The Secret of a Heart Note is a young adult standalone, magical realis**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**
The Secret of a Heart Note is a young adult standalone, magical realism romance by author Stacey Lee. I LOVED this book. And when I say I loved it, I really, really loved it. This book was so much more than I was expecting it to be. And I mean that in the best way possible. Because I was expecting this book to be a cute contemporary romance, but I didn't realize the depth that the aromateur part of the story would be. I fell in love with the idea of someone mixing elixirs and smelling out the subtle notes and scents that make up a person. I really loved the idea of that. And Stacey Lee did an excellent job of making the world of Mim and her mom, the world of aromateurs come to life.
Mim is an awesome character. I loved her. She is kind of an outcast, but as sweet as can be. I loved her interactions with her classmates. So much, that I would love to see more in this world. I know this was meant to be a standalone, but I think Mim could do a lot more with some of her classmates(after they turn 18 of course. ;) ) and I am kind of dying to read more of Mim and Court. I loved watching him get shy and embarrassed when Mim could smell how he was feeling. It was freakin' adorable!
Which leads me to my next point. I can totally see how Mim would be an intimidating girl to be around. She can pretty much smell out your secrets. (not really, but kind of.) I would be nervous to be around her too. The Secret of a Heart Note is a super cute read. One I think all fans of young adult contemporaries and books featuring magic should read. I know it is only the second day of the year, but I think The Secret of a Heart Note might make its way on to my favorites list for 2017! That is how much I loved it. And I really, really loved Court. Seeing him with Mim was just beyond adorable.
Bottom line: The Secret of a Heart Note is a fantastic read. One full of warm fuzzies, a super cute romance, a great world filled with love witches as Mim calls herself, and a really nice story. I want to re-read this one! The Secret of a Heart Note is a favorite of mine.
YA Review My Thoughts Ahh, I can't believe the Heirs of Watson Island Tr**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**
YA Review My Thoughts Ahh, I can't believe the Heirs of Watson Island Trilogy is done. I loved Illusion, it might be my favorite book out of all of them, and this was one heck of an ending. The hard part about this trilogy is that with each of the books it is getting harder and harder to write spoiler free reviews. Martina Boone has created such a detail rich world that is so woven is layers and layers of secrets and mysteries that it is almost impossible to say something about book 3 without giving something away. Needless to say, you need to read this series in order. So if you have not read Compulsion or Persuasion yet, stop reading this review right now and go start reading this series. You will love it!
I can see this trilogy, appealing to so many different kinds of readers. It will appeal to fans of romance, mystery, as well as fans of creepy/dark books. It is labeled as a southern gothic. I can't say that I have had too much experience in this particular genre, but if they are all like the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy, I need to start reading more of them. This series had so many layers and such a depth to its' story.
You really had to pay attention or you would miss something, both in Illusion and in this trilogy. Each of the books really builds and builds so read each page carefully. A few times I felt myself getting swept up in the story and reading quicker and quicker to find out what was going to happen next and then before I knew it I felt a little lost, like I had missed something. When I picked up Illusion, it took me a moment to get back into the swing of things and to remember what each of the three families "gifts/curses" were. But once I did, I was once again completely swept up in the magic that Martina Boone weaves with her words.
The story is crazy good, and it just keeps unfolding. Right when you think there couldn't possibly be any more, there is. I loved this series so freakin much, and I have to say the ending is pretty great. It is not often that I feel like a series or trilogy is wrapped up perfectly, and this one is! I think that is why Illusion is my favorite book in the bunch. I just want to re-read this series right now.
Bottom line: You need to read this series. If you haven't go out and grab Compulsion right now. If you have read the first two books, Illusion is not going to disappoint. I loved Barrie and Eight. Freaking loved them. Not only that but I love how vivid and rich this series feels. I can feel the mansion, the fire, the spirits, and all the tensions among the families. Not to mention the suspicion and distrust that was a tangible force on every page. Martina Boone is amazing at subtly and character building and atmospheric writing. She has created three incredible families, one incredible world and a kick butt story. The Heirs of Watson Island is one of my favorite series. It is great from start to finish.
Only You is the first book in a spin-off from Denise Grover Swank's New York Times bestselling Wedding Pact series (The Wedding Pact, The Player, The Gambler, The Valentine). Only You is also the first book in the Bachelor Brotherhood series. I have never read her Wedding Pact series but I have read lots of her paranormal romances (The Curse Keepers Series and the On the Other Side series and they were both five star reads for me. So I knew I had to give her contemporary romance a spin. And boy, am I glad I did. Only You is everything I look for in a romance. It was cute, sexy and a totally fun and sweet read.
Staying single romances are always a fun read for me. There is just something about finding that special someone when you least expect it, or even when you are warding it off that is always a winner in my book. It just seems so sweet and romantic, and I think we all know that I am a hopeless romantic. Not to mention Denise Grover Swank is an incredible writer, so the story telling is also very strong. I really enjoyed Only You. If you are looking for a quick, cute and fun read that has more than a little spice, check out Only You.
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**Jackaby is the first book in the young adult paranormal detective seri**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**Jackaby is the first book in the young adult paranormal detective series by author William Ritter. The first three books in the series are already out, and believe me when I tell you, this is a series you are going to want to binge read. I LOVED Jackaby. It is one of my favorite books of the year, and hands down my favorite young adult book I have read in 2016. I need to start Beastly Bones ASAP. If you are new to the series, never fear, I have a giveaway you can enter at the bottom of the post to win a copy of the first book so you can become as addicted to this awesome series as I am.
Jackaby is like a mixture of Sherlock and the anime Ghost Hunt (which, btw, is one of my favorite anime's EVER. If you haven't watched it yet, shame on you! It is on Netflix, so get to it! Even if you don't like Anime's- watch Ghost Hunt. I will accept thank you's in the form of Instagram comments or vanilla cupcakes) I love how awkward, and quirky Jackaby is. While the book had more of a Sherlock, dark and dreary vibe, Jackaby himself reminded me of a mixture of Sherlock's cryptic-ness and the awkwardness of the new detective from the British TV show, Death in Paradise. (also on Netflix) Bottom line- he is a very interesting guy, and I absolutely love him as the main character in this series. I like him even more than his assistant, Abigail, which I didn't think was initially possible. I love Abigail. She doesn't know how to hold her tongue, ever, but there is just something endearing about her. I love how spunky and inquisitive she is. She is the perfect compliment to Jackaby. They really make a great team.
In fact, the two of them together is a lot of magic of the series. I want to go on adventures with them forever. I know there will be at least four books in the series, but I am personally hoping it is even longer than that. I love the paranormal twist to the mysteries, and I really enjoy the mix of creatures and legends that are used. William Ritter does a fantastic job with the atmosphere, world building, and characterization in Jackaby. I fell in love with the characters, and the plot had me totally captivated. I didn't want this book to be over. And I can't wait for more.
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**Adult ReviewMy Thoughts The Protector is a standalone adult romantic su**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**Adult ReviewMy Thoughts The Protector is a standalone adult romantic suspense by author Jodi Ellen Malpas. Jodi is one of those authors that I have consistently heard excellent things about, but have not had the opportunity to read myself. Now, having read The Protector, I know what all the hype is about. She can write seriously engrossing books. I could not put The Protector down.
The Protector is told in dual narrative between Cami and Jake. Jake is ex military turned private whatever-is-needed, for hire. His latest assignment is playing bodyguard for Cami, the daughter of a rich businessman. I loved Cami (and Jake) but Cami really surprised me. She was nothing like what I was expecting. Normally, in rich daughter gets a bodyguard stories, the girl fits a certain stereotype. And often times that stereotype is a bratty over indulged whiny young woman. But not Cami. I loved how spunky and fiercely independent she was. I loved the storyline surrounding her start up fashion line. She was a breath of fresh air.
And Jake was everything you wanted him to be. He is gruff and kind of grumpy. But he has whip fast instincts and I loved his protectiveness towards Cami. I did feel like a switch flipped between the two of them pretty quickly, and then all at once they went from being at each others throats to more. The-Protector-Quote-Graphic-#3-2
Bottom line: I get what all the hype is about Jodi Ellen Malpas and her writing. She is very talented at writing character driven stories that will make you loose track of the outside world. If you are a fan of strong male and female characters, intense chemistry and intense suspense plotlines, grab a copy of The Protector today. But be warned, block off the rest of your day, because once you pick up this book, you will not be able to put it down.
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**We Are Still Tornadoes is a young adult novel by Michael Kun and Susan**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**We Are Still Tornadoes is a young adult novel by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen. We Are Still Tornadoes is an epistolary novel, which is a book told through a series of letters. There are so many things I love about We Are Still Tornadoes, one of them being the format. I loved getting to read the letters back and forth from these two high school friends that parted ways after senior year. I also loved the way Michael Kun and Susan Mullen partnered to write this story. Susan would draft Cath's letters and Michael would draft Scott's letters. I love this because it added two distinct personalities and vibes to the characters. Of course, I also love the 80s setting, and I love that these two authors met in law school (I realize that has nothing to do with the story, but I love finding lawyer authors.)
We Are Still Tornadoes made me feel nostalgic in all the best ways. I used to love writing letters to my friends. (yes, even though I could text.) And the whole friends to more concept is a favorite of mine. We Are Still Tornadoes will have you laughing, it will make you sad, it was make you want to blast some great 80s music and watch some old school MTV, but most of all this is a book that will put a smile on your face. I really really enjoyed We Are Still Tornadoes. It is part realistic fiction, part humor, part romance, and part classic romantic comedy, (yes that gets it's own category, it is not the same as humor or romance.)I think everyone will find something to love about We Are Still Tornadoes. I am so glad I read this book.
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**"Colleen Hoover reminds readers that love is a fragile thing, built fr**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**"Colleen Hoover reminds readers that love is a fragile thing, built from courage, hope, and tears. Every person with a heartbeat should read this book." – Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author
It Ends with us is a new adult standalone by Colleen Hoover. Man, does she write emotional reads. This one really got to me. Actually, this quote from author Anna Todd explains the book to a T for me: I agree with her 100%. Colleen Hoover is the QUEEN of emotional reads. image006It Ends with Us totally broke my heart, but in a good way. If that is even possible. I have a feeling that my review is not going to do this story justice. It Ends with Us is the kind of book that you simply must read and experience for yourself to truly get it. This is a book that will reach in and grab your soul. I immediately connected with Lily. Her voice and speaking style, all of it matched me to a tee. When I was reading her opening dialogue, i felt like the way it was set up was like hearing one of my own conversations. Not the content of what she was saying, and not even really her personality is similar to mine, but the way she delivers her words connected with me. And because of that, I instantly got her.
I loved watching Ryle instantly rile Lily up. It was like a clashing of personalities with those two, but a fiery clash. It Ends with Us delves into both Lily's present relationship with Ryle, but also her past relationships. It was interesting to see the back and forth and see how her past affects her present, and really affects who Lily is as a person.
The Romantics is a young adult romantic comedy about love. told from t**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**
The Romantics is a young adult romantic comedy about love. told from the perspective of love. I totally, well, loved this concept, and I hope we see more in this world. At the end of the book, there was a little hint that we might see another story told by love, featuring a different couple. (and how I hope that is true!) The Romantics was a very cute read. I loved the chapter titles and variety of writing styles. Leah Konen did an excellent job switching from omniscient narrator, to list style for some chapters to text messages between the characters. All of it worked really well with the flow of the story. And they were hilarious.
What I loved the most about The Romantics is that the main character (other than love) is a guy. Yes, this is a guys love story and I find that so refreshing. Gael is a hopeless romantic and he is just totally adorable. I loved reading all of Love's antics to try and steer him away from the dreaded rebound. Love was too funny. She cracked me up, and I loved all of her pop culture references. She is one funny gal. Right off the bat you feel for Gael, because the book starts out with the second worst day of his life (that's the chapter title) so you know it is going to be bad. And it was a bad day for a teenage guy to go through, that's for sure. However; I do have to say I think his friend redeemed himself. And I don't say that lightly. I almost never have that opinion, but in this case I really liked the groveling he did, and anyone could tell their friendship was genuine. Either way, this sub plot was just background for the real romance.
The romance in The Romantics was very cute. It was a little predictable, but cute nonetheless. I liked the direction that Love steered Gael in. And all of the mishaps along the way were pretty hilarious. I think The Romantics would make for a super cute movie, or tv show featuring Love as your trusty narrator. I would watch it! If you are a fan of cute romances with really funny writing and pop culture references, The Romantics is a great book for you. I really liked Leah Konen's writing style. I thought she was hilarious. I can't wait to read another one of her books.
Caraval is the first book in a new, young adult fantasy series of the**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**
Caraval is the first book in a new, young adult fantasy series of the same name by author Stephanie Garber. Caraval has gotten so much excellent hype that when I grabbed a copy at ALA last year, I could hardly contain myself. I am always a little weary of books that have so, so much hype surrounding them, but I am happy to say that Caraval certainly delivered. And then some. I loved this book and I cannot wait for book 2 when we get a chance to journey back to this magical world Stephanie Garber created.
Caraval does have a romance in it, and it was a romance that I really enjoyed, but what I liked even more than the romance was that the main characters, and main focus, of this book were the two sisters. It was really refreshing to see such a great bond between them. And trust me, no matter what your initial impressions might be, there is a great bond between the two girls. (view spoiler)[At first, I thought the younger sister was the biggest brat on earth. I was totally not a fan. But she more than won me over as the book went on. (hide spoiler)]
Scarlet and Tella grew up admiring the mysterious and grand show of Caraval, an interactive circus where visitors can choose to watch the competition or participate for themselves. I loved the idea behind Caraval. It was part contest, part scavenger hunt, and a whole lot of magical and creepy. The land of Caraval was enthralling. I could not pull myself away from it. Even now, weeks after having finished the book, I still catch myself thinking about it. Part of me wants to run through those streets with Scarlet and part of me thinks I would never have the guts to participate.
All of the characters in Caraval are so multifaceted and super interesting. And I do mean every one is interesting. Even the actors in Carval play awesomely complex roles. A mixture of real and fake that I couldn't get enough of. Julian, who is the slow burn kind of love interest was particularly interesting. The whole book just works so well. I loved seeing the history of Carval, I loved seeing the present, I loved the characters and the world and just getting to be a part of the whole story telling experience. I need more!! Seriously, this better not be a duology. I want a long series of Caraval books! I can't wait to see what the next evolution of Carval, the game, looks like. I am addicted to this book! And I want more!
Revenge and the Wild is a standalone novel by Michelle Modesto. Notice**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
Revenge and the Wild is a standalone novel by Michelle Modesto. Notice that I did not put a genre in the previous sentence. That is because I think it is impossible to sum up Revenge and the Wild with a single genre. This book is delightfully different. I know words like unique and different get thrown around a lot in review, but in this case it is absolutely 100% true. Revenge and the Wild is like a fantasy and magic novel, mixed with a western, and blended with a steampunk. And of course there is a kick butt romance as well. I know! How on earth did Michelle Modesto do it? I have no idea, and I honestly don't think it can be replicated. This book was just so well done. I loved the mash up of genres, and I really, really loved the finished result.
Revenge and the Wild is set in a small town in western America. A town with a dome of magic that keeps the creatures out. Creatures like trolls and ogres and, oh yea, cannibals. (And trust me, you will not be able to forget the cannibals.) Westie is the main character and I just adored this girl. I loved her brash and unfinished attitude. She is no delicate flower, and I would not have had her any other way.
Westie is on the hunt to track down and get revenge on the cannibals that killed her parents. There is a lot going on in the world that Michelle Modesto created and her world building is why I believe her mash up of genres is so successful. She really takes the time at the start of the book to set the scene and immerse you in this very, very different world. If she didn't, I don't think the reader would fully appreciate just how different the town of Rogue City is.
I also really, really loved the steampunk elements of the story. It made me want to go on a steampunk reading binge. ( I really don't read enough of it.) I don't want to give too much more away about the plot and some of the more magical elements of the story because they were a lot of fun for me to discover along the way. But I will say this. I don't think too many people will be able to see the end coming. Whether you love it or hate it, I think it will be a surprise. I loved Revenge and the Wild. In a sea of books that can sometimes mash together, Revenge and the Wild stands completely out!
Bottom line: I am not going to say this book is perfect for fans of X or fans of Y. Revenge and the Wild is a book you need to read if you like reading. Period.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a young adult contemporary standalone by E.K**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a young adult contemporary standalone by E.K. Johnston. This is a book impressed me. It takes some hard to handle subject matter, and does a really good job with it. As you can see from the summary, Exit, Pursued by a Bear deals with rape and a resulting pregnancy. This is a topic that is so hit or miss for me. I think it is an important topic, and one that should be talked about but so many times I feel that the book becomes the rape, and the rape is all that anyone can see. It overshadows everything else in favor of the author's message. And regardless of whether it is well done or not, and regardless of whether I agree with the author's message or not, it just doesn't resonate with me. That's not how I connect with books.
But something about Exit, Pursued by a Bear told me that I should read it. And I am so freakin' glad that I did. Not only is Exit, Pursued by a Bear superbly written, but this is a book about a girl. And that resonates with me. It was so easy for me to like and connect with Hermione. (not to mention I love her name and I always love the Shakespeare line as the title. I thought it was fitting.) I think Hermione is such a great main character. She is mature beyond her years, she is likable, strong (and not just strong because of what she has had to deal with. She is just a strong person. I think that is an important distinction, and part of why I enjoyed this book so much). The secondary characters in the book are all great as well. I loved the guys on the cheer team (except for Leo, who is a major butthead). I loved Polly too.
The real star of Exit, Pursued by a Bear is author E.K. Johnston's writing. I was immediately enveloped in Hermione's world. I need to read more books by her because not only is she really, really talented, but if she was able to take such a serious topic, like rape, and make it feel like something different than all of the other rape books out there was very impressive. My review does not do the book justice. It is something that you need to read and experience for yourself. I will just say this..I am a fan of this author and this book.
Burning Midnight is a standalone young adult science fiction fantasy by**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
Burning Midnight is a standalone young adult science fiction fantasy by Will McIntosh. And guess what? It features a male protagonist. Do you even know how excited I was to see a character like Sully? I loved him. And I loved Burning Midnight. Everything about this book made me excited to read it, and once I started, even more excited to keep reading. I loved that the world is much the same as the world as we know it. Burning Midnight takes place in present day New York City, and all the regular things like facebook, ebay, and flea markets exist. The one big difference is that little colored marbles (called orbs) are scattered throughout the world. They just showed up one day and no one knows where they came from.
People soon discovered that if you found a pair of the same color orbs and you "burned" them, meaning you held them up to your temples, that you would absorb some sort of talent from the orbs. Each color, represented a different talent. The better the talent, the more rare the orb. And the more rare the orb, the more money you could sell them for. The talents were really cool, ranging from everything like running faster to perfect memory recall.
Will McIntosh has done a really excellent job creating a world that is well thought out, imaginative, and fun to roam around in. I loved hanging out with Sully, Hunter, Mandy and Dom. I was really hooked waiting to see what was going to happen next. And as soon as we learned what the title referred to, (midnight is a midnight blue orb that is way bigger than the rest of them. Everyone is searching everywhere to find its' match so it can be burned.) I was even more excited. There is a lot of stuff going on in Burning Midnight and the book seemed to gain momentum as it went on. I loved that it was a standalone, but at the same time, I would have liked to have seen the end stretched out a bit so we could have gotten a second installment in. I really enjoyed this world, and these characters. The ending took me by surprise, and while it wasn't something I normally go for, I liked it in this case.
Bottom line: if you like science fiction books and fantasy books that are set in present day settings with a burst of magic thrown in, Burning Midnight is a plot that you will completely love. The gang of characters is delightful and the action and world building are spot on. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and would recommend it all young adult readers. And did I mention, the main character is a guy? Double points for that.
The Keeper is the second book in the Vega Jane series by Dav**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
The Keeper is the second book in the Vega Jane series by David Baldacci. I'm going to be honest, I had no idea that David Baldacci even wrote young adult books. I have read, and really enjoyed a few of his adult action thrillers, so I was pretty pumped when I saw there was a new young adult series out. The Keeper is the second book in the series, but it is promoted as being able to stand on its' own. And I think it does. That being said, I do still wish that I had read the first book, The Finisher, first. I wasn't really lost at all while reading the keeper, but I think I would have gotten a fuller picture of the characters had I read the books in their intended order.
The Finisher and the Keeper both follow the same main character- a girl named Vega Jane. I loved the atmosphere of the story. It was very intense, and had me flipping pages quickly. There is an air of desperation, as the main characters try and outwit the Quag and escape the village. I loved the world that David Baldacci created, which is why I am kicking myself even more for not reading The Finisher. I loved the magic and the creepy feeling of the Quag. It all made The Keeper seem much more fast paced and intense. I can easily see this turning into a blockbuster movie hit. I think it was written to be shown on a big screen.
These characters have a lot thrown at them, and this book is pretty lengthy. The kindle edition comes in at almost 500 pages, so there is plenty of time for multiple plot twists and road blocks. Personally, I am really into longer length books- especially when they are high stakes- like this one, because I love seeing the heroine overcome something big, just to be hit in the face with something else. (does that make me weird?) and I feel like there just isn't enough time for that to happen repeatedly in shorter books. I enjoyed my time spent reading The Keeper, and I can't wait to read The first book now. But don't be like me- read this series in order. I think you will appreciate it more that way.
Never Never is a Peter Pan retelling told from Captain Hook's perspecti**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
Never Never is a Peter Pan retelling told from Captain Hook's perspective. This standalone novel is Brianna Shrum's debut book and I thought she did a really good job with it. I loved that it was Hook's story. It was reminiscent of the kind of hook and pan from Once Upon a Time, so if you love Hook in that show as much as I do, this is a book you will want to check out. It features an evil Pan, and a more nuanced, but very much bent on revenge Hook. This Hook doesn't hold a candle to Storybrook's Hook, but it did come much closer than I expected it to.
Never Never follows Hook throughout his life, starting out when he was a small boy. This was his first run in with Peter Pan, and it was clear that as soon as Peter tricked Hook that his hatred started. And it only grew throughout the story. Hook is a very different person than many of Peter's lost boys. He did want to grow and, and further he wanted to go home. It was then that I started to feel for Hook. But don't get me wrong, he is not a woe is me, misunderstood-villain-that-is-really-a-hero. Maybe he is misunderstood, but he is also not a pure of heart person. He is not a hero. He is still Captain Hook and his story is the one that you know well, but that was kind of what I loved about Never Never. Author Brianna Strum takes the story that we all love, stays true to the events in it, but still manages to make us see the characters in a different light. It was really cool. There were many shades of gray to labeling Hook as a Villain. It was a highlight of the book for me. I always find it interesting to see a person change throughout their life and to see how their experiences shapes them.
The romance between Hook and Tiger Lily was a pleasant surprise as well. I didn't think Never Never would have quite as much romance in it. I have always seen Hook as kind of a solitary figure so it was both an adjustment and nice to see him interact with someone he genuinely cares for. I didn't love Tiger Lily (especially towards the end) but she was an interesting character.
Bottom line: if you are a fan of retellings, you should add this one to your TBR list. Especially if you like retellings from the point of view of unexpected characters. Whether you love Hook or you hate him, I think you will enjoy Never Never.
Forbidden is a young adult mystery by Eve Bunting. It is a dark and mys**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
Forbidden is a young adult mystery by Eve Bunting. It is a dark and mysterious, quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the dreary, almost foggy atmosphere of the little Scottish fishing village, and I really liked how easily digestible the book was. It took me just under 2 hours to read Forbidden, and I walked away feeling like it was a complete story, not a novella. The romance in Forbidden is a nice aside but it is by no means the focal point of the story.
After Josie's parents both pass away from influenza, she is sent to live with her estranged aunt and uncle. When she gets to the town, everything seems a little strange. Just a tad off, including her Aunt and Uncle. It was hard not to get wrapped up in the creepy little town that Eve Bunting created in Forbidden. I could never pin down exactly what was going on. Eve did an excellent job of maintaining a mysterious air about her writing up until the very last minute. Was it something magical? Was it something nefarious? What is something obvious? And then what on earth was the deal with Eli, and why was everyone calling him Forbidden?
Forbidden was a fun little jaunt with a mysterious read. It would have been perfect to read on Halloween, and I love the author's aside at the end of the story where the inspiration for the tale came from. If you like darker, quick reads that have a hint of romance (but not too much) then Forbidden is the book for you. Seriously, check it out if you love a good atmospheric read.
3.5/5 Firsts is a standalone upper young adult novel by Laurie Elizabeth**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
3.5/5 Firsts is a standalone upper young adult novel by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. Firsts was a lot edgier of a story than I was initially expecting. The main character made me cringe more than once. I mean she is kind of a train wreck, but not once- not even at any one point- did I not enjoy myself with Firsts. I really, really liked this book. I know it won't be for everyone, but there is just something about Mercedes that got to me. Even when she wasn't a good friend...at all...I still couldn't give up on her. And I am so glad that I didn't. Even Mercedes deserves a happy ending and I loved the way Laurie Elizabeth Flynn wrapped everything up. Firsts was a fun and, strangely enough, satisfying read.
Once I started reading Firsts, I didn't really know what to expect. It is about this super smart girls (she has her sights set on MIT) who is quiet and unassuming. And heck, she even does "good deeds" for her fellow classmates. Of course, her good deeds are letting the boyfriends of the school practice their first time on her, so they can make it super special for their girlfriend. Didn't see that one coming, right? She had the weirdest logic behind her side gig. She really, honestly thought she was helping these guys and their girlfriend. I know, I told you she was a train wreck. But don't go thinking I am bashing her- I told you I really like her. In the strangest, weird way, her journey was something that I just didn't want to stop reading.
She has some great friends, both old and new, and Zach is such a great guy. More than anything I wanted Mercedes to grow as a person- for him. Because he deserves that. I can't stand cheating, and I don't condone what Mercedes was doing, but if you put that aside, Firsts has some really great writing and character development. I just couldn't seem to tear my eyes off the page.
Bottom line: Firsts will be great for fans of upper level, edgy YA with messed up characters, on their own messed up journeys. If you like reality tv and/or CW tv shows, Firsts is right up your alley. Grab a bowl of popcorn and let yourself enjoy it!