Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper


Release Date: November 25, 2011
Publisher: Rhemalda
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 328
ISBN:
9781936850433
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads):

Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.

When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.

Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.

Young Adult fans of Mermaids, Selkies, Sirens and Gorgons will love this tale of the sacrifice one makes for genuine love. Love that could be lost at any moment to the ever-changing tides.

Review:

What an amazing debut by Karen Amanda Hooper! I was captivated by this story from the very beginning, and believe me when I say that Tangled Tides is definitely one of the best mermaid stories out there.

Hooper has certainly weaved quite a story. This book is so much more than a simple mermaid tale. Sirens, gorgons, and selkies all make an appearance, and the mythical world that Hooper creates for them is well-detailed and breathtaking. It was so easy to envision the underwater realm that Yara, Treygan, and their many companions live in. Another thing I loved was the elements of Greek mythology that were present. These elements give background to the merfolk and sea creatures, explaining how they came into being. I feel like with most mermaid stories, there is no mention of how or why mermaids exist, but instead, the reader just has to accept that they do. The fact that Hooper offers explanation to the history surrounding these sea creatures really sets her story apart from others and gives a fresh, new take to the classical mermaid tale.

The characters are also wonderful. Each one has their own, definitive voice, making it really easy to connect to them. Yara is faced with a tough decision that not only affects her, but hundreds of others, yet she is resolute and strong, and I really liked that about her. There are moments when she feels fear, but never once does she back down. All of her emotions come across really well, and I think she was an excellent main character. (I have to say I was a little surprised by her reaction to becoming a mermaid. She was angry, yes, but what about the freak out?? If you just got turned into a mermaid, you are entitled to freak out a little!) And then there is Treygan. Oh my, where do I even begin with him? He is strong, confident, smart, and the list goes on and on. He is just a great guy who really cares for Yara, and I love their relationship and chemistry. There were even a few instances where Treygan had to stop himself from having some inappropriate thoughts about Yara, which made him seem more ‘real’ and really fleshed out his character. There are also the minor characters, such as Pango, Rownan, and others, and I liked every one of them. It is very rare that side characters have their own voice (or personality, for that matter), and I applaud Hooper for creating such excellent characters.

Hooper’s awesome writing style coupled with great characters and an intriguing plot make Tangled Tides a must read for all. This is one of the best books published in 2011, and also one of the best mermaid stories available. I cannot for the sequel, which is still untitled. There is no release date set, but I hope it is soon! I cannot wait to see what Yara and Treygan’s next underwater adventure will be!
Advertisements

Anew by Chelsea Fine

Release Date: December 7, 2011
Publisher: Acadia Publishing
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook format)
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages:
385
ISBN:
1935089498
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):
Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery…until she met a boy with a familiar voice.
Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet’s determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he’s kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.
Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet’s world becomes even more muddled. While she’s instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she’s impossibly drawn to Tristan–and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past…might just be the death of her.
Review:
Oh man, I enjoyed this book. I was engrossed the whole time, and each chapter just seemed to get better and better. The writing is phenomenal, the story is original, and Fine’s storytelling is topnotch. And I cannot forget about the cliffhanger! At first, I thought that my e-book was incomplete, but when I found out that was the end, I was partially stupefied and partially enraged. Why of all places did she have to end the book THERE?? I believe Conan sums it up best:
Oh, no, she didn’t!
As far as cliffhangers are concerned (and depending on how you feel about them), this book has one of the best/worst cliffhangers I have come across in a while. It definitely has me eagerly waiting for the next book! If you are not a fan, I would advise you to wait to read Anew until the sequel is released.
While the story itself is amazing, the best part about this book is the characters. The reader cannot help but connect to Scarlet. She has many qualities that I really appreciate in female characters: courage, strength, and the ability to throw some awesome comebacks in a pretty boy’s face. I felt her confusion as she attempts to piece together her past and learn who she is, and I felt her emotional turmoil as she struggled with her growing affection for two brothers. One of the brothers, Gabriel, is an all-around nice guy burdened with a curse that will forever haunt him. His love for Scarlet runs deep and true, and he really cherishes her. Tristan, on the other hand, is the bad boy in their little family. He is dark and mysterious, and even though he hides his true self behind a rough exterior and a mouth that constantly spews insults, he also really cares for Scarlet. (The guy is willing to die to save her from dying again!) He is a tortured soul, never able to have the one thing he wants the most, and my heart goes out to him. (In fact, he reminds me a lot of Will from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.) I am definitely rooting for him in this love triangle! I do like Gabriel, but I will always cheer on the dark, tortured man. I guess I am one of the reasons the saying “nice guys finish last” remains true, but I seriously cannot help it!
I have to commend Fine for her well-written and well-developed love triangle. Very few love triangles are well done. In fact, most are downright torturous. I still think even good love triangles are emotionally grating and frustrating (usually because the guy I like never ‘wins’ and they are chocked full of drama), but at least the men’s proverbial ego wars are absent. I already mentioned this in my review for Clockwork Prince, but I seriously hate it when men fight over a girl through insulting one another, battles of physical prowess, and other creative ways of trying to claim the girl as their own. I think in this case, these ‘contests’ would have been even worse than usual ones since it is a love triangle that involves brothers (I hate when siblings fight). I like the fact that Fine does not include these unnerving elements in her love triangle. It makes the love triangle more bearable (for me, anyway), and it really improves the story instead of hindering it (*coughWingscough*).
Overall, Anew is a WONDERFUL book, and you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, Awry, which will be released sometime in 2012 (the exact date has yet to be specified). I cannot wait to see what happens after the cliffhanger! The only thing I ask is for, Ms. Fine, is no cliffhanger in the next book! Please! Do not make me summon Conan again (his service fees are ridiculous). 

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins (Fins, #1) by Tera Lynn Childs

Release Date: May 19, 2010
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover (also available in paperback and eBook formats)
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 293
ISBN: 0061914665
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Review:

Forgive My Fins is a cute, quick read about a half-human, half-mermaid named Lily. She goes ashore to learn more about her mother and human family, and also to try and find love and ‘bond’ to that one person for life. She thinks she has found her optimal mate in a fellow water lover named Brody, a guy she has loved from afar for over 3 years. She is ready to tell him her feelings and make her move, but her annoying, biker boy of a neighbor, Quince, will not give her the chance. He is constantly ruining her attempts to ask Brody to the big dance of the year, not to mention that he cannot help but constantly make fun of her. When Quince unintentionally bonds himself to Lily, her life becomes a turbulent whirlpool as she tries to deal with a range of emotions and problems brought on by the bonding. Will she get her fairy tale ending? (I should have said fairy ‘tail’ ending, no? Hehe.)

As mentioned earlier, this book is a romantic, rather quick read. The plot is very simple and rather predictable, but the story is cute nonetheless, and I really enjoyed it. I actually find it refreshing to read a short, noncomplex book every now and then, and forgive My Fins was exactly what I needed!

I have to admit that I really liked Quince (and not just because he is a biker boy, which is incredibly alluring ><). It was pretty obvious that he is one of those guys who loves to annoy and make fun of the girl he likes in order to get their attention. (Oh, boys and their ways. Do they ever grow up? XD) I felt bad for him in the beginning, since his feelings for Lily were fairly blatant and she hardly looked his way. Even though he likes to irritate her, he really cares for Lily and just wants to see her happy, and I really like that about him. I also liked Lily’s character. She is strong and resilient, and I love how she is willing to stand up for herself and those she loves. There were times when I got frustrated with her brooding for Brody and blaming her developing feelings for Quince on the inadvertent ‘bond’ that formed between them. (In my opinion, Lily blamed the ‘bond’ for her feelings a little too much, and it got to be slightly annoying.) However, I understood her concerns about the bond and Quince. She always thought she hated Quince and vice versa since he seems to get lots of pleasure from making her angry, so when she starts feeling drawn towards him, she is left pretty confused. But to be honest, I think their slow developing love is the best aspect of their relationship. Lily has known Quince for years and she has never been attracted to him. But as she starts to learn more about him, she finds herself slowly falling for him. It is not instant attraction, which is very common in most YA books today, but rather an attraction that slowly develops over time as they discover more about one another. It makes their relationship and feelings for one another seem more real, and I really respect Childs for that.

The second book in the series is Fins are Forever. I am a little wary of reading it since the synopsis mentions a possible love triangle with Brody involved (I HATE LOVE TRAINGLES WITH A FIERY PASSION, especially when one of the people should already be out of the picture), but I will give it a try. It should be another quick read for a rainy day, and I looking forward to seeing how the relationship between Quince and Lily develops further! 🙂

Tempest Rising (Tempest #1) by Tracy Deebs


Release Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0802722318
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water’s temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean’s future hangs in the balance.

Review:

Tempest Rising tells the story of Tempest, a girl with unparalleled skills on a surfboard and a strong love for the water. But Tempest knows that the pull the sea has on her is not normal, even for surfers. Her mother was a mermaid, and after her seventeenth birthday, she could become one, too. As her birthday approaches, she has a decision to make: to remain on land as a human with her family, boyfriend, and friends, or answer the call of the ocean and become a mermaid. Her mother left her father and brothers behind to return to the water, something that Tempest resents greatly. She does not want to be like her mother; she does not want to abandon her family. Add to the fact that a sea witch would like nothing more than for Tempest to either succumb to her power or die by her hand, Tempest has plenty of reasons for staying human. But when she meets Kona, a fellow sexy surfer, she notices that he is not all that normal himself. Kona shows her the beauty in being a creature of the sea, and the want to become a mermaid is stronger than ever. But will Tempest leave behind all she knows to stay with Kona and the new underwater world she discovered, or will she stay on land with her family, forever longing to be one with the sea?

Ah…mermaids. I cannot remember the last time I read a book about mermaids. I also forgot how much I love stories about them, and boy, oh boy, did I enjoy Tempest Rising.

The story and descriptions are just beautiful. Deebs creates a stunning and picturesque underwater world that really draws the reader in. The storyline was well thought out and developed, and while the plot may seem simple to some, it was actually pretty complex at times. There were some slow moments in the middle, but overall, the book was well-paced. I really enjoyed the plot twists, and with action scenes and some intense emotional moments, it was a great read that was impossible to put down!

I really liked the characters. I connected with Tempest pretty easily and I could not help but feel for her. She had such a wide range of emotions throughout the book, from sheer happiness to despairing to the point of feeling numb inside. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster ride! And now on to Kona (originally called Kai in the book summary and ARCs, but later changed). [sigh] I feel that no matter what book I read, I am always enamored with one (if not more than one) male character. Well, I love Kona. In the beginning, he is super mysterious and unknown (and he grabs my attention), then he becomes sexy and secretive (and then I start to fall in love with him), and then he becomes passionate and even more sexy (and then I am A LOST CAUSE). It happens with some character in every book, guaranteed. I do not even know why I am surprised anymore. But anyway, Kona is an amazing character and even though he is secretive and mysterious, he is a good guy. But the best thing about the whole book (and this is very biased) was…..my name got dropped! YAY! The character Bri may have only been present in the story all of ten pages, but they were an AWESOME ten pages. J

Something that I think deserves its own paragraph was the chemistry between Kona and Tempest. Did you know that Tracy Deebs is actually a pseudonym for romance novelist Tracy Wolff? Trust me when I say that she is the master of sexual tension/chemistry. She owns it like no one’s business. The attraction Tempest feels for Kona is immediate, and usually something like that in the story makes me groan. But Deebs/Wolff is so good that it was not over the top, and I found it pretty believable! And when things got physical….wow. WOW. It was just kissing scenes, not even any heavy petting, and I was speechless. The descriptions Deebs/Wolff uses were lyrical and breathtaking (literally) and the emotions were just crazy intense. I ate up every word! ><

The sequel to Tempest Rising is due out June 5, 2012, and it is entitled Tempest Unleashed. I am super excited to get my hands on it! I cannot wait for some more Kona/Tempest action! 

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare


Release Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 502
Format: Hardcover (also available in eBook format)
ISBN: 1416975888
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):


In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
Review:


I just have to start out by saying that I am completely enamored with Cassandra Clare. The Shadowhunters and the world she created around them just draw me in and leave me wanting more. She is a gifted storyteller and I devour every word. I honestly do not think she could ever disappoint me! (As long as no male characters are killed off, that is. I might be a little enraged then.)


In Clockwork Prince, we are transported back to Victorian England, a time when carriages were the main form of transportation and candles (or witchlights) were the only ways to see in the dark. I love Clare’s use of history and her knowledge of Victorian England. Her descriptions make the reader feel like they are in London themselves, getting a personal tour of Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner with Jem himself. It is so real! Victorian England is not just captured in Clare’s descriptions of London and facets of life, but also in the characters themselves. Tessa’s actions and ways of thinking are those of a true Victorian era woman. There are instances where she speaks out and others when she is too forward, and she is always dwelling on the improperness of it. It is even in the minor details of the story, such as how is it scandalous for a woman to ride in the carriage with a man when they are not married or how Shadowhunter gear is too inappropriate for a woman since it shows feminine curves. The details are breathtaking and spot-on, and coupled with Clare’s amazing prose and dialogue, the story itself becomes so much more beautiful.

Of course, the main focal point of the story is the dynamic relationship between Will, Jem, and Tessa. The three of them are just pure…magic. I do not know how Clare created these brilliant characters, but I am so glad she did. Jem really shines in this book. He is finally able to step out from Will’s shadow, and as I understood more about him, it is impossible not to fall in love him. He is sweet and charming, and it is obvious he cares deeply for both Tessa and Will. In Clockwork Angel, he was always Will’s support and the nice guy that Tessa could always run to for advice or help. But in Clockwork Prince, we get to see more of who Jem really is. He gets angry with Will, embarrassed with Tessa, and there are moments when he says what he really feels. We get to know him in a much deeper way, and my heart went out to him. Tessa, in my opinion, is the perfect female heroine. She is brave, intelligent, and all in all, a strong soul. I love how much she loves books and her frequent use of literary quotes. She is a true kindred spirit, and it is so easy to relate to her. The turbulent emotions and conflicting love she holds for Jem and Will breaks my heart, just as it does hers. And I cannot forget Will! Will’s past and his curse are finally revealed and I got to understand what makes Will….well, Will. The façade he puts on for others finally begins to crack, and the real Will can be seen. His emotions are so raw and intense, and I could not help but feel for him. And of course, Will is not without his sharp tongue and repertoire of retorts!

Now about Tessa and choosing Will or Jem… I am so conflicted! I seriously love them both. Will is a troubled soul who really deserves happiness after all the sadness and pain he has been forced to endure. And Jem is a great guy who also deserves love with the limited time he has left. They are both amazing, and I love them both for different reasons! I can never choose between the two of them! I SERIOUSLY HATE LOVE TRAINGLES. This booked just helped reinforce my hatred. How can I decide, much less Tessa? However, this love triangle is well written and developed, which I think makes it a little more bearable. So many triangles today have the two men facing off in a battle of physical prowess, immediately hating and constantly insulting one another, and any other possible way of claiming the girl as their own. This is blissfully absent in Clockwork Prince, so while I hate the love triangle itself, I love how the relationship between Jem and Will remains intact and just as strong as ever. I, personally, think Tessa should just become Mormon and take them both, but I am not too sure how keen she would be to the idea. But I honestly see no downside to it! She would have two wonderful, gorgeous, funny, caring, [insert any other adjective here] men at her side! Better yet, she should find a way to just give them to me. I will keep a close eye on them. Yes, I will watch them very closely, so have no fear. I have always wanted an English man (but I guess in this case, I get two!).

Why, ‘ello, govna.

But in all seriousness, I am so conflicted. I want to pull for them both and they both deserve to be happy with Tessa, but only one will be the ‘winner.’ I hate the idea that one of them will be hurt and brokenhearted. ><

Something else I really appreciated about this book was how the relationships between characters besides Tessa, Will, and Jem developed. These developments may be a little overshadowed by the main love triangle, but they were amazing all the same. I have a new respect and liking for Henry and I think the blossoming relationship between him and Charlotte is adorable! One of the new characters, Sophie, is a great addition to the story, and her relationship with Gideon is super sweet. The growing affection they have for one another really warms the heart and I will be rooting for them! J And do not even get me started with Magnus. I really thought it was impossible for me to like him more than I already do, but I have been proven wrong. I am glad he ditched Camille and was able to find Alec!!

The story itself has plot twists galore, and with a little action thrown in now and then, it is a rollercoaster ride that makes this book physically impossible to put down. The dialogue is ridiculously witty and I cannot help but laugh out loud sometimes. Clare also is a master at writing dirty, sexy scenes, as is evident with the dirty sexy balcony scene (which was hot)! Clare really is in a league of her own. I cannot even put into words how excited I am to read the conclusion of the series, Clockwork Princess, due out September 2012. Cassandra Clare, with her flare for writing, has created an amazing series and I will eagerly be awaiting the end of it! Go Team Will and Team Jem!!

Shades of Blood by Samantha Young

Release Date: December 12, 2011 (PB), December 5, 2011 (eBook)
Publisher:
CreateSpace (PB), Smashwords (eBook)
Age Group: Older Young Adult (16+)
Pages: 342
Format:
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
ISBN: 1468009575
Buy the Book:
Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):
Eden’s life has taken a turn she would never have imagined. She’s gone from soul eater to warrior, left behind a family she was ashamed of and moved in with one she admires. She has a purpose, a future, and… she has Noah.
Life should be good.
But… the most fervent and powerful soul eaters are determined to take down the Ankh and Eden is the key to the destruction of the warrior race. Moreover, a shadowed enemy is still after Eden, and the mortal Warriors of Neith have chosen the worst time imaginable to start an uprising.
With an enemy in every corner, the problems before her are overwhelming. Then again, Eden hasn’t come this far to let anyone snatch her new life from her…
However, just when Eden thought she’d battled the monster within and won, the warrior who took something precious from her comes back into her life, tempting Eden to take a course of revenge there is no turning back from.
Vengeance is such a bitch…
… So is Eden when the stakes are high.
A YA Paranormal Romance recommended for ages 16 and up.
Review:

I am pretty conflicted right now. One side of me is like, YES! This series was AWESOME, this book was AWESOME, and Samantha Young is AWESOME. And then there is the five year old in me: What? What do you mean it is over? I want moreeee. [sigh] I am never really going to grow up, am I?

Eden has more problems now than ever before. Just when she thinks everything is going smoothly, someone just has to come and ruin it all. Cosmina is breathing down her neck, a small rebellion is rising in the Neith that would like to see Eden dead, and Romany has come back which drives a wedge between Noah and Eden and reminds Eden how much she would like to see Romany dead. Eden also discovers a few things about herself as an Ankh warrior that she is not sure how to deal with. All she wants is to catch a breather and spend some quality time with Noah. Will she ever have peace?

So as I have already mentioned, this book was amazing, and it was the perfect conclusion to the series. I honestly think it is the best book in the series. It is packed with action and raw emotions that just left me wanting more afterwards. The action scenes were intense and the flashbacks to moments between Eden and her brother, Stellan, tugged at my heart. Also, I did not think it was possible, but the chemistry between Noah and Eden got even more intense and the reader can definitely feel the depth of their love for one another. They face some hardships and some enemies from the past, but through these obstacles, they become closer than ever before. Noah and Eden have officially become one of my favorite book couples! >< Overall, this series was AMAZING and WICKEDLY AWESOME and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. 🙂


Be quiet, inner child! Go and read some other Samantha Young book!

Existence by Abbi Glines


Release Date: December 13, 2011
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Age Group: Older Young Adult (16+)
Pages: 194
Format: eBook
ISBN:
B006LFVZ8E
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):
What happens when you are stalked by Death? You fall in love with him of course. Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, instead, she falls in love with him.
Seventeen year old Pagan Moore, has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, they left her alone. Until she steps out of her car on the first day of school and sees an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he’s dead. Not only does he not go away, when she ignores him he does something none of the others have ever done; he speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What Pagan doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul. He is Death and he is about to break all the rules.
Review:
Hello, pretty boy on the cover. Is it shallow of me to say that I wanted to read this book after I saw you and all of your glowy eyed-ness? Because that is what happened.
But anyway, enough of the beautiful boy cover and on to the actual story. This book was a great read. The premise of the story was very original, so if anyone is looking to escape reading books about vampires, werewolves, or any kind of thing thereof, this is something you should definitely check out. I also really liked Glines’s writing style. When a good story line and good writing are coupled together, you get a good book. And that is what Existence was.
I really liked all the characters for the most part. Pagan is a great female lead. She is a smart and strong, and her emotions came across really well. When she was afraid, there were moments I would look around my room to make sure no one was watching me. I also liked Dank (although I am not a fan of his name). He is a brooding and dark man with a sexy smirk, which is otherwise known as my weakness. He and Pagan together make a decent couple. But I gave my heart to Leif. (I have to admit, when his name first came up, I went and made sure that this book was not written by Maria V. Snyder. I was like, What?? Leif Zaltana? I thought this was a story about Death, not the Study series…? Whoops. My bad.) In any case (quit getting distracted, Bri!), I really liked Leif. He was all about breaking stereotypes. Here was the star of the football team who used to date the most popular girl in school. I know, you have heard this story, right? But things are revealed about Leif that broke all the stereotypes and really surprised me. Here is a guy who beat some pretty unfavorable odds to become the person he is today and he just happens to fall in love with a girl who is enamored with Death. I couldn’t help but root for him! He really cares for Pagan and I thought the chemistry between them was nice. I really hope there is a sequel to this story and he can find his own happiness.
I still have some questions after reading Existence. How was Dank able to become human and why, oh why, did he even bother with Kendra? Was there a point to it? Did he want to make Pagan jealous or try to forget about her? And why did no one remember him once he left school? Hopefully there will be a sequel (*COUGH*PLEASE*COUGH*) and some of things will be explained! Plus, with the ending Glines wrote, there HAS to be a sequel! ><
I recommend this book to any fan of paranormal romance! I have never read any of Abbi Glines books before, but I will be catching up on her other works pretty quickly if they’re anything like Existence. I have definitely become a fan (and I am an absolute sucker for any kind of romance). Glines has another book, Because of Low, due out February 7, 2012 and I am excited to read it! 

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey


Release Date: December 8, 2011
Publisher: Philomel/Penguin
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover (also available in eBook format)
ISBN: 0399256229
Buy the Book:
Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):

A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger.

Lenzi hears voices and has visions – gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can’t help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she’s a reincarnated Speaker – someone who can talk to and help lost souls – and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn’t make a decision soon.

Review:

Lenzi’s father committed suicide after he could no longer deal with the voices in his head. But now Lenzi has started hearing them, too, and she is sure she is on a path to self-destruction if she cannot keep them out of her head. Her boyfriend, Zak, tries to help where he can, but it is never enough. Then a mysterious boy named Alden appears, and he says that he is a Protector, someone who watches over a Speaker, a Ghost Whisperer who is supposed to help the dead move on. He says Lenzi is his Speaker and he can help her control the voices. She is all for that, but even with her attraction to Alden, he seems a little crazy himself. And now a malevolent spirit out for revenge is back, and Lenzi is standing right in his path. Looks like it’s time for her to make a decision.
I enjoyed this book A LOT. At first, I was kind of confused as to the roles of the Protector and Speaker and their abilities, but things became clear pretty quickly. The premise of the story is actually really interesting, and while the idea of a ghost occupying and possessing a person’s body is not new (same with the Ghost Whisperer aspect), Lindsey gives a nice little twist to the story to make it super original and really enthralling. I also really liked Lindsey’s writing. She really has a way with words that clearly gets feelings across, and her descriptions are eloquent in a way that makes readers feel like they are in Texas themselves.  
I really liked Lenzi. I think what I liked about her the most was how down to Earth she was. She is known as one of the most powerful Speakers ever, yet there are still moments when she is scared and has no idea what to do. She listens to the advice others give her and she is pretty smart. She is definitely one of the better female leads in YA literature. And I LOVED Alden. Why is it I always fall for YA boys? I do not know, but Alden was AWESOME. He was willing to put Lenzi first and he just seemed to really care about her, which I loved. He almost never thinks of just himself, he is always there for her, he listens to her, and the list just goes on and on. Alden is the perfect man. I will end it there. I also liked Zak. There were moments in the book where the reader is not supposed to like him, but I could not help feeling for him. He is a troubled soul who has been abandoned by his parents and had a rough upbringing, and now the girl he loves is pulling away from him. He makes some bad decisions, but he just wants to save the relationship with his girlfriend. I do not know how other people feel about him, but I did not hate him at all. He may not be perfect like Alden is, but what real man ever is?
This was an amazing debut by Mary Lindsey. If you have not read this book yet, I would definitely add it to your to-read list. You do not want to miss out on it! Everything about this book is beautiful. AND THE COVER. I do not know what it is about this cover, but I am obsessed with it. It is GORGEOUS. There has been no mention of a sequel, but if there is one, I am going to be all over it. However, Lindsey will be releasing another book, Annabel, sometime in 2013. It is going to be a retelling of the original Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe. I am looking forward to reading anything else this talented author releases (and please let there be a SS sequel!). 

Exiled (Immortal Essence, #1) by RaShelle Workman

Exiled(Immortal Essence, #1) by RaShelle Workman

Release Date: November 11, 2011 (first published October 3, 2011 in eBook format)

Publisher: Polished Pen Press
Age Group:
 Young Adult (14+)
Pages:
 340
Format:
 Paperback (also available in eBook)
ISBN:
 1465805656

Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):

Worlds divided them. Chance brought them together. Only love will save them.

An alien princess exiled to Earth.

An arrogant boy.

One week to get back to her planet or she’ll die.

And, her only chance for survival? She must help the boy find his soul mate.

Piece of cake!

Review:

Just before becoming immortal, Venus was cast to Earth by a traitor who lived amongst her. The one way to get back to her planet, Kelari, is to help a human boy named Michael find his true love. But she only has 7 days to do it until the Earth’s atmosphere ruins her body and kills her. If that is not bad enough, she has a government agency trying to capture her to use for their experiments and another immortal going around killing humans for crazy rituals who has pegged her as his/her next target. What’s a girl to do?

This book was enjoyable enough, but I am not sure how memorable it will be for me. I liked the premise of the story and it was a nice read, but it is not one of my favorites. While the writing was decent, some parts of the story actually threw me for a loop. There were many times where what was happening was not clearly told/portrayed and other times where a character’s emotions changed too quickly for me to keep up with. Venus would be excited about going horseback riding in one sentence and then in the next, she was crying and talking about how much she missed her planet. I understood what the Workman was trying to get at, but the bipolar parts just confused me and I felt like the story was a little lost on me.

The characters were also okay. I did not connect to or really like most of the characters and I felt like the chemistry between Venus and Michael was a little weak. I did like Zaren, though! He felt the most real out of all of them and I liked his interactions with Venus, especially when his protective side came out. (I am Team Zaren all the way!) 

The second book in the series, Beguiled, is due out May 2012. I will try reading it since I am interested to see how the story progresses!

Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Age Group: Older Young Adult (16+)
Pages: 266
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
ISBN (13#): 9781937044237
Buy the Book: Amazon

Summary (taken from Goodreads.com):

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Review:

Jennifer L. Armentrout, what have you done to me? I was perfectly fine until couple weeks ago, or at least until I read Half-Blood. I spent the next couple of days pining over Aiden and wishing I could find a man like him. And then you released Obsidian and introduced me to Daemon.

I am so far beyond being a lost cause it is not even funny. If he represents what aliens are really like, then they can feel free and come inhabit or take over the Earth anytime.

I am not even sure where to start. This book is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read! I could not put it down. When I finished it, I immediately wanted to read it again. I HAVE ALMOST NEVER WANTED TO READ A BOOK AFTER JUST FINISHING IT. In fact, I have already gone back and read certain parts a couple of times already! >< It was just that good.

Katy is forced to move to a new, out-in-the-boonies town and her next door neighbors just happen to be the crazy sexy Daemon and his sister, Dee. She immediately hates Daemon after a few of his snarky comments, but she quickly becomes best friends with Dee, thus being drawn into their lives. She soon finds out that they are aliens and her life becomes a bit more… interesting. The story itself is great and I love Armentrout’s explanation as to why Daemon and others have come to Earth.

However, the best part of the whole book is the amazing characters and awesome dialogue. I instantly liked Katy. She is AWESOME! She is an avid reader and even has her own book blog (just another reason to love her) and she instantly takes a dislike to Daemon. Daemon infuriates her and knows all the ways to push her buttons, but what I love about her is that she pushes back. She does not just roll with the punches, she doles them out. I love how she takes none of his crap and throws his snide remarks back in his face (and the spaghetti scene was EPICCC). Plus, her emotions and reactions are real. When she first discovers that Daemon is not exactly human, she does not get all goo-goo eyed and stare at him in awe. No, she does what any (relatively) normal person would do in a situation like that: she runs away. Seriously, if I just discovered the boy next door was an alien with the ability to stop time and tear hundreds of trees out of the ground without even moving, I do not think I would stick around very long. Daemon’s sister Dee was also great. She seemed like the perfect best friend to have!

But the spotlight stealer is none other than Daemon himself. He is hardheaded, arrogant, infuriating, and (just sometimes) a little douchey, but he is one of the best (and HOTTEST) male characters ever. There were moments where what he said would make me cringe or want to shank him (which I’m sure is also how Katy felt), but there was a reason for everything he did or said. He just wants to protect his sister and his race, and if it means being unkind and callous to one human girl, he will do it. I LOVED reading some scenes from his point of view at the end of the book. By getting his perspective of things, it made me understand why he acts the way he does and how he is not a total jerk. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love his character…. I just can’t. He is pure awesomeness wrapped in out-of-this-world sexiness. Let’s leave it at that.

When Daemon and Katy are together, the chemistry between them is just….crazy. I seriously have no idea how Armentrout did it, but it is wicked good. The dialogue between the two of them is super witty and I ate up every word. AND THE ANGST! OH GOD, THE ANGST! I cannot think of a moment where I have ever enjoyed angst this much. Everything about this book was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

The second book in the series, Onyx, is scheduled to come out sometime in May and I am so excited! The ending to Obsidian left me wanting more and May cannot come fast enough! I have to warn you, Mrs. Armentrout, you have created two dream men in Aiden and Daemon, and I will continuously be checking up on your blog for any info relating to the Covenant and Lux series for more of them (ahhhh, boys).

Blog Stats

  • 1,603 hits