Category Archives: Young Adult

Marked (House of Night #1) by P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast

After a Vampire Tracker Marks her with a crescent moon on her forehead, 16-year-old Zoey Redbird enters the House of Night and learns that she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx and has affinities for all five elements: Air, Fire Water, Earth and Spirit. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is mis-using her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny – with a little help from her new vampyre friends (or Nerd Herd, as Aphrodite calls them).

 

Rating: 2/5

I really don’t know how I felt about this book. Overall, I thought it was ok. And I might read the next one if only because I’m curious about the couple of things that were alluded to at the end of this book. So since I’m otherwise having difficulty articulating my thoughts, I’m going to follow a review format I’ve seen used by a few other bloggers for this post.

The likes:

I found that for the most part I did like the main character, Zoey. She’s sensible and has a good head on her shoulders. She’s not overconfident, but she’s not really down on herself either. And she does develop well over the course of the book (though I might argue that the bulk of her development is a bit sudden at the end if the book, but hey, epiphanies happen in the real world too, right?). I also liked that when the supposed “hottest guy in school,” and possibly even “hottest guy in the world” asked her out she didn’t completely lose herself. In fact, she approaches the offer warily.

I liked the way magic was structured in the world. It was pretty cool, and unique, and interesting to learn about.

The dislikes:

Everyone basically picks up on the new religion flawlessly. I mean, yeah, it seems to be somewhat beat into them that as fledgling vampyres they must respect the religion of the House of Night and follow Nyx. But no one even bats an eyelash at suddenly being told to worship a goddess that they ever did. I suppose an argument could be made that only teenagers who had a predisposition toward the belief system of the House of Night would be destined to be marked, but that’s somewhat of a stretch for me.

I honestly didn’t care for the fledgling idea in general. I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m a traditionalist when it comes to vampires (that’s obviously not true, given some of the books that I’ve raved about here), but there are some stretches to the baseline myth/legend that I have difficulty accepting. The idea that certain people get “marked” by a tracker and therefore will become vampyres (yes, I intentionally switched the spelling) is only ok at best. The idea that they then have to go to school to learn what life is like as a vampyre when they may or may not survive the transition (that will happen 4 years later, by the way) is just bizarre.

Tacked onto that the general assumption that the only subjects worth learning about over that time (when normally you’d be in a normal high school) are:

  • Vampyre Sociology (sensible)
  • Some subset of the arts (as a band geek, I’m totally on board with this in any basic curriculum)
  • Language (again, I’m a bit of a language geek and good friends with folks who definitely are, so this is awesome)
  • Physical fitness of the not so modern-sport variety (like Fencing and Equestrian)

Nothing about math or science. Those fields apparently don’t matter for vampires. At all. Like, Not only was there no expectation that those classes are taken, but they don’t seem to even have been offered. I totally get not emphasizing them. I totally get people who don’t like them. That’s fine. But to be preparing these fledglings for a life that they will have to live, presumably, forever, to not offer anything in the fields of math or science just seems wrong, and a bit like the author went “I wish my high school was like this” rather than asking “What would be a realistic curriculum for this subset of society?” Maybe that’s just a personal pet peeve, but it bugged me. This may seem like a trivial point to go on about since the school curriculum is obviously not the plot. But seriously, about half of the book was about Zoey’s classes and nothing else. Sure, some of it was interesting, but for the most part I just didn’t care about what was going on in her classes.

Similarly, the overarching plot was all about regular high school teenage drama. Yeah, there was a magical component to it, but if I wanted to read about an outsider holding a coup against the queen bee popular girl, I wouldn’t be picking up an urban fantasy book. In fairness, some decent groundwork is laid for book 2 to potentially have a little more to it than that.

But now for the kicker:

Oh, the inconsistencies (what can I say? I’ve always been a nitpicker, and attention to detail matters to me). Some quick examples:

  • First she likes any brown pop and she has a diet coke, then throughout the rest of the book she likes any brown pop that’s not diet.
  • First Heath is her boyfriend. Then he’s her almost ex-boyfriend (which kinda makes sense because she supposedly never actually broke up with him). Then he’s her ex-almost boyfriend, implying that they had never dated at all. Well, which is it?
  • In most classes, she was coming in mid-semester, but in the Equestrian class it seemed like the first day.

There were other things that weren’t necessarily inconsistencies but were tacked on information that seemed to have been thrown in because it seemed convenient. I understand the desire to do this; I used to write like that myself. But the editing process should at least make those instances less obvious.

Interestingly enough, I started off giving this a 3-star rating. By the time I was halfway done writing I had knocked it down to a 2.5. And now that I’m reading back over, I’m knocking it down again. There was just too much that I didn’t care for, and a good chunk of my annoyances were driven largely by two factors: not liking the topic (particular to me) and not liking the writing (much more general). While I wouldn’t necessarily discourage anyone from reading this — I’m sure it’s great if you absolutely love reading about teenage drama, and some people certainly do — I still wouldn’t go out of my way to pick it up. I’d also caution that you should wait until you’re in a mood to put up with the drama.

Blog Tour: Call Me Grim (Call Me Grim #1) by Elizabeth Holloway – GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake — and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper… and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark… but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

 


Call-Me-Grim-Banner

This post is a stop on the blog tour for Call Me Grim, hosted by Chapter by Chapter. To view more stops on the tour, feel free to visit the schedule here!

And please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway before you leave!

This is a book I reviewed a couple of weeks ago by request from Month9Books—take a look at it here. I enjoyed it enough that I was more than happy to participate in the blog tour, and I asked Elizabeth if she could write a scene from the perspective of a different character. I’m thrilled she took me up on the challenge, and even more pleased by the scene and character she chose. Aaron was my favorite character from the book, and I’m looking forward to getting to learn more about him in the next book when it releases. This is a short and sweet scene from very early on in the book, and I hope you enjoy it.

With that introduction, I’ll turn things over to Elizabeth:

 

For this stop in the CALL ME GRIM blog tour, I was asked if I could write a tidbit of the novel from another character’s point of view. I had another option to choose from, but I was so intrigued by this idea, I couldn’t resist. So, without further ado, I give you the first time Aaron and Libbi see each other from Aaron’s perspective. The pacing is a little faster than I usually write, since I don’t want to make this post ungodly long, but I hope you like it!


She’s here. Somewhere in the rows of student artwork, the girl who could solve all of my problems is here. The question is, where?

My eyes drift closed and the ring on my right thumb tingles as it searches the art show for the girl’s dying soul. Her time is soon. I can already feel the slight tug of her soul without using the ring, but it’s not strong enough to draw me to her, yet. Her death is scheduled for tomorrow, and there are too many souls in the high school gym for me to pinpoint where the tug is coming from. The ring will have to show me where she is.

The ring’s power forms an image behind my closed lids. The girl—Libbi. Her name is Libbi. How the heck will I ever convince her to listen to me if I keep calling her ‘the girl’?—stands beside a tall copper sculpture that looks like three gigantic blades of grass reaching for the gym’s overhead lights. Dark waves of hair spill down the middle of her back as she tilts her head to look at the top of the towering piece.

I’ve seen that sculpture. It’s at the end of the first row of artwork, just inside the door. My eyes snap open. I spin around and sprint down the length of the gym, determined not to lose her.

There aren’t many people in the gym now, and most of them move out of my way as I draw closer, affected by my creepy Reaper aura. Those who don’t, get a shock of ice cold when I pass through their bodies. I hate doing that, but sometimes it’s a necessity.

As I round the last partition I catch sight of her. Libbi turns from the grass-like sculpture toward the open doors that lead to the high school’s main entrance like she’s looking for someone.

This is my chance. My foot lifts off the floor, but before I can take a step toward her, she pivots on her heel and marches away from me, down the aisle on the opposite side from where I stand, and deeper into the gym.

I follow, in my parallel aisle, catching glimpses of her long hair, her skirt, the backs of her shoes, at the end of each row we pass. Finally, she decides on a row and turns down it. I skid to a stop at the opposite end.

Her bright, green eyes meet mine across the distance and my breath takes a temporary vacation.

She’s freaking beautiful.

How’s that for fair?

Libbi’s lips bow into a pout and I can almost feel the disappointment rolling off of her in waves. And, Lord help me, I want to take that disappointment away. I want to make her feel better. I want to see her smile.

I give her a small nod and smile myself, but it seems to have the opposite effect. Her shoulders droop and her pout deepens to a scowl. She looks away.

Well, that’s probably for the best. I shouldn’t have noticed how pretty she is anyway. It’s not like anything can come of it.



Elizabeth HollowayAbout the Author:

Elizabeth Holloway is a registered nurse living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children, Bam-bam the dog, and Tinkerbell the cat. CALL ME GRIM is her first novel.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

 

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead

They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won’t give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri’s face join Lissa’s. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose – for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back…and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead’s international #1 bestsellingVampire Academy series.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

As always, Mead has impressed me with her conclusion to this story. Endings are hard. As a writer, I have always struggled with them more than anything else—probably because I have the least practice with them, given that my computer is full of half-finished projects. Mead makes them seem effortless. She plans her plot arcs, plans her books, and executes with extreme precision. Her conclusions elicit not only emotional reaction, but create suspense and resolution like a perfect major chord resolution at the end of an otherwise dissonant song (sorry for the musical analogy; orchestra rehearsal resume this week).

If you’ve read my other reviews of this series, you’re probably a bit surprised by the rating. It is, after all, the highest I’ve given any individual book in the series. And in total honestly, if I hadn’t see enough of this book’s plot coming, and if I didn’t already have total confidence in Mead, I wouldn’t have made it this far in the series.

And I still don’t like Rose and she still does some things that annoy me (hence the not quite 5 stars), but I absolutely adored everything else in this book (romance aside).

Let’s start with the romance so I can get my rant out of the way early. I’m ok with Dimitri, and I was generally fine with the romance involving him early on. But I honestly don’t know what the buzz about him was all about. I just don’t get it. He’s not that amazing or anything. And I really like Adrian. I like him a lot, and am frankly a bit annoyed with the way his role shaped up. throughout the last few books. Rose treats him badly, and I know she doesn’t mean to, and I know that’s easily something that a teenager would do, but it still annoyed me.

Now that that’s out of the way …

The plot of this book was spectacular. It was pieced together wonderfully, and we were given just enough clues along the way to follow along. And I actually got really interested in the Moroi politics. I have a tendency to be incredibly drawn into politics in books even though I hate them in the real world. The Moroi have an interesting political structure, and with the events of this book, we were thrown into the deep end in terms of how the nuances of their laws and politics worked. It was almost a relief to get that much detail of something other than the academy, Dimitri, or teenage drama.

And I mean, who couldn’t fall in love with the results of this last book? Its conclusions gave me warm fuzzies. Seriously, I have that “I just finished a really good book and I’m entirely content with what I read” feeling (one that probably means I should go to sleep now instead of starting another book—I’m writing this at night, after all).

Basically, this book made up for my frustrations with the rest of the series, just like I knew it would.

Shadows Fall Away by Kit Forbes

Mark Stewart is one incident away from becoming a juvenile delinquent, and his parents have had enough. They ship Mark off to London England to stay with his eccentric aunt Agatha who is obsessed with all things Jack the Ripper. After a strange twist of luck, Mark is struck by lightning, and he wakes to find himself in 1888 Victorian London.

His interest in a string of murders Scotland Yard has yet to solve make him a likely suspect. After all, why would a young boy like Mark know so much about the murders? Could he be the ripper they’ve been searching for? Convinced the only way to get back home is to solve the murders, Mark dives headfirst into uncovering the truth.

Mark’s only distraction comes in the form of the beautiful Genie Trembly, a girl who is totally out of his league and who may have already caught the attention of the infamous ripper. To save her, he’ll endanger both their lives, and risk being trapped in the past forever.

 

I received an ARC of this book on behalf of Month9Books. This book will be released on September 23rd, 2014.

Rating: 4/5

This was a terribly interesting read. I love Mark, and quite enjoyed getting to know Genie as well. And the concept of unexpectedly time-traveling back to the middle of Jack the Ripper’s murder spree was quite a bit of fun.

Before I started reading, I was concerned that this would present itself as a classic example of a plot that needs to be forced to work with very patchy fills for the plot gaps. I’ll be fair and say that there definitely still was one (a rather rushed explanation of the time-travel, but this is fantasy, and that clearly wasn’t really the point of reading this), but some of the big ones I expected weren’t there. Example: I was concerned that the “Convinced the only way to get back home is to solve the murders” bit from the description would prove troublesome. However, even though Mark is angling in that direction, he still leaves plenty of room for doubt. And, quite frankly, he did what any rational person might: make a halfway decent assumption and roll with it. Would I have made the same choice? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m not a borderline delinquent teenage male whose mother is more or less an expert on Jack the Ripper.

Some of the writing could be more polished, but that may very well have been caught between the printing of the ARC e-book I was given and the actual publication date. Otherwise, the only negative thing I can say is that the ending was a bit rushed. Since I’d already mostly pieced everything together by then, I didn’t feel that I missed out on any needed explanation.

Something I don’t often talk about in my posts is the idea of mis-direction. I allude to ways to do and to not do foreshadowing, but rarely tackle mis-direction. Forbes does a solid job at creating a cast of characters who could all be suspects while Mark is trying to find the infamous Ripper. There’s some pretty delicate foreshadowing in there too that I have to applaud—obviously, I won’t be sharing the comment I’m specifically recalling here.

All in all, I was quite pleased with this read.

 

Call Me Grim (Call Me Grim #1) by Elizabeth Holloway

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake — and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper… and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark… but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

 

I received an ARC of this book on behalf of Month9Books. This book will be released on September 9th, 2014.

Rating: 4/5

I was really quite impressed with this novel. Holloway has something rather unique going with Call Me Grim, and I was pleased with the direction she took. I’ve read just a couple of books with grim reapers as the central supernatural being, but this is one of my favorites.

The characters were great—right from the very beginning I had a good feel for Libbi. I loved her little brother Max from the moment we met him. And, you know, Aaron’s great too. Kyle and Haley, two of the supporting characters, took a little while for me to get my bearings with simply because they weren’t as present quite as much, and for good reason. It didn’t matter, because Libbi gave us the context we needed to understand them.

One of the reasons I didn’t give this an even higher rating is because some of the rules of the world don’t quite sit well with me. I spotted some potential holes that were appropriately patched and elegantly explained away, but nothing overbearing—certainly nothing a frequent fantasy reader should have a problem with suspending disbelief for. I’m still a little uncomfortable with the whole “being marked” thing (as alluded to in the description)—it seemed a bit messy to me, but it worked out well in the end. Otherwise, Holloway clearly knows how her magic works and has a good understanding for the nuance of the reaper community she’s established. She’s made sure there aren’t any holes, and she effectively communicates all of the necessary tidbits to the reader without being overwhelmig about it.

All in all, Holloway did a great job with the pacing in this one—the slower moments came where they needed to, and there wasn’t any excessive fluff. This book is very comfortably positioned to be the intro of a multi-book plot, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more—I’m super intrigued to find out what happens next in the series.

Into the Fire (Birth of the Pheonix #1) by Ashelyn Drake

Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

 

I received an ARC of this book on behalf of Month9Books. This book will be released on September 9th, 2014.

Rating: 3/5

This book, and what I’m assuming will be at least one upcoming sequel given the ending, is based around a very interesting premise. Take your basic teenage love story; add a dash of pheonix fire and the idea that the main character will forget everything within the month; oh, and let’s not forget the Hunter who’s after her essence.

I like the idea of the Pheonix instead of the ever popular werewolves and vampires for this type of novel. Don’t get me wrong, there’s quite a bit of the cliche story-line to it, but this is a teenage romance story at heart so I expected that going in.  Still, I liked what made it different.

The idea of forgetting everything after your first rebirth was executed quite well. Cara’s brother, Jeremy, has just experienced his rebirth when the novel begins, and sets the stage for Cara’s worries throughout the book. I kind of felt like Cara’s reactions at the beginning of the book were a little more of the “telling not showing” variety, but once Drake fell into more of a pattern and the story progressed, Cara felt a lot more tangible.

Drake uses an interesting structure in how she wrote, and I’m not sure it’s my favorite—it’s one of the primary reasons I’m only giving this a 3 instead of something higher. It’s written in first-person, and the point of view regularly switches between Cara and Logan. I understand the decision, and for the most part it worked. However, as a reader I kept having to remind myself who was “I” for any given chapter. This structuring only really works if your characters have very distinct voices, and I’m not sure that Cara and Logan were strong enough individual characters to really pull it off.

The plot and pacing was very nicely put together. I like the way the pieces fell, and everything was set up quite well. I honestly kind of anticipated the big punch line even though Cara herself didn’t see it coming, but the fact that I predicted it didn’t detract from the reading experience at the big conclusion. More importantly, I didn’t feel bored while I was reading some of the slower parts, and everything seemed to fit together appropriately.

Speaking of … this does end with a bit of a cliff hanger — you have fair warning. I’d like to read the follow-on to this when it gets released

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) by Richelle Mead

It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She’s having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all… might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose’s forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line – and choose between the two people she loves most.

 

Rating: 4/5

Man, I was not prepared for that when I started this book. I need to stop reading Richelle Mead at certain times of the month, if you catch my drift. She always manages a hell of an emotional roller coaster. Though not as intense as the Georgina Kincaid series was (for me at least), I’m still always impressed. Whenever I pick up one of Mead’s books, I walk away from it feeling like I’ve just accomplished something—that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from finishing a good book. But it’s also tinged with a heavy dose of melancholy because I feel so deeply for the characters in the novel.

Even more impressive is the fact that I don’t like Rose, and I still feel this deep of an emotional connection with her. And for some reason, even though I dislike her for most of the novel, I still always end up loving her by the end. This is officially becoming a trend in this series.

That emotion is something that makes being a good writer so hard. How do you elicit such a strong reaction from your reader simply by the words you put on the paper? A lot of it has to do with strength of character, but as I mentioned, I don’t actually like Rose, not yet anyway. This is evidence that it’s much more about believability. You have to make your readers believe in the characters, believe in the world they live in, and believe in the motivations of the entire plot. Without belief in all of those aspects, a tragic scene isn’t really all that moving. Tragedy alone does not an emotional scene make. Otherwise the world would be full of phenomenal writers.

I do think that this book will be a turning point in the series for me. I’ve been on the edge before with this series — I didn’t like the first book much at all, the second left me feeling, well, like there was potential but it hadn’t been realized yet. But not only is a turning point in Rose’s life, but the macro plot of the series has taken us deeper, and the world now has more definition than ever before. The tension between the Strigoi and Moroi seems more real now, and the concepts of these kinds of vampires is growing on me. Some of the supporting characters have gained new depths for me, and some of the characters that had been mentioned in the background but never really presented are finally real. I had a similar trend with the Georgina Kincaid series, which I now rank as one of my favorite overall series ever. Needless to say, I have high hopes for the rest of these books.

 

 

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. 

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

 

Rating: 3.5/5

I’ll be honest right from the start: I didn’t like the first book in this series. Actually, I disliked it so strongly that I was convinced that I didn’t like Richelle Mead (which, if you’ve seen much of what I’ve posted on this blog, you know that I apparently love Richelle Mead). But Vampire Academy was the first book of hers I’d ever read. I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t think it was well-written, and there were enough things that I didn’t understand that it just couldn’t keep my interest.

After a multitude of people telling me that the first book in the series was definitely the worst, and after reading and loving several of Mead’s other books, I decided to give this series a second chance.

This book was definitely better than the first. I decided about halfway through that the primary reason I didn’t like this one was just that I didn’t care for the main character. I find Rose annoying and immature, and quite honestly pretty stupid.

But at least the writing was more up-to-snuff. As my mom commented, “It’s like [Mead] figured out how to do this writing thing.”

And by the end of the book, I realized that all of the things that bothered me about Rose were kind of the point of this book. Sure, it had a tangible plot that is clearly setting up for a significant macro plot, but the actual point of this book was Rose’s maturation from an annoying teenager to a Guardian. And once that became clear, I was fairly impressed. It was a bit heavy-handed and clunky for my tastes, and it involved an awful lot of time in the mind of a teenager who I would absolutely never have gotten along with in school, but we finally got there.

I’m feeling better about where the rest of the series is going, and I’ll definitely be approaching book 3 with much less skepticism than I did with this book.

Oh, and a quick note on titles: It took me a good 5 minutes after finishing this book to figure out why it had the title it did. When it finally registered (it really shouldn’t have taken that long), I was a bit confused by the decision. Titles should have more meaning than just how they relate to a portion of the setting. Just my thoughts on that. It’s why I hate coming up with titles.

Book Tour: American Girl on Saturn by Nikki Godwin

(This book is available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99 October 1-7, FYI—You should go check it out!)

The summer after graduation is supposed to be that first real taste of freedom – but not for eighteen-year-old Chloe Branson. Just as that breeze of freedom is making its way into her galaxy, her secret-service-agent dad drops a meteor-sized bomb of bad news on her and her sisters. An attempt has been made on the lives of Canadian boyband, Spaceships Around Saturn, during their USA tour, and the guys have to go into hiding ASAP. The only problem? In the midst of the crisis and media frenzy, their dad volunteered to hide the guys…in their house.

Six-year-old Emery is as ecstatic as any self-proclaimed Saturnite would be, but Chloe and her seventeen-year-old sister Aralie watch their summer plans crash and burn like a falling star. The SAS guys aren’t happy with the situation, either. Bad boy Jules picks fights with Aralie about everything from his Twitter followers to his laundry, and heart-throb Benji can’t escape Emery’s fangirlisms for more than three minutes.

But after the super-cute Milo kisses Chloe during a game of hide-and-seek, she finally understands what Emery means when she talks about SAS being “out of this world.” If this is what Saturn feels like, Chloe doesn’t want to come back to Earth.

Rating: 4.5/5

OK, so this kind of story is one of my many guilty pleasures. I’m admittedly not a fan of the boy-band scene, but I’m allowed to let the inner teenage girl in me a moment of heart-fluttering swooning over a delightful, hot celebrity.

I loved this book, and I was almost surprised by how much I did. It was witty and kept me constantly laughing. And I actually read it straight through in pretty much one (very long) sitting.

American Girl on Saturn was beautifully written, and Godwin did a splendid job of carrying themes in the details throughout the entire novel. From bleeding butterflies to space references to random magazine cutouts of people’s heads showing up taped to Chloe’s door every morning. Everything wove together very nicely, and it’s clear that Godwin took the time to pay attention to detail in her writing.

This book was very well balanced — being serious when needed but funny at the same time. It certainly isn’t a comedy, but the characters have such great personalities and interactions that I found myself laughing nearly constantly. Speaking of which …

The characters were wonderfully developed. Chloe and Aralie were very clearly sullen teenagers, and it even felt natural that Chloe was the oldest and Aralie was the middle child just based on how they interacted with their youngest sister, Emery, who played her role as the five-year-old with an obsession to a T. But as far as characters go, I think I was the most impressed with how the members of the band were written. They each had their own unique personality, but it was clear that they fit together very well. What surprised me about this was that I could actually tell the difference between certain aspects that were their stage personas and their real personalities (especially with how they ended up pandering to the five-year-old).

My one complaint was really the believability of a secret service agent putting a boyband in a safe house with his family after they were shot at — that felt a little forced to me, but it didn’t take me long to set it aside as a minor concern. From there I was perfectly content to just roll with it. After all, I suspend disbelief readily enough in the fantasy books of my comfort zone genre.

All in all I thought this was a really wonderfully written book, and quite the idea for a story! Thanks to Oops! I Read A Book Again for hosting this tour, and thanks to Nikki Godwin for the ARC 🙂

You can find this book at: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the tour

(and read the other reviewers!) at Oops! I Read A Book Again.

agosbanner

About the Author:

Nikki GodwinNikki Godwin is a Young Adult/New Adult author from the southern USA. She is a city girl who can’t live without Mountain Dew, black eyeliner, Hawthorne Heights, and candles from Bath & Body Works. When not writing, she’s not-so-secretly internet-stalking her favorite bands. She may or may not completely love One Direction.

Book Tour: Secrets of the Moon by Kristy Centeno

Teenager Marjorie Emery eluded death. As she struggles to get her life back on track, she believes her efforts are paying off. Yet, when a black dressing, unfriendly, and incredibly handsome hottie walks into her classroom, she’s forced into a tailspin. Marjorie has no idea how much his presence is going to shatter what little tranquility she’s achieved.

Kyran Rousseau’s gloomy nature has a name, one that is potentially fatal under the right circumstances. His family harbors secrets and does everything to protect Kyran. While, he doesn’t want to ruin Marjorie’s normal life, love has a way of changing his plans.

Falling for Kyran is the least of Marjorie’s worries. With a faceless threat hunting her and a boyfriend who’s as dangerous as he is good looking—how can Marjorie and Kyran keep all hell from breaking loose before it’s too late?

Rating: 3/5

I thought this book was very interesting to read, and I think Centeno has huge potential as an author, though I’d like to see her develop her skills a bit more. I read through this book very quickly because I genuinely enjoyed reading it. The concept of the werewolves in this story was fairly unique and well-described—I could tell that Centeno had a very clear vision of what her weres were like, and that’s a good sign. I’m intrigued to learn more about Marjorie—I don’t feel that I really understand at all what makes her so special (can’t go into details without spoilers), and I found that I really wanted to know while I was reading.

I hope this continues with a second book, mostly because there are some clear developments yet to be resolved—it certainly ended with a bit of a teaser for a second book. I’m curious to watch more of the love triangle to play out, though I’ll be honest that it was probably my least favorite part of this book—love triangles have a tendency to get on my nerves unless there’s a good reason for them. I get the impression that there was a particular reason for this one, but we haven’t really learned enough yet.

However, my reviews tend to focus on the writing, and the skill of Centeno’s writing was a little lower than what I’d like to see to be able to give a particularly high rating. To me, Centeno’s writing style read like someone with a natural ability to write but somewhat limited experience with it. Some of Marjorie’s thoughts were abrupt and felt a little forced. Several of the conversations read more like trying to convey information to the reader than like natural conversations. From my personal experience with writing, it takes a lot of time (more so than a lot of words) to get beyond that stage, and I think Centeno just needs some more experience. There was one mis-spelling that I caught (which honestly isn’t bad, but I’ll admit to be confused for a second as to why someone was in the mists instead of in the midst of something—after all, “words: they mean things”). All in all, I’d like to read more of Centeno’s work, and I particularly want to see her develop as a writer in the process.

I also liked the characters and setting for the most part. They were good characters, though I thought they could have been stronger—this relates to my other comment about the dialog feeling more like information than conversation. The characters each had a unique voice, but didn’t feel quite as alive as I’d have liked. Sometimes I felt like they were a little younger than they were supposed to be, but I’m not sure how much of that was their voices/reactions and how much of that was the setting—the rural town was a great setting for this book, but I felt like they were going to high school and not a community college. I acknowledge that most community colleges are different from each other by nature, since they tend to be built up by the needs of the community that they are supporting, but I kept having to remind myself that this wasn’t public high school whenever there was a comment about paying for classes or something related to college.

Thanks to Oops! I Read A Book Again for hosting this tour, and thanks to Kristy Centeno for the copy of the book.

You can find this book at: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the tour

(and read the other reviewers/tour hosts!) at Oops! I Read A Book Again.

sotmbanner

About the Author:

KC

As a child, she used to lose herself in an imaginary world by the means of a good book. Now that she’s all grown up, Kristy gets to create her own fictional realms and make them come to life in ways that most readers might not expect.

She’s always had a passion for writing but never had the opportunity do so until now. After trying out numerous options, she realized that writing was what she loved the most so when she found herself with some free time on her hands, she decided to pursue her passion. As it turned out, her very active imagination helped her achieve her goals of creating believable plots with some ordinary, and some not so ordinary characters that helped the stories move along in one way or another.

As she keeps moving along in achieving her dreams of becoming a published author, she divides her time in between her four children and her very understanding husband.

%d bloggers like this: