Friday, September 30, 2016

Interview with Iain S. Thomas & Carla Kreuser on 300 Things I Hope

Iain S. Thomas & Carla Kreuser Interview Each Other About

300 Things I Hope

WHO ARE YOU?



Iain I’m Iain S. Thomas. I only use the “S” because I think it makes me sound smarter, and


there’s a phone<c resonance with Hunter S. Thompson. And there’s a Belgian pop singer

called Ian Thomas now, so it helps avoid confusion. I’m an at least moderately successful

writer and poet, although I struggle to call myself a poet as that feels like quite a loaded

term, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling myself that at a dinner party.
Carla But you are a poet.

Iain I know I’ve sold more than 100,000 books of poetry but there’s an assump<on of skill


when you call yourself a poet. Someone smarter than me once said, and I’m paraphrasing,

let someone write and at the end of their life, when they’re dead, let’s decide then whether

or not they were a poet and that sounds fair to me.
Carla But who decides?

Iain Everyone else. Everyone else can decide, I don’t want to decide. Besides all that, I’m


known for wri<ng I Wrote This For You and all its sequels, 25 Love Poems for The NSA,

Inten<onal Dissonance, a science fic<on novel, an interac<ve poetry journal called I Am

Incomplete Without You and How To Be Happy, which is a collec<on of prose and short

stories.
Carla Now I need to talk about myself and you might have to fill in the blanks because I’m


not really good at this. I’m Carla Kreuser, a graphic designer and illustrator. I write poetry but

never published. For my day job, I’m a crea<ve director at an ad agency and on the side, I

draw and I’ve got an exhibi<on coming up based on Nick Drake’s album, Pink Moon.
Iain You’re very craXy and very awarded. You’ve won about a million awards.

Carla I’ve won quite a few, I’ve spoken at Design Indaba and Pecha Kucha. And a few other


things, I’ve recently graduated with a Master’s Degree.
Iain I think it’s worth men<oning that we both live in Cape Town, South Africa.





HOW WAS THE BOOK MADE?



Iain The book was a collabora<on, and the drawings existed before the book existed and I


like that because it’s not a perfect process. You’ve got this moment here, where you’ve

captured something, and I’ve got this line here of what I’ve wrote, and you put them

together and you get this third thing. It’s like 1 + 1 = 3. There’s this entry in the book, that

says, “I hope you love your family” and we’ve got this drawing of this girl brushing her teeth

and there’s this unique, vulnerable thing about it that says family.
Carla Very few people have seen me brushing my teeth, besides my family.

Iain I think one of Evelyn, my daughter’s first memories, will be of her father brushing his


teeth. And so with all the drawings in the book, you get this magical third thing from these

combina<ons.
Carla I love that the one isn’t an echo of the other one, that the pictures some<mes say


something different. There’s this beau<ful cross pollina<on between them.
Iain It’s exponen<al. In prac<cal terms of how we did it, we sat in coffee shops and we went


through all your drawings over the last three years, and then there were a million emails

backwards and forwards.
Carla I loved that there was a degree of independence from each other. As was said earlier,


there’s not always <me to make art and so I always have a pen and a notebook with me and

I’m always drawing and if I’m wai<ng for some coffee or something, I’ll just start drawing the

people around me. I’ll do lots of those but only a few of them have the right spark of energy.

And you did the same in terms of edi<ng your lines, the ones that resonated with you and so

when you bring that kind of edi<ng together, the right illustra<ons with the right lines,

there’s something awesome that happens, with these li^le pockets of energy and they have

this li^le dance on the page together.
WHO IS THIS BOOK MEANT FOR?



Iain I think, my ideal situa<on for a book like this is, is that someone’s walking through the


bookstore and they find it, and they have this feeling that the book is right for them, at that

moment in <me. The very first entry in the book is, “I hope you find this book or someone

gives it to you when you need it.”

I think it’s ammo for life. It’s a stranger wishing you well, in 300 different ways.
Carla And you don’t have to read it cover to cover, you can kind of pop it open on any page


and find something that means something to you.
Iain What I really want, is for it to live in your glove compartment, next to your bed or on a


coffee table and every now and again when you need it, you rediscover it and find

something in it again. I don’t know who that is, in terms of who is the book meant for.
ANYTHING ELSE?



Iain I just hope people like the book. If it’s good, I’d love to do another one like it


Read my review on this book and find a link to it in the post below! :)

300 Things I Hope by: Iain S. Thomas, Illustrated by: Carla Kreuser

For more books follow me on Instagram: @TempestChani

Blurb:

From the creator of I Wrote This For You, comes a collection of 300 things that the author, Iain S. Thomas, and artist, Carla Kreuser, truly and sincerely hope for you – from hoping that you always have a pen, to hoping that you’re never lonely, and everything in-between. This collection of hope will move you and remind you of what’s important in life as you live it. Or at least, that’s what they hope.

* * *
 
I was really fortunate to receive an early review copy of this book from the publisher. To be honest, I hadn't read anything written by Mr. Thomas yet, so I was going in blind. I came out a fan. This book was absolutely amazing. It was sweet, funny, touching, insightful, romantic, and thought provoking. Each line begins with the words, I Hope, and are followed by a wish the author hopes the reader experiences (or doesn't in some cases). It's the perfect book to pick up when you're feeling a little melancholy, or when you simply need a bit of inspiration or motivation. It serves as a great reminder that life is filled with little things that are magical, and wonderful, and that we shouldn't let them pass us by unnoticed. I think that's one of my favorite things about this book, you don't have to sit down and read it straight through in one sitting. Honestly, in my opinion, you might even get more from reading a couple pages a day. Give yourself some time to ruminate, because even the ones that sound silly at first start seeming sweet and insightful a half hour later. This is definitely a book worth picking up!
 
It comes out on October 1st (tomorrow)! I highly recommend grabbing yourself a copy!
 
Here's a link to its Goodreads.com page to make it easier: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29502141-300-things-i-hope
 

 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Two Graves: A Novella by: Zoe Kalo


Blurb:

 (TWO GRAVES is a short novella, about 70 pages. It is volume #1 in Zoe Kalo's psychological suspense "Retribution" series.)

A Dante-ish descent through a sinister world of decadent shadows and woeful souls…

Seven years ago, he shattered her life. The town eventually forgot the headlines and the nightmares. But 23-year old music student Angelica hasn’t forgotten.

For the past seven years, she’s contemplated payback with as much intensity and unwavering faith as she puts into her violin playing. Finally, all the pieces are in place. Over the course of one night, disguised for a masquerade ball, Angelica orchestrates a journey of revenge.



* * *  

Being that this is a novella, it's a pretty quick read, for that reason alone, if you're into psychological stories I'd recommend picking this one up. That being said, I wasn't as in love with this as I hoped when I read the blurb and signed up for the R2R. I'm a big fan of Dante's Inferno and was really looking forward to seeing how that made it into this. I'm not sure how I got it into my head that there'd be some form of romance in this, but there definitely is not. That's not a deal breaker for me, at all, just something worth mentioning in case there are others out there who are looking for that. The blurb also makes it clear that the main character, Angelica, is currently 23, and that the event she's seeking revenge for happened 7 years ago, however, while reading this get's a bit confusing. Honestly, even though it's retold in the story itself, the constant back of forth of the timeline makes her age confusing. She doesn't seem like a young teen in the beginning, and she would be 16. I'm also not sure she would be doing her college interview/audition at that age. Usually it's junior year when things like this take place and she would be on her way to turning 17. Of course, she could be a 16 year old who's a junior in high school, but if that's the case (and I think it is) that needs to be clarified. Because it isn't, it's hard to get into the flashback aspects of the story. I spent too much time struggling to picture her as a sixteen year old, especially because (and this is somewhat of a spoiler, I suppose so you're warned) her son is at least 3 years old already. I say at least because I'm pretty sure at one point in the beginning it's mentioned he's 4, and then later he's mentioned as 3. This could just be my mistake, and if so I apologize, but the point is she had to have had him at an even younger age than 16, and I don't get that feeling from her. Add in the overly zealous mother, the wacky tired grandmother, and the ex who did something (we never find out what, but I assume it was abandon them) who wants to get back into their lives, and it's just a bit much for something less than 100 pages. And that's just for the flashbacks.

When we aren't in flashback mode, we're in the present where she's now 23 and it's been 7 years since this horrible thing happened to her (another event we never really get clear details about). As the story progresses we understand, vaguely, what happened, but nothing is definitively spelled out, which I found very disappointing. We keep being told that her target is a monster, yet we rarely see it. Instead, we see all these other crazy people acting like loons and even a boy who slits his own wrists. Right in front of her. What does she do? Not call the cops. I understand that would ruin her plan for revenge but, let's be honest for a moment, what plan? Because she didn't have one, not really. Unless her plan was to get completely turned around and lost in some crazy old guys giant house... By the end, she pulls the gun out and that's it, she doesn't even care there are cameras. If that's the case, she could have just shot him at any one of the rehearsals she had to sit through with him before this story even started. It would mean there's no novella, but it would also make a hell of a lot more sense for her. Which brings me to the happenings at the party in that mansion. Very little of it made sense. I was often times more confused about what was going on, where the hell she was, and what she was seeing. Because of this, it was really hard for me to follow, or even care, about the story. By these points I wanted to resume the flashbacks because at least they were straight forward, even if they rarely gave us useful information. She moves through the rooms way too quickly, and the descriptions about how all of the guests are acting are rushed and muddled. I understand this is a party with drugs and, apparently, sex in random places out in the open, but that should be explained from the very beginning. When I think of a production like the one they put on (they seem like professional musicians, even though it's mentioned they're still in school) and a mascaraed ball after I think elegance and high society. Basically, I think of people trying to appear prime and proper, but this is not that type of party, and I would have liked to be told from the very beginning. It's so complicated, with all of the different rooms and the house that is basically then like a maze, that I never knew where Angelica was supposed to be. It was obviously then very obvious she was following her target so how she thought she could keep that from him is beyond me. Again, not very stealthy. Going back to that one scene where a guy kills himself in front of her...It felt so forced. What should have felt like a thrilling, and sad, desperate moment, fell flat. I felt like by that point everything else was so confusing that now she was hallucinating him. And then when she wasn't (at least I think she wasn't) the information she got from him was something that could have been gained a different way. It wasn't even that shocking, and it should have been a shocking reveal about her target. Instead, I would have liked to see her figure it out on her own by being sneaky. She's had seven years. What has she got to show for that? She got her gun license. Wow. Good planning. And that ending...Not enough was explained. Almost nothing was explained, in fact, just eluded to, which for me wasn't enough. Unfortunately, the story I was interested in was the actual act that caused her to go on a seven year long revenge plan, and then also a story involving an actual revenge plan. I didn't get either of these things.  And her hallucinations? Not necessary. In fact, they only served to confuse me more, especially because by that point it's been so long and she's been planning this so long I feel like she'd have gotten past that stage already. Or, at the very least, have been experiencing it the whole time. If we were told she's spent the past seven years hallucinating, which has made it impossible for her to move on, then I would have bought into it. That would also explain why she's acting so manic and insists she has a plan when she obviously does not have one.

All that being said, you're probably wondering why I gave this novella 3 stars. That's why. Because it's a novella. If this was a novel, it would be amazing. Not even, add another 30 pages and I could see this being ten times better than it is. That's because, as stated above, everything in this was rushed. Because of that it was confusing, hard to follow, and hard to connect with. I could feel bad for Angelica if I actually got to see/know, in detail, what happened. I could understand that she's seeking revenge and yet doesn't actually have a plan if I saw how she's been dealing the past 7 years. Like, what ever happened to the father? Or her mother? Or her grandmother? How are all of them dealing? We don't know, and because of that it's hard to care about them during the flashbacks. If Angelica is going to have that many issues in her past, they need to be given to us in smaller doses, not all at once, so that we can connect with her. If this was a longer work, that would be possible. It would also then make describing the many rooms (the layers of hell from Dante's inferno) less of a hindrance on the reader and more of an eye catcher. As it is, because it's so much being packed into so few pages it's way too hard to follow and the descriptions are boring, confusing, and makes the rest of the story drag. So, basically, I gave 3 stars because of the idea behind this, and the potential I think this story has. As this is part of a new series that's coming out, I hope that the next book will be better explained, and contain either less meaningless description or more meaningful pages. I would still read the next installment because of how much potential I can see in this story.

 
Title: Two Graves (Retribution Series #1)
Author: Zoe Kalo
Genre: Dark Psychological Suspense
Audience: New Adult/Adult
Word count: 18,000 words – 70 pages (short novella)
Launch date: October 1st 2016
 
 
Purchase on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Graves-Novella-Zoe-Kalo-
ebook/dp/B01LDIXCR0
 
About Author Zoe Kalo
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading
led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her
classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sing Sweet Nightingale (The Dream War Saga, #1) by Erica Cameron


For more books check out my Instagram @TempestChani

Blurb:

Mariella Teagen hasn't spoken a word in four years.

She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.

Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella's life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.


* * *
 
This was a hard one for me to rate. On the one hand, there were things about it a really liked, and on the other...there was Mariella. Yup. I hated an entire character, which almost never happens to me. I mean, I guess by the last chapter she was ok, not so bad, but for the rest of the book.... Here's the thing about her, she's been made to believe that she was miserable growing up and sad and lonely all the time when in fact she wasn't. This is a good premise, and with this knowledge I can see why she'd buy into Oran's whole spiel, not to mention the fact she's known him for pretty much ever. BUT that's not expressed until more than halfway through the book, so for the first half of the book she just comes off selfish and whinny and I couldn't even bring myself to feel bad for her. Honestly, I wanted her to get killed or whatever at the end just so Hudson could move onto someone else. That's how annoying and arrogant she was. I feel like if we'd gotten more about how she had this entire horrible fabricated childhood it would have been different, but because it came too late in the game it couldn't change my opinion of her. It's sort of like what happened to her with Oran. I'd spent so much time by them believing she was awful that I couldn't believe that she wasn't once I was told. There were moments where she'd get angry with her parents for not noticing she was trying to communicate with them through their scrabble game. Only, she's the one who decided not to speak. Ever. She has no right to get mad at them for not recognizing she's attempting to use a different form of communication, especially when we already know they had to twist her arm just to get her to learn sign language and spend time with them. She also thinks about how she doesn't want to hurt them and feels bad for it, but doesn't once feel guilty over the fact she's planning on leaving and never coming back.
 
Honestly, the saving grave was Hudson. It sort of felt like their POVs were being written by two different authors even, that's how good Hudson's parts of the story were. And not just because of his character, but also the other characters and how they all reacted. Whenever we met someone through Mari's eyes, they seemed flat and almost trope-like, but everyone in Hudson had personality and drew my attention deeper into the story. Hudson is also the opposite of Mari, in the sense that he's selfless, and always has been. He's also patient and acts more like an adult that she ever does. The only issue I had with his part of the story was that it never really gets made clear what "answers he's looking for". It keeps being mentioned that there are some, and that he hasn't gotten them, but I mean, we know why these creatures are doing this, how, what they're called, and where they come from by the end of the book. What other questions could he possibly have? I did really like the ending though, and really hope that we get another book focusing on these particular characters (because book two is about other characters who, kind of unbelievably, are related to these ones...yeah). I might read book two anyway though, because I really did enjoy it every time I read Hudsons parts.
 
All in all, I would recommend as it was creative and a fast read. I'm attaching my Reading Progress from Goodreads to give you a better idea what I mean about Mari.
 

 
 
 
Reading Progress
09/20 marked as: currently-reading
09/20 page 29
7.0% "So far the only issue I have is how damn naive she already is. I mean, I don't care how hot you are or how long I've known you, if you ask me to hurt my family I'm going to question it. Not talking for no reason? Hurts them. Why isn't she more suspicious of such a ludicrous request? It'd be a simple matter of him being like, hey just don't talk about this. On I somethings up."
09/20 page 51
13.0% "She's worried about hurting her moms feelings....yet she basically plans on running away and never coming back again......huh? Honestly, I really like Hudson but I'm hating Mari."
09/20 page 71
18.0% "I. Hate. Her.

It really doesn't help that he got shitty parents and came out selfless and she has great parents and came out selfish. Like, so much so, that I wouldn't be surprised to find her picture next to the word in the dictionary."
09/20 page 76
20.0% "Pay attention! He's not saying you'll never HAVE to, he's saying you'll never.

I don't usually rate books this way, but if I were to give it a rating right this second, I'd rate 5 for Hudson and -1 for Mari."
09/21 page 211
56.0% "The sad thing is I think I would love this book, if it was only told in Hudsons POV. I can't stand Mari. Even the attempts to make her seem more human and caring fail miserably. I get that she's been brainwashed since she was young, but she's also painted as this intelligent strong willed person and I just don't see that. She just seems selfish, naive, and moronic."
09/21 marked as: read
 

Briar Queen (Night and Nothing, #2) + Nettle King (Night and Nothing, #3) by Katherine Harbour

Blurb:

The dark, moody, and mystical fantasy begun in Thorn Jack, the first novel in the Night and Nothing series, continues in this bewitching follow up--an intriguing blend of Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alice in Wonderland, and A Midsummer Night's Dream--in which Finn Sullivan discovers that her town, Fair Hollow, borders a dangerous otherworld . . .
* * *
 
I absolutely LOVE this series. LOVE IT. It may even be one of the best things I've ever read. I love the feel, and the characters (even when they're annoying) and the gripping gothic atmosphere that always makes the terrible things that happen seem fitting. And terrible things do happen. A lot. These aren't your typical bright and shiny, sparkly fairies with wings and crowns of light. They're dark and mysterious and very, very bad. But in the best way. These creatures do awful things and look at humans as toys (and sometimes furniture, yikes), and even knowing this Finn willingly enters their world in the hopes of finding her sister, who in the first book she believed to be dead. It's a wild ride discovering this new world with her, and watching as her friends get yanked in as well. I'm a big fan of old fairy tales and folklore, the ones that depict the fae as dangerous, deadly, and beautiful, instead of always helpful and sweet. Harbour does an excellent job of stringing all of these things together, including many characters from old lore. She does keep most of the names given to them in said lore, so it can get a bit confusing and complicated when pronouncing a name or recalling what it means, so you'll probably have to check the index in the back one or two times, but it's worth it. We really get to see Finn and Jack's relationship develop a bit more in this one, which is good, considering how awful he could be at times in the first book (awful in the sense he did bad things, but I still loved him). There's also a lot more development for other characters, like Christie and Sylvie, and new characters to love like Moth. The first book focused more on the aesthetics, whereas this one is more about characters and the lore, which is great.
 
I highly recommend.
 
 
 
*****
 
Blurb:
 
The mesmerizing conclusion to the Night and Nothing series—part Buffy the Vampire Slayer and part Alice in Wonderland—finds Finn fighting against the land of the dead.

When her beloved Jack disappears, Finn vows to find him—even if it means a daring odyssey into the land of the dead. But saving Jack comes at a terrible price: a dangerous fissure has opened, giving the dead access to the true world.

The lines between worlds are more blurred than ever. Finn’s sister, Lily, recently returned from the Ghostlands, seems to bear no scars from her time there. But then their friend Moth returns from Sombrus, the magical house once owned by Seth Lot, bearing shocking news. Something evil—a fearsome creature bearing a striking resemblance to Jack—has escaped Sombrus and is now stalking Fair Hollow, killing everyone it encounters, transforming them into terrifying Jacks and Jills and recruiting the Unseelie.

It will not stop until it gets what it wants . . .
* * *
 
I adored this book. There really isn't much more I can say but that. I think it's a great end to the trilogy (though that very second to last sentence bothers me because of EVERYTHING they've been through and so in mind they find a way around that eventually, lol) and I loved all the twists and turns it took. It didn't leave anything unsettled, and while some bits of action or reveal could have afforded a little more time to be fleshed out, overall it all worked. I can't really say more than that without giving things away so, my advice is to just read this series.
 
If you're into gothic novels like Wuthering Heights, then reading the first book in the trilogy Thorn Jack, is definitely for you. If you're not so into the description of gothic settings, get through the first book because these last two ease up a TON on the descriptions. That was my only problem with the original, in Thorn Jack there is a lot of repetitive descript on houses and the town. And Emory. There's LOTS of Emory. But these two don't have that problem and are definitely worth getting to!!! :)
 


 
 
FOR MORE BOOKS, CHECK OUT MY INSTAGRAM @TempestChani !!!
 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sorry I've Been Away...

I have not been upkeeping this review blog, I admit. :/

HOWEVER I have still been reading a TON, and I still post reviews and ratings up on Goodreads.com without fail. I am very VERY active there. I'm going to try and be better about posting here as well, but to be honest, with working on my own book, and juggling both my Goodreads and Instagram accounts that's difficult.

That being said, if you're interested in seeing more book photos and getting suggestions on books you might want to check out, please follow me on Instagram! I post there DAILY.

My handle is @TempestChani

And, again, Goodreads.com is always a good place to see my reviews, and ratings. I also tend to post updates while I'm reading a book, so there are always lots of comments and whatnot in my activity feed.

Currently, I'm reading the second book in the Night and Nothing series, and I ABSOLUTLY LOVE IT.

As you can see below, I've posted 7 of my recent reviews, but I've read over 70 books this year already, so clearly that's no where near the amount of reviews that I've done, which you can check out on Goodreads.

Here's my link again:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5171960.Chani_Lynn_Feener

Thorn Jack (A Night and Nothing Novel, #1) By: Katherine Harbour

Follow me on Instagram: TempestChani

Blurb:

They call us things with teeth. These words from Lily Rose Sullivan the night of her death haunts her seventeen-year-old sister, Finn, who has moved with her widowed father to his hometown of Fair Hollow, New York. After befriending a boy named Christie Hart and his best friend, Sylvie Whitethorn, Finn is invited to a lakeside party where she encounters the alluring Jack Fata, a member of the town's mysterious Fata family. Despite Jack's air of danger and his clever words, Finn learns they have things in common.

One day, while unpacking, Finn finds her sister's journal, scrawled with descriptions of creatures that bear a sinister resemblance to Jack's family. Finn dismisses these stories as fiction, but Jack's family has a secret—the Fatas are the children of nothing and night, nomadic beings who have been preying on humanity for centuries—and Jack fears that his friendship with Finn has drawn the attention of the most dangerous members of his family—Reiko Fata and vicious Caliban, otherwise known as the white snake and the crooked dog.

Plagued with nightmares about her sister, Finn attempts to discover what happened to Lily Rose and begins to suspect that the Fatas are somehow tied to Lily Rose's untimely death. Drawn to Jack, determined to solve the mystery of her sister's suicide, Finn must navigate a dangerous world where nothing is as it seems.


* * *
 
I absolutely loved this book. I loved the characters and the mythology and the dark gothic tones. But I can also see why people don't like it. Fortunately for me, I know enough about the mythology of creatures mentioned in this book that reading all of the vague descriptions and hints ended up adding to my enjoyment. For someone who didn't know anything? That could probably get pretty frustrating. And being that I love gothic romance novels, like Wuthering Heights, I enjoyed the constant descriptions. However even there I can see where they might bore a different reader. There was also the fact that this book took me much longer than a book usually would to read. That might have something to do with the physical size of the pages however (I have the hard cover, haven't seen the paperback so don't know if the shape is similar). They printed this book on wider paper than normal, and because of that there were more words per page. Even though I loved this story, even I got frustrated a few times that it felt like I'd been reading forever and hadn't made a dent in it.

All of that being said, if you don't know anything about old faeries or Tam Lin, look it up and then READ THIS BOOK. It's worth it. I fell in total love with Jack, despite all of his flaws, and I fully enjoyed the other characters as well. Some of the scenes are so colorful and full of life I one hundred percent felt like I was there while reading about them. This is a fantastic read, so long as you keep in mind while doing so it might take you longer to get through than you're used to.



 

Second Star By: Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Blurb:

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

* * *
 
** spoiler alert ** Let me be clear from the get go, the one star is because the ending.

FOR THE ENTIRE REST OF THE BOOK I WOULD GIVE IT 5.

BUT I absolutely HATE being lied to. Hate it. And I hate it even more when I feel like it's the author who's doing the lying. I absolutely loved this book, even though it was simple and sweet and (up until the 180 ending) very predictable. But that ending? Nope. I understand where the author was trying to go with it, I do, I just think it was executed poorly. For one, she's going to have that on her record. Forever. That she was crazy and had to stay in a psychward for help even though, oh wait!, she wasn't crazy at all. Which also makes me the reader feel cray because we're jerked around at the end just as much as she is! It really happened. It didn't. It did. It didn't. It did. AND then the fact that none of her friends, WHO ARE FRICKEN REAL AFTER ALL, came to see her or help her or, I don't know, reveal to her damn parents she wasn't insane, makes me hate them. Which sucks, because I really liked some of them. I did. And it's cleAr Jas was in the process of telling her he'd spend the rest of his life with her, presumably trying to help her get over the loss of her brothers, but then vanishes because suddenly Pete is back in his life?! Bullshit. And what about her? She just thinks it's all hunky doory and eventually she'll find him again and be able to say she loves him to. To s guy who basically abandoned her when she really did need him the most. Him being there wouldn't have hindered her getting over the loss of her brothers either, because she now knows what really happened and she wouldn't have had to spend so much time locked to. The whole thing is just ridiculous and forced and because of that now I hate a boom that I've loved right up to the last few chapters. Basically, if you like endings that jerk you around, and stories that happen but don't really but do, read this. Otherwise...pass. The ending makes the rest of the book not worth reading, in my personal opinion. Which sucks. I'm sorry but anyone willing to walk away without even checking on her, and then letting her stay locked up like that when all they had to do was appear once quickly to prove their existence is an asshole. And it pisses me off even more that instead of seeing this, she's still pinning away. Sure, she isn't going to drop everything and run after them like she did her brothers, but big deal. At this point, who cares?
 

 

Dream a Little Dream By Kerstin Gier

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Blurb:

Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv's dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she's in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They're classmates from her new school in London, the school where she's starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what's really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn't possibly know--unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute....


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If you read my activity feed in this book, you might be surprised that I rated this so highly in the end. Going to be honest, so was I. Liv's constant disbelief in the demon throughout the book got on my last nerve, especially because it gave away a huge chunk of the plot when she was still doing it around 60% in. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Only in the reverse, because it was actually in her constant protesting that I guessed at what was going on. Making her that annoying otherwise would have served no purpose other than to make readers want to hit her over the head--still--at the end of the book. HOWEVER, even after guessing at the rest of the plot....the ending wrapped up rather nicely. The whole thing went down with enough action to keep me interested, while making sure not to drag its feet, which I appreciated. All in all, as a whole I've got to say I loved this book. I also believe I read somewhere, and please do correct me if I'm wrong, that this was also originally written in German? If that's truly the case, then I've got a feeling some things got a bit lost in translation when it was switched over to English, which might have been the cause for many other moments where I was bored, annoyed, or rolling my eyes over certain words and expressions. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book now, and highly recommend this if you've got the patience to get through the somewhat slow beginning.
 

 

Reign of Shadows By: Sophie Jordan

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Blurb:

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.


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I really loved the world building in this one, it was interesting and unique enough that I still plan on keeping up with the rest of this series once it's released, despite how much I HATE how Luna was often portrayed. If she's going to act like a damsel practically the entire damn book, then just make her a damsel. Stop telling me how skilled she is, and how she can defend herself, and blah blah blah, then NEVER show us it! The only occasion was in the very beginning when she saved Fowler by killing one of them. After that....nothing! Every single time there was opportunity to show she was a badass, someone else had to swoop in and save her. It got to the point even animals were doing it for her. That's literally the only reason I gave this book 3 stars instead of 5. I also wasn't too keen on that ending. It felt like it left off in the middle of a scene instead of a solid end to the book, and this is coming from someone who happens to like cliffhanger endings too. I loved Fowler, and many of the other characters, but absolutely hated how every single female character came off. While Luna's naïveté is understandable, her reason to go back isn't a very well thought out plan. Like, at all. It would have been more believable if, again, we'd actually seen her defending herself and killing monsters on her own like it was constantly implied she was capable of doing. Still, that aside, as mentioned above, I will still read the next book once it's out. The world building,Fowler, and even Lina every other time she isn't letting a boy do the defending for her (yes, even the animal is male) I liked her. I would recommend reading, so long as you keep in mind she is not the "badass" in combat they often imply.
 

 

The Infernal Devices Trilogy By: Cassandra Clare



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Clockwork Angel, book #1:

Blurb:

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...
  


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Really, it's more like 4.5 stars, but seeing as how that's not an option, I decided to bump it up here. It was a bit slow in the beginning, and I wasn't particularly enamored by any of the characters from the get-go (though I was partial to Jem). Eventually though the book really picked up and I'm excited to read the rest of the trilogy. I was initially really worried because I couldn't even get through City of Bones when it came out years ago, I disliked it that much. The fact that I liked this book as much as I did however has me debating whether or not I want to give the Mortal Instruments another shot.
 
 
 
Clockwork Prince, book #2:
 
Blurb:
 
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
 
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Clockwork Princess, book #3:
 
Blurb:
 
Danger and betrayal, love and loss, secrets and enchantment are woven together in the breathtaking finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

THE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
 
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That ending killed me. That's literally all I can say. That, and I'm passionately in love with this book.
 
 
 
 
 
 


The Sin Eater's Daughter by: Melinda Salisbury

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Blurb:

A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn't a member of the court. She's the executioner.As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

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Honestly, I would have given this book 5 stars....if not for the ending. That ending made me very upset, because I as the reader felt lied to as well, and the epilogue just completely pissed me off. I loved the twists in the second half of this book, they were great and entertaining and I couldn't put the book down. But that ending....I'm not going to get over it. I hate when books are great and amazing and then you get the end it just...ends. I don't feel like there was a good conclusion to any of their stories, and I'm even more disappointed because I didn't realize that the second book wasn't actually about them but Leif's sister. Just when I was starting to actually like the prince and Twylla it ends like that.

If you're the type of person who can ignore incomplete endings that don't give you proper time to follow why characters do what they do, read this book. Honestly, I absolutely loved it up until then. And just to be clear (spoiler alert right here!!!!!!) it wasn't that she initially decided to go off and try being on her own. That I totally understand and like. BUT the knock on the door? Clearly being happy after everything?! No. Just no. And poor fricken Merek! IF the second book had focused solely on them, like I'd thought, then it would have been fine. But ending like this...ugh. Ok. I'm done ranting.