Review for A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner Of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

TITLE: A Corner Of White
SERIES: The Colours OF Madeleine #1
AUTHOR: Jaclyn Moriarty
PUBLICATION DATE: April 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Arthur A Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc
PAGES: 384 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 3 stars

Madeleine and her mom ran away from their former life. Madeleine was always running away from the jetset life that she had with her parents and on the last attempt, her mother just came with her and they never looked back. Now, months later, she is starting to miss her dad and parts of her old life. Then she finds a note tucked into a crack in a parking meter that reads “Help me! I am being held against my will!” and thus begins her rather odd relationship with Elliot. Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello and spends all his time searching for his father, who disappeared over a year ago, on the same night his uncle was killed. When he finds the strange letter from the Girl In The World, he knows he should report the crack, but instead replies and is more than a little intrigued by this strange girl.

This really is the hardest type of book to review for me. It wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t terrible. It was just somewhere in the middle, which means it didn’t earn much passion from me and passion is a big part of where my reviews come from. Generally, I adored it or I hated it and very few things fall in the middle ground for me, like this did. I found it to be boring, especially for the first 200 pages, and confusing. Plus, I didn’t like the main girl…at all.

Madeleine just seemed selfish. She hangs out with Belle and Jack, but she really doesn’t like them that much and she wishes they weren’t so boring. Her mom displays obvious signs that something is wrong with her, but instead of insisting she see a doctor, Maddy here just writes it off. Another big annoyance with her is that she blatantly refuses to believe in even the possibility that Elliot’s world of Cello is real. I get that the whole idea is insane, but it’s stupid to just assume he’s telling a story even when he argues with you. Elliot, on the other hand, I liked….for the most part. He’s fierce determination to find his father was inspiring, but he does a few stupid things so I’m not entirely in love with him and he’s definitely not going to be added to my list of swoon worthy YA males. The rest of the characters in Cello are interesting, but wholly boring…except the Sheriff who is just stupid. Seriously, I can’t believe they never fired him and appointed Jimmy, his deputy as his replacement. The people in the “real world” are a little better. Jack and Belle at least both seem reasonably intelligent. I actually really liked Jack because he seemed so sweet. Madeleine’s mother, Holly, was a character that I’m on the fence about, but since we have already established that it’s clear she has some form of undiagnosed medical problem, I’ll let her slide.

One big issue I had with this was that in Cello, the biggest threat are attacks of colour.

I could have gotten past this, had the concept been fully explained. How do you get attacked by a color?!?!? Is it a type of animal over there? Does a mist of said color just float to you and do its damage? Is it like in that shitty movie The Mist where strange creatures live in a colored mist and they eat you if you get too close? I DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND! I kept reading for a while just to see if we would get any sort of explanation but we don’t. I also have issues with the fact that this novel is described as funny and it definitely wasn’t. I may have chuckled once or twice, but I definitely didn’t keel over with laughter. For me, a funny novel is something I just can’t stop giggling at.

On the whole, I think maybe I missed something in this novel. I felt like I wasn’t completely grasping what was happening in Cello. Hopefully someone else out there will love this novel, but it just wasn’t for me.

****Thank you to Arthur A Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLICATION DATE: May 14, 2012
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 336 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 5 stars

Remember Kendra, the witch who cursed Kyle in Beastly? Well, not it’s time we hear more from her. Bewitching gives you a peak at the life she had before all the witchy stuff started and tells you several different stories where she uses magic to help. And there is the big surprise, she actually wants to help people, not punish them, but you know what they say about an angry witch, she’ll get her revenge and Kendra is as guilty of wanting people to get their comeuppance as anyone else. Within this volume, we get 3 of Kendra’s lost causes. The main one is the story of Emma and Lisette, a new twist on Cinderella, then we get Louis and his search for a bride via a The Princess and The Pea retelling, and finally a version of The Little Mermaid that I don’t know how to categorize. All these go on with a little bit of commentary from Kendra from time to time.

What I was expecting from this novel was to follow Kendra’s perspective as she curses and helps people and while we do get a bit from her, all of the beginning and then small pieces after that, the main story is told via Emma. The way this is set up is you get Kendra’s background and then it transitions into Emma & Lisette where we see the twos first meeting and then at random points, the tale stops for Kendra’s commentary and a few tales to showcase her failures so we can see why she isn’t jumping in to help until she is sure of what to do.

With Emma and Lisette, we get a taste of what Cinderella might have been like if the stepsister was actually the one being duped. Emma is a sweet, smart, overly trusting eighth grader when her dad (who is technically her stepdad, but they have the normal father-daughter relationship) tells her that he’s first wife has died and that his biological daughter is coming to live with them. Nervous and excited at the prospect of getting a sister, Emma is tentatively optimists about this and when she meets Lisette, her hopes soar because she is sweet and kind and actually wants to spend time with Emma….or does she? Some things just don’t add up. Like how Emma’s things go missing and Lisette just happens to have identical things or how Emma is suddenly left behind on all the father-daughter trips because she overslept even though she knows she set an alarm. I found this particular tale quite engrossing. I wanted to keep reading and I ended up using time I was supposed to use reading some eARCs from Netgalley to finish this, but it was worth it.

Emma was that heroine that you sympathize with while wishes she’d speak up. The situation with Lisette doesn’t improve, it just gets worse, and I think we can tell definitively that had Emma just said something instead of keeping quiet, things would have turned out completely different. Emma was also someone that I identified with (not because I have evil siblings) but because she was a bit odd and most days wanted nothing more than to curl up on her bed with a good book. Lisette, on the other hand, was the girl I just wanted to punch. She’s that girl that can charm her way out of anything, that conniving girl who has all the males in her life fooled into thinking she’s sweet and kind but really she’s a backstabbing bitch who will fuck over the entire planet to get what she wants.

As for the two other small tales, I found Louis tale endearing and Doria’s (the mermaid) tale boring. Louis gained my sympathy, but Doria just annoyed me. Either way, with both tales, all I could really think was “Can I please get back to Emma?” I did like the bits of commentary we got from Kendra, but with these I just wanted more of what was happening with Emma. I think that might have been the point, to build suspense or whatever, but really it just annoyed me.

It was all worth it in the end though, because Emma does get her happily ever after, maybe just not in the way she was expecting. If you are looking for more of Alex Flinn’s magic, or just a great fairy tale retelling that doesn’t take you exactly where you were expecting to go, this is it. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Review for Lyon’s Bride (The Chattan Curse #1) by Cathy Maxwell

Lyon’s Bride by Cathy Maxwell

TITLE: Lyon’s Bride
SERIES: The Chattan Curse #1
AUTHOR: Cathy Maxwell
PUBLICATION DATE: April 24, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 372 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 3 stars

Neal Chattan, Lord Lyon, is cursed. Centuries ago, his ancestor promised to marry a girl, Rose, then reneged on the promise and the girl committed suicide. As punishment for this crime, the Rose’s mother cursed his family. Whenever a Chattan male falls in love, he dies. Every member of his father’s family has succumbed to this curse and he is determined to never fall prey to it, but he desperately wants kids. Enter Thea Martin, a matchmaker. She is hired to find Chattan a bride that he could never love, but when she sees its Neal she’s to work for, she promptly refuses. Neal had been a childhood friend who walked out on her with no warning. Thea quickly realizes that she has no other choice than to help him because there aren’t many options for respectable work for a widow and her sons must be provided for. She starts the hunt for a respectable bride for Neal and, as you can imagine, the two grow closer. But is Neal willing to risk his life for the possibility of love with Thea?

I really am at a loss for words with this novel. I generally try to keep my historical romances and my paranormal romances separate, so I’m not overly excited about the idea of a mythical curse, but since I’ve read HR with a bit of magic before, I thought why the hell not? I have always loved Cathy Maxwell’s work in the past so this shouldn’t be any different. I was somewhat right. The storyline drew me in pretty quickly, though not the witchy parts. What got me was the childhood friends who were separated and are now reunited. I usually hate drama, but I love the confrontation that comes from childhood separations that leave one or both parties confused. Thea’s back-story especially captivated me because I also love heroines who rebel against their families and she definitely did that when she married far below herself. Even Neal was a sweet and interesting character who’s instantly adoration for Thea’s sons had me falling head over heels.

But I just couldn’t love this novel. Neal jumps too quickly over the fence on the whole “I can’t fall in love or I’ll die” argument. One minute he’s terrified of it and the next he’s throwing caution to the wind and marrying Thea. The romance bits felt a bit rushed. Then there is the cliffhanger.




I have never in my entire goddamn life read a historical romance with a cliffhanger and I can’t say that this came as a pleasant surprise. I spent my entire high school career hiding romance novels in my text books so I could read during class and never once did I stumble upon a fucking cliffhanger, NEVER. Neal and Thea’s story has a sort of ending, but the curse is still looming over Neal’s head so nothing was really solved. This novel definitely would have gotten 4 stars if not for that ending, but I can’t fucking overlook that or forget my complete disappointment. Do I recommend it to historical romance fans? Absolutely, just prepare yourself for the fact that it’s not going to be tied into a nice little bow for you at the end and you’ll need the next two books on hand so you can find out exactly what happens next.

Review for Exiled (The Never Chronicles #1) by J.R. Wagner

Exiled by J R Wagner

TITLE: Exiled
SERIES: The Never Chronicles #1
AUTHOR: J R Wagner
PUBLICATION DATE: May 5, 2012
PUBLISHER: Greenleaf Book Group
PAGES: 246 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 2 stars

Let me start off by saying that I really wanted to give this book 3 stars, but I just can’t. It was so bloody boring that it was nearly impossible to get through and even though the plot finally picks up in spots, it was too difficult to make it there for me to really have enjoyed it. I almost felt like I deserved a medal for making it to the half way point, much less beyond.

James is a sorcerer, maybe the best one ever, certainly one that has been prophesized about for centuries. With that in mind, you can imagine that James’ life was never normal, always expected to save the Faithful’s (aka the wizarding worlds) existence from the Epoch Termiuns, which is the beginning of the end for the Faithful. Beyond that, I can’t really say much because the whole plot is so drawn out that I don’t know what would be considered a spoiler and what wouldn’t.

I had two big problems with this book which is why this review is so late. I received a digital copy of this from the publisher sometime last year and tried to read it then but just couldn’t get into. Recently I have seen a ton of blogs doing “Review Copy Cleanups” and that kick started me to finish up all the eARCs/review copies I haven’t read yet, whether I am drawn in initially or not. With my renewed fervor, I set out to take this book out rather quickly and not let it set unread any longer. I promptly realized that this endeavor would be a bit arduous because my first issue is that the writing style is a little boring. Think about the beginning of the first Harry Potter book. No, not the bits where Dumbledore and McGonagall where dropping baby Harry off at the Dursleys doorstep, the rest of it. The following Mr Dursley around during his day job where weird shit keeps happening. The writing was all cut and dry and rather dull, right? That’s how most of this is written. I didn’t become particularly attached to the characters, I didn’t invest in their lives, and I certainly didn’t feel their emotions. I just felt rather bored. I will admit that I found the world of The Never fascinating, especially the bits on the Severed Heart, but it wasn’t enough to keep me dying to find out what happened next.

My other problem was all the flashbacks. Every other chapter was a flashback. Every. Single. One. It opens in “present” day then the next chapter is a flashback, then back to the present, then another flashback. The flashbacks aren’t even consecutive memories, just seemingly random bits of James’ past. In one flashback James is 5, then he is fourteen, then he is ten, and there is one that isn’t about James at all. Each flashback ends in a mini-cliffhanger-y fashion, but the subject is never touched on again! There is one where James’ mom goes to get him up one morning and he has run away and then end of chapter, back to present day.

And every chapter ending before going to flashback-land ends with a mini-cliffhanger. One minute James is dangling on a rope in the middle of a waterfall and then you have to read a whole chapter of boring, non-essential info before you are allowed to find out if he falls to his doom or not.

On a whole, I just can’t bring myself to really want to recommend this to anyone or read the sequel. I am vaguely curious as to what happens next because whole thing ends with a dreadful cliffhanger. I just found it too dull to truly love.

****Thank you to Greenleaf Book Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

TITLE: Beautiful Darkness
SERIES: Caster Chronicles #1
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
PUBLICATION DATE: December 1, 2009
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown, And Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc
PAGES: 563 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

Beautiful Creatures follows Ethan Wate around his small southern town. Tired of being in a place where nothing unexpected ever happens, he can’t wait to graduate and go to college far far away. Then Lena Duchannes moves to town and everything he thinks he knows is suddenly not so accurate anymore. Lena is a witch, but they prefer the term Caster. Apparently in her family, on your sixteenth birthday, you and your powers are Claimed for either the light or the dark and you get no say in the matter. We follow Ethan and Lena on their fight to either allow Lena to choose her side at her claiming or to make sure she goes Light.

I really wanted to give this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed it. It’s one of those books that sucks you in and you spend every spare second you get digging it out of your bag so you can read just a tinsy bit more. I can’t give it 5 stars though because of a few small problems. The biggest one being the cliffhanger. I know I haven’t been deducting for that lately, but considering this book is almost 600 pages, it had ample time to wrap the story up properly. I’m not entire sure it really counts as a cliffhanger, but it just didn’t feel like the story ended properly and that really irritates me. The other reason is my favorite character died. I won’t tell you who, but it upset me so much. I knew that there would probably be a casualty or two, but I wasn’t expecting this person to be one of them.

What did I like? I really liked Ethan. Southern gentleman all the way, but without the accent, I’m in heaven. I was pleasantly shocked when I started reading and realized that the novel is told entirely through his perspective. I was expecting to get Lena (which you do get a tinsy bit from her at the end) and I was wrong. Ethan’s perspective is entirely believable. He is the only male character I have ever read that really felt male despite the lack of suggestive thoughts and naughty language. Lena, well, I can’t make my mind up about her. One minute I’m sympathetic because of all the shit she is going through, but that doesn’t stop me from being enraged when she fucking pulls away from Ethan. Hello? There is a point where one of your relatives states that no caster could come between the two of you and that somehow he protects you, yet you still think it’s too dangerous? Come on, smarty pants, you can do better than that. Luckily, that bit doesn’t last long, but it still made me want to smack her.

I loved almost all of the characters in this story, from Ethan to Link to Amma to Macon, even Ridley. They all make the story that much better for being there. And who can forget the infamous Boo Radley! No, not the character from How To Kill A Mockingbird, but a dog named after that character. I’m a sucker for a cute pooch and this mutt isn’t above that.

The writing is beautiful and the mystery of it all really drew me. It was a bit longer than I would have liked, but it was still amazing. I loved that unlike most witch novels, everything isn’t explained to us in the very beginning with a hard to process chunk of information, instead you get only the bits and pieces Lena is willing to allow Ethan to see. Which is not the entire truth by any means. Even after 560 pages, there is still a great deal about L and her world that we don’t understand.

After reading this, I’m even more excited for the movie. Though, as always, I’ve very apprehensive of what they will change and how I’ll take the changes. I can already see that some things they got right and some not. Jeremy Irons playing Macon is, I think, absolutely perfect. The same goes for Viola Davis playing Amma. The actor they chose for Ethan, well I’m not happy about it yet. All I can say definitively is that he isn’t what I pictured and he isn’t tall enough. I’m trying to hold out on final judgment until I see the film and his acting skill because who knows, he may amaze me. Same goes for Lena. She is closer to what I pictured, though with the wrong hair and eye color, I’m holding out hope that they will all exceed my expectations.

Review for Witch World by Christopher Pike

Witch World by Christopher Pike

TITLE: Witch World
AUTHOR: Christopher Pike
PUBLICATION DATE: November 13, 2012
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 528 pages
FORMAT: Ebook
SOURCE: PulseIt
RATING: 2 stars

I can’t decide between 2 or 3 stars for this book, so I’m going with 2. The basic blurb about this book doesn’t even scratch the surface. It basically says this is a story about Jessie’s graduation trip to Las Vegas where she reunites with her ex but also meets someone new who teachers her about magic. I guess, that does do if you want to put it in a non-spoiler-y nutshell, but it didn’t prepare me for the story ahead. Once you get past the first hundred pages and find out more about Jessie’s witch-y heritage, the story is so complicated that I had trouble keeping up, and not in a good way.

The gist of it is that in this strange world, there are actually two separate “worlds”, which I’m going to refer to as dimensions to simplify things. Jessie lives in the Real World and after she dies (which is how the witches are “awakened”), she finds herself in Witch World, the parallel dimension. Most things are similar in this world, the biggest difference seems to be that that everyone plays Red Queen instead of Black Jack and everyone goes by their full first name instead of a diminutive nickname (ie Jessie becomes Jessica, Jimmy becomes James, Russ becomes Russell and so on). In his explanation, Jessie’s dad basically says that the two worlds are connected and everything that happens in one happens most of the time in the other, but not always and lately there have been some differences. Awakened witches have to live the same day twice, literally going to sleep in the real world at dawn and waking up in Witch World to repeat the same day. In theory, it’s all the same, but throughout the story, Jessie’s days are never even remotely similar.

This just feels like a novel tha t was written in an half-assed way, you know? Like it could have been great if the author had put in a bit more effort and fleshed things out more. How he managed to make the book 500+ pages and still make me feel like he didn’t put enough effort into it is amazing, but it’s how I felt. The whole idea of a parallel world felt a little preposterous in the way Pike explains it and then it felt like he focused all his energy into making Jessie as annoying as possible and let everything else fall away. It all felt so underdeveloped that I could cry. The best example I can give is that they don’t even give the real world a name, but it’s implied that calling it the real world isn’t proper. Witch World is Witch World, but every time one of the important witch’s speak about the other world, they simply say “what you refer to as the real world.” Geez, wouldn’t it be easier to NAME the other fucking dimension? Instead of this song and dance, just give it a proper goddamn label and be done with it. Another thing that really bugged me were the names. All the characters have very generic feeling names. Jessica, James, Alexis, Russell, Frank, Michael….it’s like the author looked at a top 100 baby names list and just picked at random.

Normally at this point, I would rant endlessly about the cliffhanger, but to be honest, this one didn’t bother me at all. I think it’s because I wasn’t invested enough with these characters to truly care what happened next.

I really wanted to like this story. I went in with relatively high hopes because I always end up loving witch tales, but this just didn’t do it. I see a lot of raving reviews, so maybe I’m missing. I can say that I don’t plan to read the sequel to this tale or anything else by Christopher Pike. I’m sure he’s other books are great, but this was just too much of disappointment to do again.

Review for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

TITLE: The Night Circus
AUTHOR: Erin Morgenstern
PUBLICATION DATE: July 3, 2012
PUBLISHER: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, inc
PAGES: 516 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Goodreads First Reads
RATING: 5 stars

I had thought that after reading this novel a second time, it would be easier to review but fuck was I wrong. Reading it again put me in even more awe of it because I noticed things the second time around that I missed the first. I find that reviewing it now is even more daunting because my words are insufficient to adequately describe the….um…see I’m already failing to come up with an adjective worthy of this novel. Amazing? Awesome? Astounding? Why do they all start with “a”? Regardless of my lack of vocabulary, this is a novel that will illicit more emotions than you thought possible while confusing you and making you wonder why they heck you keep reading.

It’s a bit difficult to summarize this story because it encompasses so much. The most basic description I can give is that it follows two characters, a girl named Celia and a boy named Marco, for a very long period of time, almost thirty years in fact. Both have only been told that they are a participate in a game but their respective teachers refuse to give them any more description than that. How do you win the game? Who is my opponent? How do we compete? What is the purpose? They are never told. But both strive to succeed to attain the respect of their teachers. The only thing that becomes clear is that the venue for the competition is Le Cirque des Reves. This tale follows the pair throughout the duration of the challenge.

The above description does not even begin to do justice to the sheer loveliness of this story. But, before I start fangirling, I’ll state what will annoy the daylights out of you, at least on your first read. The main source of the confusion is the way the story jumps around. Though the tale is “mainly” about Celia and Marco, it has many, many (many, many, many, many, many) more characters and it jumps around from different perspectives and even time periods. One moment you are reading about Celia being trained at a young age, then you jump ten years in the future to the perspective of a boy named Bailey who has nothing to do with anything beyond the fact that the circus arrives in his town and he falls in love with it. Then you jump to a clockmaker in Germany who is commissioned to make a special clock for the circus. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. For the first half of this novel, you can’t make any fucking sense out of it. I remember thinking during my first read how I wished it would just stay with Celia or Marco because I found the pair so interesting, but alas, my wish wasn’t granted. Though now, I’m glad that it wasn’t because I appreciated the many perspectives so much more during the second go. It jumps to completely unrelated sequences in the most haphazard fashion imaginable. Where the fuck is Erin taking this story?!?! How the hell are all the people’s perspectives going to line up in a way that makes sense? Why the fuck am I still reading this infuriating thing?!?!?

If you stick through the first half, well you are in for a treat. In the second half, everything starts coming together. Celia and Marco meet and fall in love like we all knew they would and everything actually does wrap up rather nicely. All the random people start to become connected with the story in ways you weren’t expecting and it made me wonder how the author managed to write something so stunning that I was in speechless. The first comment I want to make is that the writing is gorgeous. Erin Morgenstern writes in this brilliant way that describes every setting perfectly, but not in that overly dull, I’m wasting your time writing five pages describing this utterly plain England countryside way that some authors insist on doing (::coughs:: JRR Tolkien ::coughs::). It just completely enchants you to the point that even though it’s irritating the fuck out of you, you keep reading, if only to see the elegant way the story is portrayed. You grow to love all the characters, even the ones that you have no idea how they relate to the story.

This novel is that perfect fairy tale for adults that we’ve all been craving. It has that indefinable magical quality that hooks into you and leaves you seeing stars. It is the type of book that demands a second read, possibly immediately after the first because you see things through a different light. I’m hesitant to make this comparison because these two novels are nothing alike, but it demands a reread the same way Fight Club does because after everything is revealed in the end, you see so many things more clearly and completely differently than the first time. It’s utterly fantastic and I recommend it to every single individual on this planet with access to it and the ability to comprehend it.

****Thank you to Vintage Books/Anchor Books for providing me with a review copy 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
FORMAT: Ebook
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****