A decade after graduating high school, Veronica Mars is back to her old self. She'sThe review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
A decade after graduating high school, Veronica Mars is back to her old self. She's taken the PI gig back up, despite Keith's wishes, and she's determined to keep Mars Investigations going while Keith recovers from near fatal car crash injuries. So when a girl goes missing during spring break, Veronica is more than willing to do her part in finding her. What starts as a simple disappearance turns into anything but. This case could go so many different directions and it's up to Veronica to untangle the web before it's too late.
For those of you who follow me regularly, you may know that a mystery novel isn't exactly my cup of tea and you would be entirely correct. I'm not really the murder-mystery type. Someone always ends up dead in those and Noir novels rarely have happy endings. What you might not know is that I'm a big time Marshmallow. I've been a VMars fan since the shows second season, so there was no question for me when this was announced. I knew I'd have to read it, period. I can't miss the possibility of more Veronica/Logan action (and Veronica's smarts and snark). Then it was released on audio.....narrated by Kristen Bell....
I borrowed a copy as soon as humanly possible and began listening with my husband (who is also a rabid fan). Because we only listened when we were together, it took a while for us to get through it, but man, it was perfect. Before I even get into the plot or the writing, I just wanna give Kristen props. She does an amazing job narrating this thing. She knows each character so well and she is amazing at imitating Keith's verbal mannerism, if that makes any sense. What I'm trying to say is she's amazing...as if we didn't already know that.
Now, as to everything else. First off is always character. What can I say about the characters of this novel? Most of them I already know and love. You get a peak of everyone in the VMars cast that you could want.
Veronica is a character I feel like I grew up with and have always admired. She has her faults, but she's so fiercely loyal that I have a hard time faulting her for them. She's so damn smart and cocky and awesome. I just don't have the words to do her justice. She's the queen of sarcasm, something I can relate to entirely.
Then we have Logan Echolls. [image error] Logan is a character that I would hate in real life. That image is probably not what you'd get if this novel is your first foray into the VMars world. Here, Logan is stable and strong. He's sweet and caring and exactly who we all knew he was capable of being. But earlier in the series, he was Neptune's obligatory psychotic jackass. He was cruel and careless and it would be easy to hate him. In real life, that's how it would have stayed. He wouldn't have changed. But the magic of fiction means anything is possible, so Logan and Veronica grow closer and closer and closer and he's constantly saving her ass. For me, it was always Veronica and Logan. I was never a Duncan fan (a character we have yet to see reappear) or a Troy fan and just FUCK Piz. I could see her staying with Leo, but it was always always Logan. He was such a tortured character with a twisted backstory and so much potential.
ANYWAY...enough of my fangirling. As Logan pertains to this novel, we don't get nearly enough of him. He's deploy as an Airman (I think? I'm pretty shitty at keeping up with the different divisions of the armed forces), so we get a handful of skyped conversations between him and Veronica. Unfortunately he isn't actually present for the duration of this novel, but have no fear! He is in a good bit of the next one (I'm a reliable source for that info 'cuz I've already read it). Logan's just a character I can't help loving. The fact that he seems to understand Veronica on a level no one else does makes it all the better.
Then we have Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie!
She was one of my favorite characters in the show and I'm so psyched about her having a big presence in the novels. She's probably smarter than Veronica and a computer genius. She gave up a high paying job at Kane Software to work the PI gig with Veronica and even though the money isn't as good, she is obviously so much happier with this job. She gets to hang with Veronica and put her computer skills to the test finding the missing details that just might help solve the case.
Everyone else you'd expect to find shows up sooner or later. Weevil, Keith (of course), Cliff, Leo, Wallace, Dick, the whole gang. Hell, Veronica's mom even puts in a game-changing appearance. I, personally, cannot get enough of Cliff McCormack. He's just so funny! I love him. That doesn't really add much to the review, does it?
Writing and plot-wise, this was interesting and perfect. Veronica solves the crime and saves the day, but it doesn't necessarily go where you expect it to and there are some pretty great twists and turns. I don't know if it was because of the fact that I listened to this on audio with Kristen or if it really was perfect, but this had that Veronica Mars feel that you can't find anywhere else. The thing with the world of Veronica Mars is that even though the show wasn't extraordinarily long (3 seasons and a movie), you still had an undeniable understanding of each character. I'm in it for the characters. I have to connect with them, to want to take this journey with them and I would follow Veronica's story to the ends of the Earth, but it's not just Veronica. Every single character is well-rounded and fleshed out completely. They feel like old friends....I'm getting a bit off topic again, aren't I? See, this is why I've been avoiding this review for months. I knew I wouldn't be able to write it objectively. My opinion of VMars will always be colored by my love of the show.
All you really need to know is this: If you're a Marshmallow, this won't disappoint you. The biggest difference between this and the show is that now they aren't on TV and can use a bit more language. If don't know much about the show, then I'd suggest you start there. This seems to written with enough background given that you can just jump in and make sense of it, but I feel like you won't have that deep abiding love for it if you read it cold. Go forth and familiarize yourself with all things Neptune, California and then come back and prepare to be amazing. Also, be glad that you are just now coming into the fandom, not forced to wait ten years between the show and the movie when the show ended at the worst possible moment. TEAM LOGAN FOREVER!...more
Katherine has always fought to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself. AThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Katherine has always fought to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself. A woman has one place in this world, silently standing beside her husband, bearing magical-blooded sons. If this goal cannot be accomplished, said husband has the right to do whatever he wants to her, including physical abuse, mental abuse, or even murder. Katherine has just been sold to a cruel, smelly old man who she cannot tolerate the idea of belonging to. She does the unthinkable, she runs. And in running she discovers a new world and a renewed resolve that woman are more than objects to be used and abused.
Katherine is reminds me so much of how I'd be in her situation. I'm too independently minded to allow this shit and the very concept that I must keep my mouth shut because my opinions are completely invalid makes my blood boil in a way nothing else does. I don't consider myself a feminist, but fuck we have rights! Wants, needs, and thoughts all our own. This novella was a bit appalling in how these men treated the woman. We take a lot of things for granted, but there were times when things weren't much better than that. I believe there are still places in the world today where the men think the same way.....::coughs:: back to Katherine. She's so strong and determined to get away from her new master that it was impossible to believe that she wouldn't succeed. She is constantly landing herself in trouble for her inability to accept that she is a lower class being.
Like I said, this is a bit appalling. These woman are spelled and abused in all manner. They aren't even allowed to sit unless given explicit permission to do so, instead forced to stand next to her husband or father while he lounges comfortably. The idea that any father would now only allow this kind of abuse, but promote it is unthinkable. Katherine's own father treats her terribly. Katherine's running away is admirable to me, trying to escape her fate rather than grinning and baring it as she is meant to. Once she gets out and we meet the tarnished, things improve considerably. Finally we see men who don't follow this ridiculous belief and Katherine is even more empowered by them. They help her run and you get a light romance between her and a tarnished man. I hope they get the revolution going, but don't die in the crossfire.
This is a novel that really makes you think about the common rights we take for granted. It had me enraptured, dying to get to the next bit of the story to find out if Katherine succeeds in her evasions or if she is caught and punished. I recommend it to everyone wanting something magical and empowering, if a mite depressing at first. I can't wait to dive into the next one!
Delilah Peirce is just an ordinary girl who loves to dance. She's also a bit of anThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Delilah Peirce is just an ordinary girl who loves to dance. She's also a bit of an invisible girl because no guys really look at her. Why look at her when the more experienced and more beautiful version (AKA her mom) is available for fun times? Then Dylan Sanderson moves in with his parents next door and suddenly Delilah knows what it's like to be noticed and desired. Suddenly, she isn't really Delilah anymore, she's Dylan's Red, and there is no place she'd rather be.
This review is exceedingly difficult for me to write. Delilah is a character I am not comfortable with in this series. In this particular novel, we get to see her before she becomes a crackwhore, but I can't get that image out of my head. We finally get to see past the bitchy facade here, to the innocent girl before the sex and drugs fucked her up. Here we see a girl who genuinely deserves to be Nova's friend and is so worthy of the goodness that girl brings with her. For anyone who has read any other book in this series, you know the relationship with Dylan isn't going to go well. He's an abusive asshole who does everything from pressure her to do things she is uncomfortable with to beat her to lead her down to a life of drugs and addiction that she'll never escape. I can almost empathize with her here, almost. She's so young and just wants what every sixteen year old girl does, to be noticed by someone she deems worthy. And I was truly excited for her until things start to go south. The first time Dylan hit her, she should have run like hell. Fuck his "heartfelt" apology, fuck his excuses. There is no excuse, there is no reason, no getting around it.
This is why I seriously thought about not reviewing this novella, because all I really want to do is rant about how stupid Delilah is and how I cannot tolerate this type of behavior...and how she reminds me of an old close friend. I get that once you get to the crackwhore level, there is not going back, not without a bunch of people dragging your ass to rehab. But there were so many opportunities to get out before it got that far. When Breaking Nova starts, Delilah has been split with Dylan for a while and is just going back to him and that's what really gets me, why the fuck did you go back? What is so great about that life? You could have done so much better! I just don't get it. Drugs don't hold an appeal for me and neither does abusive druggies, no matter how "hot" they are. Fuck. You. It's just not worth it and I don't see how anyone can let themselves get to the level where they are selling themselves for their next hit and I hope like hell I never do.
Okay, so besides the pointless rant, what I really want to say is that this novel will humanize Delilah's character a bit more to you. Also, it kinda gives a spoiler for Nova & Quinton: No Regrets, if you read between the lines a bit. You can tell her fate and that happens in N&Q. I knew going in that this would never be my favorite novel, that I wouldn't love Delilah, no matter how pitiful her story was and I was absolutely right. Her story isn't that bad, her past nothing compared to Nova and Quinton and Tristan. She's just a sad girl looking for attention, which she unfortunately gets. Her life is a tragic reality for too many people and I absolutely hate that.
Gabe Delgado's life changes in a second. One minute, he's a normal man-whore teenaThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Gabe Delgado's life changes in a second. One minute, he's a normal man-whore teenage boy, and then he's a father with a motherless child. This is not what he had planned for his life, but he must man up and live with the consequences of his actions. Though he knows next to nothing about babies, he quickly realizes Birdie isn't your typical infant, she can teleport. This special gift puts her in grave danger. Bad people are searching for her and it's up to Gabe and his family to keep her safe and find out what really happened to her mom.
I was pretty excited to get invited to this tour. This cover is adorable and the description promised a coming of age story for a guy who is in for a big surprise. Like, everything I read, there were good points and bad points. Here the two sides level out pretty evenly. Gabe was a character I could never make my mind up about. Initially, after he finds the baby and then expects his dad to watch it while he continues his evening as usual had me screaming at his naivety. Seriously? You don't get how that's absurd? But he grows and changes. As his love for Birdie grows, so does my tolerance of his shenanigans. He may do some jackass things, but he puts it all on the line to keep his daughter safe and what more can I really ask of any teenage guy? There are plenty who would have dropped the kid off at the first foster care center he could find and be done with it. Which is a really sad thing, but there are so many teens put in that situation (via their own irresponsibility) and their offspring suffers the consequences. It's such bullshit...but I'm getting off topic.
Abby was an intensely interesting character. I liked her enough to really wish we got some from her perspective. We don't, it's all from Gabe, but I wholly enjoyed her character. I think the romance between the two was a little rushed, but at the same time, I wanted to focus more on that. I'm a romance junkie so the more smooches, the better. I think the biggest issue I had was that it all felt a little rushed and underdeveloped. Once Birdie gets kidnapped, everything progresses so quickly that you don't really catch all that's happening until it's over.
Though I definitely didn't fall in love with this story, there were elements I enjoyed, mostly the moments between Birdie and Gabe where he really shows his love and affection or the smoochy bits with Abby. I think with a bit more polish, this could be an amazing tale. It has the bones of a great story, with a good lead character, a sweet romance, a decent mystery, and that father-daughter element that has every woman within a ten mile radius sighing.
****Thank you to Belle Bridge Books & Marilee Brothers for providing me with a digital review copy for the blog tour via NetGalley****...more
Serena's blood is powerful....more powerful than they expected and that means marrThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Serena's blood is powerful....more powerful than they expected and that means marriage is inevitable. It was always inevitable, but now it will come more swiftly. All this really means is that her ownership will shift from her father to whatever man is willing to pay the highest price for the chance to have powerful sons, and that she will no longer be home to shield her sisters from her father's wrath. It also means she must obey her new husband in all things, no matter how superficial or cruel, or she will be tarnish, a fate many consider worse than death. Then a barbarian wins her in a tournament and she is even more terrified. Marriage to one of her fellow countryman, even though he was a mean bastard, would have been tolerable, but marriage to someone from the more barbaric nation? It's unthinkable....until she notices something. Her new master is kind. Not only is he kind, but he doesn't seem to desire to punish her, no matter how she acts out. Is her new life too good to be true or does the barbarian mean the things he says?
Serena is a character I was a bit on the fence about. On one hand, it's hard not to empathize with any woman in this world, who must deal with being owned and abused. Women here aren't considered citizens, merely the property of men. Men can do whatever they wish to their property, including beating them, mentally abusing them, forcing them to do things they don't want to do, and then beating them some more when they don't do those things satisfactory. You can read more about how that irritates me in my review of the prequel, Mine To Tarnish. Not that I'm saying the novel is awful or Janeal is terrible, just that the situation she has created is a bit appalling. It does make you think though. Anyway, I do empathize with Serena, but I wanted to slap her at the same time. She continually does things she knows will anger her father or her fiance and will be cause for punishment and then laments being punished. I'm not condoning that behavior in the least, but damn, woman, do you have no survival instincts? If you know touching the fire will burn you, shouldn't you avoid touching the fire? Once her engagement to Zade (the barbarian) becomes official, she acts out even more because he does not punish her, but she shrivels up in his presence waiting for the retribution for doing things no one approves of. And it takes her forever to realize that Zade really has no intentions of ever punishing her, that he finds the way they treat women appalling.
Speaking of Zade, I loved him. I think he should have laid out his intentions a little earlier on so Serena didn't have to walk on eggshells as much, but he's the perfect hero. I loved the idea that the clan thought to be the most barbaric is actually the closest to what we are like now, allowing women all the rights of men and so on. He's so kind to Serena and so considerate of her that it's impossible not to love him. It's difficult to realize why it took so long for her to love him. He's the sweetest guy with a determination to protect her at all costs.
I enjoyed seeing Katherine again, who is the heroine in Mine To Tarnish. I'm glad to see her flourishing in her new role, though I wish I could have caught a glimpse of Charles and how their relationship is progressing. The two kind of stole my heart before. What I really loved about this was the ending, which I really can't gush about without spoilers, but it was perfect. It ends with the hope that things will improve not only for Serena and her sisters, but for everyone. The characters are working towards something big, a major change that will help women, all women. The ending is absolutely perfect, seriously. I wouldn't change a thing about it.
This novel is a little slow to start. The beginning is interesting, but a bit dull. Once you get to the part when Zade enters the picture, it's impossible to stop reading. I kept going because I had to know when Serena would finally realize that Zade would never hurt her or allow any harm to come to her while she was under his protection. I kept going because seeing Serena break the rules was mesmerizing, seeing her challenge the edicts of the Woman's Canon (a literal rulebook for women) without outright breaking them was beyond entertaining. Mostly I kept going because I wanted to see if and when Serena finally realizes her feelings for Zade and if he returns them. What can I say? I love the love story.
Falor does a wonderful job of keeping you enraptured in the story, even when you aren't quite sure where it's going. Her writing style is amazing, with the perfect level of world building that keeps you in the moment and aware of the character's surroundings without giving us pages upon pages of room descriptions. I really enjoyed it and I am adding the next book to my list....even though it's about Cynthia...maybe I'll learn to love her more. ;)
****Thank you to Janeal Falor for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review****
Hadley Sullivan was doomed to have a bad day when she awoke this morning. She hadThis 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****
Delancey Sullivan sees the world a little differently than the rest of us. She's aThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Delancey Sullivan sees the world a little differently than the rest of us. She's a Walker. She can Walk to parallel worlds. You see, every decision you make creates an alternate world. And then every decision in that world creates new worlds and so on and so forth. Basically, it's infinite possibilities. Del comes from a family of people who can Walk between said worlds. Part of the Walking gig is trying to keep harmony between the worlds. But Del has started to notice things are a bit off in the other worlds and Simon, her crush, seems to be connected somehow. The more she learns, the more she knows that the Council Of Walkers is hiding something big. Can she figure it out and save the known world?
Delancey is that heroine that should really annoy me, but she doesn't. She's cocky and a little lot bitchy and has that special little snowflake thing going on, just a little. She is clearly cut out to be the best of the Walkers, if she can stop being such a smart-ass and do well on the school-work end. Did I forget to mention that? There is Walker schooling to learn all the intricacies of this shit. Oh, yeah, maybe that's why I like her so much. I'm a sucker for a good smart-ass. It's hard not to empathize with these kids who have to deal with normal school and then learn more on top of that. Her special little snowflake syndrome is because she has been Walking since before they claim she should have been able to do so. She's a natural. That, however, is overshadowed by her overachieving big sister. I'll get to Addie in a moment, but, seriously, I'm not a fan. Back to Del. She's smart, but she hides it underneath all the snark and the issues with authority and their bullshit rules. Oh yeah, we can see why I love this girl, right?
Then we have Simon and Elliot. They are the start of the small problem I have. Just by mentioning them together, you must know what's coming. Simon is the crush, as I said, and Elliot is the bestie that's hopelessly in love with Del (which everyone sees but her, naturally).
It's hard for me to really talk about either because I really liked both of them. Simon was a lot of fun and Del likes him so much...but Elliot is so sweet and I'm a sucker for that best friend turns into more scenario. I felt so bad for Elliot. I want it to work between then. This tension caused me a great deal of angst. I really took the love triangle ride with Del each step of the way, except worse because she never really likes Elliot like that. She feels bad, but never truly considers that option whereas I was ready to jump ship. Cute interlude with Simon.
I like Simon. Simon's cute. She should be with Simon! But then cute interlude with Elliot.
AAAWWWWWW! Elliot! I love Elliot. He's been there for her and he's so sweet and cute and DAMN. I can't pick. I'm not going to be completely happy either way 'cuz I love both of them.
Then there is Addie, the evil sister. I don't have anything against overachievers, in fact, I think I was one in high school, but this bitch has serious problems. The way she treats Del is batshit crazy. You are sisters! You are supposed to have her back and support her and yet you seem to betray her at every turn.
I've been avoiding this review for the exact opposite reason I avoided the Of Monsters And Madness review. This novel is fabulous. It is addictive and creative and really knows how to build the world and suck you in. All you can think about is Del and her crazy world and how the hell she is going to get out of this mess. Hint? It won't be easy and it won't all wrap up by the end of the novel. I feel like I don't have the words to do it justice. I was astounded by it. I wasn't expecting it to be this good. I wasn't expecting magnificent. I've been notoriously stuck in a contemporary phase of late, so the fact that this sci-fi feeling novel has captivated me so completely speaks volumes.
It's downgraded to 4 stars because if the love triangle because I'm so sick of those. It's also because of the horrendous cliffhanger. Oh man, the cliffhanger.
It's bad. It's really bad. It's how the fuck could you do this too me bad. Here, this should help:
Well, it certainly helped me. Damn, that smile. ANYWAY, Just remember, bad cliffhanger ahead. I'm surprisingly of the opinion that this novel is worth the trouble of that cliffhanger, which is a damn miracle.
So, what should you take away from this? This novel is good enough to leave me astounded. This novel is good enough to have me singing it's praises even though it contains several elements I hate. This novel is almost perfect. Read it. You won't regret it.
****Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn't feel emotions, she sees them. They have long given up oThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn't feel emotions, she sees them. They have long given up on making her feel the effects of their touch. It doesn't work and no one knows why. The only one who hasn't given up is Fear, who spends too much time looking into her past and attempting to torment her with his touch. Elizabeth herself has come to depend on Fear's company and chatter, but is he dependable as she needs? Can they unravel the mystery of her emotionless existence?
Elizabeth is an interesting character. She fakes her way through life, without experiencing any emotions, but she isn't cruel. She tries to assimilate into high school culture and follows the social norms and rules, but is always just a little off. It's hard to pretend to be ruled by emotions she doesn't feel. She experiences nothing, not joy, not rage, not sorrow, not even lust. Pretty faced boys with oodles of muscles illicit no reaction. Fear, with his gorgeous face and obvious devotion to her, doesn't bring anything to the table. And man, oh man, does she want to feel something for Fear.
Speaking of Fear....
I love him. He's diabolical and terrifying and absolutely amazing. He's devotion to Elizabeth is swoon-inducing on it's own because he's so tenacious about it. He refuses to believe Elizabeth cannot feel any emotion. She feels, he knows she does, it's just so very faint it's hard to tell. Despite her insistence that she feels absolutely nothing, he manages to make her cry at a particular funeral. He is right about her on so many levels and I was rooting for him so hard it wasn't funny.
I was rooting for him because this does have a dreaded love triangle.
I know, I know, but they are unavoidable and this wasn't even remotely alluded to in the description. I was a little miffed when I realized that was where this was heading.
Okay, so maybe more than a little because I generally try to avoid love triangles because they are a source of rage for me. I hate the whole set up. I hate the two people fighting for one person and knowing that someone is going to end up unhappy. I want everyone to ride off into the sunset at the end, all shits and giggles. I know this is too much to ask, I've been told over and over again, but it's still what I hope for, k?
ANYWAY, the other point in the love triangle is Joshua, a sweet, farm boy Elizabeth has known all her life who has finally worked up the guts to talk to her. I really liked him and had you put him up against any other male than Fear, he might have been who I rooted for, but Fear wins, hands down. He does nothing wrong and helps Elizabeth even when she's particularly bitchy, but the connection with Fear was already established and that who I liked best. There isn't really a logical reason behind this, I just liked one better. However, Joshua's happiness is part of why it got 4 stars instead of 5. Joshua genuinely loves Elizabeth and that does not end well for him. I feel like he deserves to be happy and maybe he will be eventually, but not at this exact moment.
Another reason is the matter with Charles, Elizabeth's brother, wasn't finished well. They made up and started to work things out and she leaves without any resolution. I guess I just don't understand why things had to end that particular way? I can't say more with revealing spoilers, I don't think, but after everything they went through, I hate that she leaves it the way she does. There is no logical reason to do so.
BUT, besides the two small issues, I loved this novel. It was impossible to put down and wholly entertaining. Within the first 20 or so pages, you get so much. I remember talking to Lauren about the two books I was reading last Saturday and saying that so far, The Brokenhearted was pretty good, but I was only 20 or so pages in. I said that this one was amazing so far and was talking about Fear and all the things that have happened so far and thinking, "Wow, I must have gotten further than I thought." So I pulled it out of my purse to check and I was only on chapter 4. It's an action packed ride that keeps you guess and begging for me. Fear stole my heart almost instantly and Elizabeth's journey isn't one I'll soon forget.
All you really need to know is that the good far outweighs the bad. This has great writing, interesting characters, and a truly unique, well fleshed-out world. It will suck you in and won't let you be until you have devoured every page!
Nate Foster ruined Alex's life. He is responsible for the car crash that killed heThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Nate Foster ruined Alex's life. He is responsible for the car crash that killed her parents and her baby brother, leaving her orphaned to live with her uncle. Alex's life was already complicated before that. She sees emotions. Love, joy, anger, sadness, and every other feeling you can think of. Revenge has been her best friend ever since her parents were killed and now that Nate has been released from prison, her path is clear. Kill the man who killed her parents and take her revenge. And when she is just about ready to make it happen, Forgiveness shows up and completely confuses her. She cannot forgive this man, he took her family from her, but yet, she doesn't know if she can bring herself to end his life either. Given the choice, will she stick with Revenge or cave to Forgiveness?
Alex wasn't a character I enjoyed. Right off the bat, I wavered between finding her dull and being annoyed with her. Her life sucks, understood, but I still didn't get her attitude. Her aunt and uncle do everything they can for her, they offer psychiatric help, and she just brushes it off. I guess I just can't understand that near-suicidal thought process. I was diagnosed with depression in middle school, but I don't know if that was the right diagnosis for me. I don't understand someone who feels so hopeless. I don't understand her down-spiraling mindset. I have never understood how suicide could ever be the answer. I get that changing things is difficult, sometimes impossible, but once you pull that trigger (or down those pills or take the hairdryer into the tub), it's all over. Any shot you had at happiness is gone. I don't believe in any form of life after death, so I don't ever see how that would help. I'm not criticizing or anything, it's just not a mindset I can understand or like to read about. Even though I have taken psychology and I know all about depression and it's effects, I still find the characters with it highly annoying. I just want to shake them out of their trance. I know this is not an acceptable response and I know that they can't help it, but that's is the response it generates in me.
As for the guys, let's just say I didn't care for either of them. Part of what I loved about Some Quiet Place was Fear and how amazing he was. I fell in love with his character. We get small glimpses of him here, but nothing to satisfy that craving I had for him. Compared to him, both Revenge and Forgiveness fall flat. Revenge is a jackass who is only trying to get Alex to make the choice his way, prepping her for that decision. Forgiveness is better, but he just comes off as a bit....um...I don't know? I want to say religious, but that is so far from the right word that it's not funny. I can't put my finger on the right word, but I just didn't particularly like him.
That was a big problem for me, I didn't like any of the cast...except for the scant glimpses of Fear we get. I'm very character driven. I was also a little bored by the whole story. I read the first 50 or so pages in a book and then listened to the rest on audio and there was never a moment when I felt like I had to continue listening, despite any other interruptions. I just wasn't very enthralled by the story or where it was going. I also wasn't crazy about the ending. I like happy endings. I like the girl getting the boy she wants (or, better yet, the one she needs) and knowing that they are going to make it work. That's not how this ends.
Despite my issues, this gets three stars because I think my problems were just that, my problems. I have a hard time relating to a depressed character like Alex, I didn't care for the love interests, and the plot was just mehish to me. Then again, it's hard to care where the plot goes when I don't care how the characters end up. The ending wasn't what I wanted, but it does end on a happy(ish) note, with hope for the future.
Bottom line? If you are reading this looking for something similar to it's predecessor, you won't get it. Alex's story and Elizabeth's is that they can both see emotions. That's it. Starting this, I was so excited and overjoyed because I truly loved Elizabeth's story and I was looking for something else along those lines. This story is completely different. I won't say it's bad, because it's not, I just don't think it was the right story for me. I like that nearly perfect HEA and this isn't that type of story.
****Thank you to Flux for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****Also thank you to Kelsey for gifting me an audible copy****
Charlie Reynolds has no idea how to do girly things. Her mom died in a car wreck wThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Charlie Reynolds has no idea how to do girly things. Her mom died in a car wreck when she was little and she grew up in a house with a father and three brothers. So when she is forced to get a job to pay off a spending ticket and winds up working in a very girly clothing boutique, she is so out of her element it isn't even funny. The stress of this (and other things) forces her outside at night where she starts chatting with her neighbor (and he brother's bestie), Braden. She soon becomes dependent on this chats and when she starts to fall for him, she knows it'll be a big problem because if he doesn't like her like that than she risks loosing his friendship which she couldn't bear to be without. With stakes this high, will she risk it? Or will she keep quiet?
Charlie was a character I loved instantly. She's young and sure of herself and completely clueless on girly matters. I was in a similar boat in high school (and I still haven't mastered the art of makeup) so I could empathize with her plight as she was forced into a job at a clothing store that wasn't her style. From loose jeans and T-shirts to fitted tops and skinny jeans, her wardrobe was the first on many things to change. She soon feels like she has two different lives, her work persona life and her home persona life and it's terrifying when the two start to collide. The thought of her brothers seeing her in her "work" clothes is terrifying because she knows they'll make fun of her. I don't think they would have rattled her chain that badly about it, but it would have been enough to sting.
Braden was hard not to fall for. He's sweet and kind in the best boy next door kind of way but hot as hell. He's muscle-y but it's due to a love of all things sports. I love when guys in novels have a legitimate reason for being buff. I get that a hot guy is part of the fantasy, but it's nice to see a reason for it, not follow him while he eats junk food and channels surfs but he still rocks a six-pack. This guy obviously has a thing for her, but ignores his own feelings because he knows her brothers will kick his ass if he makes a move. Plus, he gets the best of both worlds by being buddies with her brothers. He gets to hang out with her and goof off with her. But when she starts dating someone else, he kinda loses his shit. It's adorable. These two are adorable.
Something I really loved, besides the adorable-ness that is Charlie and Braden, was her relationship with her brothers and father. Growing up without a mom, you'd think she'd be resentful of missing out on girly things, but her brothers just make sure she's always included in their shenanigans and she doesn't feel like she's missing out on anything. They are so close, playing sports and watching TV and doing crazy dares. It makes me wish I had a few brothers hiding in the woodwork. I just loved their family unit as a whole. Dad being so determined to do right by his only daughter even if it means fumbling about in things he has no knowledge of.
This is my first Kasie West novel, though I own a copy of all of her other works. If they are all this good, then I must push them higher on my TBR pile. This novel was damn near perfect. It has a sweet (clean) romance, a good amount of humor, a lot of heart, and enough drama that you aren't bored. The plot was a little predictable, but I wanted a sweet love story with a happy ending and that's exactly what I got, so there's no point in complaining, is there? I really loved every minute of this. I found it impossible to put down, choosing to read it over whatever physical book I was supposed to be reading at the time. I think anyone who enjoys contemporary YA will loved it. :)
****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****
Anna Whitt and her nephilim allies are preparing for the final battle. They aren'tThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Anna Whitt and her nephilim allies are preparing for the final battle. They aren't sure when it'll start, but it'll be sooner rather than later, no matter how much they want to delay it. As Anna gathers those she loves in close, she is determined that her love will be an asset, but she's terrified it'll be her downfall. How can they win this war with no casualties? Can she take the grief that will come with losing one of her loved ones? Kai? Patti? Jay? Marna? Kopano? Can she keep them all safe as she extinguishes the Duke's lives here on Earth? I guess you'll have to read to find out!
Anna is just as sweet and innocent here as she was in all the previous books. I still find her naive and annoying, and sometimes down right dumb....but she's slightly better here. We actually get to see her swear once and that endears her to me. This chick is put through countless life threatening scenarios and I just don't find it believable that she doesn't feel the need to use swear words as an outlet. Big group of demons threatening my life? OH FUCK would be the first words out of my mouth or at least in thought, and Anna never debases herself to that level. I get that she is the "good God-fearing girl" and whatnot, but seriously?
It's just not believable for me, regardless of the genre I'm reading. The sensors aren't going to throw you to the wolves for an expletive here or there. ANYWAY, our sweet Anna does grow a bit more here, with lessons learned and consequences to face, so she was a little less annoying but still no where near a likable character for me.
Then there is Kai.....I constantly make fun of those "I sigh for Kai" banners, but he is very sigh worthy here. He's quit his "job" of sleeping around, though he keeps up appearances for his father, and he's all about Anna. Our dear stupid Anna. I still cannot fathom why he just needs to be with her, but, hey dude, it's your fictional life! We get much more Kai here than we did in Sweet Peril and lots of steamy scene(view spoiler)[He and Anna actually get married because she needs to be rid of her virginity or Pharzuph will kill her (and Kaiden) on-sight. She also needs to keep her "purity" so that she can wield the sword of righteousness. The two really steam up the page after their nuptials, but it wasn't quit as sexy as the scenes at the end of Sweet Peril (hide spoiler)]
I like most of the side characters, but I especially love Ginger. Why couldn't this be told through her perspective? She's the exact kind of snarky badass that I typically root for. No such luck, though, because it's all Anna, all the time. The whole gang is in on this one, seeing as it is the final battle to end all battles. Jay even sticks his head in quite a bit.
This gets 4 stars for much the same reason the rest of the series has, it's addictive. Once you start, you want to keep going and it's incredibly difficult to put down even if it's for something important like food or work or sleep. We don't really need those things, do we? We can subsist on oxygen, live off our pittance of a savings account, and sleep when we're dead, right? It was worth a shot. This world, no matter how annoying or preposterous, draws you in until it's all you can think about. Do they succeed? Do they all die trying? Do Anna & Kai finally get it on? Inquiring minds need to know. It says a lot that I give it 4 stars because I had so many issues with this novel, and this series as a whole.
Warning: Rant ahead! One my biggest issues is how this series pushes that outdated "no sex before marriage rule" which I can't stay. The message this series (the last book especially) seems to send is that sex before marriage is wrong. Now, before you start yelling at me about all the characters except Anna are going at it with other people like jackrabbits, let me just say that all of them (except the "bad" dukes, of course) harbor obvious guilt over it. Maybe I read wrong, but that's how it came off to me. It literally seems like it's saying "No sex before marriage unless you want to get pregnant and then die!" which is not a moral I'm cool with.(view spoiler)[Anna and Kaiden only sleep together after the marriage vows, which make it gloriously acceptable. Jay and Marna nearly jump into the sack the minute he is free from Veronica, no marriage vows recited, and BAM! Marna's pregnant. Marna's pregnant even though she has had surgeries to remove pregnancy as even a remote possibility. Marna is pregnant, which means she will die in childbirth because human bodies aren't capable of handling the birth of even an half Nephilim. Wait until marriage? Golden. Dare to break this archaic laws? Die painfully in childbirth, cause that's what whores deserve. (hide spoiler)] Yeah, that's a serious problem for me
Another issues is the love triangle, which isn't really there, but it's hinted at. Last book, Kopano and Anna kissed, even though she's like totally not like into him or anything, causing a big rift between Kope and Kai. This book, all that jazz has been settled and Kope actually has a lady friend (I don't say girlfriend because it's never officially stated), but that awkward love triangle fest moment still slips in. Then there is Jay and Marna. Jay & Veronica break up at the very beginning of the novel, and he and Marna are together at the first possible second. Again, no official triangle since Jay and Ronnie are totally over, but it's got the twinges of it because we all know Veronica would flip the fuck out if she knew about it. Them being together leads to the spoilery thing, but does it bother anyone else that they jump into a relationship so quickly? Months without any contact, but it's okay suddenly to do sleepovers? GRH.
Oh and the character deaths. Let us not forget those! (view spoiler)[As mentioned in the last bit of hidden spoilers, Marna dies in childbirth. It does happen after the end of the official story, but still, it was unnecessary. Patti gets shanked to death to try and make Anna doubt her faith, and obviously Pops goes back to Heaven after the battle when they must choose sides. And Flynn got shot in the last book which royally pissed me off. (hide spoiler)]
Despite my personal hangups, I think anyone who has enjoyed the previous books in this series will like this one. It's a fast-paced thrillride that will keep you enthralled from start to finish. It's easily the best book of the series, with all the baddies getting their comeuppance and (most) of the goodies riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after. I'm interested to see how I like Higgins' newer novel, See Me because it's supposed to be wildly different than this trilogy. I'm more than willing to give it a shot because the woman definitely knows how to write addictive stories. With all my complaints, you'd think this wouldn't be a series I'd recommend, but I did enjoy it (for the most part) and I think as long as you can tolerate yet another story about a special little snowflake who is the only one with the ability to save the world, you'll enjoy this.
****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****
Isabel Jenkins has always been a prodigy, picking up the science of medicine quickThis 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 otherThis 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****