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****
Jamie Peterson's final year of high school is nearly over and the closer the finalThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Jamie Peterson's final year of high school is nearly over and the closer the final day comes, the more he realizes a truth about himself that everyone around him seems to already know: he is falling for his best friend. And though everyone is pushing to confess his feelings, he's so terrified of losing the amazing friendship he has with Mason (or worse, having Mason be completely disgusted with the idea) to work up the guts to come out. Will he overcome his fears or will he keep his feelings hidden?
Jamie is quite possibly the most adorable YA male ever. This guy is so sweet and caring, but still manages to be strong enough to stand up for what he thinks is right. He's smart and nice and WE NEED MORE LIKE HIM! He's that guy in school who isn't overly popular, but is friends with everyone. He remembers your name and asks how you are, really interested in the answer. He spends an large amount of home time watching his twin little sisters but doesn't show any resentment for being forced into babysitting mode. He's actually nice and respectful to his mom and he's stepdad isn't a dick. And he's a completely normal guy. I see a lot of stereotypical, flamboyant gay guy characters, but Jamie is just Jamie. He's not dressing up in mommy's pumps when she's not looking or hiding barbie dolls in his room. He's a normal guy who just happens to think other guys are hot.
Mason is a character we don't see as clearly because this is told all via Jamie's eyes, but he seems just as sweet as Jamie. It's also quite obvious that he knows Jamie's little secret. Their relationship is the stuff dreams are made of, both before and after the truth is revealed. He's life is a little harder than Jamie's, with a overbearing Hispanic father and that drive to study and be as smart as possible...leading him to be named salutatorian. He does a few stupid things, but he's just as great as Jamie. I'd love to have a few chapters from his side.
Something that really shines in this novel (besides the adorable leading man) is the plethora of side characters. Jamie's mom is surprisingly sweet and supportive of him. She's 100% okay with having a gay son and always proud of him for his achievements. She might be a bit over-enthusiastic about her son's homosexuality, always asking when he is going to bring a special someone home to meet her. Then there are the art geek girls, Eden and Challis, who are so awesome there aren't words. Jamie really connects with Eden and confides a lot in her throughout the novel, secrets that may or may not get him in trouble later. But all the side characters felt just a real and fleshed out as Jamie and Mason did...except maybe Jamie's stepdad, but that's mostly because we don't see much of him.
The plot is this is pretty simple, boy likes boy and all the drama that goes with that, but it's execution was what made it amazing. Sarah Tregay has a enormous talent of bringing her characters to life and forcing her audience to empathize with them. I wanted Jamie to win Mason's heart so badly I wanted to walk into his high school and do it for him. I wanted Mason to reciprocate Jamie's feelings that it was more than a little difficult to keep from reading the last few pages to make sure this ended well. Because, let me tell you, had I got the end and Mason had been disgusted with Jamie or rejected him, I would be writing a very different type of review right now.
As it is, this was a perfect novel. It has just enough heart, humor, and angst to keep me happily on the edge of my seat, waiting for Jamie to come out and to see how Mason takes it. I must say the ending is perfect as well. It has that realistically perfect quality that seems to satisfy me like nothing else. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an unorthodox love story about two boys just waiting for the right moment!
****Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****
Lesh & Svetlana met one evening when a drunk Lesh gets in the middle of the siThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Lesh & Svetlana met one evening when a drunk Lesh gets in the middle of the sidewalk and Svetlana literally runs into him. The two have nothing in common, Lesh being a goth boy and Svetlana being a hippie chick, but it starts a friendship in motion that neither of them expected.
Okay, I know that synopsis is a little crappy, but I didn't know what else to say. This novel covers a lot of strange ground and my brain just refuses to sum it up any other way. I'll start with the characters. First we have Lesh, a emo goth boy who loves metal music. The official description of this novel says he is a MMO player, but he actually plays an MMO for the first time in this novel and then becomes addicted. He's quiet and wears black clothes and comes off as a bit stereotypical. Basically, I didn't love him. I liked that he wasn't a drop death gorgeous hunk with rippling muscles, but after it's all said and done, I think I would have preferred Mister Hunk.
Then we have Svetlana, Lana for short. She's a rich girl with no responsibilities and a big lack of respect for her parents. They are always coercing her to go to soccer games with them that she hates. I get that, I really do, because I also hate watching sports and the idea of going to a game isn't even a tiny bit appealing, but in the teenage years, you don't get to have a choice. Mommy and Daddy say get in the car, you get in the car. And besides, you can take your art with you or your poetry or even a book to read! It's not required that you actually watch the game. She also felt a bit like a snobbish rich girl, complaining about all her luxuries in life. Nice big house, decent car, more or less whatever she wants and she bitches and moans about it. If you don't like it, I'm sure there are more than a few teens in your area that would be thrilled to have your castoffs. And she censors EVERYTHING. She doesn't curse, so she doesn't accept that others might want to and she censors their language in her mind. >.<
There are a handful of other characters, but none I really care to comment on. Except maybe Fry. I didn't really like Fry and I found him a bit annoying, but he was so genuinely nice to Lana even when she was a bitch to him that I felt kinda bad for him. I get that she doesn't like him, but that is no reason to be cruel!
Something that really bugged me was the new and different thing Brezenoff tried here. The story is told through alternating perspectives. We get Lesh, Lana, and Svvetlana (the MMO character Lesh made). A first I thought it was a little amusing to be reading from a game character's perspective, but trust me when I say it gets really old really fast. I don't care about what's happening in Svvetlana's life enough to want to live it through her eyes!
Another thing was the refusal to name the MMO Lesh is playing and the RPG Lana is playing. It's World Of Warcraft and Dungeons & Dragons, k? How hard is that to say? Every time they mention the game (GOTCHA) it's either that MMO or the RPG, never giving them and actually name and that is a pet peeve of mine. I get that you want to story to be relatable, even to people who don't like particular games, so you leave them gloriously vague, but it drives me up a goddamn wall. And speaking of gaming problems, I hated all the game slang Lesh used. ALL OF IT. It's either completely wrong or so outdated that it's not funny. Nobody calls their characters toons or says rezzie. NO ONE. It just doesn't happen in real life.
When I started this, I was looking for something new and fresh. A cute take on gamers and the odd way they live their lives. You definitely get that, but it felt forced and fake to me. If you take out my feelings about how gaming was portrayed, then it was a weird little story about Lesh's obsession with Svetlana and his desire to be her (don't even ask). It's not a bad story, per say, but it's not a great one either. The cover promises an awesome tale and I think it lies.
****Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****
Quinton Carter isn't quite sure that he is ready for the real world, but he has toThis 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 grThis 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****
Krissa Channing's never had any problems abiding by the governments rules. Then shThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Krissa Channing's never had any problems abiding by the governments rules. Then she meets Braiden and things change some. He rebels against their governments pairing rules and the need to allow them to govern their positions in life. Suddenly she is pushed down a path she never thought she'd have to travel and her once bright future is looking dimmer by the minute.
I've kinda been avoiding reviewing this. I hate writing negative reviews for books that I got from the author. I know logically (and statistically) that I'm not going to love every book that I'm given the opportunity to read, but that doesn't make writing the negative ones easier. I hate taking something I know the author worked hard on and writing less than positive things, even if the negative criticism helps them improve the novel. Who am I to say what is really bad? Who appointed me the knower of all great things literary? I guess I did since I'm the one who started reviewing books in my spare time, but I digress.
I had many issues with this short novel, this biggest one being it's length. It's very short, 150 pages, and it felt very rushed. Every interaction between the characters is quick and to the point, with very little dialogue or interaction. They meet for dinner, eat, say a handful of words to each other, and then leave. Bam, scene over. It's really that way with everything. All of the scenes or situations we see Krissa in, she dwells on the problem for a minute or two and then pushes it to the back of her mind to focus on whatever is directly in front of her, but then we don't really see that either. That's my number one comment is that we need more. More interactions and more emotions, maybe smoothing things out that were a bit too choppy.
My other big issue is that I didn't care for any of the characters. As much as Krissa is put into a situation I should be able to sympathize with, I just can't. Braiden is an asshole, with a capital A, and all of her problems stem from that relationship. If she'd stop being an idiot and get away from him, her life would improve, but she doesn't. She keeps trekking through, hoping he'll get better. I hate (hate hate hate) relationships like that. Maybe it hits too close to home because my best friend is in the exact same position (well, add in a few years and a few kids) and it drives me fucking nuts. Why do you stay with this jackass? Why do you love him when he's borderline abusive towards you? And the way he treats the unexpected surprise had me immediately wishing Krissa would come to her senses. She never does.
Another problem is the lack of world-building. This is presented as a dystopian, but really it's contemporary. This is much more about Krissa's relationship struggles than it is about the world it takes place in. And only a few minor things have really changed, with the government being involved in pairing (aka marriage) and where you live. I think it's trying to straddle the line between the two and it doesn't work well.
I hate that I didn't love this, but it just didn't work for me. Characters I couldn't stand that don't really grow or evolve, just dither about trying to make the same bad situation work even though it's obvious it never will. It's ending leaves something to be desired, simply leaving us with "To be continued" but none of the outlets show a sequel. If you are gonna leave us hanging, at least give us an idea of when we'll get the sequel. (EDIT: Per the author the sequel will be released in June of this year, so we do know now when we can get the next installment, should we be so inclined.) Sadly, I don't have the slightest desire to read any more of this series because it just didn't work for me. I'm all about the characters and since I couldn't stand either of the main two here, I just can't recommend it.
****Thank you to K D Ferguson for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review****