen for giving me the opportunity to read this and for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you just doesn’t seem strong enough, but it’s all I can say, so from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you!****
This is it, the final showdown is a week away and Sophie must prepare to forever win the battle and be humanity's savior or die trying...and take everyone on the planet with her when she fails. No pressure, right? Add the stress of that on top of trying to heal from psycho Bethany's stab wound, trying to get Kai to talk through his feelings, and working through the revelation that Felicity is actually Demeter (AKA Persephone's mom) in disguise and this poor girl is literally developing stress rashes. Can she get it together and save the world or is humanity doomed?
I intentionally read this slowly trying to make it last longer. As excited as I was to get my hands on it, I was equally sad because I don't really want Sophie's journey to come to an end. Well...I do because a longer journey means more conflict and poor Soph has been through enough, but I know I will miss her wit and her charm and her massive amounts of snark. Yes, I can (and probably will) re-read the novels, but it's not the same, you know? I'm going to try to keep my weepy, maudlin-ness to a minimum, because it won't do the book justice, but I suspect it might creep in here and there.
If we thought Sophie had been put through the ringer before, we were sorely mistaken. Here, Sophie more or less gets shoved into Persephone's last week of life and the fall out from having to see Kai loving her or Demeter actually showing affection should be enough to send her over the deep end. Add that to the stress that she still must figure out a way to save humanity and I'm surprised she never seriously contemplated suicide. Not our Soph, though, because she's too determined and resilient to give up. She'll save the world or die trying, and force her friends to help, even if they can't remember who she is.
The Kai we get is a mash-up between book 1 dickhead Kai and book 2 charming and swoony Kai. He's obviously still not recovered from the knowledge that Persephone planned to betray him and takes a good bit of that frustration out on our undeserving Sophie. He gets better, though, and he's good-guy side takes over once again. You know all those banners up right now that say "I sigh for Kai" for Wendy Higgins Sweet Evil Trilogy? Well I want one, but for this trilogy because this Kai is beyond sigh-worthy. That speech he makes to Sophie at the end?
The rest of the gang is all present, though we don't get as much of Hannah and her nerdiness as I would have liked. Theo and Festos are the most adorable couple ever and Hannah's new found obsession with Pierce is lovable, even if it does make her into one of those girls who is more interested in her boyfriend than anything else. Poor Hannah actually is as human as the rest of us, with hormones and imperfections.
There was a point while reading this when I panicked. Though I won't say who, someone dies. An important character dies. I HATE character death and I instantly went into a tailspin. I'm going to have to write a negative review. How can I write an negative review about one of Tellulah's books?!?!? I love her and all her work. I think I even started hyperventilating at the prospect of putting negative thoughts out about an otherwise amazing series. But I hate character death and I can't not mention it, right? I can't write a review without being completely honest and I can't love something where a favorite character bites the dust. Luckily for me (and all of you) this character doesn't stay permanently dead. We get a perfectly acceptable loophole for him to be...not dead.
Though I am sad to see it end, the ending itself is perfect. I loved the way Sophie saves the world and the uplifting message that leaves you with. I can't say much more than that without spoilers, but more novels should end with that particular moral in mind. This is everything I wanted when I started it. You get deep emotional drama and trauma along with Sophie's signature level of snark. You get Kai's swooniness (though it takes a bit of time to manifest). You get to see all your favorite characters get the happy ending they deserve. The only thing it's missing is comeuppance for Bethany, but it's okay because the way the last scene with her is written is better. I can't express how thrilled I am to have had the opportunity to read this amazing series and how utterly sad I am to see it end. I feel the textbook definition of a book hangover. What am I supposed to do now?
When all is said and done, I truly recommend not only this book and this series, but anything Tellulah Darling plans to write. She will surprise you with her ability to make you laugh and cry. Her ability to write in a realistic teenage voice never fails to surprise. She writes in a way that truly reminds me of Jennifer L Armentrout and that is a compliment of the highest order. Seriously, pick up My Ex From Hell if you haven't already because it's exactly what you didn't know you were looking for and you'll thank me later.
****Thank you to Tellulah Darling/Te De Media for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****
Luke & Violet both have fucked up pasts. Luke’s father walked out on them pret...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Luke & Violet both have fucked up pasts. Luke’s father walked out on them pretty early on and his druggie mother made him do things no child should ever have to deal with. Violet’s parents were murdered when she was a child and from then on she bounced from foster family to foster family, no one really wanted to keep the angry girls who’d spent a day in the house with her dead parents. From the first moment the two start talking, they argue and fight, but somewhere in the fighting, they can both tell that they have something in common and just maybe they can help each other.
Violet is a pretty strong character, she’s determined to be independent and self-sufficient even if it kills her. It’s better to fight for yourself than depend on someone who is eventually going to leave, right? Her resolve to trust no one was both admirable and depressing. No family and no friends can be a terribly lonely life and no one deserves that. Watching her fight with herself on whether or not to accept Luke’s help had me on edge because, for a moment, I really didn’t think she’d allow him to assist her at all, stubbornly refusing help even when going at it alone would make things worse for her. She relents though, at least letting him help her to class when she really couldn’t walk.
Luke is just as stubborn. He desperately needs somewhere to stay for the summer because he refuses to go home, but he can’t bring himself to ask his dad, who recently reappeared in his life, for help. He’s normal routine is drink himself to oblivion and find a girl willing to give sexual favors, no strings attached. He’s not the type to help someone out just for the hell of it, but from the moment Violet literally fell into his life, he can’t stop worrying about her and what made her jump out that window. Trying to determine whether or not she’s suicidal takes up more of his brain-space than he ever thought possible and he finds himself trying to help her even when it’s obvious she doesn’t want it.
Just like all of Sorensen’s couples, Violet & Luke are prefect together. When he’s with her, he cuts down on his drinking and she’s not off the rails crazy looking for an adrenaline fix. They both kind of even the other out and help cope with the fucked up pasts. Watching them fight with themselves and each other was way too enthralling and you can’t help but root for them. My problem was simply that it was a bit too predictable. (view spoiler)[From the first page that Luke mentions he mom came home covered in blood, I KNEW she was involved in Violet’s parents murders. It was so obvious that you’d have to be blind to not see it coming. How she was involved and who the guy with her was, I have no idea, maybe her dealer, but I knew it was her. (hide spoiler)] Another problem was the cliffhanger. I mean, I know I should always expect one with Jessica Sorensen, but I’m always hoping she’ll give that particular tactic a break. I think she enjoys torturing her poor fans because that ending was horrid. What makes it worse is that you don’t even realize it’s the end! On the E-ARC I read, it ends when your kindle shows 87% finished. So I’m reading and I go to the next chapter…and it’s an excerpt from The Redemption Of Callie & Kayden and then adds for similar novels and that’s it. I mean, I get that when we got to like 95% the book is over, but this one has the added bonus of allowing you to believe you’ve got more to read but you don’t. God I fucking hate cliffhangers. They are so damn frustrating, especially since there isn’t a release date for the next one yet. ::dies::
The only other issue was I thought we’d get a bit more of Callie and Kayden. I mean, Kayden is Luke’s bestie, so you’d assume Luke would clue him in on the whole homeless thing. But if he did, then I guess Kayden didn’t care. We get a scene or two with them, but not very much at all. It’s not really a big deal though and I can see why we’d want to focus solely on Violet & Luke.
Sorensen really has a talent for writing twisted characters who are so internally tortured that they can’t see a logical way out. She’s always got a talent for writing steamy love scenes and swoon-worthy male leads. Luke may be a dick to many people, but once he latches onto someone and makes that conscious decision to be connected to them, he becomes a whole different person. One thing is certain, I’m dying to get my hands on the next book (or the next two books because we all know the next one will have just as bad of an ending) because I need to know how they resolve their issues. I know they will, I know they’ll find a way back to each other, but it’s the how that’s important, right?
****Thank you to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Peggy Fitzroy’s led a normal life. That is, until her uncle kicked her out for refu...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Peggy Fitzroy’s led a normal life. That is, until her uncle kicked her out for refusing to marry the dastardly scoundrel he chose for her. Forced into the streets, Peggy is desperate for a way to support herself in a time where women were not allow to have an occupation. Under duress, she allows herself to be convinced to impersonate Lady Francesca, a lady-in-waiting in King George I’s court. Lady Fran died, supposedly of a fever, and now they need someone to take her place. Though Peggy is sure she doesn’t understand their motives, she knows that this will keep her fed, clothed, and sheltered until she can find other reputable employment. But she soon realizes that there is more going on in court than meets the eye and if she doesn’t figure out what it is soon, she may follow in Fran’s footsteps to an untimely demise.
Peggy is a very entertaining character. She’s clever enough to give Hermione Granger a run for her money, but balanced out with a healthy dose of fear at the appropriate moments and a penchant for hysteria if things get too out of hand. She’s stubborn enough to want to stay around and figure out what game is afoot instead of running off with the jewels she has collected, which she could easily live off of the rest of her life. Then there is her cousin, Olivia. If I loved Peggy, then I adore Olivia. Smart and sassy, with a flair for drama, this girl had me begging for a sequel from her perspective. In the first chapter, when her and Peggy where play-acting to an imagined drama, I was rolling with laughter. My one lament of this novel is we don’t get nearly enough of her, or the leading man.
Speaking of the leading man, Matthew Reade is also a hilarious character. From his first meeting with Peggy, to the end of the last battle, he screamed swoon-worhty male. Funny and hot, with a passion and talent for the arts, I was instantly in love. He has an ultra-sweet side and genuinely cares for Peggy, regardless of the façade. He fits right into the role of leading man with perfection. The fact that he isn’t royalty or even a sir, simply a lowly apothecary’s son with the desire to pursue a career in the arts.
Given my love for historical romance novels, is it really any wonder that I loved this? Though it is very different, the setting and the writing style is the same and it had me swooning anew for this genre. I’ve read a handful of historical YA’s before, but nothing compares to this. It has the added bonus of no love triangles and no cliffhanger, so I have not a single thing to complain about. This has it all, intrigue, mystery, humor, with a romance light enough to not overtake the plot. It was everything I was looking for and more. If you like historical YA’s or just want to give something a little different a try, definitely check this one out.
****Thank you to Harcourt Children's Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Bishop Riley does not have a problem. Yes, he likes to take a few pills sometimes t...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Bishop Riley does not have a problem. Yes, he likes to take a few pills sometimes to take the edge off, but an addict wouldn’t be able to manage it, right? Even after he wakes up in a hospital, having nearly ODed on pills, he still does not see a problem, but everyone around him does and that is how he ends up in the middle of Alaska with nothing to do but think on how he has fucked up. Penny Jones loves nothing more than Hockey and she plays like hell on the men’s team for her high school, but with an aging Gramps with mild dementia and a mother who is never home, she has a lot on her plate. So when the new renters show up, the last thing she wants to do is add “babysitter” to her to-do list. But there is something about the surly tenant that catches her attention and the more time she spends with him the more she realizes that maybe there is more than meets the eyes.
Initially, I did not like either of the main two. Bishop was obviously a pill-head who did not want to admit it and Penny seemed like one of those girls that can get any guy to do whatever she wants by simply batting her eyelashes and asking nicely. I abhor those types of girls and was instantly hateful towards her because within the first half of the book she has the entire hockey team drooling over her; Bishop showing mild interest; a pizza guy drive 5 miles out of his way to deliver her a pizza; a McDonalds employee giving her free food; and a music shop owner staying open late just for her. It was infuriating. The further you go with the story, though, the more you realize they are all fawning over her because she is genuinely nice to all of them and does not lead them on in any possible way. She is strong and stubborn and goes after what she wants regardless of if it is what anyone else tells her she should want. The more I read the more I thought that maybe she was exactly the kind of character we should be seeing more of. She is smart and caring and works her butt off for what she has, but at the same time, she isn’t perfect. She has a temper from hell and is just a little self-conscious.
Bishop also grew on me quite a bit, similar to the way a fungus grows on you. I found him highly annoying because I have little tolerance or patience for drug addicts. They all think they do not have a problem when they do and then they refuse to try to fix it. I realize that addiction is a difficult thing to cope with but I have problems, some things in my past are incredibly difficult to think about and you definitely do not see me guzzling alcohol or popping pills to cope. If I can do it, I feel like so can the rest of the world. So the excuses you give don’t necessarily fall on unsympathetic ears, but rather on the ears of someone who will tell you to grow the fuck up and deal with is like a big boy. I finally started to like him when he became more honest with himself about the fact that it really was a problem and had the desire to make it better. Once he realizes that he is not good enough for Penny and that he needs to get things in order if he really wants her that is when I started to like him.
Penny and Bishop together make quite an amazing match. He pushes her to do what she really wants, not what others want for her, and she pushes him to do better and be better. It was interesting to watch and learn more about each of them. The writing and plot were interesting, and though there was one too many deaths for my liking, I think the ending manages to be both happy and realistic, which is the best kind for NA. Bishop doesn’t magically get better, cured by Penny’s love and Penny’s issues with her mom don’t just vanish, but somehow they manage to make it work and what more can you ask for?
I can honestly say that I have never read either author’s work before this but will definitely be adding some of their titles to be to-be-read pile. This book was exactly what I was looking for. If you want a NA more about what’s happening now then the fucked things that happened in the past and that doesn’t read like erotica, then this is the right one for you.
****Thank you to Entangled Publishing for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**** (less)
Tella Holloway's brother is sick. He's deathly ill and the docs say they don't kno...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Tella Holloway's brother is sick. He's deathly ill and the docs say they don't know what's wrong or how to fix. Despite their rather smack-talk filled relationship, she loves him to death and can't imagine life without him, so when a mysterious blue box appears offering her a chance to compete in a competition for the ultimate cure, she doesn't hesitate. The Brimstone Bleed is a treacherous competition where competitors must fight their way to survive over four different equally deadly planes and every single competitor is out for someone they love. With little to no survival skills, Tella knows her chances of winning aren't likely, but she has to try. Can she overcome the odds?
I was excited and terrified to start this. Scott claims it's wildly different than The Collector and I wasn't sure how accurate that was. I enjoyed The Collector, but it wasn't my favorite thing in the world and I was expecting this to be about on the same level, great, but not stay-up-all-night-reading amazing. I couldn't have been more wrong. This is the adventure I was desperately needing without actively seeking it out. On VC's website she has a blurb by Kendare Blake (If you don't know who that is, we've got problems, k?) that says "“If The Hunger Games and X-Men and some Pokemon had a baby, it might turn out almost as awesome as this. But probably not. Read this book!" and that's so accurate that it renders me nearly speechless. POKEMON! Perfect, just fucking perfect. I really can't say anything that lives up to that succinct description, but I'll do my best to provide something entertaining anyway.
Tella is the best kind of heroine. Initially I sympathized with her while finding her a tad bit annoying. Her parents literally drag her away from her life and then ban any form of electronics...cell phones, tablets, laptops, the works. Being a reviewer and a blogger and active aficiando of wasting hours on the interwebs, I can understand the massive frustration that would entail. I'll be the first to admit that it would be heaven at first, having an inordinate amount of free time to spend entangled in the magical world that is fiction, but at some point your going to need something else, anything else. Any task gets monotonous after months of doing it repeatedly. But her fashionista-ness was out of my league of interest. After the games start, though, she's my kind of heroine. Any chick who can manage to maintain her snark even in deadly situations will win my heart. She reminds me a bit of Sophie from Tellulah Darling's Blooming Goddess Trilogy and that's a high compliment indeed. Her ability to roll with the punches and still be so fiercely protective of her new adopted family was beyond endearing. Her defense of the Pandoras was another thing that had me loving her to bits. Animal cruelty and abuse is something I cannot tolerate and her determination to protect these creatures and me cheering her on like nobodies business.
Speaking of Pandoras.....
They are like Pokemon, but possibly cooler. They all have different abilities and are fiercely protective of their owner, well as long as their owner isn't a psychotic abusive asshat. Tella's fox, Madox is probably the most powerful of the bunch and DAMN. Can I have him? I can't even come up with adequate adjectives to describe their awesomeness.
The other characters are all equally interesting, especially Guy (though he could probably use a better name), who gets to have that whole strong silent type thing going on. Harper had the whole big sister vibe down, and then there was Caroline who I won't even really comment on because I can't decide how I feel about her. The later addition of Jaxon provided a great amount of comic relief. He's quirky and amusing and adorable, following Harper like a lost puppy.
Something else I liked (and maybe disliked, depending on when you ask me) is the brutality of this race. Scott doesn't shy away from the violent edge a competition like this would inspire. Some contenders are down-right evil, twisted in ways that are shocking and grotesque. Death is also something that has to be dealt with here because conditions like the jungle and desert are difficult to traverse if you don't know what you are doing. Even if you do, the elements and predators still may catch you off guard. Scott does a great job of straddling the line of cruelty without going so far as to make us feel overwhelmed. Or maybe she makes use feel just the right level of overwhelmed because there is a particular scene where extreme measures must be taken to combat a snake bite and that was overwhelming but somehow it worked well in the setting.
Scott manages to make me adore this even though it has quite a few character deaths. If you follow my reviews at all, you know I hate character death, so that's quite the accomplishment. She really pushes the questions of how far you would go to save your loved ones. That is the best motivation that you could give and she really pushes the envelope a bit here with just the right level of savagery. This novel has something for everyone, for anyone brave enough to give it a try. It's got snarky comments galore, a quiet romance, adventure aplenty, and a plot that will surprise most. As with Scott's The Collector, it's gloriously free of love triangles and cliffhangers, which would make me love it even if it wasn't as awesome. But it is! And if you aren't afraid to get your proverbial hands dirty, definitely give this a read!
****Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****
Lottie’s life changed forever one night when her best friend is in a car accident a...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Lottie’s life changed forever one night when her best friend is in a car accident and suffers major brain trauma. Now, two years later, Lottie is starting college and ready to move on when she realizes that not one but both of the brothers who were responsible for Lexie’s accident are attending the same college and living in the same building as her. Just when things were starting to improve, they get worse. She runs into Zan everywhere, he is, unfortunately, inescapable and though she wants to hate him, she can’t help but notice him. Zan has always regretted that night. Before then, he’d always had a crush on Lottie and now he knows nothing can ever come of it, especially if he tells her the truth about that fateful night.
I was on the fence about Lottie from the beginning and the same goes for Zan. With Lottie, I felt like she was placing blame where it didn’t belong. Zan may have been driving drunk, but the accident was just that, an accident. IF there was blame, I felt like it should have been firmly on Zach because he was the one who convinced Lexie to get into that car. I felt like everyone was ganging up on Zan where it might not have been warranted. Yes, he had been drinking, but a deer came out into the road and shit happened. I feel like his punishment didn’t match the crime. Yes, what happened to Lexie was a travesty, but had he been over 16 and sober, his punishment wouldn’t have been that bad.
Not that I was instantly team Zan. Initially he felt overly masculine to me. Have you ever read a book written via a male perspective by a female author and just felt like they were trying to hard? That is how he felt initially. Talking about sex and fucking girls and drugs and on and on, with random feminized moments pushed to lighten him up and make him more likeable. Luckily, this problem gets better as the book continues. We get to see more of the romantic side underneath and the overt guy-ness falls away. Once this starts, I liked him a lot more. Then we learn his big bad secret, which I personally thought made him an idiot. (view spoiler)[We learn that Zack was actually driving the night of the accident. Somehow, Zan thought this would make Lottie like him less which makes no sense. If he wasn’t driving, it was less of his fault, right? Stupid logic. What I really don’t get is why he took the fall for his brother. I mean, I get that Zack had a sports career and everything, but seriously, all the shit he got sentenced to for that, I would have came right out and told the truth, even if no one believed me. (hide spoiler)].
Another peeve was it felt like paying homage to several novels that I wasn’t too fond of. If you haven’t already noticed, I don’t put much stock in classic literature. Yes, some of it is great and it has stood the test of time, but if I read one more novel that reads like a love letter to Wuthering Heights, I may break down and burn the damn thing. Seriously. Wuthering Heights isn’t in the forefront of this one (though it is mentioned), instead it focuses on To Kill A Mockingbird, which is a bit better, but still irritating. I did like, though, that it was clear that Lottie does actually spend time reading, unlike the heroines who claim to love books but never actually spend time reading. The cracks about the trashy romance novels had me smiling because I’m as guilty as anyone with those. Sometimes, don’t we all need a story where we know for certain that the guy will get the girl? Something that makes us believe in love despite the odds?
I had one more peeve and that was Zan’s social worker, Miss Carole. She seemed fake to me, like a greeting card company robot who just spouted random quotes or cliché words of wisdom. Granted, those things did help Zan out, but it still bugged me.
What really got me on this was the fact that despite all my pet peeves and the notion that this really should have went through at least one more editing process before it was released because there was a decent amount of grammatical errors and I had more than one moment where I wanted to explain what a thesaurus was and how to use it, I still really enjoyed this. The story was infectious and captivating and it shines through all the issues. Yes, the writing could have used a little work, but really we read for the story, right? Not to analyze and dissect everything thing that goes wrong (okay, so maybe I do like doing that too much sometimes), but to connect with characters and take something away from it all. On this front, this novel succeeds effortlessly. I had to keep going to make sure that Zan and Lottie got over there issues and got together, as well as to make sure Katie finally gets away from Zack and that Will and Audrey finally realize they are perfect for each other. I was unsure of Lottie and Zan in the beginning, but I loved all the side characters, especially Trish.
In the end, I loved the characters and the story and I’m definitely adding book 2 along with several other of Cameron’s works to be to-read list, so what more can I ask for?
****Thank you to All Night Reads for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Gwen Frost’s life is never going to get better. After the recent events, with the r...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Gwen Frost’s life is never going to get better. After the recent events, with the reapers trying to put Loki’s soul in Logan’s body, and having Logan stab her through the chest before running away in shame wasn’t exactly the highlight of her life, but the reapers are still out to get her and as much as she’d like to just hide in her room and grieve over Logan’s leaving, life must go on. Nickademes has been poisoned and it’s up to Gwen and her posse (yes, I did just type “posse”) to get to a remote location in the mountains outside of Denver where one of the rarest ingredients grows for the antidote….even knowing that they are walking right into a trap.
Though I really enjoyed this, it is just more of the same. Gwen almost dies, Gwen fights reapers, Gwen talks to Nike, Gwen saves the day….It’s not a bad formula, but it’s gotten a bit monotonous. That was amplified in this one by the lack of Logan. The flirty wordplay between these two is a big part of why I read this series and Logan’s only in this one at the very end. Much of this felt incredibly predictable (view spoiler)[Covington being the bad guy, learning that Grandma Frost had more secrets, and the fact that the Gryphon’s come to her aide because she helped one of their offspring early on in their journey. (hide spoiler)].
We do get something new in this, we get a new character, Rory. She seems almost like a carbon copy of Gwen herself, with similar personality traits and the same shunned vibe going on at school. I hope we get to see a bit more of her in the next book. Beyond her, it’s the same group of lovable quirky people that we’ve seen in the past few books, though we don’t get to see much of Nyx, who is quickly becoming my favorite character.
Honestly, I love this series, but I hope the next book wraps up this story because I’d much rather end when things are still at a high point that with the series drawn out and tarnished. Here’s hoping Gwen can knock Loki down off his thrown in the next novel and let this series go out with a bang.
****Thank you to Kensington Publishing for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**** ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Katie Greene is a bit lost. Her mom died several months ago and now she is living w...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Katie Greene is a bit lost. Her mom died several months ago and now she is living with her aunt in Japan. Though she’s learning, her Japanese still isn’t great and she feels so far from home, but she’s trying her best to give it all a shot. She’s made a friend or two but still feels out of place, being the only American in her school, since her aunt insisted she go to regular Japanese school. Then she meets Yuu Tomohiro and she gets put even further out of depth. He seems like such a jerk, but she can see something softer lurking just beneath the surface and she’s fascinated and confused by him, especially by the fact that drawing seem to move around him. Either she’s losing her mind or Tomohiro has a special ability he doesn’t want to share with the class. Either way, she is determined to get to know the real Tomo.
Really, I think this is 4.5 stars….when did I turn into one of those people who reviews with .5 star ratings?!?!? Anyway, I was both incredibly excited and terribly nervous to start this because of its setting. I have never been to Japan nor do I speak perfect Japanese, but I did take several Japanese classes in high school and kept in relatively good touch with my teachers once they returned to Japan so I wanted to details to be perfect. You can imagine my relief when I realized that the setting was incredibly well researched. Sun definitely didn’t skimp out on making sure this was as authentic as she could get and I applaud her for that. It made me so nostalgic that I actually went back and dug out my old Japanese stuff to refresh my memory and cram more into my pitiful brain. But that’s a bit off topic.
Katie is a pretty decent leading character. She has minor lapses into that dreaded Bella Swan syndrome, but she tries to pull herself out rather quickly and always seems to do the right thing in the end. Her immediate fascination with Yuu seemed a little insta-lovey and she does start thinking she loves him rather soon in the relationship, but it never truly felt like insta-love, which I think is a real accomplishment. I was a little disturbed by her tendency to stalk him. It was more than a little creepy, but maybe that is because I JUST finished a novel where the girl had stalker tendencies and things got out of hand. Lucky for us, Katie’s stalkerism takes a back seat once she and Tomo have their first real conversation. It was hard not to be sympathetic towards her. The poor girl is orphaned, living temporarily in Japan with her aunt until things can be sorted out with her grandparents, having to learn a language and a culture that she knows she’ll be leaving behind soon, and even though she is getting the hang of it, she’s terribly homesick.
Then there is Yuu Tomohiro, who is the quintessential YA bad boy. You know the asshole that’s really a good guy underneath but pushes everyone away for their own protection? Well, that description doesn’t sound amazing, but trust me, if you’re into bad boys, this one is definitely for you. And he gets major bonus points for realizing that Katie will be much better equipped to handle the dangers ahead if he lets her in on his big secret. I mean, fuck, she already really knows anyway she just needs confirmation, but he could have been more of a dick and refused to admit it. I found his random modesty all too adorable. I realize that Japanese etiquette is so entirely different than ours that it’s difficult to really imagine, but I found it cute that he could go from making lurid comments without batting an eyelash and then blush furiously when Katie has the audacity to suggest he call her by her first name. He’s just so damned badass and adorable.
The writing was completely addictive and believable. Things may have been just a tad more interesting if we got something from Tomohiro’s perspective (hint hint hint), but it was still thrilling to see it all from Katie’s eyes. I’ve already mentioned the believable Japanese setting so I won’t go all fangirl over that again. The fantasy elements were also well done. It wasn’t over the top outlandish and it was that perfect combination that makes you almost believe that somewhere in Japan right now, this is all really happening.
Closing comments? Just read it. If you like fantasy, if you like Japan, if you like ya, whatever, just give it a shot and be amazed.
****Thank you to Harlequin TEEN for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****(less)
Wonderland is no longer the magic place it once was. After Alice’s first visit, the...moreThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Wonderland is no longer the magic place it once was. After Alice’s first visit, the madness slowly seeped out, leaving it tainted with normality. Gwen, Rose, Marc, and Lucky call it home, but don’t remember all that it was…except that Gwen is fascinated by their history and obsessed with the Alice prophecy, which states that they get one shot at using her to bring Wonderland back into its former glory. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
This novella was pretty intense, but also a little disappointing. You get tossed headfirst into Wonderland and you keep bouncing from perspective to perspective that it’s hard to keep up and make sense of it all. That would have been fine in a longer novel, but it’s a bit jarring in a novella that doesn’t allow for the recovery time. I did really enjoy Gwen’s character though, as well as Rose’s. Gwen, with all her knowledge of Wonderland’s history and her obsessive need to know all things Alice, felt very real and solid while some of the other characters felt a bit flatter. The same goes for Rose, with her newly acquired title of Queen, she’s pretty easy to sympathize with as she navigates the treacherous waters of leadership while still trying to do the right thing for her kingdom.
Even with its minor issues, I still would love to see where this all goes. I’m one of those odd ducks who didn’t like the Carroll story or the first Disney cartoon, but I LOVED the Tim Burton one and have become more than a little enamored with Alice retellings. I think this is definitely worth a read, though most should probably wait until the next novella is out so you aren’t left with quite as bad of a cliffhanger.
****Thank you to Patchwork Press and Kellie Sheridan for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****(less)