This novel drove me insane and up the wall. It made me feel like jumping, screaming and crying in absolute joy! Shatter Me is most definitely one of the best books of 2011, if not ever. I was completely encompassed in Mafi's powerful imagery, her fierce characters and the earth-shattering romance. Shatter Me is a one-sitting read because you will not be able to pull your eyes away. It's just impossible.
The novel doesn't take time in the beginning to slowly educate readers about the dying society and Juliette's past. We're immediately thrown into the action, joining Juliette and her new cell mate, Adam, in an asylum. The world building is amazing and the facts build on in layers as the story unfolds, never burying us with too much information or being too brief. It's perfect.
Juliette has the ability to kill with skin to skin contact. Her parents think she's a monster and she's now been in her cell for 264 days by the order of the Reestablishment, which promises to better the world. Immediately, Adam makes a large impact on Juliette. She doesn't speak to him, she wants to speak to him, she avoids his touch, she's desperate for his touch, she doesn't want to know him, she knows him…Shatter Me is unique with its striked-out text, showing us what Juliette says and what she really thinks, means or wants to say. Another dimension is inserted into the novel and this method of writing is so so effective. As she comes out of her shell and blossom's under Adam's care, these strikes appear less and less, symbolising her growing freedom of speech around others. I love it!
Just when we're getting used to their stay in the cell, everything is turned upside down. Betrayals, secrets, revelations and plots….we're playing a whole different game. Warner, a nineteen year old soldier in control of an entire sector, wishes to use Juliette's power to torture. Let the action begin. Juliette is an amazingly fierce character, never wanting to do wrong and always wanting to do right. Her resilience is empowering and heart-warming, as is Adam's poorly masked affection for her. These two characters will take you on a breathtaking journey that you never ever want to end. There is so much substance behind their romance and its strength will surprise everyone. Factor in Adam's strange immunity to her touch of death and…you can see where this is going, right? Are you getting excited? Are you picturing the amazing things that happen in this book? Tears were actually brought to my eyes at their romance - genuine and beautiful is the only way to describe it, yet it's not good enough at all!
I have a feeling that if I go on, I'll blow your minds with my endless gushing. Never any dull moments. Fact. Powerful romance. Fact. Brilliant characterisation. Fact. Exciting and "OH MY GOD I NEED THE SEQUEL NOW" ending. Fact. An utterly speechless and mind-blown reader. Fact. You should read this book right now. Fact. My 5 star rating is actually a 50 in disguise. FACT.(less)
How do I even begin to review this amazing book? Not only do we have five (count 'em, FIVE!) male characters you will go absolutely insane for, but the story involves the exciting powers of the elements. I'm a huge sucker for these types of stories so I think I was in big trouble before I even started! Storm is filled with intense action that we begin experience at oh.. page two? After Becca gives a lacklustre performance in her self-defence class, she's horrified to hear the sounds of a vicious fight brewing in the dark parking lot. Caught between the urge to flee and help the outnumbered boy, Becca's decision will change her life forever.
Being a work of fiction, the heroine obviously races in to save her Prince Charming and what a fine choice it was! Physically, she was no match, but after giving Chris Merrick her bottle of water… Villains, watch out! Gifted with the element of water, we soon discover that his three brothers possess the others: fire, earth and air. The storyline of Storm is consuming and suspenseful, with bullies who are more dangerous than they really let on and cryptic Guides lurking in the background waiting to spring up and attack. It's an entire adventure just to uncover one secret, and the author easily strings us along in her manipulative clutches. Things that seem insignificant at first come to haunt you later on in the story (keep your eyes open for the foreshadowing!!) and suddenly everything will make sense like a big conspiracy. Kemmerer, you are the queen of twisty stories. Please continue to amaze us with your ability to keep tabs on six main characters and write consistent dual narratives.
The Merrick brothers and Hunter will easily make you revert back to your fangirly teenage selves. Each one of the characters is unique and wonderfully developed by Kemmerer, although we'll receive even deeper insight in the following sequels. Think the Perfect Chemistry series, but in roughly the same time frame, with more story variation and contribution to the overall story arc. You can look forward to a different story every time you open a book of Kemmerer's, but you'll still be very closely surrounded by all of the characters you love! Nick and Gabriel are twins, the former being a self-proclaimed hottie and the latter simply a dirty, hot, shameless Adonis flirt. *coughs* You will have no problem at all falling for their charm but you'll have to get in line.. There's a permanent one right outside their bedroom door. *points* Michael is a little harder to relate to with his abrasive personality and tendency to think the worst of people, but as we discover his devastating past (read about in the prequel, Elemental - highly recommended!), it becomes a little easier. Hugs, anyone?
The relationships Becca forms with Chris and Hunter are easily the highlight of the book. While we like to hope for wonderful romances from the get-go, Chris always did like to make things difficult! He's ungrateful and short with Becca even after she saves his life, but it's soon clear as day that the poor boy is suffering from ATTRACTION AND NERVES. So when he grows a pair and sits at her school lunch table? *faints* What a wonderful example of a well-developed relationship without the horrible insta-love. Even though there is probably more plot than romance, it's just written in a way that makes its importance undeniable. And when you throw in the mysterious new kid who's tattooed, pierced and not afraid to be badass? *picks self up from floor and faints again* After Hunter and his fierce German Shepherd, Casper, save Becca from Chris' bullies, their friendship blossoms from there and leaves Becca unexpectedly torn. Hunter is much more straightforward with his affection for her (everyone swoon at their epic kisses now!) but there's no way she can just forget about the alluring Chris. Oh I could just go on and on about why both are amazing but I fear you might slap me in the face or decide you're going to steal them for yourselves.. Not happening.
Becca was a brilliant protagonist and it was wonderful watching her "rise to power" and gaining her strength. She overcomes the slut label Drew McKay sticks on her forehead and proves to the Merrick brothers that she's after more than just a ride. She's an essential element to their survival and once again, the intriguing story is able to capture this really well. Exciting and supported by a cast of magnificent characters, Storm is the first book of what will be a favourite series of mine. If you want a book with complicated relationships between family, untrustworthy characters and shocking twists, look no further because Kemmerer has bundled it up in this beautiful blue package and slapped Chris' face on it. Grab a bib and enjoy! (less)
With such a beautiful cover, I expected the story to have the same impact on me and it most definitely did. The Glimpse speaks of a world that marginalises and alienates those who are "ill", determined by a DNA test created by Ariana Barber's father. When discovered that her Pure status is an error, she's given one month to marry Jasper Taurell, otherwise she'll be thrown out with the Crazies and separated from the only life she's ever known. Then Jasper tells her he has a big secret, one big enough to kill and die for, and soon mysteriously disappears. She's forced to find him before her one month is up and discovers dark and magnificent things about her world in the process...
The romance in The Glimpse sold it for me. You'll find out who he is when you read the book, but Cole made me swoon like no other. He and Ana don't exactly meet on friendly terms and there's a constant shroud of mystery surrounding him, but he's a mature MAN who will make your heart flutter with his charm and strength. Cole's intelligent, artistic and all kinds of caring too! You'll find that there are multiple groups of people within this society and their motivations and end goals are a complete secret. We don't know where Cole exactly stands so there's always a bit of apprehension when it comes to giving our complete hearts to him. Nevertheless, he's an amazing love interest that will make the sequel very exciting. The book ends on quite the cliffhanger, so I can't wait to see how the story ends!
For a dystopian book, it has a perfect amount of suspense and action. From Jasper's secret missions to Cole's involvement with the Enlightenment Project, you'll be left confused and dying to uncover the truths that are being concealed from all directions. The government is obviously corrupt and we see the stages of this unfold before our eyes with even more shocking betrayals being added to the mix as well. Ana's father is a puzzle and we can't crack him even when the book ends. Throughout The Glimpse, it's very unclear whether he's on Ana's side or not, and whether he's guilty of...many bad things. There's also a story behind Ana's mother's death and… Guh. Merle misleads us and takes us through so many twists, you'll feel like you're walking a tightrope! I was tense and suspicious throughout, a true testament to Merle's great storytelling and building of suspense.
As much as Merle develops her characters, her world is paid equal attention to. It's 2041 and there are 304 catalogued mental illnesses. I really enjoyed exploring the two split societies, a perfect and Pure gated community and an unpredictable "outside world". Jasper's secret is related to a big conspiracy theory and it eventually becomes a fast-paced pursuit for the truth. We question, not only the reliability of the government but also, Jasper's mission. Could it all be a wild goose chase? Oh how Merle keeps us on our toes! I loved the pacing and development of the story, and had only issues in the middle section where it slowed down a little and was difficult to read (emotionally tough!). Apart from that, a brilliant story.
I'm telling you, there are useful clues and red herrings all over this book. You most likely won't be able to tell them apart so Merle will pick at your brain to her heart's content and leave you gasping by the end of it! I'm desperate to know how the characters will go on after the big final scene, and see how the consequences of Jasper's secret affects the society. It was almost twist after twist and entire situations would change with every revelation. Nothing in this book is clear cut black or white so the characters really struggle to decide which side they're playing for. Ana and Cole are fantastic leading characters with sizzling chemistry that will make The Glimpse even more entertaining and engaging than it already is! I have very high hopes for book 2 and I'm keen to finally get all of the answers. At the end of the day, The Glimpse had me feeling confused, angry and fuzzy in cyclic phases and I just adore the mystery of this book. (less)
Team Human caught me by real surprise. After my initial hesitation at reading a vampire book that sounded heavy on the romance, I realised it was actually a parody of the paranormal insta-love that's not unusual to find in YA these days! We've all seen them before… And you know those awful books which try to be funny but fail? Well, Team Human certainly doesn't fall into that group. It had me in stitches and I was shocked by how witty Mel was! Full credit must go to the authors for providing me with such entertainment and I now know that I'll happily read more from them both in the future!
Mel Duan is the vampire-hating, rude and unsympathetic best friend of Cathy, a typical teenage girl who's fallen head over heels in love with Francis Suvarney. He's over 150 years old, silent, brooding, mysterious and chivalrous. Hmm, right... How very unique of him! Let's not forget that he's easily scandalised by the forward behaviour of modern females too! Cue the eye rolls now because Cathy and Francis get sickeningly sweet from here on out. Mel obviously feels the same, as she tries relentlessly to discourage their affections for each other but to no avail . Although Mel is overbearing at times, she has good intentions and it eventually became humorous and very justified. I love her! Brennan and Larbalestier do a wonderful job at poking fun at the over the top human/vamp relationship and were able to show us the not so ideal and glamorous side of it.
I really enjoyed the mysteries found in Team Human. The vampires in this book are traditional for the most part but there are a few fun changes that play an important part in the events that occur. As well as preventing Cathy from turning into a vampire (RISKY!), Mel's busy investigating the whereabouts of the principal's ex-husband. He supposedly ran away to be with a hot vamp but…what if that's not the case at all? Mel also thinks Francis is up to something shady, so many aspects of this book do overlap and we're left to wonder how they all relate to each other! The action amps up during the final section of the book but I found it to be too short-lived and the resolution too simple! However, it can be forgiven because of everything else that's great about the book.
During one of her stalk sessions, Mel finds herself in Francis's house and meets Kit, a human boy who was raised by vampires after being abandoned by his real parents and left for dead. His "mother" Camille is a badass cop and this trio of characters were my favourite to watch together. They had an amusing yet sweet bond with each other and the male banter…where do I start? For all that she preaches, Mel is completely oblivious to Kit's affection for her. I must have 'aww'ed a million times at his cuteness. He smiles whenever she giggles and always looks to please her. I obviously liked this pair, despite the fact that there was never really a romance shown between them in the book. Team Human doesn't focus on the romances themselves very much but the ending definitely leaves things open for interpretation! ;)
Overall, these two authors make a wonderful team and write extremely well together. I would've liked to have explored Mel and Cathy's friendship more, as well as between them and the boys, but Team Human isn't a book to take too seriously. It's hysterically funny and will put a smile on your face in the short amount of time it'll take you to fly through it! I bow down to the authors for their bottomless pit of jokes and willingness to create some seriously kooky characters, while still providing some heart-warming and more serious moments too. The book covers all the bases! (less)
After Obsession is a creepy supernatural read with some truly chilling moments - don't read it at night! If you're looking for a nice blend of romance and supernatural thriller, this is the book for you! Aimee Avery and Alan Parson alternate as narrators as they both deal with the consequences of a suspicious drowning. Courtney, Aimee's best friend and Alan's cousin, has summoned a ruthless demon in her attempts to bring back her dead father. Will she make it out alive? Why is this demon so focused on Maine?
As Courtney begins displaying the symptoms of possession, the people in her life begin to behave strangely. Take Aimee's usually sweet boyfriend, Blake, for example. He becomes jealous, cruel and violent after the arrival of Native American, Alan, going to frightening lengths to keep her in his life. Everyone around Courtney has elevated levels of sadness and aggression, and it's not long before the whole town is poisoned by the demon's presence. I really enjoyed seeing Aimee and Alan work together to solve the mystery of the demon! We discover that it's been around for a while and has been involved in many other deaths….all very alarming stuff! The demon taunts, terrorises and plays with our minds, and we're constantly thrown for a loop as the unexpected keeps occurring. Both Aimee and Alan have their own unique supernatural abilities so anything is possible!
While After Obsession has its creepy moments, it has its fair share of sweet and funny ones too! Aimee's always witty and Alan's the cheeky type, so we've got endless entertainment. Their relationship blossoms slowly as they go from acquaintances, to friends and finally to lovers. Although I liked seeing how their relationship grew, I didn't find their romance mind-blowing. This was probably due to my difficulty of connecting with the characters on a personal level. I followed their lives but didn't get sucked in and emotionally invested like I usually do, which is a shame! I think the character development was sacrificed a little for the plot, but the novel is still enjoyable. There are precious moments between the main characters, their friends, siblings, parents and other family members which are sweet and should put a smile on your face!
If you're in for something a little different, definitely give this book a try! We're able to explore ancient myths, American Indian history and more. Alan brings something unique to the story with his background and I think you'll enjoy it! I didn't realise that two authors co-wrote this book until the acknowledgements page (I know, I'm SO observant) but they worked so well together, I didn't notice the switches at all! After Obsession is sure to please thriller/supernatural fans.(less)
Esmerine and Dosinia are the first two sirens in the Lorremen bloodline, holding prestigious titles that will gift their family with special magic forever. When a mermaid becomes a siren, they receive a belt from which they can draw power, but it can also be their undoing. If a man were to steal that belt, they would forever be his property and lose their tail to legs. When Dosinia mysteriously disappears after speaking about her two human male friends, Esmerine makes it her mission to find her sister and to discover what happened. Not only can a man steal the belt but a mermaid can offer it while in love, pledging their faith to the human race forever. So which category does Dosinia fall under?
One thing I really enjoyed about this novel was its merfolk and siren lore. I liked that sirens were specifically chosen for the job and that they were tasked with diverting warships, sinking boats which went over their fishing limit, and motoring sea traffic. They didn't simply sing to seduce and kill men, but pledged to protect their kind from humans while disregarding their own desires. In a historical world that's aware of the supernatural, seeing Esmerine transform into a human is an wonderful sight. In constricting dresses and feet which hurt with every step, Esme is out of her element and doesn't know how she will traverse the bustling town of Sormesen. While I was interested in Esmerine's travels and search for her sister, I didn't get the feeling that this novel had a large conflict or climax. It was more of a journey over the entire book, rather than anything with a real complication.
While on land, Esmerine gets word that her best childhood friend, Alander, may be working in a bookshop. As children, the winged boy (a fandarsee) would teach her how to read and write, sharing tales which depicted princesses getting their princes and young girls embarking on magical journeys. Both were devastated when Alan had to attend the Academy before he was to become a messenger. Contact was lost for four years and their reunion was not at all like Esme expected. Nowhere to be seen were the tight hugs and reminiscent conversations she imagined, but an unfriendly man who was only interested in the academic side of literature. When Alan agrees to fly Esme to the mountains for the search, their relationship slowly rekindles while swooping over the colourful landscape. Small moments of tenderness are seen and it's all very sweet! I wouldn't call this an epic romance with a ton of depth, but it's nice if you're looking for something light-hearted.
Between the Sea and Sky doesn't market itself as a serious fantasy, but as a quick, fresh and fun read with a fairytale feel. If simple and innocent relationships do it for you, you'll be delighted with the love Alander and Esmerine share. I enjoyed the nice escape it provided me with but won't be shelving it as a favourite. I love novels with substance, so it was a little difficult for me to be thrown into a world where everything seemed a little too easy and without large consequence or conflict. With more character and plot development, this could've been a great novel! Nevertheless, you'll be pleased with the sweet conclusion that gives everyone their happily ever after. (less)
It was just an ordinary day when a young man kneeled down by Eloise's feet and called her "my lady". Suddenly, her life becomes entangled with danger when she's told someone's out to get her and discovers she must resist all temptations in order to stay alive. After being kidnapped by Lord Strahan who wants to lure out her aunt Antonia, the next Queen of Faery, she immerses herself in a magical world where she can't trust anyone or anything... A charming novel that's enjoyable for all!
The first thing that caught my attention about Stolen Away was the characters. With friends like Jo (man-eater) and Devin (self-proclaimed hottie), El's life is far from boring although it's about to get a whole lot more complicated… Throughout the book, El's family and friends are largely involved with her kidnapping and release, working together to beat the impossible odds. I loved how the story was told from two perspectives (El and Jo), allowing us to experience two totally different journeys. The characters really made the book work, although I do wish we had been able to explore them and the world more thoroughly, as they remained very slightly two-dimensional.
With two perspectives come two romances. Yes, you read that correctly… Kidnapped El has a love interest, as does the main's character best friend, who, might I add, is quite amazing herself. I'll admit I loved Jo the most as a character and adored her love story! It was dark, seductive, dangerous and riddled with the types of complications you know you should avoid. Did I mention the mystery? Have fun turning over some stones in that head of yours! Hot Rock Star Guy is like a maths equation... Le sigh. Down in her prison cell, El's haunted by the other captured fae and the thoughts of her striking knight in shining armour, Lucas. They certainly have their sweet moments but they're not together nearly enough! While both romances were specked with insta-love, I managed to enjoy them for what they were ;)
Overall, an entertaining read by Alyxandra Harvey, whose Haunting Violet I adored. It was great to reunite with her elegant style again and roll around in the troughs full of romance and humour. If I were to complain about anything it would be the ending. Even now I'm asking, "Is that it?" because things aren't fully resolved and I'm left hanging! Another few pages would've done the trick. But nevertheless, give this book a try if you're in the mood for a supernaturally fun read! (less)
It's been two weeks since Adam and Juliette arrived at Omega Point. While Juliette is training her powers to be of greater use in the war against the Reestablishment, Adam is keeping secrets and undergoing mysterious tests with Castle. I never imagined that I'd be giving this novel anything less than 5 sparkling gold stars, but while there were many terrific things about Unravel Me, there were also a few very disappointing ones too.
My favourite thing about Shatter Me was the characters. Although vulnerable in some ways, they were strong and independent and always found a way to deal with whatever was thrown at them. At the beginning of this novel, Juliette is almost unbearable. People at Omega Point are terrified of her and she fails to make much progress with her training, so she throws herself a pity party because she feels useless! I was very sympathetic towards her situation at first but she took it a bit too far. Then when Adam begins pulling away for unknown reasons, she becomes even more upset and all she thinks about is Adam Adam Adam Adam Adam. We're at war, girl! WOMAN UP! Adam isn't too much better in the man department, avoiding her and trying to play hero like he knows best. Mafi does, of course, eventually turn things around. Juliette's growth as a character was phenomenal! I was in awe of the powers she discovered and her new-found mental strength. The characters go through quite a bit in this novel so by the end, they're all in the right frame of mind and ready for some badassery in book 3!
Adam and Juliette's relationship was always a high point for me too. In Shatter Me, it was flawless and all kinds of delicious! In this sequel, their love is really stretched to the limits as Adam discovers something shocking, hence the secretive tests. Unfortunately, both characters make some VERY questionable decisions in Unravel Me. This leads me to talk about the love triangle… We always knew that Warner would become a love interest and I actually didn't mind it in Shatter Me. Although he was a big villain, we could see that there was something there beneath that tough exterior, a good side, a good person who was just a product of his environment. I like him, really, but the sudden relationship that sprung up between him and Juliette…I wasn't the biggest fan of. I'm probably the only person who didn't fallen head over heels for him. I honestly thought I would before I began reading, but feeling sorry for him and finding out about his past isn't enough! I thought he was a great character who brought a lot of things to this novel, but my issues with Juliette's behaviour and decisions stopped me from just letting go and going into swoon mode.
I really enjoyed the direction the story took in terms of the fight against the Reestablishment. I would've liked to have learned more about Omega Point but perhaps that'll happen in the next book. While Unravel Me isn't as fast-paced as Shatter Me, it has some great twists which should lead to extremely interesting things in the future. Some twists present challenges or new opportunities and others simply make life more difficult. I can't wait to see how Mafi deals with these! I'm also hoping the secondary characters come into play just a bit more, seeing as they faded into the background a little in this book. Kenji was the exception. Front and centre, that adorable flirt never failed to make me smile!
Overall, Unravel Me was very enjoyable despite some moments where I felt like slapping some sense into certain characters. It wasn't the exciting, heart-pounding action story I was hoping for, based on the way the previous book ended, but I have high hopes that these characters will come out guns blazing in book three! Unfortunately it was a bit of a bridging book to me but I'm happy with the new developments and look forward to seeing them through to the end! (less)
My favourite thing about this series is how the Lee Nichols always manages to weave light-hearted humour in amongst the tense action and suspense. No longer is Emma having fun discovering her powers, but forced to train like a warrior in order to defeat Neos before he overthrows the Knell. As she visits the Knell HQ with Bennett, the two find themselves under a surprise attack and realise everything they've ever believed was false. Not only is the Knell unsafe from their enemies, but ghostkeeping powers are changing, with abilities being able to be used in reverse.
After Neos killed her friend and sort-of crush, Coby, Emma becomes the school outcast and is blamed for the golden boy's "suicide". If you loved his character in Deception, you'll be over the moon when you see him summoned as a ghost. He's impossibly better looking and even funnier than before! There's just something about being able to fly around and be cheeky all the time.. Along with Coby, Simon and Lukas are new additions to the cast from the Knell, the former acting as their strict trainer and guardian, and the latter as a loveable flirt. Lukas really takes cute to another level. His constant tongue-in-cheek humour will make you giggle and fall in love - I know he's my favourite character!
"Where?” Natalie said. Then she blurted, “Hey! Lukas!” “Sorry, dude,” he apologized. “I thought you were a street sign.” “Yeah? Well, it says, ‘No Groping.’ ” Now I felt like saying “bloody teenagers.
At the beginning of Betrayal, Emma and Bennett are the sweetest couple for miles but things begin falling apart after the attack at HQ. Even though Bennett is willing to give up his ghostkeeping powers to be with Emma, he decides to stay in New York with the Knell, refusing to be with her until they've killed Neos. It was heartbreaking to see them separated because Emma seems alone and lost in thought most of the time, dealing with all of her issues internally. I greatly missed the affection and banter she shared with Bennett, along with their easy closeness. But as the novel progresses, we learn shocking secrets about Bennett…ones that could ruin his life forever. You won't believe your eyes! How will they fix this?
Fans of Deception, you'll love the mystery and fast-paced action of this sequel. Neos plays the characters like puppets and Betrayal is one twist after another. It's got to stop some time, right?? Emma becomes an even stronger character, balancing her need to heal her friends' hearts, look after ghost Coby, save her relationship with Bennett, get into contact with her MIA family, kill Neos and bat away a mind-controlling siren! Her plate is overflowing yet she manages to keep her head and remain focused. With traitors and confusing riddles all around, expect another entertaining novel that will have you extremely excited for the third book!(less)
After three books, this much loved series has finally come to a close. The previous book ended with Bennett being addicted to the drug, asarum, and Emma trying to prevent it from tearing apart their relationship. Neos continued on his rampage to destroy the ghostkeepers but the final battle is now just around the corner… I felt that Surrender lacked something I can't put my finger on in the character department, but it still delivered on the humour and entertainment.
It was interesting watching the romance between Emma and Bennett develop over the series. Their love was initially forbidden because Bennett was her brother's best friend, and then because of the fact that only one ghostkeeper in the relationship could keep their powers. It's been an uphill struggle, with some sweet moments thrown in, but things reach the peak of crazy and confusing in Surrender. One minute, they're making out (and continuously getting walked in on by their parents…awkward…) and in the next they're all angsty with the issue of Bennett's drug addiction. I couldn't help but want to smack him in this book! Yes, he had good intentions but his attitude just didn't sit well with me. Now would be the time to growl at asurum's evil side-effects... As it was the last book, I was expecting them to get back together pretty early on but Nichols does a good job at making us wait! I wanted their love to be stronger and more prominent in this story, but overall I'm pleased with how things turned out for them.
The creep factor gets amped up many notches as Neos becomes desperate and steps up his own game. The gang concludes that he's going to go after his remains so that they can't be destroyed by others. When? Where? Who knows! Everyone's on their tippy toes. A race to find them ensues, people get possessed, Emma has strange visions and Bennett begins keeping (more) secrets. What's everyone up to? Of course, I'm not telling you because you deserve to be kept in the dark too! I really enjoyed the final few fight scenes. As always, they were exciting and had great build up.
Surrender's final chapter is beautiful and very satisfying. Every character gets their shining moment, whether it's a bittersweet farewell or a look at the great things awaiting them, and every little end is tied up neatly. Although it's sad for me to let these wonderful characters go, I'm happy to know that they're all in good places now, wherever that may be in the world. I definitely recommend this series to those who want a fun adventure, even though this last book didn't blow me away ;)(less)
When Delaney Maxwell falls into a newly-frozen lake and is trapped under the ice, Decker Phillips is held back by his friends and unable to save her immediately. Being under for eleven minutes, she should be 100% dead. She's alive. Her doctors say she's brain dead and will remain in her coma. She wakes up. The cat scans of her extremely damaged brain show that she should have memory loss, a speech impediment and so much more. She's fine. Fracture follows the mystery of the strange pull the dead have on Delaney, as she battles to understand her ability and save those she's drawn to. Troy Varga believes they can't save anyone and shockingly takes things into his own hands, becoming desperate with his own agenda. While I did enjoy the book and love the concept, Fracture didn't suck me in and earn itself a "favourite" label.
I enjoy mystery books. I love the suspense and adventure that comes with them, which is what Fracture lacks, in my opinion. I felt as if the mysteries, secrets and twists were very obvious and couldn't believe Delaney wasn't figuring things out immediately! She is in a fragile mental state, however, so we'll give her a pass... The novel deals very much with Delaney's tough recovery, filled with parents who think she's hallucinating, friends who become angry at her unusual survival, boys who twist the wires in her brain and strangers who die soon after she predicts. Many decisions contribute to the one outcome and I liked how they were all connected!
Decker is Delaney's best friend and has been her neighbour for even longer. From the very beginning, it's apparent he has feelings for her, although Delaney's completely oblivious. I drove myself insane with the romance in this book! There are misunderstandings all around and other love interests come to stir the pot too. When Decker busies himself with a gorgeous girl, Delaney gets involved with Troy and doesn't correct Decker on her relationship with Carson, his best friend. There are fickle love triangles and squares everywhere, and you can't help but feel sympathetic for Delaney since she's just very confused. These relationships are a very large part of the novel because they impact on Delaney's decisions, mental state and so much more. I think Miranda developed them well, but I didn't hugely like or become invested in any of the characters.
Fracture is a novel that will make you thoughtful, but isn't filled with any fast-paced action or gripping mystery. The plot and characters are developed slowly and will feed your curiosity little by little as you progress! Although I did like the ending, I didn't feel completely satisfied or as if it affected me as much as it should've, but nevertheless, you may fall in love with this book much more than I did so give it a go! I think it had great potential but just didn't quite work out for me as planned! (less)
Libba Bray has been on the crazy pill and I will gladly be her supplier if she continues to pump out magnificent comedies such as Beauty Queens. What begins as a funny satirisation of beauty pageants and reality television transforms into a rich story about friendships, trust, survival and secrets. Enemies become friends, friends become enemies, friends become lovers… Every change you could possibly imagine is present in this novel, as is almost every race, sexual orientation and IQ level. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it to everyone!
In the beginning, a plane full of beauty queens and crew members flew high in the air. Then tragedy struck, and they all came tumbling down, down, down, down, onto a deserted island. Less than ten remained. At first, I found it difficult to relate to the many characters and to what was happening. Adina? Petra? Who are these people? But funnily enough, after the first few chapters you will know who they all are, what they look like, what their aspirations are and what personalities they have. In a very short amount of time, you will feel attached to these girls and you'll find that one or two will rise above the rest to become your favourites. Whether you like the strong but vulnerable type or the dumb but adorable type… There's a beauty for you! Personally, I adored Miss Mississippi the most. Tiara isn't the sharpest tool in the shed but she has a sweet heart, adorable humour and a brain hidden away behind those looks!
What I love about this novel is the way each of the girls have a story, which have shaped them into the people they are today. Their seemingly useless extracurricular activities and assignments help them to survive on the island by building shelter, finding food, attracting planes, and more! Way to rock our world, Bray! Each individual storyline is gripping and I could have easily read much more about each. The friendships formed are so endearing and you can only hope that they'll all make it off the island unscathed, still good friends and as better people than they arrived as.
There's a mysterious Operation Peacock at work on this island, run by a group of people preventing the rescue of these beauty queens. Who are they and what do they want? This was more comical than anything else. Paired with hilarious "commercial breaks" and product advertisements, I could not stop laughing! Despite this being a comedy, there are some big twists in Beauty Queens. Some people aren't who they say they are and this leads to some interesting outcomes... Be prepared for your jaw to drop!
All in all, this is a wonderful book that everyone must read. It's not all jokes and laughs - there are serious moments, sad moments and sexy moments too! Many will enjoy the abundant pop culture references and the not-so-subtle jokes. Thoroughly entertaining through and through, Beauty Queens will steal your heart and make you laugh until you cry!(less)
Drink Slay Love is a fabulous coming-of-age tale with a twist you'll love. This playful novel with serious undertones will wriggle its way into your heart as you become determined to see Pearl transform into a good person. After being staked by a unicorn, Pearl begins displaying signs of humanity and isn't hindered by typical vampire obstacles. With the Fealty Ceremony (a celebration of vampire adulthood) looming around the corner, her family begins preparations to host this grand event and it's up to Pearl to find human snacks. Unfortunately, her simple task spins out of control when she begins questioning her morals. Pearl's family consists of true bloodthirsty vampires who aren't concerned with the lives of lowly humans, and as she begins making true friends with the "food" at her new school, Pearl finds herself desperate to save them from the horrors that await them at her house. How will she protect her friends and please her family at the same time? Or will she have to pick a side?
Pearl's development as a character is spectacular. At the beginning of the novel she is your run-of-the-mill bad vampire. She seduces and taunts her prey, which she likes the flavour with ice-cream before going in for the drink. Imagine her surprise when she begins experiencing emotions like compassion, guilt and love! Throughout this journey, Pearl stays true to herself, being a strong individual with a streak for the extreme. Sarcastic as ever, she approaches the human lifestyle with flair and isn't afraid to be dramatic. Have fun seeing her outrageous outfits and stomping routines on unsuspecting car roofs! Your heart will go out to her as she removes herself from her overbearing family to do the right thing. Everything she's ever known has disappeared with a stab to the heart but she'll do what she can to make the most of her unique situation.
Of course, even vampires aren't immune to love. After several chance meetings with one Evan Karkadann, she finds that she can't resist his in-built nature to help and protect. As the two form a friendship which, of course, develops into something more, it doesn't matter that she's already promised herself to her vampire boyfriend, Jadrien. While he only sees Pearl's title and stunning looks, Evan sees inside her soul for the big heart she has. Doesn't that make you melt just a little? Caring and sweet, he'll take Pearl on a rollercoaster ride that'll change her life forever.
If you want to fall in love with a book that boasts strong characters, Drink Slay Love is for you. Don't hesistate as I did because I can assure you this is an touching story with substance. Mixed in with side-splitting moments of hilarity and subtle romance, it shouldn't be missed! Along with Pearl and her crazy family, you'll fall in love with the human cast, from wannabe vampire hunters to sweet best friends. Navigate through the clever mystery of Pearl's life as the novel deals with themes of self-discovery, the meaning of true friends and family loyalty. Drink Slay Love is utterly unique and will have you shelving it as a favourite for sure!(less)
Penny Drummond has just stumbled onto a priceless gem in her very own school library, one that could make her dream of being a renowned journalist a reality. When a mystery boy flees the scene of the crime without checking out his book, Penny's curiosity draws her to his computer screen…only to find the page stuck on loveshyforum.com. According to Penny, a boy who's love shy likes classical music, citrus fruits, romantic (but not comedic) movies, has a weird relationship with his mother and is allergic to milk or wool. Could there really be one of these in her school? Okay, so maybe she's a little off base...but full points for determination and diligence! Penny will stop at nothing to figure out the nooks and crannies of this condition and may just get a few lovely shocks about herself along the way.
Throughout this humorous book, Penny chases after the confounding PEZZimist, who she discovers owns a blog in which he expresses his private thoughts. With his blog entries in mind and a yearbook in hand, she combs her entire year level in search of his true identity, conducting interviews with every single boy in a process of elimination. I enjoyed these hilarious interrogations immensely because we were immediately able to see how outgoing and straightforward she was, unafraid to ask the tough questions for the truth! *wink* The construction of her character was very well done - kudos to Lili for really exploring all angles!
I also really liked the secondary characters that were introduced. As a result of her investigations, Penny makes a whole handful of new friends, from the misogynistic Hamish to the somewhat flashy and nerdy Hugh. Although we only see them a few times, Penny's gay dad and his boyfriend are nothing short of adorable…in a strange and quirky way. (Their quest: Find the ugliest jigsaw puzzle in the world.) After Penny tracks down PEZZimist, she's tasked with the challenge of "fixing him". What she doesn't realise is that it's not so simple… Maybe it's her own life that needs a turnaround? Involved with an endless number of committees and other extra curricular activities, Penny has no time for friends and certainly not for love. Is her subconscious shielding her from what she's really afraid of? Is her busy schedule just an excuse for not being like kids her own age?
Love Shy is an entertaining comedy that's filled with unexpected friendships and deals with the growth and learning experiences of several characters. The only bone I have to pick is with the ending being too "easy" and disengaged from the nice prior build up, but I'm willing to just enjoy the development up until that point! This book touches on some sensitive issues and I loved exploring those and seeing how they were dealt with by the characters also. Funny and engaging to the very last page, this is a quick read that is thought-provoking but still manages to be light!(less)
After I fell in love with Gabriel in the first book of the Elemental series, I was ecstatic when I discovered that Spark would be focusing on the hottest Merrick of the bunch. While Storm was entertainment in it's purest form as we're first introduced to the world and characters, Spark takes on a much darker tone as we delve into Gabriel's mind; a word of warning, it's frightening in there. Luckily for him, he's got a nice girl to keep him distracted and boy was this romance incredible! As spellbinding as you would imagine it to be, Spark is an absolute must-read!
Gabriel Merrick. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. How can you not love this gorgeous, witty bad-boy? In the previous book, he was perceived as someone who was easy-going and didn't have things too tough. He seemed to have his life under control and wasn't lacking much at all. After reading Spark…… I can say that we were all terribly wrong. The main issue that's explored within this novel is Gabriel's relationship with his family and how he sees himself. Although it wasn't obvious until now, he's the black sheep of the family, the brother who's always expected to make mistakes and do the wrong thing. Further and further, he and his brothers drift apart, especially him and his twin, Nick. Kemmerer will have you clutching at your heart with this book. The amount of sympathy and frustration I felt at the unfairness of EVERYTHING was indescribable. Gabriel's such a good person with a big, vulnerable heart who didn't deserve a single bit of hurt he was smacked in the face with. What makes it harder as a reader is that many of the conflicts could have been avoided and were caused by a lack of good communication, whether it be Gabriel's unwillingness to explain himself (because he couldn't believe that he even had to) or his brothers' complete lack of faith in him! You can expect this sequel to be full of angst, which just builds and builds. I'm a total wimp with these things but I got through it. Somehow. I'm still recovering, I think.
While Spark doesn't go much into the Elementals/Guides storyline that was set up in the first book, there is some development in the way of Gabriel's powers. Although as a pure Elemental his powers are strong, there are still limitations with what he can do; while he can manipulate fire with great precision, he can't create it himself. In his attempts to remedy this, he causes a fire or two and winds up going into a few house fires too! This allows him to save people and gain more control, but it also brings a lot of heat onto him from his family and the police. Someone else is starting these fires with an unknown agenda and it's not a good thing for him to be at the scene of every crime. I will say though, that the bromance which formed between him and Hunter as a result of these rescues was great. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER?
Now you've all been waiting to hear about it…the romance. Firstly, I have to say that Layne Forrest is one of the coolest people ever. Her character was so refreshing amongst the stream of "average-nothing-special" YA girls we're used to seeing who have no reason to be suddenly noticed by the hot guy. She's smart, conservative, horse-loving and…a social outcast. Even though she's been rejected by her mother for not being perfect, ignored by her father and ostracised from her peers for being "weird", she stands by what she believes in and even has a kind heart to boot. The first time she and Gabriel meet..it's not friendly but you just know that the romance will be unbelievably good. Layne does the sweetest thing in the history of sweet things and I still go into mushy mode when I think about it. It's no wonder that Gabe couldn't help but fall for her eventually! She understands him and doesn't confine him to being a good-for-nothing guy like everyone else. Their road to happiness isn't easy in the slightest, what with both of their secrets, but wow. Amazing. Layne's deaf brother, Simon, and her secret, which I won't spoil, made their relationship unique and gave Gabriel many opportunities to make us SWOON.
I want to see the Merrick family back together as one so badly, and with the developments at the end of this book, I think they're on their way. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Elementals/Guides plot plays out in Spirit, and it should be interesting with the switch to Hunter's POV. We won't be seeing the Merricks from an insider's perspective anymore but I've always loved Hunter so I don't mind at all! Kemmerer has really stepped it up and taken this series to another level with Spark. I can't wait to see what she offers up next.(less)
Not only does Emma Vaile learn that she is a ghostkeeper but that she's a descendant of one of the most powerful that ever existed. As she discovers her abilities and duties, she makes friends, falls in love and enters a brand new family with a twist. This novel is packed full of heart-stopping conflicts and exciting action. I can't love it any more than I already do and hope everyone else will come to enjoy this too!
At seventeen, being a partying rebel isn't particularly surprising. With her parents always absent on business trips, Emma constantly finds ways to get into attention-grabbing mischief. When a party goes wrong and her parents go missing, Bennett Stern kick-starts her journey of self-discovery. Did I mention that Bennett is very handsome and crush-worthy...and that Emma has been in love (or lust) with her brother's friend for years? The romance and plot in this novel are very well balanced. There's not too much romance to overpower the mystery, yet there's enough to satisfy romance lovers like me. I fell head over heels in love with considerate Bennett but my desire to give him a smacking never wavered. He resists Emma's advances even though he has obvious feelings for her too - how aggravating! Men. Stupid, sweet, thoughtful, self-sacrificing men. *grumps*
So many mysteries are at play in this plot-driven novel. The old incident of an attacker in smoke keeps replaying in Emma's mind, she has flashes of another life which seems so familiar and is terrorised by a serial killer who could be linked to her mother. Secrets in her family are abound as betrayals are discovered and unexpected alliances are formed. Everything is very much connected and I enjoyed following the branches of suspense with Emma as she deciphered the strange events in her life!
I adored these characters. Emma is determined and sarcastic, yet readers can fully relate to her loyalty and strength. Bennett is not alone in his interest for Emma because Coby Anders has his eye on her too. I might've loved him even more than I did Bennett...but don't tell him I said that. Cute, smart, athletic, gentlemanly, caring and completely patient? *swoon* He and his friends take Emma under their wing when she transfers to their school, and they are all impossible not to love. Ghosts are obviously scattered throughout the book and you'll enjoy getting to know all of their different personalities. Give me more!
Be prepared for unexpected twists and revelations on every page. Hopefully your heart won't fail in excitement and anticipation! What a brilliant start to a series I'm very eager to continue. Watch out for the shocking ending! I might've died had I not read the sneak peek of the sequel. Things are about to get interesting; in a very good or very bad way, who knows?(less)
From the very first page, I was invested in the lives of Violet Willoughby and Colin Lennox, an Irish orphan who was taken in by Violet's mother, Celeste. The beautiful language swept me off my feet and well, they say the rest is history... Violet has the true ability of contacting spirits and must use her power to solve a possible murder mystery, alongside her psychic mother who is really a con artist. Haunting Violet is an engaging story about a girl who wishes to find her happy ending without frightening spirits and meddling mothers, but with the boy who has been there for her since day one.
I love that Haunting Violet spent a lot of time on building and solving the mystery of Rowena Wentworth. It isn't a sub-plot that is occasionally referred to whenever we deviate from the romance, but in fact the other way around. I'm quite confident when I say that you won't guess the outcome of this mystery... Throughout, you'll pick out your favourite suspects and try to figure out their motives but Harvey manages to constantly surprise us as the novel progresses! As things take a turn for the worse towards the end, you'll be running a thrilling race to catch the killer and to make it past the finish line alive...
Xavier Trethewey is a wealthy man from a very respectable family, someone who Violet should be ecstatic about being courted by, and yet she cannot pull her thoughts from Xavier, the boy who has been by her side since she was nine years old. Whether he was putting toads in her bed or giving her extra morsels of his own food, he's always cared for her and doesn't believe someone like Xavier deserves her. He knows her as a person and values her inner beauty, rather than the outer beauty Xavier seems so focused on. It is quickly obvious to readers that Xavier will follow whatever his family says for the sake of their reputation, and that Colin is one hundred percent the right man for Violet. Even he doesn't believe himself good enough for her! Can I hear some "aww"s? Their relationship isn't blindingly sweet, but realistic and will really touch your heart with its genuineness and long-spanning history.
Haunting Violet is everything you could ever want in a young adult paranormal. The ideas are fresh, the characters interesting, the plot gripping and the relationships charming. Whether we're swooning over Colin, edging away from Xavier, giggling with Violet's best friend Elizabeth or throwing punches at her venomous mother, this novel will keep you thoroughly entertained and wishing for more. Having said that, the ending is perfect and will leave you with the tingles! A beautiful tale that I will happily read again.(less)