I received an advanced copy this novel in exchange for an honest review
I could not get enough of this story!! The Wendy is an absolutely fantastic novel that truly sweeps you off your feet! You immediately are sucked into the story...into a world where the story of Peter Pan is not quite how you remember. Peter Pan retellings have been very hit or miss for me, and I am happy to report that this book is truly a winner. It is unique and a fun twist on the original story, while still having all of the classic elements. To be completely honest, reading this book felt like I was reading a classic novel (which isn't a bad thing at all)!
The authors crafted a fun setting but also extraordinary characters. The took the original versions of these characters, expanded upon their personalities that we see in the original story, but still made them uniquely their own. All of the characters had the same quirks that we love, but they also have some new personality traits that will make you fall in love with them more. Wendy is such a strong, fierce female lead and I loved her representation. Hook is still sinister as ever, but we see a different side to him that is unexpected. I loved how the authors dealt with the subject of gender and women being seen as inferior in the time period. The story is an inspirational one at its heart as we go on a journey with Wendy to overcome the obstacles thrown in her path.
I can't wait until the next book comes out and where the story goes. I am excited to see how the authors make the next part of the Wendy/Peter Pan/Hook saga their own. I highly recommend checking this book out if you like fun retellings and are a fan of Peter Pan. You won't regret reading this hidden gem!
From the Earth to the Shadows was an exciting finale in the Valkyrie duology! The story picks up right where the pr/>FromSee more reviews on my blog Novels and Necklaces
From the Earth to the Shadows was an exciting finale in the Valkyrie duology! The story picks up right where the previous book leaves off, and we dive right into the story. Amanda Hocking has crafted yet another imaginative, wondrous story that sucks you right in. Her continued world-building was fantastic and the characters experience a lot of growth over the course of the story.
The stakes are much higher this time around for not only Malin, but the entire world. The Underworld is in a state of unrest, which means the threat is looming for the Underworld to rise up and cause chaos on Earth. And it's all up to Malin and her friends to stop that from happening. Meanwhile, Malin's heart is not only torn with Asher being missing/possibly dead, she now has formed a fragile bond with her ex. Now, Malin is not only trying to protect the world but also those she cares about the most. I loved that we saw a different side of Malin throughout this story. She became more vulnerable and open. We already know that she's tough as nails, but this was a refreshing addition to her character. She realized that she didn't need to keep everything all bottled up inside.
The pacing was a little all over the place in this book, which was a little frustrating. There were times when the book was incredibly fast-paced and non-stop excitement. However, there would be these extended periods of time where the story would lag a bit. Even though the story was still interesting, given the urgency of the plot, these scenes just didn't fit with the story as a whole. I kept waiting for them to remember they had a world to save, but they just took their grand ol' time in certain parts. Overall though, there was a lot more action and excitement in this novel than the first book. The action scenes were brilliantly written and were seriously epic.
My only other complaint with the novel was the ending. Everything felt a little rushed and a bit anti-climactic. The resolution to everything almost was a "blink-and-you-miss-it" type thing which upset me. The whole book had been leading toward this epic conclusion and then it just ended. I wanted a little more from this. However, this being said, I did love how much the characters grew over the course of the novel and how much more mature they were by the end. Additionally, I absolutely adore the world that Amanda Hocking has created and it's such an excellent mix of sci-fi, Norse mythology, and fantasy.
I definitely would recommend checking out this sequel/finale in the Valkyrie series. It was a great conclusion to the series, and while I wanted a bit more out of the ending, I was still happy with how the book turned out. If you are a fan of Amanda Hocking, you do not want to miss this one!! I can't wait to see what she writes next!
Annette Marie has done it again!!! She has given another thrilling installment in the Spell Weaver series and I can't get eUpdate 4/11/18:
Annette Marie has done it again!!! She has given another thrilling installment in the Spell Weaver series and I can't get enough. I absolutely loved this book and it was exactly what I needed to get out of my head for awhile. The story is just so enthralling and I loved every single second of it.
Clio is such an excellent character and she just has been getting better and better as the story progresses. She is very goal-directed and focused, and still maintains that easy relatability. Her character is incredibly well-written and her character development is absolutely fantastic. Clio knows how to get things done...even if that means she kind of fumbles her way through it. But that's exactly what makes her character so amazing, she's so real. Lyre will always have a special place in my heart, but I love that we get his POV in this series. We understand so much more about him and see why he is the way he is. He has that edge to him that we only start to fully understand when we read from his perspective, which I love. Lyre is such a mystery but he opens up much more throughout this book and I loved learning more about him.
The world is also further developed upon throughout the book which was amazing. We learn more about the magic, the incubi, and a new caste which was very fascinating. Honestly, one of my favorite things about this series is the magic element. Annette Marie has created such a unique world and I love going into that world every time I pick up one of her books. Plus, I give her major props for taking the incubi and elevating them to more than just "sex fiends."
Definitely pick this up if you are a fan of Annette Marie, the Spell Weaver series, or the Steel and Stone series. This book was absolutely fantastic and sucks you in instantly. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book and where she takes the story next!! Check this out now!
Jay Crownover will never cease to amaze me with her tremendous talent. She's an author that is an automatic-buy-- one where I don't even need to know what the story is about to know I will read it. No matter what Jay writes, she does it flawlessly and I love every second I am in the story. Escape is no exception to this. The final installment in the Getaway Series is a tale of first love and finding your way back to the person you are meant to be with.
I was most excited for Brynn and Lane's story as they always piqued my interest from the very start. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew that when they finally let themselves give into their true feelings and crash into one another, it would result in one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever read. But let me tell you, I didn't expect to be so swept away by them as I was.
Lane is very much the "little brother." He falls into the role easily due to his charm, wit, and good looks. After Brynn shattered his heart years prior, he threw himself into helping out with the ranch...and the women that came along with it. Brynn on the other hand, has spent all of these years watching Lane from a distance. After one fateful night, Brynn built her walls so high up around her that she had an excellent view when it came to watching Lane's antics. The only problem...she loves Lane in a way she can love no one else, but she's scared that Lane only sees her as a damsel in distress. She has spent years trying to drown that image of herself, but in the process, she has done the exact opposite of what she wanted-- she has distanced herself from Lane.
What I loved so much about this story is that Jay didn't drag out their reconciliation. Almost immediately, they end up coming together and working things out. Sure, they have a ways to go at the beginning of the novel, but the important thing is that they're together, exploring their feelings for each other. And let me tell you...once that spark ignites, there's no putting out the inferno that continues to build. At the same time though, they are focused on starting anew and building a new life, but this time together. They got to know each other in new ways and were able to see each other in a new light.
This is where the story goes into a brilliant but unexpected direction of introducing a young teenager who Brynn connects with in a special way. I loved that Jay incorporated this element into the story (and small spoiler here...connected this series to not only The Point but also the Marked Men series). Jay allowed the reader to form a much deeper connection to both Brynn and Lane by seeing the lengths they went to for this teenager. We see Brynn become her own hero, and this was the most important part to me. Brynn became an even stronger, braver woman and the support Lane provided her throughout everything was incredible...and exactly the type of person we always expected Lane to be (but also the type of person Lane has always wanted to become).
This was an absolutely heartwarming end to a fantastic series. I honestly want more from some other side characters (especially Ten and Wyatt), but for now I couldn't have asked for a better way for the brothers' story to conclude. Jay has always been one of my favorite authors, but she has truly outdone herself with Escape, and given fans a very special ending.
Hinder by Kristin Ping is a refreshing read that is fun and unique. Even though it's about magic, witches, and demons, Ms. Ping puts her own creative spin on the fantasy genre that many will enjoy. I would have loved to give this book 4 stars (or higher) but there were several things that made me lower my rating to a 3. I really loved the concept of this book and I'm excited to see where the series goes from here.
The story follows Alex and Ethan...two people who don't know the other exists but are trying to find the other. Ms. Ping immediately sweeps you away into a fantastical world of witches, benders and wielders, and an evil enemy. I truly loved this part of the story because it was so unlike anything I had read previously. I loved learning about this new world!! It was fun and exciting and Ms. Ping offered plenty of twists that I didn't see coming. The more I read of this story, the more invested in the world I became. There are a lot of questions left unanswered by the end of the book so I'm excited to see how she continues to build the world up and answer some of these questions. However, the one thing I had a small problem with in the beginning was that it was basically an "info-dump." The reader learns a little bit more throughout the book, but the first 2 chapters are where you find out all of the info that you need to set up/understand the story/plot. I do wish it was spaced out a little more but I didn't mind this too much. It just meant I could jump into the story faster.
Ms. Ping's writing is great and she gave her characters a lot of spunk. I would say this is geared toward older YA because of the more "adult" moments and humor. I personally loved the banter between the characters and the "adult" moments, but I know this isn't for everyone. Also, the fact that family plays such a huge role in this story really made me love it that much more. It was a welcoming change from most books where the family basically disappears and the main characters are left to fend for themselves. Instead, Ms. Ping incorporates them into the story and gives them a huge role to play as not only mentors, but as...wait for it....actual parents. I can't stress enough how important this was because let me tell you, I'm all for parents who actually parent. This is rarely done in YA books and I'm glad that Ms. Ping decided to incorporate them into the story!
For the most part, Alex and Ethan were developed as characters but I definitely would have liked a little more. The book is told from dual POV (Alex and Ethan), and Alex had a great internal monologue that I loved. She was the perfect lead for the story and I enjoyed her journey during the novel. I loved seeing her grow and become a more independent person. Ethan was also a decent character to follow--he's the typical good-guy jock. But I didn't like him as much as I wanted to...especially since he is the other main character AND the love interest in this book. Perhaps the biggest reason for this was the fact that he referred to girls as different animals. He repeatedly said throughout the book that he knew it was wrong to do this, but it never once stopped him. I wanted to see him grow out of this habit by the end of the book, but he never did. I felt this aspect of his character was unnecessary and it made me dislike his character a lot.
This series has a lot of potential and I'm interested to see where Ms. Ping takes the story! I would recommend checking the story out because it is a unique read and fun. There are a lot of plot twists that took the story in a different direction than I was expecting. I am excited to check out the sequel and see what new adventures await for both Alex and Ethan!
Nora Ash has given new life to the vampire genre!! Wicked Soul is an excellent start in a new vampire romaNecklacesActualSee more reviews on my blog Novels and Necklaces
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Nora Ash has given new life to the vampire genre!! Wicked Soul is an excellent start in a new vampire romance series. I was hoping that Wicked Soul would offer something different and not be like every other vampire themed book out there, and I was pleased to find that it was definitely new and exciting. Sure, there are some things that are typical of a vampire romance, but as a whole, Nora Ash breathed new life into a genre that has beaten into the dust.
From the world-building to the characters to the action and steaminess, this book was excellent on multiple levels. I absolutely adored the world-building in this book. Nora Ash did an amazing job at incorporating new themes into the vampire genre while also still playing off of those stereotypical vampire traits. I was immediately taken in by the story and honestly never stopped reading. I spent the day reading the book because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next and to see where the story was going. The characters were also amazing!! Olivia, our female lead, was sarcastic and hilarious. I loved her tough-as-nails attitude and she always stayed true to herself. She didn't take anything lying down. Warin, our main vamp, was also an amazing character. I loved seeing him from Olivia's perspective however if I would change anything about this book, it would be that I would have loved to read from Warin's perspective as well. I think it would have added another element to the story.
Together, Liv and Warin were perfect...and there is a lot more to their story than what you think. I loved how everything came together in the end, and even though I figured it out earlier in the book, I still loved watching it all come together and see how things played out. I also really loved the fact that things between Liv and Warin did develop over the course of the book. They actually took the time to get to know each other and were friends before they became anything more. But let me tell you, when they did become something more...OH BOY WAS IT STEAMY!!!! MUY CALIENTE!!!!
I would highly recommend checking this book out if you are a fan of vampire romances and want something new in the genre. Nora Ash did an amazing job at starting out this series and I can't wait to read the next book, which focuses on Warin's brother, Aleric. This book is definitely addicting and you won't want to stop reading. Check this out now!!
Abigail Drake has made me fall in love once again with this sequel in the Passport/>ActualSee more reviews on my blog Novels and Necklaces
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Abigail Drake has made me fall in love once again with this sequel in the Passports and Promises series! I absolutely adored the first book in this series, Saying Goodbye, Part One &Saying Goodbye, Part Two, but she outdid herself with this installment. With gorgeous writing and the sweetest romance, this is perfect for any romance lover.
One of my favorite aspects of Abigail Drake's gorgeous prose is her attention to detail, but not too much detail. You are instantly transported to Istanbul, Turkey and every scene is richly described so you feel like you are right there sipping Turkish coffee with the characters. Honestly, this book makes me have so much wanderlust it's unbelievable. When I looked up the places the characters visited on Pinterest after finishing, I was awestruck with the beauty of the country while also blown away by the fact that I already knew what every place looked like due to the descriptions in the book. But Ms. Drake not only depicts the setting in the perfect way, but also her characters. You can easily tell how much love and effort she puts into writing the characters in all of her novels, and this book especially.
I immediately fell in love with Bethany and Adam. They have undeniable chemistry and I'm always a sucker for the "hate you-love you" type romance. They're bickering and banter is classic and oh-so-perfect. I truly felt like I knew these characters way before the halfway point, and I loved watching both Bethany and Adam grow over the course of the novel. Bethany especially grows stronger and more confident. She finds a new strength in her that she didn't know she had and allows herself to be set free of the burdens plaguing her at home. Ultimately she allows herself to become the person she was always meant to be.
I highly recommend reading this novel (and this series in general) as it is truly a fantastic read that will sweep you away from the very start. Prepare to lose yourself in a gorgeously written story that reminds us all to break free and become our true selves. Check this out now!!
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange as part of the blog tour for an honest review.
Wow, wow, wow! Sylvie Parizeau never ceases to impress me with her stories but this one blew me away. I loved every single second of this novel and fell in love with both characters over and over again! While the Incandescent series can be read individually as standalone novels, I highly recommend you reading the other two novels first...not because you won't understand something but because this series is so amazing that you shouldn't miss out on the other two gorgeously written novels!
I was excited to check Exposure out because PO has been a bit of a mysterious character to me since the first book in this series, and I couldn't wait to find out more about him. He has intrigued me a lot since the beginning and let me tell you... PO seriously made me fall in love with him repeatedly while I was reading his story. As with the other two novels, Exposure is all about PO's journey into finding love. And even though he never thought it would happen--he falls hard and falls fast for a girl that completely ignores him (or so he thinks that she ignores him). Auréle has an interesting story to tell...I'm not going to spoil anything but I figured it out pretty quickly after reading the first chapter from her perspective. I adored the incorporation of this aspect of her character as it was so different than something I have read previously. Ms. Parizeau did an excellent job at writing her character.
Together Auréle and PO form first, a friendship and later, a relationship in a slightly unconventional way but I loved it so much. It fit both of their personalities very well and I adored that it was how they got to know each other. Both PO and Auréle are perfect for each other and are incredibly relatable. I loved how PO saw Auréle even when she was convinced she was invisible. He made her feel loved, and that love is tangible while reading. They definitely have some steamy moments but they were well-balanced with the rest of the story.
I will say, this book was a bit of a roller-coaster in regards to my emotions. Sometimes I would be flying high on the love they had for each other and then the next minute I would be shocked from a surprise twist that might change everything forever for PO and Auréle. But that just made the book more exciting! Again, the Canadian landscape is seriously the perfect setting for this series and it makes me long to travel there.
I highly recommend reading Exposure if you are a romance fan or a fan of the Incandescent series. I simply adore this entire series, and I am looking forward to the future books and the rest of the GGS squad's stories. Sylvie Parizeau knows how to write a heartwarming story, and the perfect cold weather read. This is a must read, so curl up with a nice steaming mug of tea/coffee/hot chocolate and dive in when this is released! You won't regret it!
Apprehension is the second book in the Incandescent series, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as the first novel, I still enjoyed the story a great deal! While each book is meant to be a standalone, I highly recommend checking out the first in the series as it truly is an amazing novel. Plus, all of the characters that are featured in this novel are featured in the first as well which adds a little something extra for those that are fans. I loved reading about another set of characters with Liam and Eolie still being so present in the story. Those two stole my heart in the first book, so I was greatly looking forward to another set of characters doing the same. Sylvie Parizeau's writing is phenomenal and truly sweeps you away to the picturesque Canadian setting. This is one of my favorite parts of these books because the setting comes alive and is its own entity in the story.
The book follows Zac and Magali. Zac, who was featured in the first novel, is one of the GGS squad and Liam's friends. This is all about his journey of self-discovery as well as the discovery of true love and his own happy-ever-after. I loved both Zac and Magali so much...they're adorable together and I loved how both characters built the other up when they needed each other the most. They were a constant support system for each other and I loved every single second of their relationship. On top of all of this, they had a great banter which added to the book.
However, the reason I didn't like this novel as much as the previous book is because of how quickly they got together. It was very much insta-love and this was extremely different than what I have come to know about the series. I know this series is all about "love at first sight" and all that jazz but this was just too fast for me. Honestly, it was difficult for me to fully get behind their relationship even though I loved them together purely because of how fast they got together. I felt that even by the end, they still didn't know each other in the way that Liam and Eolie knew each other by the end of the first book. And because of this, I had to lower my rating.
That was my only complaint though. Everything else about this book is spectacular and I loved seeing the other characters featured so prominently. The entire novel is a journey to finding your soulmate and it was beautifully done. The story is heartwarming and leaves you satisfied in the end. I definitely recommend this to all fans of the Sylvie Parizeau as well as all romance fans. This one is not to be missed!
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely adored Ms. Anderson's first book, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, so when I saw that she was a companion novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible. Not Now, Not Ever was such a fun and unique story that is sure to be just as much of a hit as her first book. There is a lot to love about this book and Ms. Anderson wrote this story expertly.
Inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest, the story follows Elliot Lawrence Gabaroch (who renames herself Ever Lawrence). Ever doesn't want to go the path that everyone else wants her (her mom: joining the Air Force; her dad: law school), so she makes her own path and sneaks away to "genius camp" in order to win a scholarship to her dream school. I really enjoyed how Ms. Anderson incorporated The Importance of Being Earnest into the story by including quotes from the play. Ever's stepmom has been in the play repeatedly so she virtually knows the entire play by heart, which meant that anytime Ever quoted the play...it didn't feel forced. The incorporation of the play felt natural and made for some fun connections. I truly loved how Ever would find ways of applying the quotes to her life and the things she was going through.
Ever was such a fantastic character in this novel. She is definitely different than Ms. Anderson's previous MC, but Ever still has that sarcastic and witty humor. Ever's character goes through a journey in this book (and because of that the book does have a little bit more of a serious undertone to it). I loved how Ms. Anderson incorporated the idea of how we present ourselves to others and how that might not be how we actually are. There is also the exploration of identity (i.e. who we are and want to be versus what others want us to be) and the secrets we keep from others. These aspects of the story are something that can resonate with all readers and gave the story more depth than I was expecting.
While this book has a little more serious-ness to it, there is plenty of fun banter that goes back and forth between the characters. The group that Ever is in truly fits her. She has a group of friends that are always there and want the others to succeed. I was constantly laughing at the witty banter that existed in their group. Honestly, they were just plain fun! And I felt like I was apart of their group too. I truly adored Ever and Leigh's friendship. Their friendship is truly one of complete acceptance, understanding, and support. I loved watching their friendship grow and develop into almost a sister-like bond. I was happy (and relieved) that they never became super competitive or catty, and instead were constantly there for each other being each other's cheerleader.
Overall, Lily Anderson's new novel is definitely a hit and a must-read for all fans of her first book. There is so much to love about this story, and the entire book is written perfectly. There is a nice balance of serious and fun, which made the book even more enjoyable. I did get a little lost at first with all of the other teams and their corresponding teammates, but honestly I wasn't ever super confused that it took away from the reading experience. Definitely pick this one up as soon as it hits shelves!
I was given an advanced copy of this book by Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Wow, wow, wow!! This was a fantastic sequel to The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts! I was happy to have both books so that I could read them back to back because I absolutely loved the world that Ms. Tansley created in the first novel. The Girl Who Saved Ghosts is an excellent addition to The Unbelievables series, and makes me want the third book right away! With richly described characters and a more in-depth look at the spirit world, this novel has everything you could want in a sequel!
One of the things I loved about the first novel was the rich storytelling and how intriguing Ms. Tansley made the spirit world. I didn't think it was possible, but she made me love the world she created even more! She delves further into the spirit world as well as the curses and legacies surrounding the 4 families. I love how things are tying together and it makes me even more excited for the third book. While I didn't love the time travel aspect as much as I did in the last book, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I think the reason though was because I was so interested in what was going on in the present with the characters! Kat and Evan learn more about their respective family and Kat explores the extent of her "powers." And when an unexpected character shows up, I really wanted to see the interaction between him and Kat.
One of the things that I had a little bit of a problem with in the first book was the lack of character development for the main characters. However, this was completely resolved in this book! Kat is fleshed out a bit more and we start understanding her perspective on things. She is still very relatable, but I connected with her more this time. I do want to learn more about Evan though. He's still a bit mysterious, but his true colors are starting to come through, and let's just say I'm now shipping Kat and Evan even harder than I was in the first book (who knew that would be possible??). I love how protective Evan is of Kat while still giving her the space to embrace her "powers" and be her own person.
While I do wish that we would have seen more of Morgan and some of the other characters, this book really was about Kat and Evan learning more about their families and histories. But hopefully we see more of Morgan in the next book because I adore her character.
This is such a fantastic series and has all the right elements of a perfect paranormal read. Ms. Tansley's writing is even better than in the first novel, and the story is addicting from page 1. I highly recommend checking out this book (especially since it's almost Halloween and who doesn't love a good ghost story in October!).
I am a huge fan of Annette Marie, so when I heard that she was writing a prequel to her Stone and Steel Series I was pretty ecstatic! Add on top of it that it was featuring my favorite incubus, Lyre...I was sold hook, line, and sinker! I knew this book was going to be amazing and Annette Marie definitely delivered. I truly loved everything about this story and she set things up for a fantastic series.
The story begins with Clio (who we know from the Stone & Steel series) and I was hooked from the first page! Clio has always been an interesting character to me so it was nice to see her perspective and why she is the way she is. I loved seeing her and Lyre's beginning as it is so different than how they are now. The entire plot is filled to the brim with exciting action, twists and turns, and witty banter that makes you fall in love with the story more and more. The book is fast-paced and there is certainly never a dull moment. We also see cameos from some other characters that we know from the Stone & Steel novels which made the book have an extra dash of awesome. You certainly can read this book as a standalone series (in that you don't have to read the Stone & Steel series first), but I personally loved the little things that carried over from the other series.
Now...Lyre, what can I say? I love that incubus so much and I actually didn't realize how much I missed him! It was amazing to have a book completely about him and Clio. We see a lot of different things about who he is and what makes him tick. I loved delving deeper into his character. We see how he first met Ash and all of their other encounters. Again, this was a little thing that made me smile because comparing these characters then to now was so much fun! You see how circumstances can make things change so dramatically. Lyre was (as always) swoonworthy and hilarious. He's adorably sweet and so so kind. He is honestly one of my favorite characters and I was incredibly happy to read his story. As a side note, I do wish that we could have seen more with his brother Reed (but maybe that'll happen in future installments).
I highly recommend checking out this new novel by Annette Marie if you are a fan of the Stone & Steel series or are just looking for a fun read. Annette Marie delivers on all levels and you are in for a treat while reading The Night Realm. I am very excited to see what she has in store for us in the next novel and the rest of the series.
I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Do you want a good spooky read just in time for Halloween? Then The Missing is the perfect book for you!! This was an absolutely fantastic story that is a standout novel in more ways than one. It's unique and fun, and set against a backdrop of Victorian England, you really can't lose with this book!
Let me start off by talking about the plot and then we'll go into the amazing cast of characters and why this book really was next level for me. The whole book reminded me of a mix between the tv show Supernatural (and how can it not when the MC's last name is even Winchester!!), which I adore, and Clockwork Angel. It was literally the perfect setting for this entire novel and it elevated the story from run-of-the-mill ghost story to something more! Wil, our MC, is clairvoyant and can interact with ghosts. Because of this, Will feels compelled to join a society called the Black Cross, who hunt down and dispel the ghosts and ghouls of Victorian England. The one thing that I really loved though was how in depth Jerico Lenk went into describing the spirit world and what it was that the Black Cross does. For example, we learn that the team investigates what actually keeps the ghosts tethered to our world. Moreover, Lenk also questioned what they do. And this is something that is honestly unheard of in ghost-themed books. By this I mean, he questioned: is it actually okay to be killing the ghosts. If they are as sentient as the society and people believe, and even befriend the living, why is it suddenly okay to dispel/kill them? I was blown away by the inclusion of this whole plot point because seriously, how many ghost books have we all read and this never has come up?! This has never once been questioned! It makes you think, and it really took this book to the next level.
Where this book truly shines though is in its characters. There is such diversity and I think it really made this book for me. This is one of the few books that I have read recently that has such a diverse character set and has done it well by normalizing it. Let me tell you how absolutely important this is. Diversity is something that should be celebrated and not be seen as this "weird" or "unique" thing to do when it's something that has always existed in society. So let's start with Wil. Wil is gender fluid, which means while Wil is anatomically female, depending on the day Wil identifies as somewhere between male and female. This is how it's described in the novel:
"I felt both a young lady and a young man. Not at the same time—sometimes, Will; other times, Willow. And despite how it sounds, it all felt very normal to me. My normal. A kind of bi-genderness, something fluid between the two. Simple as that."
I loved how Lenk explored this aspect throughout the book, and I thought Wil's character was incredibly well written. Additionally, the other characters featured in the story are diverse as well. But what I really loved is how the diversity of the cast is just there...no explanations, just a normal everyday thing. Because that's how it should be in all books!! For example, there was mentions of 2 women dating, and that a male character had interest in another male at a party. Can I get an AMEN for well written representation!! I also really appreciated that While Wil was more or less accepted by others, Lenk still explored the prejudices of the time and the difficulties Wil faced.
I highly recommend checking this book out if you are looking for a fantastic spooky read! With a great mix of Supernatural and Clockwork Angel (2 personal favorites), this book is an all around winner! Lenk is a very talented author and is definitely one to watch. I am excited to see what else Jerico Lenk writes because I'll definitely be checking it out!
I was given a copy of this book as part of a book blitz to later review at my convenience.
"Someday when I'm not around anymore. When you're near the horizon, you'll be near me too..."
I was unsure at first whether or not I wanted to read this book only because of it being based on a true story. Sometimes these kinds of books get very boring for me because I'm not really a memoir type person. However, I am incredibly happy that I chose to read this one because it is a story of heartbreak, joy, and celebrating life. I do think it's important to tell everyone that there are several triggers in this book involving drug use, sexual abuse, rape, and suicide. While some play more prominent roles than others, they are all present nonetheless.
Jessica's writing is phenomenal. She writes with a rawness that is not often seen in novels these days and your heart broke for not only her character but the other characters as well several times throughout the story. She says in the end that this was a difficult book to write and moreover have published. But I am extremely glad that she did write and publish this story. It's very appropriate for our current world and how our views of others can be completely wrong. This book is a reminder that just because someone looks a certain way, acts a certain way, or has a medical condition that by many is viewed as "dirty" or "disgusting," doesn't mean they are not human beings and don't deserve to be treated differently!! Everyone should be treated with respect no matter who they are or what their circumstances might be. I applaud Jessica for not shying away from the tough topics because all of these things (how we treat others, how others treat us, our views on certain things in society) need to be discussed more. It is rare to find and experience so much emotion while reading a book, but you find it in So Near the Horizon.
The story follows Jessica, Danny, and Tina. Each character was unique and very well-developed. At first, I wasn't a huge fan of Jessica. The beginning of the book wasn't my favorite and I just couldn't get into Jessica's character. However, this changes rather quickly. Jessica starts out as very uptight and jealous (even when she really doesn't have a right to be). It was extremely off-putting, but I hung in there. Because she realized how she was acting and realized it was time for a change. Can I get a HALLELUJAH! A character with self-realization early on in a story!! Let's just say, I greatly appreciated this aspect of Jessica. She knew she needed to change her mindset and grew from that. She grew to become a stronger, more open-minded individual.
Danny also starts off as a pretty arrogant individual who is closed-off. However, he has every right to be once you learn about his back-story. You understand why he acts the way he does. You watch Danny become more open, loving, and caring toward Jessica once he reveals everything. My heart shattered when I read about everything he had been through, and I will admit I teared up a bit. His backstory is honestly so heartbreaking and the sad truth is, these things actually do happen in real life. Monsters do exist in our world. I also loved his friendship with Tina. Tina herself is an interesting character with a tragic backstory as well, but I loved how they constantly supported each other and helped each other deal with their pasts. It is amazing when 2 characters can come together and be so strong for the other. It added yet another heartwarming element to this sad story.
You get to know each character very well while reading this book and even though you know things are not going to end well, you still are praying for that happy ending. You pray that somehow, someway things will all work out and be okay. But because that's not how life often works...the ending is tear-inducing and heartbreaking. However at the same time, the ending reminds you that it is important to celebrate the life you have while you are living it. That you shouldn't take things for granted. That you should be with those you love while they are in your life. The ending reminds us that regardless of how long people are in your life, everyone is in your life for a reason.
“We resided together in unconditional love, united through pain and cemented through the trust we’d worked so hard to build between us.”
I highly recommend reading this novel. It is riveting from start (well really about page 50) to finish and you will find yourself caring so much about these characters that you will never want the story to end. Go read this one now!
Deadly Sweet was a fun start to a new magic series by author, Lola Dodge. While this is the first book I have read from Ms. Dodge, it certainly won't be the last! This book will appeal to all YA/NA/paranormal fans and is definitely a hit for 2018.
This book follows Anise, a witch who's powers aren't always on her side. She dreams of attending pastry school to showcase her baking talents. But when her witchy powers backfire on her and cause a major accident, she's forced to join her great aunt who just so happens to run a pretty popular bakery. In this town, witches are more accepted, so Anise thinks this will be her ticket to achieving her dreams. Back as soon as she gets there, strange things start happening, which quickly becomes threats on Anise's life!!
While the mystery was a little bit predictable, I was still captivated all the way through the book. I loved Anise's character. She was humorous, lovable, and just plain fun. I loved her quest on becoming the best baker she could. I love baking too so this made me connect with her a little bit more. Anise is a very relatable character and I loved reading her perspective. You can tell how dedicated she is to obtaining her dream by doing everything and anything she needs to in order to make in her great aunt's shop! I also loved how strong and brave she was. She didn't run scared in the face of danger. I also loved the focus on the friendships she made when she arrived in town. This was one of my favorite parts of the story.
I definitely recommend reading this book as it is a quick, magical read that is sure to sweep you off your feet. I hope to learn a little more about the magic and the witches in general in the next book, but for now, this was an excellent start to a fun new series. I can't wait to see what happens next!!
I received an ARC of this book from Xpresso Book Tours as part of the Blog Tour that runs October 2-7.
Although I have not read any of the other Pilots Hockey novels by Sophie Henry, I definitely am interested in checking out the rest of them! I'm always a sucker for hockey romances, so I knew this book would be right up my alley. I was happy to see that it was also a standalone so while reading I never felt like I was missing out on anything. Sure, it would have been nice to know some of the characters prior to reading this, but the story focuses on Luke and Brianna. The side characters have intrigued me enough that I want to check out the other books in the series and that is always one of the things that make me love a book more. If the author can automatically make me want to learn more about the other characters, I know I'm in for a good read.
As I said, this story revolves around Luke Daniels, a former NHL player for the Charlotte Aviators, and Brianna Collins, a traveling nurse who has a job at Charlotte Children's Hospital. Even though Brianna, who has been surrounded by hockey all her life has sworn off dating hockey players for the rest of her life...the minute Luke comes into her life, she finds him hard to resist. What starts off as just fun becomes something much more, and I loved every second of it. The connection between them is palpable and the sparks fly off the page! Let's just say it's HOT, HOT, HOT!!! I loved watching their relationship develop and grow. Even though both brought their own baggage to the relationship, they continually supported each other and built each other up. Luke and Brianna were faced with some tough situations and they got through them together.
Sophia Henry's writing was fantastic and really made this story for me. I was instantly swept away into Luke and Brianna's romance and the story itself. Ms. Henry's writing is real and emotionally charged. Your heart breaks for the characters at times, and when they feel joy...you feel just as much joy. I definitely need to check out more of her novels because she could easily become a new favorite author!
There were only 2 things that I wasn't totally happy with, but both were pretty minor and didn't ultimately affect how I felt about the book. First was the fact that Brianna constantly says that she no longer wants to date a hockey player, yet the first (and only) person she hooks up with/dates is a hockey player. I kind of wish she would have held firm with her decision at first and that there would have been more of a struggle between her attraction toward Luke and not wanting to date another person in hockey. But at the end of the day, this part was okay and didn't bother me that much. Second, I found it hard to believe that no one knew who hit Brianna's brother. When something like that happens in hockey, you know that sort of thing. I know that this whole aspect was added as a twist to the story, which again...didn't bother me that much...but it just didn't really make a whole lot of sense to me.
I highly recommend checking out this book when you are able!! It was a fantastic standalone non-traditional hockey romance that is a fast-paced read. I enjoyed the story from start to finish and I loved how everything ended. I will definitely be checking out more from this author in the future!
I was given an advanced copy of this book by Xpresso Book Tours as part of the upcoming blog tour next week
I was pretty surprised at the low ratings for this novel because I enjoyed it a great deal! It was well written and fast-paced, and the perfect weekend/rainy day read. It had the perfect mix of spooky and supernatural elements with a hint of romance. I will say that when I first started reading this novel, I was slightly worried at how the characters were speaking. Every character in this book speaks very formally, and it felt a little unnatural because people don't typically speak like this in real life. However, I quickly got used to this aspect and was able to enjoy the book a lot more afterward. I do think this is where a lot of people may have a hang up though as the characters do come off a bit pretentious. But for me, it really wasn't that big of a deal (plus Lucinda or any of the characters aren't pretentious at all once we get to know them), and I liked the unique aspect it added to the story.
The plot is incredibly original and unique. I loved the curse aspect and the search conducted by Lucinda and Damien. You could feel their desperation to find a way to break the tragic curse that has plagued their families for hundreds of years. I personally loved that Lucinda was bisexual. This is not something you see in many books right now, but is something that really should be incorporated into novels more often. Additionally, other characters around her are revealed to identify on the LGBTQ spectrum...which added diversity to the story and was very welcomed from my view. Lastly, there were many twists and turns that I never saw coming, and further add to the mystery that is occurring. The ending was mind-blowing and incredibly well done. Everything came together in a heart-stopping finale and was exactly how I wanted this book to end!
There was 1 thing that I did have an issue with but it wasn't enough to make me give the book a rating lower than a 3. The biggest problem for me was the fact that we are just dropped into the story. It felt almost like I was reading the second book in the series rather than the first. I felt there needed to be more world-building and more background given before fully delving into the story (or even as the story went along like in flashbacks). For example, there are mentions of other supernatural entities, but it's not elaborated on further besides small sentences. Also, I would have loved to know more about Lucinda's brother and Morgan. I only learned after I was done reading that there are actually 2 books by C.M. Spivey that do give us more of a background. I really wish I would have known this prior to reading (maybe better marketing or something) because I would have definitely checked those out first before starting on The Longing and the Lack. Even though you can 100% read this as a standalone, I think it would be better to read these 2 other books prior to this novel.
Overall, this is a great new start to an interesting series. C.M. Spivey has crafted a fascinating world that I am eager to get back to! I'm excited to see where this series will go and whether or not it will be about another character or a continuation of Lucinda's story. The Longing and the Lack is an intriguing read with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end! Add this one to your TBR now!
C.C. Hunter has created another wonderful novel that is a departure from her normal novels. I absolutely adored this book, and C.C. Hunter proves that she can write an amazing contemporary story. The Author's Note at the end made this story even better because when you reflect back on the entire book, you can see Ms. Hunter's heart reflected on the page. You can see how much this book truly means to her, and that makes it special.
The story follows Leah and Matt. At the start, Leah has resigned herself to the fact that she's going to die. It's not a matter of if, but when. She has a rare blood type that means getting the heart transplant she so desperately needs is pretty much a 1 in a billion chance of happening. Matt is the other half of an identical twin who recently lost his father. Both Matt and his brother, as well as their mom, are struggling with his loss. Leah and Matt's lives collide when Matt's brother dies unexpectedly and Leah is able to get the transplant she needs...because Matt's brother is the same blood type. From there, the story is one of emotional recovery, both on Leah and Matt's part.
The story is absolutely fantastic in highlighting how 2 people dealing with very different types of changes work through things in a similar way. Leah is suddenly faced with possibilities...now that she has a new heart, she can actually think about college and the future; Matt dealing with the death of his brother on top of the fresh wound of his father's death is convinced that his brother didn't kill himself and is on a mission to prove it. But he also finds himself becoming closer to Leah, not only because she has his brother's heart, but because he sees something in her that no one else sees. I loved seeing the two of them together and see how they both struggled but persevered. Their story was truly heartwarming and uplifting. Even after a scary setback, Leah and Matt are there for each other and it seriously made me a bit misty-eyed.
I also loved the mystery element to the story, and this really helped the plot move forward. Don't get me wrong, this story would have been fantastic even without the mystery element, but it added to the book and made the whole story that much better.
I highly recommend reading this book if you are a fan of C.C. Hunter or a fan of contemporary novels. This has a bit of a The Fault in Our Stars feel in regards to seizing the moment and living life to its fullest. This Heart of Mine captures your heart immediately and never lets it go. You will go on an emotional ride, full of serious, sweet, and sad moments that make you count your blessings and remember to be grateful for the love of your family and the life you have been given. The subject of this book is very important and results in a truly inspirational and amazing story!
I was excited to begin reading this story from Christina Bauer after reading the synopsis. I'm a big fan of paranormal romance, plus this seemed like it offered a unique twist on fairytales. While I did like it for the most part, there were a couple things that fell a little flat for me, which meant I couldn't give the book a higher rating. Regardless of these problems, I still greatly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to reading the next in the series!
Wolves and Roses is set in a world similar to our own where the Magicorum (aka magical beings) live alongside humans. We are quickly introduced to Bryar Rose who is not your average princess. She has no desire to fulfill her "template" of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, including a marriage to Prince Philpot at the ripe old age of 18. I honestly loved Bryar Rose as the MC. She was independent, fierce, and fiery. She certainly could handle herself and wanted to be free to make her own decisions. Bryar Rose was definitely a standout amongst the other cast of characters (even for her wit alone!), but I enjoyed the other characters as well. They were all very likable and fun to read about.
The story itself is very fast-paced with a lot of twist and turns that I didn't fully see coming. Sure, I was able to figure some stuff out, but not everything. Everything is more or less wrapped up in the end, so there isn't a cliffhanger, but there are still plenty of questions for future books to explore. For the most part, the world-building was excellent...but this is also where my first problem arose. When we first start the story (and even in the synopsis), there is mention of how the Magicorum live their lives according to "templates" modeled on different fairytales. The problem is that it's never really explained why this is a thing or what happens if they don't actually fulfill there "template." This is something that was bothering me throughout the story and I wanted to know more about! The only other information we get about the "templates" is that in regards to shifters, if they do not let their inner animal transform before their 18th birthday, the animal will die. We don't however, learn about what happens to any other magical beings. For now, I'm just kind of assuming that nothing happens to other Magicorum, but maybe this idea will be explored and further explained in future books.
Another small problem I had was that there are certain things in the book that are told to the reader repeatedly (e.g. the inner animal of shifters dying). I know it's important to repeat certain things in a story, but it just became a little too much repetition after awhile. Finally, I did feel like the story slowed down in the end. This was only because the main battle took place over 50 pages before the actual end of the book. With everything being so fast-paced in the story prior to this, I felt like the pace lost its momentum a bit after that final battle. I don't have any problem with how the book ended though because Ms. Bauer did wrap things up very nicely. I just wish things didn't slow down as much as they did.
All in all, I really enjoyed Wolves and Roses and would recommend checking it out when you get the chance! It's a fun and unique story with a couple flaws that could be fixed in the next book. I am excited to see where this story goes and what is in store for these characters next!
I was given an advanced copy of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating 4.5 stars
I am absolutely blown away by this novel!! Me and Milo the Great was a beautifully written and touching read that is sure to be a major hit! I have never read a novel by Ms. Schlicher previously, but I am definitely going to check out her past novels (and any future ones) as well! Everything about this book was amazing, and even though the story itself hits on some tough topics, they're handled extremely well and I was incredibly impressed from the very first page!
At times feeling like a memoir, this novel follows Holiday, a young women with debilitating anxiety who has lost so much. Her story is very moving and I easily connected with Holiday right from the start. Michelle Schlicher certainly has a way with words, and her portrayal of Holiday and her anxiety was spot on. Holiday's story is raw and real...2 things that are often not written well in novels, but in this novel were done perfectly. You're heart broke for Holiday, and for those that suffer with anxiety (whether it is as debilitating as Holiday's or not) understood what she was facing every day. This is a very eye-opening look at how severe anxiety can be for a person. I think what made it even better was the concise way Michelle Schlicher wrote Holiday's words. She didn't fill the story with fluff. It's right to the point and there's no shying away from anything.
When Holiday meets Milo, magic happens. I instantly loved Milo and I loved how much her cared for Holiday. Although their relationship is a bit "insta-lovey," it actually works in the story and I didn't mind it. Milo, along with other side characters (who I loved as well), help Holiday realize the importance of healing and forgiveness. It's definitely very touching to say the least. The story shows the importance of having even that one person in your life that can help you heal and come to terms with things that have happened in your past.
The story does go back and forth between present day and past, and because of this we find out about what exactly happened to Holiday in small increments throughout the book. The transitions between past and present were seamless and added such a great element to the story. I loved that we went back and forth (which sometimes can be very annoying to me if not done well), and it was never once confusing. The small reveals throughout the story actually showed the reader why Holiday, acted the way she does and revealed her motivations behind finding different people. I will say that I did figure the one big twist out, but the only reason is because I caught one line earlier in the story that got my gears turning and from then on was able to put things together. And even though I knew the twist that was coming, it still was shocking reading it.
I highly recommend this book for EVERYONE!! You need to check this book out when you get the chance. It's beautifully written and a very poignant read. It shows that love can come in many forms and that it can find you in the way you least expect it. Read this book as soon as it hits shelves!!
I'm always a sucker for romance that involves best friends turning into something more, so I knew this book was right up my alley as soon as I read the description. Katy Upperman crafted the perfect romance for fans of the genre, with just the right amount of build up throughout the story. The characters are all excellently written and the plot is perfect. There were very few things that I didn't like about this story, and it's safe to say that I will be checking out more from Ms. Upperman in the future!
To start, this book is very much character-driven, and it was the perfect way for this story to be written! I honestly loved this aspect of the book the most because it made the story that much more compelling. Jillian was such an excellent character. She was strong, loyal, and very passionate. I was easily able to relate to her because she's a fellow baker, so I get that devotion and love of being in the kitchen baking up a storm! Max too was a great character who had the perfect mix of cockiness and sweetness. Granted this was sometimes infuriating, but still you had to love him. While I don't necessarily agree with all of his decisions in this book, I did like the person he became when Jillian and him finally got together. Together Jillian and Max were a powerful couple. They balanced each other out perfectly and helped each other face/work through some pretty tough situations. I liked how they were always there for each other when they needed the other the most. At the end of the day, they are also best friends which is how any great relationship starts!
The plot was also such a great part of this story. I liked the individual character's storylines, and I became invested in every single character in this book. There was a lot of back and forth between Jillian and Max, which ordinarily annoy me, but in this book, it just worked. I think it's because Jillian was such a strong character to begin with and she never backed down. She kept fighting for what she wanted, and even when Jillian and Max did get together and there were some up and down moments, she still didn't give up. I know this might not appeal or work for some people, but in my opinion, I thought Katy Upperman did an excellent job at portraying a realistic relationship (especially given everything this characters have gone through in their lives).
I would highly recommend checking out this book for anyone who is a fan of contemporary romance novels. With strong characters and a character-driven plot, this is a win all around. I am excited to see what else Katy Upperman writes and will be reading from her in the future!!
I haven't ever read a book by Jennifer Ann prior to this, but let me tell you...I'm going to start! This book was absolutely amazing and I feel like I've been missing out on a great author all these years! I loved everything about this book (except one tiny thing that made me give this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars). I'm a sucker for rockstar romances and I've only have one book flop for me in that category (which isn't too shabby if you ask me lol). Jennifer Ann crafted such a wonderful and powerful story, and I can't wait to read more from her!
This book follows Roman and Belle. The story is told in a unique way with us first seeing them as kids at a summer camp for musicians. I loved watching them grow together and form that bond that they carried throughout life. The second part of this story though is them finding each other again, and struggling to make things work now that their lives are very different than when they parted ways as teenagers. I loved watching Belle transform from a shy, innocent girl to a strong, confident woman. Her life has not been easy since she and Roman parted ways, but she is trying her best to give herself the life she ultimately wants. Roman was literally and figuratively a rockstar throughout this story. I loved how he was with Belle and the love he has for her shined through the page.
Their romance though was epic yet also a roller-coaster ride. They had just as many highs and they did lows, and I honestly just wanted them to be happy for like 5 minutes. This was the one thing that made me lower my rating...I felt there was a little too much drama in their lives. But it definitely added an emotional and powerful punch to the story. They definitely are one of those couples that no matter what obstacles are in their path, they're going to fight to overcome them and try their best to come out on top. While their story is heartbreaking, it is also very uplifting. And let me tell you...it's definitely a page turner!!
If you like rockstar romances, this book is 100% for you! I loved this book from start to finish and will definitely be checking out more from Jennifer Ann in the future! I highly recommend adding this book to your TBR now.
I was given an advanced copy of this book as part of the blog tour for The Seraphina Series
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Sheena Hutchinson has definitely ramped this series up to a 10!! This was a fantastic addition to the Seraphina series and took an completely unexpected turn. I certainly didn't expect to love Seraphina's Vengeance as much as I did, but boy did this story impress me. Ms. Hutchinson delivered some amazing plot twists and has taken this story in a much different direction than I expected. Gone are the days of predictability...you will be left guessing the entire time with this one. Sure everything starts off great, but that's just the calm before the storm. The title says it all...this story is all about vengeance, and Seraphina isn't taking prisoners.
Let's talk about the characters first. All of them are absolutely amazing in this novel. Ms. Hutchinson further explores their growth, and not in the way you would expect. Seraphina is no longer the sweet, innocent person we have come to know. After a certain event towards the beginning of the story, Seraphina begins her quest for revenge. She becomes someone we (and Nate) don't know anymore. And personally, I loved it! I loved seeing this different side to Seraphina, and how simple events can turn someone to the other side. I think it was an interesting way to further the Angel/Demon/Repentance plot point. Nate tries to stay by Seraphina's side through it all, but even he knows when to admit defeat. Some things he cannot control, and he realizes when to back off and let her do her thing. Jack plays a much bigger role in this book, and I still didn't like his character. I was glad that Seraphina finally came to her senses by the end of the book about him...that's not to say that he doesn't manage to sway her to his side earlier on in the book though.
The plot was very fast, similar to the second book in the series, but it was the perfect pace! I flew through this book, and never wanted the story to end. As I mentioned, there are many twists and turns that I never saw coming. Just when you think the story is going in one direction, BAM! Something big happens and the story does a complete 180!
This is definitely a must read for anyone who is a fan of this series! Ms. Hutchinson delivered an excellent story that is fast-paced and a definite page-turner. I am excited to see where she takes the story (and the characters) in the next book, Seraphina's Revolution!! Read this one now!
Seeds of Eden was a great start to a new series that puts a unique twist on the idea of demons/heaven and hell/reincarnation. While there were some aspects of the story that I didn't like that much, I did enjoy this book a lot and am interested in checking out the next in the series. The plot is fast-paced and exciting. I loved the world-building and there are a ton of cool historical elements incorporated into the story that made the entire book more fun to read. The story definitely lives up to the genre horror-romance!! There are many twists and turns (some of which are surprising and some which are more predictable) that leave the reader trying to figure out where the story will go next! However, I'll warn you already...there's a big cliffhanger ending!
Evey and Conrad are our 2 main characters and I really liked them. Did they blow me away, no, but I still loved their characterization over the course of the novel. I loved that Evey didn't take everything at face-value, and instead questioned everything Conrad told her. She was smart and while some of her decisions were a little questionable in my book, I can understand why she made the decisions she did. Evey was very strong-minded and I loved her independence. She was pretty relatable and an easy character to like. The addition of several other characters gave the story more depth than I was expecting in the first book, which was a nice surprise. I will forewarn you though, I would classify this as upper YA and not NA. The characters are in high school, and while there are some "racy" scenes, they aren't that bad that would push it into NA territory (at least in my mind). I also liked the strong female friendship that was featured in the story because it added another layer of depth that helped move the story along.
There were several things about this book though that made me give it 3.5 stars instead of 4. First was Conrad's character. While I did like him a lot, I never loved him. And considering he is the male lead, that gave me a bit of a pause when it came to rating this book. I think the thing that bothered me the most about his character was his persistence when it came to Evey. I understand that he remembers everything they have shared together, but I also felt that he never really gave her the opportunity to come her own conclusion about them being together. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly glad it wasn't insta-love, but I didn't feel like Conrad had the best intentions at times. It almost felt like he was more attracted to what Evey was and that "magical pull" she has toward everyone. And this is something that didn't really sit with me all that well. Additionally, I did think parts of the story seemed choppy, but I was reading an advanced copy so that could purely be the reason for this. Finally, I wasn't totally sold on Aden. He certainly is a terrible person, but as the villain in this book, I found him to be a bit dull and flat. Aden really is only seen in flashbacks (and even these are very brief appearances), and then a quick moment at the end. I know he'll be playing a much larger role in the next book based off of how this one ended, but his character didn't really line up for me in this book. There were a lot of discrepancies I felt, not his feelings toward Conrad...that I understood, but toward other characters.
Overall, I would recommend checking this book out. It was a good start to the series, and the cliffhanger ending definitely leaves you wanting more. I do hope that the world is built even more in the next book and other characters are more fleshed out. If this happens, the book has the potential to go from good to excellent...and maybe even a 5 star read. Check this out when you get the chance!
When I was given an advanced copy of this book, I wasn't actually aware that it was the 3rd book in the series, however I quickly fell in love with the stories as well as Ms. Citro's writing. Although it is the 3rd book, it can be read as a standalone. It's safe to say I'll be checking out the rest of the books in the series though because I need to find out more about the other characters featured in this book. Thicker Than Blood is a book that keeps you hooked until the end and is one that you never want to stop reading. You instantly fall in love with the main characters and are rooting for them throughout the entire book. Ms. Citro's writing is fantastic and truly sweeps you away.
Dakota and Caden are excellent leads for this story. Both characters are easy to love and extremely relatable. After a devastating accident, Dakota's life is turned upside down, and that is the moment when she (and Caden) realize certain things about their lives. Once upon a time, they were madly in love, but one event shattered that leaving both of them heartbroken. However, when they find their way back to each other and learn that everything that happened is not what it appeared to be, their romance becomes magical. My heart broke for both characters at how much time they lost due to a misunderstanding and petty jealousy.
I honestly loved Dakota's character. She was very much in tune with her ancestry and heritage, and this added a lovely element to the book. I liked how Ms. Citro wove Dakota's beliefs and ancestry into the story because it made me love the book even more. Dakota is a wonderful free-spirited woman and is the perfect match for Caden. Caden is very swoon-worthy. He's down-to-earth and romantic. Caden is also loyal to a fault and even though at the beginning of the story things aren't very good between him and Dakota, he stays by her side through it all. It was in these beginning moments that you see just how much he still cares for and loves Dakota.
As I said, I definitely want to find out more about the side characters because they played such important roles in this book and I would love to find out their backstory. However the one character I absolutely hated...Dakota's sister. She is absolutely despicable and I couldn't stand her. You'll understand why I say that when you read the book, but just know that you will hate her from the get go.
I would highly recommend reading this book right away!! With fantastic writing and a cast of characters that is easy to love (with the exception of Dakota's sister that is), you will quickly find a new favorite series!! I do think the story would have meant more to me if I read the previous 2 books prior to this one, however you can definitely read this as a standalone and not be confused. This book takes you on a journey through heartbreak, friendship, and love...and it is a journey that you will want to take again and again.
I was given an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review
Although I had some mixed feelings about Tobie Easton's first novel, Emerge, I still greatly enjoyed the book and was very excited when I had the opportunity to read an ARC of its sequel. And let me tell you, this book blew me away! From the start, I was plunged right back into the Lia's world full of mermaids and romance. I always thought Ms. Easton was a gifted storyteller, but this book took her writing to another level. A lot of problems I had from the first book were remedied in Submerge, and this was something that I appreciated as it made me love the book so much more.
Submerge picks up right where the first book ended. The trial is about to start, Clay and Lia are still discovering and building upon their relationship, and the entire mermaid race is thrilled with the return of their immortality. However, just as things are looking up for all of our characters, things take a surprising turn that causes devastating effects for certain people. The book is fast-paced, and although it is longer than the first in the series, the story never lagged for me. I honestly didn't even realize that the book was close to 400 pages because I wanted to keep reading!! Ms. Easton expands a lot on the world-building in this novel and this was something that I appreciated. We are able to see and explore much more of the Mer world, and we learn more about Lia's culture. This was honestly one of my favorite aspects of the entire book.
Lia's character still felt a little young at times, but this was mostly in the beginning. She matured a great deal over the course of the story, and her characterization was excellently written. My heart truly broke for her at several points in the story because I honestly wanted her to just be happy. Lia is a very relatable and fun character, and I think a lot of readers will love seeing her growth throughout this book. Clay and Lia together were the epitome of young love. I definitely could see how much they cared for each other in this story, and again this was a nice change from the first book for me. They go to great lengths to find their way back to each other after something HUGE happens in the beginning and I loved their reunion. There are also several new characters that are introduced, and they are very well fleshed out during the novel. They served as a great transition from the human world to the Mer world, and it made the story a bit more fun!
There are definitely some huge twists in this book that I never saw coming! I did think the one character was up to something all along, but I definitely didn't expect that character to be cooking up something so major!! The entire climax and conclusion of this story were utterly fantastic and Ms. Easton's writing was at its finest. And then of course, she has to leave us with a bit of a cliffhanger. It's not really a cliffhanger in the traditional sense; it's more of a shocking statement that leaves me very very eager for the next book.
I would highly recommend checking Tobie Easton's sequel in the Mer Chronicles if you were a fan of the first book. With more world building and more mature characters, this book offered several improvements from the first book that made the story even more enjoyable. It's definitely still YA, but will appeal to a wide variety of readers. With so many exciting twists and turns throughout the story, I can't wait to see what Ms. Easton has in store for us in the next installment!
Happy reading :)
Thank you to Month9Books for the advanced copy!...more