In Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, high school student Clara is an angel-blood, the child of a part-angel and a human....more Best young adult angel book I've read
In Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, high school student Clara is an angel-blood, the child of a part-angel and a human. When she starts having visions that show a beautiful boy standing by a forest fire, Clara and her family follow where the vision leads, all the way to a new home in Wyoming. Once there, Clara finds herself drawn to the boy in the vision, Christian, but confused by her purpose and where it will lead, especially after another guy enters the picture, a cute cowboy named Tucker. When dark forces begin to threaten, Clara must decide between doing what feels right and what her destiny demands.
Despite glowing reviews from friends, I started UNEARTHLY with trepidation. I've had bad experiences with the other angel books I've read, and I was afraid that this would be much of the same. Thankfully, UNEARTHLY was different than the rest of the pack in many good ways.
One thing I immediately appreciated was the well-researched angel lore and how the author wove bits of that mythology into her story. I really liked the world that was created, with each angel-blood having a purpose, their "glory," and the characterization of the Black Wings. The author's choice to make Clara and her counterparts part-angel, instead of full, really helped me believe in their humanity and normalcy. Clara had spunk, imperfections, and a realistic voice, and I never questioned whether an angel-blood could be that way. Even with all the talk about angels, the story also never felt preachy, even when mentions of God appeared.
The characters and their relationships were another strength. Side characters like Clara's friends were important to the story, and Clara's relationship with her mother and brother felt real. Great dialogue kept the story moving, especially in the second half. The romantic storyline presented a love triangle with two great guys, not the typical nice guy vs. bad boy. When a romance did develop, it was sweet and swoon-worthy and based on shared experiences over time. The number of healthy relationships depicted in this story, whether romantic or friendly or familial, was refreshing.
Even with these strengths, there were a few places where I wished for more. The first 100 pages were slow, and I found myself becoming frustrated with what seemed like a predictable love plot. Though the love story did change, another one of the major plot twists was too easy to figure out. The ending, though not a true cliffhanger, also left a lot unresolved. While it set up things for the next installment, I would have liked to have learned more about Clara's purpose, her mother's past, and the threat of the Dark Wings.
All in all, UNEARTHLY is the best (and only good) young adult angel book I've read, and I'm very glad I got over my apprehension and read it. I'm looking forward to seeing if Hand can continue to bring the quick dialogue, swoony moments, and meaningful relationships in the sequel, Hallowed. I sure hope so. (less)
In Insurgent, Veronica Roth’s much anticipated sequel to Divergent, the stakes are even higher. Tris and a small group have escaped after the simulation that killed countless people, but their struggles are far from over. Possible war looms between the factions, and Tris and Tobias are among those most wanted by the different sides. Tris must grapple with grief, guilt, and deception as sides are declared and choices must be made, including ones that threaten her and those she loves.
Though I enjoyed the first book, Insurgent was even better with clearer world building, stronger character development, and more intricate plots twists. Like Divergent, the story reads quickly and easily, but this installment has a much quieter, somber tone. Tris, Tobias (Four), and all of the survivors are dealing with the emotional and political fallout after the simulation, and it shows. All of the characters, including those the reader loves and those who are despised, are fleshed out more and given added layers. Tris’s struggle to move forward while burdened by grief and guilt is portrayed in a way that feels real and poignant. Though she engages in a lot of selfish or thoughtless actions in this book, all of those actions seem like honest attempts to deal with her loss, her choices, and how she should best work to honor those she loves. Tris and Tobias also continue to bring the swoon with simple words and small touches, despite having problems. Their relationship encounters major hurdles in this installment, but they are all reasonable and justified given what’s happening. The relationship they share provides a much-needed counterpoint to show that love and connection is worth fighting for and is possible even in a world that’s falling apart.
In addition to these strengths, the plot was unpredictable and gripping. The novel is full of unexpected alliances, betrayal, action, and rebellion on multiple fronts that keep the story moving. The world building also improved dramatically over that of the first book. I really enjoyed being immersed in the different factions, and the author’s description of each group allowed me to imagine them clearly. I also understand now why some information was withheld in the first book, given some of the significant plot reveals.
Even though this book was great read, I still experienced a few bumps. The story starts immediately after the end of Divergent with little to no recapping of events, so it took me a little while to remember or figure out who certain people were or what had happened previously. A few typos and continuity errors pulled me out of the story, and some betrayals/alliances/connections seemed a little too convenient to allow certain parts of the plot to move forward. The book also suffers a bit from middle-book syndrome in that it can’t stand on its own, and the ending leaves off in a dramatic place right after a big reveal.
Overall, though, Insurgent is an impressive sequel that leaves me eager to see where the author will take the story next. Given what’s revealed at the end of this novel, I can’t imagine how Veronica Roth could wrap up the series with only one more book, but it’s no matter to me, as I plan to keep reading whatever she offers.(less)
Though I had a rocky experience with Harkness' first novel, A Discovery of Witches, I began reading Shadow of Night with hopes that its setting in the past would add intrigue and excitement to the unfolding story. Unfortunately, it did not, and the story became more plodding and convoluted in this installment.
Shadow of Night suffered most from its almost obsession-like focus on detailing every aspect of the historical period in which it was set. From particulars about the floor coverings to the convenient inclusion of almost every notable figure of the time, I felt bogged down in the details and the name-dropping. Character development also progressed in fits and spurts and ultimately stalled. Though Matthew and Diana have some "breakthrough" moments in their relationship, Diana remains relatively incompetent and reckless and Matthew continues to be controlling and possessive. Slow pacing made the first 80% of the novel drag, and very little time or attention was given to the threats or worries of the present day. When action or plot movement did occur, it provided little tension or excitement. The couple's impetus to be in the past - to hone Diana's magic and to find Ashmole 782 - often got lost among historical notes and unrelated intrigue. The mythology regarding time travel and Diana's magical skills was also unclear and seemed to contradict itself at times.
Even though Shadow of Night didn't work for me, this book might be an enjoyable read for those who love history and detail. The time spent exploring Diana's magic and her special capabilities was interesting, as was the information revealed toward the end of the novel about Ashmole 782 and its related prophecy; I finished the book wanting to know more about each. The story also provided some insight into Matthew's character and how his past and his family had shaped him. Chapters set in the present day that were interspersed between sections also provided glimpses into what was happening in the present-day world and moved things along for the secondary characters. Of all of the different parts in the book, I enjoyed these infrequent additions the most.
While I can appreciate the ambitious nature of Harkness' series, I left this second book of the trilogy feeling unmoved again by the story or its characters. Even such, I will likely read the final installment when it comes out to see what happens to Diana, Matthew, and all those connected by Ashmole 782. As she wraps up her story, I hope that Harkness provides readers with faster pacing, clearer world building, and more character development.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. (less)
In Myra McEntire's Timepiece, things are still going badly for the members of the Hourglass. Though Kaleb di...more Second disappointing installment in series
In Myra McEntire's Timepiece, things are still going badly for the members of the Hourglass. Though Kaleb didn't think he had the time-travel gene, he's starting to see time ripples and something feels very wrong. With demands and threats coming from both the man who murdered his father and a dangerous new stranger, Kaleb and the other Hourglass recruits must decide which risks to take in order to fix things or else the very fabric of time may be altered forever.
Though I didn't enjoy McEntire's debut, Hourglass, as much as I would have liked, I went into reading Timepiece with the hope that it would be a better experience for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't. Even with Kaleb as the new narrator, the writing and the story never pulled me in. Kaleb's voice felt too forced in its hormonal, "guy" nature, and Kaleb's feelings and personality shifted too much in a short time span to be believable. The time-travel and "veil" mythology also became even more murky and convoluted in this installment. Because I didn't understand how the world worked, nothing ever felt like a real risk because I didn't truly understand what was going on. When conflicts did arise, they were resolved much too quickly or too easily and the moments of dramatic tension never felt that way. Because of all of these things, I felt uninterested and uninvested in the characters, their relationships, and their troubles.
On the positive side, readers do learn more about the Hourglass group and their history, as well as about the villains and other adversaries. Even though I didn't enjoy Kaleb's voice as the narrator, some might appreciate his tone, and it does provide a welcome change from all the "sparking" and swoony talk of Emerson in the first installment. Lily, Emerson's best friend, takes on a major role in this sequel, and she is easily the most interesting and complex character in the series. Her spunk and personality added life to the tale and often kept it moving along during some of the slow parts.
Though this series doesn't seem to work for me, I'm glad that others enjoy it and its ideas about time travel. In the next book of the trilogy (Infinityglass), I hope McEntire brings greater clarity to her time-travel mythology and that she raises the stakes for her characters in order to create an engrossing read.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. (less)
Gritty sequel failed to keep my attention like WITHER did
Fever takes readers into an even darker world than did Lauren DeStefano’s debut novel, Wither...more Gritty sequel failed to keep my attention like WITHER did
Fever takes readers into an even darker world than did Lauren DeStefano’s debut novel, Wither. Having escaped the confines of the mansion, Rhine and Gabriel make the run to freedom only to find that the outside world may offer even less of it. As they struggle to make their way to Manhattan in search of safety and Rhine’s twin brother, the two find that the world is populated by those both cruel and kind and that everyone is looking for a way to survive.
When I read WITHER last year, I was impressed by the author’s writing and her willingness to explore what dire things might happen in a world where all young people die early. Even with this gritty dystopian world laid out, I found the world building to be weak enough that I spent a lot of time questioning how this world came about. Unfortunately, this is the same problem I had while reading FEVER, and it seemed even more prevalent this time. Incomplete or unbelievable world building continued to draw me out of the story too often. Also, while I liked the author’s exploration of sexuality and oppression in the first book, this book’s tone comes across as even more bleak and without as much purpose. Rhine and Gabriel routinely end up in situations that felt like they were there more for shock value than for character or plot development. And when these terrible things happen, they don’t touch the main characters in the way one would expect, again making the world less believable. Because of this, I sometimes felt disconnected from Rhine and Gabriel and their struggles. I also never felt really moved by Rhine and Gabriel’s relationship, despite a few good moments. The book then finishes on a cliffhanger with little resolution. FEVER as a whole felt very much like a “middle book” where things don’t move forward a great deal.
On the positive side, DeStefano continues to show that she can write well, and her pretty prose allows readers to easily visualize the surroundings she describes. FEVER also provides much more information about the world outside the mansion, and sympathetic new characters are introduced. Although I don’t think it was as well done as in the first book, I also continue to appreciate the author’s willingness to examine the harsh realities that could result in a world where women become little more than sexual commodities.
Overall, FEVER failed to keep my attention in the way that WITHER did one year ago, and it didn’t leave me mulling over important issues in the same way. Even such, I am sure that many fans of the first novel will appreciate this sequel and where it sets up things for the final book. I know I’ll be reading it to see where DeStefano takes her characters and her story and whether she leaves readers with a sense of hope or just continued despair.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy.(less)
Don't know if I can muster a full review for this one, but it was sadly as bad as many other reviews have reported. A weak plot combined with little t...moreDon't know if I can muster a full review for this one, but it was sadly as bad as many other reviews have reported. A weak plot combined with little to no dystopian elements (though the jacket claims otherwise), weak dialogue and poor writing, and little creativity did little to wow me. Much of the plot was sourced directly from ABC's The Bachelor show to the point that it felt like a paint-by-Bachelor-numbers book: the dresses, the mansion/palace, the mean girls who aren't there for the "right" reasons, the elimination processes, etc. And then it ended with no resolution and no motivation for me to read further. It felt more like the first third of a book, not a complete novel in a trilogy.
N.B.: Lest anyone think I am insensitive to my GR peeps' ordeals (you lovelies know who you are) re: this book, please know that I read it for my local indie who gives me oodles of ARCs in exchange for purchasing recommendations. I went into this with as unbiased an opinion as I can muster, though that non-bias does not extend to certain authors or agents in question. (less)
Strong protagonist, action, and romance combine for solid read, 3.5 stars
In Rift, the prequel to Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, readers get a gli...more Strong protagonist, action, and romance combine for solid read, 3.5 stars
In Rift, the prequel to Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, readers get a glimpse into the origins of the Keepers and the Witches War of the 15th century. The daughter of a noble, Ember Morrow must leave her family after her 16th birthday to serve the mysterious order of Conatus. Though most fear the knights, Ember readily embraces the life of battle and purpose the order provides. Once training begins, she finds not only her skills tested, but also her wit and her heart. Dark powers soon start to infiltrate the group, and Ember must decide where and with whom her allegiances lie.
Though I had a rocky relationship with Cremer's other Nightshade books, I really enjoyed Rift once I got past some slow parts in the beginning. Ember was an able and spirited protagonist with a strong sense of self. Though a bit reckless at times, she doesn't complain or expect others to rescue her. Action scenes were well-described and plentiful, and the author's prose painted beautiful images of the Scottish highlands cloaked in gray fog. The slow-building romance was another highlight with its swoon-worthy love interest who was both strong and masculine but also considerate and effusive. Even though it's a prequel, Rift can also be read on its own as the satisfying start to a new series, and the story ends in a place where a reader can look forward to the next installment without being left on a terrible cliffhanger.
As mentioned, Rift was slow to start, however, and I felt bogged down during the first 100 pages by some character interactions and historical information that wasn't always clearly explained. Ember became too adept as a knight too quickly to be believable, and the romance blossomed from little sparks to full devotion in too short of a time near the end to feel truly natural. The story line about the split within Conatus also wasn't nearly as engaging as hoped, and I found myself rushing through those sections to get back to Ember's story. Overall, the story just felt a bit light on content where there could have been more development.
While I might have found a few stumbling points, Rift is the best thing I've read by Andrea Cremer, and I'm already looking forward to the sequel (Rise). In it, I hope Cremer develops the swoony romance even more and provides greater tension to the emerging story about the split that leads to the Witches War.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. (less)
After narrowly escaping a suspicious forest fire that threatened to destroy their island home, Maya, Daniel,...more Second disappointing installment in series
After narrowly escaping a suspicious forest fire that threatened to destroy their island home, Maya, Daniel, and their friends find themselves in even more danger as their rescue helicopter crashes and they’re left to survive and outwit their pursuers in a remote wilderness. As their potential captors get closer, Maya must struggle to decide whom to trust and what to believe about herself and her friends. Strange rumblings start to surface as others in the group begin to learn about their own special powers and as Maya learns more about what may have really happened when her best friend drowned a year before.
I went into reading The Calling with some anxiety because I didn’t enjoy the first book in this series, The Gathering. Sadly, my unease was warranted. Unlike Armstrong’s first young adult series (Darkest Powers), I just can't get into this trilogy or feel attached to any of the characters, even now after reading the second book. Most notably, this book (and this trilogy in general) feels like a rehashing of the author’s previous books. With the repetition of the same plot points (run, be captured, escape, then repeat) and the same world of the St. Clouds and the Cabals, I’m just not intrigued anymore. The idea of genetically-modified supernaturals and a conspiracy-laced research firm was exciting in her first few books, but it now feels overused and uninspired.
Because so much of the book is action-focused, little character development also occurs, and when it does, it seems superficial. I was also bothered by the author’s clumsy attempt to include a gay/lesbian character; though it seemed well-intentioned, the characterization only served to reinforce stereotypes. The story doesn’t take any real risks with the plot, the characters, or any of the potential (and likely) bad outcomes that would result in a situation like this. When villains appear, they are too easily foiled or appear from nowhere for the purpose of simply creating another action scene. Finally, as the book closes, it ends on a cliffhanger with little resolution. Armstrong has explained that her trilogies are meant as one plot line across three books, but it still makes each book feel abrupt and unfinished to me.
On the plus side, if you like Armstrong’s formula and her world, then this book will be a good fit. Also, like her other books, this installment is a quick, easy read and very action-based. I also appreciate that the superpowers that these teens possess vary from what’s seen in her previous books.
These things, however, weren’t enough to make this book an enjoyable read for me. I’m sure I’ll read the final installment (The Rising) to see how things end, but I’m already feeling apprehensive about it because I fear it too will be too similar to her other stories. Even with this gloomy outlook, I hope I’m proved wrong and that Armstrong brings unexpected plot twists and well-rounded character development to the final book.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy.(less)
Lackluster mash-up of vampires & post-apocalyptic elements, 2.5 stars
In Julie Kagawa’s new BLOOD OF EDEN series, the future is a place of loss and...more Lackluster mash-up of vampires & post-apocalyptic elements, 2.5 stars
In Julie Kagawa’s new BLOOD OF EDEN series, the future is a place of loss and fear: most humans have died due to a world-wide plague and those who remain are controlled by vampire lords in guarded cities. Allie scrapes out a life on the edge of society as one of the humans beyond notice of the vampires. But after she is attacked, she must make a decision: die or become that which she despises? In her new form, Allie must battle between blood lust and humanity, especially as her journey takes her outside the city walls and joins her with a ragtag group of humans searching for a promised land free from vampires.
Though I went into The Immortal Rules with high hopes, I was left disappointed. Kagawa’s writing or style wasn’t bad, but neither ever grabbed me. The book also seemed too long for the tale it tells, and the premise didn’t feel very inspired. The book simply felt like a mash-up of what’s “hot” right now (vampires + pseudo-zombies + post-apocalyptic/dystopian). When the vampire or post-apocalyptic elements did appear, they felt predicable. For example, Allie’s vampire sire seemed straight out of other vampire tales (the cool, collected one who is patrician and guarded), and Allie seemed too much like the generic “tough girl” character so often seen in dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. Because she was supposed to be so strong and hardened, some of the characterization used to describe her also didn’t feel right, like Allie’s concern for a needy, demanding refugee and her soft, reticent feelings about being kissed. The action, when it did occur, was often brutal and harrowing, but it wasn’t enough to keep me reading quickly for nearly 500 pages. The main character and those she cared about (or those who moved the plot forward) escaped true damage too easily and too often for me to be able to suspend disbelief.
On the positive side, this book might be great for Kagawa fans who are looking for her to do something darker than her Iron Fey series. The story is gritty and dark, and it doesn’t flinch at depicting gruesomely violent or harsh circumstances. The plot also includes some interesting ideas about vampirism as a disease, and the mix of that with an element of religious fanaticism among the surviving humans drew me in more during the latter half of the book.
On the whole, though, The Immortal Rules didn’t have enough positive points to make me ignore the predictability or slow pace. Despite that, I hope this book finds a warmer reception with those who like her writing or are looking for a tale that combines elements from some of today’s most popular genres.
Note: Though I didn’t take this into account in my review, I have to mention the white-washing of the cover. The main character, Allison Sekemoto, is repeatedly described as Asian, but the cover model is not.
**This review refers to an advance review copy.(less)
Too little of too many things meshed into one story, 2.5 stars
In Veronica Rossi’s debut novel, Under the Never Sky, Aria has always lived on the insid...more Too little of too many things meshed into one story, 2.5 stars
In Veronica Rossi’s debut novel, Under the Never Sky, Aria has always lived on the inside. Safely tucked within her enclosed city, she has been taught to fear the disease and destruction that supposedly awaits on the outside. When Aria is forced out into The Death Shop – the world beyond the glass – she expects to die. She soon meets up with a rough outsider named Perry, however, and together they discover they may be the key to each other’s salvation as long as they can work together to survive the dangers that confront them on their journey.
Under the Never Sky takes a little something from many different genres – sci-fi, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, adventure, historical, and romance – and smooshes it all into one book. Because of this, the novel could appeal to many different readers, but for me, it felt like too little of too many things meshed into one story. Explanations about how the world worked, both inside and outside the dome, seemed shaky at best, and the same lack of clarify pervaded explanations about different characters’ special abilities. Aria as a main character also wasn’t very compelling. It took me a very long time, more than halfway through the book, to become at all interested in what was happening to her or any of the other characters. While Perry was more appealing in his complexity, the relationship between he and Aria switched too quickly from a detached partnership to a devoted romance to be believable. Their relationship and how it was described was also hindered by some truly odd and uncomfortable plot points about Perry’s sense of smell and what it could tell him about Aria.
Even with these flaws, the novel did have its good points. Once I got past the halfway point, the pace picked up substantially, and I found myself turning pages more quickly to learn what happened next. Perry was a sympathetic character with real flaws, and one of his close friends, once introduced, added a lot of levity to the story. Though the world building wasn’t always clear, the mystery involving Aria’s mother and her research was intriguing, and some of the described technologies and special senses that people had were inventive. The ending scene was also done well; though an obvious lead-in to the next book, it didn’t leave things feeling too unfinished.
In all, Under the Never Sky was a basic journey/adventure story that simply didn’t have the character development or world building that I needed to enjoy it. In the books to come in this trilogy (Through the Ever Night and Into the Still Blue), I hope Rossi paces her stories more consistently and expands on her world building to let readers really understand her world and the characters she’s created.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy.(less)
Quick review: If this is one of the best in the genre, then I think that historical romance and I shall never be friends. Moments of good banter and t...more Quick review: If this is one of the best in the genre, then I think that historical romance and I shall never be friends. Moments of good banter and tension were appreciated, but the overall use of obvious tropes (a wallflower who seeks adventure! a notorious rake who reforms for love! trysts in carriages, complete with a bucket of euphemisms!) and the unbelievable and too frequent sex scenes were turn-offs for me. I may finish this series out since I have now read the first and third books in the trilogy, but I don't expect to be enamored by it.(less)
Mystery, politics, and romance combine for easy but slow-to-start read
In Kathleen Peacock's Hemlock, the town of Hemlock has been ravaged by a string...more Mystery, politics, and romance combine for easy but slow-to-start read
In Kathleen Peacock's Hemlock, the town of Hemlock has been ravaged by a string of fatal werewolf attacks. Mackenzie's best friend Amy was among those killed, and ever since she's been trying to come to terms with what happened. When a vigilante group called the Trackers comes to town to investigate the murders, Mac decides she wants to find out the truth for herself. She soon learns that people aren't always who they seem to be, including her good friend, Kyle, and Amy's former boyfriend, Jason, and that danger may be closer than she realizes.
HEMLOCK is yet another addition to the crowded world of werewolf fiction, but it adds some unique elements to the familiar set-up. In this world, everyone knows that werewolves exist and how people are infected. This framing allows the story to be about more interesting topics, like who is one or how the werewolves are being stigmatized by those in power, than about the revelation that werewolves exist. The mystery makes up the most important part of the story, and it includes political scheming, a few unexpected twists, and chilling and sometimes brutal show-downs between the different sides. The story also contains some likable and believable characters, especially Kyle, and Mac's internal conflict about her nightmares of Amy is fascinating. The reader never knows whether Amy's appearances in Mac's dreams are simply her subconscious or something paranormal, and that adds to the intrigue regarding what the dreams might really mean.
On the less positive side, the story didn't grab me for a long time and I didn't find myself actually interested until past the half-way point. The novel also devoted too much time to a love triangle that seemed to come out of nowhere. Neither relationship provided much swoon, and the focus on the potential relationship with each guy often overtook the more interesting plot lines as the story progressed. Descriptions of dialogue sometimes came off as awkward, such as characters who "whisper-muttered" or sentences that were run together as one long word for dramatic effect. Though not a true cliffhanger, the ending also leaves readers in an unfinished place with a new adventure about to start for some of the characters.
Taken together, HEMLOCK was an easy read about a world where werewolves, murder, and friendship all intersect, but it didn't end up being anything truly memorable. In future books of this trilogy, I hope the author continues to develop her focus on the mystery and politics and that she brings more swoon or believable tension to the love triangle.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. (less)
3.5 stars. Best one in this three-book series with characters who are actually likable and fun to read about. Repetitive descriptions remained, esp. d...more3.5 stars. Best one in this three-book series with characters who are actually likable and fun to read about. Repetitive descriptions remained, esp. during the sex scenes, but I found myself actually enjoying this one overall and feeling for the characters. (less)
Though I adore the person who recommended this book to me, I didn't adore anything about this story, its writing, or its characters. Review to come......more Though I adore the person who recommended this book to me, I didn't adore anything about this story, its writing, or its characters. Review to come....(less)
Some poems were funny, others brought me to tears, but they all portrayed God/god in a sympathetic, human way that gives children and young adults a s...moreSome poems were funny, others brought me to tears, but they all portrayed God/god in a sympathetic, human way that gives children and young adults a safe place to think about God and how they perceive Him/Her/It.(less)
Since I'd already read the first three books in this series, I decided to take on the fourth installment when it showed up at my local library. Though...more Since I'd already read the first three books in this series, I decided to take on the fourth installment when it showed up at my local library. Though Stolarz's writing continues to be easy and quick to read, the story lacks any real substance or originality. Not surprisingly, the plot involves Camelia's touch powers and yet another stalker out to hurt someone in her town. The love triangle between Ben (mysterious and brooding) and Adam (sweet, hot, and understanding) persists, and the side-kick characters of Wes and Kimmie continue to say ridiculous things at inappropriate times.
With nothing really new added to the story or Stolarz's stock plot line, I found it difficult to care about any of the characters, their relationships, or the dangers that might be following them. I'll probably read the final book, Deadly Little Lessons, when it comes out just to see how things end, but I'm not excited about it. (less)