Oh, my, god! That ending! I thought I was upset about Hex Hall’s ending (because I NEEDED to know what happened), but that is nothing compared to Demo...moreOh, my, god! That ending! I thought I was upset about Hex Hall’s ending (because I NEEDED to know what happened), but that is nothing compared to Demonglass’ ending. I’m pretty much rendered speechless when I think about it and will stare at Rachel with big puppy dog eyes until the third book releases. I loved Hex Hall, but Demonglass was even better.
Demonglass transitions so well from its predecessor – I was impressed. I have to admit that I do not remember all of the little details of Hex Hall – I read it last Oct – and I was really thankful to Rachel for providing us with a sort of recap of what happened.
The plot finally got a lot scarier. Not by much, sure, but it’s hard not to be scared about losing your soul and dead things that slither and being on a “most wanted list” (figuratively). Unstable demons and the Eye are thrown into the mix, which definitely spiced things up a lot. There are tons of plot twists. There were a couple I didn’t even see coming, but most of it was predictable. The action totally kicked up a notch... and then another notch. Where Hex Hall was shrouded in mystery, Demonglass was enveloped with a fast moving plot with tons of action.
Sophie, as always, was snarky and absolutely hilarious. I had so much fun reading about her this time around because she continuously matured from the Sophie at Hex Hall. She’s always so wild and out of line, so seeing her having patience and willpower was very cool. Throwing Sophie’s dad into the mix was so awesome – I loved seeing the two interact with each other and while Sophie despised her father, I absolutely adored him.
Cal... Oh, my, god can I just say that I totally called it in the first book (and in my review)?! I had predicted what would happen with Cal while I was reading Hex Hall, and to see my prediction come true in Demonglass made me... well, excited, actually! I love Cal – I absolutely adore the strong and silent types. And he seemed to care a lot about Sophie and always went out of his way to help her. I’m so Team Cal, it’s kind of sad (in the I-don’t-think-Sophie-will-end-up-with-Cal kind of way). Archer... Oh, Archer. There are so many things I want to say about Archer, but it’ll spoil something. So I’ll just leave it as: *wistful sigh*. Because although I DO love Cal, Archer seems to fit Sophie more... snugly.
Lastly, back to that ending! I want to know what happened to Jenna, and Sophie’s father! I really didn’t think they would actually go through with what they did to him. And why do I get the distinct feeling that Cal will not be seen again? He didn’t say, “See ya, Sophie,”, he said “Goodbye, Sophie”. And Sophie’s mother being at Aislinn Brannick? Let me tell you this: the ending leaves more questions than it does answers, and I really want the third book already to see what happens!
Overall, Demonglass was better than Hex Hall. I can’t say that for many second books in a series, but I can definitely say that for this one. I was so absorbed into the story—my goodness, it was addicting! The action was kicked up a couple of notches and it was definitely a bit scarier than Hex Hall. It made me laugh, it made me hopeful, it was filled with surprises and tons of suspense, and it made me angry at the ending. I seriously want book 3 right now! :( *stares at Rachel with puppy dog eyes*
Lastly: I don't normally include my cover musings on my Goodreads review, but I will for this one.
Cover Musings: Okay while I do love the cover, I need to go on a mini-rant, like I did with Hex Hall. WHY IS THAT CAT ON THE COVER?! It’s driving me nuts! Is it symbolic or does it allude to something? Will there be some big revelation in the future book about it? I mean, Sophie is allergic to cats and she doesn’t even own one. Heck, a cat isn’t even talked about in the books. Am I looking too much into the placement of the cat on the cover? Is it really just there to draw in consumers who associate black cats with witches and magic and is therefore a marketing tactic utilized to get this book into some poor, unsuspecting teenager’s hands?! I NEED to know!(less)
As the final chapter closes to this amazing series, all I felt was a bittersweet goodbye. It’s so hard to l...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer
As the final chapter closes to this amazing series, all I felt was a bittersweet goodbye. It’s so hard to let go of a series you love, and I definitely love the Vampire Academy series.
The previous book, Spirit Bound, was closed on a big cliffhanger, so I couldn’t wait for Last Sacrifice to be released. I had to restrain myself from combing through all of So. Cal. B&N’s and Borders the day before to see if any had stocked it earlier. I had been waiting such a long time for this book, and thankfully, it was one that totally lived up to my expectations (more or less).
I’ve previously mentioned that in every book, you could see Rose maturing from the hard-headed, stubborn, outburst-prone snark that she was... Well, actually, she’s still all those things! However, Rose also pissed me off in this novel. Probably moreso than she did in Blood Promise. The actions she did towards the end of the book pissed me off so damn much. I can’t say too much without being spoilery, but I’ll say this: Rose had matured so much since Vampire Academy, but with the actions she took in Last Sacrifice, it felt like she was going downhill instead of maturing. She was taking steps back. What Rose did was not what I would have expected of her character – she’s better than that, so when it happened, I was nothing short of disappointed.
Most of the book was action-packed. Rose was a fugitive and was running from the Guardians, so there was a lot of running, close-calls, and insane plans from front to finish. For someone who is supposed to be laying low, Rose found herself in a lot of dangerous situations. It sure did keep me turning the pages like a wild woman, though, since I absolutely had to find out what happened.
Every single book, Richelle continuously surprises me. You’d think that by 6 books in, there’d be nothing she could throw at me that would faze me. Nope, wrong! While I understand her writing style more and can predict when she’s throwing us something fake or getting ready for something big, I don’t understand the big plot twists until I’m right on them. And boy, did this book have plot twists! Rose even candidly mentions that her life was turning into a soap opera – it was funny, because I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading. One thing is for sure: Richelle knows how to drop bombshells on me.
While I’m a bit bittersweet that the series ended, I also didn’t like the ending. I had pretty much guessed what the “last sacrifice” was before I even bought the book (there were only so many options), so I wasn’t too shocked when it rolled around. In fact, even though there was a happy ending, there were so many loose ends and so many hurt feelings that I couldn’t feel happy about the ending Rose got. I’m sure those loose ends were left so they could be tied up in the next VA spin-off books, but I would have liked a more conclusive ending in Rose’s perspective.
Regardless of how I disliked the ending, overall, the book was amazing. And then some.(less)
Once a Witch involves a classic story where the main character, Tamsin, just doesn’t fit in – with her fam...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
Once a Witch involves a classic story where the main character, Tamsin, just doesn’t fit in – with her family or with the world. She turns to the real world for any semblance of normalcy, because the truth is this: Tamsin’s a witch. I love that the main character is the odd one out, the one who is a part of something special but completely cut off from it at the same time. She belongs, but she doesn’t belong.
The witch lore in this story was absolutely riveting. I love anything that deals with witches, but these witches were different. Instead of holding control over all magic, a witch is limited to their specific Talent. Their powers reminded me of geass’ in the anime Code Geass. Every time you use your Talent, its power diminishes bit by bit. Not only do they have special power, but they have limits on their power.
Every little thing that occurred in this novel was brought up later because everything had its own significance. It’s one of those books that you read, find out what happens, then re-read again and see how what happened fits into the bigger picture. Carolyn essentially slips us clues here and there, but I never pieced two and two together.
I loved Tamsin as the main character. She was bitter at not having a Talent, but she never took it out on those who did have Talents. She self-exiled herself to her room and to her own misery half the time, but she never gave up. What she did do was try her best not to let it bring her down, and that’s what brought her to her “normal” boarding school in New York. She wanted to impress her family and fit in so badly that she accepted a seemingly impossible task that does more damage, rather than help, to her family. Gabriel, the “main love interest”, was... charming. How else can I describe him? He’s witty, he’s a musician, and he was very blunt for a teenage boy. He’s gentlemanly, of course, but he thinks about sex just as much as the next kid, and that added to his realism.
Their romance was a little under-developed for my tastes. It was more like the romance took a backseat to the plot. Sure, Tamsin and Gabriel have history, but it’s a history we can’t see and they don’t really do much re-connecting. It mostly just felt like Tamsin thought Gabriel grew up hot, they have a few scenes together, and the next thing we know they’re together. Hopefully in the sequel there’s more romantic development (their first date better be included!).
Overall, Once a Witch is a very enchanting tale that combines romance and witchlore perfectly. It has elements of betrayal, mistrust, helplessness, time-travel, magic.. . You name it! The main character lived up to her mistakes and “followed through” with what she had started instead of dropping out and letting someone else clean up her mess.(less)
A word of forewarning: this novel contains explicit sexual content.
All Hallows Blood surprised me, in a good way. I didn’t anticipate the novel would delve into deeper issues, such as the meaning of family, death, loss, and loneliness, but it did. In fact, this was the fore-front premise of the novel, as Keila struggles through most of these issues from the very first page. She’s lost her family, she’s pretty much alone in the world, and she’s alleviating that with alcohol (and later, from pure strength). There is a lot of internal dialogue and character development going on in throughout the books, which was enjoyable. I have to admit that Keila annoyed me a bit at first, but I loved the person she grew (back?) into. It was easy to empathize with her, losing a parent of my own a little ways back, so her depression was very relatable.
Varick was definitely my favorite part of the novel: mysterious, shielded, hunky, and hungry. I wanted to know more about him, the Portland territory he claimed, how he became a vampire, ec. He was dominant, yet gentlemanly; protective, yet possessive; he knew how to cook and do groceries and braid hair and heal. He’s like every girls dream come true.
And the battle scenes... Boy, were those awesome! Keila kicked some serious vampire butt in this novel (I think she killed a total of four? But she’s human – that’s impressive!). Keila almost always got hurt in the process, but she made speedy recoveries and was eager to get out and kick some more vamp butt.
Despite all that, there were a few things that I didn’t like about All Hallows Blood. The first is that nothing is really explained. We’re thrust into the story without any classification of story we’re in. I’m not entirely sure what a psionicist is (at least in Raven’s story), even after having read the book. I can understand a few abilities Keila has, but what a psioncist is and their essential abilities aren’t explained. The same goes with the vampires – I just wasn’t sure what limitations they had. I learned a few things via guessing, such as her vampires can’t go out during the daylight and they when they feed on humans, endorphins are released into the humans body, and that older vampires had more power. But we weren’t really given a “list” (so-to-speak) of strengths and weaknesses vampires have. Keila doesn’t even question Varick on the entitlements of a vampire; it was as if she inherently knew.
I also didn’t like the over-use of nouns to describe Keila’s friends. It was always, “The Vampire did so-and-so,” or “The German did so-and-so,” or “The New Zealander did so-and-so”. Once, twice, or three times would have been okay, but it was like this on almost every page. There were only a handful of pronouns as opposed to the excessive use of nouns.
And lastly, the romance. I suppose I’m only mentioning this because I didn’t know what this book would be about when I first read it. I anticipated some romance, but not on the level that was given to us. The first half of the book is pretty much just high sexual tension (I didn’t realize this until later), and Keila swooning over Varick. The romance took the spotlight away from the original plot, and I felt at times that Varick’s “mission” was a second-thought and very downplayed. It would have been enjoyable if the two were interwoven seamlessly, but the romance definitely took a front seat, even in the battle scenes.(less)
I didn’t like this book. Plain and simple. I normally enjoyed Amelia’s previous works, but this novel was...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
I didn’t like this book. Plain and simple. I normally enjoyed Amelia’s previous works, but this novel was a huge step down to other books she’s written.
First off, she assaulted us with tons of names that a new reader isn’t likely to remember. It’s been a while since I’ve read her Den of Shadows series; I’m not likely to remember five different families and the sub-divisions of those families. She also threw terms at us that a new reader might not have known (like bloodbond, etc). Nowhere on the book is it mentioned that this is a sort of... “sequel” or companion book to Shattered Mirror, so how is someone who has never read Amelia’s work before supposed to know everything upon first read? There are a lot of terms and ideas that are just implied and not explicitly stated.
I have no idea why the content in the book was compiled into only 24 hours. If it was originally meant that way, then there were a lot of inconsistencies. I’m almost convinced that Amelia wrote the book to cover a couple of weeks and at the end, changed it to 24 hours (and did a messy job of it). The times below the chapter titles were inconsistent and I just didn’t believe such intense scenes (involving driving across a city) occurred in 14 minutes. The 24 hour time limit was just so not believable. Some of the events in the book could have easily lasted days, like battle recovery. I don’t believe someone can attain numerous life-threatening wounds and recover in an hour, even for witches or vampires. And lastly, the pacing seemed way too slow for a twenty four hour novel. When I think 24 hours, I think fast paced. The pacing felt like it was covering weeks and not one day.
Several back stories were given in fragments and weren’t even explained fully. Even with a sequel, you want to include information so that your reader doesn’t feel at a loss. I still don’t know half of the back stories to half of the characters, and that left several holes in the plot. Even the plot twists weren’t explained fully – it was just so messy that I couldn’t even be all too shocked at the plot twists. And I never knew there was such a thing as too many plot twists until I read this book. I swear, every single page had a plot twist (okay, so that’s a little exaggeration, but close enough to the truth). There came a point where I wasn’t even shocked at some new revelation that made no sense anyway. The last four or five twists didn’t even faze me.
The alternating POVs made no sense to me. Sure, I understand the two main characters, Aida and Sarah, having their own POVs. But characters we rarely see? I saw absolutely no point whatsoever to Zachary’s two or three POVs. Dominique had ONE POV section, and it was at the end. Honestly, was that necessary? We could have easily had that scene from either of her daughters and I’m sure some other character would have described why she was acting so strange anyway. The character development wasn’t that great, either. There were way too many characters to get connected or see how one grows. It was pretty much, “Oh, I feel this way at the start of the book, but now I feel this way at the end of the book because I spent time during 24 hours reevaluating my opinions that were drilled into me since I was a baby, which also obviously happened off-screen because it’s mentioned nowhere in the book.” The relationships were also very weak. I’m not sure I’d even call them relationships – it seemed to me like everyone in the story was a stranger with each other, even the twins and Sarah.
The one thing I did like, however, was the reiteration that being perfect isn’t everything and that it’s okay to have faults. But the way it was executed was distasteful. To be honest, I slogged through this book. I previously loved a few of Amelia’s work, as her writing is lovely, but this book was just not up to par with anything she’s ever written before.
If you’ve never read Amelia Atwater Rhodes before, do me a favor and don’t start with All Just Glass. I really wanted to like this book – in fact, I signed up for the arc tour because I thought it’d be great. It fell short on all levels – plot twists, character development, relationships, consistency, pacing, plot, and wasn’t addicting at all. I had to force myself to finish for the tour. It’s a shame, because I loved some of Amelia’s other novels.(less)
Spirit Bound definitely makes up for my disappointment in Blood Promise – it delivered. Rose returns to St...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
Spirit Bound definitely makes up for my disappointment in Blood Promise – it delivered. Rose returns to St. Vladmir’s Academy and resumes her normal (if you can call it that) life as a guardian-in-training. But once that two-month mark until her graduation passes, she’s determined to embark on a crazy adventure that will bring back her lost love.
Richelle has this way of drawing you so into the story that you’re tightly caught in this tale she weaves. This installment was intense, portraying so many emotions at the same times – jealousy, anger, determination, yearning, grief, despair, elation, fear. There’s a lot of action, as well. Rose has nothing but crazy ideas this time around, and she gets stuck in precarious situations that leave the readers breathless. From breaking into prison, to escaping Strigoi in Vegas, to a Strigoi hunt, to sneaking into parties and jails – Rose has no boundaries this time around, and Spirit Bound will definitely have you in for a crazy ride.
Rose is back to her usual self (sort of), trying to take everything that’s been going wrong in stride. She still annoyed the hell out of me, and I was still wondering where my strong, kick ass Rose was. But this time I didn’t condemn her weak moments, because I knew what she ultimately strove for. Lissa was... pretty annoying again. I dislike it when girls try to appear nonchalant when their boyfriends are with other girls, and then to make their bf’s jealous, they go after other boys. It’s ridiculous. I hated when Lissa did that. But I also had a new respect for her stepping up to the plate and wanting to achieve things that no other Moroi had before.
I knew what their crazy plan was. Did I think it was going to happen in this book? No. I assumed because the last book is called “Last Sacrifice”, that was when Rose and Lissa’s hard work would be paid off. When the scene actually happened, I didn’t believe it. I kept re-reading, wondering if there was a catch. Richelle hardly writes anything happy. I still think I’m a little shocked that it did happen, and I’ve found myself wondering what’ll happen in Last Sacrifice – because I’m dang near sure something is going to happen to one of them.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I feel so sad for Adrian. It reached its peak in this book, though. Adrian is nothing but nice to Rose, and he’ll go through extreme measures and sacrifice whatever he can to make sure she’s safe. But once she has Dimitri, she can’t even give Adrian the time of day. I felt like it was Mason all over again, and Rose even admitted it in the book. That whole aspect of their “relationship” disappointed me.
I’ve also mentioned this before, but hot damn is Richelle the queen of plot twists. She gives you no warning whatsoever; everything’s all happy and nice and we’re all hand-holding friends, and then BAM! Tragedy strikes.
The ending is such a huge cliffhanger. It makes me glad that I waited so long to read this series – I would NOT have been able to handle a longer wait than this!(less)
This series continually gets better and better the more I read it. Each book is even more amazing, more ac...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
This series continually gets better and better the more I read it. Each book is even more amazing, more action-packed, more suspenseful, and more epic than the last. Shadow Kiss made me fall in love, HARD, with this series all over again! I didn’t think it was possible, after Frostbite became one of my favorite books.
Shadow Kiss’s entire plot spans only 31 days, but a lot occurs in those 31 days. The novice guardians are taking their field experience with different Moroi. Rose, who is still dealing with death, gets assigned to Christian instead of Lissa.
Rose, as always, steadily matures from the out-of-control girl she was into a controlled, rational (well, at times) young woman. She’s also dealing with grief on top of all of the secrets she’s forced to keep from the two people she trusts the most. However, she starts to crack under the strain of pushing her feelings aside for Lissa’s mental well-being – she starts to resent Lissa. But she’s still bad-ass. She kills so many Strigoi in this series that she earns a special molnija mark signifying that she killed too many to count.
I enjoyed the progression of Rose and Christian’s friendship in this novel. While Rose is maturing and becoming increasingly sadder, Christian remains his usual snarky self – reminiscent of Rose from the first book. Christian’s a primary source of humor, and seeing how sad the events turn, it’s a welcome relief. I loved how the two were able to come together yet again at the end. Lissa downright annoyed me in the novel, and we were doing so well in Frostbite. I felt sorry for Adrian – he was always taken for granted. And Eddie, poor, poor Eddie. Everything happens to Eddie. It’s like he’s Richelle’s toy to beat up!
The romance in this book finally picks up, and when it does, it’s downright electrifying. After two books of them having to keep away from each other, I was almost bursting from giddiness at their coming together!(less)
Frostbite resumes where Vampire Academy leaves off. For the first 50 or so pages, Richelle gives us a prol...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
Frostbite resumes where Vampire Academy leaves off. For the first 50 or so pages, Richelle gives us a prologue and re-invites readers into her books – a very effective way to slowly adjust readers back into the plot. Since it’s been two weeks since I had read VA, I found it very helpful.
Where Vampire Academy was balanced between a suspenseful and humorous read, Frostbite produced a darker, grimmer mood throughout the entire novel. Humor was still interlaced in the book, but it had been remarkably less than the first novel. Within the first chapter, Richelle launched us into the first grievance: a brutal murder case that should not have been possible.
As the story progresses, it goes from light to the burning emotions of jealousy, despair, bitterness, and loneliness. To group together with the thought of “safety in numbers”, the vampire society, including St. Vladmir’s students, assembles in a ski resort in Idaho. The only problem? Three students escape in an irrational attempt to hunt down the Strigoi, and it’s up to Rose to “save” them.
I still hold by on my first impression of Rose: she is one of the strongest female protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Rose is still feisty, snarky, and stubborn as heck, but when Lissa becomes too consumed in her new romance and Dimitri finds another love interest, she becomes alone and it takes a toll on her. But instead of giving in to the loneliness (as I would have), she endured it. She tried to manage it as best as she could – she slipped a couple of times, naturally, but she handled herself so well. The thing I liked best about Rose is that you could visibly see her growing as a character. Through various events, she learns a lot of restraint in this novel. She was able to constrain her own feelings and let someone go so that they would be happy – she finally placed someone else’s feelings (besides Lissa’s) before her own.
There aren’t enough words I could say to convey how amazing Rose was in this novel. Sure, she makes mistakes, but she learns from them. Her fierce determination to protect those she loved towards the end of the novel, as well as the fact that she wouldn’t leave without them, was almost heartbreaking. She’s the strongest character I’ve met so far, yet what is truly remarkable is that you see her flaws flourish. The events at the end really shook her up – she always wanted to be cool and bad ass, and join the “grown-ups”. Then when she finally had, she realized it wasn’t as glorious as she expected. I enjoyed seeing that side of Rose, because it portrayed her flaws so perfectly.
Lissa is not so annoying in this novel! She’s on depression meds, has a new romance, and all is well with her. She pretty much ditches Rose because she spends all her time with Christian (which is only too realistic to “real world” relationships). I was surprisingly pleased with Christian’s involvement in this novel. I loved his attitude, and how he cast aside his personal feelings when the time called for it.
Dimitri kind of pissed me off this time – he was so bipolar in regards to his sort-of-relationship with Rose. I do, however, love the explanation for why at the end. I didn’t know I could get so giddy after such a heart-breaking scene. Their romance was more sweet and languid than the first time around. It would build up to a point, then go back down when Dimitri realized he has to put duty first, and back up again, etc. Finally, it culminated at the end during Dimitri’s final decision.
Mason... I couldn’t help but compare Mason to Eric from House of Night. He was the doting, adoring love-sick puppy that follows the main character around. He’s the generic perfect boyfriend, complete with jealousy issues and an assurance that they’ll get emotionally hurt, that NO main character ever chooses. I’m actually looking forward to getting to know Mia more in the up-coming novel. (I’m just taking a wild guess and assuming Rose and Mia are going to be sort-of-friends now). There was a lot more to Mia this time than her one-dimensional unwarranted anger towards Rose. She was an equally lonely soul and was way more vulnerable than I would have imagined.
Rose’s mother makes an appearance! Since I was so absorbed into Rose’s mindset, I didn’t enjoy her mother as much as I wanted to. But of course, when they finally had their mother-daughter moment of bonding, I cried. Yes, I cried. I can’t wait to see what happens with Adrian – I’ve read a couple of reviews before I even started this series and saw his name thrown around a lot, so I’m guessing he becomes a more prominent character.
Suspense still plagues the plot in the first half of the novel, because we’ve never really been introduced to a full-fledged Strigoi. When Moroi start getting attacked by groups of Strigoi (which is unheard of), I was pretty much on the edge of my seat the entire time. The pacing was good – nothing lagged too much, and there was always something vital happening every other chapter or so.
My predictions for this novel were so off. There’s really only one twist (I think so, anyway – everything else was given to us), which involves the Strigoi. I was placing my bets on what character would be involved with the event, but I never in a million years would have guessed Richelle picked the character that she did.
I loved this book more than I loved Vampire Academy. Is that even possible? Frostbite sinks its teeth into you with a vice like bite and absolutely refuses to let go until you’re completely absorbed into the story. The plot is gripping, intriguing and mysterious; it compels you to turn those pages faster to get to the “main events”. The characters this time around were even better than the first time (again, is that possible?). Rose does a lot of growing up in this novel, although she does most of it solo.(less)
At the end of Shadow Kiss, I hated the decision Rose made – I think it was rushed and that she didn’t thin...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
At the end of Shadow Kiss, I hated the decision Rose made – I think it was rushed and that she didn’t think her plans through. She’d been through guardian training, so she should have known to not rush in.
Rose, my favorite character, disappointed me in this book. Yes, that Rose, the one I’ve been going on and on about; the one who practically bleeds epic-ness. I watched her mature in Frostbite and Shadow Kiss, so I expected more from her than this. She had no plans, didn’t know where the hell she was going – she could have been blindly stumbling around Russia for months, for goodness sakes! Nonetheless, I know why she did it, so I had some sympathy.
The separation between Rose and Lissa was flawless: both girls yearned for each other (not in that way), and kept wanting to check up on each other. I think this is one of the things that Richelle executed almost perfectly. There are a lot of new characters in the book, including an Alchemist, Dimitri’s family, and the mysterious Abe Mazur. I think the Alchemist really didn’t bring anything to the plot other than helping Rose around, but the last two I mentioned became essential roles in Rose’s “quest”.
The flash backs in Rose’s memories of Dimitri were like adding salt to a wound. I love Dimitri, I’m already depressed, and Rose insists on lingering on memories that will hurt her (and me).
I cried near the end of the book. I cried so much, as if I was experiencing Rose’s loss myself. I had no idea how much I actually felt for that character, or Rose’s struggle, until I found I had to quit reading for a while to cry it all out. But despite the Plan B we find out about for Rose’s happily ever after, I can’t help but want Rose and Adrian to get together. I feel like Adrian keeps getting the short end of the stick, ever since he was introduced in Frostbite.
A lot of the writing could have been cut out – there were a lot of unnecessary scenes that weren’t even essential to the main (or even secondary) plot. I’m so used to Richelle keeping up with that fast-paced progression, so I was actually shocked when I noticed about 100 pages could have been cut to make this a shorter read. And at the end, we were basically where we began at the end of Shadow Kiss. The only difference is that now Rose has a Plan B she can fall back on.
Out of the four books, this has to be my least favorite. I still loved it completely, but I didn’t love it as much as the first three. My emotions were every which way in this book, and I think that’s reflected in my haphazard, random review. Personally, I think a lot of what happened in the book could be cut; we basically end up where we left off in Shadow Kiss – the only difference is that now Rose has a crazy Plan B to fall back on. Some of the new characters didn’t even seem essential to the plot. And Rose was a huge disappointment because she showed way too much weakness for all the growing up I saw her do in the first three books.(less)
After reading this book, I was left wondering what the heck happened. The writing went down a notch, the c...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
After reading this book, I was left wondering what the heck happened. The writing went down a notch, the characters morphed into one-dimensional fillers, and the romance was not that believable. There was a drastic change from Need to Captivate, one I absolutely didn’t like.
Captivate picks up a few months after where we’re left off with Need. Captivate didn’t transition well from its predecessor – we’re pretty much thrust back into the story without character descriptions or at least a little synopsis of what happened before. I couldn’t even remember how Zara’s, Devyn’s, or Issie’s appearances looked like.
The writing style was just atrocious. Sentences were short and fragmented, and there were barely any worthwhile descriptions. Sometimes even mundane aspects would be written into the book – do we really need to know that Devyn grabs a drink of water, or that Zara goes pee? What does that really bring to the storyline other than filler? All of the characters sounded the same – if there hadn’t been “Zara said” or “Issie said”, etc, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell who was talking. Even their personalities were inconsistent – Astley has a certain way of talking, and after a while Zara started talking the same way. Uhh, I was pretty sure she had never spoken the way Astley did throughout any of the novels.
I think Carrie was trying to portray “out-casts” and minorities in this novel. Everyone had dreadlocks or cornrow’s or hair dyed green in Mohawks. Okay, I get that she wants diversity in her town, but it was never like that in the previous novel. I had to roll my eyes after yet another person was introduced that had dreadlocks.
Zara pissed me off this time. Every time she spoke, I wanted to either strangle her or throw the book across the room. I mentioned this in my review of Need, but good GOD is she stupid. She gets so many warnings from the pixie kings but she ignores them. If she had only paid heed to them, none of the stuff that happened would have happened, and a bunch of people wouldn’t have gotten killed just because of her sheer stupidity. The best part? She has the gall to blame the pixies for what happened, but hot damn was it her fault. She’s so dang self-absorbed and whiny; if she could have sacrificed one person or herself, none of the innocents would have died. She’s all about protecting people from the pixies, but what she did endangered them. She never thinks about her actions. All she does is “research” that comes up inconclusive or just gets solved by Devyn. I couldn’t even feel sorry for her after what happened to Nick. And her reaction to losing Nick? Oh, I’ll just grab a sword and try to take out as many pixies as I can, but get swarmed in the process and only really inflict ONE minor injury and then have to get rescued. URGH.
The other characters pissed me off too. It was like Carrie had a list: Nick – protective, “macho”; Devyn – “nerdy guy who researches a lot”; Issie – “eccentric who loves bunnies but is clumsy and weak”. They were so one-dimensional this time. What happened to my vivacious Issie from Need? The only two characters I liked were new: Cassidy and Astley. I couldn’t not like Astley, but if I say why I might spoil something. Same with Cassidy. But in both cases, they were refreshing next to the gang of four.
I was definitely not emotionally connected to any of the characters this time around, aside from Astley.
The plot was okay, but sort of dull. Nothing too twisty this time – the only “twist” happened with Cassidy. Need was suspenseful – Captivate just wasn’t. Pacing was alright – not too action-packed, and only lagged in the beginning. I have to admit that the read got better after Zara finally agrees to Astley’s suggestions, so I’m still holding on to hope that the third novel will be better than this one.
Overall, if I could describe this novel in one word, it would be “Bleh”. I’ve always heard people complain about sequels not living up to their predecessors – this book is definitely one of those sequels. Captivate definitely went downhill from Need. The characters were downright annoying, especially the main character (who did stupid and unnecessary things that just got her in trouble), and the romance was totally... unbelievable. I can safely say I’m more Team Astley, but in the sense that I want Zara to die and Astley to get his happily ever after. The read was so monotonous – I had to force myself to keep reading in hopes that it would get better, which it did the last third of the book. That was the book’s saving point, or I definitely would have rated this a 2. This book definitely had a lot more potential and just fell short.(less)
I was almost tempted to quit the series after how disappointed I was with the second book, Captivate. But...moreRead the full review at Frazzled Book Nommer.
I was almost tempted to quit the series after how disappointed I was with the second book, Captivate. But I am so glad I decided to stick with it. Entice’s saving point was its plot. Zara is trying to save Nick, but at the same time also has to transition from turning into a pixie.
One thing Entice did that Need and Captivate did not was keep me hooked. In Need and Captivate, I had to put the book down several times to fume or just go do something else. I only did that once for Entice, at the end when Zara reunites with Nick. Is it a coincidence that the only time I disliked Entice was when Nick was around? I think not. Anyway, back to the being hooked thing... I was surprised to be really absorbed into the story. I kept wondering what was going to happen, and turned the pages fervently, and the next thing I knew I was done!
Zara, as with the rest of the books, pissed me off again. I go into reading these books knowing I’ll be pissed off whenever Zara or Devyn are talking. However, I was able to stomach Zara this time, which I couldn’t in Need or Captivate. She made some sound decisions and she didn’t completely piss me off. That made me wonder... perhaps she is changing right before my eyes. Maturing. I mean, I naturally can’t see it because she still does a lot of stupid things, but the number of stupid things she’s done has dwindled a lot. One thing, though, was that I hated her one-track mind with saving Nick. I understood that it was important to her, but at what cost?! I had to agree with her mother, when she said, “No boy is worth this,” in regards to all of the people that died trying to get one person back.
Astley was a huge reason that I loved this book so much. He went from being an extra to being a forerunner as one of the leading secondary characters. He’s so charming and sweet. The best thing about Astley? He is not one dimensional. He has depths to him – he can put up a strong, sweet, caring front, but inside he’s also very sorrowful. He has a history of sadness and knows what it feels like to lose someone. But he doesn’t let it get him down. While he can easily break down, there’s another part of him that will just as easily rush to protect everything he believes in.
Not only does Astley bring life to the book, but he also delivers the standard love-triangle in paranormal romance. Zara is tied – bound – to Astley, because she is his Queen. Yet she loves Nick. But she also has conflicting feelings about Astley. I hate love triangles – I despise them – but this was one that I could handle. This is a triangle that both frustrates and excites me. It frustrates me because Zara is so set on Nick, yet it excites me because Astley has a chance. Nick and Zara can’t be together, not completely, anymore because Zara is a queen, and she needs a king.
Lastly, I think it’s safe to say I’m Team Astley. I have been since Captivate, and will probably remain so for the remainder of the series. Screw Nick. :P I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Astley is probably the reason why I wasn’t so annoyed with this book/why I loved it so much.(less)
As much as I hate comparing books to other books, I had to with this one. The beginning of Need was so reminiscent of...moreReviewed @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
As much as I hate comparing books to other books, I had to with this one. The beginning of Need was so reminiscent of Twilight, it wasn’t even funny. New girl in a small town, it’s cold – she hates the cold, she falls down on the first day of school as she’s walking to her new ride, the hospital near the end. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt myself going back through time when I first read Twilight. Hell, some of the lines even sounded the same.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book, and let me tell you – even without a clue about what’s going on at the beginning, this book delivers.
So, not knowing what was going on, I accepted the pixie “sub-plot” pretty easily. Werewolves? Okay. Were-tigers? Uhh... I’ll let that slide. No vampires? That’s where I draw the line. You have an entire army of these other mythical creatures, and no vampires? That’s just odd. But yes, despite the seemingly normal title, Need IS paranormal with lots of shiny creatures.
Our main character, Zara, is dealing with loss, a new romance, potential stalker, and phobia on top of phobia. She’s depressed, hollow, and stubborn. I think she was meant to be portrayed as a strong character, but she’s really just a stupid one. She goes to danger and ends up with concussions, broken limbs, etc. I mean cmon... There is only so much physical harm the body can take. Have some self-preservation. If she had waited for half of the bad scenarios she got caught in, I’m sure there’d be more favorable outcomes. I loved Issie – she’s hyper, eccentric, and loves bunnies. Who wouldn’t like her?! She was a nice, bubbly contrast to Zara. I also liked the fact that there was a parental figure in Zara’s life – that almost always seems to be missing in YA novels. Betty was so badass for a grandmother, and it seemed like she bended over backwards for Zara.
The novel didn’t drag too much, if at all. A lot of the story revolved on moving forward, and action from here to there. Something was always happening. And goodness, PLOT TWIST GALORE. I was only able to predict one plot twist, and that was only because it was super obvious. I’m usually up to par with some plot twists, but goodness, I did not see at least 2 of them coming AT ALL. My mouth hung open – it takes a lot to do that, so kudos to Need for catching me off guard so badly.
I love that the title Need incorporates into the story, in a way I wouldn’t have expected it to – I thought it was more of a need for... romance, or saving, or some sort. You’ll see what I mean. But it was super cool. =)
Need was a pretty good book – I’d recommend this to any YA lovers out there. The pacing was good, the characters were enjoyable, and the plot was semi-unique. The inclusion of phobias made this a rather fun and quirky read – much like our main character. Zara’s and Nick’s romance was sweet, and I actually enjoyed seeing how it progressed. This actually would have been a great standalone book, but I realized it’s a series, so I’m rather curious as to how the story will expand.(less)
The Candidates starts off very slowly, despite the fact that it starts at the beginning of all t...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
The Candidates starts off very slowly, despite the fact that it starts at the beginning of all the “action”. The very first chapter involves Dancia’s recruitment into Delcroix Academy, but it spreads off into five more chapters and sort of dragged on. That’s sort of how the entire novel played out, actually. There was no real action, besides the end, and the book mostly involved Dancia dealing with the way Cam makes her feel. In fact, the summary says that Delcroix involves humans with supernatural abilities but... it isn’t really like that, at all. The supernatural side doesn’t even get a chance to come out and play until the end. We didn’t even read about the classes – I think there were like, two genuine classroom scenes. It was all just about Dancia stressing over romance.
For the first half of the book, we’re left in total suspense. We have no idea what’s going on, and besides Jack’s suspicions, Inara gives us no bones – we’re just left guessing. Nothing’s explained. But then, at the end, we receive this onslaught of information all at once and it becomes overwhelming. I suppose that’s what irked me, too: why would all of this information be revealed to Dancia? Even if she was going to join them, I’d expect more resistance on the groups’ part. Or more secrecy. But nope, once “the cat was out of the bag”, everything just spilled out all at once.
I started out being indifferent to Dancia. She’s just average – average grades, looks, thoughts, etc. She blends into the background, and it worked so well that she didn’t stand out for me, either. She self-isolates her from her peers from fear of hurting someone and has no thoughts of her own. While that was great and all, her self-isolation made her making friends hardly believable. So yeah, I was indifferent to Dancia at first.
But then she pissed me off. I can appreciate Dancia swooning over an older guy (even though it was sort of gag-worthy since I did not like Cam whatsoever) and even ditching her friends for that reason. I mean, a lot of teenage girls do it, right? A 14 year old won’t suddenly become immune to an older guy giving her attention. But when she starts ignoring, and even avoiding, the one true friend that she’s made at Delcroix, the one who has helped her since the beginning and makes her feel like she belongs and truly understands the way she feels about everything, just because of said older guy, then I get pissed off. Sure, she’s a teenager and I shouldn’t be so critical, but she treated Jack like absolute crap. He was always there for her and remained loyal to her, even if she kept treating him unjustly. When Jack needed Dancia, she would always back away; when Dancia needed Jack, he was always there for her. What crap.
Actually, I take that back. Dancia treats all of her friends like absolute crap. Jack just gets the most crap from her because Cam tells her to stay away from Jack. I mean, she bags on her two “best friends” whenever they do something she doesn’t like. She hates “Perfect Girl” Allie for no reason. I get that teenagers can be very judgmental, but hating people who try to help you and people who have absolutely no reason for you to hate them? Ugh. Jack had it right when he finally got mad at Dancia’s stupidity: she’s definitely “deaf, dumb, and blind.”
Cam rubbed me the wrong way. Seriously. While Dancia thought he was swoon-worthy and a great guy, I just thought he was slimy. I didn’t like him, nor did I trust him. Dancia has proved time and time again that she is freaking stupid, and for her to wholeheartedly trust Cam after he lied to her over and over just exemplifies Dancia’s stupidity. I don’t even think he truly likes her. He can say whatever he wants and smooth talk her over, or whatever, but I doubt I will ever trust Cam.
Jack was this novel’s saving point. He was such an interesting character that had so much depth in him. Not only has he been in a gang and has been homeless, but he was abandoned by his own parents. And he’s still going. I would have given up by that point. But Jack is strong, if only sad and lonely. He’s so sweet and caring, and he knows how to turn up the charm with Grandma! He’s also troubled with inner demons, has fears of being followed, and has suspicions galore. But he’s still a great friend, always there for Dancia whenever she needs him no matter how shitty she’s treated him. (Can you tell I’m “Team Jack”?)
Overall, I liked this book, but there were also a lot of things I didn’t like about this book (the main character being one of them). It was very slow-paced and dealt with Dancia’s feelings over Cam more than anything else, and didn’t really deal with “magical abilities” like the jacket said it would. Cam, the main love interest, rubbed me the wrong way – I totally thought he was slimy from the very moment he was introduced. Jack was the novel’s saving point and was one of the only characters that had more than one dimension to him. I do want to see where the story progresses, naturally, but the book wasn’t as addicting as I thought it would be.(less)
The opening for Firelight is so intense, throwing us right into the heat of the action as Jacinda and her...moreRead the full review at Frazzled Book Nommer.
The opening for Firelight is so intense, throwing us right into the heat of the action as Jacinda and her friend Azure find themselves being hunted by draki-hunters. But from there, it goes downhill. I’m talking about pacing, of course. There aren’t really any other action scenes than that. Once Jacinda is forced to move to the desert, Jacinda’s point of view becomes detached and slower. She goes forward in life as if she’s a zombie – there, but not really – and it translates well to her point of view.
This book was pretty well-rounded and nothing short of awesome. The draki’s were so fascinating to read about – I’ve always been interested in dragon lore, so this book seemed like it was made for me. There are different talents a draki can have – Jacinda happens to be a fire-breather, the first/last one in over 300 years. Personally, I would have killed to be a visiocrypter (make myself invisible) or a shade (can shield/cloud ones memories) draki. I wish that we had more time to read about Jacinda’s pride (which means “clan”, loosely) and their customs/way of life.
Then Jacinda is thrust out of her pride’s environment against her own will and is forced to struggle with her draki dying and the unjust way her mother and sister are now treating her. On top of being alienated and having her feelings brushed aside, she falls in love with the enemy, a draki hunter. She knows it’s dangerous, even though he spared her life once before, but she can’t help his inextricable pull he has on her. The romance between her and Will was sweet and drawn-out. It was one of those “love-at-first-glance” type things, but Jacinda kept denying her feelings so they got to know each other (well, as best as they could without revealing their innermost secrets) first. Will was such great character. He tags along with his family’s hunting business, but he despises it and thinks it’s wrong. He’ll choose to suffer himself if it spares someone he cares about, and self-alienates himself from everyone aside from his cousins.
Since I’m talking about characters, here’s one I don’t like: Tamra. Ugh, Tamra. She’s Jacinda’s twin sister and annoyed the crap out of me. Sure, she had lived in the shadows all her life, as if she never even existed after she didn’t manifest, and was pretty much alone during that time. But that gives her no right to be such a horrible bitch to her sister when the roles are reversed and she actually gets to be “normal” while Jacinda struggles with her draki dying. Since she’s been there before, I’d expect her to be more sympathetic to Jacinda because she knows how it feels to be the odd one out. Nope! She basically only ever says, “Don’t ruin this for me,” and never gives Jacinda a second glance. She was so self-absorbed and in no way sympathetic to Jacinda, so she earned none of my sympathy.
One thing I disliked about this book was Jacinda’s internal monologues. I wouldn’t have minded so much if she didn’t go over the same issues she had “resolved” again and again and again. It was way too repetitive. She’d reiterate how she keeps forgetting she isn’t supposed to fall in love with Will and swears/vows she’ll never let it happen again. Then a few pages pass and she’s drooling over him again. A few more pages, and she basically says the exact same thing as last time – it’ll never happen again, it has to stop, this is dangerous – but re-worded. Okay, Jacinda, I got it the first five times. Will’s dangerous, you keep forgetting how he hunts you. You don’t have to say it over 10 times. Before you ask, yes, I counted.
Lastly, I hate to mention this but I couldn’t help but notice the Twilight connection. There were way too many quotes I found that were almost exact replicas of what Edward says to Bella. A hunter falling in love with his prey, being around Will was like a drug, she needs him for sustenance. The list goes on. Way too coincidental.
Overall, this was a pretty good book, unique with its dragon/draki mythology and irresistible with its forbidden/dangerous romance. The romance, the pacing, the writing and descriptions were all very good. Some of the characters were downright annoying while others were tolerable, which increased my frustration while reading. But don’t let that hinder you: Firelight is a fiery tale about Jacinda’s struggles to keep hold of who she really is.(less)
I want to start off by talking about the ending. “Because it ends at the beginning”. No, really. It all en...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
I want to start off by talking about the ending. “Because it ends at the beginning”. No, really. It all ends at the beginning. I have never been so impressed in such a long time with an ending than I have with The Iron Queen’s ending. It had all the elements that make a good ending: sacrifice, selflessness, and a sense of peace and acceptance. Everything was over. All the loose ends were being tied. To be honest, I didn’t even need the epilogue to be happy with the ending Julie gives us: I was happy right there at Meghan’s decision. Not because I’m mean or cruel, but because everything made sense – it all came together. But the epilogue just made me so much happier, because it consolidates everything (to a point) that happened in the first two books. It’s a happy ending, but at the same time, it’s not a happy ending. And I loved it.
The pacing was a bit slow for my tastes, as it was with the first two books as well. It would pick up, and I’d get excited that action is about to happen, flip a couple of pages, a couple more, and then the action starts. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the detail that went into this book, because there are a lot of things to be explained – but I kept getting distracted by other things and putting this book down a lot.
On to the characters... I just have to say thank goodness Meghan took a 180 from The Iron Daughter. I couldn’t stand her constant and unjust whining in that book. Strong Meghan, the one who takes things up on her own and wants to actively fight back – emotionally and physically – instead of remaining on the sidelines, was back and boy, was she stronger than ever. I loved all of the decisions she made in this book, and was so happy at the selfless sacrifice she makes at the end.
Ash was... Well, I’ve never been an Ash supporter, and this book didn’t really change my stance, either. I appreciated that there were more interactions between Meghan and Ash, because I never understood why Meghan liked him, other than the fact that he’s forbidden, mysterious, etc., since the two never got to know each other. I loved seeing other sides to Ash – the soft Ash, the one that cries when he feels like he’s losing his beloved, the one who will risk his own life to save hers.
And Puck. I love Puck. I am Team Puck 100%, no matter what Meghan decides. Most of my quotes consisted of lines Puck says; he’s too witty and charming for his own good! I was a bit sad that he’s pretty much getting the short end of the stick, but that doesn’t deter him. He still rushes to Meghan’s aid and still tags along with the group. In fact, I loved his decision to join Ash, his one-time-friend-but-ultimately-his-enemy, at the end. I think that, above anything else, speaks volumes of Puck’s character.
I’ve always thought the concept of Iron fey was ingenious, and this novel was no exception to that thought. Reading about the Iron realm was so exciting – it lives by its own set of rules, and I was constantly wondering what traps or things were set in store for our party when they headed into it. I personally loved the Gremlins (especially Razor). Can you say cute?! I love how Julie makes people we previously thought were antagonists and suddenly makes them into allies. I cannot wait to read more about the Iron realm!(less)
At first, I didn’t expect to like this book. The reason is simple: religion plays a huge part in the life...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
At first, I didn’t expect to like this book. The reason is simple: religion plays a huge part in the life of the Divines. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not slandering religion, being religious myself. But when you find religion in literature, it’s usually displayed with substantial amounts of distasteful bigotry and has made me come to dislike any books with religious portrayals. After a while into this book, though, I realized that while religion played a big part in the familial dynamics of the Divines, the book wasn’t preachy or stubborn. Grace, the main character, does some things that go against the way of her religion, and she struggles with her decisions. Her father, who is a pastor, is okay with new ideas being brought to him and tries to help anyone in need, regardless of what they do. This is the first book in a while where I could stomach the religion, so that was a plus for me.
After I got over my forthcomings about religion, the book got a lot better. I was driven to read it so quickly because I needed to know Daniel’s secret and what happened between him and Jude, Grace’s brother. The inquisitive stage of the book takes up the entire novel – from the very first page to the last. What was going on? What is Daniel? What’s going to happen now? Those are the questions I most wondered about as I read. The plot itself isn’t that exciting: you could pretty much guess Daniel’s secrets from the get-go. But there were plot twists! Not exactly dealing with Daniel himself but... let’s just say the “antagonist” is someone you would never expect. I for sure didn’t! I totally fell for the red herring Despain threw at me. I accused that guy from the very beginning. So un-predictability? Pretty good in some parts, but pretty predictable in others.
The characters were believable. I really enjoyed Grace as a protagonist. She still held firm with her beliefs, but she was willing to experiment and try new things – all in the favor of helping someone who she wasn’t allowed to see. I’m glad her love – for Daniel and her brother – ran as deep as it did. Daniel was also an enjoyable character: he was mysterious, cynical, and a general bad boy, but he was always so sweet and gentle to Grace when they were alone. I couldn’t help but love him, even as I questioned everything about him.
I also enjoyed that Grace’s parents were somewhat around. They – especially her father – played active roles in the book, and I enjoyed reading Grace’s interactions with them (even though she didn’t get along well with her mom, which is understandable with any teenage girl).
I thought it was pure genius that nearly everyone we’re introduced to has a unique role. Literally. Even characters we only meet for a sentence or so get a somewhat significant role in the book – from Don, to a girl with green hair, to the mysterious Gabriel. Everything interweaved amongst themselves really nicely, and I have to applaud Bree for writing her story the way she did.
And lastly, the name meanings in this book were interesting. All of the Divine’s were given names that reflected God in some way. Daniel’s name means “God is my judge” (which makes perfect sense). Jude’s name is a bit ironic, depending on the root meaning of the name (it means praise, admired, or thanks, but also to acknowledge and confess man’s character) – and Jude is also a brother of James (baby James). I absolutely adore authors who take careful consideration into name meanings and incorporating that into their novels.(less)
Because of the hype surrounding the release of Beautiful Darkness (and because it was finally in my librar...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
Because of the hype surrounding the release of Beautiful Darkness (and because it was finally in my library, sitting all nice on a shelf waiting for me to pick it up), I picked up a copy of Beautiful Creatures. As I’m sure most of you know, I don’t read summaries before I tackle books – I like being in the dark.
Being in the dark on the whole plot, I was terrified throughout the entire novel. I spook easily (and it doesn’t help that while I was reading at 2AM, my house started creaking and making weird sounds) so the whole mystery about Lena and the danger pursuing her paralyzed me with fear. But I felt cheated at the end – my fear had no reason or base. We basically read through 500 pages of speculation and what-ifs and Lena’s upcoming birthday, just to get a resolution that barely lasts 40 pages. I feared the antagonist for that long to only get 40 pages of... talking? Saraphine didn’t even seem like a threat. I’m supposed to assume the Darkest Caster that ever lived will go down as the way she did? I felt cheated.
While I read this book, I was engaged in the plot but I was never excited about it. I felt indifferent, detached, even though I was still caught up in Gatlin and the Caster world. I was more interested in Casters than I was in Ethan’s and Lena’s relationship or Ethan’s lengthy internal monologues.
This book was huge. I felt like a lot of it could have been cut, as a lot of the events weren’t really necessary to the main plot or character/romantic development. When I see a huge book, I expect something like Harry Potter – a good plot that balances between a fast and slow pacing. This book didn’t balance pacing – it was just slow all around. Again, if I want to read 563 pages of a book, I expect most of it to be worth my time, and I didn’t feel that with this book. Don’t get me wrong. The back-stories and history revolving Gatlin was great; the redundancy in the events and in the conversations was not.
I had conflicts with Ethan’s personality. While I loved the whole idea that everything about Gatlin bored him because he had lived there his whole life (because I can empathize), he was so feminine! Kami and Margaret wrote him like a girl trapped in a boy’s body. When I think of male narrator written by female writer, I think of (again) Harry Potter. At least in HP it was done well and believable. But I couldn’t believe that Ethan would be able to tell the differences between smell, or that he’d care enough about girls’ clothing or their prom dresses, or that he’d give vibrant details about a town he supposedly despises being in. He’s a teenage boy – they absolutely do not think those things! Overall, he was gentlemanly and almost chivalrous at times, but it was too hard to believe he was so good that he was adverse to normal teenage boy behavior.
Lena... ugh. That sums up what I thought of her very well. One time of her whining and moping around about her upcoming birthday, okay sure, I understand why she’s nervous. Second time, third time, fourth... FIFTEENTH. I get that she’s terrified of becoming dark, but that fact is reiterated almost every page. It gets repetitive and annoying after a while. Every time she came up (and it happened a lot since Ethan was so obsessed with her), I had to groan and prepare for a dull read about another whiny rant.
Yet despite all of these things, I couldn’t help but love the book. Maybe it was the relationship – it actually developed and the two weren’t all over each other the instant they saw each other – or maybe even the mystery or intrigue that pulled me in, or maybe that I’m just a sucker for dangerous romances. Either way, I loved the history behind Gatlin and enjoyed seeing how elements of the Caster World could be interweaved into this small little southern town. Even Ethan charmed me at times (but only because I’m a sucker for the good-boy types, even unbelievable ones). There was a substantial amount of wit and humor, and a plethora of quirky characters who were hard to not love. The plot, which involved witches (casters), was unique and I found myself wanting to learn more about the Caster world than we were exposed to.
Lastly, some random stuff. I had some mad BOO RADLEY LOVE going on! And was happy when I saw Kami and Margaret use “fixin’” – I had only recently learned that it meant “getting ready to do so and do” because of my recent trip to Texas, so I got all excited when I knew what it meant. I felt in the know.
Overall, while not the best paranormal romance I’ve read and wasn’t as great as the hype I’ve heard about it, I generally enjoyed the book. The history of the south, Gatlin, and the Caster world were admittedly my favorite parts of the book. The pacing was sluggishly slow most of the time, with tons of lengthy internal monologues, and a lot of the events could have been cut. But overall, it was an okay book – I liked it enough to want to continue to Beautiful Darkness (which I’m hoping has more of the Caster world)!(less)
I debated about reviewing this one for a while. I’m still not even sure if I should. As many of you know, I was born...moreReviewed at Frazzled Book Nommer.
I debated about reviewing this one for a while. I’m still not even sure if I should. As many of you know, I was born and raised in Southern California. Where was the story set? Southern California. Now, I’ve never read a book set in So. Cal, so I got all excited and was pretty much fan-girling at the beginning. Then... I thought it might be better if I don’t read a book set in an area around me. Why? I review it more harshly and critically than intended. And it usually ends up ruining the book for me.
So before I even begin, I’m going to say I teeter on a like/dislike slate with this novel.
Let me start off with there were almost no descriptions whatsoever. At all. We’d get descriptions on clothes, and fleeting descriptions about their surroundings, but that’s it. If I wasn’t such a Laguna Beach junkie, I wouldn’t have been able to envision this area at all. We don’t even get a description about her school, or her house. This is where my So. Cali’an offense comes in. She never mentioned the mountains looming in the background, or the winding streets, or the ocean, or the beautiful Californian sunsets at the beach, or the crisp, salty scent of the ocean air. I’ve been to Laguna: it’s a crime to have the only thing you mention about it be about the MTV shows.
The second offense is one that hits close to home: the trip they took to Disneyland. There was just no description! She mentions Main Street, but never about what it looks like, the crowd, or the castle at the end. She mentions my two favorite rides, but nothing about what’s inside, or the Rivers of America, which is basically just outside the two rides. And mostly, she never mentions the atmosphere – that everyone is so happy and friendly, even if they really aren’t. Also, it’s just so weird imagining a paranormal occurrence happening at the happiest place on earth. Should I stake out the front gates in hopes of snagging a paranormal romance? :P
Like Need (which I’ve recently reviewed), Evermore is so reminiscent of Twilight, but with the roles reversed. Ever is the one who can read thoughts, not Damen. On page 81, Ever makes the observation that Damen talks funny, as if he’s not from this era. Sound familiar? Wuthering Heights, a central novel in Twilight, makes an appearance in Evermore, too. There were too many coincidental connections that I couldn’t help but compare it. Also, why does Ever never ask how Damen gets her number or her entire schedule? She sure never gave it to him (even off-screen, I’m pretty sure), so why does she never question why he suddenly has all of her personal information?
And while I’m on the topic of Ever, she annoyed the living daylights out of me. I get that she’s hurting, but ohmygod. I could have sworn Ever was bipolar half the time. She’s jealous, petty, paranoid, suspicious, and has no trust whatsoever. She’s so freaking... stupid. Constantly, she’s finding things about Damen that are strange but she never pauses once to consider it, to think about it, or to even ask him. Not very realistic. She says she won’t do something one moment, and the next she’s doing it again. I’m not sure, but I think I didn’t like her so much because she reminds me of me (less PMS-y though). Oh, and I forgot to mention... What in the WORLD is up with her unreasonable hatred towards Ava? The lady only wants to help you shield and send your sister to a better place, and Ever throws glares and witch-fits toward her as if Ava’s trying to kill her or something. Her anger towards Ava is totally unwarranted.
The one character I could stand was Damen. I felt sorry for him for having to put up with Ever – she NEVER listened to him or let him explain anything. Ever heard benefit of the doubt? (haha, see what I did there? :D) I also loved Ever’s best friend, Miles. He’s gay, and totally awesome – his sense of humor totally lightened up all the drama with Ever and Haven and he always put a smile on my face whenever he was talking. I won’t even mention Haven because I have nothing good to say about her.
Okay, so this is mostly looking like a negative review, which isn’t what I thought overall. So I’ll go back to some positives. The storyline threw me for a loop for a while there, because I did think I was getting into a vampire story. I knew nothing of this series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was definitely not a vampire story, let me tell you. There weren’t any plot twists (or if there were, I didn’t count them as plot twists) so nothing was too surprising. But when the storyline finally revealed what was going on, I figured that hey, maybe this is a bit unique. But since we didn’t get an elaboration of what happened yet, I’ll have to read the second book to confirm that.(less)
Whatever expectations I had about Hex Hall... well, they were wrong. Just wrong. For one, despite the title, they do...moreReviewed at Frazzled Book Nommer.
Whatever expectations I had about Hex Hall... well, they were wrong. Just wrong. For one, despite the title, they do not learn magic. Not in school, at least. Two, the book didn’t run like a school at all. Not really. It was mostly centered on Sophie and her teenage angst and hormones. Three, it wasn’t as action-packed or as scary as I would have expected, even with mysterious incidents popping up all over the place.
Normally, I get creeped out by any paranormal genre that has an edge of mystery and suspense to it. Take Vampire Academy – mysterious things happened in much the same way as Hex Hall, but it was a lot scarier. Heck, even Twilight scared me sometimes (yes, admitting that is painful). Hex Hall was not scary at all, even if there were several central groups out to get Sophie and a continuous string of murders/almost-murders that seemed to target her coven. The danger just didn’t seem that... real. There was no suspense. Even with the two plot twists at the end, I still wasn’t scared. That bothered me.
Speaking of the plot twists, I didn’t really see them coming! Well, okay, I saw 1 out of 3. I obviously knew Hawkins was throwing us a red herring, trying to line up events with Jenna to make it seem like she was guilty. I found out one of the bad guys once they had appeared. The second, involving The Eye (which is a group of hunters determined to kill any Prodigium)? Noot so much. Did not see that at all.
The characters were alright. Sophie was sarcastic most of the time and had no control over her temper whatsoever. Traditional teenage angst and hormones. Same ole, same ole. She wasn’t very smart, really. She kept getting caught up in the Trinity’s pranks, earning her cellar duty for a semester, and was basically mingling with the enemy. Both enemies. Jenna was such an awesome character, clad with faults and insecurities. She’s strong and brave for putting up with the rumors and murmurings that occurred behind her back. I felt so sympathetic for her when her story was revealed.
Archer was the stereotypical hunk that all the girls wanted to be with. I started out not liking him too much (I wanted Sophie to be with the groundskeeper, Cal), but after a while, he charmed me. Speaking of Cal, I loved him! I have no idea why, since he was in like... what, three scenes? I can’t shake this feeling that he will play a part in future novels. I felt like Hawkins was setting him up as an important character, possibly a love interest for Sophie or Sophie’s true betrothed.
My main gripe about this book was that some of the story was incongruent. One moment they’d be at a pond, the next Mrs. Casnoff was looking off past the lake. Nowhere in the book does it mention there’s a lake on the island. Another incident was when Sophie had the afternoon off, then Taylor had opened a door during Sophie’s phone call. Weren’t the students supposed to be in class? There were just a lot of things that didn’t add up.
I hated the cliffhanger!! =( Not hate in the bad way; hate in the I WANT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS RIGHT NAO RACHEL! kind of way. I’m definitely picking up Demonglass as soon as it publishes. I need to find out what happens!(less)
My. Bleeping. Goodness. Those three words were pretty much all I could think of while I was reading. It wa...moreRead the full review @ Frazzled Book Nommer.
My. Bleeping. Goodness. Those three words were pretty much all I could think of while I was reading. It was that good. I had been apprehensive about listening to all of the hype around Paranormalcy, and I’m mad that I waited until now to read it.
Paranormalcy has such a unique take on paranormals. There are paranormal beings that follow the general “guidelines” that we all know – vampires that drink blood, werewolves that become wolves during the full moon – but Kiersten makes them her own. Each paranormal has the ability to glamour themselves to humans, and each species had little distinctions that made them unique to “normal” paranormal mythology.
Evie was honestly one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She reminded me a bit of Sophie from Hex Hall and Rose from Vampire Academy mashed together. She’s witty, she’s snarky, she has attitude, and she carries around a badass pink taser. But she’s also extremely sheltered, innocent, lonely, and has insecurities. There are so many dimensions to Evie’s personality that I think I could keep writing a few more paragraphs just about her. She’s so dynamic and extremely vibrant. In a huge, “underground” paranormal world, Evie is definitely not normal and yearns to be normal. Evie was such a teenager: it was almost endearing to listen to her caring more about her favorite TV show and wearing pink clothing than tagging paranormals.
I freaking loved Lend. It was hard to not love Lend. He reminded me of your typical paranormal-next-door. At the beginning, he carries a lot of intrigue because we don’t know who this person is. We don’t know his powers or what he does. But as the story progresses, little bits and pieces of Lend come peeking through his “mask” as Evie and him become closer together. And that was probably the best part about Paranormalcy: Evie and Lend get to know each other before they even come close to being in a relationship. Whenever Lend got nervous around Evie, I would squeal like a little girl. It was so cute.
The pacing was great. I ended up finishing this book in a little under 5 hours (with distractions) – I was that hooked! The plot was so unique. Humans that try to control paranormals by “tagging” them? A girl who can see through the paranormals’ glamour? Mass-murders from a seemingly unknown source? Combine that altogether, along with kick ass characters, and you have a great story, which is exactly what Paranormalcy was. Paranormalcy only touches the edges of the world Kiersten has developed – there is a lot more to the world and I really wanted to find out more about it.
Just trust me when I say this: Paranormalcy is bleeping awesome!(less)
*Just a word of fore-warning: this review is based solely on fan-girling hysteria. Good day.
I’m sobbing as I write this review. My throat is so tight that I can barely gasp for breath. So I won’t be coherent, and I don’t care, because that just exemplifies how amazing this novel is.
This was the best thing about the book: I have never had my emotions so frayed by one single book before. The Body Finder did that to me. I was beguiled throughout the entire book. Kimberly is a genius, plain and simple. She would feed us something, but it wasn’t the entire truth, the bigger picture. She made me believe something happened, but in truth, something completely different happened. I was so close to the characters and so immersed in the plot that when the end rolled around, I was sobbing as I read. Like, sobbing hysterically. My mom came upstairs to check on me because I was apparently crying so loudly – I was that connected to the plot. I never saw the things that were coming, which I should have, but I was totally blindsided and mislead. I won’t ruin the ending for you all, but I will say this: Kimberly had played me damn hard and I fell for it.
The romance was UGH. It was unbelievably realistic and captivating. I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER been as giddy reading a book as I was with The Body Finder. Not even with Twilight. I was giggling like a schoolgirl, my heartbeat increased and my palms got sweaty... I’m sure my brother (who was in the other room) thought I was insane as I cackled with glee in my room. It was intense. It was so sweet and tender – I felt like I was falling in love (which I did). Because this romance story wasn’t a “Oh, I saw him and instantly fell in love” story. It was a gradual love story – Violet and Jay have been best friends since they were kids, and now Violet is developing feelings for Jay. She’s struggling with her feelings, worries over potentially ruining a life-long friendship, and the jealousy she feels over Jay giving other girls the time of day. I never would have thought that a novel involving murders and dead bodies would be as romantic as it was. BUT IT WAS. I give Violet and Jay the Kristina Stamp of Approval – A+.
Kimberly has a knack for portraying serial killers, especially ones who ,i>get off on the hunt and on killing. I was a bit surprised at how well she wrote the serial killer’s psyche – it was terrifying, it was disturbing, it was suspenseful, and it was intense. I’m glad that she put in so many passages including the serial killer, because we got a glimpse of the sick and harrowing thoughts that ran through his head as he hunted for his prey.
I loved the main character, Violet. I connected with her so much, maybe because I would have chosen the decisions she had made. She has a good head on her shoulders, even if she’s drawn to precarious situations, and usually tries to make rational decisions. She acts off her emotions sometimes, but honestly, who doesn’t? That’s what I loved about this book – I felt like I was reading about real life teenagers, not just a teenager portrayed by a writer. I loved that her parents were actively involved in her life, as was her uncle, and they were supportive 85% of the time.
Lastly, screw Edward Cullen. I want Jay Heaton! I fell in love with him before I even realized it. He’s such a great character – ,i>everything I’d want in a guy. He’s protective, caring, gentle, quirky and humorous, gets jealous in really cute ways... I felt myself falling in love with him just as much as Violet was. He would always say things that made me giggle like one of the hysterical girls pining for him. He was superbly written and realistic – a lot of his reactions are what I’d expect from a teenage boy.
I had reservations about reading this book, because I can’t do scary at all. But The Body Finder was the scary I could do. While it was suspenseful and creepy and involved a lot of dead bodies and precarious situations, it wasn’t over-the-top scary. The romance in the book definitely put a balance to all of the murders and dead-body craziness. The pacing was great – not too fast, not too slow. Just right. I felt like I couldn’t get through the pages fast enough! Kimberly’s prose was amazing, and she was able to weave together a tale filled with suspense and romance almost seamlessly. Did I mention I <3 Jay?!
I highly, highly recommend this book. It easily topped my favorite books of all time.(less)
Everything you learned about werewolves in other novels, throw (most) of it out. In Raised by Wolves, werewolves don’t get bit – they’re born with the...moreEverything you learned about werewolves in other novels, throw (most) of it out. In Raised by Wolves, werewolves don’t get bit – they’re born with the trait, and only the males. An occasional rare female is born into the pack, but always in a pair (twins). They have super speed, even in human form, and are allergic to silver.
Bronwyn (Bryn) was raised amongst these wolves, and she’s your typical rebellious teenager: angsty, back talker, and ruler breaker all rolled into one. She’s human, and adopted into the pack, which sets her out to be an outcast, a misfit. She struggles to maintain independence in a pack she’d lose herself in. For almost 9 years, she refrained from opening up her pack bond, which would have taken hold of her once she opened it up. While she retained most of her personality at the end of the book, she no longer annoyed me – she became headstrong and had to fight to keep a hold of what she loved and believed in. The back talk also receded (more or less, I guess).
Of course, where would a paranormal novel be without a hunky werewolf to come on a silver platter? (Okay well, maybe not, since Jennifer’s werewolves are allergic to silver =P). I had a difficult time with Chase. I obviously loved him from the beginning (he had a sort of “bad boy” pull on me), but I just couldn’t come to terms with his and Bryn’s relationship. A lot of it happened off-screen, such as their Markings (which binds them together). Most of the romance involved Bryn and Chase claiming over and over that their counterpart was theirs. It danced around the central plot of the book – everything was more focused on the werewolves than their romance. We get one kiss and a few wolfy nuzzles. So if you’re looking for fleshed out romance, just turn away.
I can’t tell you how much I loved so many of the characters. I usually don’t love as many characters as I did for this book. For one, Callum. Sure, he was portrayed as the “bad guy”, the betrayer. But I can’t shake off this love I felt for him since the beginning of the book. Devon was such a bad-ass friend – metrosexual werewolf? YES PLEASE. Lake was equally awesome – blunt, kick ass, and strong. She named her gun Matilda. If that doesn’t scream quirky to you, I dunno what will. I loved that there was a central adult figure in Bryn’s life – Ali, despite being human, was a strong woman who cared most about keeping her loved ones safe. I wanted to hug her for the sacrifices she had to go to just to save Bryn’s butt. Katie (she was so cute in her puppy werewolf form) and Alex were as adorable as any babies could be portrayed in a novel, and so was Lily. Just... SO much love for a lot of the characters.
The pacing was decent and rarely lagged. There wasn’t that much action, but rather everything was explained in concise details and without dragging things on. I had a bit of trouble with the format and the way the events played out – it isn’t done so conventionally. When Bryn basically starts up a new way of life at the 60% mark of the book, I had trouble accepting it – I was ready for rising action, not reverting back to a new intro!
The plot was slightly predictable – there was only one time that I was surprised (and it was a mild surprise, at that). Everything just flowed in such a way that Jennifer basically led up to certain events, and when you got to them, you knew what was going to go down. The constant presence of the Rabid – lone wolf that kills humans – was prevalent throughout the majority of the book. We never really got to forget about him.
I think out of all the werewolf novels I’ve been reading lately, this has to be my favorite by far. There are so many untold secrets, betrayals, and struggles that were dealt with in this novel. The characters were enjoyable, and the plot was refreshing and constantly in motion. A definite must-read. (less)