Jennifer Echols is one of the few authors on my “automatic buy” list, so you can imagine that I was THRILLED when I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Love Story. I devoured it in less than 24 hours and I’m so excited to share my thoughts.
Jennifer has such a unique writing style that just pulls you right in, you don’t even need a few chapters to get absorbed in the story. She has created the backdrops of New York and Kentucky beautifully, and I loved the details about the world of horse racing.
One of my favorite things about all of Jennifer’s novels is that her main characters already know each other and have some history when the story begins – none of this love at first sight business, because honestly that can be kind of boring to me. I love it when there’s already background and conflict and they have something to build on. It makes the end result when they finally get together even better. And hoo boy was there conflict in this book. The kind of conflict that builds into more and more tension between the characters until you’re yelling at them “Just make out already!” and people start to look at you funny.
I really liked Erin as a character, flaws and all. Jennifer’s main female characters are always so kickass – they’re feisty, hilarious, clever, witty, they can hold their own – every time I read one of her books I find myself trying to emulate them. Hunter is also completely swoonworthy, although he seems like a jerk at times. There’s a fine line between writing a love interest that’s a little bit evil and challenges the heroine and one that’s just unforgivably mean, and I think Hunter walks that line perfectly.
There is incredible chemistry between all the characters, which is another quality that I love about Jennifer’s books. Not just the chemistry between Erin and Hunter – although that is smoking, you can practically see steam rising from the pages (or in my case, the computer screen) – but also the chemistry between Erin and her roommates, Hunter and his roommates, and the group dynamic as a whole. I just want to be best friends with all of them.
I also thought it was really fun that the book was set in college, since so much of YA literature takes place in high school. As a recent college grad the change of setting was nice and familiar, although as an RA for three years, the beach party in the bathroom was slightly horrifying. :P Another awesome touch was the fact that we got to read the stories Hunter and Erin were writing throughout their class. I loved being right there with them as they exchanged barbs, and I looked forward to reading their next stories as much as the rest of the class.
The one thing I would have liked to see more of was the relationship between Erin and her grandmother. We don’t actually get to see them interact at all, and since the whole premise is that Erin has been cut off by her grandmother I felt like it would have been nice to see at least one scene where they get to have a conversation or some kind of interaction. This wasn’t a huge issue for me, just a thought.
Overall I loved Love Story, and I literally couldn’t put it down. I started it one evening and read until about 4 in the morning when I finally forced myself to stop and get some sleep. Then the next day I picked right back up again until I was finished, even carrying my laptop with me so I could read in the car (don’t worry, I wasn’t driving :P).
Love Story doesn’t come out until July 19th, but TRUST ME when I say it’s worth the wait. Only 53 more days!(less)
In this third installment in the Fallen series we join Luce as she travels back in time through thousands of years, visiting her past lives in an attempt to understand the love she and Daniel share, as well as the curse that keeps tearing them apart.
I enjoyed the first two books in this series well enough, but I had a lot of trouble getting into this one. The whole novel just felt very long and drawn out, and when it was finished I wasn’t really sure what we had gained from the 400 plus pages. By the end of it I felt like we were at almost the exact same place as we were at the end of Torment, except for the fact that Luce feels more secure in herself and Daniel. I just don’t know that we needed a whole book for that. The supposed “revelations” about Daniel and their relationship that Luce made as she visited each of her past incarnations didn’t feel like anything new to me, and she was very frustrating and immature at times.
I also really missed the secondary characters. Passion focuses almost solely on Luce and Daniel, and although I know that this series is about their story, it felt very empty without the frequent appearances of the other characters we’ve come to know and love. I’m definitely looking forward to having them back in on the action in Rapture, the fourth book.
One of the things that I did like about Passion is that it is told in alternating viewpoints between Luce and Daniel. For the first time, we get to see through Daniel’s eyes for extended periods of time, and as he is much more informed about everything than Luce is, this is a lot more rewarding and satisfying for the reader. We finally get to understand the origin of the curse placed on Luce and Daniel, as well as more information about the Fall and the eventual split between the angels and the demons. Daniel’s chapters were much more enjoyable for me to read than Luce’s, to be honest.
I also have to give credit to Lauren Kate, because the amount of research she had to do to be able to accurately portray so many different places and time periods in one book must have been extensive. Each of Luce’s past lives felt real and well-developed, I just which we could have gotten to spend a little more time in each one!
I think one of my main issues with this series as a whole is that I’ve never really bought into the timelessness and intensity of Luce and Daniel’s relationship. We hear it described as this amazing and endless love, but I feel like we’re only ever told that, and I never really see or feel the passion and chemistry between them. Show me they're in love, don't just tell me over and over! I found myself thinking that if I were Daniel I’d just leave Luce alone and quit killing her every time. It’d make everything easier for everyone.
Overall, Passion felt more like a lead-in to the final book in the series, rather than a complete novel on its own, and I was left feeling disappointed. I’m still planning to read Rapture though, if only for some closure to the story.(less)
Guess what everyone, it’s a paranormal romance about something other than vampires, werewolves, fairie...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z
Guess what everyone, it’s a paranormal romance about something other than vampires, werewolves, fairies, or fallen angels! Finally! That is probably my favorite thing about this book. The idea of revenants is such a refreshing change and it was really fun to read about. I like that we have no idea what is going on with Vincent until Kate finds out – we can tell something is up, obviously, but it’s fun to uncover the details with her. There were a few confusing things in the revenant mythology, but not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.
I also love the setting – Paris is such a cool city and I’ve loved getting to read about it through various recent YA novels (Anna and the French Kiss being the obvious one, of course :P). It also really fits with the slightly creepy, gothic feel of the story. The characters are all well-developed and likeable for the most part, although sometimes Ambrose felt a bit like a caricature – just a little too dramatic and over-the-top. Kate also has waaaaayyy too many nicknames for one character.
I did have a couple of issues with Die For Me, one of which was the romance. It starts off great, and compared to many YA paranormals out there it’s done well, but it does tend to lean a little too much toward the dramatic star-crossed lovers-who-can’t-stay-away-from-each-other for my taste. Kate can be incredibly indecisive and angsty at times and I didn’t fully understand the motivation for all of her actions and decisions. The plot itself is also quite predictable. The idea and mythology of revenants is fantastic, but the execution of the storyline was fairly standard.
That said, Die For Me does have a great cast of characters, a wonderful setting, and a fresh take on the paranormal, all of which make it an enjoyable and entertaining debut novel. I can’t wait for the sequel.(less)