Review for Suddenly You (The Jane Austen Academy Series #4) by Cecilia Gray

Suddenly You by Cecilia Gray

TITLE: Suddenly You
SERIES: The Jane Austen Academy Series #4
AUTHOR: Cecilia Gray
PAGES: 202 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 4 bows

Fanny is an athlete. She’s a runner and an academic and the school’s new play should be the last thing she is involved in. But she is determined to help the other girls save the school and the only viable plan involves her joining league with Josh Wickham, the lead actor in the play. Can she get Josh to agree to help or will she be too distracted by Tran to concentrate on Josh?

As with all the novels, we get the same basic bunch. I’m thrilled to say that we finally get to see Josh step out of his designated bad guy role. I’m also thrilled to say that we get more of Tran, who I adore. He’s pretty awesome. Unfortunately this puts us in love triangle (square) territory and we all know how I feel about that. Josh likes Fanny, but Fanny wants Tran who seems to be dating Lucy. Speaking of Lucy, this poor girl just can’t catch a break. First she gets dumped right after coming to this school because her boyfriend is in love with someone else and now, the new guy she likes doesn’t like her nearly as much. I want to hug the poor girl.

I don’t really have a bunch to say about this book in particular. It’s good, though maybe not quite as good as the previous one. It felt a bit rushed, but I think they all do, so that’s nothing new or exciting. The writing and characterization and plot are great. Just enough to keep you begging for more.

Basically, if you liked the previous books, you’ll like this one. Fanny is a interesting perspective to get behind. Though I’d like to avoid the love triangle, it made for an interesting read. I’m still holding out hope that Josh and Lucy both find their happy ending before this is all over. We’ll have to keep reading to find out!

****Thank you to Gray Life LLC and Cecilia Gray for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for You Are Mine (Mine #1) by Janeal Falor

You Are Mine by Janeal Falor

TITLE: You Are Mine
SERIES: Mine #1
AUTHOR: Janeal Falor
PUBLISHER: Chardonian Press
PAGES: 370 pages
SOURCE: Author
RATING: 4 bows

Serena’s blood is powerful….more powerful than they expected and that means marriage is inevitable. It was always inevitable, but now it will come more swiftly. All this really means is that her ownership will shift from her father to whatever man is willing to pay the highest price for the chance to have powerful sons, and that she will no longer be home to shield her sisters from her father’s wrath. It also means she must obey her new husband in all things, no matter how superficial or cruel, or she will be tarnish, a fate many consider worse than death. Then a barbarian wins her in a tournament and she is even more terrified. Marriage to one of her fellow countryman, even though he was a mean bastard, would have been tolerable, but marriage to someone from the more barbaric nation? It’s unthinkable….until she notices something. Her new master is kind. Not only is he kind, but he doesn’t seem to desire to punish her, no matter how she acts out. Is her new life too good to be true or does the barbarian mean the things he says?

Serena is a character I was a bit on the fence about. On one hand, it’s hard not to empathize with any woman in this world, who must deal with being owned and abused. Women here aren’t considered citizens, merely the property of men. Men can do whatever they wish to their property, including beating them, mentally abusing them, forcing them to do things they don’t want to do, and then beating them some more when they don’t do those things satisfactory. You can read more about how that irritates me in my review of the prequel, Mine To Tarnish. Not that I’m saying the novel is awful or Janeal is terrible, just that the situation she has created is a bit appalling. It does make you think though. Anyway, I do empathize with Serena, but I wanted to slap her at the same time. She continually does things she knows will anger her father or her fiance and will be cause for punishment and then laments being punished. I’m not condoning that behavior in the least, but damn, woman, do you have no survival instincts? If you know touching the fire will burn you, shouldn’t you avoid touching the fire? Once her engagement to Zade (the barbarian) becomes official, she acts out even more because he does not punish her, but she shrivels up in his presence waiting for the retribution for doing things no one approves of. And it takes her forever to realize that Zade really has no intentions of ever punishing her, that he finds the way they treat women appalling.

Speaking of Zade, I loved him. I think he should have laid out his intentions a little earlier on so Serena didn’t have to walk on eggshells as much, but he’s the perfect hero. I loved the idea that the clan thought to be the most barbaric is actually the closest to what we are like now, allowing women all the rights of men and so on. He’s so kind to Serena and so considerate of her that it’s impossible not to love him. It’s difficult to realize why it took so long for her to love him. He’s the sweetest guy with a determination to protect her at all costs.

I enjoyed seeing Katherine again, who is the heroine in Mine To Tarnish. I’m glad to see her flourishing in her new role, though I wish I could have caught a glimpse of Charles and how their relationship is progressing. The two kind of stole my heart before. What I really loved about this was the ending, which I really can’t gush about without spoilers, but it was perfect. It ends with the hope that things will improve not only for Serena and her sisters, but for everyone. The characters are working towards something big, a major change that will help women, all women. The ending is absolutely perfect, seriously. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

This novel is a little slow to start. The beginning is interesting, but a bit dull. Once you get to the part when Zade enters the picture, it’s impossible to stop reading. I kept going because I had to know when Serena would finally realize that Zade would never hurt her or allow any harm to come to her while she was under his protection. I kept going because seeing Serena break the rules was mesmerizing, seeing her challenge the edicts of the Woman’s Canon (a literal rulebook for women) without outright breaking them was beyond entertaining. Mostly I kept going because I wanted to see if and when Serena finally realizes her feelings for Zade and if he returns them. What can I say? I love the love story.

Falor does a wonderful job of keeping you enraptured in the story, even when you aren’t quite sure where it’s going. Her writing style is amazing, with the perfect level of world building that keeps you in the moment and aware of the character’s surroundings without giving us pages upon pages of room descriptions. I really enjoyed it and I am adding the next book to my list….even though it’s about Cynthia…maybe I’ll learn to love her more. 😉

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

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Review for Impostor (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker

Impostor by Susanne Winnacker

TITLE: Impostor
SERIES: Variants #1
AUTHOR: Susanne Winnacker
PUBLISHER: Hodder Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books
PAGES: 320 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC / Audiobook
SOURCE: NetGalley / Borrowed
RATING: 3 bows

Tessa has a variant ability that is deemed top-notch, the ability to shift physical forms. She can shapeshift into anyone whos DNA she has been ability to absorb. She’s spent her life training with the FEA, a secret division of the FBI that uses variants abilities to help solve crimes, and now they say she’s ready for her first mission: impersonate high school student Madison to assist in finding a small town serial killer. But once she assumes the role, she becomes way too content to play through Madison’s life as a normal teenager. This role has afforded her things she has never had before: caring parents, friends, and a overprotective brother. With everything riding on her role, can she pull herself out of the fantasy long enough to find the killer?

Okay, so when I saw this up on NetGalley, I got all grabby hands. I really enjoyed Susanne Winnacker’s previous dystopian, The Other Life, and this promises X-Men like epic-ness, so I was all for it. I was overjoyed to get approved and started it rather quickly, but it really failed to captivate my full attention. I make no secret of the fact that I read multiple books at once, usually the most interesting one is what I pick up most and this kept falling by the wayside. I kept ignoring it for anything else I was reading. It took me over a month to get through it, which doesn’t bode well. I cannot pinpoint exactly what was wrong except that it was a bit boring. The tag line on NetGalley promises X-Men meets Veronica Mars, which is probably too much pressure to live up to.

For once, the heroine wasn’t my problem. Tessa is strong and brave, if a little scared and entirely too easy to sympathize with, with that unrequited love and terrible parents aspect going. Her mother doesn’t really give a shit about her and she has never met her father. After she moved in with Madison’s family, she has a difficult time separating herself from the job and comes to genuinely care for all of them, making her job that much more difficult. Her obsession with fellow Variant Alec was both endearing and annoying.

Alec, well, I’m on the fence about him. It’s obvious he has feelings for Tessa, but he hides behind a bitchy girlfriend and claims he can never be more than friends with Tessa, but the protectiveness and sidelong glances speak volumes. I hate the cheating thing. I hate the “justified” cheating thing even more. They don’t do more than kiss, but he is still with his girlfriend the first time they kiss and I can’t stand that. I understand destiny or fate or whatever you wish to label it as, but seriously, dude, if you like her that much, treat her with some fucking respect.

The entire murder mystery was interesting, but I couldn’t bring myself to really care too deeply about it. I will say that the true killer was an entire surprise to me, so kudos for that. This novel almost felt like the author was trying to fit a bit too much into a measly 300 or so pages. You’ve got the killer to find, the lovefest with Alec to ponder, the idea that maybe the FEA is hiding something, the realization of imminent danger, Tessa’s interactions (or lack thereof) with her family, Tessa’s (and Alec’s) history, and so much more. Maybe if it had been a bit longer and spent more on each segment, things would have worked out better. Also, I hated how it skirted love triangle territory. ****SPOILER****Though Tessa will never admit it outright, she is attracted to Devon, Madison’s brother. Nothing happens between the two here, obviously since she’s impersonating his sister, but you can feel the love triangle coming, especially since it turns out Devon is a variant and he joins the FEA. Alec had better enjoy his time with Tess while he can because soon, she’ll be falling all over herself to be closer to Devon.****END SPOILER****

Though the concept for this is great, the reality is mediocre. The characters are interesting, but none of them really connected with me. The writing is great, if a bit dull. The plot was completely twist-y and I didn’t see most of the twists coming, but somehow that doesn’t raise my opinion any. Bottom line? It’s an interesting read that has room for improvement.

****Thank you to Hodder Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for Spirit (Elemental #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer

TITLE: Spirit
SERIES: Elemental #3
AUTHOR: Brigid Kemmerer
PAGES: 301 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 2 bows

Hunter Garrity’s life has been chaos ever since his dad and uncles death. He’s mother is too deep in grief to be bothered with taking care of her only son, his grandfather is psycho and gives Hunter hell, and the Merrick brothers are cautious and suspicious of his every move. He can’t trust anyone because everyone seems to have their own agenda, including the hot new girl Kate. She keeps trying to get close to Hunter and he can’t figure out why. Can he trust her? Or will she lead him down the path to his own doom?

****WARNING: This review will contain major spoilers, nasty language, and general ranty-ness. Proceed with caution****

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Hunter isn’t my favorite character in this series. I initially liked him in the first novel, but the further I got the less I liked him. It’s obvious that the Merrick brothers want to help him, as does Becca, but he just can’t let his guard down to trust them and it’s fucking infuriating. So I started this warily because I knew a book through his perspective would change my opinion of him and I wasn’t sure I wanted it to change. Well, I was right, it changed. Poor Hunter just can’t win no matter how hard he tries. He’s own grandfather believes the worst of him and actually hits him several times. Seriously, dude, really? Beating up your own grandson? To make matters worse, his mother watches the whole interaction and doesn’t lift a finger to help Hunter. She just fucking watches as Hunter gets his ass handed to him. The further I got, the more I just wanted to help him. At one point he is sleeping in his Jeep, seriously contemplating theft as a means to keep feeding himself and Casper, his dog. When Michael Merrick extends a helping hand, he doesn’t know if it’s a trap, but he has no choice but to accept it.

Watching Big Mike try to help him had me loving Michael even more than I already did. This is a guy that’s always trying to do right by those around him, even if they are all too stupid to see it. I really can’t wait until his gets his own full novel. I’m so ready to see the world through his eyes. He constantly saves Hunters ass even though Hunter is so suspicious of the activity. The way Hunter treats all the Merricks had me wanting to punch the idiot. After all he is seen of them, he still can’t believe that they would help him.

Then there is Kate. In a way, she’s Hunter’s perfect companion, with the same trust issues and inability to pull the trigger. She’s had the Guide training and she’s officially on a mission, but she can’t bring herself to be as cruel as her partner on this job, Silver. She can’t understand how they can just kill people because they are Elementals, even when they aren’t doing anything bad or dangerous. How is she supposed to do that? She’s drawn to Hunter and for the whole 20 pages or so that they were finally together, really together, I was in heaven. Our tormented Hunter finally gets the girl, one who really understands where he is coming from. AND THEN SILVER KILLS HER. My reaction was something like this:
Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls
Kuzco in The Emperor's New Groove
Mushu in Mulan
Community Gif

Was that entirely fucking necessary?!?!?!? What.The.Fuck! I feel traumatized. I feel incandescent rage. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? I have adored every other book in this series and while I wasn’t overjoyed to read Hunter’s book, I was sure I’d love it as much as the others and I did enjoy it, but it is impossible for me to love it. I really wanted to stop reading right there, but I pushed through the last twenty or so pages to see if maybe she was just fucking with me. Nope, Kate’s really dead and this isn’t like Supernatural where people are constantly being resurrected. Even after that though, everything came together too quickly. They defeat the bad guy and save the children and Hunter patches things up with his mother and ::group hug::…okay, so they don’t really group hug, but they would be less opposed to it than before.

What you really need to know is this: If you want to read this whole series, which I still recommend, just be prepared to dislike this. I can never get over that. I don’t care that Kemmerer has killed a love interest in the past. Doing it once was, well not acceptable, but I can get over it because it was a novella and we didn’t get overly attached to her, but this, spending a great deal of time in Kate’s head only to watch her get slaughtered, that’s just offensive. I’m still excited to read Nicky’s book next, but I’m truly saddened that Kemmerer felt this was the best way to handle Hunter’s love interest. I will never understand why. Basically my overall feeling is this:
The Nightmare Before Christmas gif

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Review for Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl

Icons by Margaret Stohl

TITLE: Icons
SERIES: Icons #1
AUTHOR: Margaret Stohl
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 428 pages
FORMAT: Audiobook / Hardback
SOURCE: Borrowed / Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

Always remember The Day: The Day that everything stopped, the millions of people died just so the Lords could prove their power, The Day Dol’s family died, but she miraculously survived. Cut to 10+ years later and teenage Dol is living in the country, far from the Lord’s powerful Icons. But when Dol and Ro, her best friend, are kidnapped and taken to the embassy, then nag change drastically. They meet two more people like them, with weird dot symbols on their wrists. Lucas, the ambassadors son and Tima, a fellow prisoner. The closer the four become, the more they realize that maybe there is more going on than meets the eye. Maybe these four are connected in a way that none of them could have predicted and maybe, just maybe, that are the key to bringing down the Lord’s and their malicious icons.

So, the plan with this was simple. I needed something to listen to on the 3 and a half hour drive to Charleston SC for YA`’ll fest and this was available. The plan, was to listen to it on the way there and then on the way back, then I’d be almost finished and it wouldn’t hinder my reading my massive stack of E-ARCs because I was using time that I wouldn’t have spent reading anyway. Perfect, right? Well, I ended up only listening on the way there and falling asleep on the way back home. So, I’m less than halfway through this thing and I feel guilty every time I pick it up. I have so many books I committed to read and this is not on that list, how can I justified spending time reading it? The other issue was, I met Margaret Stohl at YA`’ll fest and she fucking amazing, so I have to love this, right? But, initially I didn’t. It was good, but not great. Interesting, but not stay up all night addictive. So I deliberately read it slowly because I did NOT want write a negative review for this. I need to love it. And, eventually, I really got into it. Let’s see why.

The biggest reason I initially didn’t love this was because I’m not a big fan of Dol. I found her a bit immature and a whole lot annoying. Throughout the novel . People comment on her being clever, but I never saw it. She seemed a bit slow and can’t ever seen to make up her mind. She does that insanely annoying thing where she claims to “love” To, a male character, and its implied that it’s romantic feelings, but then she sees Lucas, and holy shit, she’s in love. Our at least she knows she doesn’t have romantic feelings for Ro. She also came across as gullible, always just believing what she was told without any investigation. Needless to say, I was not a fan.

Then there are the guys: Ro and Lucas. I wasn’t a huge fan of either, but I wanted her to end up with Ro because he is the one who has always been there for her. Also because I didn’t see the appeal of Lucas. He just wasn’t the hero for me. He seemed a little….well “uppity” is the only word that comes to mind. He’s the Ambassador’s son and has lived a privileged life. The whole love triangle thing pissed me off. I hate fucking hate them and I hate them passionately. Obviously I was less than enthused about this one.

I also had a bit of an issue with the amount of confusion. While I applaud Stohl for avoiding the infamous info dump, I felt like I was given too little information at times. Who the hell are the Lords? How do the Icons work? How is the weird government set up? I get that the Lords give the orders somehow and the Ambassadors carry them out, but who appointed the ambassadors? How do the Lords give information? I can even leave Dol’s part out because obvious that is supposed to be a mystery, but a bit more world building wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Where this novel shines, however, is in its side characters. Namely, Fortis and Dr. Orwell Bradbury Huxley-Clark. Now, had the novel been told by Fortis’ perspective, I’d have been in love. Fortis is all rebellion. Hot, sarcastic, british, intelligent…::drools:: From the first moment Dol met him on the train, I was head over heels. Then there is Doc, a fucking COMPUTER PROGRAM. But this computer program has snark and spunk and had me smiling and giggling even when I wanted to scream in frustration from dealing with Dol. The sarcasm and the jokes and the over serious observations made all the bad parts completely worth it.

Really, this is a 3.5, but Goodreads doesn’t allow half-star ratings and I’m too damn tired (read: lazy) to crop one of those crappy bows in half to post. It only ends on a very mild cliffhanger, so at least we don’t have the love triangle/insta-love/cliffhanger trifecta! It’s an interesting mix of dystopian and scifi, with light romance and quirky side characters to keep you smiling. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely worth the read. And the last 100 pages or so get truly interesting. It’s no coincidence that it’s also when Fortis appears again and we learn a bit more of Doc’s origins. 🙂

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Review for Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

TITLE: Dare You To
SERIES: Pushing The Limits #2
AUTHOR: Katie McGarry
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises
PAGES: 456 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

Beth Risk’s life has never been a happy one, especially not since third grade. She knows that if anyone finds out the truth about her mom, prison is where her mom will go and Beth will get stuck in foster care, ripping her away from her friends and what little family she has left. Unfortunately for Beth, some things are out of her control and soon she is ripped out of that life by her uncle and forced into a school and town where no one accepts her and all she can do is fight to get back to where she was. Ryan Stone is the epitome of Golden Boy. He is the star of the baseball team, popular, and the son of a well-off business owner. Ryan, however, is hiding a big secret. A secret he dares not even tell his closest friends. One night his friends dare him to ask for the dark skater girls number and what starts out as a bet, becomes so much more.

Beth is everything I remember from Pushing The Limits and more. McGarry really knows how to write a tortured character who keeps on fighting, despite the odds. Her fierce loyalty to her mother, despite all evidence that she should let it go is both inspiring and tragic. It’s obvious to everyone that mommy dearest is beyond help, but Beth just keeps on trying. When her uncle Scott drags her kicking and screaming away from that life, she is utterly angry and resentful. Scott has no right to interfere. Scott left her years ago and never came back. Scott can kiss her ass as she walks back to Louisville, where her mom and the rest of her life is. Scott sets down an ultimatum. Live in his house and by his rules or he’ll turn in the dirt he has on her mom, sending her to prison for too many years. Watching Beth buck convention while still trying to obey Scott’s rules bordered on heart-breaking. Her past is so fucked up and you can really see where all of her bad tendencies stem from. At the same time, she’s bright and spunky and so damned stubborn that she refuses to see what’s right in front of her. Ryan’s the hot jock and she knows he is playing her, she just can’t figure out the angle yet.

Ryan wasn’t an insta-love character for me. Initially I didn’t like him much, but he grew on me a bit. The more you learn about his home life, the more you pity the kid. Sure, it’s not as terrible as Beth’s past, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to cope with. Baseball has always been his dream, but lately he has been wondering if maybe college ball is the place for him instead of going straight to the pros after high school. Beth is his opposite in every way. She’s loud, foul-mouthed, and enjoys shocking people. He has to give her credit for never backing down, but the harder he fights to get her number and win the bet, the more he realizes that maybe there is much more to her underneath that punk façade.

So, here’s the deal. Dare You To was almost as great as McGarry’s previous novel. Beth is an entirely captivating leading lady and Ryan is perfect for her in ways that I don’t think the two will every understand. The storyline, and learning more about Beth’s history was mesmerizing. So why only four stars? Well, the biggest reason is Isaiah. I read somewhere in an interview with the author that Beth and Isaiah aren’t going to end up together because they don’t challenge each other and we want to see them get out of the bad situation they are both in. I get that, especially after reading this, I do. Beth would never have gotten away from her mom without this massive force and things truly do improve for her. BUT I still wanted her with Isaiah. The way the entire thing with Isaiah is handled really bugged me. I know he gets his own story next and we’ll see that he is better off, but right now, all I can see is the disappointment in those sad grey eyes as Beth tells him she doesn’t love him like that.

The other issue is a completely inane one, so feel free to skip this paragraph. It is established early on that Ryan drives a Jeep. We never get a description beyond that, so I assume it was a Wrangler.

Maybe it’s just because I actually drive a Wrangler, but any time someone says Jeep without any specification of which type of Jeep, that’s always what I picture. Then he’s driving Beth around and they get to their destination, so he puts the vehicle in “park.” So it’s a automatic, gotcha. I keep reading, my mental picture of the Jeep improving. Then, on more than one occasion, Beth mentions Ryan shifting gears. Um….how? Is it a manual or automatic? Automatics don’t require the gears to be changed manually and manuals don’t have park, so which is it? This may seem stupid and trivial, and I agree that it is, but it REALLY bugged me. Just like most readers, I get that whole movie in my mind thing going once I really get into the story and while sometimes my mind gets the details wrong even with there is description, there are also times when we must fill in the blank and that’s incredibly difficult to do when the writing contradicts itself. Then, even better, when they are playing on rock and in a creek in the Jeep, Beth claims to grab hold of the passenger side gripbar above the door. So it’s not a wrangler? Wrangler’s have a passenger side grip bar on the dash in front of the seat, not above the door. Is she grabbing the roll cage bar? At one point, it’s referred to as a “truck” which really had me literally growling at the words. The different types of Jeeps look incredibly…well different. Is it a Wrangler like I initially believed? A Grand Cherokee?

A Liberty?

Super old school Commanche?

Or are just one of those annoying individuals who thing Jeep is just a synonym for SUV? It’s not. It’s a brand in and of itself. It’s like saying “I drive a Ford.” Car? Truck? SUV? Give me some kind of description! I realize that is not of the upmost importance, but an extra word tacked on to the description could have easily fixed most of the problem.

Beyond my few issues, this was a great read. I realize there are a lot of skeptics out there who, like me, want Beth and Isaiah together regardless of the consequences. To those readers I say, give it a try. Sure, it’s not exactly what you want, but you are left knowing that Beth is in a much better situation and the possibilities for Isaiah are going to improve. What more can we ask for?

Review for If I Should Die (Revenants #3) by Amy Plum

If I Should Die by Amy Plum

TITLE: If I Should Die
SERIES: Revenants #3
AUTHOR: Amy Plum
PAGES: 405 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 3 stars

Picking up right where Until I Die left off, we follow a grief stricken Kate on her determined journey to save Vincent, who was killed and then had his body destroyed by Violette. Now he is just a wondering spirit and the idea of spending eternity never being able to really be together is too much for Kate to take. Soon enough, they have the spark of an idea of how to help Vince and lead an epic battle to destroy Violette and the numa once and for all.

Before I say anything else, I just want to express my utter disappointment with this novel.

I waited with baited breathe for this sequel since Until I Die left off with such a dreadful cliffhanger and I was dying to know how Amy would successfully wrap this story up. The answer? She doesn’t, really. I mean, yes the main plot and story all come to a close on a relatively happy note, but I don’t think it was wrapped up well. It just felt rushed and thoroughly predictable. ****SPOILER***I saw it all coming, from Jules disappointing lack of resolution to them finding the reimbodiment ceremony and Violette pulling Vincent back at the exact moment they were attempting the ritual. Even the little detail about Kate’s necklace with Vincent’s hair being the key to make the ceremony work. To Kate being the champion and leading the Paris kindred into war with Violette.****END SPOILER**** I feel supremely cheated and unsatisfied because I adored book 1 and enjoyed book 2 right up until the cliffhanger that pissed me off and now, this final book just didn’t do it for me.

I think mostly, besides the fact that it’s utterly predictable, I hate the way not everyone got a happy ending. Yes, Kate and Vincent do live happily ever after (as do Ambrose and Charlotte), but one character dies ****SPOILER****Jean Baptist****END SPOILER**** leaving his lover to live in despair for the rest of eternity and Jules gets a non-ending. I realize that they are in a war and there will be casualties, but I just didn’t like it. Not to mention the death, which occurs at the very end in the battle, was beyond unnecessary. Yes, this person jumping in front of Vince to save him was fine, though a little cliché, but he/she was a revenant therefore the death would have been fine, but nope, his/her body was destroyed before it could be recovered and it just felt….well, wrong is only word coming to mind. Jules is basically pushed to the side after the middle of the novel and I hate that. He’s one of my favorite characters and even though I love Vincent and Kate together, a tiny part of me was rooting for him.

It’s worth a read, if only to finish the series, but don’t get your hopes too high up. I don’t think it lives up to the first book and that’s just depressing.

Review for Follow the White Rabbit (Beautiful Madness #1) by Kellie Sheridan

Follow The White Rabbit by Kellie Sheridan

TITLE: Follow The White Rabbit
SERIES: Beautiful Madness #1
AUTHOR: Kellie Sheridan
PUBLISHER: Patchwork Press
PAGES: 100 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Wonderland is no longer the magic place it once was. After Alice’s first visit, the madness slowly seeped out, leaving it tainted with normality. Gwen, Rose, Marc, and Lucky call it home, but don’t remember all that it was…except that Gwen is fascinated by their history and obsessed with the Alice prophecy, which states that they get one shot at using her to bring Wonderland back into its former glory. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

This novella was pretty intense, but also a little disappointing. You get tossed headfirst into Wonderland and you keep bouncing from perspective to perspective that it’s hard to keep up and make sense of it all. That would have been fine in a longer novel, but it’s a bit jarring in a novella that doesn’t allow for the recovery time. I did really enjoy Gwen’s character though, as well as Rose’s. Gwen, with all her knowledge of Wonderland’s history and her obsessive need to know all things Alice, felt very real and solid while some of the other characters felt a bit flatter. The same goes for Rose, with her newly acquired title of Queen, she’s pretty easy to sympathize with as she navigates the treacherous waters of leadership while still trying to do the right thing for her kingdom.

Even with its minor issues, I still would love to see where this all goes. I’m one of those odd ducks who didn’t like the Carroll story or the first Disney cartoon, but I LOVED the Tim Burton one and have become more than a little enamored with Alice retellings. I think this is definitely worth a read, though most should probably wait until the next novella is out so you aren’t left with quite as bad of a cliffhanger.

****Thank you to Patchwork Press and Kellie Sheridan for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Wrong Girl (Freak House #1) by C.J. Archer

The Wrong Girl by C J Archer

TITLE: The Wrong Girl
SERIES: Freak House #1
AUTHOR: C J Archer
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 218 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Hannah Smith has been locked in the attic for almost her entire life. She is the companion to the daughter of Lord Wade and as such, is confined to live the life that Lady Violet does. You see these two both have unusual afflictions. Hannah is narcoleptic and Lady Violet is a Firestarter, which is why she is locked in the attic. Though she dreams of freedom from this gilded prison, she is well aware of how lucky she is. As the orphan of servants, her life on the streets could have been much worse and she is currently offered every privilege that Violet receives, from the clothing to the education. But when she dreamed of her freedom, she never imagined it would arrive via a kidnapping. Suddenly she is thrust into like at Frakingham House with a science mad cripple, a mute, a seemingly normal girl, and a Firestarter. There is only one problem (well beyond the fact that she has been kidnapped), they think she is Violet. They claim they mean her no harm but what will they do when they realize they grabbed the wrong girl?

This sentence is going to seem like a repeat but I can’t help that its how I’ve felt about almost everything I’ve read lately. This novel was interesting and intriguing, if a little predictable. I don’t know if it was truly predictable or if I’ve just developed some type of clairvoyant powers lately, but I have been able to accurately predict how not only my last few books have ended, but also the last few films would go and the last few tv episodes. Is it me or has everything become a mite too predictable lately? I’m dying for something to knock me completely off my feet. Anyway, beyond the predictability, this short novel was wholly enjoyable. Hannah’s loyalty to Violet had me loving her instantly, but her naivety about what was really going on had me wanting to shake her. Seriously? You really didn’t see any of this coming? Not even the part about you?

I really thought you were smarter than that.

Jack was an unexpected surprise. I loved the duality of his character and how he seemed torn between his old life and his new one much of the time. He’s is definitely my favorite character here, even if he does get a little annoying in how he treats Hannah in the beginning. Then there is Sylvia, who I think is the biggest mystery of all because she is not portrayed as one. It’s obvious from the beginning that Jack is hiding something, but Sylvia seems utterly normal and yet not at the same time. It’s seems like she doesn’t belong at Freak House, beyond being August’s (the owners) niece, and yet here she is. I think there is more to her than we see in this novel and I can’t wait to learn more.

I think my only real problem with this is that by the end you have more questions than answers. Who were Jack’s parents? Who were Hannah’s parents? Why did the Earl keep Hannah locked in the attic? Is Violet really the Earl’s daughter? How much does she know? Why are Hannah and Jack different? Who the fuck is this psychotic Tate guy and why is he so obsessed with Hannah but not Jack? How did August know Hannah as a child? The questions go on and on and I need the next book as soon as possible to answer them!

****Thank you to C J Archer for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Sweet Dead Life (Sweet Dead Life #1) by Joy Preble

The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

TITLE: The Sweet Dead Life
SERIES: Sweet Dead Life #1
AUTHOR: Joy Preble
PUBLISHER: Soho Teen, An imprint of Soho Press Inc
PAGES: 244 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 stars

Jenna Samuels’ eighth grade year isn’t going exactly how she planned. She’s dying and the doctor’s cannot figure out what’s wrong with her. Then she has a seizure and on the way to the hospital, gets into a car wreck where she is sure she sees her brother die. But when she wakes up in the hospital, Casey is just fine, better in fact. He’s hair and skin have visibly improved and he’s belly has magically transformed into six pack abs. What the fuck, right. Apparently Casey is an A-word (Jenna cannot bring herself to say “angel” just yet) and he was sent back from heaven to find out who is poisoning her and why.

I’ve been avoiding writing this review just a little. It was partly because I was already caught up in another amazing book and wanted to continue with it and partly because I’m not exactly sure what to say. This book was very good and entertaining, but I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly why, even in my disconnected thoughts so having to put it into words is a bit difficult. I liked most of the characters. Jenna’s smartass attitude and slight potty mouth (she does cuss some, but never says anything truly foul, in my opinion) had me relating to her within the first few pages. She is a bit repetitive, but let’s face it, what 14 year old girl isn’t? Casey was a very interesting character and I loved that becoming an angel didn’t just magically solve all his problems. He still has to work and go to school and try to kick his pot addiction, but with the added bonus of being much more attractive. I loved the obvious affection between the two of them. In the beginning, Jenna complains about him quite a bit, but it’s clear that she loves him a great deal.

I think the reason that this is so hard for me is because it was intensely interesting and then quite a bit boring and then interesting again. In the beginning, when they were trying to figure out what was wrong with Jenna, I was addicted. Call me a House MD addict, but I loved that. Once you find out that she is being poisoned, which is pretty early on, I was bored. Who was poisoning her? Sure, I was curious, but it wasn’t a driving need. She whole plot sort of slowed and the self-deprecating death humor disappeared because Casey was in fact dead now. Then, you start to unravel the mystery of why her dad left and what’s wrong with mommy dearest and things got very interesting again, if a little predictable. ****SPOILER****I mean, let’s be honest, when they figure out mom is being poison as well, but with a different poison than Jenna and go into the search to discover what Mom consumed that Jenna and Casey didn’t, who didn’t know exactly what was poisoning her and who was behind it?****END SPOILER**** The ending was good, with all the mysteries solved, but I was so highly disappointed with their dad and even more disappointed that Jenna wasn’t angrier with him. ****SPOILER****Yes, his disappearance was beyond his control, with the whole memory erasing drug thing, but he started remembering MONTHS ago and didn’t even bother checking on his wife or kids. Not once did it cross his mind that mmm maybe my wife can’t afford all the bills and they are living in the gutter or maybe my son had to give up the things he loved just to keep them afloat? Worst. Father. Ever. Man the fuck up dude!****END SPOILER****

Really, this was an interest story with great characters and pretty amusing writing. If you want a pretty good mystery, this is for you!

****Thank you to Soho Teen, An imprint of Soho Press Inc for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****