Melissa de la Cruz has definitely taken a step away from the Young Adult genre to deliver us Witches of East End. An incredibly great start to a new s...moreMelissa de la Cruz has definitely taken a step away from the Young Adult genre to deliver us Witches of East End. An incredibly great start to a new series, one which I’ll be following without a doubt!
I want to start by saying that I’m not a fan of Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Blood series. I’ve read the first one and to be honest it wasn’t my thing. When I saw Melissa had a new series out, I was hesitant but decided to give it a shot since the cover was absolutely gorgeous and this time around the focus was on a family of witches! I didn’t know, however, that it was set in the same ‘world’ as Blue Bloods and was in fact NOT YA fiction, but a series for adults.
I wouldn’t recommend readers under the age of sixteen/seventeen to read this one. There are quite a few love scenes, and while I’m not too sure about the Blue Bloods series, I think this’ll be a shock for readers expecting more of the same.
But, I really adored Witches of East End! It’s a bit like charmed, but with wands and a murder mystery. Freya and Ingrid were interesting characters, as was their mother, Joanna. The narrative alternates between the three, and their past is slowly revealed as the pages turn. Sometimes the characters would be referring to ‘something’ I didn’t know, as if they expected us as readers to be already clued in, so this confused me a little. But, we soon learn a little about the Beauchamp history which helps. That being said, there’s still quite a LOT I didn’t quite grasp or understand, a quite a bit that will be revealed in the later books.
The youngest sister, Freya, specializes in Love magic. I found her storyline to be the most fast-paced and exciting one of the lot, although I didn’t quite relate to her as well as I did her older sister, Ingrid. Freya is currently juggling a relationship between her sweet fiancee, Bran, along with a steamy affair on the side with his sexy younger brother, Killian. It certainly kept things interesting and entertaining.
Then we have Ingrid, the eldest Beauchamp daughter who works at the local library. Ingrid is smart and intelligent, and specializes in seeing the future as well as helping her friends and neighbours. She’s quite conservative and a little hesitant, and I felt a little more at home in her skin than I did in Freya’s. However, her storyline got a little dull at some points.
Then lastly, for this book at least, we have Joanna, the mother of the girls and eldest of the Beauchamp women. Joanna’s story centres on the relationship she forms with the housekeeper’s son, and how she misses her own son who was taken away from them so long ago. Not much is revealed about Freya’s twin brother, right until the end, and from that cliffhanger I can’t wait to read the second novel in the series!
My only qualm with this story was the way things were explained and tied together in the final chapters. I felt there was no climax to the story, no big ‘revealation’ – instead we got a lot of ‘mini explanations’ that hardly delivered any impact. I almost read this book in a single hit, so I was a little disappointed not to find myself reeling in the final chapters. The tense moments were almost breezed through, with everything being shoved at us within the space of a few chapters. When it was over I thought ‘is that it?’.
Despite all that, I found myself quite attached to the sisters and Joanna, and I definitely want to delve into their world again. Witches of East End is a trip back to classic ‘witchdom’, with wands and brooms and familiars. There’s some great stuff in here! For fans of Blue Bloods, you’ll be pleased to know some of the characters make cameo appearances, particularly Mimi Force.
Recommended to: Younger readers should be wary of mature content, but over all this is a very enjoyable read and great start to a new series. I’ll definitely be following it!(less)
This is my first adventure into a Jennifer Echols novel and I couldn’t have been more excited about what I discovered! Creative writing students? Coll...moreThis is my first adventure into a Jennifer Echols novel and I couldn’t have been more excited about what I discovered! Creative writing students? College-aged characters? Count me sold!
It’s so refreshing to read a ‘YA’ tale that centres on college-aged characters. As I’m getting older (I’m 22) I’m finding my enjoyment of sixteen and seventeen year old characters waning, so this was a brilliant and welcome change. I could definitely relate more to Erin and her friends as they try to deal with University life (particularly their creative writing assignments, as I’m doing a similar course) and everything else that this stage in life deals with.
As the characters are older, certain other aspects in the story were also more ‘allowable’. There’s some swearing, but instead of that being overdone it added to the reality of college-life, making the enivornment all that much more easy to get lost in. I also had a bit of a laugh when some of the creative writing stories Erin (and Hunter) submitted bordered on being class as ‘erotica’.
I absolutely loved that we got to read Erin and Hunter’s writing pieces. I, like most of the girls in Erin’s class, really enjoyed Erin’s ‘Almost a Lady‘ and was able to commiserate with her when the boys took a few painful jabs at it for being nothing more than a trashy romance. I also found it extremely mortifying when the boy Erin had based her romantic hero on, turned up in the class just in time to read the story. Jennifer Echols had a brilliant and absolutely unique idea here and Love Story didn’t disappoint!
The dynamic between Erin and Hunter was fantastic. I was hoping they’d end up together from the start. I found myself reading the whole book (it’s around 240 pages) in a matter of hours, eager to see where the story went. There’s a story behind them that spans a few years, and I found it very interesting to learn all the ins and outs of their relationship before college. I also enjoyed their sneaky jabs at one another by presenting stories based on eachother to their creative writing classes.
Like Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols’ stories centre more on the relationship between the two focal characters rather than thrilling plot twists and turns. If this kind of thing is too slow for you, you’ll probably have different feelings than I had about Love Story. Once in a while (more often at the moment!) I like to take a break from the fast-paced, twisting supernatural/paranormal YA’s I’ve been drowning in and curl up with a heart-warming contemp. I always find that I can read them in almost one shot, and it was no different with this one.
I’ll definitely be reading more Jennifer Echols in the future. I have her other books – Going Too Far and Forget You – on e-book, as I’ve heard nothing but praise, so I’ll probably jump into them sooner than later. If you love these sort of contemporaries, I urge to you go and pick up Love Story right away!
Recommended to: Fans of contemporary YA will adore Love Story, however those who aren’t too fussed on the genre should probably be wary of the very relationship-centric tales Jennifer Echols is known for.(less)
I was worried when I started this book that Dearly, Departed would be just like every other 'pretty cover' book out there - a big fat disappointment....moreI was worried when I started this book that Dearly, Departed would be just like every other 'pretty cover' book out there - a big fat disappointment. I'm so glad I was wrong! This story is full of adventure, ingenuity and creeptastic goodness!
It's very hard to put this book into a singular category. We have a mix of Neo-Victorian (a re-imagined Victorian age with nifty gadgets, technology and holograms), Steampunk and Dystopian all woven together with a pretty scary zombie plotline. Dearly, Departed is a genius mix of things you've never read before - and for that, I was grateful. I always love my books new and unique, and this one certainly delivered!
I particularly liked the new 'world' Dearly, Departed was set in. Set in our future, on one of the only existing pieces of above-water land there is left, humanity has seperated into two 'nations', the Punks (a Steampunk-inspired group of people who are considered nothing more than 'rebels' by their opponents) and the New Victorians (citizens who have decided to re-inherit the Victorian way of life, with a few technological perks!). While this is a story enough on its own, Lia Habel throws in a wicked 'Zombie Plague' to turn everything upside down.
The world Nora Dearly lives in is expertly crafted. I particularly loved learning about the ins-and-outs of it all. It's hard to believe that this is Lia Habel's first novel! As I said, I was floored that the story within these pages was exciting and good! Many debut authors are given beautiful covers, but not often do the books live up to the expectations of the reader!
I was able to breeze through Dearly, Departed quite quickly, as the action is unrelenting and will keep you turning the pages. The one thing that threw me off, however, was the changing POV every chapter. I loved reading the chapters by Bram and Nora, but then Pamela got thrown into the mix and I found my interest wavering a little. While I did grow to enjoy Pamela's chapters (seriously, near the end, I was LOVING her chapters and the character she'd become) I still didn't find myself happy when faced with a chapter by Wolfe or Nora's father, Victor. I understand and appreciate that their chapters were necessary for the reader to understand the turns and twists the plots was taking, but I just didn't enjoy them as much as the others.
Still, there is a whole cast of characters within Dearly, Departed that readers are sure to enjoy. Instead of annoying cardboard cut-outs, we have a whole slew of personalities that make for an interesting story. You really do care what happens to each character in this book. There are sure to be some interesting interactions in the coming books that I can't wait for (particularly more between Mink and her surprise chess partner!)
If you're on the fence about this one, I highly urge you to give it a go! I can't wait for the next one in the series, Dearly, Beloved, which comes out next year!
Recommended to: If you want a new and unique series with an intriguing plot, try Dearly, Departed!(less)
I was hesitant to go into another werewolf/shifter-based story after just finishing one, but for some reason I decided to pick up The Gathering and gi...moreI was hesitant to go into another werewolf/shifter-based story after just finishing one, but for some reason I decided to pick up The Gathering and give it a shot. I was really impressed with what I found within the pages. A refreshing female lead, interesting premise and beautiful setting. Kelley Armstrong has really set the stage for a great series.
I tried to read Kelley Armstrong’s Darkness Rising novels a few months ago and didn’t get further than a few chapters. Not sure why I didn’t like them, but something just didn’t sit well with me. I guess I was over the whole ‘boarding school/retreat’ kind of vibe for gifted people and it wasn’t the story I needed at the time. I still might try them in the future, though. So you can understand why I was hesitant about delving into her latest series.
I’m glad it’s not Kelley’s writing that puts me off. She writes in such a way that everything flows smoothly. I picked this book up this morning and was able to finish it during the day. Where a lot of things could have been repetitive and mirrors of other YA fiction, they weren’t. Kelley managed to weave them in a new and interesting way, and the lead character of Maya was a great one.
I always have to gush when a female lead character doesn’t grate on my nerves, because, well, that’s quite rare for me. Maya wasn’t one of those ‘typical’, whiney YA girls and I really warmed up to her quickly. I also really admired her best friend, Daniel, and the supporting cast of characters were likeable enough. I’m not too sure about Rafe yet, but there are still two books to come for me to make my mind up about him. I suppose it’s a good sign that I don’t hate him, right?
I have to talk about the setting of The Gathering, too. It’s really interesting and something I haven’t come across before in another book. It’s a medical research-based town, one that injects the plot with an interesting mix of skin-walker and natural lore. On the one hand we have the nature park Maya and her family live on, and on the other we have a town crafted specifically for the medical researchers and her family. It’s an interesting dynamic and I enjoyed learning about it and exploring its handful of areas. The Gathering has a very unique atmosphere and I’m sure every other reader will agree.
Though this is primarily a book about skin-walkers or I guess, Shifters, there’s a lot more to it. We don’t get lumped with a heap of lore straight away. By the end of the book we’re still trying to get a grip on (as well as Maya) the basics of what she is and the history behind her family and her abilities. This is definitely a change of pace for me, especially since the first novel in the series seems to usually lay out these foundations beforehand. I think I really like this approach. We’re able to warm up to the characters before being swamped with a heavy dose of explanation.
It also adds an air of mystery. There’s also the fact that the skin-walkers aren’t the only mysteries in Salmon Creek. We’re also trying to figure out the death of Maya’s friend, Serena, the mysterious past of Sam and also Daniel’s uncanny ability to sense danger and protect those he cares about.
I’ll definitely be snapping up the next book in the series when it comes out.
Recommended to: I’m sure previous fans of Kelley Armstrong will love this book, but I also want to push it toward people who haven’t read any of her work yet. There’s a great mix of character development and mystery, which makes it more than just another ‘supernatural’ YA book.(less)
Shade was a good start to what seems to be a fascinating series. Jeri Smith-Ready changes up the typical ghost plotline, weaving it into something mys...moreShade was a good start to what seems to be a fascinating series. Jeri Smith-Ready changes up the typical ghost plotline, weaving it into something mysterious and almost government-controlled. I’ll be picking up Shift, the second in the series, as soon as I’m able.
This is one of those 3-star books I almost gave a 4-star to. Something was holding me back, though. I’m not sure if it was my detachment from Aura, our leading lady, or the fact that Shade felt a little at times like too much of a ‘first-in-the-series’ book.
I read the synopsis for Shade ages ago, but I didn’t do a refresher course before diving into the book. Therefore I had no idea Logan was going to die – until he started complaining of numbness and after downing the ‘Liquid Stupid’. That’s when I began to get suspicious. I was thinking ‘okay, don’t do this…‘ because I was really warming up to he and Aura as a couple. I guess that’s not really a spoiler if you’re read the synopsis, so I’ll keep my shock in my review! *Feels stupid for not reading synopsis before opening first page*
Although I loved Logan, Aura on her own just doesn’t rub me the right way. I don’t dislike her, but I’m certainly not fond of her either. This might change when I start on book two, Shift, which I’m definitely going to be doing. I tend to lean away from the ‘goth/emo’ narrating characters, so maybe this was why I didn’t like her too much. As soon as she mentioned her skull-shaped barrettes, I felt myself frown. That’s just a personal choice, though.
I liked Zachary enough, and his Scottish-ness, but I’m not too attached to him either (yet). While I wanted Aura to move on from Logan, I didn’t want her falling into Zachary’s arms as quick as she did. I also couldn’t fathom why he’d taken such a shine to Aura in such a short amount of time. Apart from spending a few nights drawing star charts together, they didn’t know much about each other and she kept a lot from him regarding her relationship with Logan – which was an integral part of herself.
I feel like there are still a lot of loose ends, and that perhaps there were TOO many plotlines twisting together for me to feel the book was running smoothly. We had Aura’s relationship with Logan, her relationship with Zach, the mystery of her parents, Zach’s secret as well as his father’s job, Logan’s court case, Eowyn Harris and the research project on the Monoliths. I think my ‘like’ for this book would’ve increased if some of these threads had been tied up neatly before the book’s close, but I must admit that Jeri Smith-Ready managed to evoke a HUGE amount of emotion in me during those final chapters, for which I applaud.
I’m really interested in the world that Jeri Smith-Ready has created. I’m eager to learn about the Shift, as well as the mystery behind Zachary being the Last and Aura being the First. Aura’s parents also fascinate me, and I can’t wait to find out just why her mother ripped certain pages from her diary. It’s incredible to think about a whole generation being about to see ghosts (if born after a certain date) as well as the impact it’s had on the world; such as the red clothing and sheets, entire buildings and private areas being ‘blackboxed’ and a government-like task force dedicated to reeling in Shades and setting up ‘translators’ for court cases involving the dead.
Despite the things I wasn’t too fond of in the book, I still enjoyed Shade enough for me to want to continue on in the series. And that cliffhanger!!!
Recommended to: If you’re looking for a different twist to the typical ghost story, give Shade a go.(less)
Final Thoughts: I didn’t expect to enjoy Wish as much as I did. I went into it thinking it would be a more ‘fantasy’ based story than what it was. I t...moreFinal Thoughts: I didn’t expect to enjoy Wish as much as I did. I went into it thinking it would be a more ‘fantasy’ based story than what it was. I think even though there’s the undertone of magical dresses, this is more of a contempory-type novel about a girl finding her strength and her own way. I highly recommend it!
First of all, I really love that there’s a series (the second book, Wishful Thinking, is one I’m going to have to pick up right away!) about a magical seamstress and wish-granting dresses. So, like I already said, I expected this to be more fantasy-based than what it was.
Reading the summary it all sounds rather predictable; a girl struggling with the loss of her twin sister, her bickering parents, fitting into a new school, making new friends and having a crush on her new friends boyfriend… but if you can get past that, and actually take a dive into Wish, you’ll find that all that doesn’t matter. I usually roll my eyes at premises like this, thinking ‘Yup, read it all before!’ but I honestly do think Wish handles it differently. It’s actually enjoyable for once!
Of course there are predictable turn of events, but I did enjoy the characters and was SO relieved to see there was a popular clique of girls who were actually quite nice and not bitchy! (Wow, they actually exist? Who knew!) I really enjoyed the relationship between Olivia and her twin, Violet, as well as the stunning backdrop of San Francisco which really is the third main character in this story. I felt like I was witnessing the city along with our protagonist!
I also liked Soren, the cute drummer guy Olivia instantly falls for. Their relationship could have been rushed and unbelievable, but it wasn’t. I really liked the way it played out. All the while, we have the added bonus of three magical wish-granting gowns! Although their relationship is a big part of this story, Olivia actually has other things to focus on.
I read Wish from start to finish in one night with only a minor break.
There were a few errors that I was left scratching my head about, though. Violet is only meant to be solid to Olivia’s touch, frowning how she couldn’t eat/touch food or shoplift some cosmetics, yet at times she picked up Olivia’s credit card from the ground and also a photograph. Eh? Also, Soren managed to call Olivia on her house phone after Olivia claiming they hadn’t even had time to exchange numbers. Has anyone else that read this book found an explanation for these occurances? Maybe it’s just my head playing tricks! It is 4am where I am, after all!
I recommend Wish for lovers of contemporary fiction. If you’re not into the fantasy/magical aspects of YA these days, don’t be put off. There are a few mixed goodreads reviews (that I’ve seen) but I find myself disagreeing with them. Decide for yourself and pick up a copy!
Recommended to: Fans of contemporary young adult fiction will enjoy it a lot!(less)
I loved White Cat, so I had very high hopes for Red Glove – thank goodness I wasn’t disappointed! Red Glove packs more punch, more fun and more cons....moreI loved White Cat, so I had very high hopes for Red Glove – thank goodness I wasn’t disappointed! Red Glove packs more punch, more fun and more cons. Our favourite characters are back and once again, a trip back into the world of curse workers proves to be an enjoyable one.
I was delighted to return to the world of Cassel, Lila, Sam and Daneca in Red Glove. After being so pleasantly surprised with the first book, I was unsure if this one could be better or worse. They’re pretty equal in terms of enjoyment, but I think I might like Red Glove just a sliver more. There was no need for character introduction as we’re already well acquainted, so this left more room for action and interaction!
I won’t give away anything about the story – half the fun is discovering it on your own – but I will say that the relationship between Cassel and Lila is one of my favourite parts of this series. Also, I think the cover art does such a good job at giving these characters their faces.
I usually have a love-hate relationship with male narrators in YA fiction, but Cassel is such a fun character to explore the world through. Even though he’s our ‘eyes’ throughout the book, I can’t help but be insanely attracted to him. I’d take a Cassel Sharpe for my own any day, worked or not. He’s just one of those guys a girl can easily lust after, even if he is our narrator and we’re aware of his flaws and insecurities more than anyone else.
I was a little confused in parts as I’ve read a few books between this one and White Cat; some of the tinier details were blurred and I had trouble remembering little things that happened or familiar faces. But, Holly Black does quite a good job of discreetly recapping the past events. I was soon able to piece the bits together and remember where I left off, which means re-reading White Cat isn’t absolutely essential if you’re planning on digging into Red Glove – although, since it’s such a good book, you might want to for your own benefit!
I found the cons, the worker’s rights protests, HEX meetings and day-to-day hubbub of Wallingford a great place to be while reading the novel. You genuinely go on an adventure with these characters and it’s a great experience. There’s a lot of YA out there today that makes you feel somewhat detached from the lives of its characters; Holly Black’s series aren’t among them.
Recommended to: Fans of Holly Black will be pleased; as will readers returning from the first installment of White Cat. Highly recommended!(less)