Review for The Dead And Buried by Kim Harrington

The Dead And Buried by Kim Harrington

TITLE: The Dead And Buried
AUTHOR: Kim Harrington
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Point
PAGES: 295 pages
RATING: 5 bows

Jade finally has what she’s always wanted: a nicer house in a bigger town. Her dad and stepmom has moved them from their small hometown to a bigger city with a better school system. She wonders how they can afford it since money was always what prevented this type of move before, but decides to just accept her good fortune. That is until she learns the reason they can afford it: the house was sold at a deeply discounted price due to the murder that occurred there months prior. With her little brother freaking out over a ghost in his room, she tries in vain to convince her stepmom that another move would be best, but eventually takes matters into her own hands. The only thing that will make Kayla (aka The Ghost) to leave is to find out who pushed her down those stairs. A difficult task, but Jade will do anything to protect her brother, even square off with the vicious popular crowd at school. Can she figure out who didn’t before Kayla’s patience runs out?

Can I just say creepy? Is that enough for a review. Maybe I’m a scary stuff wimp, but this gave me goosebumps every time I picked it up. Every. Single. Time. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that gave me the willies as bad as this did. On that same note, can I also say that the original cover was so much better?

I mean, look at it! It’s so much creepier than a girl lying on a purple carpeted floor. The ARC I have actually has the original, with a big sticker covering it with the words “Revised Cover” at the bottom, I’m almost tempted to take it off, but I don’t want to damage the book. I actually liked the new cover, until I saw the old one….anyway, I’m getting off topic, aren’t I?

Jade was a character I didn’t initially love. She was a bit too standoffish in the beginning, but it was clear that it was mainly due to lack of people she comfortable around than actual antisocial tendencies. Her devotion to her brother was endearing, but mostly I loved how she was always herself. Here is a girl who we never see put up a facade to get people to like her or do stupid stunts to get attention. She is who she is and you either like it or you don’t. It was intensely refreshing to read from the eyes of a character who didn’t pander to the popular crowd. She does become entangled in their group because that’s the only way she can solve the murder, but she doesn’t go out of her way to be accepted by them.

Then we have our dear sweet Donovan. He was Kayla’s boyfriend and everyone at school believes he killed her, but one look into those sensitive eyes and anyone with a brain could tell this guy wouldn’t hurt a fly, much less kill his girlfriend. He’s sweet and artistic and adorable. Though he isn’t making my list for top ten swoon-worthy male YA characters, I can definitely see the appeal.

Kayla, the ghost, was a straight up bitch. Seriously, this girl played everyone around her for her own gain or just for the hell of it. She was cruel at times, even by her own admission, and the fact that she tormented a little boy just to push Jade into finding her killer is beyond sick. Harrington definitely knows how to write a bad guy who is bad through and through. I can sympathize with anyone who decided to push her down those stairs because the bitch had it coming. Everyone around her had motive, even her supposed best friend, so watching Jade try to unravel this particular ball of yawn was intriguing to say the least. It made it that much easier to get on Jade’s team for this impossible task.

I loved that we actually get to see parental interaction in this. I also loved that Marie straddles that line between bitch-y stepmom and geniunely caring parent. Jade’s relationship with Marie was one that really caught my attention. Though Marie has been married to Jade’s dad for many years, it seems like the two never got comfortable. I can imagine how difficult that must be, stepping into the mom role while trying not to completely overshadow or forget about the dead mother.

This has everything I was looking for and a few things I wasn’t. I knew it would be a YA murder mystery, but I wasn’t expecting the high creepiness factor. I really adored the whole thing and how engaging it is. Within the first 20 pages I was hooked and once I got past 100, I literally couldn’t put it down, binge reading until it was over. It takes a dark turn because it’s hard to avoid that when we are talking about teenage murder, but it leaves you with that hopeful feeling that everything will improve. It left me with a smile on my face, and really, what more can you ask?

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Review for Evade (Ever #2) by Jessa Russo

Evade by Jessa Russo

TITLE: Evade
SERIES: Ever #2
AUTHOR: Jessa Russo
PUBLICATION DATE: September 29, 2013
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 264 pages
SOURCE: From author
RATING: 4 stars

Ever has less than a year left to live and is trying to spend it with the people she loves most. Spending as much time as possible with Mom, Frankie, and Jessie is all that matters until she learns that there is much more to her countdown than she realizes. When Ariadne put that countdown on her soul, she inadvertently marked Ever soul, making it more valuable to collectors. So now Ever is on the run with the one person she’s trying so hard to avoid, Toby. Together, they try to find away to save Ever’s soul, while outwitting collectors and Seekers who are determined to claim the prize. Can they beat the clock or will salvation come too late?

I…um….what to say? Well, let’s start with the basics. Ever shows a great deal of growth here. She really steps out of that damsel in distress role and I really enjoyed seeing her stand up for herself. She also gains a much dirty mouth by the end and I LOVED that. It progresses slowly, but by the end we get to see her drop the f-bomb more than once. Is that a stupid reason to be excited? Probably, but I fucking loved it anyway. For me, it makes the character much more believable if they curse. I realize that everyone wasn’t like me, developing a potty mouth from hell the moment they hit high school, but I adamantly believe that there are very few people who don’t swear at all, especially in high stress situations. I’m sorry, but if the shit hits the fan “oh pooh” isn’t going to cut it. That really grounded Ever for me even more, making her feel more real.

Then there is Frankie….my dear sweet, amazing, epic Frankie.

What can I say about him, really? He’s the exact same sweet guy he was in Ever and I love him beyond words. Seriously, he so perfect, always supporting Ever, while being honest in his opinions at the same time. We don’t get nearly enough of him in this novel, but I’ve been assured that we haven’t seen the last of him. ****SPOILER****It makes me incredibly sad that Ever ends up choosing Toby over Frankie. It’s inevitably more complicated than that, but that’s what happens. I logically understand the reasons behind it and I can see why Toby might be a better match, but that’s doesn’t mean I have to be fucking happy about it. I get that Ever has sort of outgrown Frankie and that Frankie needs to get out of her house and live his life, especially now that’s he’s gotten a second chance, but DAMMIT THEY WERE PERFECT TOGETHER.


Then there is Toby. I liked Toby and I sympathize with the boy, but in my mind, he just can’t compare to Frankie. He’s great and snarky and funny and protective, which is usually a winner, but Frankie was just better. I can see why some people are Team Toby, but I just can’t.

The plot of this one is just as much of a rollercoaster ride as the previous one, probably more so. There are multitudes of twists and turns and the ending is something I didn’t even come close to predicting. Russo does a great job of giving you just enough foreshadowing that you ****SPOILER****know something major is going to happen, you are just never sure of what. >Except that Ariadne is Ever’s sister. I called it, I called it, I CALLED IT.


The only reason it gets 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the whole Frankie thing. It’s childish, I know, but I have to show my irritation somehow (and no, the spoilery rant above was not enough). If I can legitimately lower a great books star rating to 1 simply because of senseless animal deaths, I think I can drop a star because of the Frankie thing. Really, though, this is another amazing novel. It’s an addictive thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering if and how Ever is going to get out of this mess. I can honestly say this book was well worth the wait (which is a high compliment indeed) and though everything doesn’t wrap up at the end, it’s definitely better than the massive cliffhanger at the end of book 1. I can’t wait to see what the final installment to this series brings (hopefully LOTS more Frankie).

****Thank you to Jessa Russo for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

TITLE: School Spirits
AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins
PUBLISHER: Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group
PAGES: 297 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 stars

Izzy Brannick’s life has been anything but ordinary. She has been trained to fight monsters since she was old enough to walk and she’s pretty good at it. After a botched first solo job (really, how hard should capturing a vampire alone be?!?), Izzy’s mom decides to give her an easier task, catching a high school haunting ghost and laying her to rest. For this task, she must enroll in high school, a much scarier task altogether. Izzy quickly learns that this isn’t your typical haunting….and that when this is all over, her newfound friends will be hard to leave behind.

This novel is exactly what you’d expect a spinoff of Hex Hall to be. It’s mysterious and monstrous and funny and endearing and heartbreaking. Izzy isn’t as quick with the one-liners as Sophie was, but she’s just as spunky and funny and relatable. She’s easy to sympathize with as she navigates the treacherous halls of high school for the first time, making friends and trying to pass all her classes. Trying to balance that with witch hunting with the school’s paranormal group who are so clueless it’s all Izzy can do not to laugh in their face.

Torin was another great character and a great mystery. You never quite know what he is up to or what he wants, besides being freed from his mirror prison. The affection between him and Izzy is obvious but it’s unclear if it is of a romantic nature for the most part. I personally think the love triangle aspect will be played up in the next novel (especially considering that’s how it happened in the Hex Hall series), but I guess we’ll wait and see.

My favorite character though, has to be Dex. I thought I loved Torin’s character, and then Dex showed up and my mind was completely changed. I LOVE Dex. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

He’s funny and smart and self-assured and doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about him, except his small circle of friends. He’s just so damn quirky and adorable and, just wow. I’ve never been one for fashion, but this boy with his pinstripe pants, purple pea coat, and an endless supply of scarves fashioned into cravats definitely won my attention right off the bat. Any guy who even knows what the word cravat means in this day and age would probably catch my attention! ::swoons:: For once, it isn’t the guy who rushes in to save the girl, because Dex isn’t really capable of that, with is severe asthma, but damned if he still isn’t noble as hell.

The rest of the cast was just as interesting, if not as amazing. Romy is unique and geeky and adorable, if a little obsessive and strange. Watching her and Anderson dance around their obvious attraction to one another was a fun little side story! Aislinn, Izzy’s mom, was annoying and overbearing, but ultimately tried to do right by her one remaining daughter.

The story was a bit predictable to me. I pegged it pretty early on who had summoned the witch, but I still didn’t see exactly how so there is a lot of mystery. The whole thing with Dex at the end was shocking as hell! I mean hes….he was…it….well, I won’t spoil it for you guys, but just be prepared because it’s a bit of a doozy. I was pleasantly surprised that this contained neither a love triangle nor a cliffhanger. Though I think Izzy’s is attracted to Torin and just refuses to admit it, it never comes into play. As for the ending, the entire main plot of the novel wraps up nicely, leaving loose ends only on major things that you should have known wouldn’t be wrapped up in a single novel.

This novel was exactly what I needed, a book that I had high expectations for that definitely lived up to them. I recommend it to everyone who enjoyed Hex Hall and all YA paranormal lovers.

****Thank you to Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for [technically] DEAD (DEAD[ish] #2) by Naomi Kramer

(Technically) Dead by Naomi Kramer

TITLE: (Technically) Dead
SERIES: Dead(ish) #2
AUTHOR: Naomi Kramer
PUBLICATION DATE: October 29, 2010
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 100 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

Cooper’s dead and is shocked as hell to discover that Heaven is technologically challenged with not a single computer in site. Fuck that, he quickly returns back to Earth to walk around bored and confused until Linda shows up with orders from on high to help his lardass find peace.

I was a huge fan of the first story in this series, Dead(ish) and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. Though I don’t particularly like Cooper, he’s story was quite amusing and you still get plenty of Linda’s bad attitude to help it along. Trent also makes an appearance and that had me over the moon because I loved him in the first one. My only complaint is that this seemed shorter than the first one. But then, I felt like the first one was a bit short as well….and it’s probably only because I just want more of Linda & Trent!

If you liked Dead(ish) or are into comedic stories with tons of foul language, this is definitely for you!

Review for The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

TITLE: The Murmurings
AUTHOR: Carly Anne West
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 stars

Sophie David’s life is far from normal. A nonexistent father, an alcoholic mother, and a dead sister, she’s pretty much alone these days. So when she starts hearing the same noises and seeing the same things that made her mother have her sister committed, she decides to buckle down and refuses to tell anyone. But soon the voices refuse to be ignored and Sophie is in a world of danger that Nell (her sister) died to protect her from.

I quite enjoyed this novel. The tension/romance between Evan and Sophie was adorable, the storyline was just intriguing enough to keep me guess, and the spine tingling creep factor that I loved in Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake was also pretty prevalent. Sophie is a stubborn girl just trying to make it through. After Nell’s death, her mom falls apart, quits working and drinks all day. Most days, she doesn’t even speak to Sophie and yet Sophie still gets up every morning and goes to school even though she knows her mom wouldn’t notice if she didn’t.

I was a little suspicious of Evan at first. He seemed to show up at perfect time to go with Sophie to the psychiatric facility and seemed altogether too nice and accepting. But after a few chapters, I learned to trust him. He’s got his own demons chasing him and he’s just looking for someone to help him figure it all out, just like Sophie.

The thing I really enjoyed about this was the creepiness. YA doesn’t have many novels that can send chills down your spine (or if it does, I haven’t read many) and though I normally avoid horror movies, I am somewhat attracted to it in writing. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but there it is. My only real complaint about this novel was that it was a mite too predictable. I didn’t see all of it coming, but I did know ****SPOILER****that Adam was the insider, that he was observing Nell for Dr. Creepy, that Deb was Nell’s friend “MM” while in the facility, and so on.****END SPOILER****

I think that anyone who enjoyed Anna Dressed In Blood will also enjoy this. It’s a really enjoyable and fun read!

Review for Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake

Girl Of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

TITLE: Girl Of Nightmares
SERIES: Anna #2
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake
PAGES: 239 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
RATING: 4 stars

Let me just go ahead and apologize now because I know this review is going to come out weird…and probably shorter than I usually write. I don’t know what’s up with me lately, just not in a reviewing mood I guess.

Girl of Nightmares picks up six months after the events of Anna Dressed In Blood. Cas can’t seem to let Anna go and then she starts showing up and haunting him. He has to watch as she is tortured and there isn’t anything he can do about it. For a while he thinks he is going insane because he knows Anna is on the otherside, wherever that may be, and she can’t possibly be back in his world. But the athame doesn’t lie and when it detects her as well, Cas becomes determined to find Anna and bring her back from her torturous afterlife. One that she is only in because she saved Cas, Thomas, and Carmel from the Obeahman.

When I finished Girl Of Nightmares last year, I was so epically angry that I couldn’t put it into words. The novel was perfect but the ending had me screaming at the top of my lungs. Stupid goddamn cliffhanger, why why why?!?!? So, as you can imagine, I was eager to get my hands on the sequel. My feelings upon finishing it, are an extremely watered down version of what I felt when I finished ADIB. I’m not angry, per se, just disappointed. The novel was great, Cas is a believable teenage boy and I think we all know how difficult it is to find a novel by a woman that really feels like a guy, the story is as interesting and intense as ADIB, but the ending just left something to be desired. I felt like Cas still got the short end of the stick. I knew enough to know that Kendare Blake wasn’t the type of author to just wave a magic wand and have Cas bring Anna back over, she magically turns human again and they skip off into the sunset, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, so I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t that.

All that being said, it was still a great book. I really enjoyed it and though I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, it definitely fit the storyline. If you enjoyed ADIB, you’ll definitely enjoy this one, just be prepared for the ending.

Review for Ever (Ever #1) by Jessa Russo

Ever by Jessa Russo

SERIES: Ever #1
AUTHOR: Jessa Russo
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Curiosity Quills Press Independent
PAGES: 295 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 stars

I can’t even decide on a proper star rating. My brain just refuses to believe I have finished this book. I loved it…it was amazing….and then it ended on possibly the worst cliffhanger EVER. ::dies:: Review to come.

Ever’s life stopped two years ago when her best friend Frankie died in a car accident. For reasons she’ll never understand that car crash took his life but left her alive. Though Frankie is dead, he never left. His ghost stayed around and though that makes everything more complicated, Ever couldn’t be more grateful to have him still in her life in any form she can get. Ever has a little secret. She has been in love with Frankie for her entire life. Ever realizes that Frankie is oblivious to this fact and that even if he wasn’t, the fact that he is dead would prevent any kind of romantic relationship. So when Toby moves in next door, Ever throws herself into a relationship with him to try to move on with her life. Little does she know that this move will change her life forever.

What to say? I fell completely in love with this story. Why? I’m not entirely sure. It contains many elements that I hate. It has one hell of a love triangle. I mean a real one, where the girl genuinely has feelings for both guys. Those things make me wanna scream in frustration. It has a horrible cliffhanger….really bad. That makes me want to toss Luna (my kindle) across the room. It’s like my best friend walking up to me and saying “Hey, I just found out a have cancer. But I can’t tell you anything more about it for at least a year. Wish me luck!”

Really? And this one was bad, really bad. I became so infested in this story, that I actually finished it in one day. Quite a feat for me because I am not a fast reader. In order for me to finish a book in one day, I literally have to go home and curl up in bed with the book and not move except for snack and bathroom breaks for more than 6 hours. But I did it. My husband came home from work right as I was finishing this and found me just sitting in our bed staring at Luna completely dumbfounded. I’m surprised I wasn’t drooling. It’s so good and addictive.

Ever was a slightly annoying leading lady. She jumped around a little too much for my liking. One minute she was all “I love Frankie, I can’t do anything about it so I’m going to sulk.” And then she was “Ooooo…hot new neighbor….must talk to him.” I get it, but it still irked me a bit. She improves some as the story goes on. Then there is Frankie, who I adore. Seriously, if her and Frankie don’t end up together, I’m going to be annoyed. I don’t care how it happens. You can do the whole kill Ever and they both live happily ever after in the afterlife like Jessica Verday did in the Hollow series or you can go all body-snatcher like Stacey Kade did in the Ghost and the Goth series, or you can just find a loophole somewhere in made up land. I love these two together. The only spoiler I will give is that Frankie does, at some point in this story, get his body back. And damn, the heat between him and Ever is enough to fog up my glasses (which I don’t wear while I’m reading because I only need them for distance…but you get the point.)”

As for the other corner in the love-triangle, I wasn’t a huge fan. Something about Toby felt off to be from the very beginning. His initial interest in Ever even though she claimed to have a boyfriend (and the fact that after they start dating, that fact is never mentioned again), the fact that he never talks about himself, and just his whole personality seemed a little strange. Add to that the fact that Frankie asks Ever repeatedly to stay away from him had me yelling at her to leave him alone. She doesn’t, of course. But somehow, by then end of this book, I ended up caring for him too. Make no mistake, I want Ever with Frankie, but I would also like to see Toby get a happy ending too.

Then there is Ever’s best friend Jessie, who I found refreshing. She was the one who pushed Ever to get over Frankie and try to live her life. She’s everything a BFF should be and she just catches the short end of the stick by the end of this book. I hope she gets her happily ever after as well.

****SPOILER****Now, for what I hated. Put as succinctly as possible, the ending. I was so irritated by the cliffhanger, that I just can’t put it in words. Frankie finally has a body! YAYAY! Him and Ever are together! Quadruple YAYAYAY! But, Ariadne is taking Ever’s soul in exchange in just one year’s time? WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!? ::curtains close:: That’s it? You stop THERE? But…what’s the point of Frankie being alive if Ever is dead? They are supposed to be together! You can’t just fucking rip them apart! I….they….you….::dies::****END SPOILER****

All in all, if you like paranormal romance, read this. Even if cliffhangers and love triangles annoy you, it’s totally worth it.

****Thank you to Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

TITLE: Blackwood
AUTHOR: Gwenda Bond
PUBLICATION DATE: September 4, 2012
PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry, an imprint of Angry Robot Books
PAGES: 330 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 stars

I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to read this. I got it a few months back and it has just been sitting in my ereader waiting to be read. Then I saw that the release date was next week and figured I should go ahead a read it so my review could be out just a little early. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This book was amazing. The story idea is completely unique and it doesn’t have one of those needy heroines who have to be saved. For the most part, she saves herself.

This story follows Miranda Blackwood through the strange events that happen in modern day Roanoke Island NC. She is the town freak and her dad is the town drunk. Then something strange happens, 114 people disappear which is the same number of people who vanished from the original settlement.

And things just get weirder from there, especially when Phillips Rawling shows up back in town. He is the town bad boy who really isn’t bad. He just did all those bad things to get sent away from the island because when he is there he hears the voices of the spirits in his head. As you can see, this already has the set up to be just plain weird. And weird it is.

I actually live in NC and since there aren’t many novels that take place here (well except for a handful of Nicholas Sparks books that I don’t count), I was excited to see something set near me. I also have always been fascinated by the Roanoke disappearance. Over a hundred people randomly vanishing with no trace? How can that not peak your interest? So it really drew me in from the very beginning.

I must say that this is what I am looking for every time I pick up a YA paranormal novel. It has one of the more original stories I’ve read in a while and the characters were wildly different than the typical YA heroes/heroines are today. Miranda is not whiny, she is just trying to make the best out of a bad situation. And then when things go south, she tries to save everyone, despite the fact that they have always been mean to her. Phillips is a bad guy with heart, if that makes any sense. The only reason he started acting out was to get away from this place and yet here he is, back in town when they need him, when she needs him. Their past is a little complicated but when he shows up at her door, she isn’t thrilled to see him and actually ends up accidentally shooting him with a magic gun…he isn’t injured. No insta-love to be found within these humble pages. In fact, even in the end, they don’t profess their love to each other which I found quite refreshing.

I also loved Miranda for her protectiveness towards her dog, Sidekick. I’ve read too many novels where characters “love” their pets but end up abandoning them when things get hard or complicated. During this whole novel, if Kicks isn’t with Miranda then she is constantly trying to get back to him. In fact, there is one point during the end of the novel that I thought I was going to have to give it bad reviews because I thought the dog had died. Is it dumb to downrate a book just because one of the characters dies? Probably, but I hate the trend of killing off characters and it would have angered me greatly. But we’re saved because he is fine.

This gist of this slightly rant-y, rave-y review is this book is awesome and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA (especially those looking for something outside the topics that have been drove into the ground like vampires, werewolves, and angels.)

****Thank you to Angry Robot for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Hourglass (Hourglass #1) by Myra McEntire

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

TITLE: Hourglass
SERIES: Hourglass #1
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
PAGES: 390 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 5 stars

For whatever reason, when this book came out, it never really caught my attention. I read a lot of good reviews on it but since my to be read pile is so large, I never took the time to add it. I have recently signed up for netgalley and when I requested Timepiece, I didn’t realize it was the sequel to this novel. I quickly learned that and then downloaded Hourglass. Boy am I glad I did. I loved it! It was one of the very few novels I’ve read where I was okay with the love triangle. Maybe that is because for once I want the other guy to win, but more on that later.

Emerson has known she was crazy since she was about 12 years old, when she started seeing things that weren’t there. She has been to every type of shrink, been institutionalized, drugged beyond cognitive abilities, and yet none of it works. The only thing that makes these visions go away is the drugs, which turn her into a zombie. Her brother has recently arranged for someone new to come and help her, someone a little different from the others. Someone who sees the same things she does. So either he is crazier than she is or he can help her. Thus begins their adventure into discovering her abilities.

This novel really sucked me into it’s world in the best possible way. In fact, it’s killing me to write this review instead of immediately jumping into the next novel.

I loved Emerson. She’s so plucky and tough and oddly vulnerable. She’s stubborn and refuses to back down when she knows she is right. Sometimes she does the stupidest thing possible, but always because she believes it is the right thing. I, however, am not the biggest Michael fan. I can see why Em is attracted to him and I can understand her reactions, but he’s just too damn secretive for my liking. Sorry dude, but if you want me to follow you through this possibly deadly plan, then you need to be brutally honest with me. He never felt honest, he always felt like he was playing an angle to me. I loved Kaleb though.

Flirty, cocky, and completely head over heels for the heroine, Mr Sexy had me from his first line. And even though I know that Em will always be with Michael, that doesn’t stop me from wanting her to live happily ever after with Kaleb. He is pretty much Michael’s complete opposite (as well as his best friend), honest where Michael is secretive, open where he is closed, flirty where he is serious, and so on. But I digress.

The plot is engaging and I definitely didn’t see the twist coming. Well, let me rephrase that, I definitely didn’t see all of the twist coming. I knew part of it, but I was completely shocked by the other part. I just loved it so much!

Review for Croak (Croak #1) by Gina Damico

Croak by Gina Damico

TITLE: Croak
SERIES: Croak #1
AUTHOR: Gina Damico
PUBLICATION DATE: March 20, 2012
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PAGES: 311 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
RATING: 4 stars

Croak is a dark, humorous, and exciting read. You follow Lex through her journey to become grim reaper. After acting out in school numerous times over the past year, Lex’s parents have finally had enough. They send her to her uncle’s “farm” for the summer in hopes that the fresh air and manual labor will knock some since into her, but little do they know that a farm isn’t where Lex is heading at all. Croak is a town of grim reapers and Lex is the newest recruit. Lex unexpectedly falls in love with this strange world and finds a place for herself there. Everything is working out great until a group of explained deaths start occurring implying that there is a grim gone bad out there who needs to be stopped. But the only people dying are bad guys (sex offenders, dirty cops, child abusers, and the like), so Lex isn’t quite sure whether they should stop the murder or join the bandwagon and help.

I really enjoyed this book. The first half had me laughing so hard I cried and the mystery of the second half kept me coming back for more. When I first saw the cover and read the synopsis, my first thought was “ooo, this will be like Dead Like Me (an old Showtime series)” and it didn’t disappoint. Though it differs greatly from that show, Lex did remind me quite a bit of Georgia. I liked Lex instantly. She is queen of the misfits and as such she has no friends (except for her loyal twin Cordy) and is on the brink of expulsion from school. I adored her violent reaction to almost every situation and the fact that her parents literally tied her to a chair to tell her about sending her away for the summer. As far as the other characters go, I liked most of them. Driggs, though not my favorite leading man, was a good character who made me smile a lot. I also really liked Uncle Mort and all the dead characters in the afterlife. Edgar Allan Poe makes several appearances as does several dead presidents. I wasn’t too crazy about the group of Junior Grims that Lex & Driggs hang out with. They were okay, but felt a bit one dimensional to me.

My major issue was the ending. Now admittedly, I saw part of it coming and I was pretty certain there would be a cliffhanger, but I was hoping to be proved wrong. I wasn’t. I didn’t feel like it was too bad of a cliffhanger (on a scale of 1 to 10, it’d probably be a 5 or 6), but I still have to rant about it on fucking principle. Seriously, why is this a damn necessity for YA authors? And yes I single them out because they seem to be the only ones writing that way. Is there a secret newsletter locked up somewhere out there from the publishers encouraging all YA authors to end all their novels badly in order to boost sales for the sequels? I have news, this tactic is cheap and underhanded and I despise it. It’s one thing when tv shows that are on every week gives us cliffhangers because the longest we have to wait for those is a scant few months, but some authors take YEARS between novels. It’s bullshit.


Back to the good bits. The writing style is very clever and amusing. I find humor to be a very important part of any novel I read and if I judged books on humor content alone, this would have gotten 5 stars. Between the witty banter and the hilarious names of the shops in Croak (example: the flower shop is called Pushing Daisies), I was in heaven. Another good point is there was no love triangle, just Lex trying to come to grips with the unbelievable conclusion that she might actually be a normal teenage girl in one way, she likes a boy. OOOOOOOO.

Generally, if cliffhangers don’t drive you over the edge like they do me and you are looking for a book that will keep you enthralled, this is the one for you. If cliffhangers piss you off, still read it, but wait a year or two so the rest of the books can be released.