Review for Dissonance (Dissonance #1) by Erica O’Rourke

Dissonance by Erica O'Rouke

TITLE: Dissonance
SERIES: Dissonance #1
AUTHOR: Erica O’Rourke
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 496 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Delancey Sullivan sees the world a little differently than the rest of us. She’s a Walker. She can Walk to parallel worlds. You see, every decision you make creates an alternate world. And then every decision in that world creates new worlds and so on and so forth. Basically, it’s infinite possibilities. Del comes from a family of people who can Walk between said worlds. Part of the Walking gig is trying to keep harmony between the worlds. But Del has started to notice things are a bit off in the other worlds and Simon, her crush, seems to be connected somehow. The more she learns, the more she knows that the Council Of Walkers is hiding something big. Can she figure it out and save the known world?

Delancey is that heroine that should really annoy me, but she doesn’t. She’s cocky and a little lot bitchy and has that special little snowflake thing going on, just a little. She is clearly cut out to be the best of the Walkers, if she can stop being such a smart-ass and do well on the school-work end. Did I forget to mention that? There is Walker schooling to learn all the intricacies of this shit. Oh, yeah, maybe that’s why I like her so much. I’m a sucker for a good smart-ass. It’s hard not to empathize with these kids who have to deal with normal school and then learn more on top of that. Her special little snowflake syndrome is because she has been Walking since before they claim she should have been able to do so. She’s a natural. That, however, is overshadowed by her overachieving big sister. I’ll get to Addie in a moment, but, seriously, I’m not a fan. Back to Del. She’s smart, but she hides it underneath all the snark and the issues with authority and their bullshit rules. Oh yeah, we can see why I love this girl, right?
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Then we have Simon and Elliot. They are the start of the small problem I have. Just by mentioning them together, you must know what’s coming. Simon is the crush, as I said, and Elliot is the bestie that’s hopelessly in love with Del (which everyone sees but her, naturally).
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It’s hard for me to really talk about either because I really liked both of them. Simon was a lot of fun and Del likes him so much…but Elliot is so sweet and I’m a sucker for that best friend turns into more scenario. I felt so bad for Elliot. I want it to work between then. This tension caused me a great deal of angst. I really took the love triangle ride with Del each step of the way, except worse because she never really likes Elliot like that. She feels bad, but never truly considers that option whereas I was ready to jump ship. Cute interlude with Simon.
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I like Simon. Simon’s cute. She should be with Simon! But then cute interlude with Elliot.
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AAAWWWWWW! Elliot! I love Elliot. He’s been there for her and he’s so sweet and cute and DAMN. I can’t pick. I’m not going to be completely happy either way ‘cuz I love both of them.

Then there is Addie, the evil sister. I don’t have anything against overachievers, in fact, I think I was one in high school, but this bitch has serious problems. The way she treats Del is batshit crazy. You are sisters! You are supposed to have her back and support her and yet you seem to betray her at every turn.

I’ve been avoiding this review for the exact opposite reason I avoided the Of Monsters And Madness review. This novel is fabulous. It is addictive and creative and really knows how to build the world and suck you in. All you can think about is Del and her crazy world and how the hell she is going to get out of this mess. Hint? It won’t be easy and it won’t all wrap up by the end of the novel. I feel like I don’t have the words to do it justice. I was astounded by it. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. I wasn’t expecting magnificent. I’ve been notoriously stuck in a contemporary phase of late, so the fact that this sci-fi feeling novel has captivated me so completely speaks volumes.

It’s downgraded to 4 stars because if the love triangle because I’m so sick of those. It’s also because of the horrendous cliffhanger. Oh man, the cliffhanger.
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It’s bad. It’s really bad. It’s how the fuck could you do this too me bad. Here, this should help:
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Well, it certainly helped me. Damn, that smile. ANYWAY, Just remember, bad cliffhanger ahead. I’m surprisingly of the opinion that this novel is worth the trouble of that cliffhanger, which is a damn miracle.

So, what should you take away from this? This novel is good enough to leave me astounded. This novel is good enough to have me singing it’s praises even though it contains several elements I hate. This novel is almost perfect. Read it. You won’t regret it.

****Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for House Of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

House Of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

TITLE: House Of Ivy & Sorrow
AUTHOR: Natalie Whipple
PUBLICATION DATE: April 15, 2014
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Josephine Hemlock has always known that the old witch under the bridge wasn’t a myth….because that witch is her grandmother. And, like her grandma, she’s a witch. She’s spent the majority of her life hiding from the Curse that took her mother’s life (as well as many of her other relatives) and it’s going rather well until a mysterious man shows up looking for her mother. So now she must figure out who is behind the curse and destroy them before the curse claims her or her beloved Grandma. Will she succeed or will she succumb to the curse?

Josephine is that perfect combination of spirit and fear. She is fiesty and determined to do the best she can, but she’s also terrified of her grandmother dying and of catching the curse. She has a great group of friends and a new romance with the hot, sweet guy at school, but somehow still manages to feel lonely because she can’t share her magic with anyone. She’s so beautiful and awesome, but still self-conscious in the most adorable way around her new beau. Her determination to save her Grandmother was endearing as hell.

Winn, said beau, is absolutely awesome. I’ve read a multitude of bad boy types, and he’s nice guy image was a great change. He’s genuinely a good guy, who always does the right thing and really likes Josephine as she is. He’s a nice looking, muscly guy, but the muscles don’t just miraculously appear where they have no business being on a teenage boy. They are the result of days working on his parents farm. I loved that. I’m sick of reading about characters that are all toned and hot but for no apparent reason. It was nice to see that there was a legitimate need for him to be all muscly, not just because, you know, it’s hot.

There are is a parade of additional characters, including Jo’s two best friends Kate and Gwen) and the inevitable other point in the love triangle, Levi. Who I kinda liked better, because he has a bad boy vibe. I know, I know, I just went on a spiel about how great it was to read about a nice guy and I like the bad guy more. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m just fucked up. Anyway, I liked all the characters. I loved that the friends get let in on the secret and not pushed aside. What I really loved though, was the darkness of it. I’ve read a review or two claiming this wasn’t dark enough. I wholeheartedly disagree. What I really loved about this was it’s darkness. I’ve read a lot of YA’s or witch stories in general, where the people are just born with the ability and they don’t have to cast spells or make potions or anything, just wave their hand and poof! Problem solved. That’s not the case here. Everything has a cost and sometime it’s as simple as pulling out a flew strands of hair or going color blind for a day or two. Other times it’s yanking out a fingernail or a tooth. The debt must always been paid. I loved (loved loved loved) that darker take on it. It felt more like witchcraft or voodoo, less like pansy-ass hand waving.

This is exactly the novel I was looking for when I started reading it. It’s a little slow to start, but has everything you need for a great novel, with dark voodoo, a great mystery, and a light romance. This is the best witchy novel I’ve read since Once A Witch!

****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for All That Glows by Ryan Graudin

All That Glows by Ryan Graudin

TITLE: All That Glows
AUTHOR: Ryan Graudin
PUBLICATION DATE: February 11, 2014
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen, an imprint of of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 480 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Emrys has always reveled in her life as a Fae, enjoying the forests and generally avoiding cities, where the technology causes a sickness that’s hard to fight…until she angers Queen Mab and is assigned to guard Prince Richard. Richard’s the heir to the English thrown and not a bad guy, just a boy drowning his insecurities in booze and general bad boy behavior. Dark things are starting though, and something old and dark is out to get the royal family. While Emrys is trying to protect the pampered prince, she is also having a hard time veiling herself from him…and once she drops the veil, things really get interesting. Together, they’ll fight the evil lurking in the dark and do their best to save the kingdom, if they can.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t read many Fae novels. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I the lure behind them is so complex and I’m not well versed in it, so I’m left confused too much. So while I was excited to get approved for this and have the opportunity to read and review it, I was also quite a bit weary. What if I hate it? What if it’s too confusing for my poor befuddled brain to grasp? So many worries about it swirling around my head, all for naught really. Though this isn’t straight forward, it’s pretty easy to come to terms with the rules these Fae live by. Protecting the crown and obeying Mab are the biggest rules to live by…and always veil yourself from the humans.

Emrys obviously breaks that rule. For whatever reason, she has a difficult time keeping her veiling spell up around Richard and finally just gives in. She’s a unique character, not really falling under any particular personality type to me. Her sweet romance with Richard had me begging for them to end up together, for her to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Richard was also an interesting character, so weighed down by the path in front of him and the crown that will be his sooner than anyone realizes. I cannot imagine living with that level of responsibility, so it’s understandable that this seventeen year old boy would feel like drinking away his problems…at least until Emrys appears out of nowhere (literally) and pushes him in the right direction. I think I would really have liked a chapter or two to see what’s going on in his mind, but it’s all from Emrys’ perspective. Watching Richard grow from a over-stressed teenager to a man fit to rule the kingdom was quite a treat.

My only real issue with this story is the idea that Fae don’t care for love. Maybe I read or comprehended incorrectly, but the way it came off to me is that Fae more or less don’t believe in love. They realize it exists, but have absolutely no use for it. Love between a Fae and a human is taboo (and dangerous) and romantic love between Fae doesn’t exist at all. Also, we never see a male fairy. Every single one of them is female. Which, I supposed, makes the idea of romantic love difficult for an author of the christian persuasion, but I find it difficult to believe that no form of romantic love seems important to them. Running while and free for a time is all good, but you live hundreds of years and never once long for something more intimate that companionship? I’m not sure I buy that.

Beyond that particular hole in the Fae lure, this is a very entertaining novel. There are slow moments, but it keeps you pretty enthralled for most of the story. Amrys and Richard’s romance is light and sweet, while still holding deep enough meaning for them to be willing to fight for each other. It’s a bit insta-lovey with the way they are attracted to each other, but the L word isn’t mentioned until closer to the end than the beginning, so I’m rather satisfied with it.

Even if you aren’t a big fan of this particular subset of mythical creatures, this is a read that’s pretty easy to enjoy. It has almost everything I need in a novel, with great writing, a good plot, and enough of a light romance to keep me cheering the main duo on and on. It’s hard not to root for that whole love against the odds scenario. I think this is a YA most will enjoy, as long as you can get over the notion that love is taboo.

****Thank you to HarperTeen, an imprint of of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

TITLE: The Lost Prince
SERIES: The Iron Fey: Call Of The Forgotten #1
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
PUBLICATION DATE: October 23, 2012
PUBLISHER: Harlequinn Teen
PAGES: 377 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 stars

Ethan Chase has always been able to see the fey. What’s worse is that they know he can see them and take great pleasure in torturing him whenever possible. He does his best to ignore them and stay out of trouble, but then they start to disappear and he is forced back into the Iron Realm, seeking the help of his half sister, the Iron Queen. Ethan is determined to protect his family…and Kenzie St James, a nosy girl who refuses to let him alone. A girl that is getting too close for comfort that Ethan can only ignore for so long.

Let me just state for the record that I have not yet read any of the books in the Iron Fey series. I was under the impression that this was a new spinoff series and it wasn’t necessary. I stand by that assessment, though understanding some of the characters in the Iron Realm as well as that world itself may have been a little easier if I had. I have wanted to read them and that desire has only increased after reading this. Now that I have that out of the way, let me just say that I’m a little glad I read this one first because at least I know throughout all the expected angst of the Iron Fey series that Meghan will end up with Ash and I’ll be able to enjoy seeing Ethan as a little kid.

Ethan is a great leading man, with just a touch too much angsty and brooding, but with great reasons to be that way. Listening to him berate himself for being a dick to Kenzie while still giving her pissed off stares was priceless. You can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, with all the shit he gets blamed for that’s rarely his fault. Despite knowing better, he ends up getting involved in all manner of mayhem because he can’t seem to stop himself from saving the day. He does everything from save a kid from bullying to striving into a cavern filled with evil fairies just to save a guy he barely knows. That buried hero complex completely balances out most of the angst. Add that to the banter between him and Kenzie and you’ve got me hooked.

Kenzie, well I liked her instantly too. If I had to describe her in one word, it would be determined. Her overly cheery personality hides a fierce determination to accomplish her goals, whether Ethan likes it or not. I loved finally seeing a female character who didn’t back down from the broody male just because he said too. If you are hoping for a mousey shy heroine, look elsewhere because she’s definitely not here.

There was a plethora of other characters, including a talking cat that was like the love child between Cheshire Cat and the cat from Coraline who I really enjoyed. Then there was Kieran, who is a certain pairs child and that shocks the hell out of Ethan. My favorite side character though, was definitely Puck. Holy fuck, I LOVE HIM. I would read The Iron Fey series just for more of HIM! He’s got that attitude where he’s always smiling and flinging out one liners and saving the day. All of the side characters where enjoyable and memorable, but he was a special treat.

The writing was great, and the plot kept me interested. I read several reviews stating that they found the story rather boring, but I wholeheartedly disagree. I was enthralled once I got a decent way in and before that point I was still pretty interested to see where it was all going to lead. The Fey world Kagawa describes is fascinating and I am as captivated by it was Kenzie was. Speaking of Kenzie…****SPOILER****I KNEW SHE HAD CANCER. I saw coming pretty early on, when everyone was treating her slightly different. Of course she has cancer, because we couldn’t just let her be a normal teenage girl. X_X They better fucking find a damn cure and her and Ethan will live happily ever after or you will suffer my wrath!
****END SPOILER****Beyond that very spoilery blip, this has a pretty happy ending, with the majority of the story wrapping up nicely and only a few tolerable loose ends. I can’t wait to read the next one!

****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****