Audio Book Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Book: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Published March 2018 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 59 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I really liked this one! I ended up reading it pretty close to Halloween, which was the perfect time to listen to it. It was also great as an audio book, and I’m really glad I decided to take a listen.

The whole time I was listening to it, I was reminded of Hocus Pocus, which is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies. It doesn’t feel like Halloween until I watch it, and if you love Hocus Pocus, this is a great book to check out. It had a really similar vibe to it, but it is pretty different.

For one thing, the book takes place in the summer, not on Halloween. And it’s set in Oregon, not New England- which is where I thought the book was taking place. I was surprised when I realized the book was set in Oregon, because there were things I didn’t expect, but I thought worked well for the story.

I liked the idea of the sisters coming back to possess three girls and lure boys to their death. I wish we saw a little more of that, because I thought it was interesting. Especially with one of the sisters (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember) and how she was involved. You get such a good sense of who each sister is, and while we see one more than others, I still wish we saw more of the other two sisters as well. I get why we see the one sister, but still. I just really would have liked seeing the other three.

It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized the book was described as Hocus Pocus meets Practical Magic. The Hocus Pocus vibe is very strong with this book, but I do see the comparison to Practical Magic. Granted, the last time I read Practical Magic was in high school, so it’s been a good 14-ish years since I’ve read it. From what I vaguely remember about it, though, it’s a good comparison as well. Take that one with a grain of salt, though.

I also really liked the narrator! She was a great narrator and I can’t see anyone else narrating Penny’s story. I’m definitely going to have to see if Casey Turner has narrated anything else, and I’d definitely listen to other books she’s narrated.

4 stars. I didn’t love it (and I can’t exactly say why) but I did really like it. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves Hocus Pocus, and it’s a great book to read in October.

Advertisements

Book Review: Between The Blade And The Heart by Amanda Hocking

Book: Between The Blade And The Heart by Amanda Hocking

Published January 2018 by Wednesday Books|319 books

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Valkyrie #1

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Re-Telling- Norse Mythology

Between the Blade and the Heart is the first book in a brilliant new young adult fantasy duology inspired by Norse mythology by New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. The balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

As Malin wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought, she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue-eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. Malin, along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend, must decide where her loyalties lie…and whether helping Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and to her heart.

I didn’t like Between The Blade And The Heart as much as I thought I would.  It is a cool idea, but I thought the mythology and world were more confusing than it needed to be.

Yes, you get a general idea of Malin’s world but I thought that things weren’t explained very well…if they were explained at all.  The book was both futuristic and old, all at the same time, but it didn’t work for me.  I think it just made it seem like Hocking wasn’t sure if she wanted something more traditional or more futuristic.  I think it did need a little more direction, because I felt like most of the time, it was unclear where things were going.

And I didn’t particularly care about the characters…or like them.  I don’t need to like characters to like a book, and sometimes unlikable characters are what make me like a book, but I felt like the characters were superficial and boring.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t care about any of them, or what happened to them.  The book was on the shorter side, so maybe the characters didn’t develop as much as they needed to.

It did move fast, and there was quite a bit of action, but I was bored.  I don’t understand how a book with a lot of action can be boring, but this book was.  Maybe I was bored but I didn’t like or care about the characters.  Maybe it’s just me, and not the book.

Going back to the mythology, I did like seeing Valkyries!  It’s not something you see a lot in fantasy/paranormal, and you do see some other paranormal beings that you don’t typically see.  So that was nice, but like I mentioned before, things weren’t explained very well.  I’m not too familiar with Norse mythology (or anything else we see in the book, in terms of supernatural/paranormal beings), so it’s possible that having that knowledge would have made a difference.  Still, I felt like some of the basics should have been explained, because I was left feeling confused and bored.  I know I picked up this book up because it sounded really cool, and not everyone reading this book is going to have enough knowledge of Norse mythology to know what’s going on.

2 stars.  This book was okay, and while I wanted to like it more, I couldn’t.  It had a lot of potential, but it wasn’t the book for me.

Book Review: Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Book: Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Published September 2015 by Harper Teen|484 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Sweet #4

Genre: YA Paranormal/Angels

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it. 

Until he meets Anna Whitt—smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve. 

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the Dukes’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoonworthy, this companion volume to the Sweet Evil series, told from the perspective of the mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into the true emotions that drive him.

I’ve really loved this series, so I knew I had to read Sweet Temptation!  I knew it was the series told from the perspective of Kai, and I was really excited to read the events of the series from his perspective.  I didn’t love it, but it was interesting to see things from his POV.

I think, if you love the series, you’ll probably like this one.  I know I did, even though I wasn’t enthused about it.  It really is more of a companion novel than an actual sequel, though I would recommend reading the other three books first.

It did feel like I was reading random scenes from Kai’s perspective, and it didn’t feel completely cohesive as a story. The other thing I noticed when I was reading it was how it felt like things were really crammed into one book.  Higgins covers events from all three books in the original trilogy, and it did feel like a re-hash of the series so far.  I know that’s sort of the point, but even having not read the series in ages, I was able to keep up with what was going on.

I think I was expecting a slightly different story.  I don’t know that I’d want to read the entire series from Kai’s perspective, but still…it felt like there was too much going on.  To the point that I felt like we didn’t really get to see what Kai was truly thinking.  I got the general idea of what things were like for him during the series, but overall, that’s how I’d describe this book.  A general idea of Kai’s perspective on things.  Thinking about it, I really wanted something a little more from Kai and this book, but it was still a fun and entertaining read.

3 stars.  I did like it, and it’s a great book for fans of the series, but it felt like it was rushed and covered too much time in a short span of time.

Book Review: Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Book: Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Published April 2018 by Harlequin Teen|397 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Talon #5

Genre: YA Paranormal

TODAY, WE STRIKE BACK.

WE SHOW TALON THAT WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR NEW WORLD.

Ember Hill has learned a shocking truth about herself: she is the blood of the Elder Wyrm, the ancient dragon who leads Talon and who is on the verge of world domination. With the Order of St. George destroyed, Ember, Riley and Garret journey to the Amazon jungle in search of one who might hold the key to take down the Elder Wyrm and Talon—if they can survive the encounter.

Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, will travel to China with a message for the last Eastern dragons: join Talon or die. With the stakes rising and the Elder Wyrm declaring war, time is running out for the rogues and any dragon not allied with Talon. 

The final battle approaches. And if Talon is victorious, the world will burn.

I really liked Inferno!  Not as much I thought, of course, but it was a pretty good end to the series.

It’s fast-paced and action-packed and we’re kept on our toes from the beginning, until the very end.  I liked seeing how things turn out, and there are some interesting choices and revelations.  I don’t want to spoil anything since Inferno came out pretty recently.  Some things may be predictable, but I’m not one who usually tries to figure things out, so I was quite surprised by some of the things that happened in the book.

I liked Ember a lot in this book, and she’s changed a lot since we see her in Talon.  I actually re-read the series so I’d actually remember everything that happened up to this point, and I’m glad I did.  It was nice going into this book having been reminded of everything up to this point.  Ember is pretty amazing, and she was so determined to do the right thing, no matter what.  I think only Ember could get the allies she needed to take down Talon, and while I wish we saw more of the Eastern dragons, I get why they didn’t want to get involved.  Except for Jade, of course.

I did like that everything turned out okay.  I’ve come to love a lot of the characters, and I finished the book feeling hopeful that things will change for the dragons at Talon, and that St. George will continue to be there should Talon need a counterbalance.  I love that about her series finales- they always end with the hope that the characters will go on to be okay, no matter what happened before.

I suppose she does have a certain story she’s going for, and her Talon series has been no exception.  It is pretty predictable as far as last books go (particularly in her case) but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying the book.

I especially loved the author’s note at the end of the book.  She talks about her love of dragons, and how long the story has been with her.  And I love the modern take on dragons as owners of huge corporations.  It works, and I love that she does put a modern spin on dragons and knights, and how they changed with the times.

The other thing I loved about the author’s note was the part where she talked about othering and how we see people who are different from us, and that part really stuck with me.  You can really see it in the book as well, and now that I think about it, it is there throughout the series.  It’s in the interactions between Talon and the Rogues, St George and the dragons, and Talon and the Eastern dragons.  I did see the story in a completely different way after reading it, and I’m glad that so many characters did try to challenge their beliefs and see things in a different way.

4 stars.  So, I didn’t love it, but overall, it’s a pretty good ending to the story.

Book Review: The Afterlife Of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Book: The Afterlife Of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Published October 2017 by HarperTeen|389 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Paranormal/Re-Telling

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change…

I’ve been a fan of Cynthia Hand since her Unearthly series, so when I saw this book at the library, I knew I had to pick it up!  I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I loved her Unearthly series but didn’t care for My Lady Jane.  It’s not at all like Unearthly, but the writing did remind me of My Lady Jane.

I really liked Afterlife, and it’s a really interesting take on A Christmas Carol.  I like that they try to do some good, and actually help people.  It’s light and silly and Holly is not a likable person, in life or death, but I do think she learned from her time at the Project Scrooge.  At least, that’s what I’d like to think.  She seems to try at the end of the book, and it really did seem like she wanted to make an effort to be a better person.

It is interesting that Ethan is what gets Holly to start seeing things differently.  Even years after her death, she was still the spoiled brat we saw int the beginning of the book.  Why Ethan changed things, I don’t know.  It is explained, but…I don’t know.  It’s just interesting that someone her age is what got her to change.  It seems like she was more changed by making this work than he was.

It is a quick read, and it’s fun.  It’s entertaining, and while it’s not this meaningful look at changing yourself, it did get the point across.

I also liked how each group had a team, and everyone worked together to make it happen.  It’s definitely a lot of work, and while you think it’s about Ethan, it’s really about Holly.  I don’t know about anyone else, but that did surprise me a little.  I wasn’t too fond of Ethan, and while I wanted to like some of the other characters we see in the book, we unfortunately didn’t see them enough.  At least, not long enough to have a strong opinion of them.

I remember liking some of the other characters we saw in her Unearthly series, but with Afterlife, we didn’t have enough time to get to know the other characters.  We probably saw Stephanie the most (after Holly and Ethan), but even with her, I had a hard time really caring.  Again, I know it’s about Holly, and Ethan (a little bit) but still.  I wanted a little bit more to some of the other characters.

3 stars.  I liked The Afterlife Of Holly Chase, and it is a cool take on A Christmas Carol, but I wish we saw more of some of the other characters.

Book Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence and Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Book: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Published October 2012 by Delacorte Books For Young Readers|397 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Mystic City #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

For fans of  Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud – and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths.

But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place.

Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection – and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city – including herself.

It’s taken me a while to actually review this book, so I’m a little bit fuzzy on what actually happened, and what I thought about the book.  The last months have been…rough…to say this least, but I’ll at least try to review the book.

So, it’s compared to quite a few things.  I didn’t really get why it was compared to The Hunger Games, and I don’t completely get why it was compared to Matched either.  X-Men is a pretty good comparison, though it’s not the best comparison.  And I’ve never seen Blade Runner (nor do I know what it’s about) so I don’t know how that holds up.

The world was…different, I supposed.  It makes me wonder what happened to the rest of the world, but you could probably say that about any other sci-fi/dystopia/post-apocalyptic book out there.  I wish we got a little more of the world than what we got, but this is the first book in a series, so there is probably more about this world in the books to come.

*I feel like I say that about a lot of series, and it almost never goes the way I want it to, information wise, so who knows if that is actually the case in this book.

It does seem very convenient that Aria and Thomas are getting married just when their families need to get along and unite against a rival politician who will ruin everything.  (I’m being slightly sarcastic here, but things do seem very convenient).  It’s also convenient that she loses her memories and that they don’t come back.  I can’t remember if they ever come back. which obviously isn’t helpful, and I know I wasn’t into the book enough to re-read it.  Or continue onto the next book.  Maybe I’ve just read too many dystopias and post-apocalyptic novels to be completely in love with the book.

Maybe I would have liked it a lot more had I read it when it came out.  As is stands, it sounds like a cool idea, but I thought it was okay.  Keeping in mind I have only a vague memory of this book, of course.  Maybe if you haven’t read a lot of YA dystopias, you’d like it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  While I did like the premise of the novel, it wasn’t enough to warrant more interest in the book or continuing the series.

Book: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Published April 2014 by HarperTeen|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Charlotte Westing Chronicles #1

Genre: YA Paranormal

The blockbuster film Inception meets Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy in this dark paranormal thriller from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Aprilynne Pike. This supernatural young adult novel is perfect for fans of Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noël, Richelle Mead, and Kimberly Derting.

Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern day Oracles are told to fight their visions––to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town.

I’ve really liked Aprilynne Pike’s books, so I knew I had to read this one.  It’s not my favorite of hers, but it was still interesting and different.  I’m curious about their visions, and Charlotte really was determined to put a stop to the serial killer in her town, even if it meant going against everything her aunt taught her to do.

I feel like a lot of what happens in the book could have been avoided had her aunt just been honest with her.  Then again, if she had been honest, this would have been a very different book.

The concept of Oracles is pretty cool, and I did like that there were consequences to changing things.  It could have easily been very different, but there is something very refreshing about there being actually consequences to changing things.

Charlotte puts her trust in some very questionable people, and why she didn’t go to her aunt is beyond me.  We do see the consequences of that, of course, but still.  If only her aunt actually talked to Charlotte, or if Charlotte went to her aunt for help, things would have been very different.  We can do the what if game all we want, and things went how they went, but I couldn’t help but think how they could have gone differently.

This book is strange too, because it had an open-ending.  I mean, things were pretty resolved, and it did seem like a stand-alone, and yet, there is a sequel…

…that I don’t think I’ll read.  I love her books, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t really have an interest in picking up a sequel.  I feel like I probably wouldn’t like it, and this isn’t my favorite book by her.  There was a lot that didn’t make sense, and I don’t know that reading the sequel would help or add to the world.  Part of me is hoping I’m wrong, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.  Not only that, but I didn’t really like this book enough to even want to pick up any other books in the series.

My Rating: 2 stars.  This was an odd one, and it was just okay.  Certain things were frustrating and confusing, and while I wanted to like it more, I couldn’t.

Book Review: The Hollow by Jessica Verday and Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Book: The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Published September 2011 by Simon Pulse|509 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: The Hollow #1

Genre: YA Paranormal/Re-telling

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special. 

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

I didn’t like The Hollow as much as I thought I would.

I mean, it is a re-telling of Sleepy Hollow, so that part is cool. And I like that Abbey knows what she wants to do- make and sell perfume for a living.  It’s really different, and it is odd to see a character who will probably take some college classes, but doesn’t have a plan to go to college.  College isn’t for everyone, and yet, she still knows what she wants to do, and has things planned out.

There is a little bit of a mystery, but I was bored by it.  It’s the typical best friend goes missing and turns up dead mystery, and of course, the missing best friend is basically Abbey’s only friend.  I know this book came out years ago, but what is with that sort of story?  It’s frustrating to read, and I’m not sure why.

I just wasn’t invested in Abbey’s story, to the point where I don’t think I’ll keep going with the series.  While there are some things I’m wondering, like everything with Caspian and the secrets Kristen was keeping, I have no burning desire to move forward with this series.

It seems like Abbey, especially at the end of the book, needs a lot of help, and I did like that she recognized she needed help.  But again, I just wasn’t invested in her story, and while I want to feel some sort of sympathy for her, I found I didn’t.

My Rating: 2 stars.  There were some things that I liked, but The Hollow ended up being okay.

Book: Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Published April 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|360 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Aristotle & Dante #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

I know everyone LOVES this book, but unfortunately, I didn’t.  I liked The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life a lot better than this one.

It felt like I was reading snapshots of their lives, as opposed to a story about them.  I mean, there is a story there, and we see them hang out and become friends and discover things about themselves.  But I really felt like I was reading a lot of smaller stories that formed one big story.  It felt like there were a lot of scenes that were missing, and the pacing and timeline felt off.  It’s hard to believe this book took place over the course of the year, because it felt a lot shorter.  Again, I don’t think we saw everything that happened over the course of that year.

I did like the strength of their friendship.  That stood out, and there is strength in friendship.  I also liked the focus on family, and if there’s something Saenz does well it’s having parents be involved while also showing how much characters can grow and do things on their own.  He does fully-formed friendships really well too, but what really stands out is how much their parents are around and involved in their lives.  They’re actually there, and have really important roles, which is nice to see in YA.  It’s not very common to have parents actually around and involved.  Especially when the parents are still together.  I’m glad their parents were around, alive and still together.

I can see why people love the characters and story so much, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them.  As much as I want to believe that I just didn’t read this book at the right time, that just wasn’t the case.  I found myself bored and eventually, there were times where I skimmed the book because I just wanted to get through it.  It seemed a little slow, and while not a lot happens, I just wasn’t feeling it.

There was a moment where I wanted one of the characters to come to the realization that his parents did.  Unfortunately, we never see him come to terms with it in his way, or even talk about it on his terms.  Instead, he’s told by his parents, and I thought that took away from it, because we never see him actually think about.  I felt like he’s being coaxed into it, and that didn’t work for me.  However, I do understand that people may feel differently, and that maybe he did feel that way, but just didn’t want to admit it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  I didn’t actively dislike it, and while a few things things were done really well, it wasn’t enough to change the rating either way.  It wasn’t for me, obviously, but if it sounds like it’s up your alley, I’d say go for it.

Book Review: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins And Rapture By Lauren Kate, Narrated By Justine Eyre

Book: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

Published April 2016 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Book For Young Readers|264 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Rebel Belle #3

Genre: YA Paranormal

Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town…which means her life is on the line yet again.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.

I didn’t like Lady Renegades as much as I thought.  I did like it, but it’s been so long since I first started this series that I had some trouble remembering what had happened, and how we got here.  I did re-read the first book a few months ago, and never got around to re-reading the second one, so I was a little bit confused about what was going on.

Thankfully, we do get just enough that I was able to figure out, but it didn’t stop me from wishing that I had re-read the series before reading this one.

I did feel for Harper, who had a lot to figure out.  She had some tough decisions to make, and I can’t imagine being put into the position that she would need to make those decisions.  She did it, though, and yet…things still worked out, though not in a way I expected.  Part of me wishes that we had a little more at the end, to see how things really worked out, but at the same time, I think knowing would have taken away from it a little bit.  Harper did change a lot, and from what I remember from the first book…let’s just say that Book 1 Harper would not have done the things that Book 3 Harper did.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it, and I liked seeing the changes in Harper.  I don’t have much else to say about this book, but it wasn’t as action-packed as I thought, considering it’s both the final book in a trilogy and a book about Paladins.

Book: Rapture by Lauren Kate, Narrated by Justine Eyre

Published June 2012 by Listening Library|Length: 11 hours, 40 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: Fallen #4

Genre: YA Paranormal

The sky is dark with wings…

Like sand through an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the angels fell to earth.

Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this — live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies…and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed.

And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her — and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now is the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

Rapture is the astonishing conclusion to the Fallen series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

Goodness, this book was a struggle to get through.  It took me weeks, because I’d listen to 15 or 20 minutes at a time, and then stop because I was bored out of my mind.  This was not a good book to do on audio.

For one thing, there was no action.  Everything moved at a snail’s pace, which is not what I want in a series finale.  It was boring, and absolutely nothing happened.  I feel like a lot of the series finales I’ve read recently have been really boring.

Everything’s coming to a conclusion, and even though the book took place over the course about 9 days, it felt like so much longer.  Everything was in excruciating detail, a lot of which was unnecessary.  Unfortunately, I had no option to speed it up or skim, because I went with the audio and had no option to adjust the speed.  I suppose that is what I get for going with a physical copy of the audio book.

While this wasn’t the choice content wise, the narrator was actually great.  I’ve listened to a few books narrated by Eyre before, and she’s a pretty good narrator.  I think that was one of the few things about this book that I actually liked.

I did like Dee, who I thought was a really cool and interesting character.  It’s too bad we also had her around for a little bit.

Other than Eyre’s narration and Dee, there’s not much I actually liked about Rapture.  I already talked about how slow the book is, but Luce is an idiot, and Daniel is a terrible angel.  I’d say person, normally, but that doesn’t really fit.  He seems like such an ass, and I don’t get Luce’s interest in him.  He’s too moody and angsty, and it was just annoying.  I had no interest in their relationship…and to be honest Cam (or maybe even Lucifer, if you want to take in some of what happens at the end) would be a better choice for Luce.  Or least, a choice that’s not annoying.

Luce, more often than not, does seem like she’s too stupid to live.  That’s not a phrase I use often (if at all), but it somehow seems appropriate.  There was a point with Dee that I thought was going to turn out very differently, and I was yelling at Luce to not go outside without an explanation.  It didn’t go the way I thought, but there were so many secrets that were being kept from her that I was really irritated.  With a lot of characters.

Not really Cam, because he did try to warn Luce, but no, that girl was blind in her determination to do whatever Daniel and everyone else wanted.  She didn’t question anything at all, and I really wanted her to be less passive.  She was a little proactive, I suppose, but not really.

You’d think, this being the 4th book and all, she would have changed at least a little.  But she’s still the same clueless Luce we saw in Fallen.  After everything she’s seen and remembered, I would have expected at least some sort of change from Luce.  But alas, nothing.

One interesting thing is that, in comparison to a lot of other books out there that are about angels, this one is somehow more…religious.  It’s not preachy or anything like that, but the mythology or theology (or whatever you want to call it) is very different than what I usually associate with angels.  It’s more biblical, I suppose, though it’s been ages and ages since I’ve gone to church.  So I could be wrong, but that’s what I was reminded of for most of this series.  I liked it enough, I suppose, though not enough to have wanted to see more of it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It was hard to listen to because it was moved very slow, and it was pretty boring.  I definitely lost interest by the end, and the last couple of hours of it ended up being background noise.

Book Review: Torment by Lauren Kate And Passion By Lauren Kate

Book: Torment by Lauren Kate

Published: September 2010 by Delacorte Press|392 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Fallen #2

Genre: YA Paranormal

Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.

It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

For some reason, I decided to pick this book up even though it’s been ages since I’ve read the first book.

I did like seeing Luce at Shoreline, and seeing her fit into a world she didn’t know about.  There’s more to it than I thought, and I really liked seeing everything with the Shadows.  We learn a lot more about everything going on with Daniel, and what happened so long ago.

I did leave the book with more questions than answers, and I want to know more about Luce and why she can do what she can do.  I am absolutely convinced there is more to it, and I’m hoping we’ll get some answers.  I have the feeling the answers will be replaced with a million more questions, since there are a couple more books to go in the series.  But still, I would like some answers.  Especially with the Outcasts.  And the battle at the end of book.  It wasn’t completely explained and I’m hoping there are answers in the next book.

I didn’t particularly like Daniel.  He’s supposed to be the good guy, and the whole reason Luce is in this situation is because of Daniel.  And yet, it seems like she is an object for him to have.  Cam seems to care more about her safety than Daniel, and he seems much more willing to actually talk to her and explain things to her.

Daniel is really moody, and while I don’t expect him to be a saint, I expected something different from him.  It really seems like he loves the idea of Luce, and their epic history, but he’s shown no interest in wanting to get to know her.  Maybe he’s trying to protect himself after decades of finding her, only to lose.  It doesn’t make his behavior okay, because it’s not.  But I don’t get the sense that he really, truly cares about her and I’m having a hard time rooting for them.  It really feels like there’s no chemistry between Daniel and Luce.

Speaking of Luce, she was pretty whiny, but I don’t really blame her.  I think I would be too.  At least there were a few students who made things better for her while she was at Shoreline.  Hopefully she’ll continue to have some sort of group who makes things bearable.  I think it may be good for her, but we’ll see.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it the same as Fallen (the first book) but I still want to keep reading.  I’m hoping Daniel will be different, but we’ll see.

Book: Passion by Lauren Kate

Published June 2011 by Delacorte Press|420 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Fallen #3

Genre: YA Paranormal/Angels

‘Every single lifetime, I’ll choose you. Just as you have chosen me. Forever.’

Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way…Luce is certain that something – or someone – in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime…going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel…and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history. Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames…forever.

I liked Passion, and it is very different than the previous two books in the series.  In this book, we see Daniel and Luce, over centuries and how they’ve found each other, time and time again.  I did like seeing how they found each other, and I certainly liked seeing how Luce reacted to her past.  However, Daniel’s chapters were really confusing, and, for me, didn’t add a whole lot to the book.  If they were a little more like Luce’s chapters, I don’t think I would have minded as much, and they did get less confusing as the book went on.  But for the most part, they didn’t work for me.

It was really slow, and there were times where I was pretty bored reading it.  Especially with the switch in narrators, and I’ve already talked about how Daniel’s chapters didn’t work for me.  It just made the book seem more confusing and also…we’re perfectly fine in Luce’s world, and then things change suddenly, and it made the book seem like a big, huge mess.  It made the book feel like Kate wasn’t sure what direction to go in with this book.

We do discover the reason for the time travel, but I feel like it took us a while to get there.  I get why Luce had to time travel, but it could have been a lot more interesting.  Maybe we just didn’t get enough time in each time period.

Unfortunately, Daniel didn’t get any better in this book, and while I didn’t like him before…I think I liked him even less in this book.  The tortured soul thing is bored and tired and downright irritating.  Luce, while entirely too trusting (cough *Bill* cough), was at least doing something.  Daniel, on the other hand, spent a lot of time moping around.

Oh, speaking of Bill…I liked him for a bit, but I wasn’t surprised by his story line.  At all.  Well, parts of it, anyway.  I thought other parts were…sorta lame.

Nothing was really explained, and and things seem to come of nowhere.  Like, we learned a little more about the relationship between Daniel and Cam, that too wasn’t explained well.  And it came out of nowhere.  I feel like that happened a lot in this.  Things come out of nowhere and aren’t really explained.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I’m wavering between 2 and 3 stars for this one, but I decided to go with 3 for this one.  I did like seeing Luce time travel and I did like seeing her reaction to her past selves.  Even though a lot of things didn’t make sense, for some reason, I did still like this book, though it’s my least favorite book in the series so far.

Book Review: Vanish And Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Book: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Published September 2011 by HarperTeen|294 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Firelight #2

Genre: YA Paranormal/Dragons

 

An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?I read the first book in this series years ago, in the early days of the blog.  I somehow never got around to picking up the rest of the series, but one day, when I was at the library, I saw this book and decided to pick it up and read it. After re-reading the first one (Firelight) because I had the feeling I would be really confused otherwise.

I really liked this book, and thought it was a good continuation of the first book.  It did feel like a second book, at least a little, but for the most part, it didn’t, which is good.  It does set up for the next book, of course, but there’s a lot going on and we see a lot of Jacinda and Tamra.

I was not expecting everything that happened with Tamra, and it was an interesting development.  It really caught me off-guard, because if there’s anyone I thought would never be tied to the draki world, it would be Tamra.  There’s quite a role reversal for Tamra and Jacinda, and Jacinda’s actions definitely have consequences in this book.

Jacinda was more frustrating in this book, because she was really indecisive.  She goes back and forth a lot, and I just wanted her to make a decision.  In Firelight, all she wanted was to go back to the draki world, but once she came back, all she wanted was to be with Will.  Hopefully, she’ll figure out what she wants in the next book.

I wasn’t a big fan of the romance.  I liked Will in the first book, but I didn’t really like him in this book.  And I kind of liked Cassian in the first book, but I’m wavering between neutral and dislike in this book.  I’m not sure why, since it’s obvious he cares for Jacinda and would do anything to protect her and keep her safe.  For whatever reason, I feel neutral towards him.

I did like the book, though, and I do want to know how everything turns out for Jacinda and Tamra.  And Will and Cassian, of course.  Oh, and Jacinda’s mom.  Basically, I want to know what’s going to happen to everyone.  I really do.4 stars.  I really liked Vanish, and I thought it was a pretty good sequel.

 

Book: Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Published September 2012 by HarperTEEN|260 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Firelight #3

Genre: YA Paranormal/DragonsJacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the “prince” of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian’s sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there’s no guarantee they’ll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning….

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy.I’ve really liked this series, and this book really took me by surprise.  There were quite a few things I was not expecting.  At all.  Like escaping the enkros and all that came with it, and what they were really up to.  Most of all, how little they really understand, and hopefully, should they keep capturing dragons, they don’t learn that much.  It’s the same with the hunters.  Particularly where Will’s family is concerned, I hope they don’t find out the truth, because I am not fond of them.

There were so many other things that I did not expect- betrayal from the pride, what really happened to Jacinda’s father, and the death of one character really surprised me.  I think I expected everything to go okay, and while they did, to a point, there were some twists and turns along the way.  Which, looking back, wasn’t surprising, but still.  I did not expect certain revelations to come out.

It is pretty fast-paced, but considering it’s under 300 pages, the fast-pace isn’t surprising.  I did want more with what happened to Cassian and Jacinda, particularly with what happens at the end the end of the book but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen since the book came out over 5 years ago.  I also wanted to see more of Tamra, but that never really happened either.  Basically, I just wanted something a little longer, because it did feel like something was missing.

3 stars.  I liked it, and it was a pretty good ending to the series, but I think I wanted something a little longer.  There were some things that came up that weren’t really talked about a lot, and I wanted to know more about those things.